Archive for February, 2013

February 28, 2013

Confluence in construction – on workflow and what goes into a post

I’ve overhauled my workflow with regard to naming photos and posts. Photos now get descriptors so I can find them in my archives. Posts, which were often tailored to the original save name of a photo now get titled at the very end. I found myself constantly wanting to create a specific save name for a file and then wanting to break from it when publishing the work. It became opposite to anything I’d ever done with writing/publishing in the past, so I’m reverting back to creating something and naming it after everything is in place, including the words. It’s a more natural way for me to work.

That sounds complex, but it’s not. Basically, I’m no longer naming a photo until I post it here on my blog. I wanted things to flow better despite my often disjointed approach to photography. I took the side door into shooting stills, applying my videography knowledge to photography, and I think it makes me an atypical shooter. It also makes me care less about individual frames I make. In videography everything matters, so, in a sense, your worst frame is equal to your best frame – it all becomes part of your body of work. In a way there are throw away moments in many video shots, which makes me worry very little about making perfect pictures. That’s not to say I don’t slave after putting together a photo composition, it’s just that I feel like they’re all merely moments in time – bound to change and partially left to chance. It’s funny to spend so much time on making them permanent here, and that’s the point. Accuracy in describing what is going on is best done when the process is complete.

As for this photo, there’s not much to tell. I rarely post abstractions, though I’m not sure this is so abstract. You can tell in seconds what you’re looking at here. Simultaneously, there is this sense of unease thanks to the diagonals, and they are competing ones at that. I’ve become very appreciative of competing interests finding a sort of equilibrium that creates a narrative we can dissect, if we so choose. Too frequently we break those stories down the wrong way.
Confluence in construction
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February 27, 2013

Snowing inside the parking garage

It’s hard to see, but if you click through this image and zoom in, snow is falling in the corkscrew of the ramp. Pretty exciting, I know. I wasn’t actually motivated by the snow itself to take the photo, it was the lighting from the snow that finally made this interesting enough for me. After parking here several hundred times and wondering why the ramp area always caught my eye I realized the other day that it was a good design for a photo, but it lacked contrasting light. Snow provided that by shooting it off the walls and leaving the foreground more illuminated thanks to the reflections in the puddles.
Snowing inside the parking garage
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February 26, 2013

Over your shoulder… there’s a fountain watching you

I believe this is post No. 262. That’s 260 straight days with a post – I had a staggered start with the first two posts as I tried some things out. I also missed on a couple of days, posting a few hours after my midnight deadline, but there’s been at least one new post on this fairly-new blog every 26 hours for the better part of a year. I’m trying to keep that pace up – one post for every 24-hour day – as long as possible.

To this guy’s credit, he’s shooting an identical giant face fountain in the opposite direction. It still looked pretty intimidating to have a man following his every move on this side. Yes, this is a fountain. The lips have a spout built into the LED lighting, and in the summer they “spit” a stream out onto the black granite reflecting pool every few minutes. In the winter it’s different, for obvious reasons.

Ever look at a portrait photo and notice the eyes kind of follow you around as you move? Thankfully, the fountains don’t do that. They’re actually video images, so they always stare straight ahead at the face across the way.
Over your shoulder...
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February 25, 2013

People crossing Adams near Art Institute

I’ve been taking different routes through the city in recent weeks, but not for photography reasons. I just get bored sometimes and can’t maintain the routine of walking the same worn path as last time. This trip took me to the corner of Michigan and Adams, home of the Art Institute. All the tourists were taking photos of the museum, so, deciding I’m not a tourist I turned around and shot back in the opposite direction. It frames up nicely.
People crossing Adams near Art Institute
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February 24, 2013

Stuck inside with rain

I like it when heavy raindrops fall infrequently before a big storm. They’re all spaced out and get you really wet when they hit, and they fall kind of slanted like someone’s been throwing them downward imperfectly. It gets really dark and these heavy drips come fat. They draw lines down the screen door and sit spaced out on the windows.
Stuck inside with rain
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February 23, 2013

In a thick fog at North Avenue Beach

I can’t tell you if the fog was rolling in or out. I didn’t stay long enough to know. I can tell you there’s a 100-story skyscraper almost smack in the middle of the frame, but the fog is thick enough that you’d never know it. At 31 degrees Fahrenheit I never expect to see such low-hanging clouds, but it seems to happen quite a bit. I was just thrilled that I could get close enough to cut through the gray to see the outlines of many of those buildings. You can see on the right edge of the frame where it loosened up a bit. Just a block or two west you’d never even notice the fog unless you were trying to eyeball the taller towers.
In a thick fog at North Avenue Beach
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February 22, 2013

This one keeps me alive – Lake Michigan frozen

You could see cars zipping up and down Lake Shore Drive, but you couldn’t hear them. Snow mutes almost everything. From beneath the frozen skin of lake Michigan came the only sound – moving water licking at the ice surface. I’d never venture out even with the ladder from the concrete beach laying directly in front of me and ending at the jagged ice. It was a good eight feet between us.

I felt this a very austere landscape but an invigorating one, so I spent much of the day thinking about what to call it. I looked up some lyrics that had been floating around my head from recent car trips, and learned I’d got most of them wrong. The refrain from one of those songs ultimately won. I was only slightly disappointed to learn “This one keeps me alive” to be a bit off the actual intent. I still like it. For me, the sky makes this photo. It is caused by a thick fog a half-mile out.
This one keeps me alive - Lake Michigan frozen
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February 21, 2013

Arching up to the church ceiling

There’s a powerful wind and snow blowing around outside as I write this. It legitimately looks like a snow globe. We’re supposed to be getting up to six inches of snow tonight, which means shoveling out the cars in the morning. Here’s a church shot. It’s just four degrees below freezing, just two below for you centigrade people. I’m praying for rain.
Arching up to the ceiling
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February 20, 2013

Walking the streets on the north side

A hot bus on a cold night before Christmas had me jumping off for some air. My phone told me the next would be coming in 12 minutes, so I ripped my bag off my back and got out my camera, mounted it on the tripod and shot everything in sight as fast as possible. Until posting this image only one other from that little shoot had made it on the blog. I might be able to squeeze one more out of that makeshift shoot. We’ll see. It was after midnight already, and I had getting home on my mind.
Walking the streets on the north side
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February 19, 2013

Passing the chained flower doors

There’s a cool project going on at 212 South State Street. I think it’s been up for over a year now, but I hadn’t had a chance to stop and photograph the artwork on this empty storefront until very recently. Children in hospitals painted these translucent panels to beautify an otherwise uninspiring space. I guess it’s an effort to give the kids an outlet and make a mark on their city. It’s called “Portraits of Hope.”

A lot of people passing by seemed to think I was strange for taking a few photos of the art, but I knew it would look great through the camera. Others were thoughtful and stopped to let me shoot. Still, I wanted passersby to be a part of the scene. The chained doors don’t really take away from the artwork, yet it’s strange to see kids’ paintings locked up. Either way I think they were effective in their effort.
Passing the chained flower doors
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