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October 17, 2012

Heading South

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This may seem like deja vu, but a month from now, Tammi and I are going back to South America. This trip, like our trip last year, starts in Peru, then takes us to Argentina.

We start in Lima, continue to Argentinian wine country in Mendoza, then finish with a week in Buenos Aires. It may seem like a bit of a rerun, but last year was so great that waiting another five years for a return visit seemed foolish.

I'm in ful on obsessive mode planning and researching places to visit, eat and drink, so stay tuned for links and reminiscing from last year's trip.

April 25, 2012

Mexico-Bound

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Next week, Tammi and I are heading to Tulum, Mexico for the wedding of some good friends of ours. I'm not one to get excited about spending time in beach towns, but I had a great eating experience in Mexico City years ago and I've been hearing people talk about Tulum for a little while now. Of course, I don't have much in the way of specifics about where to go or what to eat while there, so let me know if you have any tips!

February 17, 2012

Analog Returns: Terminal 5

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Last week, I was chatting with a friend and he referred to a time when I "used to shoot film." It took me aback for a moment. My analog experiments have slowed down considerably, but, I never really thought of myself as not shooting film anymore. In fact, the five rolls of film in my coat pocket for the last couple months will testify that I at least shoot film occasionally.

What I haven't been doing is posting any of those film photos. So, here goes. This week, I've started posting again on my analog tumblr. I'm starting with some photos from an Open House New York tour I took last year of the old TWA Terminal Five at JFK.

Enjoy!

January 2, 2012

Introducing Food/Work


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Happy New Year, folks. 2011 was packed with experiences and opportunities that I hope to build on for years to come. To begin, I'm launching a new photo project that I'm very excited about, called Food/Work.

Expanding on the Butchery project of the last few years and the kitchen shoots I've done in the last several months, Food/Work explores the real effort that gets food on our tables. Following the examples of Michael Harlan Turkell's Back of House series and my friend Donny's Foodaisance project, I want to call attention to the work that goes into cooking, preparing, cutting, cultivating and even killing the food that so many of us enjoy and obsess over.

Although the project will not be limited to Brooklyn, starting Wednesday, I'll be posting some photos on Nona Brooklyn every other week. The first post went up last month with photos of Emily Cavalier cooking dishes for November's Midnight Brunch supper club.

So, stay tuned. The slideshow above is just a preview of what's to come.

November 30, 2011

Cuzco: The open kitchen at Cicciolina

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While the eating options were a bit limited in Aguas Calientes, Cuzco was an entirely different story. One night, while looking for a place to grab a drink, we stumbled upon Cicciolina, an Italian place hidden in a courtyard of shops a block or two away from the main square.

We may have come for a drink, but as soon as I saw that our spot at the bar was directly in front of the open kitchen, it was pretty clear that we'd be spending hours there. See cooks, prep, pasta making and cocktail shaking after the jump.

Continue reading "Cuzco: The open kitchen at Cicciolina" »

November 2, 2011

A walk through the cemetery. Recalling Recoleta for Halloween.

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Yes, Halloween is over and everyone's looking to either Thanksgiving or just going straight to Christmas, I've decided to linger a bit and look back. Two months ago, I was wandering the aisles of Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires enjoying a tranquility that is almost unheard of in my life or my city. The days and weeks and months since I've returned have been anything but calm - its been great and I hope to take some time to write about it - but it certainly hasn't been tranquil.

As the spiral into the holidays approaches, this week seemed like a good time to appreciate a moment of stillness. I'll be posting photos from Recoleta today on Twitter and for the rest of the week on Analog UltraClay.

Enjoy.

September 22, 2011

Analog Machu Picchu

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I've finally made my way through my film photos of Peru and have started posting them on my analog tumblr site. I'm starting with the photos from Machu Picchu and working my way through the rest of the trip. I'll be posting a few every day, so check back regularly.

July 22, 2011

This Weekend: Makossa Brooklyn Cookout

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If you weren't sure from the heatwave, it's summertime and thus barbecue season. My friends from rare form (the folks who bring it with the annual Donuts Are Forever party) have a monthly party in the backyard at Fresthetics, a clothing store in Williamsburg. After missing out on them for one reason or another last summer, I was sure to make the first of the season last month.

Tomorrow, they're doing it all over again, this time with guest DJs from Los Angeles and San Francisco and Filipino snacks from Mahalo Foods.

Check out more photos from June's party after the jump.

Makossa, Saturday July 23rd, 4-10pm.
552 Grand Street, Williamsburg

Continue reading "This Weekend: Makossa Brooklyn Cookout" »

July 7, 2011

Philly: Frankford Hall Opens in Fishtown

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For Memorial Day Weekend, Tammi and I took a trip down to Philadelphia. High on my agenda for the weekend was to check out the new beergarden in Fishtown, called Frankford Hall. Check it out after the jump...

Continue reading "Philly: Frankford Hall Opens in Fishtown" »

May 10, 2011

Analog: Expired Plenachrome

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Last month, with the return of the outdoor Brooklyn Flea, I checked in at Dan's Parent's House, the booth where I picked up the roll of 50+ year old Royal-X Pan film last year. Dan doesn't trade much in film, but had a few old rolls for sale, so I snapped them up.

The photos posted above and after the jump are from a 120mm roll of Plenachrome, made by a company called Ansco. The other day, Tammi and I rode down to Red Hook to enjoy the spring weather and I figured it was as good a time as any to give this old film a try.

Continue reading "Analog: Expired Plenachrome" »

May 4, 2011

Analog: Black & White Bars

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In all my analog experiments, I don't often shoot black & white. I just love color too much to act like it isn't there. Yet, occasionally, I come across results like this shot I took at Hanson Dry in Clinton Hill and a couple others (after the jump).

Continue reading "Analog: Black & White Bars" »

April 30, 2011

Analog Food Photography

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A couple weeks ago, when I posted about my lunch at Boqueria, I started thinking about analog food photography. I don't often shoot food with film for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the difficult lighting in most restaurants means that I usually need to extended iso and nearly unlimited shots that digital provides. Being able to take 50 photos in a minute or two is often essential in food photography because usually someone is waiting to eat the subject.

Beyond that, digital is sharper, more crisp in a way that many film aficionados aren't so into, but that we tend to desire in images of food. The textures and grain that you get on film are more complex and a bit less sexy that digital - but are really interesting in their own way. I only shoot food with film from time to time, but have gotten some interesting results.

This week on Analog UltraClay, I've decided to explore the topic a bit by spending the next week or so posting an Analog Food series.

April 26, 2011

Analog Spring

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It's that time of year. Spring in New York brings us all out into the streets. We're so happy for a day or two of decent weather that we're out and about as much as possible. Never mind that half the days are chilly and rainy, we're still making plans to go out to the Brooklyn Flea or Habana Outpost or wherever else.

This week on Analog UltraClay, I'm posting spring photos from around town including new Analog Flea photos and a series on Washington Square Park, one of my favorite places to spend time since I was a kid.

April 21, 2011

Quick Bite: Bar Mut in Barcelona

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After we left La Sagrada Familia on our last day in Barcelona, Tammi and I went to Bar Mut, in L'Eixample for some wine and a few snacks. We were there in that late afternoon dead period that confounded us just about everyday, but thankfully, they were open through the siesta and we spent a couple hours snacking and drinking wine there. See the food after the jump.

Continue reading "Quick Bite: Bar Mut in Barcelona" »

April 19, 2011

Analog Subways

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After a bit of a hiatus, I've started posts up on Analog UltraClay again. This week's theme is the subway, featuring film photos from New York's transit system.

Just going through the photos to select which I want to post got me thinking of other stations and compositions I want to try. I picked up a couple rolls of faster film than my go-to Ektar last week, so expect a sequel, possibly as soon as next month. Enjoy!

April 18, 2011

Scenes from Barcelona: Kiosko Universal

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Heading to Barcelona, I was obsessed with the Boqueria marketplace. I wanted to photograph it and sample all the different foods there, gorging myself on slice after slice of jamon and who knows what else. Once we got there, though, I ended up mostly window shopping, ogling the wares and wondering how one cooks a cockscomb.

On the one 'morning' we did eat there (and by morning, I mean afternoon), we went to Kiosko Universal.

Continue reading "Scenes from Barcelona: Kiosko Universal" »

March 28, 2011

Barcelona: History All Around

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Directly across from our hotel in Barcelona stood this plaque honoring Salvador Segui. He was an anarchist and part of the republic that was overthrown by Franco in the Spanish civil war.

I don't know enough about the war to be able to regale you with facts about it, but suffice it to say that it was significant and fascinates me for its context in history. Seeing reminders of those events around us while we traveled reminds me of the other fascinating

March 23, 2011

Aspen: The food of BB's Kitchen

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The interesting part of my annual sojourns to Aspen has been tracking down the new restaurants and bars that pop up over the years. This year, I discovered BB's Kitchen, which had only been open for a couple weeks when I got there.

I had a few great meals there and just missed the opportunity to photograph their meat operation for my butchery project. I spoke to the chef, Mark Buley about the restaurant and their plans to bring whole animal cooking to Aspen. If I'd written this post two months ago, I'd probably have a lot more details, but it's all faded a bit, so I'll let the food talk for itself after the jump.

Continue reading "Aspen: The food of BB's Kitchen" »

February 24, 2011

...And back again

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Tammi and I got back from Barcelona this afternoon. It was a great trip and I've got loads to write about. I hope to spend the next day or two catching up on my posts about this trip, San Francisco, Aspen and Hong Kong.

February 11, 2011

Analog: 1600 Speed

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When I was in Hong Kong, I picked up a roll of ISO 1600 film in the hopes of using it for some interesting shots at night at Angkor Wat. That never happened, but when I got home, I found a dark and snowy city perfect for high speed film.

The results are interesting. Being able to shoot on a gloomy, overcast day without opening the aperture all the way or having to slow the shutter down too far. Check out Analog UltraClay for more ISO 1600 shots from this roll and some others from a while back.

January 22, 2011

Analog: Party Polaroids at Brooklyn Bowl

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Yesterday afternoon, I got a last minute request to shoot Roots DJ Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson's 40th Birthday party at Brooklyn Bowl. Even now, I'm desperately trying to play it cool as though this is the sort of thing that happens to me all the time, but I admit that I was pretty ecstatic at the opportunity. As a long time fan of The Roots in general, Questlove in particular and Brooklyn Bowl as a venue, I have to say the whole experience was gratifying.

Photographically, the most interesting part of the night was that the request specified that they wanted Polaroids (or at least "Polaroids," most instant film cameras are Fujis). I used a Fuji Instax 270,I believe. It was the 'wide' version, which shoots the traditional size prints as opposed to the more common 'mini' models that print narrow, business card-sized photos.

I've never played with Polaroids in the past and, though generally understanding the appeal of instant analog prints, always worried that it would just lead to obsession and a million individual prints would accumulate, unscanned because I hate scanning and thus not particularly useful in the digital world. All of that is pretty accurate and I'm resisting the urge to blow my payment for the gig on one of these cameras for myself and a ton of film.

Shooting with it was interesting. The learning curve was fairly shallow, it is made to be very simple to use after all. My biggest problem is that the film packs only hold 10 exposures at a time. Shooting an event and having to stop every 10 shots can be cumbersome. The other issue is that the prints take longer to 'develop' that I ever expected. It takes nearly 5 minutes for an image to completely materialize. That can be a lot of time to lose the spontaneity of a moment. Even so, the photos I saw - I turned in the whole batch at the end of the night - were inspiring. I might have to risk obsession and add another toy to my collection one of these days.

January 20, 2011

Aspen-Bound for the Last Time

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This weekend, I head to Aspen for the final time in the service of my current company. There's plenty more to report about why, but for now, let's stick with the usual trip preparations. Tammi's joining me for a couple days to assist me in set up (having a geek wife has its benefits) and to allegedly take on some of the local activities that I've thus far avoided every year going out there.

My list of restaurants I want to visit for my last time around is long. Ajax Tavern, Ellina, or maybe Brexi

January 10, 2011

Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Destination

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Like the rest of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat was filled with tourists and those seeking the tourists' dollars. Wherever we went we were nudged and jostled by tour groups and picture-takers. I counted German, French, Spanish, Russian, Korean, and Japanese groups over the course of the day.

Continue reading "Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Destination" »

Cambodia: Angkor Wat

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Ten years ago, before I caught the travel bug, before I'd ever booked a flight on my own or gone further than New England unaccompanied, I worked in an office in Times Square. In the entryway to my department was a large print of a photo from Angkor Wat. I passed it several times a day and wondered where the hell Cambodia was and honestly never really thought I'd be there in person. A decade later, here I was in Siem Reap walking through the ruins and seeing the real thing up close. Without intending to, I'd accomplished a travel goal.


Continue reading "Cambodia: Angkor Wat" »

December 13, 2010

Analog: Airport Security

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Tammi and I landed back home in New York yesterday from Hong Kong. I've got plenty to post about and hope to get them flowing out of there next week or two.

Over the last couple weeks, we've been on 10 flights through six countries and dealt with countless different stages of airport security. Ever since I started shooting film, one of the biggest potential hassles has been dealing with airport security.

X Rays can severely damage the emulsion on film in a way that can totally screw your images. Now, the first thing any screener will say is that it'll only affect film that's faster than ISO 800 or even 1600. What none of them understands is that slower film isn't invulnerable to X Rays, it's just that it takes more passes to do the same damage because it's less sensitive.

I've read that it takes five passes to damage 100 speed film the way one pass damages a faster roll. Given that we've passed through maybe a dozen security checkpoints on this trip, the hazard is still there.

In one of the few compliments I've ever really considered about the TSA, I will say that they invariably will do a proper manual swab of my film without giving me a hard time.

Less so in Japan, above, where the security guy at Narita insisted on opening up and visually inspecting each of my 20+ rolls. In the end, it's better than the Cambodian guard who insisted that I put my one roll of 1600 speed film in the x-ray because the sign said it was 'film-safe.' I haven't shot it yet, so we'll have to see how it comes out when I get home.

December 3, 2010

And on to the next one

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It's 5am and Tammi and I are getting ready for a flight to Cambodia for the weekend. Vietnam has been quick, but fascinating. We'll have another evening here before we head back to Hong Kong and then The Philippines, so I hope to get a chance to gorge myself further on pho and street banh mi.

I can't promise updates for another couple days, so follow me on Twitter for more up to the minute posts (12 hours ahead).

November 28, 2010

Analog Montreal: Charcuterie Hongroise

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If you've been following Analog UltraClay, you may have already seen some of the recent photos I posted from Charcuterie Hongroise. While walking up St Laurent toward Schwartz's on my last day in Montreal, I passed a few old school butcher shops that caught my attention.

It was the sausages hanging in the window that drew me in to boucherie hongroise. Montreal still has some of the old European style butcher shops that are quickly disappearing in New York.

See inside after the jump.


Continue reading "Analog Montreal: Charcuterie Hongroise" »

November 24, 2010

And We're Off! Asia-bound

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Today's the day. Tammi and I are off to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong. Even though I'll be away for the next two weeks, I've still got a bunch of posts that I've been working on that should be going up here from Philly, Montreal and cooking at home. There are also some posts queued up on Midtown Lunch and on Analog UltraClay, so stay tuned!

November 22, 2010

Analog Montreal: Schwartz's Smoked Meat

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If there was any one food I absolutely had to eat in Montreal, it was the smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's. Viande fumee was a revelation for me on my last trip there and Schwartz's topped the list.

Here in Brooklyn, we've got Mile End's excellent version, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to go to the source.

So, on our last day in town, when my friends were brunching at the hotel and heading to the airport, I ditched everyone and made my way to St. Laurent to experience it again.

Continue reading "Analog Montreal: Schwartz's Smoked Meat" »

November 18, 2010

Analog: Long Expired Kodak Royal-X Pan

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In all my analog experimenting, I've only played with expired film once or twice. The only notable results I found were with a roll I shot in Hawai'i that I posted about last year.

Last weekend at "Dan's Parent's House" at the Brooklyn Flea, I came across this single roll of 120mm Royal-X Pan film. The box was still sealed and the stamp on the side said 'develop before December 1959.'

The vendor, Dan told me he had no idea if it was any good, so gave it to me for $3.

Check out the results after the jump.

Continue reading "Analog: Long Expired Kodak Royal-X Pan " »

November 16, 2010

Daytona Beach: Oceanwalk

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The Daytona Beach Oceanwalk was right behind our hotel. It's where everyone watched the Wings and Waves Air Show from. It looked like a low budget Coney Island, there were bars and an arcade and a few rides that looked like they'd seen better days.

This week in New York we're hearing about the classic old dives of Coney getting shuttered in favor of mall-ified entertainment that's not unique nor local nor interesting. In honor of the old places that are still around, I'm posting a few photos from the Oceanwalk on Analog UltraClay over the next day or so.
Enjoy.

November 10, 2010

Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88

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In my exploration in shooting analog, medium format has fascinated me. That's most likely because it's sort of arcane and the frames are big and square. Unfortunately, I've had a pretty unfortunate track record shooting 120mm film - thus far at least. That's finally starting to change thanks to the the Kiev 88.

Read more about the Kiev after the jump and see photos I've taken with it on Analog UltraClay all week.

Continue reading "Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88" »

November 9, 2010

Daytona Beach: Wings and Waves Air Show

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More surreal than dinner at a NASCAR track was the air show that took place right behind our hotel the weekend we were in Daytona Beach for Kelly & Seagram's wedding.

I had never been to such a thing before, so I had no idea what to expect. The sound of the F-16's afterburner overhead nearly killed me. I don't think I had ever heard anything so loud in my life.

Continue reading "Daytona Beach: Wings and Waves Air Show" »

November 8, 2010

Moe's Closing?

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Word on the internets is that Fort Greene's neighborhood bar, Moe's may be closing due to an astronomical rent increase. A lot of things can happen between now and February, so I'm not giving up hope just yet.

November 7, 2010

Analog: Gowanus

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Continuing with the Street Photography theme on Analog UltraClay, the last couple of days has been all about Gowanus. Around the end of the summer, I found myself in the border areas of the Gowanus on the subway, on foot and on the bike quite a bit. I took the opportunity to explore a bit.

Check it out.

November 5, 2010

Bed-Stuy: Therapy Wine Bar seeking full liquor license

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According to Citizen Who, Therapy Wine Bar just got community board approval for a full liquor license. That's pretty big news in my part of Bed-Stuy, an area where the only real bar for maybe half a mile is Casablanca Lounge, the old man bar down the block from me.

Open for over a year now, I was pretty excited when I first heard about Therapy opening on Lewis Avenue. Tammi and I have been there a few times and I've gone in by myself for a glass of wine and to get a little work done.

See a bit more of what's inside after the jump.

Continue reading "Bed-Stuy: Therapy Wine Bar seeking full liquor license" »

November 4, 2010

Photography: For Love of Money? Can't I have both?

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As challenging as the technical aspects of photography can be, the business side is the part I hear most people have the most difficulty with. I totally understand that. Putting a price tag on something you enjoy doing is hard enough, but how do you make a living when everyone wants you to do it for free?

Recently, I've been approached by no less than a half dozen people, friends, strangers, organizations asking for copies of my photos to use on websites, newspapers, and books with no offer of compensation other than being credited for the use of the photograph. Given that credit seems to be the legal minimum anyone can offer, I'll stick with the analogy I've heard before of it being like offering an athlete the chance to play on a major league team strictly for the honor of getting a jersey with his name on it.

If you've spent any time contemplating the viability of life as a photographer, you have almost certainly heard the above lead into a diatribe about why amateurs are ruining the field, why photographers should always be paid for any work done and how working 'for credit' is a violent act against the entirety of the photographic community.

I've got nothing nearly so dramatic or black and white. In fact, more than using this post to state an opinion, I'd really like to hear from people in and around the field about how they feel.

Continue reading "Photography: For Love of Money? Can't I have both?" »

It's Cooking Weather

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With apologies to Ruhlman for blatantly ripping off his old logo, I was inspired to take this photo as I've been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately. The cooling weather has my nesting instincts. As I've been in the house more working on portfolios and plotting my entry into the photography business, I've also been cooking more. There's been braising, roasting, making stocks and I even made my first risotto. (Lesson learned, cook hotter, stir more, but definitely use the cheese rind stock again.)

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When in North Carolina last month, I cooked for a dozen or so people, the biggest audience I've had maybe all year. The big challenge was that I had to feed vegetarians and people with gluten allergies, hence the veggie stock prep above. It was a ton of fun and has only encouraged me to want to cook more. Hopefully one day I'm figure out how to cook and shoot at the same time and I could then actually blog about that from time to time. Here's hoping.

October 31, 2010

Analog: Street Photography

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One of the interesting side effects of shooting film has been a return to some of the subjects I used to shoot a lot more of when I was just playing around rather than shooting for assignments or blog posts.

I've been especially into returning to street photography in the last few months. Candid street shots can capture so much in a moment.

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After spending the last week posting nature photos from North Carolina on Analog UltraClay, I'm switching my focus to more urban environs.

If you're on Tumblr, I'd love to hear feedback on my work in comments or faves.

October 23, 2010

NC: Nature Walks

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My visit here to North Carolina isn't all wandering suburban supermarkets and finding oddities like Liver Mush.

We've also been going out on daily walks through one of the local woodland trails. Once again, I decided to try my hand at a little nature photography. Last year I tried the same thing, but I was using Tammi's point and shoot due to an equipment failure with my 30D.

You can see more of the photos from out in the woods on Analog UltraClay.

October 16, 2010

Analog Flea: Kat Flower

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Ever since Kat Flower started selling at the Brooklyn Flea, I've made a point of stopping by, shooting some of the gorgeous flowers and asking Kathleen, the owner to put together something nice for me to take home to Tammi. I've never been a flower person, but I love the interesting shapes and colors of the selection here.

See more of my favorites under Analog Flea on my film photo blog, Analog UltraClay.

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October 6, 2010

Self-Promotion: Analog UltraClay

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With all the analog photos I've been working on lately, I've found myself in the situation of either cramming way more images into a blog post than really fits or holding back a ton of images that I'm really proud of. I phased out the POTD on the blog a couple years ago because I felt that solo photos tended to distract from the other content on the site.

So, now I'm launching a Tumblr site called, imaginatively enough "Analog UltraClay" to regularly post my film photography. My plan is to use the new blog to integrate with the subjects I've been covering here in a way that takes advantage of both platforms.

In particular, I'm hoping that using Tumblr will facilitate more discussion and feedback about the images, while I'll be writing about photography more in depth here, discussing technology, techniques and my observations and projects. If you're on Tumblr, I'd love it if you followed the new blog and let me know what you think of it.

As the photo indicates, it's all still 'Under Construction,' so feel free to let me know what you think I should do with it.


September 29, 2010

Analog Flea: Red Windows

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 23, 2010

Food Finds: Admiration Mayonnaise

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Curry Cart, Midtown, NYC. 2010.

September 20, 2010

Analog Flea: Owls

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 14, 2010

Analog Flea: Chess Pieces

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 10, 2010

Analog Flea: Flags

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 9, 2010

Analog Flea: Keys

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 8, 2010

The Brooklyn Flea brings back memories

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I'm behind the times in wholeheartedly embracing the Brooklyn Flea. I've been a fan since its inception, but somehow never quite made it over there very often. Lately though, I've found myself there weekly and loving the experience for all the new and old sensations they evoke.

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First, the history. Back before the development boom put giant condos on every block, the strip of 6th Avenue between 23rd Street and, say, 30th Street was home to what seemed like a dozen parking lots that all turned into big open air markets on the weekends. Vendors hawked old comic books, toys, antiques, camera, radio and electronic equipment and all sorts of other hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

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Second, there's all the food. The food vendors of the flea have banded together and besides being a destination on the weekends at the two Flea locations, they also sold food at Central Park Summerstage shows all summer. More on that to come.

I was going to try to do one post about the Flea and I realized that I couldn't really do it. Since I've been shooting analog on the weekends, I have accrued quite a few photos of the Flea on film. Over the next month or so, I'll post Analog Flea pics every couple days as part of my Ektar 300 series. some will include commentary, so will speak for themselves.

Stay tuned.

Looking To The East

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Pretty much as soon as we got back from Hawai'i last year, Tammi and I were already thinking about where we would go for our annual trip this fall. We had been all over the place, but hadn't really centered on anything specific until we were invited to a wedding in The Philippines two weeks after Thanksgiving.

After a good deal of budget consideration and some awesome finagling with frequent flyer miles, we managed to get everything arranged. We will be spending a week each in Hong Kong and Vietnam this fall, plus a couple days in The Philippines for the wedding.

Right now we are in the information gathering part of planning, so if you've been to the area and have recommendations, please chime in.

In the meantime, I expect to do as much research on Cantonese, Vietnamese and Filipino food in New York as I can. More to come.

September 1, 2010

Gone Fishin'

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Actually, I haven't gone anywhere, I've just been tied up with a few things, so I'm calling it a hiatus.

I'll be back post-Labor Day with some news about upcoming trips, more analog antics and a bit of self-promotion here and there.

For the curious, I did not win the DKNY contest last week, which was a real downer, but I appreciate all the support from my friends and fans. On to the next one...

August 24, 2010

Self-Promotion: Subway Dreamer

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This photo, one of my analog pics from the winter on the platform at Union Square, has made it as a finalist for DKNY's New York photo contest. The prize is a shiny new camera that I would very much like to have.

So, if you are on facebook, which you probably are, please please please vote for me and post it to your profile.

Thanks!

August 17, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy: Saraghina

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I've been excited about Saraghina since their opening a year ago. Yet, for some reason, I haven't managed to post about it despite thoroughly enjoying many a meal there. I seem to have a block on it.

Today, I'm hoping to circumvent that block by just posting some visuals as part of my Analog and Bed-Stuy projects. Really though, the place photographs amazingly well. It's an eclectic space decorated with strange and interesting signs and objects on the walls and dangling from the ceilings.

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The food is also quite nice to look at, if you can spare the moment to shoot before tearing into it. See some of the food and more of the space after the jump. Most of these were taken with Ektar film, except for the final, which was shot months ago with Fuji Velvia.

Continue reading "Analog Bed-Stuy: Saraghina" »

August 11, 2010

Quick Bite: Bar Bambino

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Before heading out of San Francisco in June, my colleagues and I grabbed lunch at Bar Bambino in The Mission. Here are a few analog shots from the meal.

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Continue reading "Quick Bite: Bar Bambino" »

August 10, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy: Brooklynite Gallery

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Eurotrash opening party, Brooklynite Gallery, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. June 2010.

These are a few analog scenes from the June opening at Brooklynite Gallery. The gallery has been open for a couple years now and has not, as many initially feared, transformed the neighborhood into Williamsburg.

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Owners Rae and Hope McGrath, who live in Bed-Stuy, keep the neighborhood involved in their shows and parties. Nearly every event features musical performances out on Malcolm X Boulevard, drawing the attention of neighbors and passersby. The parties also often bring some legends in Hip-hop to DJ, which I certainly appreciate.

I've seen Prince Paul, Hank Shocklee and most recently DJ Rehka, whose Basement Bhangra party SOBs had forever been on my New York 'to-do' list. At the gallery they took it a step further and had a group of traditional dancers - along with local kids dancing to the mix of hip-hop, reggae and Bhangra rhythms.

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I also appreciate the fact that it's close to home - being a block away means that even when I'm exhausted, it's no trouble to go out to check out the show and shoot the party.

The next show, opening on September 4th features artists Eelus and C215, an amazing stencil artist that I've been a big fan of for years.

Brooklynite Gallery, 334 Malcolm X Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11233. 347.405.5976

August 7, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy: Flora

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Forgive me if I end up sounding like a shill for Kodak, but with 300 rolls of Ektar to go through, it's pretty much the only film I expect to shoot with for some time.

That said, the fine grain of Ektar is particularly good for plants. If brings out the tones and character of leaves and flowers that are just not as interesting (to me) taken digitally.

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Here and after the jump are some of the flora and still life photos I've been taking around Bed-Stuy of late. Still life isn't my strong suit, but I like what i came up with here.

Continue reading "Analog Bed-Stuy: Flora" »

August 5, 2010

Analog: San Francisco

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I took the first batch of Ektar winnings out for a spin on my trip to San Francisco in June.

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Last week, I finally got it developed. After looking through all of it, I have to say, I'm hooked on analog all over again. Follow the jump for some SF Street Photography.

Continue reading "Analog: San Francisco" »

August 2, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy

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As I try to phase analog photography back into my life, I'm hoping to strike a better balance that I did last year. My Ektar 300 windfall is great, but carrying around two, three, four cameras all the time and shooting dozens of film rolls a week isn't feasible or economical.

So, I'm trying to limit my film shooting to leisure time when I'm not planning on shooting anything for Examiner or Midtown Lunch. Lately, that's mostly just been when I've been around the neighborhood in Bed-Stuy.

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It's been interesting looking through the photos I've taken so far. I've lived in Bed-Stuy for almost 25 years and I really don't photograph the area very much. That's unfortunate since there's so much to shoot in the neighborhood. I'm hoping to take the opportunity to appreciate more of the visuals around me by shooting more in the area.

The top was shot with my EOS 1-N, the bottom with my Diana Mini. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll post more here and there from around the neighborhood, so will just include one or two, others will have several.

See a couple more after the jump.

Continue reading "Analog Bed-Stuy" »

July 31, 2010

Self-Promotion: Promoted!

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Those keeping track of these self-promotion posts will remember that I won an honorary mention for this photo earlier in the spring for this photo from last year's Winter Market.

For my trouble, I received 20 rolls of Kodak Ektar film and the warm, fuzzy feeling of having my work appreciated. It was plenty and I was happy.

Then, I got a note from Kodak saying that one of the winners was disqualified, so I've been promoted to to Third place!

Oh, and how would I like my remaining 280 rolls of film.

Two Hundred and Eighty.

More. Rolls of film.
With 300 rolls to go through, expect more analog photos in your near future.

Update: Follow my progress and exploration going through The Ektar 300...

June 8, 2010

Another Year Gone

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The last year has been intense. I turned 32 in the middle of my big push to really dedicate myself to pursuing photography seriously. A year later, I've worked my ass off, gone out shooting when I'd much prefer to be at home in bed with Tammi and spent a huge amount of money on classes, equipment, film and lab fees.

It's been a busy year, but one of the most fulfilling I've had to date. My efforts have yielded a column on Examiner, a regular blogging gig for Midtown Lunch, photos in three different books and magazines, I placed in a contest - I was even on TV! And finally, a photo show all of my own. My new camera, that I've been ogling for a year, is a part of the harvest, largely paid for with blogging and photography funds.

Now it's time to go further, to push harder to make things happen on purpose instead of by happy accident. This is where it becomes for real. It's the hard part: pitching, cold calling, making contacts all the while continuing what I've been doing. It wont be easy, but given the success this last year has brought - with the incredible support from my friends and family, especially Tammi, I know that the work will pay off. It'll happen so long as I keep pushing forward.

So, with that thought I mark 33 years under my belt and welcome the next.

Cheers.

April 20, 2010

Self-Promotion: Honorable Mention in Kodak Ektar Contest

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Back in December, while I was still in full-tilt analog shooting, I submitted the above photo of cranberries at the New Amsterdam Wintermarket to a contest on Flickr for images shot with Kodak's low-grain Ektar film.

Recently, I was notified that I made the honorable mention list! For placing, I get my photo posted on the big Kodak screen in Times Square and 20 more rolls of Ektar film.

The film is wonderfully smooth and I enjoy using it when lighting situations allow. It'll be great to get it for the summer time, when I hope to be spending more time outside shooting.

The official news release hasn't gone out yet, but it was announced to the contest's group on Flickr.

When I started posting all this Self-Promotion jazz a couple weeks ago, I hadn't actually expected it to become a weekly thing. Here's hoping it keeps coming!

April 14, 2010

Miami: Señora Martinez

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After the cruise, Tammi and I had several hours to kill in Miami. It's not so much a walking town, so we found ourselves hanging out nowhere in particular until lunchtime when we were one of the first ones in the door at Señora Martinez in the Design District.

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The tapas-ish menu had a lunch time pre-fixe which greatly accommodated both our desire for little snacks, like the pan con tomate, above and for a more substantial main, like my perfectly done burger, below. There was also the roasted red peppers and the bacon-wrapped bleu cheese stuffed dates, after the jump.

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The lunch deal was quite a bargain, but, in the end, it was our bar bill that did us in. With so much time to kill and only airport time ahead, there was little else to do but to spend the afternoon imbibing in the libations on hand.

Miami's not so much my sort of town, but if I were to find myself back there, Sra. Martinez would certainly at the top of my list of places to eat.


Continue reading "Miami: Señora Martinez" »

April 7, 2010

Seattle: Dahlia Lounge

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This was a magnificent piece of braised pork topped with a poached egg and a dollop of sweet and spicy Asian hot sauce. It was one of the many great small courses I had in Seattle at Dahlia Lounge (after a brief starter at Lola).

Again, I don't remember so much of the particulars, so I'll leave the pictures to speak for themselves.

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April 5, 2010

Cruising: Vegas at Sea

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The decor of the ship was straight out of Las Vegas, shiny and gilded. Amazingly gaudy.

Given that, it made sense that there was actually a casino in the middle of it all. We didn't go in for more than a minute or two.


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April 4, 2010

Cruising: Mongolian Barbecue

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Cruises are famous for having loads and loads of food. Besides the main dinner with its awkward times and assigned seating, there are buffets and carving stations and it's all you can eat nearly around the clock.

Now, an abundance of food does not mean all the food is good. By and large the selections tend to be more like a college cafeteria, but there are a few gems mixed in.

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My favorite was the Mongolian Barbecue Station. It's basically a stir fry station with udon noodles. Simple and tasty, Tammi and I jumped to get it before the inevitable line formed.

The guys working the woks were amused by my photographing them.

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March 31, 2010

Weddings: Chris & Kim in Nassau

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It was Chris and Kim's wedding that Tammi and I were heading to during the snowstorm last month. Chris and I have known each other for just about 15 years. It was a pleasure to see him so happy that day.

Due to some technical difficulties, I was shooting all film, which limited me somewhat, but I think left an interesting, vintage look.

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The ceremony was at a local resort in Nassau at the end of a long pier. The scene was gorgeous. I hope my photos managed to capture even a fraction of that.

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More photos after the jump...

Continue reading "Weddings: Chris & Kim in Nassau" »

March 30, 2010

Self-Promotion: NYU SCPS Show

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Last fall, I took at class at NYU on Night Photography. Last week, I was invited by the school to show some of my work as a part of the 75th Anniversary celebration of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS).

This weekend, as part of the Literary and Visual Arts Festival, my photos will be on display along with visual art pieces from many other current and former students at the Silver Center at NYU.

I'm honored to have my work shown here and look forward to seeing it.

March 22, 2010

Food and Fashion meet for a laugh at The Astor Center (NSFW)

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I'm still catching up on the various shoots and events I've been juggling over the last month, so apologies for the delay. Just before our delay-laden trip last month, I shot a Gastronomica-sponsored Food and Fashion event at The Astor Center. The event began the Umami Art Festival and included a performance art piece called Robert Kushner and Friends Eat their Clothes. The distinctly odd show was brief and featured a fashion show made up of men and women (barely) dressed in foodstuff. Think an eggplant codpiece, a nori skirt and asparagus headwear.

I didn't end up posting it on my Nightlife column as I didn't want to test the posting guidelines, but if you'd like to see half naked artists dressed in vegetables and such, follow the jump and check out the extended Food Fashion set on Flickr.

Continue reading "Food and Fashion meet for a laugh at The Astor Center (NSFW)" »

March 15, 2010

Cruising: Sea Legs

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Before the cruise, I was mildly concerned about adjusting to being on the water. The only boats I've been on for the most part have been riverboats. I wasn't sure how different the motion would be or how sensitive I'd be to it.

Turns out I didn't have much trouble at all. Every now and again, I'd suddenly be aware of a wobbly feeling, not unlike the earthquake I felt in Los Angeles a couple years ago. It typically subsided quickly and didn't usually really bother me.

What's weird is that for hours after leaving the ship, I was still getting that 'wobbly' feeling. I'm sure there's plenty of inner ear science that explains this, but I have no idea.

Again, it makes me wonder what it's like for someone who spends months at sea to return to solid ground.

March 14, 2010

Cruising: Dining Hours

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In the months before taking this cruise, I found more than a few boosters who were happy to tell me how much they love cruises. They went on to dispute the various complaints and stereotypes about cruises. High up on that list was the dining situation.

Assigned tables and set dinner times they assured me are a thing of the past. Many cruise lines have multiple restaurant options and don't require a set seating time every night. Carnival didn't get the memo. The Imagination sports a single restaurant with table service, Spirit. Our seating was set for 6pm. Every night.

To those unfamiliar, here's how it works. The restaurant only does two or three seatings a night and between them, they have to accommodate for all the guests on the ship. The times are assigned, so some people get to eat at a reasonable hour and the rest of us eat five minutes after lunch. Similarly, guests are assigned to large round tables, wedding-style. The same folks eat together every night. In our case everyone at our table was a part of our group, but if you're with a smaller group or just a couple or family, you share the table and all the awkward conversation you want with strangers.

If you miss your seating and want a later dining time, you have to wait until the whole dining group has come in and then be placed in at any vacant spaces that are left.

I'm sure it all makes sense from the logistical perspective of trying to feed thousands of people, but it's definitely not so friendly for anyone who wants some flexibility in dining.

March 13, 2010

Cruising: At Sea

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Pardon the obvious observation, but being at sea means being in the middle of nowhere. Look in every direction and there's nothing on the horizon in any direction. It's a first for me. As a city-dweller, the idea of being surrounded by essentially nothingness is fascinating. Particularly, it makes me think about sailors through history surrounded by a blue void for days or weeks or months at a time.

There's a weird cognitive dissonance being so isolated from the rest of the world, yet still surrounded by a thousand people.

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March 9, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Bowlive!

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Apologies for the hiatus, some things have been going on in the real world that have taken me away from electronic life. I'll be back up by the end of the week with posts and photos and all that good stuff.

In the meantime, here's what was going on last week on Examiner. Brooklyn Bowl, which has become one of my favorite venues in town is in the middle of hosting a two week residency with Soulive. It's called, cleverly, Bowlive.

I'd heard of the group before, but never really knew their music. They are an instrumental band that blurs the boundaries between funk, soul, rock and jazz and they throw a great party.

For five nights last week and another five nights this week, they are performing with some great guest acts, starting last week with Vernon Reid and continuing this week with guests including Questlove and Rahzel on Thursday and Charlie Hunter tonight.

It was a hugely fun show and I wish I could stop in again before it's all done to see them perform again.

When things settle down a bit, I plan to get back to some of the regular posting I had been doing for my column. Expect a return to the Brokelyn 25 and maybe even an attempt to start up my Late Night Snacks feature again.

March 1, 2010

Analog: Appreciating Digital

You'll notice that there's no photo here. That's because I've been all analog for the last week and a half.

In all my recent experimentation over the last couple months, I've enjoyed the process of shooting film and the excitement of seeing the results. I did my best not to overly glorify film, but I certainly have been finding film more interesting. Not enough to replace digital, but I've definitely been talking up film a lot more.

I'll take it as a rebuke from fate or the photography gods that my digital camera crapped out on me a week ago exactly when I needed it for quite a few things including a photography class, a couple events I was covering for Examiner and of course the wedding and cruise this past weekend.

So, yes, I miss digital. Let me count the ways:

• Changing rolls of film in the middle of shooting an event sucks. No ones going to stop walking down the aisle or hold that pose long enough for you to swap rolls.

• Along the same lines, being able to take 1,000+ exposures on a chip allows you to catch more moments just through sheer volume. Everyone wants to think they're going to catch the Decisive Moment through skill, but sometimes skill still needs 30 attempts to get it right.

• Trial and Error. Seriously. You have no idea how scared I am that some setting was off and half the photos I took are screwy because I couldn't glance at the LCD to see that I shouldn't have used that aperture or didn't see that someone was totally backlit.

Finally, there's developing cost in both time and money. Between the snowstorm and the travel, I now have nearly two dozen rolls of film to develop. That's going to cost a lot and I won't get them for a couple days.

February 18, 2010

Snapshots from Vancouver

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I haven't really been following the Winter Olympics. I rarely do. But reports and discussion tend to be inescapable.

The other day, I saw Brian Williams reporting from Vancouver with the bay behind him and I was brought back to the few days I spent there last year. One of the best things about travel is how it resonates with you long after you've returned. I heard another report on NPR where the correspondent was drowned out momentarily by a landing seaplane. Before he said anything, I knew what that sound and remembered the city-boy awe at airplanes that land on the water!

Over the next couple of days, I'm going to try to catch up on some of the posts I never got around to writing from my trip to Vancouver. Enjoy!

February 15, 2010

Travel Observations: Mountains

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Growing up in New York, my idea of mountains has always been giant triangles sticking out of the ground. Even spending 4 years living in a valley didn't really properly convey the concept of what a mountain was in my head. It wasn't until going out to Aspen and actually being in the mountains that I really began to comprehend the size and shape of real mountains.

To this day, I'm still a little shocked looking at them. Flying over them, they're shapes are weird, almost violent.

February 9, 2010

Photography: Egg Tower

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I didn't actually eat any of these eggs on the bar at Wild Fig in Aspen, but they caught my eye.

Looking back at some recent posts, I realize that eggs have been a recurring meme. Both visually and as a food choice, it's been coming up more and more.

Generally, they've been fried and the bright yellow yolks have drawn me into them, whether spilling out of the b.e.l.t. at Swift Half, on top of the Croque Madame at Rouge or in the Bacon and Eggs appetizer at Lulu Wilson that I lit up with my iPhone.

But these eggs, still in their shell brought me back to my High School Photography class. One of our first assignments to photograph eggs, composed in whatever way we'd like. I don't remember what I came up with and I doubt I really 'got' the potential compositions that can be done with the shapes and curves aesthetically.

Every now and then I think about going back to some of those old assignments (that I can remember) as exercises or practice. I make no promises, but if I do, I'll be sure to post them.

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February 8, 2010

Butchery: Dickson's Farmstand

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Friday morning, I spent a couple hours at Dickson's Farmstand, the newish butcher shop at Chelsea Market. Jake Dickson graciously allowed me to come in to look around and photograph his place as a part of my Butchery project.

This session was the first step in expanding the scope of the project beyond the same guys I've been shooting. As I'm developing the idea behind the project and what I want to do with it, I need a larger representative group to hold up the ideas behind it. I hope to do more shoots over the next month or two, introducing more faces, hands, spaces and animals to the collection of images.

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At Dickson's, I spent most of the time documenting Adam, below, while he took apart three beef quarters. Adam eschews the term butcher in favor of the more descriptive 'meat cutter' and tries to keep closer to the traditional concepts of butchery that he learned when apprenticing under an old school butcher in Boston.

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One big difference in his methods I noticed is that Dickson's is equipped with hooks hanging from the ceiling that allow for easier cutting. I'd heard about this but hadn't seen it before. With the meat hanging down, pulling cuts off is significantly easier because gravity is on your side.

Adam used the same technique with hooks attached to his cutting table as well. It was interesting to watch.

Check after the jump for a few more photos. The rest are posted on Flickr in Digital and Analog sets.

Continue reading "Butchery: Dickson's Farmstand" »

February 4, 2010

Analog: Developing film while traveling

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A challenge of my exploration into shooting analog is that outside of the New York area, I have no idea where to go to get film developed by real professionals. So, I have to go to the few one hour photo spots left in whatever town I'm in.

The upside is that invariably they are cheaper than the $13-15 I spend per roll for developing and scanning my film. The downside is that the people doing this are almost invariably incompetent.

In Seattle, the guy at the Ritz knew what he was doing for the most part, but the hi-res scans aren't nearly the quality of my typical scans, meaning that I'll have to go back and rescan if I want to use the images for anything in the future.

In Hawai'i, the staff rotated nearly every time I showed up, meaning that I had to re-explain what I wanted every time to a worker who basically had no idea what to do with film.

Most recently, in Aspen, I got little bit of everything at the Wolf Camera, a part of the Ritz Camer chain. Everyone there gave me something different. No one was familiar enough with film to know what their standard procedure was supposed to be. I got charged different rates (all pretty low), scans at different resolutions and worse, one of my negatives got so beat up that I got scans like the image above.

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And on another set of rolls, the scans were all cropped to 4x5 cutting out the edges of the frame.

Oddly, based on resolution, they also split up the images from a roll into as many as 5 discs. Something about the software they use decides that a CD should only be up to 20% full and after that, the data has to go on to another disc. And another. And another. Better yet, they charge you for each disc. Sometimes.

It's a bad scene all around. But, if you've got no other choice, you do what you have to do. Just keep in mind that who handles your photos can be very important.

February 2, 2010

Aspen: Grape Bar

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One of my favorite places in Aspen from the last few years has been The Wine Spot in the Hyatt Grand Aspen. I enjoyed the cushy, comfortable wine bar not just for the wine, the big leather seats and the real wood fireplace. But I also really liked the friendly owner, Seth, who always had some good conversation and recommendations for food and drink elsewhere in town.

So, I was pretty sad to find that the bar has changed ownership. It's now called Grape Bar. The space is all the same, the fireplace is still roaring and the wine selection is still good. And pretty cheap, with a bunch of wines available at $6 a glass.

Even so, part of being a barfly is enjoying the company of your bartender. When that's gone, you miss it.

Despite that, Ive been there a few times this trip and still enjoy sitting by the fire and getting away from the madness of the rest of town.

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January 31, 2010

Aspen: That X Games Glow

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You can see the glow coming from the Winter X Games from the middle of town, two and a half miles away.

January 30, 2010

Aspen: Winter X Games in Analog

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My recent obsession with film photography means that I've been seeing things I've shot before with new eyes. This includes the action of the X Games. I've only gone out photographing the events a bit, but not a lot. After picking up a couple rolls I took of practice earlier in the week, I'm psyched to spend more time this weekend.


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The way colors are brought out in the highly saturated films I prefer works really well with the bright outfits and equipment that the athletes wear. And the grit in the lower definition that film brings, particularly in the shadows makes for a very cool contrast to me.

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I've even been shooting with the Diana Mini around Buttermilk and in Aspen. I like the vignetting around the edges of this photo where whites seem to battle with grays and people and objects just seem to float in the void.

More after the jump.

Continue reading "Aspen: Winter X Games in Analog" »

January 27, 2010

Analog: Diana Mini's half frames

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An interesting feature of the Diana Mini is the ability to shoot half frames. In addition to the square frames, which match the number of exposures typically on a roll, it can be adjusted with the flick of a switch to shoot twice as many rectangular exposures. All of these are from the same roll. I was surprised at how long it took to take 72 shots.


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My biggest issue with the Diana is what I've had with the Holga, which is figuring out exposure. I seem to only have luck shooting in daylight, regardless of the speed of the film. If I try to adjust the exposure time by using the bulb feature, it ends up being overwhelmed by camera shake. I'll keep at it at see what I manage to get up here in the mountains.

Check out more shots after the jump. More to come.

Continue reading "Analog: Diana Mini's half frames" »

January 26, 2010

Philly: Lyla Designs

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Tammi met Carli at Lyla Designs last time we were in Philly, over the summer and ordered some things that were shipped up to us later. I don't know the first thing about fashion, textiles or accessories. That's Tammi's area. And Sauniell's.

I do know this, though. The fabrics that Carli at Lyla Designs on the Piazza uses for her products are gorgeous. Carli won't spill about where she gets her fabric from and that's smart. Knowing nothing about her what makes one handbag better than another, it's the beauty of the fabric that catches my eye. She even sells framed swatches of fabric as housing decor.

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January 23, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture

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This week I went a little outside my usual area of coverage on Examiner. Jazz and Poetry are both art forms that I respect, yet know little about. So, I jumped in and covered a bit of both.

Nearly every venue in town this week has been hosting benefits for charities providing aid and service to Haiti's Earthquake victims. With so much else going on this week, I only got to cover one of them, L'Union Fait Force at Le Poisson Rouge.

The coolest part of the show was watching the Doctor Lonnie Smith Trio perform with Trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Smith (top) is a great showman whose flair added excitement to the show. Hargrove on the horn was wonderful.

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There was plenty more going on: Dance, Haitian drums, a pair of guitarists and the Vijay Iyer Trio, which is actually what drew me to the event. That morning, WNYC announced the event and played some of the Trio's take on Mystic Brew - better known to those of a 'certain age' as the basis of the classic "Electric Relaxation" by A Tribe Called Quest.

The show was fun and eclectic and went late into the night. I was so wiped out, I had to take off before the last set even started, missing hosts Groove Collective perform with Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic.

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On Wednesday, I changed things up a bit with by covering the Mixer Series at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. It's a monthly series that hosts poets and authors reading their recent work. And first up was Tess Taylor, above, a classmate in college. We hadn't seen each other in at least the 10 years since graduation, but it was good to catch up, however briefly.

I don't know the first thing about poetry and I don't read books nearly as much as I should, but it was a great experience being surrounded by smart people enjoying intelligent things. I really hope to keep going to future Mixers.

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Among the other readers was Steve Geng, who read scenes from his new book, Bop City about Paris during the Algerian war. Just in the 15 minutes he was up there, he touched on themes of terrorism, sex, race, and French culture that fascinated me.

After the jump, more photos from both events...

Continue reading "This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture" »

January 14, 2010

Philly: Dinner at Osteria

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Perhaps I just hope to keep Osteria as my personal Philadelphia secret. That's the only reason I can think of why I somehow have neglected to post about it for the last two years. It's been a must go place for me since before Tammi ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2007. Yet, whenever it comes to writing a post about it, I always manage to put it off.

The meal is a multi-course fantasy of interesting Italian cooking ranging from porchetta with tuna sauce to octopus on pizza to rabbit sausage to pig's feet that even Tammi likes. It's all over the place in the best possible way and the courses are small enough that you can graze your way through the experience.

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Yesterday, I made our reservation for dinner at Osteria Friday night, shortly after we get into town. I've been looking back at some of my notes posted on Twitter over the summer when we were there last and it's got me all excited again.


Some highlights:

* polpo totally different than last night. Meat shreds in mouth. Milder fish flvr. Tender, not as firm as most. Char less strong.

* porchetta served cold sliced, like cold cuts. Topped with a mayo laced tuna sauce and greens.

* wow! Tammi's eating pig's feet "and liking it"

* tortellini stuffed with braised, ground, shredded pigs feet. Burrata stuffed delicate pasta pillows with sprinkled olives, pasley.

* we got the last plate of suckling pig. Moist, tender, transcendant.

* "course for course, perfection." says Tammi. I can't argue.

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Seriously, it's a wonderful experience made even better by sitting at the chef's counter and watching the team make their magic in the kitchen. I have my request in for the same spot this weekend. Here's hoping.

Osteria
640 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
215.763.0920

January 12, 2010

Lunch: The Breslin

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Today, Sam Sifton of the New York Times will be reviewing The Breslin, the new restaurant in the Ace Hotel. Mere blocks from my office, I've had my own opportunity to check out the place and I'm not sure there's a lot that Sifton might say that would make me want to check it out again.

It's a sad thing, because everything I've had and heard tells me that the food is pretty amazing, but the culture of the place puts the scene first and customers second.

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The lamb burger, the only thing Ive had there is wonderful. The rest of the menu seems ridiculously magnificent. But much like The Spotted Pig, by the same folks, the crowd of 'see and be seen' types takes all the fun out of it and the staff seems to buy into that culture deeply.

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In a perfect world the entire clientele of the place would change. The people who show up to places because it's popular would forget it ever existed and the wonderful meat dishes would be available throughout the day for the rest of us to peruse at will.

Instead, there's a crowd of loud, unpleasant people talking about their polo weekends in Florida and Argentina and the staff spends more time ignoring you than finding out if you need anything. Apologies for being crotchety, but this is exactly the sort of thing that upsets me the most. Not sceney places that I'm not remotely interested in, but places that I would love to go to were it not for the nonsense.

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January 8, 2010

Seattle: Fog

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Nearly every morning I was in Seattle, the fog enveloped the waterfront. I waded through it one day and took the ferry out to West Seattle. As we pulled out of the dock, I got to see if from afar. It looked like a band across the lower section of downtown, with everything above perfectly clear.

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January 4, 2010

Analog: Diana Mini

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The holidays brought me more photography gear that I'm looking forward to playing with in this brand new year. I've already mentioned the Lensbaby Composer that Tammi got me, but that's not strictly analog and I haven't really used that on my film Canon yet.

These photos are from the Diana Mini that my aunt gave me. The camera is a miniaturized version of the popular Diana toy camera from Lomography.

Unlike the 'grownup' Diana, the Mini takes 35mm film, which is much more convenient to find and get developed. It also has two frame sizes, square boxes, like you see here or rectangular half frames that effectively double the number of exposures you can make on a roll. I have only just started shooting half-frame, but check back here for an update in the next week.

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I'm still learning how best to use it, but these are some of the test shots I took last week. Lesson number one for me was that it's all but useless inside. I'll have to either only use it outdoors or get really good at timing my shots to the fraction of a second in 'bulb' mode.

This is my second foray into toy cameras, the first being the Holga, the mastery of which continues to elude me. Between being put off by the medium format film, the lack of metering and the larger shape that makes it more difficult to carry around, I've all but given up on learning how to make good photos with it. I'm hoping that the easier to manage Diana Mini can work as 'training wheels' to get the hang of shooting with a toy camera. One day, maybe I'll be ready to graduate to the medium format goodness of the Holga.

December 31, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Oysters

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I typically love oysters, whether first thing in the morning or late into the evening. Sadly, the morning of the WinterMarket, I couldn't muster up the will to slurp down any of the ice cold bivalves on display. They do look gorgeous though, don't they?

December 30, 2009

Hawai'i: Military School

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One morning on The Big Island, we walked out of our hotel to find an honor guard from a local Military School welcoming guests. We were told that they were 'VIPs' but when we saw them, neither of us recognized them.

When I think of military schools, I think of the kids who get sent away after getting into trouble. The last option for parents looking to teach their kids some discipline. But in Hawai'i, I saw a different context.

The big story in the news while we were there was the severe budget cuts that led to closing down all public schools on Fridays. Throughout the state, Furlough Fridays left kids with an extra day off every week. Considering that, I suppose uniforms and flag carrying becomes a more attractive option.

December 29, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Porchetta

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Sara Jenkins' fantastic roast pork is what began my obsession with that rosemary and fennel scented lusciousness that is porchetta last year. So, it was wonderful to run into her booth at the Wintermarket on Sunday.

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My only disappointment was that the little porchetta sandwiches being served were not warm and fresh and custom made with requests for cracklins honored, but pre-made and chilled by the frozen temperatures outside. I guess that just means I'll have to make another pilgrimage down to the East Village one of these days.

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What was very cool was that she's now selling a packaged seasoning with Sicilian sea salt, fennel pollen and other ingredients that construct a semblance of the flavors she uses for her porchetta. I used it that night to season the pork roast I picked up at Fleisher's.

December 28, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Hot Pockets!

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The most amazing thing I ate at the WinterMarket was the "Hot Pockets" being sold by Quality Meats. Discard all thoughts of the vile microwave pastries made infamous by Jim Gaffigan.

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No, these incredible creations are filled with a mix of shredded Duck Confit and cheese and then pressed in a sandwich maker. So. Good.

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December 22, 2009

Hawai'i: Waikiki Busker

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The Kalakaua strip, Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawai'i. 2009.

December 21, 2009

Seattle: The Link

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Seattle's Link also has what comes down to an optional payment system that in theory may be spot checked. Of course, the one time I saw anyone asked for their ticket, when they didn't have it they were just told they had to wait for the next train, not actually kicked out of the station.

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Most interesting to me was the Westlake station downtown. First, it's a huge space with a marble clad mezzanine level, above. Secondly, the 'track' level is actually just a subterranean street. Buses and Link light rail trains roll through from tunnels heading in either direction.

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Vancouver: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

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First off, Vancouver's chinatown is sketchy. Like Bowery in the 80's sketchy, junkies crowded around bars, divey hotels and help centers.

So, it was a little jarring to walk a block away from a major thoroughfare of despair and end up in this gorgeous space. It's a recreation of traditional Chinese garden from the 15th Century.

I skipped the tour in favor of wandering on my own and shooting photos, so I don't have much more to add. My only advice would be to be aware of your surroundings on your want there.

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December 17, 2009

New York SantaCon 2009

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I'm sure this weekend's New York's SantaCon was one of the more blogged about events recently, so I'll save you the recap.

I unintentionally came across a horde of drunken Santas in Washington Square Park and kept shooting until I lost my light. Here and after the jump, find some of my photos of Saturday's festivities. For more, see my Examiner slideshow.

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Continue reading "New York SantaCon 2009" »

December 15, 2009

Analog: Back to Butchery

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It's been a little while since I've been able to devote any time to my Butchery project. Over the last couple months I've had to pass up opportunities to see and maybe shoot some interesting butchering demos due to other commitments or sometimes just sheer exhaustion.

This week I broke out of that rut and did two butchering shoots. Both were subjects I've shot before cutting more or less the same meat, but this time I got to shoot with film, which was really pretty exciting.

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First, on Wednesday, I finally got a chance to visit The Meat Hook, the new Butcher shop run by Tom and Brent formerly of Marlowe and Daughters in conjunction with The Brooklyn Kitchen. The space also doubles as a teaching space and I sat in on a Pig butchering session. A year and a half ago, it was one of Tom's classes that got me interested in this whole Butchery thing in the first place. I enjoyed watching it all over again with a stronger knowledge of the subject.

To see more from that shoot, check out the Flickr set Pig Butchery at The Meat Hook.

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Then on Friday, I stopped in at Greene Grape Provisions to shoot Bryan for a while as he took apart half a steer. Beef is a little foreign to me, I don't cook it much, so picking up the anatomy and the scale is really interesting. It's should be obvious, but cows are really, really big and so are their disassembled parts -- the bones, the muscles and the layers upon layers of flesh.

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Those photos are posted on Flickr as well.

It was also particularly interesting to see what the textures and colors of film do to such a visceral subject matter. Without geeking out too much on my analog experiments, these shoots have been an interesting way for me to see how the hues and tones of one roll differs from another. Some bring out the pale greens of the fluorescent lights, others pop with the bloody redness of the meat -- and then there's Black and White. It's fascinating, all of it.

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I'm currently looking at more photography classes at ICP for next year, particularly classes that are about building portfolios and working on long term projects. I hope to use it as an opportunity to pursue this Butchery project more consistently and to have a body of work that I can present for a show or publication.

I hope to spend some time reaching out to other butchers and delving deeper into the subject. The neighborhoods of New York offer all sorts of ethnic markets that prepare meat based on cultural and religious practices. Given the time and initiative, that could be a profoundly interesting path to go down. I'd also like to round out the meats represented by photographing some lamb and maybe game meats.

There are a million ways to go with this project, so stay tuned.

December 14, 2009

Transit Week

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For no particular reason, this week I've decided to post some impressions of the various transit systems I've passed through or otherwise explored this year. Enjoy!

December 13, 2009

Hawai'i: Two Little Birds

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December 10, 2009

Hawai'i: Tiki Torches

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Visually, I've always loved the tiki torches that light up every night throughout Hawaii. The rounded triangular shapes anchoring the wildly blowing flames just draws me.

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December 8, 2009

Hawaii: Chibo

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As I mentioned, we took full advantage of the glut of Asian food available in Honolulu. We breakfasted on Korean Bi Bim Bap, slurped down ramen, sampled Yakiniku and Katsu. And at Chibo, we had Okonomiyaki.

In the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, I found the only US branch of President Chibo restaurant we visited a couple years back in Ginza, Tokyo. We had dinner there on the first leg of our trip and stopped in again for lunch a few hours before our flight home.

Both times we sat at the Griddle and watched the magic happen. Of course, I took the opportunity to photograph the cooks doing their work.

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The first time we had the tasting menu, which had several courses and included a steamed egg soup that was really interesting; shrimp and beef fillet that were perfectly charred in the right places with crisped garlic slivers sprinkled on top and of course, the okonomiyaki.

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Chibo
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
2201 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite A-305
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Tel: (808) 922-9722

December 5, 2009

Analog: Expired Film

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The slow living in Hawai'i gave me plenty of time to experiment with various unusual film formats, like the Redscale film I mentioned last week.

This time, I played with a roll of expired film my friend, Mike gave me. It was found in a bag of camera equipment his friend's dad gave him. Most of it had been sitting in storage for decades. This particular roll expired in about 1992.

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The idea of using expired film is interesting to me because I've heard of odd things it can do to the colors. In this case, it was more of a direct fading than anything else, but with some adjustments on the scanned images, I managed to get these. There's not much to them, but the low contrast and deteriorated patches give a really interesting vintage look that I like.

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December 4, 2009

Quick Bite: Tonkatsu at Bairin

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Back in Waikiki, we had lunch at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, a Katsu place on a slightly out of the way block. I had a thick cut pork loin katsu platter.

I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of Katsu, but I was a little dubious about the thick cut. The loin tends to be pretty lean and can dry out a lot unless it's pounded into oblivion a la Schnitzel. But this was meaty and juicy and the exterior had crunchy texture without dominating every bite.

They also sold bottles of their sweet katsu sauce that I meant to buy but I forgot to order one before we left.

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Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin
255 Beach Walk,
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Tel: 808.926.8082

November 27, 2009

Hawai'i on Foot or "I Never Learned to Drive!"

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I'm an unapologetic pedestrian. I can't drive and I can't say I particularly care to learn. Honestly, I prefer places that driving isn't necessary. And the places I might want to get to by driving are places like Napa, Provence or the Italian countryside where I really want to go to sample wine and have 3 hour lunches wouldn't be especially conducive to responsible driving. Tammi can't drive either, although she actually wants to learn and has been taking classes in pursuit of that.

Regardless, neither of us currently have a license. That proved a bit of a limitation in getting around on Hawai'i's more rural islands. Neither The Big Island or Kauai are particularly accommodating for the non-drivers.

The Big Island, being more rural and, well, Big, was the most challenging of the two. Taxis cost about $5 per mile to get around and I ended up dropping $100 just getting to our hotel from the airport. Besides the tour we took of the island, we didn't get beyond the grounds of our resort and it's sister hotel.

Kauai was a bit easier, with towns only a couple miles apart and a bus system that could get us up to the north shore of the island. But it only runs until 6:15pm and doesn't run at all on Sundays, which led to some rearranging of plans. Even with that, we put in more than a mile or two walking while we were there.

Coming from New York, it's funny to see the reactions of locals and hospitality folks when asked about getting around without a car. They initially assume we're being cheap and try to convince us that it's worth it to get a car. When we explain that that's not an option, they just think we're weird.

I'm writing this back in Honolulu, which though touristy and laden with hi-rises and Waikiki Wackos, is more familiar terrain for a city boy like me.

November 24, 2009

Analog: Apocalyptic Visions of Paradise

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Last month at the PDN Photo Expo, I stopped in at the Lomography booth and found this really interesting film that they make. They call it 'Redscale' and all it is is a 100 speed color film roll inverted so the emulsion is on the 'wrong' side. This distorts the way the light hits the film and provides a distinct red hue to everything. The woman at the booth said, "It sort of looks like Armageddon, but in a fun way."

Who can argue with that?

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I had been waiting for a while to get a chance to play with it and finally got to in here in Waikiki last weekend. It's really something I'd want to use sparingly, but for particular uses, I think it's very interesting.

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Hawai'i: Around The Big Island in Ten Hours

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I'm generally pretty dubious of tour buses. In New York, they represent those visitors so clueless that they can't be bothered to take the subway uptown or downtown and actually see the city through their own eyes. It's Nebraskans and Octogenarians that are too scared of our reviled city to actually get to know it first hand. I'm probably too harsh.

That said, there's no way we could have seen so much of The Big Island if we hadn't gone on the Island Circle Tour from Roberts Hawaii that we did last week. It was a wonderful and interesting experience.

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The Big Island is amazingly diverse. I spent the last 20 minutes just trying to figure out which picture to lead with. We stayed in the desert land of Kona on the Southeast side of the island. It's the windward side and, though hot and sunny everyday, had winds strong enough to slam doors and blow cups and flatware off of tables.

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Over the course of the day, we passed through and stopped in volcanic wastelands covered in cooled lava rock across from lush green pasture lands, down the road from a black sand beach full of warming Sea Turtles, minutes away from an active caldera spouting steam and sulfur, which in turn is virtually around the corner from a tropical rain forest. We visited a coffee plant, a bakery in the southernmost town in the United States, and we walked through an empty lava tube underneath a jungle.

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It was all very impressive and pretty amazing to cover so much in such a relatively short time.

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November 16, 2009

Hawai'i: First few days

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Leg 1 of our Hawai'ian adventure is over. This morning, we're leaving Honolulu for The Big Island. The first couple days have been busy with relaxing, lazing about and taking in the sun. Tammi's been practicing her swimming and we've both been catching up on our reading.

The food situation has been fun. We've been seeking out the little hole in the wall spots instead of the big chains that are everywhere in Waikiki. Mostly we've been attracted to the many Asian outlets to be found everywhere out here.

The next few days, we'll be on The Big Island, living the resort life, checking out the Volcano and touring the local brewery.

More to come.

November 15, 2009

Quick Bite: Italian Sausage

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When I was in High School and College, I loved wandering the street fairs every summer. I didn't care that, except The Antic, they were all the same and rarely represented any aspect of the block of the neighborhood they were in. I wasn't particular.

I liked the gathering of people and, of course, I loved the food. The highlight for me was always the Italian Sausage stands. I could have Hot or Sweet, but always covered in a mountain of peppers and onions. For the life of me, I can never find one nearly as good in a store. Most pizza shops that sell sausage heroes, just don't have the flavor or the nice char from the griddle.

Last week, I passed by one of these fairs, probably one of the last of the season, and right on the corner was a sausage stand. I had to have one for old-time sake.

I just have to add a note of photo-geekery here. The pic is one of my analog shots, that I took on a roll of Fuji Velvia slide film. Check out the way the colors just glow out of the shot. I can practically smell the onions just by looking at it.

August 23, 2009

Going Analog

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A week ago, I discovered my old film SLR in the back of my closet. It's been a whirlwind of shooting ever since.

There's a softness in the edges and the hues in images on film that I find really interesting. I'm still learning about the effects and how to work with them. And of course the arcane nature of the whole enterprise appeals to my geekiness. I've been relearning film speeds and adjusting to manual focus.

As I've gotten into photography more over the last couple of years, I've avoided film for a number of reasons. High among them was that I ultimately like the instant gratification of digital.

I like the trial and error and still really feel that it's easier to learn the right settings when you can see what you do right or wrong right away. That's especially true compared to a medium that can take days to weeks to months or years to finally get developed.

I don't see myself giving up digital. It's just too useful and practical. So, in my own particular brand of obsession, I've taken to carrying around -both- my digital slr and my film slr. And the Holga that Tammi got me 2 years ago that I never got the film developed from until last week. After seeing the photos from the Holga, including the one above, I'm hooked on that too.

As usual, photos are posted on Flickr.

Further down the rabbit hole I go...


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