Monday, December 29, 2008


This might be my last post of 2008. I'm leaving soon for a 2-day getaway in Galena, IL. I probably won't be posting anything while there. I'll try to post something on the 31st, when I return home, but can't guarantee it. In case I don't post before then, let me wish everyone who reads this Happy New Year.

This photo was taken in my friend Els' garden in Wenum, Netherlands in 2005. Her house has the most beautiful gardens I've seen in a private residence anywhere. The pond was located in a courtyard area between two wings of the house. Here's another photo taken at the pond. You can see one of the many frogs that live there.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More From The Fair

Back in August, I posted some photos I took at a small fair in 1996 using color saturated film. Here's a couple more photos from the same shoot.

I like the intense colors that this film provides. Unfortunately, it is no longer being made.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I don't have a holiday themed photo on hand to share (I'm writing this from my Mom's house, and just grabbed a few photos before I left so I'd have something to post). This photo is the most colorful one I have with me, so it will have to do. It was taken in Chinatown in San Francisco when I was last there, over a year ago now. I like this photo, it nearly became a gum bichromate print last year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Today's photo was taken in Durham, England, in 2003. Durham is a very cute small town in the north of England (we were on our way back to London from Edinburgh when we visited). There is a beautiful old cathedral and castle on top of a hill in Durham, which are well worth a visit if you're ever in that part of the world.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Michigan

I drove to my mom's house in mid-Michigan today to spend the holidays. I picked a good day to travel, it has been extremely cold with near blizzard conditions across much of Michigan for the past couple of days, but today was mostly sunny (although still bitter cold). There's more snow on the ground now than I've seen over several years of holiday trips here.
The photo I've posted today is what it looked like here a couple of years ago. You can see, it's more rainy than snowy. While I don't miss the gray weather, I do wish it were warmer now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chinatown Shop Window

I shot this photo last summer on a day I was wandering around aimlessly with my camera in Chinatown. I do that fairly often. I'm in Chinatown a lot, it's pretty close to where I live, and there's always something there just waiting for me to come along and shoot it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It's still cold in Chicago, and we got several inches of snow on Tuesday. It was kind of sunny today, but more crappy weather is supposed to be on it's way.

Here's a photo taken in Hawaii. I don't know if it takes my mind off the crappy weather, but at least it's a reminder that there has to be good weather someplace right now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Communist Sculpture

This photo was taken in the Communist sculpture park in Budapest, Hungary. I was there in August of last year, and it was one of my favorite places in Budapest. I'm glad someone had the foresight to preserve all the old Communist era statuary.

OK, I really posted this today because it's freezing cold in Chicago right now, and it was very hot and sunny the day I was at the sculpture park. I'd like a little of that heat right now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Almost Done

Sorry for not posting for a few days. I just finished the last week of classes this semester, and it was a very busy and tiring week. I have to give exams this coming week, then I'm off for three weeks to rest and regroup.

Here's a few photos to catch up. These were all taken a couple of years ago at the Art Institute of Chicago. I posted some photos from the same shoot here and here, so rather than explain it all again, read those old posts if you're interested.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm Tired

...and I have a bunch of things to do. So, here's a photo with no comments or explanation. You can all comment on it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This photo was taken a couple of years ago when I was at my Mom's house in Michigan. I'm posting it now because this is pretty much what the weather looked like for most of today. Dreary and crappy, with a constant drizzle of rain that started freezing right as I was leaving work. I pretty much hate winter, by the way.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I took this photo on Saturday, just a few minutes after I took the photo in yesterday's post. I was in the modern art galleries in the Art Institute of Chicago when I saw this docent peeking into a gallery under installation. Knowing it would make a good photo, I hurriedly pulled my camera out of the bag and hoped I could get a shot before he turned around. I actually got two before he did.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Faux Thomas Struth Photo

I shot this photo yesterday in the Art Institute of Chicago. While I like it, the simularity to the work of German photographer Thomas Struth is more than obvious. To be honest, I don't really like Struth's work that much. I think it's kind of one dimensional and too repetitive to hold much interest. So why did I shoot this photo? Because it was there. What more reason do I need?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

San Francisco Chinatown

The last time I was in San Francisco (October 2007), I did a lot of shooting in Chinatown. I like San Francisco's Chinatown, it's very photogenic. It's also close to my sister's apartment, and it seems like nearly anywhere I went in the city, I passed through Chinatown first.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Adjusting The Dome

My friend Brady posted about A Photo A Day and Lightbender (my other blog) on his blog today (thanks, Brady!). Brady lives in London much of the time these days, and thinking of Brady made me think of London, a city I love. Here's a photo I took last time I was there, in 2003.

The photo was taken on Millenium Bridge, a pedestrian bridge which spans the Thames river. While crossing the bridge, I turned to look at St. Paul's Cathedral in the distance, and immediately knew I had to snap this photo.

It's a pretty easy to achieve trick. It relies on the flattening of the scene and the resulting possibility of scale confusion which occurs when shooting with a very long depth of field (those bad snapshots which look like a telephone pole is growing out of grandma's head is the same effect at work). All it takes is a small aperture setting and a careful lining up of the objects you are shooting.

Although it was unintentional, the crane growing out of the guy's head on the right side of the photo demonstrates the same concept. While that's the sort of thing that can ruin an otherwise good photo (like a telephone pole growing out of grandma's head), in this case it contributes to the surreal feeling of the photo.

I use this photo in my classes when I'm lecturing about how to achieve depth of field changes in a camera, and how to use both long and short depth of field creatively.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Begijnhof Panorama

Yesterday's photo of the statue in the Begijnhof made me remember this stitched together panorama taken there at the same time. As I mentioned yesterday, I took quite a few photos there, although photography might not be allowed (I don't recall seeing any signs when I shot these). It's a pretty photogenic place, and a big tourist draw, so enforcing a no photos policy is probably pretty difficult. I'm glad I shot these, whether or not I was breaking the rules.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No Walking (Sitting Is Fine)

Back from Thanksgiving weekend in Michigan. I had to battle a snowstorm during the drive home, but made it through ok.

Today's photo was taken in the Begijnhof in Amsterdam on a rainy day in 2005. It's meant to be a visual joke. The sign indicates no walking, but the statue is of someone sitting, so it's allowed (I didn't say it was a good joke!).

I returned to the Begijnhof when I visited Amsterdam in 2007, and noticed 'no photography allowed' signs throughout. I didn't see them when I was there earlier, and wouldn't have shot there if I did. Maybe they made the no photos policy sometime after my first visit. I shot quite a few photos there, so if I wasn't supposed to, all I can say is oops, sorry!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Winter Sunset

I'm headed off to my mom's house in Michigan for Thanksgiving, so this is likely to be my last post until Sunday at the soonest. Here's a photo I shot in my mom's front yard a couple of years ago. A beautiful winter sunset. I just hope we don't get any snow while I'm there. It's too soon for that!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Scene from An Imaginary Horror Film

I took this double exposure with my Holga camera in September at my Mom's house in Michigan. My sister and her husband were visiting from San Francisco with my two nieces, which is why this horse was hanging from a tree in the backyard.

The double exposure makes the horse look creepy. Can't you just hear the cliche echoing child's voice singing nursery rhymes when you look at it?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Factory Holga

Okay, I've only managed to scan one of the factory shots I made with my Holga camera. I've been busy catching up on grading and much-needed housework most of the weekend. I do like this shot, and will scan more soon. The crumbling factory wall works well with the vignetting and distortions the Holga camera provides, and the color shifts from using expired film works well here too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Factory Photos

I think I may have solved my problems with Blogger. I'm using Firefox for this post instead of Safari (my default web browser), and I was able to upload these photos quicker than I ever have before. Lesson learned-don't use Safari with Blogger!

Anyway, here's a couple more photos from the abandoned factory. As soon as I get caught up with everything else I need to do (It's a busy time of the semester) I'll scan and post some of the Holga photos I shot there.

More Factory Shots

Blogger is yet again screwing up. I'll post more photos when I can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Still More Factory Shots

Here's a couple more photos of the abandoned factory. I picked up some film I shot in the Holga camera from the lab today, I'll try to get some of those photos scanned soon. The crumbling ruins of a factory look good shot with a cheap toy camera.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More From The Factory!

Blogger is finally cooperating (a little), so here's a couple more photos from the abandoned factory I photographed last Sunday.

I'm trying to figure out what to do with these (besides posting them here). I'm thinking maybe some gum bichromate prints might work with these photos.

More From The Factory Coming Soon

I'd like to post more of the photos I shot at the abandoned factory I discovered last weekend. However, Blogger is once again being a royal pain in the ass. I've tried literally twelve times, and I can't upload a small file. I've always had this issue with Blogger, but it seems much worse lately. I'll try again later, I'm frustrated now, and am going to go watch The Daily Show.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I went out shooting today, to take photos of an old factory being demolished. I drove by the factory on Friday, I was out running around, turned down the wrong street, and kept going for the heck of it. Before too long I was driving by these ruins on 119th St., and knew I had to return.

I could have gone right in among the ruins to shoot pretty easily. The back of the factory, along 120th St., had large gaps in the fence surrounding the lot. A lot of what's left of the buildings looked pretty unstable, however, so I kept to the sidewalks.

I have quite a few photos (I was also shooting with my Holga toy camera), and will probably post more of them over the next few days.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dutch Sheep

I shot this photo in The Netherlands when I was there on an educational exchange a few years ago. The family I stayed with lived in a rural area outside of the city of Apeldoorn, and this was shot very near to their house, along some trails that ran through fields located across the road. I like the focus on the plants in the foreground of this photo, it's kind of the opposite of how framing usually works.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Claw Machine

This photo is looking into a vintage claw machine arcade game. I took the photo at the Musee Mecanique in San Francisco last October. The Musee Mecanique is a great collection of vintage arcade games located on Fisherman's Wharf. It's the only thing worth seeing on the Wharf, most of which is a tacky tourist nightmare filled with shops selling overpriced junk (it's a lot like Navy Pier here in Chicago).
I really like this photo and had planned to make a gum bichromate print of it as part of my sabbatical last fall. I never got around to doing that, however. Maybe I should now. I'm between projects, and need something to work on.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yes We Did!

I'm going to finish up several posts devoted to photos I like but which aren't technically good, with a few I shot last Tuesday. I was lucky enough to get one of the tickets to the official acceptance party in Grant Park, and was there with about 65,000 others (other parts of Grant Park held another 150,000) to watch Obama give his victory speech.

I brought a small point and shoot digital camera to the event. I knew it was going to be very crowded, and they weren't allowing bags in, so I figured a small camera was the best bet. I don't think I would have been able to take better photos with the big camera anyway.

The event was fun and intense. Everyone there was in a good mood, and people were being very friendly, helpful, and supportive. There were large Jumbotron tv screens set up so that people could actually see what was going on.

When CNN projected Obama's win, it was pandemonium in Grant Park. People were cheering, screaming, and crying. It was exhilarating!

Leaving the event was much easier than I thought it would be. We parked in Chinatown, had an early dinner, then took the el into downtown for the rally. Leaving, we headed south to catch the el, while the majority of the crowd seemed to be heading north. We got the el with no waiting, and arrived in a deserted Chinatown, where we drove onto the freeway and arrived home just after midnight.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Here's a photo taken quickly while traveling through Friesland, a province in the north of the Netherlands. Friesland is a beautiful area, with lots of open space and small, charming towns. I shot this photo while stopped at an intersection. I was riding in a 1980 Citroen convertible, a tiny (but very retro-cool) canary yellow car with a vinyl roof you have to roll back by hand. The photo is exposed poorly, and the composition is weird, but I like it a lot.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holga Sunset

I'm tired today. I went to the Obama victory party in Chicago's Grant Park. I was lucky enough to get one of the official tickets, so was part of the 60,000+ official guests. I took photos there, and many of those came out pretty poor, so could fit with what I'm posting this week.

But, I'm not posting one of those, at least not today. I posted several of them to my Facebook page, if you're interested. Today's photo was taken in my backyard with my Holga camera last year. The colors and the blur give a mysterious look, and I like the photo, even if it's not a good one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Here's the second in my series of photos that I like, despite (or because of) their flaws.
I like this photo mainly because I like the sign. It was taken in Zwolle, The Netherlands, outside of a C1000 supermarket in a suburban area on the edge of the city. I think the sign is warning drivers that there are pedestrians, children playing, cars, and residences around. All that would be obvious to anyone there with a car, however, as the store this sign is near is pretty much in the center of a large subdivision.

This photo is more boring than bad. The background is a little underexposed, but not horribly so.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I started this blog last spring for a couple of reasons. One, I had the feeling that posts on Lightbender, my other blog, would slow in frequency after I completed the period of active studio work around my sabbatical last year. That has proven true. I'm not working much in the studio at the moment (although I have a piece nearly finished, and will post it when it's done).

I also wanted a place to show some photos that weren't part of my regular studio work, images that might never be seen by anyone otherwise. I've enjoyed this blog for that reason, among others. When I was posting Halloween themed photos last week, it struck me that some of them really weren't great photos, but I was posting them because they fit the theme. I've done something similar a fair amount on this blog, actually. I tend to post photos I connect with, regardless of their quality. For the next few days, I'm going to push that idea a little. I'll be posting photos that are technically poor, with obvious mistakes, poor composition, etc. They are all photos I really like, regardless (or maybe because of) their flaws.

Today's photo was taken in the South Loop area of Chicago, with a little point and shoot digital camera. For some reason, it didn't focus properly, but I really like the lack of focus here. The colors are intense, and it has an Impressionistic feel to it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This is my favorite of the Halloween photos I've been posting this week. It was shot last year in my Mom's backyard with my Holga camera. The vignetting produced by the crappy Holga camera works well with the subject matter, and the color shifts from the expired film aren't too annoying.

I'll be spending Halloween night passing out treats at my friends (and neighbors) Pam and Erik's house. The street they live on is closing for the evening, and it's sure to be overrun with kids in costumes. Although I only live a couple of blocks away, we never get that many trick or treaters, and many of the ones we do get are older kids without costumes, which isn't very fun. So, I'm going to spend the evening with good friends and a better chance at Halloween fun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Oops, missed a day. Busy week.
Anyway, here's another Halloween photo. Not a good one, but I kind of like it. It was taken in San Francisco last year. I had gone to dinner at my friend Jack's house. He lives in the Westwood Park neighborhood, in the southwest part of the city far away from any place tourists would visit. Leaving his house to catch a bus back downtown after dark, I tried to take some photos of Halloween decorations on a house in his neighborhood. It was too dark to get a good shot, but the blur and graininess work well with the subject matter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Time Travel Photo

Here's another Holga camera photo taken at the Time Travel Museum in Benton Harbor, MI. Not much to say about it, really. Just enjoy.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I shot this cake through the window of a bakery close to where my sister lives in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. I took the photo last fall, when I was in San Francisco to do some shooting as part of my sabbatical.

It's a beautifully decorated cake, but I don't know if it would taste good. I get the idea that those well-decorated cakes sometimes put flavor behind looking good.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time Travel Holga

Here's another shot taken at the Time Travel Museum. This one was taken with my Holga camera, and as always when I shoot with that camera, I use expired film. It's a cheap toy camera, and the photos are going to be bad anyway, so I figure the color shifts and other issues that arise when shooting with expired film just add to the fun.

This particular roll was really fun! I'm not sure if it was due to the film being expired, the shaded light I was shooting in, or both, but the entire roll ended up with a strong blue cast. I played with this image a lot after scanning the transparency, and this is the best I could get it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Skeleton Drinking Nehi

Today's Halloween themed photo was taken at the Time Travel Museum, a funky junk shop/museum I posted about here a couple of months ago. Behind the former gas station housing the museum, the owner has set up a bunch of life sized scenes featuring skeletons. Over the next few days, you'll probably see a few more photos taken there.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Halloween is just a week away, so for the next few days I'll be posting photos that have a spooky, Halloweenish feel.

I shot this photo at my Mom's house last year. She's an artist, and these painted pistachio shells (and a walnut) were on a table in her studio. I didn't ask her what she was going to do with them. They have a spooky look to them, however, which fits with the Halloween theme I'm following for the next few posts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gray Day

A gray, foggy mid-Michigan morning. Taken in December a couple of years ago when I was visiting my mother over the holidays. This intersection is located a few miles from her house. I can't remember where we were going at the time.