Stay off my sh*t

(click to see a larger dumpster with a beautiful black border)

I shot this during my HDR Workshop back in February. I just love what the 50mm 1.4 does on a full frame with that wide aperture. No Focal Point or any other Photoshop effect for the depth of field…just good ol’ f/2.0.

Graffiti can either be awesome or, most of the time, just plain and basically ugly. It’s rare to find something that is just pure art out here. This is really nothing awesome, but the inspiration for the title of this post made me laugh. Kind of curious why the person wrote it. Did someone overwrite his previous crappy graffiti? Or does he perhaps sleep in the dumpster?

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


G. Love and Special Sauce

Until last week, I had never heard of G. Love and Special Sauce. I still couldn’t tell you much about the band except they are a bluesy, hip-hop alternative band and I kind of dug their music a bit when I listened to a few songs this evening. Then I saw some YouTube videos where they sang along with the likes of Tristan Prettyman (here) and Jack Johnson (here)…and, well…they are kind of awesome and I may need to buy a CD.

So where did that name even come from? Well, I honestly am not even sure it relates to the image above, but when I showed it to my buddy Brian Matiash and told him it looked like “Ghoul” to me, he said, “I think it says G Love.”

Well, I think the second letter is more likely an “L” than an “H”, so it may as well be G. Love for all I care. Either way, it’s kind of a weird word to be seen on an old loading dock doorway such as this one. Found in a back alley near Coach & Willy’s in downtown Phoenix last week, I didn’t even see the letters on the door until I started processing the image. Then they kind of stood out to me a bit more.

Also, I processed this image using Phototools and a little bit of Graddad Mike O’s Secret Sauce…Special Sauce…and that’s kind of weird how it related to G. Love on yet another level. Deep stuff. Does your head hurt?

So…I think when stormchasing is in the off-season, urban exploration is slowly becoming my secondary passion. Now I need to get me inside a building.

And listen to some more G. Love baby…mmmhmmmm….

(PS. If you are new to the blog today and coming from the Digital Photography School, I hope you have a look around and check out some of my work! If you are looking for the Backlit Nebraska Storm blog post, it’s right here. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!)


(Canon XSi, Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, ISO100, F8, Six Exposures, HDR)

Feels like it’s been awhile since I just went out shooting for “me” instead of client photoshoots…and I have to say, Sunday evening was a lot of fun. I had a short, 40 minute shoot at 4pm, so that left me with a bit of daylight to explore the downtown Phoenix area a bit more. I drove down some alleyways, stopped under bridges and saw some things I hadn’t known were there before.

There is one real takeaway from my urban exploration trips…I’m a chicken. The sun was down, the light fading…every now and then I’d see a homeless person walk by at the end of the alleyway, or even just a random guy in a hoody headed south towards an old neighborhood. I should feel safe down there (I think)…afterall, this was just a block or two from the US Airways Center and an impending Suns game 2 hours away. But in the quiet dusk hour…looking at the side of an old building in a deserted alleyway…it’s super-easy for me to get creeped out. And this is with my car parked right behind me *grins sheepishly*

Still, I love doing this and it’s probably just a matter of doing it more and more and getting over those nerves.

I loved this wall though…the loading dock doorway was amazing and the various colors all over the bricks was awesome. I don’t have a tilt-shift lens, but I wanted to bring the focus to the door, so I blurred the left side just a bit.

Need to get back down around this area and shoot a bit more. So much awesome stuff down here…in fact, I may use this spot for an upcoming shoot with a guitar-playing family of four.

Bruges: The People

I love photographing people, obviously, or else I wouldn’t be doing photoshoots as often as I do! Even greater still is the candid shot of a person, of a couple, of a group of friends…doing whatever it is they are doing. Yesterday I posted a slideshow focused solely on Bruges: The City…but today I’m showing you the other pictures I took…the pictures of the people.

They may not be people who live there, although some are, but they are just people walking down those medieval streets, gazing in windows, snapping their own photos, taking a break by sitting down in a giant courtyard…whatever. I love those kinds of candid shots, but I have to say…toss in a backdrop like Bruges…and oh my…I could take pictures for days.

What I liked a lot about some of the shots later in the slideshow is that the streets were a lot more empty than what we started, which really allowed you to focus on just a few people, but fill up the rest of the frame with Bruges.

Like I said in my previous post…opening up a portrait photography business in Bruges would be unbelievable.

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse of Bruges and the people who wander her streets.

The Red Light Bar Coffee Shop in Amsterdam

Wandering the streets of Amsterdam early in the morning really allowed for picture taking without thousands of people in the frame.

I loved this scene because of all the different colors there were to capture. From the orange flags for supporting the Dutch soccer team, to the neon signs, the Heineken sign, the graffiti in the alleyway, the red bricks, the awnings, the dirty black stairs…they just played so well together to create an explosion of color in an old town.

The door was closed to the coffee shop, but if it was anything like the other ones I passed with open doors…I’m sure there was some good smoking going on inside!

(More photos from my trip overseas: Holland Trip)

Amsterdam – Bikes and Bikes

One thing about Amsterdam (and maybe a lot of other places in Europe, I can’t honestly speak truthfully since this is my first time overseas) is that there are a ton of people riding bikes. And even more than that are the number of bikes just chained up all over the city. Chained here, chained there, chained everywhere.

This is a little alleyway between two other “larger” roads going through Amsterdam Centraal.  I almost passed it, then looked at all the bikes and knew I needed a picture.

A few other photogs I follow would probably have loved to use their Tilt-Shift lenses on this scene, but since I don’t have one, I tried to get as close to the left wall as I could. This was taken with my new Tamron 17-35 about a foot away from that left wall.

My wife has already seen the shot and loves the tree at the end of the alley. I just love the details in the old bricks everywhere, plus the light touch of color from the flowers and flag up on the walls.

(You can see all the photos from my trip by browsing this tag: Holland Trip)