This bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. For a while it was one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It was finished in the ’60. Before that three bridges connected Staten Island to New Jersey. In fact the island is closer to Jersey than New York City. The island became part of New York in after the winner of a row boat race around the island turned out to be from New York. Until the mid ‘70’s there were still farms on the island. Now it’s all about the biggest house you can build on the smallest plot of land. It’s a shame about the lack of urban planning. Meanwhile this aerial shot was taken after I became fast friends with Charlie, a former NYPD helicopter pilot and American Airlines pilot. He took me up in his Bell 47, MASH helicopter and we toured NYC. It was the first of many adventures. You can see the rain on the bubble in the lower right. Charlie was really doing me a big favor. He hates to fly in the rain. It gets the gears all gunky. But he had promised and we were going no matter what. It’s a view unlike anything else. And I have to say it’s about the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
There are a few times when Lisa and I agree – on a photo. You didn’t really wonder if we agree, did you? This one was an instant hit. Once again it wasn’t a technically perfect shot. It was a slide capture of son David, a grab shot at a hot summer birthday party for his cousins. I didn’t have a chance to correct the horizon. The background is pleasantly out of focus. It all came together in that moment. Automatic settings, no fumbling with focus or exposure, just shoot. It was my favorite for a long time. It still is a favorite. I just have many more now.
We had an old Argus C3 ‘brick’ that I once used – once! No lessons, no clue, and the results were over and under but never exposed properly. Even my amateur eye could see that the developed negatives had no images. I just played with the buttons for one roll of black and white film on a trip to Charleston, West Virginia to receive the Golden Horseshoe Award. The award was a pretty big deal given to three students from each county after a competitive exam each year. As a minority student winner, I was placed front and center next to the education commissioner in the official photo taken on the steps of an official looking building. That’s me to the right of the ‘old bald headed’ guy. Racism was still present in the state. I know, because my parents were turned down for membership in the local country club. The father of one of my co- winners was on the board that turned down my parents. Times change. I don’t know and haven’t bothered to look to see if the award is still given. I’ve moved on. They said that poverty was high and education among the poorest states in the nation. It wasn’t.
Another technical demonstration is this high-heeled shoe. It was on a pedestal mounted to a turntable connected to a computer rigged to shoot in 10-degree increments. Complicated, it was designed to obtain 36 images. What for? In order to create a spinning catalog view for internet shopping, you need this setup. Clever.
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).
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This is a pretty classic shot of the St Louis Gateway Arch. I have seen it lit up at night and that is impressive as well. Everyone who visits stand beneath the Arch where an effective photo is near to impossible. Wide angle lenses cannot take in the whole view or they distort things. I am happy enough to have driven around behind the statehouse. I would have gone by this shot never seeing it in the rear view mirror had it not been for the red tinted fountain in honor of the Cardinals being in the World Series. Go Cards! In the gallery you will find the outtakes. These are good images that show a different perspective yet again and make my argument that you don’t need to see the whole arch to know it’s there.
Press Pass, US Open. Here was a dream come true. Well, actually not so much a dream as a fortunate happenstance. No, not worded strongly enough, it was a fantastic experience! Every amateur dreams, of unlimited access to wander and photograph, at an event venue. Lisa’s co-worker’s husband is Manny, a Sports Illustrated photographer, whom I met at a dinner party in our home. I showed him my slide storage system for 100k+ slides. He was blown away. He later graciously invited me to assist him in Flushing Meadow at the US Open. And, “Bring your own camera.” I had a D70 that I had purchased when David graduated high school. I thought it was a pretty good camera. I had the 80-400mm zoom and an 80-200mm f2.8 zoom. The former I purchased when Julia started playing rugby. And the later I acquired on sale at the photo equipment repair shop. Everyone at the upper echelon of sports is mostly Canon. I’m talking about the heavy-duty workhorse Mark bodies and the gray telephoto lens mounted on monopods. Some of the lenses are nearly 20 lbs. Boy oh boy did I get an – on the fly lesson in event shooting. It made me realize how inadequate my skills were for this fast paced atmosphere. I upgraded my camera soon after. I suddenly had use for more buttons and menu settings.
I was not too happy with this shot. No, I did not shoot the moose with a rifle or gun. Someone seriously asked me about this after seeing my shots. Rather, I should say photos. Previously, I had some poor photos of the rescued injured moose in the wildlife park and they were lame. Meandering through Baxter State Park in northern Maine in the fall, I stopped where cars had parked by the roadside. Entering the woods, I saw a photographer in red hunter attire. There in front and among the trees was an enormous bull moose with a magnificent antler rack. The moose gets larger every time I tell the story. My camera was out and I was rapidly clicking while I expected the moose to leave at any moment. Uphill past the moose another tourist was coming downhill toward the moose. I say tourist for two reasons. He had a simple point and shoot camera. I know, this is a bit snobby of me. And, he had no clue that the moose could turn on him and kill him – definitely tourist ignorance! So I turned to my hunter/photographer acquaintance and asked what his exit strategy might be. We were both standing behind a tree for protection. I knew enough from native Mainers to know that a pissed moose is nothing to trifle with. His reply startled me. “Don’t worry about the one in front of you. It’s the three behind you that you need to be careful about.” Sure enough there were three, count ‘em, three moose, a giant bull with antlers 6 feet across, and a momma and baby. Oh boy, the last thing I wanted to do was to get between momma and her baby moose. Well, there’s momma and son in this photo. Maybe it’s not the best shot but there it is.
The follow up to the story is that the hunter was an amateur just up from somewhere else to take a photo course on how to shoot moose. Here I had been looking all over to shoot a moose for a couple years. Beginner’s luck! Now it makes sense to me. His wife came to stand next to me while I got the photo of momma and babe. And my hunter friend is standing behind his wife and me as he started to make what sounded like moose mating calls. No, I don’t know what sound that is and neither did he. But immediately my exit strategy changed. In the event the moose charged over, I would push his wife out from behind the tree. The wife was pretty nice but not too photo savvy. I lent her my big 400mm lens and she asked me to take some photos using her camera. I reset her camera, which I hope she later changed back. Meanwhile, I kept thinking that the exercise was to take your own pictures. It was about your shot and your vision. Otherwise just open National Geographic and cut out a moose picture.