Independence Day festival, Lisle Illinois

Fun snapshot of me practicing ’80’s guitar moves at fantasy camp.

I like to think the lady in the tattoo is still there, standing right next to him.

The joys of long-distance zoom photography.

They’ve done this before
Flame front on high-speed zoom

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

3 thoughts on “Independence Day festival, Lisle Illinois”

  1. Fantastic pictures!

    But forgive me–coming from a background with lots and lots of military–it seems that the point of the parachute jump in this case is to drop the flag from a great height right smack onto the ground. Nobody objected?

  2. Nice shots, Harold, especially the flame.

    Let me offer a thought on photographing people with a long lens.

    It is not my favorite way to do it. It's easy, of course, and it avoids awkwardness, sometimes, and you can argue it catches more unguarded moments. All pluses.

    You can also "set a stage." That is, you can spot, at some distance, an interesting background of some kind, and wait for a subject to walk into it. This takes some patience.

    On the other hand, it has an air of taking advantage, of surreptitiousness, which I find uncomfortable. It can also get you an occasional glare. It usually will be OK at an event like this, where participants more or less expect to have their pictures taken, but maybe not in other circumstances.

    My own preference, which took me a long time to get comfortable with – it really only happened by accident – is to mingle, make myself a part of the scene, and then just photograph naturally, up close. You'll get some poses, which you don't necessarily want, but that stops after a while and you can get some natural interactions. You can also make friends.

    As always, these are just personal opinions and I claim no great expertise. I'm just an enthusiast, as you are.

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