Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pay What You Wish

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! 

UPDATE: Since I published this post, I did a little research and discovered the source of the projected words. They are the most recent project of conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, designed to feature the restored white finish of the museum's exterior. Pretty cool.

My personal favorite shot from the night: 

What do I love about this photo? Well...
  1. The text on the museum. Both projected and the amazing Guggenheim lettering. It's very graphic and bold and eye catching, I like that.
  2. The tonality of the B&W conversion. It just feels very vintage. It complements the subject matter nicely I think.
  3. The umbrella wielding figure in the foreground. Just enough blur to capture the motion without losing the amazing profile of the man as he passed by.
I think that just about sums it up...
I absolutely love shooting in the rain, and at night. Everything changes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nikon Coolscan 9000

I recently discovered the hidden Nikon 9000 here at Northeastern. 
Tonight, I decided to spend some quality time with it.
Here are some of the first scans.
Taken during a road trip out west in July.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

5D Mark II : Canon Eats Canon

If you couldn't already tell, I am positively elated by the news.

$2,699 for a 21.1mp state of the art STILL AND VIDEO machine. BARGAIN!!! 
FULL HD VIDEO at 30fps!! WHAT!!
21.1mp 14-bit files!! WHAT!!
SELF CLEANING (been craving this one for awhile haha)

Start scraping your pennies together folks. 

THIS is EVOLUTION, THIS is CANON, THIS is what we have all been waiting for.

But, in all this excitement, where does the 1Ds Mark III get left?
As a scrap in the bottom of the 5D2's bowl it seems...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Evolution of Canon's Evolution Ad

So, it seems Canon has been updating their "Moon" teaser leading up to the full moon on the 15th and the suspected announcement of the 5D's successor on the 17th.

You can now see just a little bit more of the camera in the ad.

There sure know how to drive you crazy don't they?

R.I.P. Photoshelter Stock

Sad day folks, sad day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Damon Winter. Holy Sh*t.

I am Speechless.

Leaps and Bounds in the DSLR world...

Today, Sony announced the A900

Normally, I don't really care enough about this kinda thing to announce it here, but this camera represents the crowning of a new king in the DSLR world, a post that Canon has held for around 6 years. 
The A900 FULL-FRAME sensor clocks in at a whopping 24.6mp and has in body image stabilization--a feature some thought could never be implemented in a full-frame body. 
Sony has stolen, for the time being, the megapixel crown off of the 21.1mp 1Ds Mark 3, Canon's current $7,999 flagship.
And, get this, it did it for $5,000 less. The A900 will cost $2,999 when it hits the shelves sometime this winter. Crazy.
Now, of course, the A900 is no 1Ds. But the word "tank" was used by DP Review in describing its build quality, a comparison once reserved only for the top dogs of the DSLR world. Standards are climbing with every generation of cameras and it seems that Sony has taken this to heart.
When the A700 was introduced, it represented Sony's first real plunge into the DSLR market. The A700 was nothing special, it felt cheap and breakable, I doubted that Sony would ever be able to carve out a piece of the Canon/Nikon pie. 
But, low and behold, it seems that with this new A900 and an INCREDIBLE line of Zeiss lenses being churned out for it, Sony might be a real contender after all...
Only time, Canon, Nikon, and Photokina 2008 (Sept 23-28) will tell whether the A900 will be a real force in the DSLR market. Personally, I think Canon has an ace up their sleeve. It's been 3 years since the release of the 5D and with the recent "Moon" teaser, it seems a Photokina announcement is imminent. 

Either way, buckle up your seat belts (all who care), it's going to be a pretty exciting month.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Yesterday, Tropical Storm Hanna rolled through Montclair, NJ. I just happened to be home for the day visiting and was able to not only enjoy the pitter-patter on my roof, but also get out in the sh*t in search of some flood pics.

On my way around town, I noticed that the "brook" that normally trickled through my high school's amphitheater/park was now surging over its banks at incredible speeds! I stopped to document the mayhem. As you can see in the picture below, the water had risen over a bridge that normally has about 3 feet of air between it and the riverbed. Pretty crazy.