Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Alex the pigeon

On Sunday I returned from Long Island via the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson Ferry. As I was getting on the ferry in L.I. I noticed some pretty cool tug-boats and stopped to take some pictures. This, of course, was in flagrant disregard for their No-Photography policy. Apparently terrorists will only attack a target if they can first get their picture taken next to a tug-boat. One of the ground crewmen asked me to stop. I did. But not before getting a few pictures of Alex.

Note: In this picture Alex is the name of the tug-boat. Not the name of the pigeon. However. I like calling the pigeon Alex - and I'm the one who gets to decide.

So here we have a picture of a shiny pigeon sitting on a tire on the bow of a tug-boat. Hooray for interesting subjects. Boo for boring lighting. I wasn't at all pleased with the way most of these shots came out. The day was quite a dreary one and the grey sky didn't provide much of a contrast against the grey water.

Yesterday I did some reading on the Lomo effect and, more specifically, faking it in post. This was my first time using a script written by someone else on my photos. It did a lot of the things I typically do: Contrast, Saturation, Shadows. But it also added some gradient filter effects which came out quite nicely. I will have to spend more time playing in the future.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I could hardly wait to post another picture from this weekend's shooting. Although, frankly, I'm not sure why I should be tempted to wait - something about pacing. I don't know.

Walking through the woods outside Kate and Dylan's place I found a broken piece of mirror lying among the leaves. I got two nice pictures, but this one is my favorite of the two.

The thing I like about this shot is the delicate way in which the leaves seem to lay on the mirror. The color the sun adds to the leaves further builds the contrast against the sky - reflected in the mirror.

DLAN1000 - Comic Book Hero

A weekend spent in Long Island with Kate and Dylan got me out of the house to take some pictures. After hearing about my desire to shoot more suburban decay, Kate suggested we swing by an abandoned big-box store. I think it may have been an Ames or a Bradleys at one point.

This picture came out looking like a panel from a comic book. The photo is of Dylan, trying to wrench open the only door which hadn't visibly been welded shut. The action of prying the door seemed to fit very well which the 'Ftd!' graffiti which adorns the door and its frame. This was just good luck - I like it.

I'll be posting some more pictures from this little jaunt, as well as from the weekend-at-large.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Shot From Chicago

Sam finally got around to flickr-izing two months worth of photos - Sweet. For me its kind of like getting a visual flash-forward through her past couple of months. A lot of fun shots including a few which came out rediculously hot. Here's one from Sam.

[This shot was taken] in the star dressing room in Depaul's Merle Reskin Theatre, in Chicago. The subject's name is Amanda, and she is in my cast. This was taken from just outside the doorway as she pretended to be Marilyn Monroe - despite her age makeup. The glow on the left side of the image is from many incandescent vanity mirror lights. -Sam

I really like this shot - the blur on the subject's left arm and the crackely texture on the back wall make it interesting. Nice Shot.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What happens when they let you write things on M&Ms?

Pang's candy tribute to one of our favorite commercials.

Not a great photo, but once I took it into photoshop and tweaked with the various levels it became more interesting. I suppose the next step would be to take parts of the image and replace them with vector graphics... if I were so inclined. I am not.

I promised flying pictures - I'm still working on them. Part of the problem is that in stage lighting the lights are all focused at about 5 feet off the deck. This puts flying people in the dark. We shall see what I come up with.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Lighting Pr0n

It's been a crazy week - bookended by a pair of crazy weekends. Nine days and 230 light cues later we've closed the show. The show, by the way, was "Just So" - a musical version of Kipling's Just So Stories. Now I'm officially exhausted.

The good news. I got some fun pictures. Today's edition: Lighting Pr0n.

Lighting pictures fall into the same category as night-time long-exposures in Manhattan. It's very easy to take interesting photos, but very hard to take good ones. I'm sure these are the former. Less sure about the latter.

The Parsee Man's "Spice Girls" strike a pose for their cast pictures. The two really bright cool lighting instruments are Intellabeam 700hx's. Mmm... Neat. Take a look at the rest of the day's haul for more lighting pr0n.

Stay tuned. I have about 90 photo's of adults flying through the air to process - then you'll start to see something truly funny.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Icy Death From Above

The weather has been kind of nasty [read: very nasty] and I'm also in tech this week so getting out and taking some pictures isn't really feasible until maybe this weekend. In the mean time I'm putting up another picture from this weekend's travels around the Southport MetroNorth platform.

I was leaving the platform and happened to pass the factory, opposite the Horseshoe, in downtown Southport. There, the metal grills which protect the windows have an unusual shape - necessary to allow the windows to open. Water dripped off of every inch of these grills and formed some rather ominous looking icicles*. I took quite a few shots of this ice formation playing with focus and adjusting the CPL. I chose this one and then played a bit with the saturation to tone the whole scene down. The flickr compression and resizing didn't play too nicely with my ice - you may want to view the full image.

*It is hard to spell icicles.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I spent some time thinking about how to keep this blog fresh and came to the realization that I have no choice but to produce. I've been seriously sleep deprived this week, so I took the holiday occasion to get a little extra shut-eye. In the afternoon, I made my way, through the snow, to the Southport train station. I shot there for a while and managed to get a few at near-by factory.
It wasn't until later, when Pang and I sought refuge from our power-less apartment, that I took today's shot.

I took quite a few shots, but many of them seemed kind of... ordinary. It wasn't until I put the camera on the ground that I really started to be satisfied with the images I was producing. This shot is of Pang's feet as he picks the ball he's going to use. As you can see it's quite a wide shot.

I feel pretty good about the day's shooting. I shot about 200 pictures and managed to keep about 15. Check out the day's results.

Friday, January 13, 2006


We spent the better part of a day working with the technician from ZFX to setup the flying rig at Bedford. After putting it all together it was time to test it with live actors. The flying principals were put into their harnesses and we let the fun begin.

I filled up a 1GB card taking pictures of this madness. It turns out that most of them were way too blurry to keep but I managed to get a few that I quite liked. I'm sure I could have gotten better shots if I'd spent less time moving around. My goal was to take longer-exposures while tracking the actors across the stage. I'm a big fan of shots that involve motion-blur and crispness.

In the end it's this shot which I think I like the best. Though we had some stage lights on most of the light came from overhead fluorescent work-lights. Not the best conditions to shoot an actor as they fly across the stage. Check out the rest of the set.

A Stop at the Reservoir

At the end of a long drive through Fairfield, Westport, Norwalk, Wilton, Redding and Easton I decided to pull over and take some shots of the Aerator that runs along side Rt 58. The sunny day and sparkling water made me break-out the CPL filter. I started out trying to take some longer exposures to show off the motion of the water. It turned out to be all together too bright to do that with out the proper filters. I took some faster shots and ended up with this one:

Shot at 1/160th, this photo is of a gate in the security fence along side the reservoir. The site was kind of interesting - the cold weather caused snow to form anywhere down-wind of the fountain. I definitely felt the cold prickle.

A Trip to MoMA

Max and I planned a trip to the city to see the Pixar exhibit at MoMA. Of course I brought my camera along and ended up taking more pictures than seems to be humanly possible.

I have a problem with taking pictures at museums - art museums in particular. I desperately want to take pictures of everything I see, but in so doing I'm not really creating anything myself. The exception to this is museum people-watching. I did manage to take some cool pictures of people admiring art - something I don't see a lot of. I posted a few pictures, but my favorite shot of the day is this one.

I took this shot walking down Lexington on our way to Grand Central to head out of the city. A quarter second exposure left the shutter open long enough to catch the blur of the cabs. And the city lights in the background didn't hurt the composition any. The one thing that I have to say at this point is that I feel a bit like a cheat using this picture. I feel like as long as you have a reasonably steady hand is nearly impossible to take boring pictures of the city at night.


Well, I'm almost caught up. After Christmas Sam and I took a day trip to the city to visit the Museum of Natural History. I took many many many photos - there are too many cool exhibits not to.

This is an upshot taken from directly below one of the huge dinosaurs in the main lobby. The huge ceiling provides an endlessly interesting back drop. I made some slight adjustments to the levels and to correct the color temperature.

Close on Sam

The TVEyes holiday party was at paddle-tennis courts at the country club. We ate chili and played paddle tennis. I caught Sam, up-close, in a moment of sitting. She wears a Santa hat.

I had a good time with this shot. It's burned and back-lit, but I really like the desaturated look of the photo - I only had to do minor tweaking of the NEF. Sam's a good sport, I probably took about 20 shots - in various stages of hanging-out.

A Very Cold Night

On this particularly cold evening I, again, found myself at compo. As I drove by the basketball courts I noticed that their sodium lamps were just warming up. It produced a very cool effect, but by the time I was set up to shoot it the lamps had warmed to their full intensity. Alas.

Determined not to walk back to my car without a single shot I setup the tripod and decided to take one of me. The shot that I liked the best was this one - though as you can tell I didn't quite make it to my position in time. Color correction and contrast adjustments.

Trees at Compo

I'm still catching up here, so stick with me.

On the 3rd of December I was lucky enough to find myself at Compo on a clear and remarkably-warm day. The sun was very bright, so I slapped on my circular polarizer and found myself looking at deep sky with sharp contrasts.

My biggest problem with this shot is that I made a rookie mistake with my filters. I fitted the CPL over the UV filter resulting in what appears to be vingetting. Alas...

Otherwise I did a bit of post-processing on this to bump the saturation. I also evened out the levels and bumped the contrast a bit. I processed the day's other pictures in much the same way.

Lincoln Park Conservatory

With Sam prepping a final project I took to the streets with my camera. I happened across the Lincoln Park Conservatory where I took some pictures of the foliage. This was my first day with a circular polarizer filter. So I used it.

The conservatory is a beautiful green house - built like an old trainyard. This is a photo of the giant ferns I encountered on my way through the front door. I was blown away. Too Cool. I burned the statue by accident a little bit, but the color and depth of the image was too much to pass up.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Catching up

This is still day one of my photo-blogging experience, but I still have a lot of work to do to catch up. In late November I went out to compo to do a night shoot. It was a very chilly night and I was missing one of my gloves. Fortunately there was little wind to shake the tripod and a clear sky gave me a deep back-drop.

This shot is a 25 second exposure, the first time I attempted this shot I tripped the shutter accidentaly and shook the camera. During the second, and final, shot an SUV with HID headlights drove by casting sharp moving shadows across the lifegaurd shack. I really do like the way this one came out. Of course the presence of stars doesnt count against me either.

I kept several more pictures from this night. You can see them here on flickr.

We'll see if I stick with this.

Well, to start with I should mention that I'm a huge fan of flickr it's photostream concept. In fact, all of the pictures that you will see on this blog will come from my flickr account. The purpose of this blog is to pull, from my photostream, the pictures that I want to talk about - and to give me a place to do so.

So, should this little experiment succeed, expect to see the following:
  1. Photos of things I see
  2. Comentary on said photos
  3. Random crap that I think of
The following content is not allowed:
  1. Meaningful self-analysis.
  2. Petty bitching.
  3. Passive aggressive bullshit.
These are my editorial rules. Please feel free to scold me if you think I've strayed from the path.

I'm starting out slow. Posting a picture that I took at thanksgiving in the Manhattan. Charles and I went for a walk to escape the family. There was no traffic. I was able to take my time setting up the shot.