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Hinged

Hinged - Urban Phoenix

(click to see on black // canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.5, iso 100 // buy print)

Stormchasing can be an unstoppable beast during the summer, where I feel like I’m non-stop on the road or processing weather photos. It’s actually been a nice break the past 4-5 days to have nothing going on almost anywhere in the state. I’ve gotten some other projects started, made headway in other areas that need addressing and have just relaxed a bit around home with the family.

Although yesterday when I picked my daughter up from daycare she said “Now we go stormchasing daddy!

Ugh, hated to disappoint her. And me. Can’t stormchase with no storms little one!

I actually processed this image back a few months ago when I needed to do something different than lightning and dark clouds. This was from a photowalk back on December 29th of last year around downtown Phoenix. I made it a goal that day to stick with my 50mm 1.4 and just shoot what I saw with it. I love the little details on the old buildings and warehouses in the southern area of downtown.

I always liked this old hinged panel and was glad I finally went back and brought it to life.

(oh yeah, countdown to Discovery’s Storm Chasers premiere is now…5 days)

A chair at the dog track

A chair at the black canyon dog track

(Click to see the photo larger, almost like you’re sitting in that chair)

I don’t know when the last time was that I posted an image from the dog track visit we did in the final week of December, but believe it or not, I still have a few shots left to show eventually! If you’ve missed any of the series or would like to look back, click here for the “dog track” tag.

This chair of course was just sitting there waiting to be photographed. I’m sure at some point it was moved out to this spot to either be sat on or to be a prop for someone else’s photography. I think it’s way interesting at a place like this to wonder a bit about why things are where they are. One of my buddies with me on this trip kept pointing out objects that were different from the time he was there before. In fact, a giant ticket booth was sitting in the middle of the main building, definitely a new thing. Who dragged that booth into here? The owner looking to dump stuff? A photographer wanting something interesting for a backdrop?

Anyways, I”ll always remember back fondly on the three hours or so we were here. A great experience.

Tonight a bunch of us are descending upon Tempe for a little photowalking action, so I’m looking forward to that! Haven’t been down there for awhile and while the forecast calls for the opposite, I’m praying for clouds over the lake to help us with some great sunset photos. If you are interested in going, let me know!

Have a nice weekend!

(exif: canon rebel xsi, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/5)

 

Kamp Two Guns

Old Campground at Two Guns Arizona

This is another image from our April 2nd trip to northern Arizona when we hit up the ghost town of Two Guns in the morning, then Grand Falls in the afternoon.

Two Guns was very close to this structure, but we’re confident it came well after that old town disappeared. “Kamp” used to be an old RV campground and you could still see the areas where those vehicles would park for the night. This building had restrooms in it and might have been the check-in office for the entire place. Now it’s a mess, with a lot of graffiti all over the walls, floors, ceiling and even a nearby empty swimming pool.

As I’ve said before, I love the clouds up in northern Arizona and we definitely got lucky on this day to have them aplenty.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/13, 1/60)

Eights

(image is bigger and looks better with a dark background if you click on it)

Wow, today is starting off weird. Have you ever had an image that you poured over, processed for hours, uploaded to your blog, published it and then actually LOOKED at it and realized it had major flaws? Halos? Dust spots?

How did you miss that?  How is it possible you looked over that whole image for hours and it took this new eye of viewing it on your blog that made you REALLY see it?

Well, I’m honest enough about this stuff…happened to me today. Even after previewing it before publishing I didn’t notice what I noticed later. So I took it down.  Paranoia. I don’t like sub-par stuff from myself.

Think it all goes back to taking your time. A lesson I need to learn. Sometimes I rush through processing just to get it up on the website and I end up missing things. That’s not what happened today. This was just a lack of really paying attention at the time of processing. Also dust spots are a HUGE thing that I miss and I see others missing. You just don’t notice it well enough. I have to usually make myself stop and search them out.

NOW…this image is from the abandoned dog track north of Phoenix. I took a lot of shots while I there that one day and I still might have a few left in the tank to show at some point. What’s funny about this image and some others who have shot there recently is that some of sections of chairs don’t really look too old when framed in a certain way.

(exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.0, iso 100)

 

Rusted air

Short little entry for Monday. I’m off to Las Vegas for the week as my day-job has lots to do over the next month or two. I am posting another shot from the abandoned water facility I found on my last trip to Vegas, this was on the way to Lake Mead.

I assume this is an air conditioner and I’m fairly certain it’s completely useless now. At least, if it does work, I doubt it’s still blowing cold air.

I loved finding this little spot just randomly driving by, so I hope to do a bit more of that in the late afternoon/evenings this week. Although I’m going to force myself out to the Red Canyon area at least once this week, hopefully to capture a sunset or something cool I haven’t seen before.

Busy week of client meetings/workshops, so I think I’ll be fairly absent from the online world during business hours…but then again, I usually say that and still find a way to tweet at least 20 times a day. As they said in Jurassic Park…”Life….finds a way.

ALSO: Be sure to check out a little interview I did on Essential Photogear by clicking here.

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

 

Shards

(View a little larger, a little better by clicking on image for a lightbox)

I keep finding images from our dog track visit back in December that I haven’t processed, so I took a bit of time this week to blaze through a few.

I love this place. The scene above was so indicative of the current deterioration of the structure. It was also interesting how all these foreground seats were places on the outside of the facility and now it’s almost like the entire place is “outside.”

The first thing we talked about when we got near the windows was that we should all steer clear of them…because those shards aren’t just small bits of glass, but huge pieces that I would assume could take your head off if they dropped directly on you.

I automatically had a desire to stand next to and look through these windows, so I had to make sure I kept reminding myself to keep away.

This scene has a very post-apocalyptic feel to it for me. Chairs falling in disrepair, vegetation growing all over, the fact that everything just feels out in the open now. At one point in my life (and it may still happen), I had planned on writing a book that would take place in a future where people hadn’t really lived on the planet for a couple hundred years.

Things would likely be way worse than this, but it might be a scene I’d use to describe the way things were.

(exif: canon rebel xsi, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/5, iso 100)

The lamp post on Monroe

Another shot from the rainy evening we had back in late December. I was just hanging around this area using my 50mm to create some depth down long streets, sidewalks and walkways.

I loved how this little bricked path kind of “tunneled” itself though the trees and emerged at a lamp post/street light down the way. Some gorgeous “fall” leaves lay on the ground and the reflections from the storm added another element I dug.

I find myself fascinated with low shots like this, especially when using a 50mm or 85mm. You can get such distance when you are close to the ground, cool perspective, awesome lines and beautiful bokeh, especially when shooting wide open.

(exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/1.6, iso 100, 1/6 sec)

Swingers

There were two ways I could have gone with this image. One was the “or die” you see on the wall…but the other seemed to click the moment I saw this scene and thus it’s this week’s Movie Title Wednesday.

Swingers is my number one…yes, numero uno, all-time favorite movie. It’s hard to explain why, but to me this is one of the best guy movies ever made. First off you have Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn and Ron Livingston, all young before anyone knew who they were. Second you have Las Vegas, you have cool cars, awesome big band music, gangster references to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Wayne Gretsky bleeding, guns, bears with claws and “This place is dead anyways.”

I can’t even mention all the lines I love in the movie.

“Mikey’s the big winner, Mikey wins!”

“Vegas baby…Vegas.”

“You’re so money.”

“Is he cute Mikey? Is he brown?”

“Hey! What’re you kicking me for? You want me to ask? All right, I’ll ask! Ma’am, where do the high school girls hang out in this town?”

And the one that inspired me to use the flick for this image in the first place:

“You always doubledown on eleven.”

This photo is another one from the dog track north of Phoenix. You can clearly see two number “11” seats in the picture. So not only do you always doubledown on eleven, but this photo has TWO elevens! And to top it off, all the chairs kind of “swing” up and down right?

It’s total kismet. I mean…yeah, I could have saved the movie title for an awesome picture of Las Vegas that I will undoubtedly get this spring when I find myself up there a lot, but I had to use it now. I dug how the row of chairs had dead weeds around it and broken seats laying everywhere.

Oh and I still have quite a few shots left from the dog track that I haven’t even processed yet. Ugh!

Swingers is wonderfully written, completely hilarious and ultimately a cult classic. It’s about your buddies, girlfriend problems and Martin Scorsese. It played at the Valley Art Theater in Tempe for about a year straight because every week, people still came out to see it. I beg you, if you haven’t experienced it, go rent it this weekend, sit back with a beer and try not to cringe at the voice mail scene.

Who holds the key?

My first thought when I saw this lock through the broken glass wasn’t what it should have been. There are at least two other aspects of this scene that are way more interesting than the question that went through my head at the time:

I wonder who has the key to the lock…or does anyone even know where it is anymore?

So now you may wonder, what are the other two things?

Both of them only occurred to me AFTER I embedded this photo tonight. Which means to me that I need to take my time more. But it kind of makes sense…because I found this abandoned water/power structure while on the way to Lake Mead while the sun was going down and I honestly was a little nervous being all alone. I was rushing to get shots quickly, composing fast, without really noticing what was around me.

Yet even during post-processing I didn’t see it. Not until now.

Okay, the first may not be a big deal, but the fact that the chain is going through the broken windows is kind of amusing to me. Obviously someone decided they needed to keep people out after they’ve tried to get in a few times.

The bigger thing is that the friggin’ door is OPEN. I mean, I don’t know how far I could have pulled it ajar…but maybe enough to get a camera slid inside to take a couple of brackets? Maybe it would still be too tight.

But the strange thing is that I just didn’t even notice.

Regardless of all that, I just loved this old door and I still can’t sing enough praises about using the 50mm on stuff like this. It’s just brilliant.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.0, iso 100)

Almost Famous

The Duce Bus Downtown Phoenix

(Hat tip to the wife for picking the name for this one…she always comes through)

Another edition of Movie Title Wednesday finds us back in the 1970’s, riding along with Stillwater, the band that is the focus of the fantastic film, Almost Famous.

I remember loving this movie, and perhaps even getting choked up at the end. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but it’s one of those films that comes along once in awhile that just hangs with you for years after seeing it. A young man tries to get an article written for Rolling Stones Magazine by joining the band Stillwater on their tour bus as they go around the country. Great cast…Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee.

One of the best moments of the film that still kind of resonates with me was when they all join in to sing Tiny Dancer while heading down the highway. Amazing scene.

If you haven’t seen it…check it out, definitely can’t go wrong if you love music, bands, a little comedy, a little drama and awesome writing.

The bus in the photo belongs to The Duce, an eclectic, unique place in downtown Phoenix. I shot this back in late December whilst on our first photowalk of the city. My buddy Ken and I both got shots of it, still haven’t seen what he did with it.

I processed this photo awhile ago…probably within a week of taking it, but was waiting to dump it on a Wednesday. This was one of the first times I used Focal Point from onOne Software and I absolutely loved how it isolated the front of the bus. I knew right away I’d make it black and white, because I find it really helps get rid of any distraction when it comes to background colors.