Saturday, May 26, 2012

On the Boulevard St. Germain

Paris, France.

What's that? I've already posted this shot before you say? Et alors? By the time you see this post I'll be back in Paris, occasionally breaking up my tour of the city's cafes by taking a few photos. At any rate, this photo is worth posting again - in fact, if forced to choose, this may well be my favorite of my Paris photos. For now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Focus On: Kinzie Street Industrial Corridor II

Would that there was more to say about these photos, but there's not really much to add if you've already seen this post.

Kinzie Industrial Corridor X

Kinzie Industrial Corridor XIII

Kinzie Industrial Corridor XIV

Kinzie Industrial Corridor XVII

Kinzie Industrial Corridor XVIII

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Forget it Jake

Forget it Jake

So I’m a fan of film noir. Probably not a surprise if you’ve been looking at my stuff for a while, but there it is. I’m also a fan of Chinese food, which would normally be less relevant on a photo blog except in this particular case since noir and Chinese restaurants tend to provide the combination for an interesting photo. Or at least, they did this time.

As it happened, I was recently arrived in the District of Columbia and, as I had been sans Chinatown in my previous residence, I was eager to see what H Street had to offer.

It was an inauspicious beginning.

I knew that DC’s Chinatown had withered over years, but I wasn’t prepared for Chinablock – a roughly one-block stretch of H street with perhaps a half-dozen or so restaurants with all the architectural charm of an office complex. The only thing signifying the place as being connected to China were the characters affixed to the signs in front of the eateries – but since the Bed, Bath and Beyond and the Fuddruckers around the corner had the same characters, this wasn’t saying much. Fortunately, Chinatown Express redeemed this place. Now, the reviews I read of the food were good, but that doesn’t figure into noir or photography. What does figure was how absolutely dingy the inside of the place was and, of course, that fa├žade. After slurping down a bowl of something or other noodles, I came back out determined to get some photos. The usual HDR shooting occurred and I went about my evening. When processing time came however, I had a problem. See, the dominant colors on our restaurant there are green and red – and it was just not working with the HDR algorithms. The light and tone were good, but the Christmas feel was ruining the mood. Frustration hit. I had a photo that I liked but that just didn’t quite work. I can’t say exactly why, but out of frustration – almost anger – I randomly ran a black and white channel mixer layer. And whadd’ya know.

So I submitted this to the DCist website and they ran it and it was popular. But they also gave me an idea. See, I already had a title for the photo, which I liked (and still do). But writer for the weekend feature nailed it with this one: Washington DC as Imagined by Raymond Chandler.

Now that’s not a bad idea.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Title to Come

So this wasn’t the first time I’d photographed this scene. But as soon as I made that first image, I knew that I’d be coming back here at night. Fortunately, grad school soon provided me an opportunity. Seems that my program sponsored a weekly happy hour (let’s hear it for Catholic Universities) not too far from here so it was a simple matter to bring my gear and shoot en route. The biggest trick was shooting from the bridge which spanned the canal – it was old and wood and on this warm fall evening, there were plenty of joggers and other passersby crossing over it with no regard for my tripod or my need for a perfectly still shooting platform for thirty seconds or so. Persistence paid off however and I made my way to the local public house where, upon my entry, one of my classmates mistook my tripod for a rifle. A story for a different day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Focus On: Kinzie Street Industrial Corridor I

Chicago is dying. Not the city itself (well, not yet at least) but the spirit of Chicago, its history, its sense of itself has changed significantly in 30 years in ways which I don't think are salubrious.

Most notable in its absence is industry.

Kinzie Industrial Corridor II

The steel mills are long gone as are - for the most part - the grand foundries and factories and other great cathedrals to industry that built the City of the Big Shoulders. Lesser temples still survive however and - having spent a lifetime glimpsing some of them from the passing window of an el or Metra (or even CNW) commuter train; upon seriously investing in photography, I set out to document what I could.

Kinzie Industrial Corridor III

My main focus when starting out was the Kinzie Industrial Corridor - an area of the city I had been through an uncountable number of times but which I had never really been in. Between the Late St. el, the Metra West Line, and college warehouse parties, I had passed through this area regularly for twenty years without recording a single image of the place.


One blustery day, a few summers ago however, I found myself with challenging lighting conditions and cameras in hand.

Kinzie Industrial Corridor V

This area rapidly became one of my favorite places to shoot. On the weekend, you'd be lucky to see a single person. You could walk around for hours and feel like you owned the city.

Kinzie Industrial Corridor VIII

At the time, I was still in a "all HDR all the time" mindset, although the lighting conditions that day really were challenging with intermittent rain and constantly changing light. Looking back, I'm not sure that these needed to be HDR, but I think that they've held up relatively well.

Kinzie Industrial Corridor VI

More to come.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Blue Gate

The Blue Gate

I had a much longer post about how this shot angers up the blood since there was a (illegally) parked pick up truck to the left of the frame which forced me to compose this tighter than I wanted to but then I thought, what’s the point – I still like how it turned out.