This coffee urn is the style here in Jeddah. It is old style and still in use. They served me with this type on the plane from JFK. I purchased an old one in an antique store. I was passing a traffic circle and stuck in traffic. I happened to see this sculpture. And the extra bonus was the full moon and clouds. These point and shoot cameras are so darned smart. It’s a more interesting sculpture than a stacked set of microwaves. But still….
In a ‘roundabout way I will meander and recall the Kennedy assassination of 1963. It will be soon fifty years ago. When did I get so old?
I was just about to get separated from my dive buddies. They were up ahead and leaving me behind. You can’t really ‘call’ to slow down. In the open swimming along the sand were a moray eel … and a puffer. I have not seen a moray in the open. And I have not seen one with blue striations. It’s possible that this is not a moray. Whatever, it was not happy to be in the glare of my dive light. But I had the ability to shoot some images. I just couldn’t get low enough for a sea bed shot.
‘Never leave you wingman,’ Tom Cruise, Top Gun… yes, I did get separated. At night this could be an issue! Visibility is poor in the pitch black. So I turned off my own light and watched for the glow of the other divers. It worked and I caught up to everybody. Worst case scenario, I surface on my own, but I wanted to continue the dive. I was happy to be reunited.
On our night dive I swam across this school. They were clustered on the bottom and swam away from my light. The squirming mass was a bit spooky, creepy if you must know. There was something about this closely pack of squirming fish that made me think of eels. They stuck close to the bottom. I would have to say that I don’t recognize them from my daylight dives. Until now I have not seen fish so closely packed like this.
Here’s one that I haven’t seen before. My last night dive was so much fun I couldn’t wait to do it again. This pufferfish has been a unique find. I now know there are three kinds – pufferfish, masked, and spiked. This one looks the most unusual, almost bizarre and cartoonish. I imagine the spikes to be like thorns on a tree. And then I wonder why nature evolved this way.
Wrong! Reading helps. This is a porcupine fish also called blowfish but apparently are related to but are not pufferfish. It turns out that the spike erect as the fish blows up. So far I have only seen this fish with its spikes up. As a puffer or blow fish, I had imagined them inflated like a balloon with its spikes out on all sides. Wrong again, I guess.
It’s a great view from my apartment when they fire the Macy’s show from the Hudson. Most year’s it’s been on the East River. What I never knew was the technique. After reading a few pointers, I found out that a long exposure is the way to go. So I use f12 and 3-5 seconds. I’m on a tripod and changing the exposure constantly. In this case there are no rules. Meanwhile, Happy 4th.
David put me onto this shot. It’s not often that the moon is this close to the earth. It amounts to about a diameter of the earth closer than usual, 222,000 miles. The last time we were this close was 1993. Since the moon is more than 30 diameters away, this distance is not a lot. That 12 percent size different can mean as much as a 30 percent change in the brightness, so this will be a particularly bright supermoon.
So as a casual photographer, what could I do but shoot the moon when I saw it while driving home. To be sure, it was shining bright and true over the skies of Saudi Arabia. No clouds. It was bright and sunny today – a mere 106 degrees. It rained for 10 minutes this past year. But, still, there is humidity. Even so, tonight there was little haze. So I took out the super zoom to the tune of evening prayer from the speakers of the nearby mosques. Two mosques compete with one another. Illiterate as I am, I simply tune out the noise. (See years of (wife) complaints.)
First, when you shoot the moon, remember you are shooting into a daylight (sunlit) object), which means that your exposure is near to daytime. I used 1/1600 sec at f9. And I put on the big lens – 400mm. It would be nice to use a tripod. But I don’t happen to have one at the moment. At 1/1600 it’s pretty forgiving even handheld in the middle of the night. And to dispel another myth, I shot the image below through my screen window. The sharpness is acceptable. After setting up the exposure, I took myself outside and made the image above. The only manipulation was to crop and center.
From the location of the Spine Summit at the Hyatt Hotel, you have a splendid view of the fountain. Since I had my trusty Canon G11 on my shoulder, it was but a moment to get this sunset. There were a few mosquitoes, so I ran inside after this shot. To the left there is an artificial island, which I am told was owned by a deceased king. The island has about one thousand caretakers who still reside until the next king/prince will take possession. Seems like a lot of wasted space at the moment. Oh, I almost forgot. The fountain is powered by a jet engine. When I looked up tourist spots this is listed but that wonderful museum remains a local treasure.
It used to be that after the sun went down, I would hardly take another shot until morning. Tungsten lighting, ASA/ISO speed, and a bunch of other reasons made it near to impossible to adjust. Now that white balance can be adjusted on the fly and IS0 can be made to almost see in the dark, it’s so easy to get night shots. Now the question is to see the image and then capture it. Like everything else sometimes you surprise even yourself.
It’s a work in progress. Much like London’s Picadilly Circus, Times Square was deliberately edgy and garish. The edge is a less but the many neon was designed into the plans for restoring the area. The lights remain. The brands change.
Mixed light and night shots are pretty tricky using slide film. There’s no way to ‘chimp’ (check your image). There’s no preview. The film is whatever you’ve loaded. You can’t change white balance, ISO, add or subtract effects or set the scene to night shot. Wow, it was pretty tough in the dark ages before iPhone. Then again sometimes you get more than you hoped for or less than what you wanted.
Serendipity strikes again. The main point of this slide is that you can see the painting on the bridge. I don’t know. That really impressed me. It’s not my skill. I didn’t really take the shot with the idea to capture the painting. Well maybe I did. I don’t see much else to point at in the image. The spot light is intrusive. I could crop or Photoshop it away and I have done this in some edits of this image. But for me, I’m still tickled at what came from this image.
Well the kids were in camp and we had just returned from a long bike ride. We were hot and the thing to do was jump into the pool. So here’s the abstract photo to commemorate the moment. Digital could do so much better. But then again the mood of this shot was perfect. And if it were any better I wouldn’t be posting it. This one is about the memory. I often wonder about the things we forget and would never recall without some aid to jog us. Yes, it is a weird picture that is hard to interpret, but it was all done in camera without any fancy aids.
My brother took us to Dorney Park. David, Andrew, and Bryant went along – three cousins. At the end of the day when it was too cool to be on the water rides, we tackled the roller coasters. It’s slide film, not digital, so motion blur, low ISO, slow shutter speed, etc are all in play. But you get the idea. And the motion is a good thing. Yes I know that this is not a roller coaster. But there was more color and less motion.
Literally. I’ve lived in midtown west for about 30 years now. The neighborhood is best known as Hell’s Kitchen, now called Clinton. It was rough and tumble and the ‘Westies’ were known here. The neighborhood was already better when we moved here. There was low level crime, some drug sales and prostitution.
One time, a guy who lived in the neighborhood robbed my car on Thanksgiving night. I had just brought my kids upstairs and returned to find him rifling my glove compartment. He had a weapon (knife) but I only chased him from my car. Later he had a stolen car radio and was sitting in the park. So I called in the theft to the police. He later complained to me that I was making things hard for him. I asked him to return the things from my glove compartment and he offered to sell them to me. Weird.
Prostitution was another issue. When we first lived here, you could see girls and women of all sizes and shapes standing on the block. And one night as I had to go over to the ER on a call, there was a jeep rocking. On the driver’s and passenger’s side of the vehicle were two couples… well you can imagine. The girls were just leaning into the windows.
Back to my point, in all the years that I have lived here, I have never heard a live round of gunfire. I know it is described as a fire cracker going off. It is definitely unlike the movies. So three shots rang out Sunday (Easter) night. There was some shouting but not too much. I immediately thought gunshots, but then dismissed it. The street was completely quiet. My son never noticed a thing.
Several minutes later I heard sirens. They approached but seemed to pass on the avenue and no sirens came down my block. Five minutes later I looked out the window to see two parked police cars facing the wrong way on our one way street. Another vehicle with flashing lights was at the head of the block. Flashlights were scouring the street presumably for evidence. Indeed there had been a shooting. No body or at least no ambulance was in attendance.
What’s noticeable is that the police turned down our block silently. The goal was to surprise and possibly capture the perpetrators. Usually there is the blare of sirens and flashing lights whenever anything happens. Perhaps it’s just the fire department. In a city this size I doubt I will find out what the shooting was about. And as I stood looking from my window, there was really no one I could see peering from their window to see what/who was shot. A mystery.
This shot was taken in the days before digital. Now it’s hard to miss. (See post for 9/13/11.) You have auto ISO and VR and ability to instantly know you have an image. In the old days, I would shoot with my best guess. The meter couldn’t really help. You would get some ambient light and the lights of the ride. But how to balance the two light sources? Bracket your shots. I’m glad I wasn’t a professional. I took this one shot. Just one. If it came out – ok. And the blur, who could have predicted it until the film came back from developing? Yes, there are better and easier ways to insure that a good shot was taken. I’m just amazed that I got shots like this and took such a casual joy in succeeding with so little film and effort.
I went to shoot the arch with the capitol building in the foreground. I got a reflection from the empty pool in the foreground as a bonus. The bright lights are a mixture of different temperature incandescent lights. I had no tripod. It was freezing cold. With everything working against me, I happily clicked away. This is a classic viewpoint for the St Louis arch.
Ethereal. Don’t ask how I got this shot. Maybe the ghost just jumped onto the image sensor. Sometimes I don’t have any idea what the camera did to produce the image capture and especially what I have in this photo. It was one of the Village Halloween Parades. Mist, motion blur, halogen lighting, and a ghostly figure to the left are all that I see. How it came together is spooky. My best guess, rear curtain sync flash with a depleted charge on the battery.
I live on a quiet street off the avenue. Well not too quiet. My friend Kevin can never sleep when he’s here because of the noise outside the windows. He’s from Marblehead, a really quiet town north of Boston. This evening the sirens blared, fire truck or ambulance, coming ever closer until the noise was directly below my 6th floor apartment window. Stepping out onto the deck in 40 degree cold, I saw flashing lights outside a five-story walk up building. No flames, no smoke could be seen. Two, count them, two hook and ladder trucks came up from either end of the block. There’s no such thing as one-way street during as fire. Minutes later Part 2 occurred. (See post below.)
While the bright lights of the fire trucks were still spinning, thunder began. Lisa looked up and asked if it had started to rain. The sky was cloudless. That could only mean fireworks. Cutting back through the apartment I found fireworks being set off over the Intrepid Air Space Museum on the Hudson River. No time for a tripod, I got some shots bracing my camera against the fence. All of this happened within a twenty-minute span. Some things you can’t make up.
Part 2: There were so many photo ops, you didn’t know where to turn your camera. (See also my other blog Imaged Event for more images.) So maybe it wasn’t so many people? The estimate on the website is about 60, 000 marchers. It literally took about two hours to get everyone onto the parade route. The director Jeanne Fleming says that she sees the parade through the eyes of the photographers who are there to record the event. Indeed, one person can’t be everywhere and the number of people moving and the size of the geographic space makes it impossible to even get a fraction of the parade and the costumes. There are many photos that get repeated. Some parade attendees wear the same costume each year. Some folks come early and are a photographic subject for all the photographers who otherwise would not have a subject. These early arrivals get a lot of attention. It’s chaotic. And, I guess it’s a little claustrophobic. But when you’re seeking out the next costume, the weather, the chill, the crowd and the noise are not too much of a deterrent. The parade organizers put the wedding party in front. Bringing up the rear, Occupy Wall St got a big crowd into the parade. It seems that they may have been making a statement again, but I’m not sure. Most photos don’t require explanation. But, there was this male nun dressed in lace women’s underwear…. The theme was ‘I’ of the beholder, hence, all the eyeballs.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
Gallery and more info: (more…)
This just seemed to be the next best thing to juxtapose with the wedding shot. Halloween in New York City is a free for all. Yes, it’s Halloween night, October 31. No matter what day of the week, October 31 is the day for the parade. Kids show up but this is definitely for adults. The bride motif is quite popular. Why waste a perfectly serviceable wedding dress if it can be worn again. I presume that the model is a man but who knows?
Buenos Aires. We were stranded. One of the flights on Aerolineas Argentinas was canceled and we missed our connection. As a result we were in Buenos Aires for an unexpected layover. The airline gave us accommodations in a ‘flea bag’ hotel. No go. David called and threw out the girl staying over in his apartment and we crashed there for one night. His mother never said a word about the utter mess and chaos in his apartment. Obviously, it was the girl. It was the first evening and my first experimentation with the capabilities of the Canon G11. We got a little silly. There are many street signs, advertising posters, and graffiti displays.
Stone Town. We found an open air food market set up in the park near to the water. Vendors began setting up at dusk. By dark, cooking was in full swing just as the fast for Ramadan ended. We had a dinner reservation in a typical restaurant nearby so Julia did some window-shopping. This vendor made a sugar cane drink. At first I didn’t see the appeal of drinking a sweet beverage of crushed sugar cane juice. But they also add lime and a piece of ginger as the cane is passed through the press. The result is a very refreshing concoction. Julia drank the whole thing barely leaving me a sip.