Saturday, May 31, 2008

Museum of Surgical Sciences

This photo was taken last November at the Museum of Surgical Science, a small but quirky museum in Chicago. The museum is full of antiquated medical devices, and is worth a visit. This photo is of artificial limbs in a display case. the reflections in the glass are an interesting part of the photo for me, so I made no attempt to minimize them. I like this photo, and came close to making a gum bichromate print from it, but always ended up choosing a different image to work on.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fisherman's Wharf Holgarama

One more Holgarama to finish the week. This one was taken at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco last October. I'm no fan of Fisherman's Wharf. It's a lot like Navy Pier here in Chicago-An overpriced, boring tourist trap. It does have one thing I love, however, and the reason I was there: the Musee Mecanique, which is a great collection of vintage arcade machines. I love those old arcade games, and spent a few hours shooting them.

This Holga panorama was taken right after about 2 1/2 hours spent shooting in the Musee Mecanique, when I wandered outside for some fresh air and a place to eat lunch (I ended up at In and Out Burger, a California chain that everyone raves about. I don't eat red meat, and found out by ordering one that their 'veggie burger' is just lettuce and tomato on a bun, nothing else. Not the most satisfying lunch!). Anyway, I really like how this one turned out. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, panoramas shot with a Holga can be difficult to do well. This one just came together nicely.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Holga Panorama II

Here's another panorama made with the Holga Camera. This building is on 111th St. In Chicago, a few blocks west of Western Avenue. The building actually looks better in these photos than it does in person. It's really not that interesting, but makes a decent panorama.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Holga Panorama

Here's a two panel panorama made with the Holga toy camera. The photos were taken last fall when I was on a bike ride. The building is somewhere around Western Ave. and 75th St. in Chicago. I like the 1950's era decorative element over the entrance on the left.
Getting a good panorama with the Holga isn't as easy as you might think. One interesting 'feature' of the Holga is that the camera actually records much more of a scene than you actually see through the viewfinder. It's hard to know where to line up your shots as a result. I've attempted Holga panoramas where I only end up using every third image. There is so much overlap in images that many of the shots are redundant.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I'm back home after visiting family in Michigan over the weekend. Here's a photo I took in my Mom's backyard on Saturday night. I wish I could see sunsets like that more often.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Blue Spirit Battles Deadly 17-Year Cicadas

Three photos today, I’m leaving Friday afternoon to spend Memorial Day weekend with family in Michigan, and won’t be posting again until Monday.

I thought I’d finish this little salute to the 17-year cicada with a couple of funny shots. I took these just for the heck of it, I didn’t have any serious artistic goals in mind.

The action figure is The Blue Spirit, alter ego of the banished Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, an animated series that’s been an obsession of mine for a couple of years now. I highly recommend the series. If you can get beyond the ‘cartoons are for kids’ mentality, you’ll find that Avatar is a smartly written, beautifully animated show with a complex storyline. It attracts a sizable adult audience as well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

17-Year Cicadas

It was just about a year ago that the 17-year cicadas started appearing in the Chicago area. These insects live in larval form underground, emerging every seventeen years to mate and start the cycle over again.
Some people found the cicadas to be annoying, but I loved them. They are interesting insects, harmless and docile. I had literally thousands of them in my yard, and took a lot of photos of them.
To mark the one year anniversary of their last emergence, I'll post photos I took of the cicadas for the next couple of days.

Rain in Zwolle

One more photo from The Netherlands. This one was taken in 2005, when I was on an educational exchange. It was taken in Zwolle, a city in the center of The Netherlands 120 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam. Zwolle is a beautiful city, a historic market town that doesn't seem to have a large tourist presence.
I like this photo, but it could have been better. The rain soaked streets, the scooter in the foreground, and the quaint buildings in the background all have the potential for a great photo. The problem is the rain. To get the photo I wanted, I would have had to kneel on wet pavement, and didn't want to spend the rest of the day wandering around town (and attending school functions in the evening) wearing wet, dirty clothes. I chose to stay dry, but only got an ok photo as a result.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Yesterday's photo was kind of an odd one, so here's a better view of Amsterdam.This photo was taken on the same trip as yesterday's photo. Amsterdam is a beautiful city, it's hard NOT to take good photos there.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Red Light

I'll admit that this isn't a good photo. It's blurry, grainy, and crooked. I still kind of like it.
I took the photo in Amsterdam last summer. All the guide books and websites warn you not to shoot photos of the prostitutes in the red light district. Some even go so far as to warn of dire consequences if you do. That just made me want to get away with it.
I was as sneaky as possible. I was actually standing on the other side of a canal from the building in the photo. I just stood in the dark by the side of a building, pretending to fiddle with my camera while extending the telephoto lens as far as it would go and snapping a quick photo.
The graininess and blurriness actually work for me here. It captures the energy and the feeling of the red light district better than a technically good, carefully composed shot would.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mom's Backyard

Here's another photo taken with the Nishika camera. This one was taken in my mom's backyard (as was the panorama I posted on Mother's Day). My mom has an interesting and comfortable yard full of fun and quirky art. This is an old light fixture hung from a tree. When people are outside after dark, the puts tea lights in it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nishika Camera

This photo was taken with a Nishika camera. You can read about the Nishika camera here in my other blog. Basically, they were made to produce lenticular photos, like those 3D postcards you sometimes see in gift shops. I haven't used it to make very many lenticular shots. Instead, I've taped plastic and other materials over one or more of the four lenses to distort and diffuse the view.
This photo was taken along Cicero Avenue in Chicago, a couple of miles south of Midway airport.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Weeds Above The Clouds

Today's photo was taken near the top of Haleakalā volcano in Maui in August 2006. I was in Maui for the wedding of my good friends Pam and Erik. It was beautiful there (no surprise), and the Haleakalā crater was probably the most unexpected and stunning scenery in Maui (it was worth the nasty altitude sickness I got after hiking several miles into the crater).
This photo was taken before that unfortunate incident, and is looking down the side of the mountain. At about 10,000 feet above sea level, and no other nearby mountains, it looks like you could just walk right out onto the clouds.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Maggie Simpson

OK, I forgot to post a photo yesterday, but it's final exam week, and I was sick all weekend with some weird virus that make me feel like I was motion sick. Fun.
Anyway, here's a shot of some graffiti I took from a train in Budapest last summer. Many of the places I've been in Europe have lots of graffiti, but much of it is really good, so it's interesting to look at.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

For Mother's Day, here's a panorama taken in the backyard of my Mother's house a few years ago. The left side of the panorama is facing west (the photos were taken at sunset). The center is facing east, and the right side is looking south to the house I grew up in. I like the color in this piece, and the view of some of the quirky yard art at my Mom's house.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

San Francisco Panorama

This panorama was made in March, 2004. The photos were taken from the balcony of the hotel room I was staying in, on the 15th floor of a hotel in Japantown. I put together two versions of this panorama: This one, with the horizon kept straight and the streets in the foreground curved, and a second one, which straightened the streets in the foreground and resulted in a rounded horizon. I didn't save the second one, it wasn't a successful image. I've always liked this one, however.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Triple Dutch

Today’s photo is three versions of a panoramic image shot on a bike path near the village of Wenum, outside of Apeldoorn in The Netherlands. It’s actually slightly more than a 360 degree view, which you can see if you look closely (click on the photo for a larger version). In the third panorama, the first and last photos are actually the same photo repeated.
These photos were shot in June, 2005, when I was in The Netherlands as part of an educational exchange. This bike path along a canal was close to the home of my exchange partner, where I was staying.
I shoot panoramas like this quite often. I like retaining the look of the individual photos within the panorama, so I never blend them together.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Still In Fashion

One more photo shot with the Holga camera. Tomorrow's photo will be something different.
This one was shot sometime last summer. I rode my bike quite a bit, and would often throw my Holga into my bike bag. This old advertising mural is on a building in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood on Chicago's southwest side. It's a short bike ride from Beverly, the neighborhood I live in.
The color is a little funny in this photo. I only use expired film in the Holga (it seems fitting for a toy camera), and occasionally wind up with color shifts as a result.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Orange X

Today's photo was taken on the same day as the one I posted yesterday. I was in Countryside, IL, walking around waiting for my car to be repaired. I took this photo because I liked the look of the orange paint on sidewalk contrasted with the green grass. The vignetting from the Holga camera adds a bit of mystery.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Countryside, Illinois

Beautiful Countryside, Illinois. An ironic name, seeing as how the entire town seems to be a typical suburban sprawl of strip malls and tract housing. It's where I get my car serviced, and it's about 30-40 minutes from where I live, so when the Subaru is in the shop, I take my cameras and shoot the landscape while waiting for the repairs to be completed.
This one was taken last June, with a Holga toy camera. I wrote a little about the Holga camera here in my other blog. I like this photo a lot. I'm a sucker for old 40's-60's commercial architecture and signs like that one.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More Photos

My internet connection is working sporadically, no thanks to Earthlink. (We’re changing service providers this week).

I’ve got some catching up to do, so here’s a few photos.

You know how sometimes you’ll have an idea, and it seems really good at the time, but then you come to your senses and realize it’s going nowhere? These photos are from one of those times.

I took these photos last summer. At the time, it somehow made sense to run pages of an old high school yearbook from 1962 (bought at a garage sale) through a paper shredder, and then photograph the results with a macro lens.

I was planning on making Polaroid lifts with these images, but the Polaroid film was being uncooperative (Polaroid film is known for having color shifts, and I didn’t like what that did to these images). While trying to find a solution to that problem, the entire entire project fizzled out.

The photos turned out kind of interesting, if a little unusual. These are four of the better ones.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Murphy's Law strikes again. Right after I start a blog to post a photo every day, my internet goes down at home. The last two photos I've posted were done from work, but after today, I won't be back at work until Monday. Someone is coming out to look at our DSL connection tomorrow, but there's no guarantee that we'll have service back. So, it might be a few days before you see a new photo appear here. If there is an interruption, I'll make it up on Monday, I promise!

In a related note, I just want to pass along the fact that Earthlink has, without a doubt, the WORST customer service I have ever experienced. Every time I've had to call them, for any reason, was an ordeal. Last night, they kept me on hold for over 50 minutes before I hung up. They were not interested in doing anything about our interruption in service until we called the billing department and told them we were canceling our service. Only then did they schedule a technician to come out.
Think about that before you sign up for Earthlink.

Amsterdam Cat

When I was in Amsterdam last summer, It seemed like there was a cat hanging around every cafe. Here's one of them. A cute photo, but not the type of image I would use to make a piece of art from.