Sunday, September 26, 2010

the reality of fantasy...and other things

i sometimes suspect the titles of my posts are promising a little more than they deliver...not sure why i feel the need to try and be clever or something....almost like when i was a teenager and made my own mixed tapes - i had to give them some cool sounding title that conjures up an evocative image or a feeling that sums up the essence of the whole - i suppose it might just be the part of me that loves reading, writing and art - why not get creative, play with language and form and imagery whenever you can...just for the joy of it, just because you can
maybe also because i felt like, despite feeling kind of frustrated/disillusioned/dis-spirited about work, i made some pictures this week that i was okay with and that had something to them that made me want to keep looking, that gave me a feeling more than just showing something

like, tuesday, before soccer, i had to go feature hunting for a weather picture - it got summery warm earlier this week, but that wasn't the impetus behind this one - it was the accompaniment to an end of summer recap on how the summer weather rated this year

found a couple little boys outside playing football in their neighborhood - hadn't been finding much, but i thought this had kind of the nice mix of warm outdoor activity and the fall sports thing all working together, so i was kind of happy to stumble upon them - not to mention, the clock til soccer time was winding down and i'd found nothing yet
as i hung out more, i made a couple frames that go back to that "feel" i like and that i really need to be making as often as possible - when i go for a while without it, it's almost like getting dehydrated - i feel like i'm so incredibly lacking and wanting, and everytime i shoot and come up short in that regard, it's like going to the well and getting handed a big glass of buttermilk

so, here are the two pix i liked - nothing stellar, not anything i feel completely geeked about, but not buttermilk for me, either

but, there's always the day to day, and you take what you get and do what you can with it...

soldier visits elementary school class that is adopting him and will correspond throughout the year - at least he sat down with all the kids seated around him, as opposed to the usual standing at the front of the classroom scenario

later, went to shoot a meeting between staff of the community college and visiting staff from a school in China - they hope to develop an exchange program and talked about their various programs, followed by a campus tour, which is what we wanted to shoot - their talk went really long, so the tour got cut short, but i tried to find a moment in there somewhere

then it was back to be assistant for a portrait Bryan was doing on some guys who are part of a Star Wars character group - since i was the one holding the key light, we came up with a new nickname for me - "K-boom!"
next day was grandparents day at a school - got there and it was pretty hectic - donuts, cocoa and coffee after morning mass, kids and grandparents everywhere in the gym - tried scoping out a family that was interactive, but everyone was just so all over the place, it was kind of tough, but i came upon this grandpa giving his grandson a goodbye hug, so, whew! that worked

then i was off to do a portrait of 3 people who went on a mission trip to Egypt last summer - they were meeting with the reporter for an interview, and we scheduled me to come after an hour to shoot, and i had a half hour til the one lady had to get back to class to, i get there and they're still talking - no big deal, i probably don't need a whole half hour for this, but i'm wondering where in the world we will go to do this, cos' they're meeting in an office in the parish hall - i.e., officey-looking room with a large table with a bowl of plastic fruit on it, and i'm looking around as they continue to talk, and then it's like, well, we should probably do this foto, cos' i gotta go in 10 minutes....whaaaaat? 10 minutes? holy crap - and of course, they all look at me and say - where do you want to do this?
well, in an ideal world, we'd be doing this in that garbage dump slum neighborhood in cairo, but as we're in a school office in monroe, michigan, gee, let me look around...
so i go out in the hallway,
and i see a paper jesus surrounded by paper cut-out children taped to the wall and the words "will you follow me"
and so i did,
and in my remaining 5 minutes to set up lights and shoot, here ya go

the weekend started with sports, and then i went off to shoot something called "flyball," which i'd never even heard of before - basically, it's dog team relay races - dogs race down a lane, jumping over small hurdles, grab a tennis ball and race back, trying to beat the other team

so, the challenge here is, they do this inside, and the event is essentially radically back-lit by the large open wall at one end of the building, and inside, where it's significantly darker, these dogs are probably running about 50 mph - no kidding, maybe not exactly that fast, but these dogs were FAST! so, exposure-wise, this is a complete nightmare...

and they're all so geeked up to run like a bat out of hell, that the whole building is an echoing cavern of constant barking....

so i walk in, watch it, and i'm just like what the hell?????!!!

how do i shoot this?!

i fact, i had to stop to text Bryan - "i'm at flyball, all i can say is WTF?!"

how do i shoot this?!

well, not very well, as you can see by the results

but, it is what it is, to re-use that over-used phrase

and there you have it, the yin to my yang of the week's worth of shooting

Sunday, September 19, 2010

for the birds

after shooting cross country in the a.m., i headed over to another of the area metroparks to shoot a feature on the hawkfest - such cool birds - i love when i see them on the side of the road, especially if i'm heading out on any road trip - i feel like it's a good omen - i just have a thing about hawks - it's kind of a long story...

so, i didn't get any great people/moment features out of it
but i really liked being able to shoot these incredible animals so close up and without fencing in the way

this owl was pretty cool - though obviously not a hawk, it is used for hunting and is part of the falconry club of hunters, so it earned its's native to europe and asia and is the biggest owl in the world - can't tell from this pic, but it is very big - maybe about the size of a smallish medium dog - and it made the perfect "hoo" sound

so, all in all, not such a bad day i s'pose

night before shot the annual pow-mia memorial event - this year it seemed like there was even less visually to work with than in years past - mostly it's a person speaking at a podium anyway, but there just seemed to be things i shot before that weren't there, so it was a little rough, and i didn't get anything too great

my friend Val shot this before, but she did a way cooler job of it than i
shot some detailish pix of old vets hands that i kind of liked (which i guess i forgot to copy for this post), then thought i'd stumbled upon an angle that could make for a pretty cool image..if..only..this...guy...would....turn....around...........
and he never did - what are ya gonna do

and, a bit earlier in the week, an outtake from a play rehearsal for rocky horror - this woman was practicing blowing kisses in a backstage mirror


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

with age comes beauty

sitting on my porch the other night, i notice the last of the day's light as it hits one of the big drooping sunflower heads, how it catches just at the rim of its hanging, curling petals
i love these sunflowers - they remind me of sad, tired rag doll heads - i don't know, they're just very endearing, kind of like the velveteen rabbit of flowers
so of course, i had to run in and grab my camera and slap on the lensBABY and try to get in something before the light was gone

and of course, as these fall into decline, others continue to bloom or just bloom

and then i noticed the coneflowers - so many of the stems and blooms are dying, drying - the purple on their petals being overtaken with an ashy grey-black, and in their own decline, they are just as beautiful, now simply in a different way

takes me back to the whole wabi sabi principle of finding beauty and grace and value in things as they decay

some things just strike a chord

Friday, September 10, 2010

just things

kind of a hodge podge of work from the past week and a half-ish...before things get too far away from me
beginning with a bbq rib-off (no pix to post from that) and jam (as in music, not something you put on bread)...the main show was eddie money - now there's a blast from the past, but he drew a big crowd - all different ages, too - and they all knew every word of those songs!
not exactly my 2 tickets to paradise, but it was kind of fun to shoot regardless
not everyday that a mom and her daughter rock out just as hard to the same band

later, a harry potter character contest and other events - though this was the only really "visual" one - before the showing of the first movie in the park...not the greatest, but this little kid dressed as harry was pretty darned cute

then a luncheon for people in area senior living centers who are 90 and over - this lady was a little firecracker - trying to get everyone into the spirit of a sing-a-long

area business buys cow at fair auction, gets it processed, drops the 1000 pounds of newly packaged cow off to area food pantry
we've shot this a couple times before, and usually it's just people wheeling a large cartload of meat into a walk-in freezer, so not expecting great things, but at least there was a bit of a moment with the kid who raised/showed the cow, who came to help with the donation drop-off

at some point in there was a wreck on the highway - call came over about a truck roll-over, driver trapped, possible fatal - get there and it's a big u-haul semi with attached trailer flipped over in the median with boxes of stuff busted open and strewn everywhere - the top of the trailer sheared off when it rolled and everything in there just went everywhere....the driver was fine...i figured he was moving up here from somewhere in florida since all the stuff was wrapped in st. petersburg times newspapers - poor guy, he was helping move family from FL to michigan - drove all that way with no trouble until he was within 20 miles of their house when he lost control of the truck - another example of why talking on the cell phone isn't a good mix with driving (especially a large truck hauling a trailer when you aren't an experienced truck driver) - still, you gotta feel for the guy!

just liked this weird manikin head that was lying in the rubble

random feature pick-up - noticed these geese all lined up along a river dam on my way to an assignment, and they were still there when i finished...nothing special, but something about it that i kind of like

late afternoon storms with strong straight line winds tore through a neighborhood north county, so the next morning was all about clean-up...went to one lady's house that the reporter had spoken to - she was sitting in her kitchen having coffee when a tree split and came through the window at her - amazingly she only had a couple barely visible cuts from the glass, but despite him telling me the tree was still in the kitchen and they hadn't been able to clean anything up - it was all boarded up and spotless when i got there - oh yeah, and she didn't want a i just went walking up the road and came upon a family out clearing their yard of all the branches (trees were down pretty much everywhere) - their dog thought this was like the greatest thing ever, because he suddenly had all these sticks to play with

this week, nothing too great yet - Congressman Dingell came in for an editorial board meeting, and this was to be our page one art for the following day....not the easiest visual scenario, but i kind of liked this frame - it's a little odd, but this is actually the one they ran, which was kind of cool - i wasn't expcting it since i'd also turned in more "standard" pix of him

anyhoo, tis all for now!
on the plate for today - road work and a civil war era gun shooting competition