Monday, December 11, 2006

More Shiftyness

Sunday morning, after a rough night, Kate, Dylan and I drove up to Hamden to see the house they're trying to buy - a nice place, but not without its quirks. Afterwards we went to the Milford mall, and then to downtown Westport. I had my camera in tow - F5.6 Lensbaby attached. I actually managed to get a few good pictures!

This is a photo of Kate walking towards Starbucks in downtown Westport. I'm very happy with the light focus on her hair, as well as the texture in her shirt. I think the trick to using this lens is going to be: Have lots of natural light. Lensbaby works well with the on-camera flash as well, but it's a less "genuine" look.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lensbaby Goes to War

On my recent trip to the city, and to B&H, I picked up some new toys. First-off, I replaced my POS tripod, with a low-end Manfrotto. I also picked up a Lensbaby Original; a neat little tilt-shift lens for an SLR camera. Not quite sure if it's going to be a permanent addition to my camera bag - I suspect that it's not. Hopefully it gets easier to use with practice.

Sometimes I'm afraid that Captain Sheffield Doesn't have My Best Interests in Mind

In the toy section of CVS I found a wonderful thing: Plastic Army Men. Not only were there fresh bags of Army men (A toy which I'd figured had gone extinct), but there were two different colors. That means I could have a little war! And if that wasn't enough, it seems that these aren't the cheep ones either. There are no less than 12 different poses for the little warriors.

  • Bazooka Guy

  • Recon/Radio Guy

  • Wading-through-chest-high-water Guy

  • Crawling-under-barbed-wire Guy

  • 30cal-machine-gun Guy

  • C.O. Guy

  • Kneeling-with-rifle Guy

  • Running-with-rifle Guy

  • Prone-with-rifle Guy

  • Bayonet Guy

  • Minesweeper Guy

  • Mortar Guy

I'm thinking that with all of my new subjects I might do a war documentary. Something about an embedded plastic journalist inside a platoon of plastic soldiers seems like it could be funny. I just have to keep from running afoul of the plastic censors at the plastic pentagon.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Don't Smoke

Sunday morning, after the Wii fiasco, I headed into Manhattan to take some pictures. Because I had family plans in the afternoon I parked my car uptown (where we'd be ending the night). I then walked from 85th on the east side down to the 30s and over to B&H to buy a new tripod.

My old tripod was a Sunpak and made with an almost supernatural-cheapness. On Thursday night when I went out to take pictures it was a bigger hindrance than a help. So now it's been replaced with the bottom of a good line. A low end light-weight Manfroto with an integrated ball head. The ball joint seems a bit cheap, but it's cast aluminum and it has a long warantee so I'm giving it a shot. It's only 2.5 lbs, but its significantly bigger than my old tripod. I think it'll need to travel in it's own case.

Also took some time to talk to one of the sales people at B&H about the elusive Nikon 18-200mm lens. This lens is by all accounts amazing: Not only is it incredibly versatile (IE: you only need one lens) is ridiculously affordable. Well, the salesman , using similar superlatives, confirmed that it's so rare he didn't expect to see one for a while. He said he expected to see some next year. I'm excited to see if he's right. While we were talking I happened to catch a glimpse of an inexpensive piece of photographic equipment that I've wanted to buy for a while: The Lensbaby.

The Lensbaby is a soft-focus lens which allows you to manually move the focus-point of the lens around by compressing a bellows. Much the same way you would with a large-format box camera. So far this lens has been trying my patience. As soon as I get a shot that I like, I'll post it.


My long walk down the East Side led me to the 59th street bridge. I took some time photographing the cars and the bridge and the cable-cars. But eventually I got fixated on the smokestack immediately South of the bridge. I took quite a few shots of it. This is one of them. Morning light, Polarizer, Rust. Sweet.

Wii-diculously Hard To Get [NAP]

I'm sorry for the irrelevant nature of this post, but I need to vent about how ridiculous it is trying to find a Wii.

My first attempt was on Black Friday: Earlier that week, an employee of the Best Buy in Stratford, CT told me that her store was sitting on a decent sized pile of Wiis. She told me that the store was holding them and releasing them on Black Friday. So at 3:30 on friday morning I got up. Liz, Sam and I got to the store at 4am to wait around for the 5am opening. After an hour we raced through the doors only to be told - not that they'd run out - but that they'd never had any. Words could not describe the depths of my hatred towards this store.

My second attempt was on Sunday - the universally designated Wii re-launch day. This time I didn't even make it to the store before Jeannie called to say, Toys r' Us in Westport only had 14 Wiis, and she was about #44 in line. No rain checks, nothing. Just a "go home, you're out of luck".

There is nothing I can say or do. I hate this. And it has turned me off shopping for x-mas presents altogether. Don't get me wrong. I understand that there's supply and demand and they aren't always equal, I just wish resellers would offer alternatives to the eye-gouging race to the checkout that they hope to inspire.

I'd like to think that negative in-store experiences like these cause a decline in holiday sales. Alas, I don't think thats the case.


Okay, Lots of new pictures: Here's a tivo-eyed view of the some wii all-stars. I took about 100 candids of Kate, Dylan, Max and Liz playing the new Rayman game for the Nintendo Wii. Most were pretty dark, but I got a few which look pretty outstanding when displayed large and on a really bright screen.

Kate looks bored

This image is a perfect example of a problem that's been affecting me more and more lately. Bad monitor gamma calibration. In an attempt to fix this I picked up a Huey. Huey is a monitor calibration tool designed to make sure your on-screen colors are accurate. For those of you unfamiliar with digital image manipulation, this is a problem with some subtle complexities. If my monitor is inaccurately reproducing colors, then the image I'm looking at will look and print differently in another environment. Hopefully Huey makes my images a bit more universally viewable. Too bad half the world uses dim or crappy CRTs. Alas.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's Finally Over

Well, yesterday was Halloween, and you know what that means: Today an enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Something Wicked in Southport 2006 is over.

Dead-Eye Dan

I'm too tired to even think about last night's escapades - In a nutshell: Turnout was good. Donations were kinda lousy. Praise was high. With any luck I'll now have a little bit of downtime over the next couple of weeks. At least I can hope.

Monday, October 23, 2006

An Underexposed Firetruck

Well, my title may be a bit on-the-nose, but that's no reason to down on my dimly lit composition. Err. Something.

Underexposed Firetruck
The story behind this photo is rather boring. But, since you've scrolled past the pretty picture I'll tell it anyways. This time of year the sunlight at 5pm is very low and comes shooting up the Post Road. This of course happens to be about the same time I'm walking home from work and some days I get inspired. On the day I shot this I was walking around Fairfield shooting all manner of things when a firetruck came roaring down the road. I was just barely quick enough to pull my camera up to my head and pull the trigger. What I got was an image of inconceivable darkness. After a little bit of post, what I was left with was an image of mostly darkness.
So why post the image? Low light. Long shadows.


I do love a long shadow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Taking a moment

Truth be told, I took more than just a moment. I'd say I took a whole handful of moments. Like an individually wrapped packet of moments. I digress.

After work I decided to take a few macro shots on my desk - using some of my birthday presents from Matt and Megan. I took a few of fishy, pez-y and of course: Burny & Co.
Peas in a pod

Here's Burny and all his brethren. Also check out flickr to see some shots of Burny and his new Girlfriend. Ooh-la-la.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Ok, here's the skinny:

I'm tremendously busy. So busy I'm tired all the time. OMG I'm Busy.

Max gets medieval on facey
SWIS2K6 is almost upon us. To that end, I present this image. Featuring Max, and a boatload of carpet adhesive!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


On labor-day, after a stormy weekend, the bad weather lifted enough for an outing on Dave's boat. Truelove is a 30' Catalina - overall a pretty sweet ride. I even managed to take some pictures during the longer runs.

Perfect weather for it
This photo seems to be getting a bit of attention from my flickry peers - I'm quite happy with it myself! Converging lines, sky, texture. Yada yada yada. Taking pictures on a rolling boat presents some interesting challenges. Good lesson.

Monday, August 28, 2006

La prise de la Bastille

The onion remains trapped in Attached-to-the-wall-prison! Prepare yourselves! Today you are liberators!

Okay, well, that may have been a bit theatrical. Too bad. Deal with it.

Onion Prison
This is a picture of an onion. The onion is in a wire basket. The wire basket is attached to the wall. My LED flashlight shines brightly. Word.


A weekend - er, Saturday afternoon - at Kate's parents in Redding had me taking pictures for no reason whatsoever. I had my new flashlight with me, so I started messing around with some off-camera lighting.

A zebra trots along the plains
Well, I don't think it comes as a surprise that this is a photo of some piano keys. The nice thing about this shot - and indeed most of the shots from this weekend - is that they required almost no post-production.

The hard shadows cast by the LED flashlight are quite a spectacle. I'll post some more.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another one bites the dust

CATS closed on Saturday night. We struck Saturday night. I slept most of Sunday. CATS has been a pain in my ass for 10 weeks. Don't get me wrong, there is certainly the part of my that is sad to see it go - but all in all I wasn't really happy with my contribution to the production.
I probably would have been much happier if I'd had a full week to write the cues and if we'd had the pit for the full week as well. Instead I ended up with a show which only had half the cues I wanted it to - and the signal problems that I ran caused some wildly unreliable behavior from the hazers.
From a technical perspective we had two weak performances. Opening night and the first matinee were pretty bad. Opening night the fire marshall killed our Mojo - wreaking havoc on the crew's energy. The first matinee we have no excuse for, we were just off. Otherwise the show ran very tight - the cues looked great and the performances ran rather smoothly.

The set. In Red.
I spent some of the downtime before the matinee taking some final photos of the set
(under lights) for my own documentation. Here we have a partially lit cyc and warmly lit set. oooooh.

I don't like being glad to see a show close - I prefer the wistful melancholy that accompanies the closing of a show I'm truly proud of. Never the less - another one bites the dust.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ghostie! The friendliest ghost-light.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Humble yourself in awe of my latest creation. I hereby bring to the end the months of anticipation and longing you have, no doubt, experienced. I present to you, in all of its glory and majesty, a creation of divine inspiration - I give you: The new ghost-light.

The new ghost light

Ghosty was once a humble sheet of plexi-glass - discarded in a pile of 1/4" ply. I sanded down the plexi to give it the translucent look it has now - then I cut out a body and arms. I secured the arms to the body with machine screws (yes - he's posable), and then further fastened the whole thing to the ghost light. After a little while I scaled him back from a 60W lamp to the 15W lamp you see before you.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Dave, how could you have come up with such a wonderful, design? It's so full of whimsy I'm practically bursting."

The answer, my friend, is to be found in this simple equation:
downtime-between-shows + angsty-fidgetyness + pure-genious = Ghostie!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Chester Perches

Ok, this isn't the usual sort of picture you're used to seeing on my blog. Blame it on the whimsical mood I'm in. Its Chester!

Perched on the Fridge
During the recent heatwave we, to conserve energy, went around closing the blinds to keep the sun out. An unintended consequence was that Chester no longer had a way to look outside during those slow and boring days with nobody around. To amuse himself Chester went in search of a new view. The solution he came up with: Sit on top of the kitchen cabinets and look down out the kitchen window. Genius! In this picture Chester is half-way to the summit.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

So that's what's going on

Oh yeah... photography. We are now in our third day of tech for Cats. It has been a rough week to say the least. Our plan was to do a cue-to-cue of Act I on Friday, a cue-to-cue of Act II on Saturday and start doing runs on Monday. This hasn't happened. Act I took longer than expected. Then Act II took longer than expected. We ended up cuing the second half of Act II on Monday. Then, after about an hour, a board-crash led me to inspect the cues we'd already written - that's when we found out how many cues hadn't been recorded. I'd say somewhere in the neighborhood of 20%.

To make the situation all the more rosier, Megan is calling the show out of a vocal score rather than the conductors score - this choice was made because it simplifies all the musical cuts. What it doesn't do is give her a way to follow along during all the rests. So we'll find ourselves with two bump cues somewhere in four bars of rests. Dang.

Sponsor Plug
On the upside, the set - that piece of the show that I thought would never get done - is practically done. All that's left to do is mount one more step unit, precariously, on the side of a masonry scaffold.

In this picture we give a little thumbs-up to a long time Players supporter. Nice painting team!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I decided, this morning - err... afternoon, that I would venture out into the scorching heat and take some pictures. This task, by the way, was made doubly-hard by the fact that my car currently lacks air-conditioning - an experience that brings back shades of "the big e".

I like taking pictures of industrial... well, thingamajigs. Good news! There's plenty of thingamajigs at the Boat Yard at Calf's Pasture in Norwalk. And on a blindingly sunny day there are some cool textures that come alive. Shooting here was a bit of a nervous experience - I kept expecting someone to shout: "get out" or "private property" or "TERRORIST!". Fortunately everyone there seemed to be doing there own thing... and I'm not entirely sure I don't have every right to go there. Whateve.

Sun-Bleached Crane
Driving up the access road I noticed a crane barge that I thought would make an interesting subject. When I walked closer I discovered that what I was actually looking at is a crane that had simply been driven onto a barge. I don't know if that's how they usually do it, or not, but I think it's kind of cool.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Cats Turns a Corner

Yes, that's right. Cats.

For those of you who don't know, I'm currently designing the set and lights for Staples Summer Theatre's production of Cats. This is quite a feat considering we have a huge stage (54' at the apron) and only three people on the crew. All of whom have full-time jobs or other daytime obligations. But yesterday was a turning point for our production (at least from a technical perspective).
So far everything is half done. The lights are hung but not focused. The thrust is built but not painted. The tire is assembled but not screwed to the deck. Yesterday's momentous occasion was the completion of the first piece of set/lighting.

Megan and the moon
Megan stands in awe (ok, not so much) of our glorious creation. Moonie is made up of a 44" circle cut out of 1/2" plywood, a cardboard backing, and a string of x-mas lights, also fabric and staples to finish it all up.
I'm extremely satisfied by the rough - cratery - texture that the x-mas lights are projecting onto the back of the fabric. And the softness added by the black scrim in the foreground really makes it work. I used 2x 1/16" AC cable to secure it to the fourth electrical - the cable is so thin you can't see it from the front row. Even with the cyc lighting up. Unfortunately some of this coolness is going to be lost when we run a power cable. Alas.

Never the less.... Go team!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

We now pause the silence to bring you this brief intermission [NAP]

Yes, that's right - this message marks an intermission in the daily inactivity that is this blog.

It's been an unbelievably busy time. Basically pedal to the metal ever since I got back from Colorado. I've spent every waking hour either at the office - where I'm working on a number of important projects. Or at the theatre where the set is... well, it still looks like a bunch of scaffolds and a wooden donut (which admittedly isn't that far off from a junk-heap). Just to make everything more manageable and pleasant I'm also, personally, going through a life-adjusting rough patch.

Long story short: When I'm not writing software or building a set I'm sleeping. As you can probably tell this leaves precious little time for photography of a blog-worthy nature. Which leaves me (and my blog) in a delicate position. I can either post nothing and risk loosing what few readers I have. Or post crap and risk alienating the same few readers.

Actually, now that I think about it there's a third option. I could annoy my readers by writing long, rambly posts about nothing interesting and then follow it up with a pointless video.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New Shoes + Boredom at LGA = ?

I suppose this is what happens when my Carry-on bag is my camera and my flight is running late. Last week I bought a pair of new shoes to replace my talking/floppy shoes for the Colorado trip - well, they haven't faired so well, but here is a nice macro-shot of them in all of their glorious freshness.

New Sneaker
I shot this using two filters. One of them was a +1 magnification filter - I haven't quite mastered these poor-man's-macro-lens filters yet. The one thing I have noticed is that the filter leaves a very small sweet-spot in the center of the lens that can be in focus. Everything else, regardless of what plane its on, will be in varying levels of focus. I love this effect.
The other filter I used didn't really make much sense to use since its really meant for black and white film photography. I used a high-contrast orange filter. Why? I don't know. Oh well - it just meant that I had to do a little bit less post-production. It also meant I was completely unable to use the color information in the photo. Overall - not really worth it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Yep, its time to post another shot from my recent trip out west (not all the way out west - just most of the way). Here's a tree I shot at Boulder Park looks pretty scorched either from the ridiculous current heat-wave or some past fire. In fact the whole area was ridiculously dry. Signs everywhere indicated that the Fire-Hazard level was high and that there was an open-flame ban in effect

A desert branch
Well, I guess its too late for this one, oh well. Photographers looking at this will recognize the richness in the sky as being the result of a polarizer. Yup.

I had a lot of fun shooting in CO, and one of the major reasons is that the light is very-direct. The altitude gets you 1 mile farther up into the atmosphere - and I'm sure there's some sort of inverse-square proportion governing the amount of haze (read: U/V protection) that I have to deal with when taking photos in broad daylight.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm Back


I'm don't normally start a post with the photo, and this may be the first time I post a picture exclusively of myself. Sweet. Firsts!

I'm now back from my trip to go visit Sam in Colorado. Long weekend trips sometimes leave me feeling completely overwhelmed by the number of photos that I have to pour through and do the post-processing on. I think I've whittled down the 300+ shots that I kept to about 60. ish. You can expect to see some more of them making there way onto this blog. In the meantime, check out the rest of the trip!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A video clip [NAP]

Yes, that's right its another Not-A-Photo entry.

Whaaaa??? Why is he posting a horribly compressed video clip?

I don't know. YouTube butchered the video I shot on my Sony DSC-T3 in super-high-res-ultra mode. Alas. Not sure if I'm ever going to do this again - this may be a one-off.

This video, I shot on my recent Seattle trip, features a friendly fish-chucker throwing a fish to a child actor in some sort of video production. The child entirely fails to catch the heavy fish.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How to annoy your friends

In three easy steps

Step 1: Find a friend making an undignified face.
Step 2: Take a picture of said face.
Step 3: Post picture on your "blog" for the entire "Internet" to see.

Well, there's no doubt about what's going on in this shot. Max is eating fiberglass insulation on a dare.

Joking and funny faces aside; I really am quite happy with this shot. The ambient lighting and the high ISO value combined to add a really interesting grain to the left (camera-left) side of Max's face. Bonus points are always awarded for crazy ripple-y forehead action.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Prolific Day

I walked down the street this afternoon to take some pictures at the beach. I've been so ridiculously busy with the move that this was my first afternoon off in what seems like a month.

Shift's over
I'm very happy with this shot! The biggest reason is that the only thing I did to it in post was to change the color temperature and vignette the scene a little. You have to love it when a shot comes out well in camera. On the other hand, I had a feeling this was going to be a good shot - so I took about 12 exposures. Yay for digital!

So what makes this day prolific? Well, take a look at some of the other shots I took today. I like these two:

Rockets red.....
Roman Candle in B&W

Sunday, June 18, 2006

For want of a little traveling music

Today I ventured, by train, down to Jersey to help Pang drive up his father's station wagon. We decided it will probably prove to be invaluable during our upcoming move. I arrived at the Westport train station only to discover that I'd forgotten to bring the headphones for my Zen Micro.

With nothing to read, I found myself sitting in the doorway of the train taking pictures of nothing to pass the time. Between the photography and the compulsive email-checking I must have looked pretty bored.

For a while during the trip I slapped on my magnifying filter and started shooting some macro shots. The thing about this filter that I love isn't its ability to move the camera closer to the subject - frankly, when it comes to this there really is no substitute for a macro lens. Rather, what I really like about shooting with the magnifying filter is the way it softly blurs anything that isn't dead-center in the frame.

Another take
This shot is of the writing etched into windows panels of the train's sliding doors. I took quite a few shots pointing at this text from odd angles - trying to meter the shot turned out to be tricky because the backdrop kept changing. In this particular moment you can see a smoke stack in the center of the image, however it is so blurred it might has well be a matchstick pressed against the other side of the glass.

As for the text itself, I've decided I don't really care about it at all.

Another one bites the dust

Last night marked the close of the Downtown Cabaret's production of Sweet Charity. Followers of this blog (which apparently now include some members of the production staff) will recall that I've been acting LBO for this show for the past month or so.

It's always sad to see a show close - at least for me. Even the shows that I despise - the shows that go out of their way to screw with me - I can't help but feel a twinge of sadness. Despite some of the rig's more annoying features, this show has been a pleasure to run.

Closing night
The photos I took last night were more along the line of "vacation photos" than anything else. None of them really good enough to highlite here. I spent a little bit of time last night cropping photos and presenting them like a pile of polaroids.

I'm not really sure what I think about this. For starters, I don't think I used nearly enough source imagery. Oh well, garbage in - garbage out. Additionally, the flickr resize algorithm beat the hell out of my hard lines. This pile really looks sharp when it's viewed up close. Lastly, doing this proved to be fairly time-consuming. We shall see whether or not I ever do one of these again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Forgotten Shot

In the few hours I had to walk around Seattle during my recent trip I took quite a few pictures. Today I rediscovered this one.

I love it when stones shine
I love the way the polarizer turns the glare into a sheen on the side of this building. I think the colors make this shot really special; the subtle shades of brown, gold and blue play very gently on hard stone.

I do enjoy rediscovering a photo that I took.

Update: I'm looking at this picture again... Please view it large. Flickr's image resize really beat the hell out of my straight lines

Monday, June 12, 2006

A slow rising moon

My parents, with Pang's help, finished painting the house while I was in a show. I stopped by to check it out - then went for a drive to unwind. I didn't realize how stressed out I was until I got moving with the windows down and the music going. Driving back-roads in CT is pretty relaxing, especially under a full moon - but when I turned the corner, crossing the bridge over the resevoir, and saw this - I simply could not believe what I was seeing.

What I have to say about this picture is this: I regard this photo as a complete failure. This picture fails, in all respects, to capture the most ridiculous moon-rise I have ever seen. Part of this I can blame on the medium - I don't think that there is any format capable of doing justice to this scene. In this photo the moon seems smaller and more distant. It also seems cooler and brighter.

Which brings us to the other issue which detracts from this photo: I messed it up quite badly. When I got to the site I was still wearing my blacks. It would have been absolutely insane to spend too much time standing in the road wearing black clothing in the middle of the night. Especially a road as well-traveled as this one. So I rushed. Big mistake. All my shots were over-exposed, and many of them were either out of focus or poorly composed. And they all had lens flares. Beebo convinced me to mark-up this image and reposting it. And I am thankful he did.

I think that as time goes on I will like this picture more and more as my recollection of the discrepancy fades. Well, that's something I suppose.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Flickr 1000

The photo says it all. My 1000th post on flicrk!

Red walls...
The photo is of the new color of the walls in my kitchen. I'm really happy with it. It'll look even better once I've sanded and painted the existing cabinetry. Also - new hardware.

Hard and Soft

My Saturday schedule leaves me with an hour of down-time between shows at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre. Today, after refocusing a newly-swapped-in Intellibeam, I had a bit of time to walk around on stage and take some pictures. Of course, the house was open so I had to stay upstage of the main, but I had some fun.

In this photo, the softness of the main puts it in stark contrast to the hardness of the masonite. The hardness of my shadow, cast by the movers, also adds an interesting element to this shot. You can see that the stage is somewhat in need of a paint-job. Oh well. Only 3 shows left.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A surprisingly decent picture of me

Appearantly, but not surprisingly, the very first stages of home-ownership seems to be all-consuming. I've been burning the candle at both ends for about a week now. My weekday schedule has been: Work till five, then at the house till midnight. My weekends are no better performances at the Downtown Cabaret have take all the time that working on the house doesn't get. Oh well.

Here you can see the handywork of my dad and I. We opened up this door-way to make the space flow a little better. Check out my shiny new 2x6 header! My dad took this altogether acceptable picture of me - sure the lighting is a bit wonky. Whatever. Traitor.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Homeowner [NAP]

It's official. I am a homeowner. Closed on the deal yesterday. Word.

I don't really have any good pictures yet, but as soon as I do I'll post them. In the meantime, here are some not-so-good pictures.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Camera Shy

On random drive through, among other places, Weston, I passed a town fair and decided to stop. It's definitely the right season for these things and I can look forward to a whole summer of them. There is really no end to the number of good shots that are there to be found. And they range the gamut from wholesome to tawdry and from shiny to dingy.

The scrambler experience
The two girls - yes two - in this shot proved to be something less than camera-shy. It's a bit awkward taking pictures at this sort of event because you have to do it in such a way that doesn't make you suspect. I try to make it obvious that I'm taking pictures of the event and not individuals. Obviously the truth lies somewhere in the middle - without the individual the shot has no emotion, and without the context the individual is lost.

I took quite a few shots at this particular event. Expect me to post more of them.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Spring's last stand

With my rent's in Sturbridge for the day I was tasked with a dog-maintenance duty. Fortunately I arrived, for the walking of the dogs, during a break in the day's rains. I walked the dogs and then gave them some time to eat while I wandered the yard with my camera.

Out to dry
I studied my parent's clothes-drying-thingamajig for a while. It was really a fun subject. The rain-drops clung to it. Lots of parallel and intersecting lines. Metallic bits and brightly-colored plastic bits.

In short: I should have taken more pictures.

It might be...

It might be tough to take a bad macro photo of a dew-laden flower. This is another one of those photos that feels like it was so easy that it shouldn't count.

I took this shot at my parents house after a pretty decent rain. Dew. Purple. Pretty. The real reason I posted this picture is because of the cool little thready detail inside the flower. Also, the purpley veiney-ness.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My new weekend schedule seems to be making my weekend feel... er. Non-existent. On Saturday I awakened by the sun at 9:30 only to find myself sleeping in till 11:30. All of a sudden my Saturday was a race to make it to call for a 5:30pm curtain. I can't really complain, seeing as it's something I really enjoy, but I can't help but feel I'm over-extending myself a bit.

Work + Weekend Work + Buying a House = tired and stressed Dave.

Relief, these days, seems to come in three packages: Going to the gym for a run, driving around aimlessly and wandering around with my camera. Bad weather this week made me lose Monday and Tuesday for running, And rising gas prices are impeding the amount of driving-around I can do. Fortunately, this morning I was able to go out - while the sun was still out - and take some pictures.

Ivy Softens Brick on Church Street
This shot is of a street sign in downtown Westport, shot against the wall of the YMCA. Anyone from Westport knows the building the 'Y' is in. Its a gorgeous piece of architecture and tudor charm. The ivy is just there to hammer home the point.

Update: It appears that this is post #50. Go Dave!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Assorted Nerdiness [NAP]

Just a reminder. In case you were wondering, NAP means not a photo.

I just wanted to take a second to show off some true nerdiness, I recently started playing with Google Notebook. When you first go to use Notebook it prompts you to install a browser plugin. From this point on it seems very much to want to be a replacement. And, while it's interface is pretty cool, its not yet clear to me how they will build it into a community product. Maybe I'm wrong about their intentions.

In any case, I've already hitched my wagon to, but I am totally digging the ability to have all of my little note documents, which I would normally write in notepad.exe, in a centrally accessible location. This is one of things that you don't realize you need until you have it.

Well, enough shilling for a google product. Surely they don't need me to do that. What I do want to show-off is a bit of nerdiness from my current theatre job. Many of you don't know that I'm currently the Lighting Board Operator, and kind-of fill-in ME for the Downtown Cabaret Theatre's production of Sweet Charity. What I've decided to do is post my performance notes in a public Google Notebook. And here it is.

Why have I done this?
No Reason.

I will take this last line for one product gripe. It occurs to me, that if Google wants its notebook service to take off, they should provide users with a way of making public notebooks with a memorable address. Perhaps

Oh well.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Locking up 'G'

Sam's basement apartment in Chicago is not unlike a million pre-war New York brownstone apartments. I love the under-the-stairs entrance into the first of six or seven ante-chambers. The only thing it's missing is a dozen-or-so pocket doors.

Locking up
Lets face it, this shot is all about perspective. I found myself standing on top of the concrete barrier which forms the stairs looking down -camera in hand of course.
To me, a couple of things really stand out about this shot. The angle presents an isometric view of the action below. Something about it seems very uniform and stable.
Color is the next thing that pops out of the screen. The intersecting colors of leather softened by rainbow scarf and shimmering hair.
Lastly, the contrast. This was the first sunny day on my recent trip to Chicago so I was very happy to be shooting in direct sunlight. In this shot, the direct-sun paid some major dividends. I really like the play of light and shadow in Sam's jacket. I also love the way the bricks light up - they really add strength to the image.

Hmm... too much analysis.

Zug like picture. Grunt.

Standing at the corner of Fullerton and Sam

While in Chicago, Sam and I decided to hit up the Museum of Science and Industry - which by the way is an institution of ludicrous scale. While standing on the El platform, waiting for a south-bound ride, I decided to play with the trains that passed us by. Long-suffering Sam was my willing victim.

Shiny and See-Through
It was a very bright day, so to get any kind of motion-blur without completely over-exposing the shot I had to iris in all the way. To make matters a bit more fidgety, this was the first time - during my stay - that I decided not to take the tripod.

Oh well.

I'm pretty happy with this shot. I treated it a bit differently than the others in the set of El Photos. I like the over-exposed sky and the grainy look of the Sam. I love the fact that you can see the "Fullerton" sign exposed between cars. I love the contrast on Sam's collar, sunglasses and forehead.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I spent last weekend in Chicago with Sam. Among the many memorable moment was this one at the Shedd Aquarium.

Dive! Dive! Dive!
What you see here are three White-Sided Dolphins diving into the water simultaneously... of course the astute sea-creature expert will realize that this was probably preceded by three White-Sided Dolphins diving out of the water. You are correct.
It was incredibly difficult to get anything even close to a usable image of these fast moving pod-dwellers. This was as good as it got. I have a few other shots that made the cut, but none of them had this kind of score in the coolness department.
Shooting underwater, through glass turned out to be pretty hard. Especially when the subject is roughly the same color as the medium through which you're shooting. Alas.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pastoral.... I guess

It's been an incredibly busy couple of weeks. Those of you who know me know that I'm getting close to closing on a new house. Yay me! Unfortunately this endeavor has become an all-consuming time whore. I have found myself going to the gym a bit more often - so that's good.

Tide pools
I took this photo on a little stress-relief jaunt to the Southport beach. It's almost hyper-idyllic. I'm not sure I can cope. I don't normally this type of pastoral imagery - to be honest, I'm not even sure if I like this one.

I like the clouds and the tide pool.
I like the grass.
I like the reeds.

Hmm... Maybe I do like this picture.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Requisite Landmark Tourist Shot

Hmm... On second thought I'm not sure that title makes any sense. Oh well.

For anyone who hasn't been, the Space Needle is 520 feet of 50's design, built in the 40's. At its base is the site of the 1946 word's fair, which celebrated the age-of-space. Somehow the Internet-age just doesn't stack up in the coolness department.

Bring on the Carnies
The fairgrounds, on this particular day, were completely deserted. It seemed rather surreal and post-apocalyptic I wandered around and managed to get a few cool shots. I bet it looks downright creepy at night. This shot is of the Space Needle rising above the top of a carousel. It was a sunny day, so I was definitely working the CPL.

Update: RBWright points out a bit of lysdexia. It's the 1964 Worlds Fair. Oops.

Sunny Seattle?

A meeting, on Tuesday, landed me in Seattle, Washington, for a few days. It was my first time in the city, so I was greatful that the meeting ended in time for me to do the lame-business-tourist thing. I'll post some more pictures but I want to start with one that I can claim absolutely no credit for.

Gehry. I don't know what to say.
There is simply no angle or composition that can harm the gorgeous aesthetic of this Gehry masterpiece. Neither, however, is there any angle or composition that can truly do it justice. This building, home to the EMP and the Sci-Fi Museum, sits at the site of the '64 worlds fair just beneath the iconic "Space Needle". As impressive as it is on the outside, the inside is just as gorgeous. It seems to be a crumpled ball made of many different materials. Its other neat trick is that the red-metallic panels cast a red glow over anything near by depending on the light. It's confusing and wonderful.

See the full set.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Taking the rental car onto the highway, upon my recent arrival in Charleston, I was struck by the degree to which spring had beat the hell out of South Carolina. That is to say: spring was squarely in the rear-view mirror. Summer had struck.

It seems, though, that while I lounged about on vacation Spring was hard at work on my home turf. Now, the smell of lilac and dogwood is overpowering - woe be to allergy sufferers.

Smelly yummyness
I'm not really sure what kind of tree this is. I'm sure this statement will illicit an answer from Sam.

On my drive home, I pass a row of these trees within walking distance from my house. For the past couple of days, the 7pm sun shines low and warm on these trees. Today I took a walk down to take some pictures. I ended up spending 20 minutes playing with my flash and various exposure settings. I'm a serious novice when it comes to flash photography - though I feel a bit better after today. You can tell that the flash made a serious difference in this shot. Without it you would be looking at a silhouette.

Full moon rising over Charleston

Will and I went out drinking on my first night in town. Aside from drinking, smoking cigars and talking about compile-time optimizers, we also took a few photos. Its hard for me to resist a balmy night in a strange but comfortable city!

Anyone who's looked at my photos as a whole is probably aware of my penchant for long-exposures. On this particular night I found myself grateful for having lugged my tripod around on a night out drinking. The way the moon shines, silvery, off the still water is fascinating. The next night the waters were a bit more turpid, so I'm glad I got this shot when I did.

Rainbow Row

Charleston has a curious collection of antebellum architecture. Running along East Bay street by the Charleston gunnery battery is Rainbow Row. A row of houses, each with a different color. Here two houses meet a shadow cast by the left house breaks up the image. Stucco abounds.

Two buildings meet in the middle
The shot is slightly underexposed - this is for two reasons. When I'm in the field I tend to underexpose daylight photography so that I have a bit more texture to work with in post. The other reason is actually kind of embarrassing. I recently upgraded from a CRT monitor to a ultra-bright flat panel. The size and brightness has made my work-flow a bit more comfortable, but I think I'm being screwed up by a bad gamma setting. Oh well.

I took another photo similar to this one. I really am crazy about the texture of the stucco. The colors of the buildings glowed in the evening.

I'm Back.

Well, I spent the past weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. Wow - just an absolutely gorgeous town. To make for an even better weekend I had the honor of being Best Man at WW's wedding. I'm not going to go on-and-on providing a detailed chronology of the weekend instead I will provide the following bullet items:
As for my photographic responsibilities - I happily shirked them during the actual wedding. Perhaps if I'd been a bystander I'd have take more pictures. Instead, as a member of the wedding party, I had more pictures taken of me than I care to think about. I'm sure I'll be squinty/awkward in most of them.

This photo obviously catalogs a portion of my out-bound trip from Charlotte to Charleston. Airport stop-overs typically involve either boredom or drinking. In this case, the former. To pass the time I took some pictures. On this trip I opted not to bring my laptop so my carry-on item was my camera and tripod. I took this shot, plus a number of uninspired shots of a guy in a rocking-chair. Oh well.
There are two reasons I like this shot - actually three if you count composition (Now that I think about it - I'm sure most people do). I like the various levels of black and the texture of the canvas-esque plastic material.

By the way, here's a tip: Don't try to write on one of these yellow tags with a gel-pen. It'll all end in tears.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Westport Library

The truth is, I'm not really sure why it took me so long to post this one. Things have been quite busy; between house-hunting and healthcare its hard to find my motivation some days. Here's the great news though: The recent daylight-savings change means that at 5pm-ish there's still plenty of daylight!

Library at night
After a particularly wretched day I decided to get out and take some pictures. I spent my time wandering around downtown Westport finding myself eventually out behind the library taking pictures at the Levitt. Walking back to my car I stopped to take pictures of the glowing glass bricks which make up a portion of the Westport Public Library.

I probably took about 30 shots of this. My intention was to do some HDR on them and see what happens. Maybe someday. I take an over-under on all of my shots - which in this case took quite a while. I'm pleased with the layout, the color and the light.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where have I been?

Well, those of you were around last week know why I was an absent blogger. Sam was in town for "Spring Break". In Sam's case this is actually a week-long birthday celebration. This means that while I took many pictures this past week, very few of them are fit for posting - they tend to be more of the vacation-variety snapshot.

Those of you who frequent the New York art scene (I do not count my self among you) will recognize this as being the open-air garden area just east of MoMA. This is a big-old waterfall fountain, and one that I would love to spend hours taking pictures of... unfortunately, I found myself in the cold, without a tripod and with a low battery. Also apparently we had a spectator that I was unaware of, but that Sam noticed.

I'm still trying to learn how to best put my flash to use . In this shot it really upset the color of the image - though it's really ok, because I like the shot in black and white. In this shot the flash provides fill lighting for Sam's face and torso - without it she would be a heavy silhouette. I wasn't quite sure how to treat Sam's midriff... in the photo. Eventually I decided to leave it alone since burning it wasn't producing very interesting results.

Update: Midriff now removed. Disolved into a sea of blackness

Friday, March 17, 2006

Another shot from last weekend's jaunt

This week has been ridiculous. I spend Sunday night doing a strike at the Downtown Cabaret in Bridgeport. I then worked two 15 hour days in a row, leaving work and heading directly to the Cabaret for a light hang. I was hurting pretty bad for a few days, so Wednesday was a recovery day. Yesterday was spent in preparation for Sam's arrival.

So here we are, and me with no new photos.

Hey pretty lady
As you can probably tell, either by the purveyor or his merchandise, this shot was taken in Chinatown. The shot started as a bit of a color study, but I've been getting a bit braver about taking pictures of people - so I kept shooting until something interesting happened in frame.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

More NYC

Here's another shot from my recent trip into the city.

As you can probably tell, this shot spent some time in editing. I pumped the saturation over-all and then selectively pulled it down in areas. I then used the color gradient tool to do a little bit of manipulation on the shading of the people in the shot. I particularly like the way the 'Lotto ATM' light shines through the tape meant to obscure it.

Points to anyone who can pinpoint the location of this shot.