Friday, October 28, 2005

Taxi III

Taxi III

I’m not sure why I like taxis but I do, especially in New York.

My first taxi ride actually occurred in Naples, Italy. At the time, I was aboard the USS Semmes, a guided missile destroyer out of Charleston, SC. I was on my first deployment overseas and this was the first port of call. It was also the first foreign country I was to visit at the age of 24.

One of the first things you do once you hit a new port is to get away from the ship as fast as humanely possible. A couple of other guys and I wanted to get some food and grabbed a taxi by the wharf. It turns out that this was a designed initiation of sorts.

Everyone should experience this at some pint in his or her lives. A ride in a Naples taxi is fraught with surprise and some danger. Road signs seem to be nothing more than a suggestion and not necessarily meant for that particular taxi driver. Ours was no different and by the end of the ride, we had ridden on a sidewalk, hit a bicyclist and learned several Italian curse words not suitable for discussion here.

So it brings me to this photo. Last year, with a film camera, I tried this and nothing remotely came close to what I had envisioned. But with digital I could see what I was getting and I knew I would end up with something I liked.

If you’ve read the previous post you know that I want to make images that resonate with me. If they do, then other people will ultimately find them compelling in some form or another. These images might be a cliché to some, and repetitive to others. But they are mine and I enjoy them. At the end of the day I really need to enjoy an image.

Chris Rainier, a photographer I really like, says that he enjoys the idea of a personal gallery space. It gives you time to see if you can live with the image and how it will look after some time spent with it. This blog, and the wall of my office, act as that gallery space for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New York

This is a belated, and probably short, entry for our trip last week to New York for Photo Expo. The J-O-B is definitely getting in the way. (But just in case someone from work is reading this, I’m writing it on the plane coming back from San Jose. So get off my back.)

We did make it into New York for the Expo this year but it was a very shortened version of previous years. Jordan’s league meet at Mt. SAC took place on the following Saturday and we missed it last year. We just didn’t want to miss it again this year. So we flew out on Wednesday, attended the show on Thursday and left Friday morning. It was a whirlwind trip but I did get to the show and got some well-deserved geek time.

The display section for the images of the year was so small as to be unwelcoming. I think it was the one place that solidified the feelings I’ve been having lately about technology versus image making. The exhibit seemed to be treated as an afterthought this year. The images were small. This display space was tiny compared to earlier years and the presentation wasn’t compelling in the least. This year the show made me realize its time to get over the technology and get back to making images mode.

I have to admit that I am guilty of this technology craze. But this year, and it’s something I’ve been wrestling with for a number of months now, the technology didn’t seem all that groundbreaking. The same group of photographers that have been hawking gear for the last five years were there with no real new images. The Epson booth had the same old images and the same old image-makers. It was the same with the Canon booth. It makes me wonder when these guys actually work in the photography profession. It seems that they are at all of the shows, producing large advertisements for the manufacturers reminding us of how wonderfully talented they are, but not producing any new work. They have become celebrities in the digital imaging market segment. It was sad, annoying, and just downright tiresome.

Apple announced a new program and the lines at this booth were long. It was the single largest booth there and it was centered on their new program called Aperture. I’m not putting a link here because I refuse to become an advertising arm. Even if there is probably only one person that even reads this blog. I did get really excited about the program. But then I thought about the cost. Another $500 just to look at my images. While I do love the digital images I produce and its immediacy, what I don’t love it the constant amount of dollars that I shell out just to keep up. It was nice that Apple at least used some other photographers to hawk the software and not the usual self-proclaimed experts.

Back to image making. There was some new paper from Innova that looks really nice. I got a sample pack and I need to print out some test images to see how they look. There were some innovative book publishers that would allow a photographer to self publish and put out work that was good for self-promotion. Other than that there was little to talk about with regards to pure image making.

As usual the food was good, the energy great, and the weather was nice although Diane thought it could have been colder. We got to see Ken for dinner at Virgil’s BBQ and he was joined by another friend of mine, Roger. Diane got to see us bash on each other but mostly bashing Ken as we are wont to do when the three of us are together. I think she found it mildly entertaining.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Seattle Clouds

I’ve not had much time to post lately, or for that matter, work on images much at all. These are from a recent business trip up to Seattle.

I finally was on a plane that was less than half full. If you travel much you’ll realize how unusual that is these days. It’s normally packed and the feeling of a being a piece of meet quickly comes to mind.

Anyway, storms had rolled through Southern California the night before, real, honest to goodness thunder and lightning storms. Being a mid-west transplant, I’ve never gotten used to the fact that you just don’t see lightning or hear thunder here very often. It’s what makes a storm a storm. It also produces clouds like these shown here.

Coming out of Orange County and flying out over the ocean, there were big billowy clouds as far as you could see. They rose up from the ocean and towered high in the sky. It was absolutely beautiful and I realized how much I missed cloud formations associated with storm activity.

I didn’t have my camera out of the bag on take-off as I should have. I missed a really great opportunity to catch the sun breaking through some beautiful cloud formations. But as soon as I could move over to the window seat and could get the camera out, I started looking at the clouds and taking photos. You see a couple of my favorites here.

I wasn’t sure if anything would actually work image wise. Obviously windows are small and prevent you from getting good optical quality but it’s digital; what do you have to lose? Turns out the light was wonderful and the 24mm lens worked out well in this instance.

I converted them to B&W because I liked them better. I also was trying out some new post processing techniques I’ve been experimenting with. The images are what I saw. I haven’t added any clouds or taken anything away.