There are images that should be captured. Moments that feel like they exist to show you something. Beyond just “I wish I had my camera”, they have everything coming together, and you can see it all slipping into place, and you know something’s going to happen.
That’s about what I felt for the above photo. I was just watching a protest coalescing on the far side of the street. I was in a small group of reporters from various media sources. They were all trying to figure out what to shoot next, while I was just thinking that the protest had pretty much run it’s course. It would still go on for a couple hours, but the passion and excitement was gone, and people were only protesting because they were there to protest.
And while I’m watching, this black-robed group detached itself from the main body of protesters, and started sweeping across the street. And that was it. I could see this was the image. I took a quick glance around to see how many people I’d have to fight to get space to make the shot. But no one was paying attention. None of the professional media people cared. None of the vastly more numerous public photographers was watching. You can even see photographers in the background of the image, ignoring them completely. And there was an empty spot just 5 feet away, right in front of the smoothly approaching image.
I swung around and pulled up my camera, and cars started driving in front of me. Bastards. And seconds are slipping by, and it’s only 4 lanes, and they’re getting closer. And then… click. One image. I normally shoot a 3 or 4 shots of anything, just to avoid a blink or a sneeze or… but no. I got off 1 image. And they were gone. But I love it. Contrast, repetition, art, humanity, the unexpected.
This wasn’t my most popular shot of the morning. But I like it the most.
I took this about a block from my apartment yesterday. I was getting out of the house for a mental break, and thinking that I needed to photograph something for my daily shot. I had just started literally looking around me, when I saw this sign.
Some things never change, in this neighborhood.
Most new buildings in this city actually go as far underground as they do above. Always disturbing to see these gaping holes in the earth, filled with little ant-sized men doing funny things.
Of course they put parking down there. And I’m sure they offer generous storage space, since so many above-ground office spaces are already just used to store boxes. And no doubt they’re trying to build as solid a foundation for the building as possible. But really… what else are you gonna do with all that space?
Something just occurred to me. I took some pictures over to CVS to be developed, at 8×10 inches. Their kiosk, when you choose 8×10, gives you a blow up of your photo showing a proportional box where you can define the area of the image you wish to print. It’s not the first time I’ve done this. But it never really struck me how much of an improvement this is. Before these kiosks, you were always left to the whim of the photo developer, who would decide how to crop your image. More than once, I sent off images in a very specific layout, only to have the developer, (both storefront and online) recrop it to their liking. Annoys the holy fuck out of me. Not that people were trying to be mean before, but until you have a technology like the kiosk, printing from digital images, it’s hard to do those custom adjustments on a mass scale.
(But really… people… printing a 8×10 from a digital file is NOT an enlargement. The file was NOT small to begin with. Digital photos do not have a set physical size. And if it’s not smaller to begin with, it’s not really an “Enlargement” is it?)
But what I want now, is a kiosk with internet access. It’s kind of silly that I have to burn a CD each time I want to take photos over to CVS to develop them. I want to walk in, pull up a service like Flickr, and say, “Give me 10 copies of this photo”. I don’t see how this would conflict with flickr’s existing online photo developing. It’s not like the type of people who use online developing are suddenly going to stop, just because they can go to the drug store and get their prints. Online developing is a convenience business. And in flickr’s case in particular, they already have licenses on every image, that the kiosk could follow for permission-to-print.
Tips and Tricks
1. Customer Service Tip #3418: Never answer a sincere question with a sarcastic remark. It just fucking pisses me off. Regardless of how common-sense you feel the answer should be, the other person obviously doesn’t know. Being sarcastic to anyone except a friend is just going to leave them feeling put down or insulted. Or in my case, leave me wanting to bitch-slap you ’til you cry like a little girl for your ignorant action. “Yes, this is a one-hour photo, but this would hardly be the first time I walked into a one-hour that was so busy it would take longer. Just trying not to rush you, you pompous fucknut.” or “Pardon me, I just assumed a place called ‘The UPS Store‘ would actually offer ALL of UPSs services instead of just the most expensive ones.” Or really, just about anything. Sarcasm is almost never well received by friends. Can you imagine what it does to people you work with?
2. Quick Money Tip #4532: Are you in Washington DC, and looking for a Bank of America ATM? Are you near Metro Center’s 13th street exit? This is a pretty popular, central area, for locals and tourists alike. And that set of ATMs is almost always busy. But what most people don’t know, is that about 15 feet away is a door that goes into a vestibule where there’s another BoA ATM, that is seldom busy, and even when it is, it’s better than waiting in the rain.
3. Cleaning for the Lazy Tip #3145: Do you feed your pet dry food? And inevitably, there’s those last crumbs and bits of food in the bowl when you pick it up to refill it. They won’t just pour out, because your pet has drooled on them. And who really wants to scrub them out and deal with brown, smelly chunks in your sink? But if you start swirling the bowl, the few loose buts there are start acting as an abrasive, and very quickly scour the rest of the food off the sides of the bowl. The more it scours, the quicker it goes. (Would this qualify as a stupid pet trick?)