Thursday, July 31, 2008

Seattle's Got the Blues

Once a year, right around summer time (all three weeks of it), the normal quiet of Seattle is exploded by the sounds of six F/A-18 Hornets blazing across the sky. The Blue Angels are back.

What I find interesting is how the Blues are received in this very liberal town. While I have several friends who dislike them intensely - calling them symbols of American military force and hubris - for the most part, the entire city welcomes them in.
Starting Thursday with their practice runs (here's one of the shots I managed to get this morning), and continuing through the official shows on Saturday and Sunday, all things Seattle are celebrated throughout the city, and the city, for the most part, let's its hair down and starting shaking its groove-thing.

Funny enough, what most Satellites like about the Blues isn't necessarily the planes themselves, it's the fact that when they're in town, the hydroplanes aren't far behind. Huge boats powered by long-defunct Russian helicopter engines, throwing 60-foot rooster-tails behind them as they skim over the rough surface of Lake Washington at 120 miles-per-hour. Now THAT'S power!

Yes, Seattle is strange. We love the Blue Angles - with all their noise and power - because something even noisier and more powerful is just around the corner.
And isn't that an apt metaphor? This town seems to consistently look past the good thing they have in the right now, and instead focus on something in the future that may or may not be better.

For me, I love the Blues. It makes me think of what America - and yes, even the City of Seattle - could be. Classy, precise, polished, and so very, very noisy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Prophet in the Park

Every now and then a happy accident occurs. A perfect confluence of events that leads to something wonderful. Last night was one of those happy accidents.

Yesterday, while sitting around, working on my new website (should be done by Aug. 1, keep your fingers crossed), Chuck Prophet came on. For those of you who don't know Chuck, he's a wonderful performer/songwriter that plays some great rock 'n' roll with a slight country twang.

Anyway, his song Summertime Girl came on and I thought, "Wonder what he's up to? Maybe he'll play Seattle soon." A quick search of his website showed that he was playing nearby. Very nearby. In fact, he was doing a concert in a park about 20 minutes away, and the show was tonight! Best of all, it was free! Free, I tells ya!

My wife and I packed up a picnic dinner, slathered on the sunscreen and went out for a wonderful evening. The Mayor of the City of Kenmore gave a thankfully short speech about supporting the concerts in the park. Then a brief introduction and away he went. The weather was beautiful, the crowd friendly and into the music, and Chuck Friggin' Prophet was playing while I sat eating brie and baguettes.

Here's a simple snap of the man himself as he was leaving the stage.

Thanks to the City of Kenmore for having these great shows, and thanks to Chuck Prophet for being so damn cool.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Has it really been a year?

It was a beautfiul July 4th at J & M's place on the lake. The weather just barely cooperated, amazing food was eaten, and many, many things were blown-up. My wife and I managed to find a dog sitter, so for the first time in the half-a-dozen years we've been going to this particular get-together, we were finally able to stay the night.

It should be noted, for the record, that in our exuberance towards getting on with our dog-free weekend, my wife and I managed to forget our tent, our sleeping bags, and all my camera equipment. I did, however, have several light-stands and a heavy-duty tripod with me. Always be prepared, that's my motto.

Throughout the day, people around the lake were setting off fireworks. BIG fireworks. Explosions that rattled the ice-cubes in your drink were common. But as soon as the sun went down, all hell broke loose. Monster shells filled the sky with color. The windows shook. The edge of the lake was ringing with fountains of sparks. It was like being inside a firework.

I did manage to get some pictures using a point-and-shoot I keep in my car, and as I was editing them, I was struck by the fact that it had been a full year since I had seen several of the friends who were at the party. Since the last 4th of July, in fact. I have been so consumed by my work, consumed by trying to find my place in the wonderfully screwed-up world of professional photography, I have very nearly cut myself off from all the great people that make up my life.

I'm not exactly going out on a limb here, but as I see it the first year of a business is the most important, as what you're really doing is gaining the mind-set needed for the challenges of what comes next. All in all, I'm doing pretty well. But it's high time I get off my butt and start making some phone calls. Gotta party sometime.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Reshoot? You bet!

There are two words that strike fear in the heart of every photographer: Re Shoot.

It's not just the extra work that makes us crazy, it's the implicit notion that what we shot was not quite good enough. That we failed in our mission to make something beautiful, no matter what was presented to our camera lens.

I hate to say this, but I was recently asked to do a re-shoot. Not because the pictures I provided weren't wonderful, but because I failed to go to the exact place they mentioned in the article.

Yeah, this sucks to say, but I screwed up. So I packed it all up again and shot what I should have shot in the first place. And the stupid thing is . . . the thing that really gets my goat ... if I owned a goat, which I don't . . . is that the second best picture of the bunch was taken during my "reshoot." That's what you're seeing here.

Which is usually the case, when I think about it.
  • You do something once, it's good.
  • Do something again, it's better.
  • Do something a third time and it sucks.
  • But....If you hang on and do it one more time, magical things seem to happen.
If you want to see the best picture of the shoot, you'll just have to check out the September issue of Seattle Magazine.

Until then, I think I'm going to reshoot something I took a year ago.