April 17, 2006

That's Taxes To You

I have about four rolls of undeveloped film sitting on a desk (two from this weekend), and two more in the works. I just finished my taxes and am sitting on the floor of the living room experiencing something between sticker shock and apathy. All in all, I am getting a bit of money back, but the process by which all if this came together took all the fun out of it days ago. Federal return measured 16 pages, which might be more than last year, and that one seemed hefty.

In other news, I've been lugging around this book the past few weeks, hoping to have a solid hour to devote to re-reading it here and there. But every time I sit down to go over something in it, I'm interrupted. At home, alone at a cafe, or times like this. I'm hoping to come up with a few good presentation ideas on modeling in general that I can start introducing into our informal developer "brown bag" meetings which we have at work once a week. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but lost sight of these things in the midst of constant change.

March 26, 2006

Where is Ivan?

I took a slight turn in the past few weeks, and thanks to some welcome prodding, got myself a new flickr account. All photos will be there, possibly referenced here-- I'm not sure yet what to make of all this.

It might actually work out for the better. The desire to post a few photos on the web (since photography is what I aspire to do in my off hours) overshadowed the original purpose of this site to be about other things. But photos fit in with the short attention span most of us keep on the web, so to keep them off this site would probably be a mistake.

That said, not having photos here for a few weeks has taught me an important lesson about myself-- I'm getting lazy doing non-photo related things outside of work.

March 09, 2006

blue sky, new mexico

EarthandskyPulled from the archives along with a lot of similar photos. No address, but if I had to guess, this was somewhere on the way to the D.H. Lawrence memorial. (F100, 24mm f2.8D, Ektachrome 100)

March 05, 2006


Janes-1Flower and candle, taken one evening at Jane's. We arrived just before closing, and they were nice enough to seat us. We've been there a few times now and always have a good meal. Recommended.

As a side-note, this was my first time re-acquainting myself with the Nikon FE. Funny story about it-- I had problems loading the film! I took a picture of the candle at our table while winding the film, and noticed that it wasn't advancing. Eventually I remembered that the film spools counter-clockwise, and took this shot again as a test.


Mystery 1996I need some help identifying this one. It comes off a damaged and seriously underexposed negative.

As much as I can tell, I took it around 1996, and it appears on a same roll of film as a few random pictures from my college days. This doesn't look like any place in Champaign I can remember, nor does it look like Chicago. Is that a train in the foreground? Where is this place? Help!

March 03, 2006


Poolside Bolivia-1Work has been all-encompasing this week. I saved this scan a week or so ago for reasons that I can't remember. Photograph most likely taken in 1997 (yet another reason why I like having a film scanner-- being able to make all these old memories available and fresh). From back in Bolivia, behind my family's house. If I recall correctly, I moved an ugly chair out of the way in order to take this picture. The pool (which was new then) was just filled. I wonder if it still looks the same...

More work tomorrow, then a weekend of phone calls and then some. I have three rolls of film sitting in my in-box, two from my weekend with the FE, and one from Vegas.. Although I've been considering holding off on posting pictures for a while and concentrating on other things.

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


I hate lugging lots of things around. Reading a thread on 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...

Continue reading "Anatomy Of A Birthday" »

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.

Continue reading "Salteneria Bommerang" »

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.

January 31, 2006

Window, Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel Another shot from the same roll. There are moments when the colors of a stained glass window (and representations thereof) belie some of the underlying beauty of the design which becomes more evident in black and white.

Side note - the thing with rangefinder cameras is, you're never quite on center when you need to be, such was apparently this case here. I'll have to remember that in the future.

Chartres Maze

Cathedral Maze This is a some kind of variation on the Chartres maze which we found just outside the cathedral. We took turns walking the maze, although I found it hard to keep going after standing in the shade too long. The day was rather windy and cold.

As a side note, this roll had been sitting in my bag for the past few weeks-- big mistake! The security personnel at work have a habit of scanning every bag that enters the building through an X-ray machine-- usually not a big deal once or twice. Two weeks later however, it managed to cause some weird vignetting throughout the roll, and streaks in this particular shot-- notice the streaks running just right of center. Other shots have several such vertical streaks as well.

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham-Summer-2001This is an old one from back in 2001, scanned using an Minolta Dimage Elite II (at least I think that's the model) purchased several years ago from Helix, used for two days and promptly returned. My only bad experience with Helix to date, realizing that they had (continue to have?) a strict no-returns policy on all digital equipment. My problem with the scanner started and ended with the fact that it was a poor substitute for the real scanner I wanted at the time (but could not afford). Simply put, I settled, and then realized that most of the slides I scanned didn't look as well as I wanted them to (I should probably re-scan this one now and do a side-by-side comparison). In any case, I argued for a good hour before the sales clerk decided to take back the piece of equipment. I still remember the last thing he said to me, "So you're saying that this is defective?" In retrospect, I think he was just pulling a CYA. It was a ridiculous return policy however.

I think this one scan is a bit of an exception from the other ones (which were not nighttime shots)-- still amazed that I took this one shot freehand, thinking that it wouldn't materialize to much. I know nighttime shots of the fountain are a dime a dozen on stock photo sites, but I like this one because it's my only.

I wish I could remember something interesting about the evening, but it was probably just your typical walk back from the lakefront in the middle of the summer.

January 30, 2006

Tea House

TeahouseIt was a fairly cold evening by the time we rolled into The Tea House. Unlike last time, we didn't get a chance to crash on one of the many comfy couches that line the larger rooms in the corner. I recommend the scones. but be forewarned that one scone is more than enough for two to share. Also be sure to check out the gallery next door if you happen to enjoy paintings of a fairly left-leaning political nature.

January 29, 2006

Wherefore the camera phone?

I've decided to start printing out some of the pictures I capture with the camera phone. Resizing them to 3"x2.5" pictures printed on matte photo paper (which I seem to have quite a bit of, as it's far less expensive than the glossy variety), they tuck nicely into a Moleskine.

The moleskine is a pretty trendy notebook right now, but notebook type doesn't really matter-- I still have a few old college-ruled "marble" Mead composition books [amazon link] from back in college, and in may ways they were preferable-- an optimum size, pretty sturdy and cheap. Useful for writing, drawing and class notes (which were usually interspersed).

Pasting some pictures into a notebook might be interesting, since visualizing a scene can usually spark a few ideas of your own. While you might call this a form of scrapbooking, I wouldn't necessarily feel the need to constrain the text to simple captions or expository writing, nor should the photos be strictly autobiographical in nature.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I always found camera phone-quality images kind of a novelty in most cases. Despite popular convention, I don't really think anything that comes out of a cell phone can be good enough for serious photography nor even the web. But this might prove to be an interesting application.

January 16, 2006

After the Party, 2005

Ltg2006 AfterthepartyStill have more than a few photos that were lying around. Thanksgiving may have come and gone, but I'm still catching up.

January 14, 2006


Kitschn 011306Headed out to the River North Kitsch'n tonight after work. Snapped this on the phone from the booth we were sitting in. As you can tell, it was pretty slow for a Friday night, but then again it hasn't been open that long.

The menu was pretty much the same as at the original location, and the dollar PBR's were always welcome. Riverfront 011306As you can tell if you've been to the Roscoe location, this restaurant a much larger space (there's a bar next door as well), but much easier to get to. We'll have to head back for brunch sometime (and hey, free parking). You can walk to the restaurant from the parking garage down the river walk, which wasn't very scenic other than this nice shot of the loop.

January 09, 2006


Impeachment 2006Sure enough, Toyota owner! But shouldn't this be written on the side of a carton of orange juice? Snapped this yesterday with my phone as we were walking near greek town. Lucky for me I even remember to use the camera phone half the time, particularly when it's cold out and we're on our way to lunch.
On a serious note, I can't tell if it's worth laughing at this or not. On the one hand, truer words... On the other hand, what does it say about our own levels of cynicism that in order to communicate a level of dissatisfaction with GFH, we need to even dignify one by comparing it with the other?

January 04, 2006

Storefront, Santa Fe

Jewelry Shop-1
Walking around downtown Santa Fe at night is a good time to peer into some of the shop windows. This particular store seemed to sell jewelry (not lamps?), located somewhere near the intersection of Galisteo and San Francisco street.

A few notes on the details-- F100 on Provia 400 (which, as slide film, I'm more than happy with). A word on the zoom lens-- I'm actually a bit surprised that I was ready to sell it a few months back considering that I generally like using it. The drawbacks of the lens (I think some of the softness comes through here, even when you factor in the VR stabilization since I was shooting fairly wide) are usually forgivable considering how relatively light it is, quiet to focus, reliable and all around a great value. The problem is, I hate lugging around large, conspicuous lenses. Considering how and when I shoot, I just value smaller, lighter camera equipment in general.

December 20, 2005

After The Show, 1988

After The Show (1988)Conventional wisdom would state that there are a few sure-fire ways to get into fights at a movie theater. One of those involves bringing a bag full of clothing to opening night of a typical summer blockbuster, placing a different article of clothing on every seat in the center of the theater and telling everyone who walks by that yes, in fact those seats are saved. Eventually there will be blood off-screen, with zero chance of romance.

Or you take it upon yourself to finish your photo assignment in a dark theater just as the credits are rolling. In my case, you do exactly this, but a few seconds before the credits finish rolling. The benefits are huge: less clothing to carry around, and fewer fist fights. After all, those who are actually close enough to do any damage (such as the well groomed contemplator sitting directly behind me) are blinded temporarily. Meanwhile, your teenage friends are too busy talking about how much they liked the film to have the time to ask what the hell you think you're doing. "That's okay," you say. "We'll figure it out it in the parking lot".

October 28, 2005

Moon Landing

Moon Landing This is one of the few pictures I happened to come across of my grandparents seated next to each other (most photographs tend to be of large groups taken from quite a long distance, and therefore require a bit of interpretive story telling to get the time/date/context). I like this particular photograph (as scratched up as it is) precisely because it stands in contrast to all those other family pictures full of aunts, uncles and cousins whom I barely remember and have a hard time pointing out from fifty feet away. I also imagine the astronaut waving at the television camera.. which is appropriate enough when you think about it. Here we have a camera on the moon transmitting back to earth, fed through to a television where, at the right moment, my father takes this picture of the astronaut posing with my grandparents for just such an occasion so that, years later, their grandson could scan it in for posterity.

I'm sure this type of picture-taking was a common practice during the moon landings and that other families have such pictures stored in their attics-- after all, how else would millions of television watchers commemorate such an event without so much as a ninety hour Tivo in the house? The mind truly boggles.

In the mean time, suffice it to say that my grandparents only visited the U.S. for brief periods of time until their passing (I have very few memories of my grandmother in particular). The horse figurines on top of the television still exist believe it or not, as does the television-- more furniture than appliance now, but as functional and irradiative as ever.