Mallon Tree Service, Evansville, WI

Arborists are folks who take care of trees. And trees need some care if you want them to be healthy, good looking and not fall on your house or kids. When I was a kid, dad always did the tree hacking around the yard, so I grew up thinking it was normal for homeowners to climb, trim and take down their own trees. Then I grew up and realized Dad just does everything on his own, no matter how dangerous or if he knows anything about the thing. He's real DYI.

Photographing arborists is one of the few spheres of work where my camera and climbing skills overlap. I have climbed trees with ropes a number of times, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to ride a lift truck up. It's easier! But I gotta say, it was much less flexible. I got up there, established an anchor, and then I couldn't move much. But the guys could move themselves and the truck around me, so it worked out.

Mallon Tree Service is based just outside Cooksville, WI, one of my favorite little towns south of Madison. Whenever we paddle Badfish Creek, we stop at the general store there for ice cream. I don't know how or why Cooksville got so cute, but they have a great collection of little brick houses, plus a couple great old churches. I would live there.

I don't know much about tree work, but I can say Emma & Kyle are fantastic to work with. Kyle learned his trade with the City of Milwaukee; some time after, he and Emma moved out to the country, where some family land became available. Turns out Emma's grandfather is John Wilde, whose work I've seen at MOMA; her dad is Jonathan Wilde, whose work I often admire at Artisan Gallery in Paoli. So the Mallons are carrying the family heritage forward, taking care of the earth and making it beautiful too. Really fun to help with their project.

Great Gatsby Holiday Party at The Edgewater Hotel, Madison, WI

Want a delicious recipe for holiday party success?  How about 20's garb, casino games and dueling pianos in one of Madison's newest and oldest establishments, the newly refurbished Edgewater Hotel. The Edgewater is decked out in its holiday finest right now, and the ice rink, the comfy chairs, the huge fireplace and all the gorgeous people coming and going make it a fantastic spot for a party. And with the Statehouse bar available upstairs for the afterparty and beds available above when you're ready to hit the sack, you don't even have to drive anywhere afterwards. How convenient.

I gotta mention the dueling piano guys, Felix and Fingers, because they were fantastic.  F&F take song requests - ANY song requests - and more or less nail them anytime. They played everything from 90's rap to "Wreck fo the Edmund Fitzgerald" to the them song from "Jurassic Park" to They Might Be Giants. And more. Even when everyone was on the other side of the Grand Ballroom playing craps or what have you, these guys were having a blast on the other side, keeping the party going. If you want awesome party entertainment and are looking for something a little different, check them out.

Looking forward to more holiday cheer this week. Happy solstice and enjoy a wonderful holiday week!

Forte Research Systems Business Conference at Monona Terrace, Madison WI

Forte Research Systems asked me to photograph their Fall Clinical Research Operations Forum at Monona Terrace earlier this month. While a conference for computer software developers and users may sound pretty dry, the meeting was actually a lot of FUN and a chance for cancer research software users throughout the country to come together to discuss common problems, solutions, goals, new ideas, etc. Forte has had trouble capturing that excitement and spirit visually, so that was my assignment. This bi-annual conference has been running for a number of years now and many of the attendee know each other, so there is lots of conversation, laughter and interaction... all I had to do is catch the moments. The folks at Forte are fantastic and gracious hosts, super personable and engaging... I could not ask for better information or logistical help. I felt lucky to connect with these folks for their Madison business conference.

As part of the gig, I had the opportunity to photograph and listen to Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (2011, general non-fiction) and an incredibly articulate and engaging speaker. My time in science education has inured a deep respect for the rare scientist who can translate research into a digestible, interesting story for the general public, and Dr. Mukherjee does it REALLY well. A perfect fit for the crowd of cancer researchers in attendance.

Headshots and Group Portrait at Hawks Quindel Milwaukee.

Attorneys at the Milwaukee office of Hawks Quindel, S.C.

Attorneys at the Milwaukee office of Hawks Quindel, S.C.

I visited the Milwaukee offices of Hawks Quindel, S.C. earlier this week to update their firm portrait and a few attorney headshots. These folks have gorgeous offices in one of the great old warehouse buildings in Milwaukee's Third Ward, with lots of brick and exposed steel beams. Always nice to be in this neighborhood and a good excuse to stop in MIAD, across the street, to check out student work.

Hawks Quindel is one of the premiere plantiff-side Wisconsin employment law practices, helping workers of all kinds deal with issues like harassment, discrimination, severance agreements, workers compensation, social security disability, etc. HQ also has a strong Milwaukee family law practice, led by attorney Amy Shapiro who was named best divorce lawyer in Milwaukee a few years ago. Rich Saks was one of the attorneys at the lead of the Wisconsin voter ID law challenge, and Tim Hawks and Barbara Quindel have been representing big unions for educators, journalists, healthcare workers, and others for years. If you ever need a good attorney in the employment or family realms, these folks are the best.