Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

Blue car, blue trees, yellow light

That yellow-gold glow in Chicago from the streetlights helps the blues stand out. This dusty old car was left standing illegally on a cold night last year in front of a residential skyscraper. To promote the new apartments across the street the owners used the oddly-colored lights to create some buzz or bling. They certainly stood out. In fact, they still stand out. They’ve never turned them off. The lights continue to glow at the western edge of the loop each and every night.

By the way, I’m not much of a car guy. I have no idea what this make or model might be. I keep wanting to call it a Plymouth Duster, but that’s only because it’s dusty and strange. Can anyone help me out and tell me what it is? I’m actually very curious.
Blue car, blue trees, yellow light
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November 29, 2012

The wedding runway

I’ve been hanging on to this photo for a while. One of my childhood friends got married this fall, and I was asked to shoot part of the wedding. I was very grateful that I wasn’t asked to do the whole wedding (though I would have done it without hesitation), because I like celebrating with friends. Shooting a wedding or any event is not about celebrating as you have to lock into this trance-like work mode. Think Jason Bourne – just not nearly as intense nor violent. Well, maybe just as violent.

Anyway, I’ve kept this shot of the aisle off the website until now because I didn’t want her to see it before I got close to finalizing her gallery. Now I kind of hope she stumbles on it and gets excited that I’m editing down the photos. No, I won’t be posting them here, but I think you get the idea that it was a pretty cool wedding. This is a few moments before the bride and groom made their way down to those pillars at the end where they were married. The curtain was white but backlit with yellow. It made this deep mahogany room go golden. So, the answer to your question is yes, I do weddings, but not if I want to party with you.
The wedding runway
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November 28, 2012

A black slipper at midnight

It was a perfect find, this black slipper propped against the heel of a building just minutes before the clock struck midnight. It made you wonder if she stepped out of it while running to an important date, or if something more troublesome had rushed after her. Maybe it happened to fall out of her bag. Occam’s razor would suggest it was the latter. Whatever the case, it lay there perfectly wedged at a 45-degree angle as if paralyzed in a moment and allowing your mind to fill in the gaps.

Music disclaimer: I edited this photo while listening to Aphex Twin channel on Pandora, which puts me in this mood for glow. I decided to leave the city lights in bokeh in the distance and just a small slice of space in focus. I wanted to limit shadow in order to leave a lightness and an atmosphere of wonder, and tilted the camera sideways like a puppy does his head when trying to solve a puzzle. I think it only adds to the speculative mind guessing at how this shoe came to rest so perfectly against the wall. I didn’t touch the shoe, it was suspended as it stands in the image.
A black slipper at midnight
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November 27, 2012

Horse & carriage & concrete & traffic

I’ve noticed more horse-drawn carriages in the past week. I’m not sure if I should be surprised they’re still around. It must be romantic to roll around a bustling city in such an austere means of travel, but I’m guessing the horse doesn’t think so. That concrete is hard, and the traffic relentless. This horse stood there in the cold unfazed, staring straight ahead. When they put him out to pasture does he get to just wander the streets?
Horse & carriage & concrete & traffic
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November 26, 2012

Candyland down Dearborn

I found a few quick shots before heading home Sunday night. When standing on Dearborn Street I noticed new colors bouncing off the buildings thanks, in part, to the new Christmas lights all over the area. You can’t really see Christmas in this shot, but the purple and green to the upper right are some of those bounce-back refelctions I’m talking about. The atmosphere made for this candy-like coating to the place. Chicago certainly tastes sweeter around the holidays.
Candyland down Dearborn
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November 25, 2012

Good morning skyline | Chicago at daybreak

I’ve had this bad habit lately of making two images at a time and posting them one before midnight and one after. That makes it very stressful getting my pre-midnight photo done in time before the day changes over. It makes my next day fairly easy, and therefore lazy, as I then put off processing my next photo until later the day following. That’s really confusing when I read it back, but I promise that’s how I’m doing things.

I made this photo today, because it kind of symbolizes that midnight/next day theme I’m processing under. It’s simply a sunrise, but with the cloud cover I was given options as to how to process. I could make the city a silhouette and darken out the foreground. I could select to show off the texture in the suburbs and blow out the sky and sun. This is where HDR comes in handy – as you can simply do both. I’m not satisfied with the sun and the sky entirely, but I like the overall effectiveness of the photo. I’m also out of time. It’s nearing midnight, and I need to make tomorrow a bit easier on me.
Good morning skyline | Chicago at daybreak
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November 24, 2012

Bad guitarist, good guitarist

I entered the subway to find this guitarist talking to another while going over the same four chords again and again and again. It seemed the second guitarist was trying to teach him something. Then I realized I knew the second guitarist and we said hi, and this guitarist carried on strumming out these four chords. It was very strange – like he was learning a new song then and there. It wasn’t going very well. He seemed displeased, like he wasn’t good enough to learn this one.

Then he got up and played, the same four minor chords, and set the tunnel sideways. A gorgeous ballad rolled up into the archway and echoed all over the place. He wailed out some Spanish lines and didn’t care if you listened, but everyone did. They clapped when he was done, but nobody paid. He had fooled around too long, and a train ruined his earnings potential.

I feel like guitarists should be left in motion. It’s just something I prefer. So, he’s in slight motion blur.
Bad guitarist, good guitarist
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November 23, 2012

Buying figurines at the Christmas market

I walked through the Christmas market for a few minutes on my way home tonight. It was filled with people despite a temperature below freezing and at times a whipping wind. I’m quite turned off by the market. People walk aimlessly and are stuck in their own conversations to the point that they freely walk into you and frequently care not enough to excuse themselves. It’s a wonder they’re in a Christmas market and lack any kind of goodwill toward men. I stopped at the end of a stand and waited for a good moment to catch the movement of the people and their over-excitement for items. It still makes for an interesting visual.
Buying figurines at the Christmas market

November 22, 2012

The tree from a distance

I missed the Chicago Christmas tree lighting ceremony the other night. These sorts of things tend to happen to me. Schedules. Life. Feigned interest. After the crowds had dispersed I found myself in awe of the tree and wishing I had been there with the throng, even though I didn’t really want to be with them. I’m not sure that makes sense.

Cops and tourists were all over the area, but nobody was asked to leave despite it being late. I went up underneath, but it didn’t make for a great photo. The tree is actually an obelisk-like shape, so you have to get some distance to properly see the star.
The tree from a distance
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November 21, 2012

The pin in the middle and the melt away

Ever look at something for a split second and have it stick in your memory banks for hours? I was on my way to a train station with just seven minutes to spare before the next arrival and was almost past this pin when for some reason I glanced down almost backward at it while passing. In that shot of a glance I realized I’d looked down at it several times before, only this time the light was different. With the rain on the pavement the light kicked off really nice, and the pin stood black against it. It jumped out as a focal point, and I raced to set up and capture and still make the train. I did.

I remember thinking a long time ago about this. How your gaze or view with things relatively close to you – say, the distance of a wall in an average room – whatever you stare at is so sharp and crisp in focus while the rest blurs away. If I were a painter I’d paint everything in this way, with my focal point sharp and clear and everything else melting away from that point. It would be Rembrandt-like at the point and go from impressionistic to Jackson Pollack to the corners. Nobody’s ever done that, I think. You’d have to guess at the edges. It would be a complete mess.
The pin in the middle and the melt away
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