Snow Job.

I noticed how bright it was outside this morning: clear skies, bright contrasty snow. I decided to bring my S3IS along with me grocery shopping. A short project intended to capture the glorious untouched snow turning into a case study on DOORS.

My favorite is the abstract car door. I have a lot to learn about Photoshop. It all starts tomorrow morning.

I didn't photograph anything in the grocery store because I'm still terrified of photographing strangers. Two years as a yearbook photographer, a year and a half as a contributing photographer for a comedy website, two, three, even four posed shoots including head shots...I'm still scared of people?

I'd rather photograph fruit than aim my camera at an old lady browsing the frozen section.



I got the fortunate opportunity to have some open access to "Three Dumb Men" last night. The Annoyance is a pretty lax venue, so I probably could have wandered around inconspicuously anyway, but still cool to shoot the performers "pre-show."

I did a no-no again last night; I forgot to actually CHECK my settings. I was shooting automatic for a good chunk of the show when I could have changed my settings to "fluorescent." A lot of the shots turned out really red. It's not too much of a problem, as I can easily fix it in Photoshop. Still, it's the principle of the matter: I need to pay attention.

There was a very funny, very uncomfortable moment during the beginning of the show when a dvd player decided to be rather difficult and our funny and gracious hosts had to improvise for what felt like ten minutes. It was probably just four minutes, but it felt like ten.

I had never seen any of Kristen's bits before, so it was a nice, new thing to see. She was very funny. Very creative.

It was nice to be out at a show again. The PB Tribute show was the last I'd been to. That may have been a month ago (?). Now that finals are over and I won't be back in school for a little bit, I may go out a little more. Mostly I'm gonna' practice and learn some Photoshop skillz' in my spare time. I'd really like to be able to edit and post my pictures (in this here blog) the way this photographer posts. She condenses all her photos into one little box which saves a lot of blog room and keeps your eyes moving around.

I'll probably scout out new spots/venues/performances and keep looking for new things to photograph. Of course!

How did finals go, you ask? Pretty good, I think. The photo critique was interesting as we did none the entire semester. This was our first and last critique. It's difficult for me to receive/understand critique. Not that I don't like constructive criticism, in fact, I welcome it. I seem to like photos no one else does and I'm always happiest with images (of my own) no one else likes as much as I do. It's the same for the images I find the most boring or unappealing; if I don't like one of my own photos, chances are everyone else will rave about it. The professor noticed I had a very yellow/orange feel to my group of photos and she posed a question to the class, something like: "You think you can tell a lot about the photographer by what patterns in color you see in a set? Like maybe the photographer has a fondness for warm tones?" The class nodded and I interjected: "Actually, I really hate yellow." Everyone laughed and I pointed out that my favorite image from my set was the photo of the flowers (I posted before). The flower photo has strong greens, blues and whites, which I prefer and "I don't know why I was so keen on shooting all those damn oranges and yellows."

Anyway. That's about all I gots today. Keep checking in!


"Phoneto" #2

It's a little harsh, very cropped and converted to black and white, but I like it. The light was perfect today, especially downtown.

"Three Dumb Men" tonight. Expect pictures today or tomorrow morning.


Ludo/Challenges/Hot Chocolate.

The other night, I saw Labyrinth for the first time ever. If I didn't know it before, I sure do now; Jim Henson was a saint.
I mean, look at this guy!

He's great!
Amazing! I can't believe I had never seen this film.

Anyway. Back on track. I slept in today, no work. Decided to head downtown to the One Of A Kind show. On my way, I stopped into work, picked up a drink and took a short trip with Dann to the craft show at the old folks home. I decided to treat myself to a new necklace at Hazel, too. It's very gaudy and big, but I love it. It suits me, I think. I left for the show and got off at Merchandise Mart, a building I've never been into. The show was on the eighth floor, and I was actually surprised that the space wasn't bigger. I saw maybe three or four photographer's booths and they featured mostly landscape or floral images. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I left feeling very unimpressed. I suppose art photography gets more stale every time I see it. Maybe photographing people all these years caused me to categorize myself as a photojournalist. There was a particular husband/wife photography team, and I spent a lot of time in their booth. They specialized in travel photography, especially from Europe. The images were beautiful, colorful, vast, and unreal, which was what may have put me off . Yes, I want to shoot Europe very desperately and yes I'm probably envious of this family. But it got to a point where I was tired of seeing the same images of a bicycle resting in front of a pub in England, or colorful flower pots hanging from a charming cottage in Switzerland. The photos ARE beautiful and the work is quality but it all ends up so repetitive and plastic-looking. I think about being a photographer and I just can't see myself being as passionate about art photography as I am about photojournalism (although a lot of people may put each in the same category). Funny thing was, as I was leaving the booth, I noticed a large photo on a wall opposite the booth. It was an image of a vivid red barn surrounded by snow. It was my favorite photo from the entire collection and no one else seemed to notice it; everyone kept walking by. I (sneakily) snapped a picture with my camera phone. It doesn't do it justice. It almost looks like a painting. I asked the artist, John, about it and he laughed, "I took that in Iowa, actually...About twenty years ago." He told me they only just decided to print it. I told him it was wonderful, the best yet. He probably thought I was strange. The photo gave me some perspective, though: I've been complaining about not having been to Europe yet, when there are plenty of places around me to photograph. Once I get the access to my own vehicle, I'll definitely try to take road trips through the Midwest so I can capture images like that barn, and more. Why complain about things you can't see when there are tons of things worth seeing just miles away!? Aaannnd this is what I've been doing: trying to take my camera out with me, shoot more than once a week and practice, practice, practice.

While I was wandering around the Merchandise Mart, I received a phone call from Amber and Elena, two girls I worked with when I lived in Michigan. They told me they were in Chicago until Monday, so I told them we'd meet in 20 minutes cause' I was downtown anyway. We connected and chatted briefly in an Urban Outfitters. I told them I'd call them when I was back in Michigan and we said goodbye. I staid downtown for another hour or so, wandering, going back to places I know. There's a particular place next to the river and it poses a challenge for me every time. It reminds me of a kind of Montmartre (pictured at left), and I can't seem to capture it perfectly*. I walk up and down the steps, around near the lampposts, and from above. I can't seem to find the perfect angle. I've been at night, in the morning and in the afternoon. This little area is almost always empty. If there were a few people sitting or walking, it may make for an interesting photo. Right now it's just boring (below, right).

I need a pair of gloves with a tracking device. I lost my first pair of the season already. I'm almost positive I'm cursed, as I've been doing this since I was in kindergarten. If something comes in a pair, chances are I'll lose one half of that pair in 20 minutes. I've been pretty good at getting myself out to shoot and once I get on a roll, I'm all set, but I end up freezing and giving up because I have no gloves!

I took this. I don't know if I even like this image, but it made me curious, so I posted anyway.

I tell you what, Color photo class has certainly helped me understand how to edit the colors in my photos properly.

I got home and immediately made a delicious hot chocolate in my favorite Starbucks mug.

There you have it. The most interesting picture I take tonight is of my chocolate drink. With marshmallows.

*please do not think I'm trying to compare myself to Brassai, cause' I would never...


Another phone-photo post:



Yesterday was emotionally exhausting for me. I started today off by watching the dvd set Kristy lent me. She had been recommending "Freaks and Geeks" for a long time (and rightfully so; what an amazing show). Instead of sitting around all afternoon feeling sorry for myself, I decided to call it a shooting day. I went down to Daley Plaza and wandered around the Christkindlmart. It was good fun, and I liked listening to the vendors speak German to customers and one another.

Afterwards, I walked over to Millennium park to practice my panning on the skaters. It started snowing and got dark really fast. Here are a few:

This girl had the biggest, brightest smile I've ever seen, and every once in awhile, she'd see me and grin like she was meant for modeling:

A speed skater stopped and chatted with me for awhile. I tried very hard to get some shots of him, but he was just too damn fast! He told me that he goes to the rink at the park every morning at four and skates for exercise. He told me that I should "Try it sometime."

This evening was wonderful, and even though I was only remotely happy with a few images, it was good to be out practicing. It got my mind off a lot of stuff.

edit: I nearly forgot! I read this really great little article (blip? blog? entry?) in the back of Sunday's New York Times Style magazine. The commentary really meant something personal to me (so much so that I've ripped the page out and taped it to my wall) and I think I'll take a look at some of Nan Goldin's work. Check out the article here.


Idiot Person.

What kind of idiot person walks down Michigan avenue on the first of December?
In cloth sneakers? With no hat? And a very bruised shin? And the worst attitude about consumerism? This person.
I bought that hat/scarf out of necessity, not style. Although I really like both of them.
It was ridiculous downtown. Like crazy busy. I was trying my darnedest not to say evil things to ridiculous tourists/shoppers, and believe me, it was difficult. Here are some overheard gems:

-(Woman after nearly getting hit by a car while crossing on a red light) "GO AHEAD. HIT ME. I'll sue you and have a very happy Christmas!!"

-(Another, separate woman after being forced to take the escalator because the second mall elevator was out of order)
"What kind of GOOF BALL MALL is this anyway?! You'd THINK they'd have the elevator fixed!! EScalator's. PSSSHHHH."
When people say things like that, I'm always tempted to turn around and say: "Really? You think you could do a better job? I'd like to see you try on a Saturday during the holiday season."
Don't even get me started about the guy standing outside of Macy's talking about a rally to "bring back Marshall Fields!" Really, buddy?! There is a Salvation army worker standing five feet away from you, ringing a bell for three hours straight FOR THE POOR. You think there are more important matters than than bringing back an old, dead department store?
As you can tell, I am not a very happy shopper. I'm too cynical. The thing that killed me was: I never even ended up buying any gifts! Just browsing. I'll save the actual shopping for a Tuesday or something.

Sometimes I get bummed out because I see something cool-looking and I don't have my camera. Today, when I was heading to the train station, I remembered, I do have a sort of camera! The good ol' Motorola. If it beehoves me, I can always take a quick little shot. The only thing is, I have seemingly no power or control over what result I get. Sometimes the images come out in black and white. Sometimes the sizes are bigger than others. It's very odd.Ok. I could complain some more, but I'm sure you've heard enough. More projects on the way!