You may recall how I extolled the virtues of GIFs in a previous post. I mean, we are in the future now, and one can only expect to have moving portraits like they have in Harry Potter. I think they called them magical portraits, but I like to call them wigglegrams.
My friends Joey and Tracy were kind enough to ask me to take some photos of them for some save the dates cards they’ll be sending out. Of course, I never turn down an opportunity to hang out with friends, so we went out and wandered around their neighborhood of Old Town, Chicago. I found a nice wall to photograph them, and they decided to just levitate in front of it like this. Legend has it that they are still floating there to this day.
I kid, but I did take a couple of other nice photos of them. I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to include a lot more of the environment in these portraits, and I could mix it up with some tighter compositions. Anyway, I’m a little behind on posting these, but congrats Joey and Tracy! You are both great, and even more so together!
The Accordion Player
Taken Tuesday, Jan 6th, 2015. I’m working on a bunch of new years resolutions, one of which is to continue taking pictures in Chicago. I’ve started to take the Red Line from the Monroe stop in the loop, since it means I get on the train one stop ahead of the other half of the rush hour work crowd. The station here is a little darker, and doesn’t seem quite as lively, but I did find this lady playing her accordion for the waiting passengers. Doesn’t seem to be quite as popular as the singers, but she isn’t quite as interactive either.While I can’t even recall what she was playing, I will say that it takes an immense amount of confidence and thick skin to ply your trade on the subway, where the only feedback you’d get is from the expression of hurried commuters trying to get somewhere. Thanks but no thanks; I think I’ll stick to just sharing my photos on the internet. 😛
So as I watched her play, I took out my camera and waited for the train to pass in the background, and snapped a few shots before I shoved my camera back in my pocket, and dropped the only dollar I had in her bag and boarded the train. Although it was a quick photo, and I was actually able to eyeball exposure and had the settings dialed in just right without even having to futz with my camera too much. Which is something I feel kinda proud of… Like that should earn me a ribbon or something!) Even the the camera is slower, and with the manual controls (or especially because of the manual controls), I am still able to take a quicker shot than I probably could have with this other newer camera I have.
Black and White vs Color
One of the other things I’ve done is converted this to black and white, and brought it into photoshop to do some dodging (to decrease the exposure in some areas, and increase the overall contrast of the image). I’m finding that I like doing that for my black & white conversions, but it would be a terrible pain to include into a workflow for an entire series of photos, but I’m sure that’s just my laziness talking there…
I’m a little torn between whether I like the black and white version, or if I prefer the color version (also dodged a bit). I think each have their own merits.What do you think?
Week 30: Jimmy’s 34th Birthday
Taken Monday, December 22nd, 2014 just off of the barely traversed back country roads of Montana. I spent my Christmas out there visiting my brother, and just happened to take a picture of my bro with his dog, Zipper in front of this finely constructed home. We had taken some time to walk around and check out the inside of this… Can you even call it a house? It’s kind of a creepy thing, checking out an abandoned structure. It had 3 rooms, with a roof, walls and floorboards, all warped and coming apart at the seams. An old mattress lay in the middle of the room, revealing it’s rusty and decrepit springs for the world to see; while old torn clothes, various broken furnishings, and beer cans littered the rest of the room. It felt creepy in broad daylight, so I can only imagine how it would be in the dead of night, with the wind howling and whistling through all the nooks and crannies in the walls.
Anyway, we didn’t stay long enough to find that out in person. We had our own scary encounter later on. As we tried to head back to the cabin were we staying, we took an alternate backcountry route, which, come to find out, was fairly iced over. As night was falling, the temperature dropped, and we almost slid off the side of an iced over single lane road into an 50 foot ravine. Luckily after some white knuckling, we were able to do some controlled sliding back down the sloped road and turn around and head back to our cabin the same way we came. Maybe this year, I’ll get my brother some snow chains for his truck for his birthday.
Anyway, I’m trying to catch up on posting my photos, so hopefully, I’ll be sharing more soon!
The Real Connection
Taken Tuesday, August 19th, 2014. Once again, I got out of work later than expected, but luckily I got to enjoy a few songs while waiting for the Red Line at the Lake Street stop. Plus, I got a chance to make good on my promise to print out and give these guys the photo I had taken of them for Week 16 (as you can see in the lower right hand corner of the picture).
I actually missed a couple of trains just to chat with these guys a little bit. Their missing buddy was there this time, but that just means I’ve got to give them another picture the next time I see them! (And hopefully I won’t forget their names next time.) I went with a square crop on this photo because I do what I want. (Also, keeps the photo tight and cuts out some of the distracting elements. Makes it seem more personal.)
Oh, the irony…
So when you live in a big city, and take public transportation everyday, whether it’s the train or the bus, you’ll find yourself swimming in a sea of people. (Fun fact: I can’t swim.) And when you have a pretty regular schedule, heading to your 9-5 job everyday during rush hour, you might even find yourself recognizing some of the same people as you cross paths with them as they are make their exact same journey everyday. To me, as a closet introvert, I tend to just pop in my earbuds and leave other people alone. I find myself to be a bit more of a reactive conversationalist; I’m great at keeping a conversation going once we make a connection, but I’m always terrible at sparking up the conversation. And probably because of this, I picture this fence of societal norms which tells me that talking to random strangers is weird. But what previously kept me walking past these guys I would see every so often on my routine commute, was broken by having a photo of them to give. That photo was my ladder over the fence. So, I enjoy the irony of these guys going by “The Real Connection”, since on that day, I shared my photo with them and made a “real connection.” (See what I mean?)
Anyway, that was a little rambling there, but I’m curious… What do you think of random conversations with strangers? And what’s a topic that is a great icebreaker if you’re bored on the train (i.e. you left your earbuds at home)?
A Delightful Reunion…
Taken April 28th at The Shully residence, while my friends, Roberto and Amanda were in town from Paris. I first met Jenny and Enoch while in Cape Town, South Africa with Roberto and Amanda during the World Cup in June of 2010. Enoch was the manager at Arnold’s Cafe where we would camp out everyday for breakfast, and sometimes lunch, and sometimes dinner. And Jenny, who we met through our mutual friend, Rob, lived in an apartment just above Arnold’s. She opened up her home to us, tolerated our incessant tomfoolery and for some reason, still invites us over for dinner (and a lot of wine) after they moved to the States.
Here they are, with their beautiful daughter Tulah and their dog, Nyani.