Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

the trib

November 6, 2008

Today’s newspaper can’t be found anywhere except eBay, where it is fetching sometimes $100, as though there were a shortage. There’s one born every minute – especially considering that the paper distributed this morning wasn’t the same as the one distributed last night at about midnight, which I purchased about 15 seconds after it came off the truck, and which I have not seen on ebay at all. This is the real first edition of the Chicago Tribune following Obama’s election:

dsc02574_edited-1And yes, this makes me better than you.

In other news, I have added a larger version of the picture I used to make the temp banner to the flickr feed.

more on the rally

November 5, 2008

the blog title has temporarily been changed from the situation has deteriorated. this isn’t really a political blog, and the old title (which will return) really speaks more to the personal shitshow of my life, but I thought this change was temporarily appropriate.

the rally itself was a pretty lame affair. After McCain conceded, there was another sound check announced as “FINAL SOUND TEST FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES” except first there was a prayer read by some preacher, the pledge of allegiance led by some Marine (in case you are curious, I tripped up and said “under God,” see this post for more) and a somewhat misguided national anthem sang by some chick. (And I quote: “Whose bright stripes and bright stars, through the perilous time…”). That was the only human activity on stage before or after Obama’s speech.

That’s not to say I had a bad time. It was an incredible event, and for the size and the short notice, it was probably handled about as well as they could have done. I was home by one, but not before buying the Chicago Tribune as it came off the truck on Michigan Ave. I walked home carrying the paper in front of me the way I used to carry the bible as an altar boy.

No, not with a dick in my mouth.

Just you know. Holding it up in front of me.

I’m working on the pictures. I wish i was closer. For the time being, small versions are available on Flickr over to the right.

obama rally liveblog from grant park

November 4, 2008

12:53 – home after being on my feet for about 7 hours. honestly the rally itself was sort of underwhelming as an event but completely unforgettable as moment in history. I don’t have much to say about it right now. pictures later, the flickr upload thing was a disaster.

10:26 – mccain speaks. This mccain, minus palin, would have won. But he went another way. Mccain:”I am so grateful for sarah palin” some ham in the crowd here: “SO ARE WE!” Ok, it was me.
Warm round of appause as mccain wraps up.

10:05 – it hasn’t been in doubt for a coupe of hours but to see the words “barack obama elected president” up on the screen is still shocking. I don’t think the impact has really hit myself, this crowdn, or anyone yet, although the pace did go nuts

9:27 cnn showed hank williams jr at the mccain shindig, presumably singing “are you ready for obama?” Meanhile there is no live entertainment here and the music is pretty weak- some crapier motown and country music.

9:16 – old lady has lemon hard candy and it saves my life

9:08 – guy with friend in hyde park says obama has left his hyde park home. Still would be a while before he gets here and we hear from him but hoping that it is sooner rather than later

9:00 – nothing but cnn so far. The crowd is enormous. Woman just went past with pizzas, said it took two hours. There is basicay no way to get to the bathrooms or to get a drink (and you couldn’t bring any food or drink in) without basically giving up any chance of being remotey close to the stage. This aspect of the rally was not well planned. But morale is pretty high as everything is going as expected.

8:46 – looked like we almost had a speaker but there were audio problems. Then a guy who looked like a superfan came out and did a bunch of “test one two O-Ba-MA” which was cleary the high point of his life. NM has just been called. It is obvious obama will win, just waiting to make it official.

7:45 – pennsylvania called on cnn jumbotron, mood is very good. Peope are still streaming in. I am not super close to the stage but should be able to grab a decent shot through the sea of arms

7:16- word was that there would be “slighty upscale” pizza. It is connies and it is $40 for a medium pie.

7;11 – first obama chant as cnn checks in with us. Cnn is only channel being shown but word is spreading that abc has called pa and the mood is good

6:38 – getting through security. Foods of people, mild cheers as wolf blitzer reads off early results

ok. hopefully my blackberry will let me liveblog the rally a little from Grant Park. I am moving the flickr in the sidebar up, I will try to send some pictures from my Blackberry camera to the flickr as the night goes on, and then I’ll also have my a700 with me for the good pictures late tonight or tomorrow.

Edit: it looks like it may take a while for the pictures to get to the flickr rss feed but if you click through, they are up there (right now just one picture of satellite trucks).

ticket to history

November 3, 2008

Four years ago it was in the law library, while “studying.”

Four years before that, I didn’t even really care much, but I remember watching part of it in Willard at NU, and the only reason I would have been at Willard would be to drink.*

This year I will be watching election returns in a mildly more exciting place: with the Democratic nominee and current favorite for President-Elect, at his rally in Grant Park.


Before the rally, there’s some voting to do. I am voting for Barack Obama. Ten years ago I came to college as a conservative, raised to believe that gays were wrong, affirmative action was reverse racism, and that generally you had to look out for number one. I still look out for number one, but I also realize that I’m much better off when everybody is better off. My Republican co-workers are up in arms over the few dollars of an increased tax burden that Obama might place on their already ludicrously high salary; I am more concerned about the fact that our ludicrously high-paying jobs could be in jeopardy if the economy does not improve, and John McCain gives me no reason to trust him with economic leadership. Tax policy, in any event, takes a back seat to issues like the separation of church and state, freedom to associate, the right to privacy, and in general, not being treated like an idiot by our leaders. Is voting for Obama something of a gamble? I suppose, but I do not think it is substantially more of a gamble than any major candidate we’ve had out there in my lifetime.

Anyway. You don’t really care what I have to say about that.

update: for the record, my views on gays, race, and just about everything else my parents told me was true have changed approximately 180 degrees in the last decade and change.

*or chase girls I guess – my girlfriend-of-four-years-to-be was living in Willard at the time, but we would not get together for another week; I remember this because our anniversary was Veteran’s Day, 11-11, which is about as easy a day to remember as any.

lessons from vegas

October 27, 2008

photos temporarily crappy. i will fix them later, until them check out my flickr.

  • If you get a girl hooked on gambling enough, she will forget about wanting to go to clubs, and instead find herself plopping down $25 hard way bets routinely.
  • Northwestern is not a “mortal lock” to cover an 8-point spread over Indiana, and the $50 bet I put on them to do so was not, as it turned out, “easy money.”
  • You can hit two 4-of-a-kinds and still not make money playing holdem.

  • As my companion and I leave a hold em game, we are stopped by those still at the table to settle a side bet which is how do we know each other? Loser postulates that we “just met.” Girl believes this means that he thinks she is a hooker; I believe this means he thinks I managed to get a girl to leave with me by cracking jokes at a poker table.
  • Knockoff casino names for my Las Vegas-themed Las Vegas casino: Smellagio, Skeezer’s Palace, Mandalay Gay, Suxor, Lamingo, Slopicana, MGM Crappy.

error and water show

August 14, 2008

I took my camera to work today because I expected the Blue Angels to practice in advance of this weekend’s air and water show in Chicago. I had a better camera, quality lens, clear weather, and this was my last chance to take these pictures before my firm moves offices next year.

So of course, I somehow set my camera to take “small” pictures, thus losing a huge chunk of the detail that my equipment afforded me, and would have been better off with the stuff I had last year if it was set to “large.” It’s enough to make a grown man cry, but that’s only fun when there’s somebody around to pity me. Accordingly, I will sack it up and make the best of what I took. I may post more on flickr when I have time this weekend.

somewhere, a placenta is falling to the floor

August 5, 2008

There was kind of a storm Monday night. Even if you didn’t see it, you can’t miss the facebook messages about it. I can only imagine what twitter was like. Anyway. I actually got spooked enough to leave my office when the window started vibrating back and forth and went down to the lobby – only to find that everybody in the building had pussed out a lot earlier than I had and were already down there.

Eventually I went home and managed to grab the photo above (and 86 far less interesting ones). It was shot through my window which was covered in rain. I’ve photoshopped a lot of the spots caused by rain out, but there is a long way to go to make this look really right. When I finish it, I’ll post the refined product.

Here’s a crop of the same picture:

If you’re curious, I shot in RAW, 3.2 sec, f/16, ISO 200, tripod and remote shutter release. Lens was the Sony 50mm f/1.4.

it’s picture time

June 14, 2008

Been a while since I posted any photos. This picture is courtesy of the Minolta 100mm f/2.8 macro D, which is the highest-quality lens I’ve picked up so far. You can see that the lens is very sharp. The only downside is that it’s not particularly fast at focusing and tends to hunt arbitrarily, although the lens also has focus limit to alleviate that.

Even if the AF isn’t really fast, the 100mm doesn’t do too bad for sports photography – although it would be nicer to be further away from flying sand.

Pictures taken outside the Lincoln Park Zoo and North Ave. beach, respectively.

i need to take better pictures

May 9, 2008

because fucking with them in photoshop is really a pain.

This is one of those non-interesting blog posts about photography, so if you don’t care, skip it.

I picked up the Sony a700 at Best Buy as BB is quietly discontinuing them for some unknown reason. I had been considering upgrading from the a100 and the a700’s better image stabilization, shutter response, and 2 extra mega pixels were pushing me in that direction. The LCD and interface were nice bonuses. When the $1400 price tag was cut to $840 that sealed it.

And the original as taken from I think the Kinzie bridge, below.

Aside from the usual color tweaks I had to try to account for some pretty severe distortion, which wasn’t too hard to do with Photoshop. The chromatic aberration, which you can’t really see in the above versions, was pretty intense.

Here’s an example of the chromatic aberration. The bridge ironwork has blue fringing above and red fringing below. The second picture is after I messed with the fringes a little, first with Replace Color, then just getting tired of it and using Clone Stamp quickly. Obviously not a great fix. Not a problem for the web, but really annoying if I want to make a large print, as there are a lot of dark lines in that bridge.

One solution of course is to get a lens that doesn’t have as much problem with CA, but that will cost you. The picture above was taken with the a100 kit lens, the Sony 18-200 at 18mm. The Minolta 17-35 f/3.5 G would be great – problem is these are rare, and can run up to $1500. That’s a lot more than I’ve spent on glass so far (the 70-210 beercan was $180, the 50mm f/1.4 was a splurge at $300, probably could have been just as happy with a 50mm f/1.7 for $100).

Anyway. I still have a lot to learn about taking pictures, but it’s becoming apparent that mastering Photoshop is really going to be the key to producing print-worthy images. This may take the place of guitar classes.

Oh, and I don’t even really consider this my picture. There was a large photo of this bridge from a similar angle in a frame/print shop on Lake Street. It was not from exactly the same place but I clearly stole the idea from walking past that photo and staring at it many times. This was more about trying to replicate a high-quality image – somehting that’s clearly a long way off.

guide to wrigley field

May 2, 2008

Would you like to go to a baseball game in Chicago? Do you find the thought of visiting the South Side repulsive? Then this guide to Mars Wrigley Field is for you.

Bleachers – First things first – where do you want to sit? If you are feeling like you might want to get particularly sunburnt and particularly drunk, the bleachers are for you. The bleachers not only offer knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans, they also provide meaningful entertainment when the game is a little boring. For example, when the game is dull, if you are in the left field bleachers, it is customary to yell “Right Field sucks!” If you are in right field, do your best to brush off the stinging criticism, and turn the tables by chanting “Left Field sucks!” If you are sitting in center field, continue to lay low, as nobody has pointed out that center field sucks to date, even when Felix Pie is playing.

Beer – The traditional choice of Cub fans is Old Style. I’ve never really understood why Old Style is the official beer of the Chicago Cubs, as it is brewed in Milwaukee. I mean, come on, their team is called the MILWAUKEE BREWERS. Fortunately, you can sidestep this conflict of interest, as many beer guys also offer Budweiser products, which are brewed in St. Louis, where no major league teams exist.

Urinals – After you’ve rented enough Old Styles or Buds, you’ll eventually feel compelled to give them back. The traditional place to do that is on the wall of any apartment building in a three-block radius of the stadium, but if the game isn’t over yet, you will have to settle for the troughs. That’s right, Wrigley field features a lot of good old fashioned trough-style urinals – the kind that these folks are having so much fun with. Even these mass receptacles can’t prevent huge lines, though. One wonders if the troughs will someday give way to a simple grated floor that will sluice waste products away to Waveland Ave. That hydrant that’s always open in front of the fire station can wash the street down.

The men’s bathrooms may be bad – but don’t even get me started on the women’s troughs.

Scoreboard – The Wrigley scoreboard is manually operated by Tribune Co. employees who have been convicted of embezzlement. This punishment is severe. Changing the numbers in the brutal summer heat is bad enough, but at least there’s a ballgame to watch. Trust me, the guys in the scoreboard are BORED AS HECK all winter.

After games, a flag is raised over the scoreboard. It is either a W or an L. The “W” flag stands for “water” and dates back to the 1760s, when the War of 1812 was going on. The “water” flag meant that British Redcoats were coming to Chicago (then a major railyard) through the St. Lawrence seaway and the Great Lakes. This flag is still raised from time to time just to keep neighborhood residents on their toes. An “L” flag stands for “land” and is customarily flown whenever Kerry Wood has a save opportunity.

Ronnie Woo-Woo – Wrigley Field is a magical place. It is the only place where North Siders will voluntarily touch a whooping homeless man. Ronnie Woo-Woo likes to keep up a steady stream of encouraging banter, mostly along the lines of “Cubs, WOO! Cubs, WOO! Pinella, WOO! Cubs, WOO!” It is obnoxious as all hell. All Cubs fans think so. However, each Cubs fan thinks that all other Cubs fans cherish Ronnie Woo-Woo, and thus each Cubs fan refrains from speaking out lest he be branded a pariah. Clearly a product of the same groupthink mindset that allows Cubs fans to convince themselves that they have been watching a team with the capability to win the World Series, every year for the last century, when deep down, they know they are hosed from day one.

Seventh Inning Stretch – In the middle of the seventh-inning, a local has-been will lead the crowd in a song. This is done mostly to celebrate the memory of a beloved sportscaster, Harry Caray, who became more beloved with each successive stroke he suffered. He’d sing the seventh-inning stretch and then he’d go back to pronouncing Jeremi Gonzalez’s first name as “Jerem-EYE,” and giving birthday shout-outs to Cubs fans who were purportedly watching somewhere outside Peoria, but were more likely figments of Harry’s imagination. “Happy Birthday to Ethel and Stanley Smorgasbord from Decatur. Stanley’s turning 95 today and he met his wife when she tried to rustle a sow from his uncle’s pigpen! Lifelong Cubs fan.”

Anyway, the deal is, just sing along, and if you are from out of town, you substitute “Cubbies” for “home team.” If the Cubs are losing at the time of the stretch, the song is followed by an exhortation: “Let’s get some runs!”

If you’ve eaten enough food from Wrigley vendors, that won’t be a problem for you.

Actually the WGN guys singing a SECOND stretch, in the 15th inning of a game last year