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Alien

Alien - Boiler Bay Oregon

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm 2.8 l, 16mm, iso 50, f/8.0, 602 sec, 10-stop filter // buy print)

If I had to pick my top five favorite science fiction movies of all-time, I think Alien would be in there, and perhaps also the sequel, Aliens. The second one was fantastic…there was just so much awesome action and memorable lines (“Game over man, game over!“) but the first one will always be a classic. A terrifying trip with some space travelers who are being slaughtered by a creature hitching a ride on their vessel.

For those that have seen Alien, you may already have figured out why I chose it for this week’s Movie Title Wednesday image. One of the more haunting scenes in the movie is when they find the alien spaceship and rappel into the belly of the thing. Lining the floor in a strange mist are all these organic pods, which just happen to be eggs ready to own your face.

Kind of reminded me of the rocks floating in the foggy ocean in my image. And it’s hard to see, but one of them is actually not a rock, but a old, rusty canister, which to me almost looked like an abandoned space capsule. Sweet.

This photo was taken on the Oregon coast in an area known as Boiler Bay. I left my hotel well before the sun came up that morning and was using Google Maps to locate ANY good spot about an hour north of Newport. I came across Boiler Bay and waited until there was enough light to hike down a fairly steep trail to the beach below. I was surprised I found the spot at all…it was a tiny little pull-out on the side of the road and I barely saw it in the dark.

Glad I did.

I believe this was one of my last shots of the morning before I had to book it to Portland and catch a noon flight. I was lucky enough to have perfectly overcast skies to keep my images moody just like I wanted. This particular exposure was done with a 10-stop and lasted just over 10 minutes. Thanks again to Rick Young for letting me borrow his filter.

I badly want to return to the coast of Oregon sometime, perhaps for a week or two. There is just so much to see, so many skies and sunsets to capture with the gorgeous, rocky shoreline. Two weeks wouldn’t even be enough.

Cape Fear

Cape Fear - Devil's Gulch Oregon Coast

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 35mm 1.4 L, f/16, iso 400, 58 sec // buy print)

As this Movie Title Series continues on an on for over a year now…it feels like I’m running thin on movies I’ve seen that have titles which work well enough for images.  Hence you may start seeing films that I’ve actually never viewed before. Or perhaps I may have seen portions of it, but have no clue what it was about, nor remember anything.

Sort of like Cape Fear.

I am certain I saw this movie, or at least the majority of it. But aside from knowing it was on the water, kind of scary and called Cape Fear, that’s all I remember. Now that I look it up on IMDB, I find out the plot was about “A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a 14 year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.” Creepy. I believe people liked it…I remember all this talk about how freaky it was. Robert DeNiro…Nick Nolte…Jessica Lange. May need to watch this one again. Lange is now on American Horror Story and is downright creepy in that as well.

This image is from Devil’s Gulch along the Oregon coast. When I stood there, it was kind of freaking me out a bit. You probably don’t know it, but the road around that mountain on the horizon isn’t down by the water. It’s about  1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the mountain. That’s how far you have to hike to get down to this point. The sun was going down, it was getting dark, kind of foggy, the waves were crashing around me, the low-tide exposed rocks were black as night…and I have to say…I was nervous.

Cape Fear.

But I loved this scene. I hung in there for a few exposures to get it right. The silhouette of that mountain was just too beautiful to pass up. I definitely would love a week driving up the coast of Oregon, and that probably still wouldn’t be enough time.

When Harry Met Sally

Music Man - New York Central Park

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/1.8, iso 400, 1/320 // buy print)

I’ve been waiting and waiting for a time when I could use this film for Movie Title Wednesday and it’s finally here. It took a trip to New York to make it happen, but that is perfectly okay with me.

When Harry Met Sally is one of my all-time favorite movies. In fact, I wanted to join my wife in visiting The Met just so we could stand in that one spot and practice saying “Pecaan pieeeeeee…pecan pieeeeeeee.” Probably the best romantic comedy ever, but I think it kind of transcends that “chick flick” status into a classic. You have to see it. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan at their best. A movie spanning years and ending on New Year’s Eve in New York. Funny, heartwarming…unforgettable.

This photo is one of my favorites from the trip. I was dying to use it for the movie series, but I couldn’t think of a title until of course I talked to my wife. I had already thought of WHMS, but didn’t connect the dots too well. Yeah, it’s set in New York, just like my photo. But my wife remembered how the movie is full of awesome, big band music. Harry Connick Jr….It Had to Be You. Good stuff.

Which works perfectly with this old man playing a saxophone in Central Park. Not to mention the fact my wife and I were together, exploring the park…kind of like Harry and Sally wandering around New York.

This actually wasn’t a simple shoot and keep moving. I took my time composing this. Trying to figure just where to place the man at the end of the tunnel. How much of the blurred wall to show. But the bigger aspect was employing some patience I don’t usually possess. The guy wasn’t facing in this direction the entire time. It took maybe 30 seconds to finally snap the photo with him perfectly silhouetted exactly how I wanted.

I think a younger version of me from not even that long ago would have just shot and kept on walking.

All the crazy time we spent shooting bridges and I knew a shot like this would be more meaningful to me than anything else. That’s why I love photography.

War of the Worlds

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, 50mm 1.4, f/5.6, iso 100, 30 sec // buy print)

It’s Movie Title Wednesday here on the bloggity blog blog, and this week we have a remake of an old classic, which was an adaption from one of my favorite books of all-time.

War of the Worlds. The recent remake version starred Tom Cruise and was just okay for me. I love those kind of sci-fi, end of the world type disaster films, but they just didn’t do a very good job with it. The original version (at least, I think there are only two, I’m not doing any research here…there might be hundreds, who knows) was considered the “classic”, but all I remember is being disappointed at how different it was from the book.

Now…the actual book was brilliant. Written by H.G. Wells, I read it in high school and I was so sucked into the story, I remember looking over my shoulder a few times while I read it in my bedroom. If you’ve never read the book, then ignore both movies I mention above and go pick up a copy. In fact, I may read it again.

So why did I choose this movie anyways? Well…the lightning above….it reminded me of the Tom Cruise version with the tall, slim robotic tripod alien beings walking over the cities destroying everything around them. In fact, I don’t know how you look at the image above and don’t at least get some impression of a giant, spindly creature towering over Chandler, Arizona. Kind of creeps me out actually.

I have to give some credit for the title of this image to my friend Scott Wood. Not the title itself, but the idea of finding “things” in lightning. Sort of like looking at puffy clouds and seeing a dog, or a car, or whatever. Scott posted an image called The Skater” and it made me realize how much fun it is to look for familiar things in a lightning strike. It’s definitely not always easy.

But this one was a no-brainer.

Life is Beautiful

(click to see on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 35mm 1.3, f/1.6, iso 2000, 1/80 // buy print)

It’s that time of the week again…time for Movie Title Wednesday. When I looked at this image thinking I’d use it for the weekly film series, the first title that popped into my head was Life is Beautiful.

What’s kind of weird about that was I couldn’t remember a single reason WHY I connected a bicycle with that film. The movie came out in 1997, so that’s fourteen years ago and I don’t remember much about it at all. But then I Googled “Top 10 Bike Movies” and it was on almost every list. So obviously I remembered something from that movie.

So what I do recall about Life is Beautiful was that it was an amazing, powerful film. The first real movie I watched with subtitles. And I remember afterwards telling my wife that about a 1/3 of the way through the movie it suddenly felt as if you weren’t reading anymore…like you almost forgot it was in subtitles. And I remember it being sad and probably getting a bit of dust in my eyes at the end.

Of course, my bigger memory is the star of the film, Roberto Benigni (who won Best Actor), at the Oscars making his way to the front by walking across the chairs instead of the aisle. His acceptance speech was one of the most memorable in history. I’d love to watch Life is Beautiful again, but it’s kind of like Schnidler’s List to me…it’s always hard to re-watch those gut-wrenching Holocaust movies.

Now, about the picture…what is it about bicycles that are so interesting? When I was in Amsterdam, or anywhere in Holland or Belgium really…if I saw a bike, I wanted to take a picture of it. Old bikes against old brick walls…a hundred bikes lining a canal…an alleyway with…yup…bikes.

I saw this one outside the New City Studio gallery this past First Friday in downtown Phoenix and I had to shoot it. I really dug how the light was almost like a spotlight on the bike and then how it falls off everywhere else. Definitely had to crank up the ISO on this shot, but I love the feel.

Purple Rain

Purple Rain - Arizona Monsoon Lightning

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/6.3, iso 200, 25 sec // buy print)

Let me just get this out of the way. It’s Movie Title Wednesday. I needed something to go with this shot from Tuesday night.

Purple Rain. I mean, what else could possibly work right? Although I will say this…it’s obvious to me, but I had my buddy Jacob Lucas try to guess it last night and he didn’t come close to the right title. In fact, he didn’t even know that was rain falling. So maybe it’s just me.

But the caveat is this: I’ve never seen the movie. I don’t want to see it. I wont ever, ever see it. But I had to use it.

Another reason Jacob said he couldn’t guess the title was because he thought the lightning was the subject of the photo, not the rain. Well…that was a good point. But the reality is…I framed the shot the way I did because I WANTED the rain to be the star here, and was hoping for some lightning to compliment it and give it some punch.

Otherwise, it’s just rain falling.

Granted, this was a fairly epic curtain of precipitation. It’s not always so well defined.

Lastly I’ll say this…the color is not enhanced. At least, not with any color slider. I upped the contrast and then ran it through Silver Efex and blended the layer. The background of the image is that ugly orange-ish color because of the distant Phoenix city lights. And sometimes lightning does light up a sky in crazy colors.

 

The Dark Knight

Lightning West of Sedona Arizona

(please click to view on black and so it fits your screen)

The holiday on Monday totally threw me off, so you’re getting the lesser known Movie Title Thursday this week!

Boom. The Dark Knight. Probably my favorite superhero movie of all-time. Watching Heath Ledger play the Joker is something I never get tired of seeing. The guy was amazing. Anytime I’ve turned this movie on, I’m automatically sucked in the second I see him on the screen. Coupled with Batman Begins, these have to be two of the best comic book movies ever. One can only hope the third and final entry from Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale leaves us wanting more.

I captured this lightning strike back on July 10th west of Sedona on Highway 89A. I’ve shot a lot of lightning this summer, but this is one of my favs. It’s been the background image on my iPhone ever since I processed it. I don’t know why, but it’s just so beautiful. Dark, menacing clouds at the top…a slow, curved strike and a dark silhouette of a foreground. It’s just perfect to me. And I don’t mean the photograph…I mean nature itself…the strike. The way it looks.

So many times we see a strike with our naked eye, we exclaim “wow!” and then it’s gone. We never see it again. I think that’s why I love this kind of photography. We get to capture something that will never be seen again and you never know what it will look like when it happens.

(canon 5d mark ii, canon 85mm 1.8, f/5.6, iso 200, 30 sec – buy print)

Over the Top

Over the Top - Arizona Monsoon Lightning

(click to see on black and for the image to fit your screen)

I knew when I saw this in Lightroom after dumping my card from that night’s excursion, this would end up being a Movie Title Wednesday.

The sole reason I know the song “Meet me Halfway“…is because of Over the Top. I haven’t seen the movie in awhile, but I can still picture Sylvester Stallone using that pulley in his truck to work out while driving across the country with that song playing in the background. I have no idea if critics thought the movie was good or not, but for some reason it left an impact on me. Not sure if it was the father struggling to connect with his son, the arm wrestling, the clips of guys drinking motor oil or eating lighted cigarettes…or whatever…but I remember loving it and even as a kid, getting a little teary-eyed at the end.

I captured this lightning on the evening of August 2nd, a sort of surprise night where I wasn’t even expecting to go out. It was the second night in a row that an isolated storm cell built up just over Buckeye, west of Phoenix. It was strange…because storms usually start in the high country to the NE, or in the SE deserts, and move towards us. Two straight nights a giant cell just pops up over Buckeye for no apparent reason.

I skipped it the first night, but not the second. I could see it exploding from the backyard, so I bolted west and setup with the 85mm to capture some pretty awesome lightning strikes. In fact, that night turned out to be pretty good and I think I ended up with over 20 decent lightning strikes.

This particular one has a little shoot “over the top” of the cloud, hence getting it’s movie name today.

(canon 5d mark ii, canon 85mm 1.8, f/10, iso 250, 30 sec)

Legends of the Fall

A sea of wheat -

It’s another Movie Title Wednesday around these parts and this one was admittedly kind of hard to match with a film. And if you think, Field of Dreams, already used it. My unwritten rule is to never use the same movie twice, which is getting harder and harder.

Thus today we have Legends of the Fall, it kind of fits this image, although I can’t really tell you much about the movie itself. I usually try to stick to films I love or at least enjoyed, but I don’t remember either way on this one. Brad Pitt before he was Brad Pitt…Aiden Quinn, Madeline Stowe…all that is from memory. And of course, Anthony Hopkins. They lived out on a farm, there was a love triangle I think and yeah, that’s all I remember.

Now…this was another “farmex” image shot this past May, whilst in Kansas, stormchasing non-existent storms. I probably could have forgotten all about the weather and just shot this kind of stuff if I hadn’t been out there for the reason I was. Regardless, as I drove aimlessly through these old farm lands, I was subjected to a feast of abandoned beauties everywhere I looked.

The wind was breezy, which provided some kind of cool motion in the wheat fields that extended out forever in all directions.  I wouldn’t have minded getting a little closer to this old barn, or farm, or house or whatever it was…but it was kind of creepy out there and I also didn’t want to upset the neighbors, not to mention I was actually out chasing weather.

As it was…I kind of liked it from this spot.

(canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/3.5, iso 100, 1/1600 – buy print)

Back to the Future

Back to the Future - Tire tracks in a puddle in downtown Phoenix

(please click the image so it fills your screen in the event you might have smaller monitor like I do. Also a dark border looks nice with it)

Twice this year I’ve been able to do some stormy sunset reflection shots downtown and I have to say, I absolutely LOVE this kind of photography. But first off, this is Movie Title Wednesday and we’re going with Back to the Future this week!

I remember seeing Back to the Future for the first time as a kid at my aunt’s house. God bless her for renting it that night. My brother and I loved it. And we’ve been huge fans ever since. I’m fairly certain the old, long-gone, Cine Capri in Phoenix did a marathon one day of all three films that we attended.  Anyways, this was such a good movie. A bit of science fiction time travel, but in a way that didn’t seem like sci-fi at all. Great music, awesome writing and of course, Michael J. Fox whom I’ve loved forever.

I went with this movie today because of the tire tracks in the puddle leading off to a firey sunset. Kind of makes you think of the Delorean’s fire trails after  jumping back in time right?

There is something a heck of a lot of fun about finding these scenes in giant pools of water after a storm. It was actually still raining a bit when I was down there, so a few times I had to duck under some shelter to wait for it to end.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/8, iso 100)