Just 5 minutes ago on my way home from class, I stumbled across a grisly scene. Ok, maybe it wasn't that grisly, but it got more of a reaction out of me than a normal roadkill run-in would have. The victim was feline, a beautiful white/black longhaired cat, someone's pet.
It's not everyday that you come across something like this: a pet run down on a busy roadway. It seems that our dogs and cats usually manage to stay just a step ahead of their rodent cousins who all too often find themselves beneath the wheel of a motor vehicle. Squashed squirrels are a dime a dozen in the roadkill world, we hardly blink anymore when we see one of those poor little guys. A cat is a different story. Somehow it just grips you in a different way, you can instantly relate.
There is probably a lot of love wrapped up in the now cold body of that animal. An owner who will be wondering for the next few days where their companion has gone, the sadness that will follow when the truth is learned. I think of my cats back home, of which there are 5. I think of how one of my cats recently escaped a similar fate, suffering a broken spine and rear leg after being clipped by a car.
Seeing that dead cat really hit home somewhere inside me. It drew into sharp focus the reality and indiscriminate nature of animals and the road. So, with that, love your animals, keep them safe.
And now, time to make this post photo related. Here are 4 of my 5:
In the past 12 hours, I have been contacted by representatives from both B&H and Adorama in response to the comments and links that I posted here yesterday.
I just wanted to commend B&H and Adorama for their commitment to customer service and for their impressive attention to details on the blogosphere. I was SHOCKED to hear from B&H yesterday and even more shocked to see a comment posted from an Adorama representative just a few minutes ago.
So, well done, both B&H and Adorama are running upstanding companies and I look forward to enjoying their high standards of service in the future.
Something big must be in the pipe...Lexar is clearing out inventory at the two largest photo retailers on the east coast.
Well, kinda wish I had waited to buy from B&H, I probably would have my cards by now if I had. Adorama is OK, but they still have a little ways to go before they are swingin with the big dogs over on 9th Ave. I have yet to be able to track my package on UPS.com, almost a full 24 hours later. Lame.
Here are some links to B&H, where the cards are EVEN CHEAPER.
How is that even possible? They were already dirt cheap over at Adorama...
While I have always known that this was going to be a historic election, the real weight of it didn't fully hit me until I picked up today's copy of the Metro. The issue was almost entirely devoted to election features and sported "AMERICA SPEAKS" on the cover in bold black lettering. I had a sudden urge to save this Metro, for history's sake. I have never felt an urge like that before. Not since elementary school when I collected newspaper articles about the MetroStars(my favorite MLS team at the time).
The gravity of the historical significance of today and tomorrow finally came crashing down on my head. I raced to find a copy of last month's Rolling Stone, which had a photo of Barack Obama on the cover and an interview with him inside. I made a mental note to wake up early tomorrow and get in line for the (hopefully) historic editions of every paper I could get my hands on.
I also felt somewhat disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to vote at a polling station, having sent in my absentee ballot a week ago. I now crave that experience! To close the curtain behind me and take control of a machine that holds within it the hope of a nation.
Today is the day history is made, today is the day America speaks. If we all go out and cast our votes, I have no doubts that come tomorrow morning there will be a newspaper worth saving.
Two long years of campaigning have all led up to this day, now its up to us. That said...
GET OUT AND CAST YOUR VOTE
There has never been a more important time to care.
Just published on Blurb, my newest collection of photos: Hindsight: 2006-2008
The book is a retrospective of sorts. A collections of some of my favorite photos from the past 2 years.
The book is 120 pages, 7x7 inches, and only $22.95 for the softcover edition with PREMIUM paper! The premium paper is new at Blurb, but its 35% thicker than the old 80lb paper and has a "silk" finish to it, so I'm thinkin its pretty nice.
Also, little secret here: when you checkout, enter "hewlettpackard10" in the promotion code spot to get $10 off the Imagewrap Hardcover Edition! (order over $39.95)
Enter "hpfreeshipping" for free shipping on the softcover or the dust jacket hardcover. (order under $39.95)
Thanks in advance for looking, let me know if you like it, or if you buy one!
Today I spent a couple hours wandering around a seemingly endless expanse of photo-industry related vendor booths. It was my third consecutive Photo Plus and at first glance everything was, more or less, exactly as I remembered it from last year, except for one huge absence...
Apple has always had a significant presence at Photo Plus and I could not understand why there wasn't a huge glowing Apple logo visible anywhere in the place. It was weird, to say the least. I thought there must be a mistake, "I must be blind," I decided, reassuring myself in a not so reassuring way.
First stop, Canon booth. I needed to get my hands on the 5D Mark 2 if it was the last thing I did. It was easier than I expected and I had a nice amount of time with my future best friend. Unfortunately, the Canon folks wouldn't let me stick a card in it but I was able to snag a few shots off a 1Ds3 with the new 24L on it. It looks like it gets a little wonky towards the corners but overall a nice piece of glass for sure.
Next stop, Leica. I wandered into the Leica-zone unsure of exactly what I was doing there. Then a glass case full of oversized 35mm lenses caught my eye. They belonged to the S2, Leica's latest entry into the high-end digital market. I have to say, first impressions were not favorable. That thing is not something I would want to carry around with me, for the same reasons I don't own a 1D and then some. It's just big and clumsy looking, a true BRICK. I think Leica should have just gone all the way and made it a full-fledged medium format camera. No photojournalist is gonna want to lug that crap around, no sir.
Next up, the old Epson booth, I wanted to check out prints from the new HDR inks and I had heard they were having print signings throughout the day. Stopped in at Lexar first to see when Mr. Laforet was going on, saw I had a half hour to kill, then went and stood in line for the print signing. I looked at the list and almost cried, Steve McCurry had been there signing (I'm assuming) prints of his "Afghan Girl" shot from 1230-130, It was now 230. I punched myself in the face. In my imagination.
I was in line for a signed print from a Mr. Vincent Versace. I thought to myself for a minute "I wonder if he's a fashion photographer?" Guess I figured it ran in the name. Turns out he is a photojournalist who had prints from Morocco and Vietnam up in the Epson gallery...go figure. I asked him when it was my turn for a signature where the photo was taken. He told me it was taken in Morocco, in Marrakech. I told him I had been there in May of this year, he told me he was also there in May, then I started replaying my days in Marrakech in my head.
I could almost swear that I had seen him when I was there. I mean, I saw guys who looked like him roaming around with D3's and other enormous cameras. I laughed at those guys when I was there, but I guess thats just how some people like to do it...
So, it was from one Vincent to another. I got to Lexar just as a screening of Reverie was finishing up and Vinny started taking questions and talking to some other interested folks. I waited my turn, shook his hand and congratulated him on Reverie. He was, of course, just as friendly as I remembered and it meant just as much to be able to meet him again.
So, two Vincent's, both nice guys. Good stuff.
I resumed my search for the Apple booth and eventually go my hands on a show guide that had all the exhibitors listed. No Apple. What the hell is this! ARE THEY REALLY NOT HERE?! They weren't, no Apple this year. How freakin bizarre. I checked out a couple more cameras just for the hell of it: the Olympus E-420 and the Sony A900 -- (which I kinda raved about here)
I spent about 30 seconds with the E-420, I really just wanted to see how small it actually was. Its pretty damn small. So is the viewfinder. Not sure how I feel about it.
The Sony A900. I think I was actually more impressed with the lens they had strapped on this thing (Carl Ziess 135mm f1.8) than the actual camera itself. I told the Sony guy that, he didn't seem amused. The camera was pretty cool, not really my cup of tea though. It was kinda heavy and had a lot of fiddly switches and knobs and features that nobody will really ever use. It was a camera that seemed like it was built by a major electronics company, not by photographers.
What I was impressed with, in regards to the Sony, was the output of the thing. They had some monster sized prints hanging up around the booth and I have to say, they were EXTREMELY nice. The color and sharpness was there in a big way. Personally, I wasn't really sold on it but I'm sure it will be a competitor.
Anyways, I think I'm done jabbering for now. Here are some pictures I took out in the rain/wind on my way from Photo Plus back up to 116th.
Comedian Jon Stewart was greeted by a standing ovation as he took the stage friday night in Northeastern University's Matthews Arena. Stewart cracked jokes about the expected topics (religion, politics, economy, technology) but also treated the crowd to some unexpected, and especially hilarious, interaction with the ASL interpreter on the side of the stage.
During the Q&A at the end of the performance, Stewart was asked if he would give Northeastern a shout-out on monday night's Daily Show. He responded with a speedy "Of course!!.....If you guys beat BC tomorrow night." Considering BC is the #1 ranked college hockey team in the country, it seemed like he was safe from following through with the shout-out...then we beat BC last night 4-3. Seems there will be a lot of Northeastern students looking for a shout-out come 11pm tomorrow night.
Some pictures from the show. Snuck the camera in under a shirt in my backpack.
Tonight was "Pay What You Wish" (so long as you wish to pay) night at the Guggenheim here in NYC. Julie had wanted to check out the Louise Bourgeois exhibit last weekend but I suggested we go this week because it ended up costing us $2 instead of $30. I'm a bargain hunter, what can I say.
I didn't know much about Ms. Bourgeois before tonight-only that she was responsible for the enormous spider sculpture in Paris. The first thing you come across in the exhibit is a smaller version of those same spiders, this made me happy (they are personal favorites of mine).
Moving up the spiral from the ground level, there were several spaces full of Louise's sculpture, which was quietly captivating. I say quietly because the beauty and creative genius in her work can be easy overlooked by a hurried eye.
A particularly interesting shape hung suspended from the ceiling of the museum:
Heading further up the spiraling interior of the beautiful Guggenheim, I came across this little beauty.
I chuckled to myself for a moment before reading the accompanying ID card. It was made entirely of latex. Interesting.
It quickly became apparent that Louise was an artist who embraced natural form, human or otherwise. One piece appeared, to me, to be two enormous yams overlapping each other. I loved it! The two forms looked exactly like real yams, the texture and coloring was perfect. They were in fact made of plaster and latex, but I was still fascinated by them.
I wish I could have taken more pictures of the work but security was fairly tight and I was told on multiple occasions, once on each "floor," that photography was not allowed. I eventually just gave in and shouldered my camera.
I guess it would also make sense to inform you that this was my first visit to the Guggenheim. I had driven and walked past it on many occasions, but never gone inside. It is an absolutely fascinating building, one of the most perfect spaces for viewing artwork I have ever experienced. It really was an experience. All at once you feel like you are both viewing artwork and also moving through a work of art, and you are. Frank Lloyd Wright, I take my hat off to you sir.
As we reached the upper levels of the museum, the work began to transform into bigger "installation style" pieces involving enclosed spaces formed by the most incredible doors attached one after another by their hinges. It was by far my favorite part of the exhibit. I didn't take any pictures of them but there are a few on the exhibit page here.
Sadly, the exhibit is packin it in this Sunday, Sept. 28, but if you are in the city tomorrow, looking for something to do and have $15 to burn, it's worth checking out.
The was also an exhibit of photography by one Catherine Opie, which just opened today. What struck me the most about the exhibit was the presentation. Prints ranging in size from around 2" x 4" to a larger-than-life size of about 9' x 3' (I'm guessing) full length portraits. Every print had an amazing amount of detail and every portrait was intensely lifelike. It made me want to buy a large format camera even more than I already do.
While I can't really say I'm a huge fan of her portraits, I did enjoy her more photojournalistic environmental work in which she created a very intimate connection with the subject using a camera system that doesn't generally lend itself to that style of shooting.
Her work is definitely not for everyone, but check it out if you want to see prints and framing of the absolute highest quality, along with some unconventional, and sometimes uncomfortable, subject matter.
Coming out of the museum at closing time, we were in for a little surprise. There were enormous words being projected onto the face of the museum! What was this?! Of course I started snapping away like a madman.
It seemed some folks had set up shop across the street and were projecting some sort of nonsense text (according to Julie, I never actually stood there and read it) onto the side of the building. Brilliant!