Archive for August, 2012

August 31, 2012

Late lights

Someone asked me once if this was the sun. No. I guess because the lights are halfway up the building it doesn’t make sense to some. This is the cleaning hour at Daley Plaza, when they wash EVERYTHING, even the stuff that isn’t dirty. Chicago must spend a fortune on projects that don’t deserve once-a-day status. Half a dozen men go crazy with power washers here all the time. Why?
Late lights
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August 30, 2012

Sub grunge doorway

The subway section of Chicago’s L train system is the home to many of these doors to nowhere. They look better in photos than they do in person. I shot this door about 25 times trying to get the framing just right, but the wires, rust and cutout are all a bit off, making things look skew no matter the crop. I was drawn to the red bulb and the tiny bulb over the door. I also liked the way the rust cut through the smudging on the wall.
Sub grunge doorway
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August 29, 2012

The boat launch

This is a rare photo for me taken from a single raw file. I usually process between three and five images to make a photo, but as I was in the back seat of a car that was slowly moving – a tripod was unlikely to enter the equation.

This small community hidden away off the main road has its own boat launch into the St. Johns (no apostrophe!) River. You can see it there drifting by in that break in the trees. I’m sure there are many launches like it, but this one is very picturesque. The St. Johns is slow, lazy and wide like this section of Florida.
The boat launch
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August 28, 2012

Thompson lines

I had an hour to think about what to write tonight, and at first I thought I had nothing to say about this photo despite wanting to post it. After going over it a while I realized that most of the photos I struggle to write about are the ones that I want to share but I’m uncertain how I actually feel about them. They are enigmatic to me on a personal level. Tonight, while riding a train I remembered why I took this the way I took it.

There was a girl on the train acting kind of awkward. She laughed out at a person’s joke when she wasn’t part of their discussion. She inserted herself in their conversation again a few moments later. After a while she got up and stood next to me. “You know there is a couple that rides these trains and they steal your things as a team,” she said. Yes, I’d heard there are pickpockets of late. “I’m high,” she said, “and I’m gonna go get stoned really good.” She stared at me like I should agree with this thought process. I had nothing to say, though. “Nobody wants to laugh with me,” she said all disappointed. “Stoned like a stoning,” I asked sheepishly. “What?” She stared at me. “What do you mean?” I pretended to throw stones. “Like getting stoned by people,” I tried to reiterate. “Oh, no,” she laughed, and got off at that stop.

She reminded me of these twisting lines. So many people on the trains and in the city do.
Thompson lines
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August 27, 2012

Getting hit

This lady avoided catastrophe, but only because the cab decided to slow down at the last moment. It was so close you expected it to happen. Delayed waiting for bags at Midway airport, I had popped outside to a place where I could see the carousel and this view of the arrivals corridor. She knew he was coming but kept walking. You can tell that she turned her head at the last moment to see how close he was getting, but it would’ve been too late to move out of the way. Despite all of this, she didn’t even flinch. There was a moment where I was waiting for the camera to fire while simultaneously watching this happen and wondering if I was about to capture something gruesome. It wasn’t a good feeling. I actually witnessed a kid getting knocked off his bike a few weeks ago, but he wasn’t hurt. This felt just as ominous as it played out.
Getting hit
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August 26, 2012

Three palms, a gun and a fort

Castillo de San Marcos is the perfect anchor-point of St. Augustine. It is prominently located right on the water and covers 340 of the 447-year history of the city. Begun in 1672, the fort changed hands several times and took several names, but it is back to the original as it is registered as a United States National Monument.

This is the first photo of several dozen I took at the fort. The stone walls sit low in the land that surround the structure, but there are a few places to get nice angles. Palm trees were an obvious and welcome contrast to the heaviness of the militarized space, but a heaviness dominated the atmosphere there. That’s why I left the photo in black and white.
Three palms, a gun and a fort
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August 25, 2012

Exiting the beach

I guess for me this is more of a metaphor for leaving Florida than anything else. Sadly, I had to remove a box of beer that was discarded in the scrub brush via photoshop. I hope the littering was unintentional.

The regular afternoon storms leave great sunset opportunities with whatever residual cloud formations hang around for the color. I was very happy to be out on the beach capturing them. It was a good trip, and I have maybe a dozen more photos to post from the experience. I’m looking forward to that.Exiting the beach
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August 24, 2012

Outside only seating

I posted on this tiny cafe last week. Here’s the seating area looking toward the second building (a hut like the first building). This is my actual view – no moving around or cropping needed to frame up the vantage point. Wood-chip paths split the grass areas to form walking and sitting areas between the huts. Everything is outside, though I’m surprised they used only umbrellas to create overhead covering. The lighting was just right to make for a nice atmosphere. The Stella Artois didn’t hurt, either.

I took three exposures to make this HDR composite. The man sitting at the table stayed still for two of the three, which worked out nicely. On the third exposure the waiter actually walked right through the frame and approached our table, but you don’t see him because the exposure was 16 seconds long – just long enough to keep his blurred motion out of the image.
Outside only seating
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August 23, 2012

Low tide at Matanzas Inlet

The sea had already receded allowing for a long walk out to the edge of the water. The deep grooves of shallow water reminded me of glaciated valleys in upstate New York, so I framed them up with a wedge of blue sky. There are a few items on the horizon in this photo, including a fisherman, what I believe are oil decks in the ocean, a cluster of pelicans and some things sticking up over the treeline near the bridge. I have no recollection of the things in person, and I have no idea what they are. This is likely to remain a mystery. Click the photo for the option to blow it up. Maybe someone can figure it out.
Low tide at Matanzas Inlet
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August 22, 2012

The park way

This has to be one of maybe a few dozen photos of this park on the internet as of this posting. Ocean Hammock Park opened just three months ago in St. Augustine Beach, but there isn’t much to it. It seems to be just a long, bending boardwalk from the A1A to the beach, which is a beautiful walk, but it only takes a five or six minute brisk walk to complete. The question begs to be asked: Is a park that is merely a walkway actually a park? It’s called a park, so it must be.

I walked about a third of the way to the beach through the greenery and stopped when I suddenly saw my shadow. That meant the sun was peeking through a clearing and might produce some nice flare. Turning around, there wasn’t much time to grab the light before it fell behind the brush. I’m not sure why so many people avoid lens flare. To me it adds a touch of magic.
The park way
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