Monthly Archives: December 2010

It’s New Year’s Eve.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sick, which is never a good thing.  I’ve got some sort of sinus plague that I get periodically throughout the year.  It sucks.

So while I was feeling crappy, I went back through some of the photos in my Lightroom library that have yet to see the light of day.  Maybe it’s my mood today, but I can’t find a single one in there that I think is any good (Note:  one could argue that the ones that have seen daylight are also no good.  They would be correct, but should play along anyway, because otherwise there’s no point to this exercise).  Instead, I decided to reflect on my “Year in Photography, 2010” and choose my favorite photo from the past twelve months.  It’s this one:

Camera:  Nikon D40

Aperture:  f/5.6

Shutter: 1/2500

ISO:  400

Focal Length:  18mm

There are very few photographs that  come out exactly as I see them in my head, but this was one of them.  I called it “Urban Canyon,” because looking at it, I felt like I was staring up from the bottom of a huge canyon.  Very deep thoughts going on here.

Overall, 2010 was a successful year for me, photographically.  My work found it’s way into two magazines (albeit the weird indie sort that no one knows about) and a digital gallery at a Philadelphia Fringe Show.  Maybe next year I’ll become famous.  Yep.  Famous.

Happy New Year, everyone.


I have a Mandolin…and Natalie Portman’s pretty cute.

I like to consider the week after Christmas “Spend Your Gift Cards Week.”  So far, I’ve bought a few Blu-Rays (District 9, Family Guy), some clothes (pants for work, nothing exciting, calm down), a mocha at Starbucks, a TV stand/cabinet/whatever.  Oh, and a mandolin.  I almost bought a ukulele but I’m glad I didn’t.  Maybe I will during next year’s “Spend Your Gift Cards Week.”

So, first, about the mandolin.  It’s a pretty Epiphone MM-30s.  It wasn’t terribly expensive, but as a result it was poorly set up and seems like it had been sitting in the corner at Guitar Center for a while.  In that regard, I’m happy it was liberated.  On the other hand, I’ve put an hour or so of work into it and it’s still not quite up to par.  I think it needs a neck adjustment and maybe the nut needs to be filed.  I plan on doing that as soon as I’m done blabbering about it here.  I liked this mandolin because not only was it the only one in the store, but it has a solid top and a cool sunburst finish.  I also love that it says “The Epiphone” on the headstock…makes me feel like it’s a vintage instrument even though it’s not.  I tried to date it, but I can’t find info on the serial; I suspect it’s about 3-5 years old.

And now for Natalie Portman, although to get there we have to go through a few things.  When I walked out of the store with my new toy, I figured the first song I would learn would be REM’s “Losing My Religion,” because that seemed obvious.  Then I remembered Paul McCartney’s “Dance Tonight.”  I enjoy that song; it’s a lot of fun and it seemed like it would be easier to learn.  It was.  So then I traipsed over to YouTube to watch a video of McCartney playing it so I could learn the song, and I stumbled upon the video, which you can see here:

And hey!  That’s Natalie Portman!  With Paul McCartney!  And a mandolin!  YAY!

And we’ve come full circle.

A Halloween Reject

A while back I was mulling over some photos to include in a Halloween themed photo challenge.  I eventually chose this photo because it reminded me of the Blair Witch Project, for some reason or other.  Then, recently, I was going through my library of unused photos and stumbled upon the rejects, including this one, a tombstone shot from the church cemetery here in Dublin, PA.  I shot it using a Lomo lens, so it’s pretty unique and different from my usual stuff.  It’s far from my best, but I think it represents something fresh and different (for me at least) and that’s worth a post, don’t you think?

PS – I didn’t get my holidays confused.

Camera:  Nikon D40, with Diana Telephoto Lens

Aperture:  Unknown

Shutter:  1/800

ISO:  200

Focal Length:  110mm

The sky ripped open…

Across the field, you see the sky ripped open,

See the rain pouring through the gaping wound,

Pounding the women and children

Who run

Into the arms

Of America.

~U2, Bullet the Blue Sky~

Brigantine/Atlantic City, New Jersey

Camera:  Nikon D40

Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter:  1/1600

ISO:  200

Focal Length:  18mm

My Favorite Album of 2010: “Brothers”

I’ve been a fan of the Black Keys for a few years now (I first heard them in 2003 when Thickfreakness came out.  They were featured in some guitar magazine so I went out and bought the CD).  It seems recently they’ve enjoyed quite a bit of radio and commercial success on the heels of Brothers, their 2010 album.  I’m happy for them and all that, but I can’t help but feel a little bit of that hipster “OMG I KNEW THEM BEFORE THEY SOLD OUT!!” rage.

For the record, I don’t consider them to be sell-outs.

I like Brothers as the best album of ought-10 for two reasons:  1) it’s the best and 2) I appreciate that they went off in a slightly new direction with the album.  It’s never easy to change your vibe, but they successfully infused a healthy dose of funk and soul into their already-developed dirty Akron Blues.  The result is a unique hybrid that’s both brand-spankin’-new and old-school Black Keys.  Also, kudos to them for expanding the tonal palette and branching out instrumentally; the use of keyboards and bass make for some funky rhythms and deep texturing.

For the new, uninitiated Keys fans, I strongly suggest getting your ears on the “old” stuff…especially Rubber Factory, it’s a personal favorite.

And for some fun, here’s “Next Girl,” the best track off the album.  The video is hilarious and ridiculous, so naturally it fits well with the spirit of this blog.  You’ll have to click on it and go right to YouTube because I can’t embed it properly, DRM and all that crap.

If you want to hear how it really should be played, you’ve got to hear it live:

iPhonetography: Fond Memories

Looking through family photo albums the day before Christmas Eve…

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all!!

I hope Santa Claus was good to everyone.  Enjoy the day.

A Bono/Damien Rice/Glen Hansard Christmas

As seems to be becoming a Christmas Eve tradition, Bono busked on Grafton Street, in Dublin.  This year he was joined by Damien Rice, Glen Hansard (again), Damien Dempsey, The Coronas and every other semi-musical Dubliner.  The White Christmas bit made me laugh.

It’s Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. Why are you reading this? Go do something Christmassy.

Happy Festivus, Everyone!

Happy Festivus to one and all.  Gather ’round the pole and enjoy this special day with your loved ones.  May your grievances be vicious and plenty.