Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Lights of the Lakes?
Lights of the Lakes is a live slide presentation showcasing the lighthouse photography of Phillip L. Block. The Great Lakes Lighthouses shown are situated on the shores and islands of Lakes Michigan and Superior (see Lighthouse Locator). Recurring subordinate themes include lighthouse technology, both past and present, and shipwrecks that occurred when the technology failed.
The show, presented to over 7,000 people to date, consists of over 200 photographs, including portraits of over 60 different Great Lakes Lighthouses. It is accompanied by music and sound effects.
For more information such as program format, objectives, and intended audience, see About the Show.
- How long is the program?
Lights of the Lakes is one hour long. Time permitting, an optional six-minute tribute to the Great Lakes shipwreck Edmund Fitzgerald can be added at no extra cost. This tribute photographically interprets this mysterious shipwreck and provides an emotional conclusion to the program.
- How much does it cost?
Lights of the Lakes is an honorarium-based program. The program fee varies with the distance between my location and yours. The fee covers my services as the presenter, provision of all necessary equipment, and my travel expenses.
If you have two locations, and would like to present a second Lights of the Lakes program to a different group on the same day, the second program is offered at half price. Past experience has shown that a morning program in one location, and an afternoon program in another location works well. If the second program will be in a different building or location, please allow sufficient time between shows to allow for equipment breakdown in the first location and travel to and equipment setup at the second location.
To get a quotation on a Lights of the Lakes program for your group, please Contact me.
- When are you available to do a program?
I am actively retired, and have a flexible schedule. Either day, evening, or even weekend programs can be scheduled at your discretion. If you have a particular date in mind, please Contact me and we’ll find a mutually convenient date for your presentation.
- What about equipment?
The presenter provides all necessary equipment, including an 80″ diagonal screen, digital projector, laptop, and sound system with microphone. Sometimes larger facilities have a house screen or even a ceiling-mounted projector. If available, we can optionally use that equipment, and I actually prefer to do so, provided certain conditions are met (see Question 9).
Note 1: I prefer to connect my laptop to the projector with a VGA [not HDMI] cable connection, but if only HDMI is available, that is acceptable.
Note 2: See also What software and hardware do you use?
- What do past sponsors say about Lights of the Lakes?
To view the comments of past show hosts, please visit the Testimonials page.
To view a list of all past show hosts, please visit the Past Sponsors page.
- I would like to promote the program. Can you help?
Sure! A collection of sample print and online promotional materials created by past show hosts is available on the Past Show Promos page of this web site. These materials are intended to help fuel your own creative process.
Note that pre-written, editable templates of flyers, newsletter articles, or prepared copy or graphics for web site or social media posts, and similar promotional materials are not available, with the exception of my sample lighthouse photos and the Lights of the Lakes banner on the Past Show Promos page. Your organization is responsible for creating, printing or publishing its own promotional materials.
- What software and hardware do you use?
Lights of the Lakes is an all-digital production stored as a PowerPoint file. Presenter uses a MacBook laptop with VGA or HDMI video output adapters. If a client computer will be used, usually because it is connected to an in-house projector, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 or later software must be available on that system. If desired, I can bring the show file on a USB flash drive. In this case, please specify if the client system uses USB 2.0/3.0 (Type-A) or USB-C (Type-C) ports. Certain other conditions must also be met (see Question 9).
- You can use our in-house system. Just bring a flash drive.
Occasionally clients offer the use of an in-house projection system, large flat-screen TV, sound system, computer, or combination of these resources. Sometimes I’m advised to use the client’s installed equipment and told to just bring my files on a USB flash drive.
Be aware that I use PowerPoint running on a laptop to do the presentation. Furthermore, I need to activate PowerPoint’s Presenter mode, which displays speaker notes on the laptop screen, but not the projector. Often, in-house systems are built into a media closet and if a computer is connected, it’s probably in that closet. That prohibits a speaker seeing the screen in order to use it during the presentation.
I have also run into situations where a client-owned Windows laptop is connected to the house projection system, but when PowerPoint is run on the client’s laptop, the image the audience sees is visible on the projector, but the Presenter view of the speaker notes is not. This is unacceptable.
If the house system accepts a direct cable connection from a laptop to a sound system or flat-screen TV, (usually via an HDMI connection), this usually works. I bring HDMI cables to facilitate use of this option, if available. The feasibility of a direct connection to a house system is determined during pre-show setup and testing. If found not to work, I will use my own projector, screen, and laptop as a backup alternative.
If a client-owned wired or wireless microphone connected to a house sound system is available, I will use it. If not, I will use my own sound system and microphone. I will have all necessary video and audio equipment with me when I arrive.
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