Thursday, July 30, 2009

Julius Shulman - Architectural Photographer

I'm a big fan of architectural photography. I like to photograph buildings, especially at night. I don't always succeed, but I keep trying.

Unfortunately, I don't know very many names of architectural photographers. I've looked at their work, but never bothered to follow many. A photographer well know for photographing the architecture of Los Angeles passed away earlier this month. His name was Julius Shulman. Looking at his work, it is work I've seen and admired before. Another photographer I need to start looking into.

An article in the LA Times about him from January of this year. Be sure to follow the slideshow link.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wake Wars

A local restaurant chain sponsored a wakeboarding contest in a parking lot downtown this past weekend.  They hauled in three pools of water for the wakeboarding part, a bunch of sand for beach volleyball and closed off a nearby street for a BMX bike demo area.  There were other activities available as well and of course plenty to eat and drink.  I headed down Sunday evening and spent a couple of hours.  While the weather was on the cool side, the event was well attended and there were plenty of photographic opportunities.  Of course there was the opportunity to get wet also.  I got splashed a little bit, a couple of spectators were soaked. 

This was billed as the first annual event.  Since there are plans be the owners of the restaurant to build in the parking lot, I'm wondering where they will move it too.  Hopefully it will be back in the future.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Byron Days 2009

Byron Center, Michigan held its annual summer celebration this weekend.  Most of the events were Saturday, starting with a 5 K run and a parade.  Never having been to the parade, I was surprised how popular it was.  Big crowds and it lasted for about 45 minutes.  

A lot of other events, things you normally see in these kind of events.  A lot of sports competitions, basketball, softball and skateboarding.  The skateboarding event was new this year, and I spent a lot of time there.  There was also tractor pulls and horse pulls.  I caught the end of the horse pulls and the teams of two horses were pulling a sledge loaded with 6,000 pounds.  The winning team ended up pulling 6,500 pounds.  

There were a lot of things for the kids to do, as well as a dunk tank and food.  It ended up with fireworks.  


Friday, July 24, 2009

Isolated or Preoccupied?

Lately I've seen to have my eye drawn to people who are either appear isolated in a crowd or are occupied with doing something different than everyone else.  At the moment I'm not sure where I'm going with it, but I think I'm going to give it some more attention.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dance, Dance, Dance

Since I haven't really been out with the camera much in the past week, I decided at the last minute to attend the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society dance last evening.  Currently held twice a week at  Rosa Parks Circle, they provide a half hour of dancing instruction and then 3 hours of music.  The crowd gets quite big, easily overfilling the dance area.  A different crowd than what shows up for the blues concert on Wednesday evenings, it is primarily young and surprisingly well dressed.  At least the woman.  A good portion of them come in dresses, while the guys, for the most part are not as flashy.  The music runs from big band to more modern stuff.  Some of the dancers are quite good, while more of them are just enthusiastic.  A good way to spend an evening.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Men of Earth

40 years ago, the Apollo 11 moon mission was in progress.  Launching on  July 16th, 1969, and making the moon landing on the 20th with the whole world watching.   

I was 14 at the time and I remember sitting if front of my parents black and white television watching the launch and moon walk.  I was already a big science fiction and space geek, with a small collection of space books, and I've remained that in the years since.  It surprises me that there are still a small proportion of the population who believes it was all a hoax.  I also wish that the United States had continued the moon landings, instead of stopping them in the early 70's.  I get new hope every time the president or NASA announces a new initiative, but those get dashed when the political realities set in and nothing happens.  At this stage, I believe I have to wait until a private company makes a trip or another space race starts up again.

There  is a lot of nostalgic looks back at the first moon landing though.  This Boston Globe set of photos is good.  I particularly like the Michael Collins explanation on #35.


The NASA history office has a series of photos up.

New Scientist magazine has an article on how things might have been if we kept going.

A lot of the higher quality moonwalk videos were erased.  Nasa has found some copies and is restoring it.  A few examples are available on line.

A web site dedicated to the Apollo 11 mission.

The Saturn V launch photo was downloaded from the NASA history site.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I've not shot a whole lot of motor sports.  While I like the speed and the noise as much as anyone, I really don't care much to sit in the stands and watch for any length of time.  I did, however, have a good time at the motocross yesterday.  

Mike and I have been planning on going to a raceway and motocross arena in Grattan, Michigan for a bit.  We finally were able to attend.  We spent most of the time wandering around the motocross area.  While a long lens helps, we were able to get close enough to see some great action and get some really good photos.

The racetrack across the road had motorcycle races going on also.  We didn't get tickets to get on to the track, but we could see, and hear the racers through the protective fence.  I tried a couple panning shots while they were zooming by, but no such luck.  I heard later, that the racers were hitting close to 150 mph on the straightaways.     

It was dusty, noisy and the smell of exhaust was everywhere.  A big crowd, with lots of chances for people and action photographs.  What more does one want?  Another venue I'm planning to go photograph again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Blues

The weekly blues concerts are back in Grand Rapids.  Held by a local radio station, they bring in a different artist every week.  This week was "Little Ed and the Blues Imperials".  Good music as usual and a great chance to get people shots.  

Monday, July 6, 2009

Air Shows

There used to be an airshow in Kalamazoo. It was held at the local airport and usually there was a jet team. Since at the time I lived about 3 miles from the airport, I went every year. For a variety of reasons, they had to stop having an airshow and I hadn't been to one since.

We decided to head up to Traverse City this year for the Cherry Festival. One of the benefits was the air show that happens as part of the Festival. The performances are over the bay and it's easy to see from pretty much anywhere along the beach. I was somewhat disappointed not to see a jet team, but it turns out the Blue Angels only appear on even years. There were a few military jets that showed up, but even they were somewhat scarce. I remember during the first Iraq war, that the military were not appearing as much during events such as these due to commitments overseas, and I would imagine the same thing is happening now.

We had good weather and the spot we picked had a good view of the action. It was not really crowded, but that is usually expected when the Blue Angels are not appearing.

The only WW II fighter airplane that flew was the P 51. There may have been more, but the static displays were at the airport and we never had a chance to visit them. All in all, a good show, and we are already talking about going back next year.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Movie Mode

Wandering around a local blues concert last evening, I noticed two local photographers following a local musician around. While this normally wouldn't be that interesting, I noticed that instead of simply photographing the person, they were using their cameras as video cameras instead.

I know that the convergence of still and video photography is supposed to be the next big thing. However I still don't get it. Bye the time you add on all the accessories that you need to become really effective to a dslr, you might as well have just bought a separate video camera. The only time I can figure out that you would only want a dslr is if you were also shooting still photos. From what I could see they were not doing that.

For example, I noticed that neither of the two photographers were using stedi-cam rig. This is a device that allows you to move with the camera and dampens camera shake. No matter how steady a had you have, you're still going to have percebtible movement in the video without one. Maybe they wanted that. Maybe the in camera image stableization is an effective substitute.

One of the photogs is a well known local photographer, and I follow his blog. Hopefully he will post some outtakes and we will be able to see what they've come up with. Meanwhile, it's not for me.