Monday, June 24, 2013

Aloha !

Just to leave with goodbye for a couple of weeks. Red, green, blue, with the emphasis on the red!

Back To Italy

Back to Italy! Yes, tomorrow morning we're off to Istanbul first and then Italy. We'll only be revisiting one of these locations on this trip, Venice, but I have great memories of our first adults-only trip WAY back in 2001. I love looking at film images, if only to remind myself of the startling difference between film and digital. Top, driving into Amalfi on the treacherous winding road that elicited audible gasps whenever we turned a corner, and not because of the view. Skip to Rome and a typical cafe scene. I broke a photographic "rule" by having a group of people exiting a scene instead of giving them some room to breathe, as it were. Kind of a stupid rule. Back to the bus approaching Amalfi. That's me taking a shot of the mirror. Next, we're in Rome again, next to the Spanish Steps. This is one of my favorite pictures, but I wish I had been a bit more patient. There are some elements in the frame, or not in the frame, I don't care for. On the left, I don't like the guy in the red shirt. On the right, I didn't get enough of the punk rocker, the most interesting guy in the bunch. I think that these guys standing in bored postures in front of Babington's Tea Rooms is hilarious as well as incongruous. Next is another cafe scene in Venice in an out-of-the-way piazza devoid of tourists. The last two are in Amalfi. It'll be nice to have some new photographs to work on.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Three thematically unrelated photographs from our one day, whirlwind trip to Moscow. One of the highlights was a quick visit into the depths of the rightfully famous Moscow subway system. Even if you have no particular place to go, it's worth the time to hop on. Below are two shots from inside the walls of the Kremlin, a far different place than I expected. No photography is allowed in the Kremlin Museum but I pulled out the tiny Sony HX5 and held it at my waist to get a shot of the beautiful ceiling, not helped by the inclusion of my sweating brow. 

The Dugout

On one clear evening in Anchorage in 1990, the light was sensational. I love dugout scenes. No one is paying attention to me and the candid poses of the players are interesting, especially the positions of several of the players' arms. This was also a great team and even better guys to spend a summer with. We had about six players from Texas. They were the nicest, most respectful guys I've ever coached. It took about half the summer to get them to stop calling me "sir."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Prague, Czech Republic

I believe Prague to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and I can't wait to get the chance to return. As I usually did back in those days, I went to the highest point in the city to get a bird's eye view of the place. The bottom two photographs were taken from the old clock tower in the center of the old city, the top of which is accessible by a ramp instead of stairs. Much more civilized way to get somewhere high. The top photo is of the famous Charles Bridge with Prague Castle in the distance where defenestrations were held to amuse the citizenry from time to time. (That's when they throw people out of windows to their deaths).

Hiroshima Peace Museum

This picture was taken as I was leaving the Peace Museum in Hiroshima, Japan, about 12 years ago. It was a very emotional experience and I was feeling a little depressed. Out of the blue, a group of Japanese schoolboys approached me and started jabbering away, touching my arms, asking questions I couldn't understand, and lightening my mood considerably. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Rolling Stones at the Cow Palace, July 16th, 1975

These were taken on B&W film with my Nikon FM and a fixed 300 mm Vivitar lens. Behind Jagger in the first shot is guitarist Ronnie Wood. Keith Richards and Bill Wyman are in the background in the second photograph, and the late Billy Preston on keyboards in photograph number three. I just found these pictures on a CD in the garage. My filing system needs a little work, but it's probably too late for that. I scanned these negatives on a Canon film scanner which has since bit the dust. Now that was a time-consuming process!

Countdown To Vacation

In ten days, we will be off to Europe for a two week trip with stops in Istanbul (if my wife doesn't cancel that leg because of riots in the streets), Venice, Santa Margherita, and Cinque Terre. While we often travel with friends and family, this time it's just the two of us. The anticipation of the trip got me thinking about other trips which were largely financed by taking groups of students and adults through a student travel company. We haven't had to resort to this for a number of years now, thank God, although there are many fond memories. I think it's important to include at least a few photographs during a trip to give a sense of not only place, but time as well. In the second photograph we can see Princess Di. "Free, rich, and unhappy" screams the headline of Paris Match. At bottom, my late mother is reading the paper in Edinburgh, Scotland, again more headlines about the Royal family. The top photograph is of a restaurant in Murano, an island in the Venetian lagoon, and lastly, the London Eye at the top of its orbit.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cuba Ten Years Ago

I enjoy going back to old photographs and re-processing them with the newest software, trying to squeeze out whatever I can that I didn't have the skill or equipment for at the time. These are ten-year-old photos that I took with the Nikon 5700, a 5 megapixel zoom that was okay for its time, but not much better than a camera phone today. Distortion correction in Photoshop is a lifesaver, and the NIK suite of filters is indispensible for me. The lady at the top in Trinidad was beautiful and gracious, the boy was just sitting there as I walked off the bus for our all-too-short excursion to Trinidad, and the guy at the bottom is well-known in Trinidad. I've seen his picture all over the place in photography books and photo essays of Cuba. To get the portrait of the groundskeepers in Latinoamericano Stadium in Havana, I gave them some tee-shirts and hats and asked them to stop picking pieces of grass and weeds out of the infield. They gathered briefly for me, and I at least had the presence of mind to use a flash. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New York in Black and White

A sort of mish-mash of images here. Some "street" and a few other more prepared shots. All photographs converted to B&W in Nik software and shot with either the Sony NEX 5n or the Nikon D80. The second photo was taken right outside the wonderful B&H Photography megastore where one of the employees is taking a break. There's Times Square at night where a man is taking a photograph with his iPad, something I wasn't used to seeing. Central Park, Chelsea Market, Grand Central Station, and the Empire State Building are also included along with a Greek Restaurant that my step-daughter Jenny took us for lunch. I only got about twenty minutes inside B&H which was packed with customers. It was so overwhelming, I felt claustrophobic and had to get out of there.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On the set of "The Middle"

Two years ago, my brother Curtiss invited me to fly down to LA to spend a day on set with him. At the time he was working on the show, "The Middle" as gaffer and chief lighting technician. He currently is the gaffer on "New Girl." I had a great time except for the long periods of absolute tedium waiting for the next shot to get set up and actually filmed. During the approximately 10 hours I spent on the set, probably less than an hour was actual filming. I did get to eat breakfast and lunch at the commissary with my brother and three members of the cast, including my favorite, Atticus Shaffer. That's me and Atticus at the bottom. Really a nice kid and exceptionally bright. My brother is in the second shot pointing out one of his lighting creations. The third shot is the living room of the Heck family, and above me and Atticus are the trailers where the actors hang out between takes. Atticus drives in every day with his mother and arrives about 6 am. He has a full-time tutor/minder to make sure he gets his education as well as to keep tabs on how many hours he works a day. There are strict laws governing the length of time a young actor can work. I'm still a big fan of the show even though my brother has moved on to greener pastures. All pictures taken with the Canon G9.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wabi-Sabi in Trinidad, Cuba

No where that I've traveled offers anything like the rich color palette to be found on the walls of the tiny Colonial city of Trinidad, Cuba. People often confuse this town with the island of the same name when I tell them about this remarkable destination. It's about a five hour drive east from Havana over less than perfect roads, most of which are two-lane. The nearest big city is Cienfuegos. Although we stayed in Trinidad, the visitor can also choose to stay on the beach at Playa Ancon, about fifteen minutes away. There a a couple of all-inclusive "resorts" on the beach, somewhat below American standards, but quite serviceable. The beaches are fantastic with water that is almost too hot. We stayed at the Iberostar Grand Hotel, by far the best hotel in Trinidad. It even has internet access just off the lobby, and our guide spent hours there since she has no access of her own in Havana. The photographs are not about anything but color, a little geometry, and that indefinable quality of decay. Sony NEX 7 with the Tamron 18-200 lens.