Archive for Photography
My dad died the weekend before my 38th birthday. I didn’t learn until a few days later that one of the last things he did was buy me a birthday gift. It was a fun little GoPro Hero 2 Camera, something I’d mentioned in passing that I wanted to mess around with on running adventures and otherwise. The cameras are made for extreme sports–surfing, snowboarding, motocross, etc. As a father of two boys, my extreme life is limited by the necessity of staying alive for a while (you’ll find me riding motorcycles and jumping out of planes when I’m 80).
Nonetheless, my dad and mom bought me the camera, my dad insisting I get it in time for the half marathon on my birthday. As it turned out, I was too emotionally wrecked to figure out how to use a camera for that. Since then, it’s been sitting here as a reminder.
With no crazy cliffs off which to jump or cars to drive fast, I turned to a couple things in my life that make for fun video: my kids and running. The effort is still a little raw, but I can see myself having fun with the camera, extreme or not.
Here’s an afternoon with my older boy in less than two minutes:
And here’s a bit from a race we rean this morning. Still working on a way to get the horizon line right on my head when running…
So, anyone waiting for the next generation of the iPhone to come out, feel free to get excited. I finally upgraded to the iPhone 4, so whatever is coming next will probably be moved up to next week.
Before I left for the store this morning, I decided to back up my 3G one more time. In doing so, I downloaded more than 600 pictures from my phone through iPhoto. In chronological order. At about one every half-second. I’d been staring at it for about a minute when it occurred to me that it was like my life flashing before my eyes. Kids. Hospitals. Drinks. Friends. Bartenders. Poker chips. Money. Don King. Races. Music. Trips. South America. London. Vegas. Food. Oh, man, the food. It was all there and flashing by as fast as it felt in real life. It was, in a word, freaky.
Now, keep in mind, when I take pictures with my iPhone, it’s usually not for the purpose of framing. It’s like a scrapbook I carry in my pocket. The pictures are, by and large, horrible, but they were a representation of what was happening in my life. Everything went by so fast, I had myself asking questions like, “How in the hell did Don King and Tony Hawk end up within seconds of each other in my phone?”
My next thought was, “Wow, I wish I had a recording of what I just saw.” If I’d thought ahead, I could’ve recorded the screen as iPhoto imported the pictures. But, it’s me. I didn’t think ahead.
The idea of getting all the photos and putting them in chronological order again was way too much to consider. Then I remembered I had this Mac and it can do just about anything, including recreate my life flashing before my eyes. So, here it is. Two and half years of my life up to last night…in five and half minutes. There is a lot that can be gleaned from this about me, my faults, my joys, and so forth. Analyze as you like. It’s all there in technicolor, and it’s about as honest as I can be about who I’ve been over the past few years.
The past three weeks have been busier than most for me and it’s not going to slow down much for another six weeks or so. I’m remaining patient. In the meantime, I’m Mr. Mom this weekend as my wife jets off to some exotic locale (a tables-turner, I concede). With no time to write, here’s a photo of a grasshopper I ran into last weekend.
For the past several years, my family has been threatening to get together for a beach vacation. As we’re all exceptionally busy people who travel all the time anyway, it wasn’t easy to do. But, we had three birthdays to celebrate. What’s more, my parents were married for 40 years as of this summer. So, we made the vacation happen.
It’s over now and it’s time to get back to real life, work, and something resembling a healthy lifestyle. In the meantime, here’s how I spent the last week. As always, you can see the full versions of the photos at my Flickr account.
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
I wish I could remember the exact time my brother became my best friend. It might well have been the moment he was born, but you wouldn’t have known it until much later. Nearly four years his senior, I pushed him around as much as I could when I was young. He eventually got me back by being a much better athlete, student, and professional than I ever was. In any case, for at least the last 20 years, my little brother and I have been through everything together. He still puts up with my silliness, and I help contribute to his. We take regular trips to Las Vegas together and see each other on the holidays.
I think of it for two reasons. First, for the first time ever, my brother and I are taking our whole family on vacation. He’s bringing his wife and son. I’m bringing my wife and boys. Our parents will be there as well. We’ll be celebrating my wife’s birthday, my son’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, and my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. It’s a big time and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
Second, I spent a few minutes with my camera and my boys yesterday. I let them fool around while I experimented with a new lens. This is one of the photos that I ended up with. It makes me wonder how long it will take my boys to realize how great it is to have a brother…if they haven’t figured it out already.
We live in a house that is probably just big enough for two adults, two children, and a 13 pound dog. I sometimes look at it and think of the homestead as Mr. Creosote: put one more wafer-thin mint in it and it will explode all over Paris Mountain.
Though garage sales make me think of nothing but suburban ennui and flea market capitalists, I agree to having one about every five years, just so I can feel comfortable that the house isn’t going to explode. The wife seems to love the process (it’s something in her TV producer-driven and organizational mind). I am only looking forward to it because it will make my house less crowded (and I intend to serve booze to the morning shoppers, just to see what happens).
That’s a long preamble into how, in the search for junk to discard, we found this 17-18 year-old picture. I post it without comment or explanation, because neither would be sufficient.
I’ve known my friend T for a long time. We’re honest with each other as much as we can be. Sometimes it doesn’t work because we’re both idiots in our own way. With that understood, no matter how far either of us travel down our own ridiculous roads, our eyes rarely blink. I can usually spot his stumbles, and he can usually spot mine.
I’ve had countless people take my picture. No one has ever managed to capture me as well as T does. It’s largely because he’s an exceptionally talented photographer. He’s trained in it and he did it for a living for more than a decade.
It’s also because he knows me so well. Every picture of me I consider my favorite came from T’s camera. It’s because he captures me as I truly am. There are no fake smiles. There are no posed shots. There is no manufactured still life. It’s just me. He shoots me.
Usually when I repost T’s photos, it’s out of vanity, because how he shoots me is how I want to see myself. The photo on the top of this blog is his (although badly photoshopped by me). Sometimes, though, T captures the essence of how I feel and what I am in a given moment. It’s something I don’t recognize until I see his processed image. And it’s not always flattering.
I’ve been running hard for the past 72 hours. During that time I’ve had at least half a dozen people ask me if I’m okay or if something was bothering me. It confused me and I didn’t understand until T posted a picture tonight. It’s both horrible and perfect at the same time. I hate the photo, but I also love it, because someday I will want to remember how I feel right now and this photo will remind me.
Busy on several projects today. Here’s a photo I found when cleaning off my hard drive from 2009.
Well, the way I see it, it’s time for us to get moving. Near as I can tell, I have been waiting around long enough. I’ll get as old as the road as long as I keep expecting the scenery to change.
If you’re anything like me and feel like you need inspiration to get going, maybe it’s time you find you a road and take it.
Part 4 of the November iPhone Photo Project … aka…NaNo-iPho
The night before Phish hit Asheville, NC, some friends were in town to get an early start on the fun. Part of the night included my local friends taking everybody to our favorite dive. It’s a little quonset hut turned dive bar on the road out of town, the kind of place where plastic checkered racing flags hang from the ceiling, the specials are Miller Lite, Jack Daniels, and not-hipster-ironic PBR. Crusty men with bad attitudes play pool, everyone turns to look at you when you walk in, and someone has taped comic strips above the urinals. If you stand there long enough, a closeted gay guy will ask suggestively, “Do you like comics?” It’s also the kind of place where people do exceptionally bad karaoke. Most of it’s country–Travis Tritt, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks. Every once in a while you’ll hear some rock and roll.
Toward the end of the night, The Joker stood up and whispered something to the effect of “This is either going to be epic or it’s going to get us killed.” And he walked to the stage. And we all grabbed for our tabs, because this was certainly not the place for anything The Joker was about to do. And that’s when The Humpty Dance came over the karaoke speakers.
“This is how we do it Colorado, yo!” he said into the mic.
And there he sang the Humpty Dance. The crowd, after a stunned moment of silence, started dancing. And cheering. And erratically loving the Joker.
Apropos of nothing, he pointed to our buddy at the table and screamed, “That’s my friend, G-Rob! He owns this place!”
The picture itself doesn’t speak to the moment, but it reminds me of one of the top five funniest things I saw happen all year.