over the weekend, ryan and i made the first move on a big project to reduce the amount of stuff we have.
our first phase was to get rid of all the packaging that comes with compact discs, audio and video. some disks has very little material while others had inserts, advertisements, slip cases, liner notes with lyrics, and bonus material. when it comes down to it, we buy these things for the music or the video. did i really need a plastic case with a single sheet of paper (with no useful information on it), with a cover? all that goes away and one compact disc goes into a large caselogic album.
one thing i did find, after going through my 400 discs, was this ticket stub. i went to the test for echo tour concert for rush. this ticket was inside the cd case for the album, a reminder that i had seen the artist perform this live at san jose arena (now hp pavillion.)
the reminder has been transcribed into a blog post at this point. when you're ridding yourself of non-essential items, it's things like this that make you pause.
last weekend i was in portland, oregon. ryan was attending a conference and i decided to tag along. i brought my pentax 6x7 and several rolls of portra 160vc. portland turned out to be a fresh, clean city that was easy to get around in.
this image is a picture of the portland center for the performing arts, the most iconic views of the city.
I've been kinda bummed lately, but OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT HELPING.
At work, I'm standing in a short line in front of a cafeteria food station while the cooks are dancing around, making noise signals from one station to another, and burning items and messing up orders. I recently had something prepared incorrectly while I was the only one in line.
I went to a mall food court today for lunch, where I placed my order as one customer of many in a line that moved sequentially. They managed to somehow mess up the order of the dishes and I had to tell them whose plate belonged to which customer. I paid for my food but was still waiting for one last item. The girl behind the counter asked me IN SPANISH what I was waiting for.
Later today, hoping to get a predictable service, I went to a Starbucks in which the barista incorrectly prepared a Carmel Macchiato. I'm no barista, but I've had the drink enough times that I know how it is made. Shouldn't someone employed by Starbucks know the procedure better than a customer? After all, I haven't read the training manual. (Didn't they just retrain 135,000 employees?) About three years ago I challenged a Starbucks employee who misconstructed a drink. They dug up an employee manual to confirm the procedure -- and I was correct.
Maybe it's not me. I feel that somehow (and lately), everybody is just not caring. I mean, is it difficult to warm a hamburger bun on a grill without completely charring it? Is it difficult to keep plates of food in order? What about following well known, published directions?
I know it is not my job to police, educate, and train the masses at large. But when I am dealing with stresses of my own and need some predictable, reliable services, where can I turn to? You do your job, and I'll do mine.
on saturday we threw a birthday party for ryan at nikon whiskey lounge at folsom and 14th in san francisco. extensive whiskey bar, great japanese food. we reserved a private even room upstairs for our party. we topped off the party with two delicious cakes from miette.
i decided to bust out my polaroid spectra camera to document the occasion. it was a big hit, everybody seemed to enjoy using it and watch the prints develop. they all turned out great!
feeling grey lately. i think it's stress from work, joint troubles, and continued house-hunting.
i decided to wake up early this morning and do a self portrait. i understand why some artists make them.. it's sort of a "portraiture for introverts". when you make something, what's going on in your mind is projected through it. you not only see how you look to others, you see yourself subconsciously interpreted.
ilford hp5+, rodinal 1:50 for 12 minutes. negative scan.
shot with an 19" apochromat red-dot artar with a dark blue (tiffen 47) filter taped to the front. wide open at f/11.
light was 400 watt-seconds from a speedotron 202vf head in a medium softbox above. white reflector below in butterfly position.
position self with pre-measured twine. open packard shutter. pop flash with meter. close shutter. develop sheet film, something i haven't done enough of lately.
last night ryan applied a m0zaikit from shalgo industries on his new macbook pro. it turned out pretty well. it's a set of pre-cut vinyl stickers, all cut in the same pattern with one color per sheet. you pick the pieces you want to lay out the pattern.
it was an excuse to setup the softbox and speedo. our little canon g3 does well with the right light.
this week I was asked at work if we had any internal blogging platform. of course we didn't, but I was interested in setting one up. I chose wordpress, specifically wordpress-mu, a multi-user, multi-blog setup.
it took a while to get used to how wpmu does things. an ldap plugin for wpmu worked perfectly to tie my installation's authentication to active directory. now anybody with an active AD account can login, create an arbitrary blog, and start posting.
i also took a while learning how to manipulate layers in gimp to produce a header graphic for our new internal blog site. i'm pretty proud of it.
now we'll see what happens. i've seen internal blogs take off before, i'm interested to see if it takes off here. if you build it, they will come..
i really do think blogs have a place at work. at my last job, we (well, mainly jim, myself, and our manager) saw the potential. we used a blog to record our status, thus saving ourselves the need to take time out of our day to report to our management. it brought visibility into what our group was doing. at my current employer, we have many sites, peers in different offices, and a large development site on the other side of the planet. maybe this will help bridge some of the usual communications gaps that happen. there are already many internal forums, drupal sites, and other places (including the horrible microsoft sharepoint) for information, but this will be the first centrally managed, cross-organization, freely open system.
this is one of the last frames on the roll of kodak 160vc i shot in sonoma last weekend. i took it while everybody else was in the car waiting for me. i saw this barn off in the distance and decided to use the o-o-f foreground to frame it. when i was looking through the viewfinder, i wasn't sure if it would make or break the image. it's atypical fo me to frame a shot like this. what do you think?
negative scan, kodak 160vc, 6x7. pentax 200/4.
this past weekend ryan and i took some friends to a pair of wineries in sonoma, chateau st jean and gundlach-bundschu. gunbun is 150 years old and under the management of a descendent of the original owner. st jean has a 96pt reserve chardonnay that i liked (despite not being a fan in general of chardonnays), but what really impressed me is the malbecs they have now. i decided to join the st jean wine club, in fact.
last weekend after i met jared, i spent the following morning walking around downtown los angeles with my pentax 6x7. i'd never really spent time in downtown before.
i started near the gehry-designed disney concert hall and walked my way through chinatown, then down through central city.
one of the things that caught my eye on my walk was the all the textures and patterns. i decided to make it a theme in the photographs i took. it's something you can find in every city, but what makes it interesting to me is the sheer scale of patterns in larger cities.
mustard growing in pescadero, california.
i took this on the recent large format outing in pescadero. this field of mustard was growing in a lot just off the main drag in town. a short walk from the gas station / taqueria we had lunch at. scan from kodak e100vs.
shooting in color makes me want to upgrade to a scanner that can do full sheet scans. i want to start including the film edges, especially in 8x10.
this weekend i met jared and his wife on saturday. we introduced ourselves to each other, and i went over the research i've done so far. he didn't have much to add, but they both have some good corrections for my notes. i'll be contacting his father to see what he knows. we had a laugh at the end when we realized that all of his schlachets are his height, and all of my schlachets are my height.
it reminds me of meeting a distant relative years and years ago. shane. she lived in kentucky with some of my grandfather's relatives. i now have distant relatives of my own (daniel, david, anita, elan, jared, josh, joel, ....) but you know, i have no solid connection with them aside from a last name. i am hopeful that we are all not-that-remotely linked. it will be nice to fill in the missing pieces about the family. questions like, who are these other schlachets, and why didn't i know about them, or them about me?. i may solve these questions. genealogy, it turns out, is about obsessively investigating history.
i shot this last weekend. kodak ektachrome e100vs. i used my jamin-darlot lens.
so spring is basically here. time for new things to be borned.
in my mind, i'm building up this rendezvous to be something really special. but as i'm winding down from an exciting and busy week at work, i'm realizing i shouldn't expect anything. i'm just hoping to not have car problems.
anyways.. 2008 is already a big year for me. i hope it's big for you too.
this past weekend we attended a hockey game, sharks v blackhawks.
i thought it would be a good opportunity to bring my agfa billy, a camera i haven't used in a while. unfortunately, i must have messed up the lens because it wouldn't focus at inifity. i did find this one frame (above) that works as such.
film is ilford delta 3200. shot at rated speed, 1/25. souped in rodinal 1:25 for 11 minutes.
between periods, they bring out these two remote controlled sharks which fly out over the crowd.
the game was the venue of our friend emery's birthday. this is the second time he's organized a large group of us to all chip in and get a box at the arena. a great way to watch the game, in my opinion: plenty of food and wine/beer, high def monitors, a great view of the entire arena, and plenty of good friends at arm's length. the game wasn't bad, either.
this is one of my images from the ski trip i went on.
the shot is just over the mountain from heavenly. it's in a town named genoa, the first settlement of nevada.
there are four silos total, which you can see on the satellite view on google maps:
shot on ilford delta 100, using a nikkor-w 210mm with some front rise. souped in rodinal 1:50 for 14 minutes.
i've been working on expanding my family records using more web research. i've found another possible branch of the family, surname szlachet. there is also a schlecht family, who owns a poultry processing company in poland.
anyways.. i've been using a package called phpmyfamily to enter in family tree information. i used an open source graphing package named graphviz to draw the above graph. a moderately complicated sql query to phpmyfamily's database generates a list of parent->child relationships and an awk script reformats it into the metalanguage for graphviz. once i've done some updates to the database, it takes me just a few minutes to generate a new graph. i hope to automate this..
the graph is helping me visualize the tree without having to redraw it on paper. it's also making more obvious the holes, missing parts, and possibly linkages. i hope to gather enough bits of information to connect the large parts together.
lake tahoe, taken with my cell phone camera. i need to find/make a supplement lens which will allow it to focus at infinity!
this weekend i went with a large group of friends to lake tahoe on a ski/snowboarding trip. i don't do either of those sports, but i do enjoy a good drive, the company of friends, and opportunities to take my camera out.
i packed by shen-hao 4x5, a bunch of holders, and ilford delta 100. i shot about 25 sheets, so it will take me a while to get it all processed. these images here are just from my cell phone.
one of the most interesting places i visited was genoa, nevada, nevada's first settlement. it is a small town with a lot of charm. i would have spent more time there, but the wind was getting really bad and my dark cloth was acting like a sail. next time i spent time in tahoe i hope to return there. the pic of the silos is on the outskirts of genoa.
this is my stepdad jim.
this christmas i decided to shoot the remainder of a small box of portra 400nc i had in 4x5. i brought the crown graphic and my tripod. we shot them out on my mom's new deck behind her house.
unfortunately, once i got there i realized the rangefinder was busted. the batteries had corroded and mucked up the mechanism inside. i was able to clean it out a bit, and without my loupe to verify focus i took the shots anyways.
i had the film developed at newlab. i turned the film in around 4:30 and they got it done (dev only) by 7pm closing. what great service!
it's been a while since i used portra. i really like calm colors it produces. and of course, making the switch from black and white to color in 4x5 is amazing. these were all shot at +1 (iso 800) at around f/5.6 and 1/100. the images are crops. i found the images nicer cropped down from the original, since i am not very well practiced with the crown graphic. next time i will remember my loupe and just use the ground glass, since i was using a tripod!
this is my mom. i love having a hyperlinkable mother. :)
this is my parents' french bulldog, corky.
doing large format color is definitely very enticing. but i have enough projects to work on as it is......
my number one fan gave me a shiny new portfolio book for christmas. the cover is aluminum and hinged. the pages are welded polypropylene with archival liner sheets. the set is really perfect for the images i've been working on.
it is moving slowing, but it is moving forward. a real series of images.. what i consider my first coherent body of work. and thanks to this new nudge, the makings of a real product are forming.
since photography is as much of a process as a method for me, it's been difficult to set aside prints i wonder my "work". i forget that the word work is part of work in progress, the eternal label for what i've produced. i'm realizing that a portfolio is just a snapshot of my work, and that in no way should it mean i change how i'm working.
who are we?
this is an old photo from my father. on the back is written: Summer 1937 / Winnipeg Ca
i'm not sure who these people are. The man in the center looks like my grandpa harry, but he is too old to have been. harry would have been 17 years old that year. is he a relative of harry's? my mom thinks they might be related to harry's wife, esther, but she is not sure either.
in my ongoing research into the schlachet family, i now have four working family trees, none of which intersect. i think the problem will end up being the holocaust, accounting for missing links and gaps in the tree. i'm finding schlachets who arrived in the united states from austria, poland, and germany. with so many growing but separate trees, the search is getting difficult but very interesting.
i recently heard from two brothers, david and daniel, whose father is from berlin. they pointed me to an alexander shlahet. alec changed the family name to bring it closer to the original polish pronunciation. he has a son adam and a daughter larisa, both of whom i have messages sent out to today. i will keep trying to go upwards on all trees to find the missing links.
so far, the closest new contact i've made is a jeremy, my second cousin (his grandfather is my great uncle abe). there are also a lot of J names: jared, jason, jaye, jeremy, josh, joel. jerome.
researching one's family like this is an unusual matter. on one hand, most of the people i've been in contact with share only a name with me. they've had their own lineage and lived separately. on the other hand, i feel we are related in a large extended family sort of way. most of the schlachets i've talked to are interesting in what i find out. some, like anita, share my enthusiasm and excitement in the research.
my kuya jude asked me this morning, what i thought this all brings to me.. to know who the rest of my family is.
i think family tree research helps heal the gaps families accumulate over time. families have arguments, disagreements, and falling outs. they split and branch out and, over time, the original animosity fades. the research reminds you that you are still family and that the common ancestry is still there, despite what has happened in the past.
and sometimes, you think you knew how you got here. i mean, you knew the extent of your family's "story".. at least as far back as you or your parents can remember. when you discover there is more detail than you knew existed, it all becomes exciting again.