Thursday, July 28, 2011

Airport Zombie

Airport Zombie

I started out thinking this was a marginal image, but it's grown on me as I've viewed it large. Certainly, the geometry and the expressions reflect the bleak and somewhat askew world of air travel.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Yucca Man

The Yucca Man

Not to overdo a good thing, this is another portrait from that make believe Haitian village. Superior light here, and love this guy's expression.

He's grinding yucca back and forth on a log here, which they in turn baked into bread, which was yummy. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



Whilst on our cruise, our one and only one shore excursion was the "Haitian Cultural Excursion".

Let me back that up a bit: When I say our cruise ship went to Haiti, it didn't actually go to what you might think of when you think of Haiti -- it went to Labadee, this private island leased by the cruise company. This island has about the same relationship to actual Haiti that Disneyworld does to the Florida panhandle: Which is to say, almost none.

They do have this little excursion where they take you to a 'model' Haitian village though, where you supposedly see how people live in an actual Haitian village. Super, super, super cheesy, although, I guess, there was peanut butter?

Oddly, the "cast" of the village all had an intense amount of character -- I found them all to be great portrait subjects, despite doing things calculated to appeal to ostensible tourists like myself.

This dude ran the arts & crafts hut at the end of the tour, where they upsell you on stuff they carved out of wood. Love his eyes, particularly set against the pattern of the staves and statuettes all around him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rough Seas


My girlfriend and I decided to go on a cruise after our successful apartment hunt in New Orleans. Long story short: Cruises, even nice ones, are actually pretty horrible. After Betsy was attacked by a giant crab this morning, we decided enough was enough -- we're flying out of Jamaica tomorrow and spending our vacation somewhere actually nice. :)

This shot is from Haiti -- we didn't go to any of the unfortunate, gritty parts of Haiti -- just some private island owned (leased?) by Royal Caribbean. Liked the angle here as these folks pushed our boat out to sea. Did I mention the motor broke on the way out here, and then again on the way back? ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Express Lane

Express Lane

Another shot from walking around the French Quarter in New Orleans with my new x100.

As you might expect, the French Quarter is a pretty amazing place for street photography. In an abstract way, it reminds me of that area around Market and Powell -- obviously very touristy, but also a place where there's a sort of collision between legitimate locals, tourists, and various seedy forms of entertainers. Seeing the interaction between these groups is a thing to behold.

In this case though, it's all about the interaction between Mr. Cool lighting up in his wheelchair and the woman dutifully pushing him, with the Quarter for atmosphere. The lighter tones at the top of the picture are a result of some flare from the front lighting -- the x100 needs a lens hood, but it's been backed ordered for months -- expect the flaring to continue until morale improves. ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rain Break

Rain Break

I'm in New Orleans this week, helping my girlfriend find a place to rent before she starts grad school here. I shot this from across the street when we got caught in a classic New-Orleans-style-downpour.

Simple and effective, and for once I felt like this shot worked well in B&W or color.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Angels Above

This is another shot from the Cheer SF contingent, and as you can see, the only thing more awesome than flinging one person into the air on Market Street is flinging a bunch of people into the air. :)

I struggled with this photo, because I knew as I shot it there was something going on there that worked for me. At the same time, the other photographers involved got closer just as I shot, giving me a different composition than I wanted. Then in post, I realized I'd gone too hot on the exposure -- had been shooting at 2.8 before I switched to my ultra-wide, so I could blur the background behind people -- taking that to this sunny intersection, people ended up a bit cooked. I agonized about whether I still liked it or not, then finally found a square crop that made it go for me, and captured the feel I had while I was standing there -- and then someone instantly posted, saying they loved it. :)

In general, I feel like that it is a way (way) bigger problem in photography to not be self critical enough. Photos can be tied to feelings and emotions in your head that end up blinding you to the quality of the image. People have biases about what they like -- and fetishes about what they love, that is great for producing images only of interest to you. So, I tend to take a razor to images I post here on this blog, and can and do agonize over them for too long. Also a problem, but still nicer than having no self control and ending up with a photo blog just of cats or mannequins or the like.

Another great example of this phenomenon:

This is one of my favorite shots by Avedon. Fantastical, dreamy, gorgeous, masterful use of b&w, etc. I saw an interview with Avedon about the image, and he kept pointing out that had he to do it over again, he would have her dress flying out to the left. He said that over the years, he'd love the image, but he could never look at it without thinking what might have been.

Regret is bad, but photographic regret is a bitch.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011



The best part about Pride is the basically unmitigated joy the people marching seem to be taking in it. It helps that the rainbows keep you upbeat visually and encourage me to shoot color, too. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Drum Corps

Drum Corps

As Pride goes on, the sun crests the edges of Market Street and starts roasting everything in hard light. I brought along my flash in the hopes of providing some fill, and got a few shots I liked.

I saw these dummers in black with white-white drums coming down market, and saw my shot -- the flash is used to light up their faces and pop the whites on the drums a little more.