St. Louis - Day 1

Friday, October 30, 2009
My friend Patrick wanted to go to St. Louis to catch Bruce Springsteen in concert. I had never been to St. Louis, so I agreed to tag along.

After a quick two hour flight, we landed on a slightly rainy Friday afternoon. We started off by wandering an older part of town known as "The Loop".

After a quick dinner of some incredible Syrian cuisine (including the best falafel I've ever had) at Ranoush, we wandered over to Powell Hall to catch a St. Louis Symphony performance. The concert included Ives' The Unanswered Question and Barber's Adagio for Strings, which were oddly played without pause between the two. I guess that's how he answered Ives' question.

After the Ives was a world premiere of a piece called Freedom's Plow by composer Rollo Dilworth. It was written for large orchestra, chorus and gospel choir, and was quite enjoyable. Probably the most memorable premiere I've ever heard. Sadly I think it would be lost on most Utah audiences - most people here think of the Mo-Tab when they hear "gospel choir".

The concert ended with Sir Michael Tippet's A Child of Our Time which is an interesting work for large orchestra and chorus. It's about the events that instigated The Night of Broken Glass during World War II. It's not performed very often (this was only the second time the SLSO had played it - the previous performance almost 40 years earlier), and I don't believe it's ever been performed in Utah. While it's a bit long and drags in a few places, I still find it a very rewarding listen and was glad to have caught it.

Powell Hall is a nice concert hall - much more old-fashioned feeling than Abravanel Hall.

The inside of the hall was neat too. Unfortunately I only got one shot before some lady notified me that I couldn't take any photography while there were people on stage (even the people removing the chairs), and that I'd be booted out as soon as the stage was clear anyway. She seemed pretty smug with herself and her "authority" - the type of person who would love to be Hall Monitor back in junior high school.

Despite it being cold and windy, we wandered around a bit more in the theater district to see what was going on. There were some neat churches which I really needed a tripod and a wider lens to photograph. I would go through and fix the barrel distortion but I don't really care right now.

Finally we made our way down to the famous Gateway Arch. I REALLY needed a tripod and a wider lens here - I really underestimated the size of this arch. I was expecting it to be fairly boring, but I was really overwhelmed with the whole thing. It's much larger than you would expect, and the reflective material on the outside really gives it some interesting colors.

Here I tried to shoot a 1/3 sec exposure by hand. The number one rule of photography is to never try to shoot a 1/3 second exposure by hand.

This is the bridge that links St. Louis in Missouri with East St. Louis in Illinois. I actually liked my underexposed shot more than my properly exposed one, so you get this.

The rest of the photos from this day can be found here.

You Capture - Still Life

Sunday, October 18, 2009
This week's I Should be Folding Laundry challenge was Still Life. I've always struggled with still life photography - for one thing, there are so many cliche still life photos. The bowl of fruit. The candle and the stack of books. Etc. Secondly, the lighting can become very complex, and I don't consider myself well-versed in lighting at all. I don't really have much lighting to work with either.

That said, in typical Bizarre Dave fashion, I came up with something. I don't know what to call it. "One Hell of a Party"? "Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll"?

Lighting was tough. I wanted it to feel kind of dirty, but at the same time you had to be able to identify the subject matter. The clear bottle (and the reflections from it) posed additional problems. Eventually I settled on a 10" exposure, with an overhead light turned on for half of the exposure and an LED flashlight providing some eerie blue tint from the side which I don't think I like now that I look at it closer.

I also wanted to add a pack of cigarettes to it, but I didn't want to spend the money on something that I don't support. The cocaine will have to suffice.

You Capture - Red

Sunday, October 11, 2009
This week's I Should Be Folding Laundry challenge is Red!

I came up with my idea driving home from my parents' place this evening. I've photographed brake lights on cars as they were driving, but I've never gotten up close to them. I was quite happy with what I saw!

I think this is one of my favorite photos I've ever taken. I may try to take it again to get it framed slightly better, but the illumination coming from the light element is just rad.

I also stopped to take a photo of Goomba's leash. I was trying to figure out why I liked this photo, because it appears to be in clear violation of the Rule of Thirds. But in reality, it isn't. The true subject of the photo are the lines of the wound-up leash - the metal clip in the center just happens to be there