Monday, January 30, 2012

Looking For Backgrounds

Robert and I headed to San Francisco over the weekend to look for and shoot backgrounds for a composite project we're working on.  More to come on that, but I'm pretty sure we got some usable stuff.

Due to the amount of photos I take of Robert you might think we're a couple.  We tend to do a lot of projects together, and I'm compelled to shoot the light as it presents itself, which is often in San Francisco it seems.  Plus, the guy wears interesting stuff that works well in an urban environment.   The shot by the car looks like a movie still, it's one of my favorite things I've shot recently.

As you would expect, we saw a variety of interesting things including a homeless guy, a dude on his break, and a dude with his shirt off doing bicycle ballet.  In addition, a crowd of folks were gathered around singing songs in solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution.   That's all I know about that.

I stopped and asked the homeless guy if I could take his shot in exchange for $1.  He agreed, let me take his photo, then immediately asked for another dollar because he had pneumonia and cough syrup is $1.79.    Being the sleuth that I am, I noticed he had a large cup of Starbuck's (full) on his baby stroller  which I know costs about $2.  Priorities, dude.  I told him no and moved on.

The guy taking his break was fairly skeptical of why I wanted to take his shot, exclaiming, "I'm just on my break, man" in such a manner as if he were being harassed by the cops.  Surprisingly he let me go ahead and take it, but not before making sure he understood my intentions for its usage.

Although I didn't take any photos, you know we stopped off at Fiddler's green to end the day.  I've still never had a bad day in San Francisco.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Up Talkers

You've spoken with an up talker, right?   You know, the person who makes declarative statements while using a voice inflection that makes every utterance sound like a question.  My calculations tell me the odds are 100% the average person will engage in conversation with an up talker once a week.  It's so prevalent and widespread that it has become virtually unavoidable.   Business, casual,social, it doesn't matter, the up talker can be found in nearly all situations and walks of life.  Just as the British accent makes any imbecile appear intelligent and well spoken, the up talk makes a Harvard Phd sound like a reality show contestant.

 A conversation with an up-talker is nerve wracking, it keeps you on edge and confused because you're not sure how to respond or what to do.  You want to answer their question at first but then you realize it's not a question.

It always starts out innocently enough because inevitably the conversation starts with a genuine question.  I will assume every up talker is a complete stranger because there's no way we would allow an up talker to be a part of our daily life.

Hey sir, how are you?

I'm good thank you.

Did you find everything OK?

Yes, thanks.

Oh, this movie is amazing?

(side note:  Up talkers completely overuse the word amazing.  It's the number one word in their vocabulary.  Prime abuser:  Tori Spelling.  My dad informed me the word Amazing received the highest number of votes for banishment from the language due to overuse and misuse.  Read more here.   about this and other words to avoid moving forward)

I'm not sure, I haven't seen it yet.

No, I watched it with my girlfriends last week, it is so amazing?

(Shit.  I'm engaged with an up talker.  Girls, honestly, I don't know if I've ever met a male up talker.  I'm not saying they don't exist, but I think they're much less prevalent).

I heard the ending was spectacular.

Yes, it's amazing?

Like I said, I haven't seen it.  (Now I'm just fucking with her).

Anyway, you'll like it?

And so the circular conversation goes.

You can't correct the up talker or tell them to stop, lest you make yourself look like the asshole.  I look around at the others waiting to check out to determine if my predicament is obvious.  I spot a knowing grin, and a small nod of the head.   Do I have a social and civic obligation to point it out?  If I were at a business meeting and somebody had a small morsel of lunch on their face I would tell them about it.  Then again, I probably wouldn't point out the same person's propensity to have chronic bad breath, it's too touchy a situation to address.  I suppose I would just remove myself from the situation delicately and avoid close proximity in the future.  It's the same with the up-talker.  Do what you can to extricate yourself from the situation and move on.   However, don't hesitate to mock the person behind their back with your friends.

If, however, an up talker sits behind you at the movie theater, go ahead and punch them in the face.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back In The Groove

I've been trying to get back in the groove of shooting and writing but the  muse hasn't been there.  It happens.  I figured I'd do a drive by of San Francisco since that always seems to provide ample inspiration for a creative rut.

I'm constantly amazed at the amazing diversity of things there are to shoot around SF, and I go there a lot.   A small angle change, a slight tilt in perspective, a slightly different piece of land you've never explored, it  all makes a difference.  Take this naked chick, for instance.  I've never seen her but apparently she hangs out daily on Treasure Island, an old Naval base on a small piece of land about halfway across the bay bridge.  I've never asked a naked woman to pose, but she stopped and did a pirhouette for me, she's not shy.

Some days you go out to shoot and you suck.  Absolutely suck.  I don't know why that is.  It happens.  It felt like the force was with me this time out.  Even the birds gave me something interesting.  Sometimes they crap, sometimes they grab a crab and eat it nearby.  You can never tell.  They're an unpredictable lot.  This jackass flew right into my scene.  I've shot the bridge a thousand times, but now I have seagull with a crab in his mouth doing a fly-by.

It was overcast around SF so there wasn't much color happening in any of the scenes so I thought I'd stylize just a bit.  I'm diggin' it.  

 Robert and I decided we're going to do a new creative project each quarter and this first quarter is going to be a composite shot.  More to come on that, but I need to practice.  Here's Robert as the new Sheriff of San Francisco using some shots from today.

Happy New Year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blue Smudge

Modern art sucks.  Every couple of years Nikki and I decide to go to a modern art museum for some unexplainable reason.   I suppose it's like forgetting about how bad that one burger place was the last time you tried it.   You can't quite remember what it was like, and besides, how bad can a burger be.  So you go back, and it still sucks.  That's what modern art museums are like for me.

This scribble of blue crayon or chalk (or whatever it was) be Mel Bocher was on display at the museum.  No joke, that's the entire work of art.  It feels so condescending to put that in an art museum and call it art.   It's as if the artist thought he'd pull a quick one on the less intellectual folks because, hey, what do they know about art?  I know this Mr. Bocher:  That's a piece of crap!  How about you try next time, you know, give it the smallest bit of effort.  Sorry you had to be bothered with your busy artist schedule to have to come up with something worthy of display.  I came up with an art piece of my own while I sat there in the museum and tried to control my hate.  It's called "Yellow Smudge".  You know why mine is better?  I thought about if for ten seconds before I created it.

By the way, 90% of the stuff in modern art museums suck.  Every 45 minutes or so you will actually find something worthwhile on display, but you have to really look.

The beauty of San Francisco, however, is that for everything one thing that sucks, there are 100 other things going on that will make you quickly forget that other thing.   There is an endless availability of new things.

Lots of people watching

Lots of sights

Lots of things to photograph

And of course, there's my beloved Fiddler's Green.  It's small, it's old, and it's authentic.  The customers are regulars and many of them have Irish accents.  People go there to talk and sing and enjoy each other's company, not to eat, pick up women, or fight.  There's a small jukebox in the corner, a glorious mix of mostly older music, and lots of Irish choices.  They pour the best glass of Guinness I can find.  I don't know why it's different, it just is.  There is a protocol for pouring a pint, look it up.  Nikki notices a difference, and that's saying a lot because she hardly drinks beer.   It replenishes my soul, it's my place, my must-go location when I'm in San Francisco.  

Mr. Bocher, this glass is real art....