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Hanging sunset

(click…to…see…larger…and…stuff)

Sometimes there are clouds and sometimes there are CLOUDS. This doesn’t even compare to the monster storm clouds I’d love to be photographing in the midwest right now, but as far as sunsets go in Arizona, this was one of my favorites.

You may remember a few shots already taken on this day: The “Seventh Heaven” reflection and the one of Chase Field called “Fever Pitch“. With my wife and daughter looking on in the chilly, windy weather, I was running around like a psycho trying to capture the clouds anyway I could.

Not exactly my favorite composition in the world, but sometimes I just love the sky more than anything. What stands out to me in a shot with stormy clouds like this is the way the lower hanging stuff gets lit up by the sun leaving the rest dark. It’s something you just don’t see very much.

I also love the stuff on the left horizon…the clouds are white and really defined.

Makes me excited for monsoon season…only…ugh…three more months. Sigh.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/16)

 

Fever Pitch

(image looks a lot yummier in lightbox, click to view)

I’d toss this up there with one of the most unique skies you’d ever see in Arizona. A gorgeous sunset, wispy, high cirrus…and then some dark, menacing storm clouds hanging low over the city, a tiny bit of sprinkling rain hitting our heads.

This is another installment of Movie Title Wednesday, one that had quite a few options to choose from. But believe it or not, Field of Dreams and The Sandlot have already been used since I started this thing back in September! There are a ton of great baseball movies, but the one I choose is a flick I really enjoyed.

Fever Pitch stars Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. Barrymore…I’ve loved her since E.T. I always liked Fallon from his days on SNL, but this movie kind of raised him up a bit more for me. And now he hosts his own late show and it’s friggin’ hilarious.

The film itself was just a fun one. Yeah, it’s kind of your standard romantic comedy, but it has something unique about it that not everyone probably knows.  The plot revolves around the Boston Red Sox of course and Fallon’s character’s infatuation with them. When they started filming the movie, they had no idea the Red Sox would win the World Series that year. In fact, the original end of the movie was written with them losing yet again.

But they won. They broke the curse. So the plot changed too…hurriedly re-written after Boston won Game 7. And it made for an awesome ending. When Fallon and Barrymore are seen celebrating on the field at the end of the movie, they were actually at Game 4 when Boston beat St. Louis and supposedly you could see some of the filming live on the Fox broadcast. When I watch the movie, it almost has a kind of historic feel to it now because it revolved around this real-world event.

I’d definitely put it up there with The Sandlot and Field of Dreams as my favorite baseball movies, although I did love The Rookie too.

About the picture above. I think photographers can honestly say that luck can be a huge factor when composing certain scenes. I mean, here I am running around the rooftop of this parking garage firing away at everything because the sky was simply amazing…and after being there 25 minutes, I stumble across the spot above and have roughly 30 seconds to setup and snap the brackets before the sun disappeared from its absolutely perfect position.

Which is what I dig. When out stormchasing or racing to find a great spot for a sunset, sometimes a little luck comes in handy.

For the out-of-state-ers, this is Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks looking east along Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix. This was shot about 10 minutes or so before the other one I’ve posted from this parking garage called Seventh Heaven.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100)

Morning Reflected

Sunrise Reflected Chase Tower Downtown Phoenix

Yes, it’s another shot of Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix. I’ve taken a few different views and angles of this thing, but none of were taken in the early morning hours as the sun was rising. I photographed this back on December 22nd.

My buddy Rick Young told me months before that I gotta get down there for a sunrise once because the reflection will be amazing.

You were right my friend.

I definitely feel like I need to plan a few more early-mornings out before the sun comes up. Lately I end up being too tired, so I stick to later in the day/sunsets instead. But my last trip out to the Superstitions on January 31st was in the morning and I loved it.

I’m hoping that the weather is awesome this weekend and perhaps another morning drive will be in order.

Sunrise from the Ramp

Way back on October 19th we had a spectacular sunrise in downtown Phoenix after a rainstorm earlier in the morning. I don’t always take my camera to work these days, especially when there is nothing but blue skies all day long. But I had an inkling there would be a good one on this day, so I had my gear with me.

I set up just up the ramp to the 3rd level of the parking structure we use for this building. If I had my choice, I’d be 50 miles away from here with some amazing desert scene to shoot in conjunction with this sunset, but sometimes you just gotta make do with what you have. What I do love about this shot is the great reflection in the tallest building’s windows.

It’s amazing how reverse I am from the normal person, but these sunny day are gloomy too me. Yes, the temperatures are gorgeous right now, which is always awesome. But we had a brief rain storm the other day and it was like Christmas for a few hours. I constantly check the daily forecast looking for more storms on the horizon. Hopefully soon, I need me some fun weather to shoot!

On Top of the World

(Rebel XSi, Tamron 17-35 2.8, 17mm, ISO 100, F8, five exposure HDR)

I’ve been to Las Vegas a lot over the last four years, mainly for my day job. We have a couple of clients there and on occasion they involve extended stays. While I don’t always pay attention to all the newest buildings and attractions, it had been so long since my last visit that there was a ton of cool stuff to see.

This parking garage is an 8-story behemoth that apparently serves an amazing set of structures called The World Market. The reason I even ventured up here was the view it had of the interchange between the 15 and the 515. As always happens though, the shot I wasn’t planning on became my favorite from the excursion.

The journey up here was a bit freaky. The garage was empty save a few cars at the bottom. The hallway to the elevators was barely lit on the first floor. I took them up to the 8th and ended up in a hallway with zero lights. But the sun was still shining a bit, so it wasn’t bad. But when I was done shooting and returned to the elevators…well, it was PITCH black. I had to pull out the ol’ cell phone in order to light up the room enough to push the elevator button.

It was a bit too quiet and a little creepy. It was like an old, abandoned building except for the fact that it was brand new.

I loved the parking garage though. It was newer, so everything had this clean, crisp feel to it. Really dug how the World Market building itself complimented the “parkade” and  stood out like a monolith against the evening sky.

Ah, but if it wasn’t for that arrow, I probably wouldn’t have liked it half as much.

On a side note, you might guess how sad I was that there were no clouds around to include in this image 🙂

Light and Shadow

I put some legwork into this one. I walked and walked and walked around this parking garage at 5:30am in the morning looking for the perfect symmetry of lights…one hidden, one not, but feeling like both of them were pointed directly at me. I found a similar scene elsewhere, but I didn’t like the lack of detail on the garage floor, so I kept looking for some awesome tire tracks that would appear as if they were coming from where I was standing. And, I mean, to get the reflection of shiny cement on the left, but a shadow on the right…well, that takes planning, practice and lots of trial and error.

Okay, whatever…I’m totally lying. This is what I see everyday at work the second I step out of my car. In fact, I think my camera fell out when I opened the door, hit the ground, fired off a bunch of brackets and I was like “Wow, these are pretty good Camera…well done.”

But seriously, I have been wanting to take some photos of this place in the early mornings and it’s finally dark enough still at 6am for it to be possible. I definitely was struck by the support beam blocking out one of the lights and creating this fantastic shadow.

Lesson for today is to make sure you take a look at where you “are” not where you could “be.” Sometimes I see the photos that friends take in exotic locations that I just can’t afford to get to. Like the coast of Oregon just as a small example. And while yes, I still want to go there someday, there is nothing better to pass the time until that happens by taking a look around you.

This photo is by no means the Pacific Northwest and the infamous Thor’s Well…but you know what, if you were standing by that sinkhole and had taken 100 photos of it…you might be thinking, “I really wish I could take a picture of a dark and stanky parking garage with some sweet shadows…”

Beat you to it man.

Urban Stormchasing

So with my sudden move to the downtown Phoenix area, I vowed to at least ATTEMPT to capture some storms from the cement jungle down here. For a guy like me who never has his 17-35mm lens on anything BUT 17mm…it’s a struggle to find wide open spaces to really give an idea of what a storm is doing.

Time to get creative…and prove to myself that I can be a photographer in any setting.

I shot this last week during the rash of severe weather we had (It’s now up to EIGHT confirmed tornadoes in northern Arizona). The location is a very tall parking garage that is near by office and is a place I’ve been tobefore whilst searching for high ground. It’s got to be at least a 10-level parking structure…so the height is perfection. However, just because you are up high doesn’t mean you go to the edge and shoot. I still feel a strong desire to ensure I have some kind of foreground element, one that’s hopefully interesting.

We’ll be having some more storms next week, so I am going to try and take the opportunity to shoot a few more scenes like this…if I can hold back from taking a drive out to the deserts!