Monday, September 28, 2009

my weekend, in pictures!

set free

The tall one woke me up early with kisses Saturday morning. Full of energy he suggested a walk down to dim sum. We threw on some clothes and headed outside. We quickly realized that the AIDS Walk was going on in about an hour so we wandered over to Volunteer Park to see the festivities and check for interesting photo opportunities.

for uncle

I immediately spied this cute little boy chasing after a squirrel. Once I converted it to black and white his dirty little face really came out, but it's adorable. His family were all wearing shirts that were a variation of his that said "for my uncle Brian". What a loving and accepting family!

lucas's view

The tall one suggested just walking with the crowd since they were heading down 12th anyway. I thought it'd be fun to get a shot of the crowd so I lifted the camera over my head and took a shot, which ended up being the tall one's eye level exactly. It's amazing that he's able to see the above view when all I see is the back of people's heads!

surprise in a sea of red

We walked, saw the cutest puppies ever, a shirtless DJ who had set up his turntables on his front porch with speakers blaring (I'm sure his neighbors loved that), and enthusiastic participants with orange pom pom's that I contemplated stealing before breaking off from the group at Madison to continue on to dim sum.

dim sum

I'm not sure why but other than the hum bao and the yummy honey prawns I didn't want to eat much. We walked back through downtown, checking out the library (mostly because as we passed I mentioned I'd never been in there without a hangover) and then stopping off at his place before heading out to meet his friends.

location scouting

The tall one's friend is throwing together a last minute wedding and asked him, me and her bridesmaid to go with her to scout outdoor locations. We went from park to park, finally deciding on Carkeek Park because of their fire circle. I spent most of my time taking pictures and trying to compose shots in my head while not freaking out about shooting a wedding at night...lit by candles and a camp fire....and all the participants will be wearing black. yikes. The above shot is actually at Golden Gardens and was taken with my iPhone.

After dinner at CPK the tall one's friends tortured him with a trip through the mall. As much as I loathe the mall it was kinda fun to go shopping with girls, and especially these two girls. Both are very opinionated and tell it like it is. I was given dresses to try on and my opinion was asked for on things they were trying on. I know it's silly, but I so rarely do girley things so it was nice. Plus I'm really honored that in just a few short months they've taken such a liking to me.

shoe shot

We passed out exhausted early on Saturday night and awoke to a lovely Sunday morning. I wanted to go hiking, but I honestly haven't been in quite sometime and I'm not working out at all so I knew it was going to be a struggle. I picked Rattlesnake Ridge because the tall one had never been up there and it's only 4 miles round trip. I still was huffing it and my legs were jelly like by the time we got up to the top. Ugh, I'm a shell of my former hiking self.

lucas lunches on the ledge

Of course the ledge was crowded, and there were quite a few teenagers up there so it was loud. One of the kids even had music playing out of his cell phone, which I nicely asked for him to turn off. I don't do well with crowds when I'm on the trail. I get judgmental, grumpy and sometimes a little disgusted. I knew there was going to be a lot of people up there so it was silly of me to be feeling those things when I was the one who chose a very popular hike, so I tried to keep it in check. I hope it worked...the tall one is very accepting of my grump so I never really can tell. I loved this shot though. It's almost like he's superimposed on the image. I am Giant Man! I will eat your babies! I can squish you like bug!

I was super duper sleepy after getting home from the hike and making dinner so I called it an early night and he went home to do laundry. After a 45 minute nap I sat up wide awake and realized it was 8:45 and I wasn't tired at all. I texted the tall one who had realized as he was walking home that he had monday off and suggested we go night shooting. YAY night shooting!

an empty view

We drove over to Discovery Park so I could practice shooting in the dark. We painted the trees with light, sat in the big field, he helped me time the shots, we chatted about nothing and there were kisses and big warm hugs. He's fun to go on outings with.

I learned a little more on this outing and I've found it's nice to shoot close to the city. The ambient light is helping me to learn as it allows me to do shorter exposures. We were doing 5 minute shots so if the light was too much, too little or in one case you could actually see me painting with the light, then I could adjust it and try again without too much of a wait. I'm still learning though, I'm noticing a lot has to be done in the post processing stage so it's neat learning that as well.

And, um...well, yeah. That was our weekend :-) I told you it was in pictures. Me not so good with the writing, yes?

edit:

Also, the same photo in black and white...which do you like? Do you like either? What makes you like it or not like it. Help me out here kids!

an empty view in black and white

Friday, September 25, 2009

theatro zinzani

up front

Flustered with not being able to shoot Alice and Chains and instead forced to go on a location scouting mission, I texted the tall one that my job sucks. He of the always positive attitude told me to make lemonade from my lemons, or something to that effect...maybe it was make beer from my hops, or make gin from my juniper bushes...in any case he challenged me: artists can make art out of anything. get busy!

Yes sir! I adore you, bee tee dub :)

vita

The first thing I noticed was the employee entrance at the back of the building. There was a window in plain view of the passing cars and pedestrians of the wonderful costumes the entertainers wear. All labeled, and yet it still looks like a chaotic mess. I almost ran back to grab my polarizer from the car to take away the reflection but in the end I like it. It shows the entire scene in all it's glorious disarray.

zinzanni

I was able to sneak my camera inside but immediately was told that I couldn't take any pictures unless I was with a group and we were taking pictures in the bar. I was able to fire off one frame before I switched to iPhone shots so I could at least bring something back for my boss.

This shot is of the gift shop. The masks are creepy. That is all :-)

HDR

I'm terrible at explaining photography terminology. The tall one has occasionally asked me to define certain terms and I have to look them up because I have no clue. When it comes to HDR, I'm no different. I'm aware that it means High Dynamic Range, but I'd like to refer you to this page for a full definition...because I can. Yay internets.

I've tried HDR before (which is the blending of multiple shots together of different exposures with photo manipulation software to bring out the highlights and shadows in a balanced way, in case you didn't bother to click on the link I gave you. OOH! There it is again!) but the results weren't exactly what I was looking for.

follow me

The first time I tried it was on an alley in my neighborhood. The shadows on the right side of the photo really obscured the detail and color in the building so I merged three shots together to create the above photo. It was also taken with my little Canon A510 point and shoot so I was pretty excited that I was able to make it. Not the most exciting photo though.

grey day

My second try was with my Canon XT. I merged 6 shots to create the above photo. I was still learning and with the correct exposure and perhaps the help of a filter I probably could have made that shot without merging multiple exposures, but what did I know. I was figuring this all out as I went, and that's the fun in learning! However, I still wasn't creating the fun HDR shots I'd see on other sites. I kept thinking "how the heck did they do that?" even though I read a million tutorials on the subject.

sun flare

Finally I get my new Nikon D90 and I'm thinking, YES! I can try this now! I can get nice crisp shots! I'll blow them all away! (ok, I really didn't think that last part, but I was excited nonetheless). However, I still didn't understand how to work with curves and tonal contrasts in Photoshop so when attempted I would get pastel like saturated colors and strange bands of light across the screen.

first HDR try

I went out to Discovery Park with Casey the evening before to show him the place, take a sunset walk and hear about his first day at Seattle U. I took a few frames, but I knew I needed to hang out for a while to really get what I wanted. The next night I headed out at sunset and parked myself on a bench with my manual in hand and proceeded to teach myself about bracketing and night shooting. When I got back I put the first set of frames into photoshop and proceeded to manipulate the colors to achieve the effect I was looking for. Yet again I got the pastel over saturation. GRRRR!! Although I like the color of the grass and tree, the sunset still wasn't the look I wanted to achieve.

second HDR attempt

Honestly I'm not the biggest fan of the overdone HDR photography that is seen on the web now. It's fun to look at, but really I'm looking for something realistic. To bring out the entire dynamic range of a photo without the surreal look. I decided to go at it a different way, and achieved the above photo. Much, much better. I wish that I had a better composed shot, but the point of today was learning so that when I'm out in the field I can spend more time on composition. I've even learned more about what I've done wrong in the above photo but I'm still yay about it.

3rd attempt

So can I do it at twilight? Me thinks I can! I like this one, I really like the color of the moon on the water and when viewed big you can actually see some star trails of the constellation Sagittarius! Which is awesome considering I'm basically shooting from about 5 miles outside a major city.

I learned, I grew, I ran, I got scared, I got cold, I saw stars. Can't wait to try this again!

my job

(rant)

I'm so thankful to have a job. Really, I am. I know there are people all over this country that could only wish to have a well paying job that gives them great benefits and allows them to sometimes do nothing but blog on a computer all day. I shouldn't complain, I'm not treated horribly at all, in fact I'm treated very well by my two bosses. Occasionally I even get to shoot an artist interview or two...but I'm not satisfied creatively.

pastel needle in the setting sun

Yesterday I did not get the chance to shoot Alice and Chains. I was a bit bummed by it, but not entirely because they are a shell of their former selves. I have no problem with a band staying together after a member has died, but they shouldn't get two new members and then tour under the same name. They aren't the same band, they should change their name. Even though Roger Waters toured playing the entire Dark Side of the Moon album he didn't put the billing as Pink Floyd, because it wasn't! You don't see Chris Cornell playing "Hunger Strike" and billing it as Temple of the Dog. In fact when he joined up with Tom Morrello they didn't call it Rage Against the Machine or Soundgarden, they went by Audioslave. Because HELLO! They were a new band!! Even when they played "Killing in the Name" at their historic show in Cuba!!!

The Who, are you listening?

But I digress...

In any case I missed out on shooting Alice and Chains because my boss wanted to go. We only had permission for three people to shoot and although it would have been great to add the photos to our website he went in my place just to "hang out". My conversation with the kid we hired to do interviews made me even more frustrated. He said "yeah, they were ok. That Jerry guy was kind of a jerk and then some girl named Susan was there". I was like "Susan Silver" and he's like, "yeah, I guess". This kid is meeting Jerry Cantrell and Susan Silver, two influential people in Seattle music history and he's like "eh, whatever".

Again...ARGH!

I get frustrated because I feel like these are influential people who created a lot of the sounds that we hear today, that broke a mold during the hair band craziness of the 90's, that defined the sound of my teenage years growing up in Seattle. I feel like these people should be a little respected, and I'd love the opportunity to meet them. I took this job because I felt like I would be able to have those chances. I could be an executive assistant at a major corporation, but I wanted to be close to music. It was my one stipulation for moving back to Seattle. Now I feel like it's so close but I can't touch it. Like it's there...if. I. could. only. reach. a. little. farther...sigh.

So I try to lose myself in my photography and try to be grateful for what I do have. A job, a home, a car, a kick ass camera, a great best friend and a supportive boyfriend. The last of which gave me the sweetest push yesterday that made me get out and start learning my camera more. Which will be my next post. A learning post, if you will.

wheat in the sun

(/rant)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

random bits

As I was drunkenly writing about one of my favorite artists, they were writing about theirs.

Then, if you are a linguistic nerd, someone wrote an interesting article on the only sentence the shy Van Morrison said at one of his concerts: fucking shut the fuck up.

The Garden of Eden has withered and died.

I may actually get to shoot Alice in Chains today. Sans Canon.

Congrats to Casey on his first day of school. I'm so proud of you.

I'm also proud of my boyfriend his recent purchase. Can't wait to have a picture with you next to the sold sign.

I may have another wedding to shoot. At night! Yikes!

I want to go hiking.

I need to post more pictures.

I'm just rambling now :)

casey looks out over the water

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

drunken bloging is fun!

please forgive the rambling and misspellings in my previous post. sometimes I like to drink and listen to music, sometimes I write about it. it's my blog and I can do what I want to.

so there! :-)

lately...

I was having a conversation with the tall one this evening...a stupid girl conversation. He's so great with them, in fact he's so great with all my little girl faults. Every pout, frustration, anger, sickness and grumpiness is met with an "aww, you're so cute" from him. It's un-nerving...and I love it. I can't break him, he takes everything I dish out and then hugs me and gives me kisses at the end. I never met anyone like him and I can't thank him enough.



I checked facebook this evening and I noticed Casey had made a mention of a Wings song and for some reason it linked a David Gray song. I'm assuming it's because it was recorded at Abbey Road but nonetheless it began an evening of listening to his music so loud that I received a knock on my door just a minute ago telling me to turn it down. Although she said "can you turn down the Van Morrison" which I thought was kinda cute because David Gray really is the Van Morrison for my generation, just not as recognized, which is so frustrating to me.

I made a quick mention to the tall one while we were having dinner tonight about Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog receiving an Emmy. Which is cool because it's Joss Whedon, who hasn't won an Emmy ever, and it was completely viral: not released on television at all, only online. He wasn't impressed. In fact he made an infuriating argument about how the Emmy voters are older and don't spend time on caring about story when it comes to voting, thus something like Buffy never won. He's not a fan anyway, and I'm going to save a blog post on why I love Buffy, Angel and Whedon and why they are completely relevant for another time. Instead I'm going to devote this time to David Gray, which perhaps sounds totally irrelevant but for me makes sense as there is so much music and pop culture that I totally adore but he doesn't like at all so I'm hoping I can have a series of posts that explain why I love these things and he can either take it or leave it. But hopefully he'll come out of it with a bit of knowledge on why it moves me so much.

About a month ago David Gray played at Marymoor Park for The Mountain's music fest. Last year for the Flight of the Concords I had my good friend at the time drive me out to the parking lot at Marymoor and sit there in his convertible listening to the music float over us on the breeze. It reminded me of the time I would drag Bill up to the parking lot at the Greek Theater in LA to listen to the bands I loved but couldn't afford to go in and see. I was so excited to try it up here and when the day came I ended up sleeping it away. I was angry at myself, to say the least.

I had an argument with Bill about music lyrics being poetry. I had never thought about them as such until I saw a documentary on David Gray's "Live at the Point" DVD. David Gray is Welsh, but the Irish community has embraced him as one of their own. His shows in Dublin sell out, he can't walk the streets he's such a celebrity. But still he was dropped from his label after 3 albums. His forth album was picked up by ATO records (which yes is owned by Dave Matthews but has nothing to do with my love for David Gray) and the released "Babylon" which was his one and only major hit. In any case there was a section of the documentary devoted to David Gray's lyrics as poetry from a local poet in Dublin and when you read his lyrics it's hard to argue:


I know it would be outrageous
To come on all courageous
And offer you my hand
To pull you up on to dry land
When all I got is sinking sand
The trick aint worth the time it buys
Im sick of hearing my own lies
And loves a raven when it flies



For all that we struggle
For all we pretend
It dont come down to nothing
Except love in the end
And ours is a road
That is strewn with goodbyes
But as it unfolds
As it all unwinds
Remember your soul is the one thing
You cant compromise
Take my hand
Were gonna go where we can shine

oh my golly I love "Shine"


Drag a salted kiss
From this cup of bliss
Watch a new lie twist on the breeze
You can paint it red
Or Leave it all for dead
But it’s in my head always




Feel the touch of grief
You stand in disbelief
Can steal the earth from right beneath you
And falling in so far
They know just where you are
Yeah but there ain't no way to reach you
Time out on the running boards
We're running
Through a world that lost it's meaning
Trying to find a way to love
This running
Ain't no kind of freedom


Moon and stars above me
Mingle with the blood
Inside my vein
These empty arms
That should be
Holding you close
Through nights of winter rain
I'm trying to spell
What only the wind can explain
It's colder than ever
Coming down


Ah, coming down kills me every time...


Not much is known about his personal life, but he's gone through a lot and this year completely replaced his band which is a huge change for an artist. The latest music that I've heard is so fresh and open that I think it was the right move for him.

I can't fully explain in words what I love so much about this artist. I think the best way I can explain it is in lyrics and music. Tall one, I don't know if I've helped you to like him or to appreciate him but I hope at least you'll come with me to see him so you can at least appropriate the smile on my face.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oktoberfest

On the plus side, I dressed up. Ah, hells yeah I dressed up.

festive

also, others dressed up and I took pictures with them!




and there was beer!!

woo beer

And good friends and tall boys!




Buuuuut, and this is a big but, it was lame on multiple levels. First, we took a bus down to Fremont. The people up on the Hill were smiley and saying hi and not at all judgmental. Then we switched buses and although there were still many people smiling and talking to me, there was a couple of German girls on the bus that were not too amused. I'm pretty sure they called me a stupid American, but nonetheless I kept smiling and remained excited to see others dressed up.

However, once we arrived I realized there were maybe 7 other people in the entire fest was in costume. Which would have been fine if people were really in the festive Oktoberfest mood, but they weren't. It was basically a bunch of people drinking microbrews and listening to live indie music. We might as well have been at bumbershoot. Where was the polka? The chicken dance? The accordion for goodness sake?! AAAND the food court was outside so if you were hungry you had to leave the event and possibly risk not being able to get back in if they were sold out. It was silly planning on their part and I'm really surprised that Torrance, CA was able to hold a better Oktoberfest than Fremont. I'm holding out hope for Leavenworth, but I'm guessing it's going to be Munich or bust next year.

Yet still I was pretty proud of myself for dressing up, I had a blast with the tall one and even Melissa joined us! I guess any day with friends, beer and costumes can't be all that bad :)

p.s. got some love from the henchbot too. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

comfort zone



A few years ago I dragged my then boyfriend to the Oktoberfest at Alpine Village down in Torrance, CA. We didn't get a stein with the price of admission but they served draft beer in these giant cups that succeeded in getting me totally hammered. I was having a BLAST but Bill sat there all "I'm too cool for this crap" like while I stood up and did the chicken dance. It was great, awesome, soooo much fun and it was the first time I really did silly things in public without worrying too much about what anyone else though.


Time to put really put that resolve to test this weekend. Will I go to the Fremont Oktoberfest in costume? Will I chicken out? Can I talk the tall one into wearing lederhosen? Did I really just post a picture of myself in a beer wench costume on the internet? Oy...

Wish me luck!

p.s. that's not the costume...it will be even more awesomer.

p.p.s. that's right, I said awesomer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Passion / Inspiration

I write a lot about passion. I feel like it's something I have and feel so much that I can't help but share it with everyone around me. Sometimes it comes out as giddiness, sometimes it comes out in tears, but it's always there.

Over the last couple weeks I've seen multiple concerts and luckily they've all been of my favorite artists. The Dave Matthews Band was one night and, although I sat under the stars in one of the most beautiful venues on earth watching my favorite band, the only thing that really moved me was the look on my cousin's face as he stared in wonder at the drum works of Mr. Carter Beauford: our voices becoming one as we sang "Why I Am" at the deep blue sky. The Long Winters at Bumbershoot also comes to mind. I love this band and am enamored with John Roderick's voice, however I grew bored during the set and suggested we go. Once we got outside and I heard the music flowing over the night air mixed with the sounds of the city around me I made the tall one stop and sit on a bench to listen, I was so blown away by the scene. Even the Australian Pink Floyd show didn't really floor me. I was more interested in the way the light played with the performers than I was with the actual performance.

It made me wonder if my passion has a new focus. I pour over photo blogs with a fury every single day. I have at least 50 that I check on a regular basis and even more that I glance at once a week or so. I don't visit music sites, I don't ask my friends for new bands to listen to, hell I don't even know when my favorite artists are coming to town. Have I lost my passion for music? Have I been so immersed in photography that I've forgotten what it's like to really feel a piece of music, to watch a band and feel the crowd swell with happiness around me and think there isn't a place in the world I'd rather be than right there, right then?

Then I watched this video:



Listen to it loud and preferably with a glass of wine.

My heart swooned, I was pushed back in my chair by the sound of the choir and my eyes welled up in tears. I haven't forgot, I just have another thing that not only am I as equally passionate about but has opened up my world to help me to appreciate things more broadly. Instead of just the music moving me, it's the surroundings that I'm in, the company that I'm keeping, the lighting, the time of day, the venue, everything. Which is fine by me, I guess I just need to remind myself every now and then :)

Sooooo since I occasionally post songs, like the one above, that move me I thought I'd share some photographers that inspire me.

Wedding Photography
Since I had the chance to photograph my cousin's wedding I spent quite some time looking at wedding photos and both Heather Gilson of One Love Photo and Caroline Tran have stayed in my blog list even now that the wedding is over. Heather uses a combination of homemade lenses and film cameras to achieve her pastel colored and blurred shots. Caroline's use of negative space and the way she connects on such an intimate level with her subjects makes her photography an inspiration. As Heather's blog says "the photos alone are reason enough to get married".

Light Painting / Night Shooting
Long exposures are my favorite thing to do. I love the dreaminess of the colors, the fogginess of the waves as they crash to the shore, the streaks of light either created by the stars or by a friend who's joined you on the outing who's been outfitted with different light sources or even just a single red headlamp.

I was first introduced to BURNBLUE, aka Toby Keller, via flickr and I followed a link to his blog. His long exposures and seascapes along the Northern California coast are so fun and helped me to understand exposure when playing with a light source.
Stu Jenks is doing some amazing things with his pinhole camera and I can browse through his series called Circles, Hoops & Spirals for hours.
Another photographer who I think is amazing and who also uses toy cameras is Susanne Friedrich. The star trails that she achieves using long exposures with her Holga camera are wonderful. When shooting long exposures with film there is not a lot of room for error. You've got to meter the light, compose correctly, wait endlessly and then hope to whatever God you pray to that the damn thing came out. She's nailed that process and I love to look at her photos.
Brent Pearson has a great blog for tips on light painting that is pretty fun to read and his photos are out of control.

Textures / Abstract / Polaroid

Irene's blog is indeed Eye Poetry. I was first drawn to her bokeh hearts and shots of Paris and she just keeps pulling me in with soft colored shots of her surroundings. Her photos are so peaceful.
The Hymn For The Cigarettes is shot entirely with film and each one is thought provoking.
xxhxxm is described as such: We do not live or work together, and yet we wanted to share a common area around some photographies. Share time, even a few milliseconds, despite the distance that can separate us (589 km at the beginning of the project). At the same time, our eyes look at two different spaces, to finally form one single picture. The rule is simple: each day, a time and a picture ratio are given. The next day, when that moment comes, we trigger no matter where we are. Later, the pictures are put next to each other to finally be published on this blog exactly (to the very minute) two weeks after their capture.

Brilliant.

Photojournalists
Love them all:
Zoriah
Boogie
Mr. Toledano
Nick Campbell

Nature
My mentor, who is an inspiration still, and I check his site at least once a day.
I have no idea who this guy is. I stumbled upon his photos and put him on my bookmarks and have been following him ever since.
Trevor Anderson is a friend of a friend and a fellow hiker. Although I haven't approved of the borders he's been putting around his photos as of late, the way he captures the northwest is awe inspiring and makes me incredibly jealous! :)
Bill Hinton is another northwest photographer and hiker that loves to shoot during the magic hour. I just love looking through his photostream. It seems as though I see something new every time and reminds me what a beautiful state I live in.

I'll leave you with one more Elbow song from the session with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Perhaps enjoy it while browsing through the links I've overloaded you with.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

night shooting

I've been enjoying a new photoblog from the NY Times called Lens. I was taken there by a link from a friend about a photojournalist I've been following for quite some time who is a New Yorker now, but is originally from Belgrade named Boogie. He does his documentation of the human condition in black and white but has begun shooting in color because he "was tired of the gray skies" around him. He had a quote that so resonated with me that I wanted to share it:

“If I left my house without my camera, my heart would probably start pounding and I would get all tense,” Boogie said. “That thought freaks me out. I wouldn’t be able to take it. Maybe it sounds cliché, but I really do feel like I am one with my camera. I like to compare it to martial arts, when you practice some moves so many times that — when you need to use them — you don’t think, you just react. Thinking is the enemy.”

I went to a show with a very old friend the other day. I hadn't seen him in quite some time (12 years, in fact) but we didn't really chat during the show, instead we connected through the music. Smiling at each other when a song that we hadn't heard in forever began to play. I saw his chest rise and fall at the same time as mine as we belted out "Comfortably Numb" over the loud guitar that resonated throughout the venue. Yet the whole time my mind was racing. If you've ever had the feeling that you needed to go to the restroom during a movie and you're sitting in the middle of the isle and a pivotal scene has just come on the screen, then you know what I was feeling. Do I get up and just go? Do I wait it out until the end? Is now a good time to go? Will I step on anyone? Where is the restroom in this place anyway? Will I be able to see where I was sitting when I get back? How many rows up am I? 1, 2, 3, 4....ARGH HOW LONG IS THIS MOVIE!?

My mind was racing like that, but it was about pulling out my camera. The stage was lit perfectly. The band was backlit by huge spotlights that would change from white to blue to green. The background singers would raise their arms up in unison and it would break up the light so amazingly. I kept going through all the shots in my head wanting to pull out my camera so badly, but I didn't. I was nervous. I didn't want to look silly, would the light bother the people around me, I should just enjoy the moment with my friend, what if the picture turns out bad just as someone is looking over my shoulder and thinks "man, she sucks". ARRGH HOW LONG IS THIS SHOW!?

This is actually a constant running dialog in my head. I see shots all. the. time. but I hesitate to pull out my camera. I feel like I'm one with it, but it's like a long distance relationship. I want to see it every day but I can't, however once I'm reunited with it it's almost like we were never apart.

I'm mixing my metaphors here, but I want to convey how hard it is to be away from it. I wish that I could have it by my side every day. I wish that I couldn't leave the house without it. I wish that every day was filled with beautiful moments captured on film. For now I'm enjoying the beautiful moments, I just need to have the guts to pull out the damn camera and capture them. What other people think be damned.

When the tall one suggested night shooting last night I jumped up and down, I was so excited. We had both had a terrible day, and his was amazingly long, and yet both of us were still down for an adventure. Ah, old Stacy how I missed you. It's been a while since I've just up and done something without boohooing about it. I picked him up at work, put my gear together while he showered and off we went to Alki Beach for my first evening of night shooting with my D90.

noisy pier

We had a quick bite to eat at the Celtic Swell amidst a game of pop culture trivia and then headed out to the pleasantly cool beach. I was exhausted, but wandered around the old Luna Beach pier looking for a shot, finally talking the tall one into walking down the rocks to get the shot I was looking for. While waiting for the waves to hit from the passing ferry we kissed, laughed, swigged from the flask and I practiced shooting on the old pier. One thing I've noticed is the massive amount of noise from the D90 on the long exposures. I'm sure it's something I'm doing, but that's what this evening was about; testing the camera so I can learn.

ferry waves

Finally a ferry floated by and the waves crashed to the shore. I was able to fire only one frame off before the waves died down. Between the long exposure and the time it took to write to my card the waves were already a memory. I learned another thing: I need a faster SD card :)

weird fishes

I was so grateful to the tall one for pushing me to go out last night. I've been nervous to bring my camera with us because sometimes getting the right shot takes time. I don't want to burden him, or anyone else I spend time with, with waiting on me getting the perfect shot...but maybe I need to. It's the only way to continue to learn and maybe if they get used to me always having it around then perhaps I won't be so nervous all the time.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

dmb @ the gorge

Sorry for the hiatus, but it's been a busy month!

family shot

As I mentioned before, my cousin Levi invited me to the Dave Matthews Band show at the Gorge and I took a half day on Friday to drive over and meet him along with my Aunt Shirley and her husband Tod. I got there pretty early and was able to secure a spot at the front of the line. I had no idea that this was Levi's first ever concert and also Aunt Shirley's first time ever at the Gorge, so I felt really lucky to be there to share it with them.

look at this crowd

As is the ritual at any Gorge show we needed one person to run ahead to grab our spot on the lawn and Levi was tasked. He did a GREAT job and landed us a sweet spot on the second stair up. We laid out the blanket and I went wandering for shots of the crowd. I took quite a few and since I brought the D90 in with me I think people assumed I was with the band and anytime I tried to get shots people would jump in front of the camera.

don't burn the day

The sun began to set as G Love and Special Sauce took the stage. I noticed everyone on the top of the hill watching the setting sun and I just had to run up and grab a shot. Although many people were quite intoxicated the majority of the people there were enjoying the beautiful venue and it was cool to chat with the random people who were just so happy to be there. I think that was probably my favorite thing, talking with not only the concert goers, but also my Aunt and Tod who were in such great spirits.

Then I look up at the sky

This being my 26th (or so) show I had high expectations for the band. They had canceled their last show due to Dave's voice and so I was hoping that a week of rest would have him in better shape. Turns out it was fine, and he hit the high notes of Proudest Monkey (the opener) perfectly, but he played it safe and had Danny Barnes sing a couple of songs later on in the set. I've definitely seen better shows and although I shouldn't have done it I took a look at Saturday's set list and it was infinitely better than Friday's. It's been so long since I'd been to the gorge that I forgot which are the best days. I guess next time I'll just have to go to all three!

So let us sleep outside tonight

I think the best part of the show was singing along with Levi. He and I were singing the new stuff at the top of our lungs. Aunt Shirley said she looked over at us and saw so much happiness in our faces that she wished she had a camera to capture the moment. Levi and I were calling songs and he even called "Gravedigger", which was a big surprise to me!

I am a humble monkey

I ended up driving back that night and was exhausted by the time I got home. The weekend was busy and I didn't end up capturing most of it with my camera. Bumbershoot on Saturday was fun and tiring as I caught a bit of a cold the night before but we still got to see a comedy show, Otep (yikes) and the band I really wanted to check out, The Long Winters. I'm sure I would have enjoyed them a bit more if I wasn't so tired. We wandered out of the park before their set was over and I kept making the tall one stop because I wanted to hear what the next song was. He ended up dragging me into a taxi for home so I could finally get some rest.

Sunday the tall one took me to PAX as he had free passes. It's a gamer convention, and it was the last day so these guys were pretty ripe. It was interesting wandering around the convention floor and we saw a preview of the new Avatar game...in 3D which was pretty fun. My favorite part though was playing Guillotine. They had a big game room where you could rent out any board game and that was our choice. Plus, it was nice to sit. My cold was getting worse and being in a convention center with a bunch of smelly nerds was not helping my spirits in the least bit. I'm pretty lucky that the tall one thinks my grumpiness is cute, but I'm sure even that has it's limits and after the finale game of the Omegathon we headed home.

This month has been a long one for me. I haven't had much time to process it all and now that it's over I'm kinda in a funk. I'm grateful for the time to be quiet and rest now, but it's going to take a little bit for me to get back to normal I think. As the days get shorter and the weather turns cold I'm grateful that I've had the opportunity to really experience a Seattle summer. The tall one has shown me so much of my own city that it makes me feel like an outsider...I guess the jury is still out on me being a Seattlite anyway. Still, I'm happy to be here and thankful for the adorable boy who guides me around and never lets me miss an opportunity to explore.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

los angeles

Friday

I flew in Friday morning and was greeted by a large fire in the forest and smoke in the valley. I was overwhelmed, to say the least, and since I was alone and at LAX I decided to go to where I was most comfortable: I drove to Target. I wanted to buy a few dresses and most of the pickings are slim in Seattle. After shopping I headed over to Venice for a quick photo shoot.

venice pizza shop

venice in the sky

My rental car had great air conditioning, but the moment I stepped out of the cool interior I was blasted with heat and humidity. I parked in the exact same place that I had been almost one year earlier and wandered over to the boardwalk. It was so muggy and my hair was plastered to my head. It sucked, but I was determined to get some shots.

half staff

I wandered down the boardwalk, walked on the beach and then headed over to the Sidewalk Cafe where I had a quick beer at the bar. It tasted better than the water she handed me and I gulped it down pretty quickly. There were a lot of tourists there and I just didn't have the patience for them.

interesting home

Walking back to my car I saw this awesome house and just had to grab a shot of it. If you zoom in close you can see all the interesting sculptures that hung off the sides. I love Venice. Such an interesting mix of people.

giant robots

I drove towards Hollywood to meet up with Dane, but I had a little time to kill so I walked into Amoeba, but then wandered out after about 10 minutes when I realized there wasn't anything currently that I wanted to purchase. Sad that I couldn't think of a single CD that I wanted a hard copy of.

I grabbed Dane and we went to the Formosa Cafe before heading over to one of my favorite restaurants, Jones, and then we spent some time at his place (well, really Gena's) and chatted. I was staying at my families house so I took the drive out after visiting with Dane and to my surprise Jolie and Carolyn were still awake so we had time to chat a bit before I passed out.

Saturday - The Wedding

The tall one flew in Saturday morning and I went to pick him up at the airport. I hadn't really experienced any smoke on Friday but driving into Burbank I could taste it in the air and my eyes were burning. We quickly headed south to Torrance where we had lunch with his adorable Grandpa. He recently moved to a retirement facility down there and was proud to show off his new home to his Grandson. We chatted about Yosemite a great deal and he had some excellent black and white infrared shots on his wall. He was a character and I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get to take him to a strip club :)

a great afternoon

He was kind enough to let us stay in his home in Manhattan Beach. We walked in and was instantly greeted with a 180 degree view of the sea. It was amazing and I felt sooo lucky. I was a tad bit bummed that the tall one wanted to immediately take a nap, but I forget sometimes how exhausted his work makes him and I quickly turned my mood around and bid him a lovely sleep. I poured myself a glass of wine, kicked off my shoes and enjoyed staring down at the Strand. I used to run along it everyday and always wished I could be one of those people I saw sitting on their balcony on a beautiful day enjoying a glass of wine or dinner with friends or just the view...and finally I was one.

life moves so fast

We made our way over to Jen and Travis's house in the Valley and hung out a bit before heading to Union Station, where the wedding was taking place. The above shot was after the ceremony. We did a little impromptu photo shoot as the lighting was so excellent in the station, plus it's beautiful in there. My nifty fifty caught a lot of flare from the lights so I changed this shot to black and white to mask some of it...hopefully. I adore Jen and Travis. He's an actor and also does quite a bit of voice over work, she's an excellent chef and just got a new job managing a huge staff at a very popular bakery in the Valley. Their house was so cute, and so them!

the first dance

The wedding was so beautiful. I knew the ceremony would reflect this amazing couple and I wasn't wrong. Amy was in a stunning cream dress and there were little personal touches all through out the tables. Alcohol was flowing and they even imported down Rainier beer as it's hard to come by in LA. Amy and Andrew met at UW in the Geology department, and strangely enough I didn't even know her up there, we met in LA and hit it off almost immediately. I was really glad to be there and celebrate their marriage...even if they had already done the legal bits up in SF couple months before.

kisses

I was over by the bar (big surprise) when the couple cut the cake so Jen grabbed my camera and dropped a few frames. The light was low, and the shutter speed was very slow, but like I said to her if you only get one usable one out of a hundred you still got your shot. I love how people always want to play with my camera. So far there hasn't been one time where I've said no and I've always had great results with what they capture on accident...or even sometimes on purpose!

After quite a few drinks, dancing and toasts we said goodnight to Amy and headed home. The beach house was empty, but not quiet for very long :) It was a very good night indeed.


Sunday


deep teal sea

I woke up early in the morning to enjoy the morning sea air and took a quick picture of the sea before getting ready to meet up with some friends at Hugo's in the valley. Rebecca, Mandi, Jen, Jen and her boyfriend Leslie, Lucas and I had a lovely lunch filled with laughs and catching up. They loved my boyfriend, as I knew they would, and I sat back and watched as they all chatted with each other. Rebecca was in a pretty terrible car accident a few months ago and we were all so grateful that she was able to join us. I forgot how much I adored that girl.

observing the fire

I had to drop the tall one off at the airport around 6ish so we bid the group farewell and headed out to explore a little of the city. The observatory was open and I had yet to visit it as the whole time I lived in LA it was closed for restorations. The Station fire was looming in the background and I caught a couple frames of it with one of the telescopes for scale.

the fire in the fall

I was surprised to see the colors of the trees already turning to fall, and it made for a nice contrast on the above shot. Doesn't it look like a volcano erupting? It was pretty eerie. You could see the cloud everywhere you went in the city and yet we were going about our day like nothing was different.

cooking

After grabbing Casey's Oscar and driving down Hollywood Blvd. I took the tall one to the airport. Airport kisses are awesome. Jen had invited the girls over for dinner so I headed her way and since I was the first one there we got to chat a bit before the other girls got there.

desert

She made two dishes, pork tenderloin on a bed of garbanzo bean puree and three pepper relish meatloaf with a sauce to die for. She went to CIA, and geesh can that girl cook. The meal was excellent and she even made a lactose free (kinda) desert for us as Rebecca can't have dairy. The other Jen loved hers and it spun her into a
sugar induced haze. She's nuts anyway so it was kinda fun to watch her. Never a dull moment with my girls.

I drove out to my families house that night and the minute I walked in my Uncle asked me "red, white or a beer?". I gratefully took a glass of red wine and sat chatting with them for a couple hours. My cousin Blake had scored the winning goal at his hockey championship so we toasted to him before we all turned in for the night. I took a quick moment to thank my Uncle for all he's done for me and it was nice sitting with him alone for a second. It's so important to me that he knows how much I appreciate him, I hope that came across when we chatted.

Monday

Monday morning I finally got to sleep in, although I did have a Winnie puppy and cousins to contend with for a little bit, but eventually the house grew quiet and I fell back asleep. Carolyn and I went to lunch together and then I packed up and drove out to Santa Monica to look at the pier and to buy a CD at my old yoga studio. Before I had to drop my rental off I drove out to the old house and chatted with Bill for a quick moment. He wanted to take me to the airport so I followed him over to the Hertz dealer and then hopped in the car for the quick ride over to the terminal. It was nice to see him and although per usual we had a tiff it reminded me how far I've come since I first moved to that city.

I was thankfully picked up by Melissa at the airport and I stumbled into my apartment ready to drop dead on the bed. Not more than 5 minutes had passed when I got a knock on the door and opened it to see Casey standing there. I gave him his Oscar and then we chatted for a minute about my trip while sipping on some Jack over ice. I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer so he hugged me goodnight and I collapsed onto my bed for a blissful sleep.

I can't even begin to say how awesome this trip was. It was so great to see my friends, to hang out in my town, to show my boyfriend around and to spend time with my family. However, it was also great to come home to a boyfriend who missed me, a friend who was more than happy to pick me up at the airport and my best friend who couldn't wait to hear all about my trip.

Have I mentioned yet how lucky I am?