Highline and into the night (nyc in many posts 3)

Still the same day, still walking. I sort of wandered by the Stonewall, which, if you don’t know, go educate yourself. I’d already had my ration of beer, so I didn’t stop in, but it’s a capsule of what a lot of NYC was like: little pockets of history and deep meaning, layered with new growth.

Then I hit the whitney, which had a good exhibit of photos from a photographer who’s name I’m forgetting. I was pretty tired by this point in the day, but I soldiered on, to the Highline, which was pretty rad. Weird sculptures, buildings, a lemonade stand, somewhere in the middle. I was seriously flagging by the time I got down; luckily there was a coffee shop there, and cold brew saved me. I got in a Lyft and headed to the Design Museum to meet up with my friend Christa, her BF Gabe, and Sandra, who turned out to know a ton of inside info on the artist in the main exhibit from her day job. It was really nice to meet and see them.

I think I have ~2 more of these posts, and then it’s on to newer photos. I’m back to being at least a month behind on photos, but I haven’t been shooting a ton, so maybe I’ll catch up? We’ll see.

Posted by Matt on 2016-08-31 18:20:06 +0000

nyc in many posts 2

This was another walk, the one that separated ICP from the Whitney, which I got to with about an hour and a half before they closed. I didn’t take many pictures inside, pictures of museums all look the same to me. The street, though, the street is always moving, always changing. In New York, there wasn’t just a feeling of newness, but this feeling of many layers of history built up over time. That feeling of deeper history was one of the things I really liked. Another thing I liked: not everybody works in tech. Like, apart from the conference I was at, I didn’t meet a single engineer the whole time. Legit.

Yeah these are just street photos. Yeah a lot of them are shot from the hip. I’ve decided I’m OK with that. There’s just no time to stop and ask on the street. Sometimes I’m also shooting as I bring the camera up to my eye. Sometimes, it’s things that would be gone in the time it takes to bring the camera to your eye. There’s this great video, where Jay Maisel espouses the opposite approach, which I’ve been trying lately with some success. That is: walk slower. No, Stop. Wait. Something will happen. Take the picture that happens in front of the camera, not the one you’re looking for. We’ll see where it takes us.

Posted by Matt on 2016-08-15 04:33:11 +0000

nyc in many posts

You know how Ulysses, the doorstop/book by Joyce, not the poem, you know how it encompasses a single day, but several years worth of adventure were packed into it? I feel like that was my first day in New York City. So much happened, so many pictures.

I got to Manhattan a bit after midnight, a direct flight from SFO. Sidenote: jetblue has the best legroom. Got out of my terminal to see the old TWA terminal under construction/restoration. A little googling revealed it’s been under construction a while, and now the plan is to make it a hotel. At least it’s still there.

So, I get to my hotel, starving, and go down to the street to find some pizza. By some silly stroke of luck, there was a decent slice just around the corner from my hotel. I had quite a bit of pizza while I was there, but not every meal, Mom. This pizza though. All the good things people say about pizza in NYC: all true. I’ve seen the light, or, rather, the crust, the cheese, and to a lesser extent, the sauce and toppings. Pizza consumed, I passed the fuck out. It had already been a long day.

The next day, with nothing to do and free to roam, I decided the first place I should head was the International Center of Photography. Since I had the whole day, and google maps said it was a 45 minute walk, I figured why not walk and shoot. These photos are about half from the night before and half from the walk to ICP.

Posted by Matt on 2016-08-08 20:23:12 +0000

camping film pics

These are the other photos from camping; at the last moment, packing, I decided to take my small boulder of a film camera, the Mamiya RB67. It’s older than I am and weighs 20 lbs with the mirror prism. It’s just on the edge of too heavy to handhold. It’s also all those trite things people say about shooting with larger cameras: slow, contemplative. I found myself seeing pictures, and then grabbing the camera and shooting them.

I originally got this camera because I thought it would be a good platform to build a small scanning back. Then I thought I might as well shoot some film with it, to make sure it worked. As it turns out, you cock the shutter and wind the film with different levers, a thing that I still sometimes forget (which works out for me sometimes, see frame 1). I didn’t even realize I missed the moment of looking at the exposed film, the magic of seeing all those pictures that I took, the ones that worked and the ones that didn’t.

Posted by Matt on 2016-07-12 03:14:05 +0000

strandbeest at the exploratorium with @donttrythis

Strandbeest - n. Walking sculpture of the type invented by Theo Jansen.

I’ve been fascinated by these since I saw the first video of them, way back in 2007 or 2008. I think it was a Kottke link. But, only at a distance, in the way that you laugh at people that take the cinnamon challenge, not like it’s something you would ever see or do firsthand. Well, I finally got to see them firsthand, and I didn’t have to go to the beach.

The show was at the Exploratorium, which is the platonic ideal of a hands-on science museum. They create direct experiences that lead to an intuitive understanding of science. Do the experiment, know how it works. The strandbeest exhibit was no exception, with several hands-on beests to walk back and fourth, and models of the leg to play with and see how it works (stiff sections made of triangles, and moving sections made of odd quadrilaterals).

I went twice, once to see Savage’s work-in-progress beest, and at night, for the unveiling and adults-only evening. There were several other people showing off similar devices; a couple motorized horse-like builds, and a giant Burning Man build out of plate steel. I even got to ride the strandbeest bike, which was jerky and steered like a cow and I desperately want to buy a welder and build one now. It was delightful and weird those are maybe my two favorite qualities.

The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of Savage’s machine. “Like everything I do, it didn’t work until the last minute,” he said. Or something like that; I’m sure the whole thing will be up on tested.com eventually. First, he rode it on the milk crate seat, then, realizing it would hold his weight, he jumped on top and pedaled it from there. There was a nice Q&A period, and then everyone dispersed into the night.

Sidenote: every time I think the color balance is too hard, I should just put it away and look again after getting some sleep. It’s almost always exaustion, and not the color, that’s the problem.

Posted by Matt on 2016-07-11 15:58:18 +0000

an evening at black butte lake

The campsite at Orland Buttes, on Black Butte Lake, is really something special. Bathrooms with showers, running water, flushing toilets, all the modern amenities you may not get at some lesser campsites. The lake itself is about 20 feet below where it historically was, from my super unscientific ‘look at the shoreline for a while’ method. The water is relatively clean, even on a holiday weekend, and all of the other people there were fairly chill.

Most of the weekend, I shot with the Mamiya RB67, a mammoth film camera that’s older than I am. I seem to have gotten the hang of shooting with it. We’ll see when I pick up the exposed film on Friday. But the last evening, after we’d gone back to camp and had a colossal dinner, we ran back over to the beach (really just a lot of clay, no sand) to watch the sunset. That’s when I took most of these photos, excepting the first and last. It was the first time in quite a long time that I’ve felt that good taking pictures.

The image of the buttes was from the road on the way to the beach at sunset, and the stars were a couple hours after, propping my camera up on the ground with my binoculars. The skies at night were just incredible. I woke up at 4am on the first night, and after my trip to the bushes was done, I’m pretty sure I could see Andromeda without binoculars. Might be worth a winter trip, when the haze will be lower and not as hot during the day.

Posted by Matt on 2016-07-07 04:45:56 +0000

a traffic jam caused by google

So, on the way to camping, Sophie and I came upon a large traffic snare. Instead of just sitting there in the jam, google maps directed us to take some side roads, a thing that it’s done in the past when I’ve hit this sort of traffic. The detours are usually interesting, at least, a break from the monotony of the interstate.

Anyway, we get off of I-5 and onto some side road, then the access road, then another side road, then through a neighborhood, in a shortcut that no sane person would ever attempt. After all that, we hit a two lane county road that was to take us back to the highway, where I tweeted: “In a traffic jam on a secondary road caused by Google maps. AMA” A bunch of other people, it seemed, had gmaps on in the car to get them north. At this one crossroads, we all hit the same stop sign. Even with that, we all saved 20 minutes over the traffic jam.

Which didn’t really mean anything, by the time we got to our campsite. We still had hours of daylight left. Easiest time setting up I’ve had in a while, since most of the time we leave after work, get stuck in traffic, and get to where we’re going sometime between 10pm and midnight. We even had time to cook a nice dinner.

Posted by Matt on 2016-07-06 02:05:44 +0000

annie and adam's new digs

This was a sort of unintentional party. We were supposed to be getting ready to go camping, but decided to go out for dinner with a bunch of folks, including Annie and Adam who’ve just moved into a new place. Then we decided another round sounded good. Then another, and then we decided we should all go back to the new place and check it out, with a stop at 7/11 for beer and supplies (I had a random gummy bear craving, so sue me).

The place is awesome. Nice big kitchen, long living room with north facing windows (north light windows are my fav), and even an office. Sweet little place.

Posted by Matt on 2016-07-05 20:53:57 +0000