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February 26, 2006

Around The Slots

Vegas021806Eventually everything looks and sounds the same. This might be the first casino, or perhaps the last. Since slot machines are just an obstacle for getting in and out of the other areas, I usually people watch on my way through. The eery glow of the machine on a player's face is curious. This was a great opportunity for some stealth photography (too bad very few of them actually turned out). The real trick is approximating the average distance from your hip to the subject, set the shutter speed fast enough, keep the lens wide open and hope for the best. Yet another reason why a fast lens is crucial for such risky shots. High risk photography in Las Vegas. Heh...

San Dimas High School foothill Rules!

San Dimas On the drive from Los Angeles to Vegas, somewhere between LAX, the In-N-Out, and a giant, pulsating hangover...

February 16, 2006

Traveling...

I hate lugging lots of things around. Reading a thread on photo.net entitled "what is your travel kit & why?", I read this comment and thought it was interesting.

I usually carry copies of previous work that I think will make me friends. If you can't speak the language it's a real help, and even if you can, it help with those "what's this guy taking our pictures for?" moments. Usually just photocopies, nothing fancy.

On another note, before last year, I used to take my F100 everywhere, but after spending the past week with the FE, I had tons of fun with it. Should have a few images off of it next week.

February 12, 2006

Flamingo In Black

Flamingo In BlackOne last thing for the evening, taken from the same roll as my previous post. Shot this on a rainy evening after work (ironic that you can see my building in the background!), right before descending a staircase down to the blue line. They had some fence posts around this piece by Alexander Calder for the past few months due to construction. This bummed me out since I liked the fact that this was the last thing I saw before I head downstairs to take the train home, or the first thing in the morning as I head back to work.

Ever since I was young, I always preferred this piece to the Picasso. I just had a flashback after looking up other works by Calder of this book cover that we used in CS 373 over ten years ago. Trippy.

Anatomy Of A Birthday

Evening 00 We took a cab to Risorante We, which was our first time walking into the W on Adams. The cab driver thought we were a bit strange, dressed up and headed downtown-- after all, we just gave him an intersection, although eventually he figured it out.

Evening 01-1The hotel lobby is much more subdued than their lakeshore location. Ambient lounge played in the lobby, large satin curtains descended from the second floor and random images of something or other (nature images or race car driving is all I can remember) were projected across an entire wall.

There were well situated candles and rather plush couches. If you like things modern, you'd feel pretty swank in the lobby indeed. The lights are dim and somewhere in there we found our way to the restaurant, and the start of the evening...

I was busy looking at the wine list as the waiter asked us what kind of water we wanted. Had I known ahead of time that they served Voss, I would have ordered the non-fizzy variety. Regrettably, they didn't keep the bottle around. Love those bottles. Love em. The first time I drank this truly designer spring water was several years back in Nashville on a business trip. In an unlikely setting, we were eating at some dog-themed restaurant and let me tell you, I may not know much about Norway, but I love that water. Love it.

Evening 02-1I ordered us a bottle of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a great deal on a moderately pricey wine list, but we were both really happy with the selection. At $15-20 a bottle, I'll definitely be on the lookout for this in the future. And hey, I liked it so much, I snapped a picture (of course, the two of us generally order by the glass, so after finishing the whole bottle, I was in a picture taking mood).

The food itself was good, although my steak was a bit overcooked for "medium rare". You have an option of ordering the steak crusted with one of several different things, or else just seasoned and accompanied by a selection of sauces (mustard, horse radish, all good in and of themselves, although when I'm in the mood for steak, I tend to play it simple)-- I ordered mine crusted with gorgonzola, and it was good.

Evening 06 After dinner, we walked around the hotel a bit, and eventually decided on going somewhere (by this point, it was a little after 10). Liz had never been to the Funky Buddha, so we decided to stop by there since it was on the way home. The cover charge was steep, but hey, no wait. Red was the prevailing color.

There was a nicely mixed and relaxed crowd, and the music selection moved between progressive and hip-hop. We stood by the bar for a while and ordered a drink, wondering if they were in the middle of switching DJs or what. On the way out we noticed a powerbook sticking out of the DJ booth, and I kind of chuckled to myself. If I had more time or felt like bumming around, I would have tried to get a better view of his setup. I'm always curious to see how people use things like FinalScratch, although the last time I saw someone with a Powerbook pretending to be a DJ, he was pretty much pressing play. Then there were the two guys with CDJ-1000's laying it down at 3PM at a Jimmy John's. No time to contemplate all that tonight though. Exit the Buddha (by now there was a long line to get in), and take a cab over to Sonotheque, where the prevailing color was blue.

Evening 03-1The music at Sonotheque on a Saturday night seemed to be what I was looking for. The venue itself is pretty minimal, but then again so was the cover charge (and no line). It was one of those evenings when we seemed to be an hour ahead of the crowd. In this case, we found a spot near the end of the bar as people kept trickling in. I remember our bartender being friendly and attentive.

Evening 04-1A word on picture taking in clubs (and why I dig the Leica). Nobody notices a camera without flash in a dark place, and I tend to wear the strap diagonally across my chest. This is partly for comfort (I barely notice it) but also for safety in case it is either dropped or stolen. One of two things generally happen-- either I end up dancing, or I end up drunk. Seasoned readers might point out that there's a third option-- namely, that I might end up drunk and dancing. Smart of you to point that out.

The camera should stay with you the whole night, and short of falling on the floor, you can make it home in one piece without ever having to worry about that piece of expensive glass slung across your chest. If it's comfortable to walk around with it sober and stationary, you'll be fine with it on not-sober and dancing. Also, I generally stop taking photos at some point in the evening, so rather than ever being tempted to have someone else hold it, a good camera should be wearable with the least amount of discomfort.

Evening 05 As you can probably tell, the rest of the evening was a bit of a haze. Unconfirmed reports suggest that I may have signaled to the DJ a few times, made comments of a suggestive nature to my fiancee, and stayed out until two or three before jumping in a cab.

All in all, a fun night out!

February 10, 2006

Time travel

Fireworks, July 2001I haven't written about GTD in a long time (perhaps too long). I'm thinking about re-reading the book, mostly because I noticed more than a few things creeping into my inbox that have sat there for weeks, if not months, and I think the next month or two will involve a lot more context switching.

Bills in the inbox? Receipts? Nope. More like rolls of film, a camera strap, cell phone charger and (for at least a day) an umbrella. What's an umbrella doing in your inbox?

In other news, I can't make sense of these photographs jumping from one scene to another, but I enjoy mixing it up a little bit. I do have a few from last weekend, but they will have to wait a few more days.

February 09, 2006

Identity Stamp

Identity Stamp ...bored? Make your own stamp. Why is it thirty-seven cents? Because the man never lets me get my two cents in!

February 06, 2006

Salteneria Bommerang

SalteneriaboomerangHere's a photo from a local salteneria, "Boomerang", which may or may no longer be around since this picture was taken a few years back. While the front entrance is typical of most saltenerias you'd find, quality and taste of each restaurant are highly subjective-- I've witnessed several conversations between adults debating the relative merits of their local restaurants. "Boomerang" had pretty good saltenas for the area, but Los Castores is definitely king.

Here's a random comment from some site:

check out the poster´s Saltena shop, and let us all know how it is.

p.s. - I tried Saltenas in Peru, and they where nothing NOTHING compared to Sucre, Bolivia. That is one delicious food product.

Word up, my friend! I also managed to find an advertisement for the king of all saltenerias in Cochabamba, "Los Castores".

Los Castores

Be sure to grab an early lunch. Also, when they say "picantes" they really mean it. Personally I'd settle for two salteñas (one dulce, one picante) and a coke. The perfect lunch for any day.

Chicago Lakefront, 2003

Chicago Lakefront

February 03, 2006

Downhill, San Diego

Roller Coaster Legoland

February 01, 2006

Soup and Salad..

Soup N Salad Soup and Salad Appetizers Pasta Burgers Sandwiches Fish & Seafood Beverages Desserts in Michigan. Or, if you prefer, father-son bonding in a post-Lego world.

I can't say exactly what's going on here, but it doesn't bode well for the young lad, since it isn't clear exactly how much time passed between each scene. One may be led to think that the hot liquid poured onto the sheets, instantly burning the boy right before he jumped out of bed (his father, of course, conveniently outside the frame, passed out behind the bed after collapsing thanks to the boy's reckless distribution of Lego pieces on the bedroom floor).

Legoland Hotchocolate If there are alternate interpretations, I have no idea what they might be, but I caution the reader against overanalyzing the situation. Based on facial features, the man obviously has little biological relationship to the boy, so if this is the evil step-father out for revenge, it's possible that the hot liquid was poisoned in the first place, so if the worst that happens is a quick rush to the bathroom, not a bad price to pay.

And what to make of the prisoner pajamas? Could the Lego pieces on the floor be a trap? Why is the teddy bear pointing directly at them? What would Brecht think of all this? The mind reels.

As a side note, I'm not sure exactly why these two photos complemented each other in my mind just now, nor why I started messing with sepia tones as of late. Might have to do with something I saw or ate. I'm sure it's a phase.