Sunday, August 29, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This shot puts me in a mind of some sacrificial altar. The orange/red light, the shrouding halo of mist (or is that smoke?) and the stepped stone monoliths - what else could it be for? The altar's acting up again, time to toss another virgin into the volcano!
Monday, August 23, 2010
A group of night owls having a late drink and conversation under the "stars." I had an absolutely great time shooting at the gardens tonight. I’m really annoyed at myself that I this is the first time I’ve been there since the spring. I’ll definitely be going back before they switch to their winter hours!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I picked up some sunflowers a couple weeks ago, and couldn't resist making a few photos. I’m still trying to hone my macro photography skills, particularly with controlled lighting. It’s a fairly standard shot, but I still like it, and it was good practice.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Once we got past the mysteriously appearing Interstate Mattress the drive to New Orleans was uneventful. Just mile after mile of that lush greenery that’s taken for granted in the south, but looks shockingly green to refugees from the semi-arid mountain regions. After that we hit a few (dozen) miles of causeway over the swamp, drove through a nice thunderstorm, and took a quick jaunt down some narrow streets to our hotel. Wendy scored us a very nice place just off of Royal Street, which is about as close to Bourbon as we really wanted to be anyway.
Of course the first thing we had to do in the hotel was get out of it and go see the city! We took off for some real New Orleans food, three kinds of fried seafood with a side of French Fries and beer. Oh, and none of those scary green vegetables, if you please. This delicious grease-fest was served under the typically hyperactive New Orleans air conditioning, the kind that makes you wonder whether the hostess accidentally seated you in the freezer. After that, we were off to Wendy’s favorite Bourbon Street dive.
Yes, the (in)famous Pat O’Brien’s! We scored a seat in the courtyard, not far from their signature flaming fountain. But burning water is merely a sideshow, the main attraction at Pat’s is the firewater, for it’s home of the Hurricane. That fruity yet intoxicating concoction is possibly Wendy’s favorite drink of all time. She loves them to death – or would if she didn’t pass out first. It was my first encounter with the original article, and I liked them, but not with quite the same fervor. So I explored all the offerings of their bar. Since we didn’t have a menu, I’d just name a color and the waitress would bring me a neon alcohol in that color. Of them all I think I liked Green the best, though Blue was pretty good too.
We were seated next to a little strip of plants and trees bordering the courtyard. Apparently it’s a popular disposal location for the maraschino cherries and little slices of orange that come in the drinks. Unsurprisingly there are a lot of animals in the near-tropics, and they’re not above eating cast-off orange slices.
So a little while into our drinking we discovered a good sized rat had joined us for dinner. I’d guess he weighed at least a couple pounds. We caused a bit of commotion, which attracted some other patrons who caused even more commotion. Soon enough one of the bars roving party photographers wandered over, squealed, and started snapping photos. By then there were actually two rats there, doing a little dominance dance over the prime feeding grounds. The south can be such a charming place sometimes. Somewhere along the way another couple was seated nearby. Since we were at a four seat table we invited them to join us. Thus did we meet Brian and Nadine. They were visitors like us, in town from Detroit to experience the local music scene. Having been to the Big Easy a few times before, they knew some of the spots to go. Since we were at loose ends and had no agenda, we tagged along with them.
First, to Fritzel’s, certainly the first German-themed jazz club I’ve been in. Pretty good music too, and a decent vibe. But we stayed for only a drink. It turns out that they’re big fans of zydeco music, so we caught a cab to a zydeco club somewhere away from Bourbon Street.
Things get a little hazy at this point. You could say the photo matches quite well with the way I remember things. After a while we caught another cab back downtown and went to some other random Bourbon Street club. Then we staggered out into the street and continued to the only place we could go.
Cafe du Monde, of course! Because after a long night of drinking there’s nothing quite like
donuts beignets and coffee. Oh, and a truly frightening bathroom – if you ever get the chance I definitely recommend avoiding it. After our sugary drunk food we wandered back to the hotel and collapsed into bed around 3 AM. We got some good New Orleans flavor our first night!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
I took this shot last summer in the Lost Creek Wilderness. It’s an uncharacteristically lush setting for Colorado – that’s what I liked about it. Tomorrow morning we’re heading up to the mountains for some shooting, and I’m hoping to find something just as pretty. Maybe posting this will fetch me a bit of good luck.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
I went for two short photowalks today, and was confronted by security personnel three times. That’s a new personal record! But really, it’s pretty understandable. I am a pretty suspicious, scary lookin’ dude with my little camera bag and dirty orange baseball hat. And just look at these photos I took! Clearly they would be of inestimable value for corporate espionage, terrorist planning or your next Project Mayhem meeting.
If only they hadn’t caught me, I would’ve been able to proceed with my plan to cut the support wires for this glass sculpture, dropping it on the fenced-off, deserted floor below.
My next dastardly scheme was to hide banana peels on these stairs, thus injuring unsuspecting passers-by. Then I was foiled by the security officer asking me if the support pillar (not pictured) was really that fascinating. Curses! (Though he didn’t actually ask me to leave, and admittedly I was sorta asking for it by taking pictures directly in front of the security desk.)
Here you see my most evil, villainous plot – picking all the pretty flowers so no one else could enjoy them! Mwaaahahahaha! Sadly my planning was again foiled by alert security personnel, who arrived a mere ten minutes after I started taking photos. Curses!
P.S. Despite my humorous tone above, I should point out that the security staff today were all very polite, apologetic even, and they’re just doing their jobs. Also, the property owners are well within their legal rights to disallow photography on their property. Today’s incidents were not nearly the most over-the-top encounters I’ve had with security – none of them shadowed me down the sidewalk or threatened to arrest me. Still, I think the restrictions are just a bit silly.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
After recovering from the assault of zombies and frozen drinks in plastic trumpets we still had a little bit of the morning in which to explore Memphis. We wandered down to the Civil Rights museum, which is -next door to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.
They’ve restored the hotel, and brought in a pair of cars that are identical to the ones that were actually there. It feels odd standing there - different than the other historical site I’ve visited. Usually historical sites are vague and fuzzy – a battlefield, a building, even a city. I’ve never been to one where you know that the precise spot where history turned is right up there, on that balcony. It makes the event a more concrete.
They have a large museum there, but we didn’t have time to see it. Instead we hopped the streetcar back to the hotel just in time for checkout. Afterwards we spent a little more time wandering Memphis.
I discovered they’ve got a thing for big shiny metal sculptures. Like pyramids.
And… um, whatever this thing is. I have no idea what it’s called. It looks like the kind of bizarre shape a cosmologist would use to describe the shape of a closed universe in 42 dimensional spacetime. Or like two witches’ hats joined at their tops by a tornado. In any case, it big, sinuously curvy and made out of shiny. So whatever it may actually be, to Wendy & I it’s your basic photographic playground, a veritable cornucopia of wacky reflections and abstract shapes. Hmm, actually it looks a bit like a cornucopia too…. oh whatever.
Anyway, the kids seem to spend more time playing with it than thinking of weird ways to describe it. Which probably makes them smarter than me.
Unfortunately it’s also a little warm. OK, a lot warm. Actually, I think it may be a prototype for a solar power plant – the kind where they focus a thousand mirrors on one spot until you can boil sodium. You can also use it to get a sunburn in roughly seven seconds.
After reluctantly leaving the pretty, shiny thing behind (there are more photos!), we headed south out of Memphis. Not long after we got onto I-55 someone carelessly left a mattress lying on the freeway. The car in front of us had the misfortune to cross paths with it at about 75 mph. A sudden gout of stuffing blew up over the top of the car, like they had hit an entire flock of geese. They ran over part of the rest, which I narrowly dodged. Still startled, I blew past them at full speed – they had dropped to perhaps 35 and were still pushing a skeletal frame of wires in front of them while trying to find a way to escape the middle lane with cars flying past at 75 MPH on both sides. It must’ve been an interesting call to the insurance company.