Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Oh goody, the photo idiocy has spread from Silver Spring

Photo courtesy of MeI was renewing some domain names earlier in the month and noticed that FreeOurStreets.org was coming due soon, and I pondered for a minute whether to spend the money to get another year. After all, we’d gotten what we wanted with it. After our 4th of July photo walk the city attorney made a written statement to the management company indicating that they did not have the right to restrict people’s freedom of expression on public land, even if it was managed by a private corporation under contract with the city.

Silly me, thinking we wouldn’t need it again someday.

Now the foolishness has some to DC proper. Andy Carvin writes here about his experience with being bothered by security guards in Union Station. Now, Chip Py managed to make Downtown Silver Spring look beautiful, but one of the challenges in talking about that incident was always how to respond to “why would you want to take pictures of a strip mall?” Union Station, on the other hand, is obviously beautiful architecture and photographed painlessly by a multitude of people every day. Yet for some reason the management company there has decided to harass some photographers.

She informed us that we would have to cease taking pictures immediately and leave. I asked what the problem was, and she said that this is a private space, and we didn’t have permission from management to take pictures.

Here’s hoping it stops with a single misunderstanding and this gets cleared up promptly.

The above photo of the ghost of security-ruined photos is a snipet from Carvin’s aborted 360 degree panorama. Check it out in full here or a non-aborted pano elsewhere in Union Station here. The gigapan technology is pretty neat.

Artomatic 2008 Opens Today

Artomatic

Today marks the opening of Artomatic 2008 or what should be called “More Art Than You Can Shake a Stick At 2008”. This annual show promises to be bigger and better than ever this year, taking over the empty ten story Capitol Plaza office building and housing the work of about 1,000 artists. Yes. 1,000 artists. Not exactly something you can see all of in a casual walk through. Something tells me I’m going to have to make multiple trips to the show and even then probably won’t catch everything.

So what is Artomatic you ask? Their website sums it up best by saying:

    Artomatic is a month-long multimedia arts event that draws together visual artists, musicians and performers and brings their work to the community without charge.

I had toyed around with the idea of exhibiting in this year’s show but just couldn’t get my act together in time. Picking a series of photos, printing them (bleh), framing them (bleh and cha-ching!), printing business cards, painting the walls of my space, arranging lighting…way too much work for me to tackle. I am, however, excited to see the work of many of my friends at this year’s show including Marie Kwak, Eric Petersen, Kyle Gustafson, Angela Kleis, and Jason Colston.

The show opens at noon today and if you are planning on going tonight (like I am), be prepared for an insane amount of people and chaos. If you want to avoid tonight’s crowd, the show runs until June 15th so you have plenty of time to pay your respects to DC’s art community.

Artomatic
Opening Friday, May 9 – Closing June 15
1200 First St NE
Capital Plaza I – corner of First & M streets NE – NY Ave Metro
Wed-Thu: 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat: noon-2am; Sun: noon-10pm; closed Mon-Tue
Free admission; donations welcome

Photo by Tracy Lee

Plans for the Weekend

Orange by Carl Weaver PhotographyAre you the type of person who starts thinking about weekend plans around 4:30 on Friday or do you start planning Monday morning when you say hi to your homies and play catch-up at the water cooler? Me, I like to keep an open mind all week and see what develops, but this weekend is a bit special because I am donating blood on Saturday, which I am a bit embarrassed to say is something I have not done before, and then on Sunday I am leading a photography class, something I look forward to and have not done in a while. It’s good to get back in the groove with teaching and sharing and hope to do many future classes.

How much of your weekend is planned this early in the week? What’s going on in your neck of the woods that we should all know about?

Photo of Orange by Carl Weaver Photography

The Light of Lincoln

Lincoln's View

I haven’t written about a photo in quite some time, and while I could try to explain to you my lack of photography related posts, in the end you probably just don’t care. But as I was perusing through Flickr yesterday my eyes stopped on gattoraffa’s black and white shot of the Lincoln Memorial. The lighting on this shot is amazing and it almost looks to me as if the crowd is being sucked into a spaceship’s tractor beam for a good old fashioned alien abduction. Having spent a lot of time lately with studio lights, it’s refreshing to see photos like this that use the tried and true, ultimate source of light, Mr. Sun. One other thing to note about this shot is that you don’t need a big fancy SLR to capture an amazing photograph – this was taken with a Canon PowerShot SD1000. Great job!

The Blossoms Cometh

Photo uploaded by Ghost_Bear

It’s that time of year again. Our area’s arguably largest tourist pull, the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Yes, yes, everyone’s covering it, from Express to DCist. I won’t bore you with a rehash.

Actually, I come with a few questions.

My lovely wife and I have been down every year since we relocated here and frankly, I love it not so much for the blossoms (they’re gorgeous), but moreso to watch and photograph the people. I pick up a lot of great observation vignettes for my own writing; it’s like hitting the writer’s lotto.

This year, we’ve got a couple of good friends headed down from New York City. They’ve never been to the District and will only be here the first weekend of April. So naturally, I got them all excited about the Festival. It helps they’re both photogs, too, so if you see four people (three girls ignoring the one guy with them) wandering around with extensive camera gear, that’d be us. Picture-taking is pretty much a given. So is taking Metro.

Thing is, I’m trying to figure out what else to do on that Saturday before we head over to Old Towne for dinner and staking out a nice patch of marina rail for the fireworks. There’s the photo safaris, but those cost money and we’re decent photo people. So I think that’s out.

I was also considering the Edo Master’s collection at the Sackler. Or possibly the Japanese Cultural Fair, which promises a tea ceremony, origami and calligraphy demonstrations.

So what should I do? Any readers attended these in years prior? Or should I shy away from other Festival events and take them to the standard DC sites we always funnel tourists to? If so, what would you suggest?

Frankly, I’m stumped. It’s the first time we’ve had friends visit who could only stay two days; normally, we have practically a week to show them around or point them somewhere – this is a bit harder.

Oh, and even worse? They’re amateur foodies, like us. So figuring out good spots to eat is also on tap – suggestions for lunch would be appreciated, since none of the ladies have my appreciating taste for the curbside vendors and their cuisine. Dinner’s already planned, so fortunately I don’t look like a total incompetant to our jet-setting New York socialites.

So, anyone have some great suggestions to help a guy out?

Tidal Cherries, uploaded by bhrome

Astronomical Miscalculation

DC @ Night

Someone who I thought was a reliable source of astronomical facts (and knowledgeable of the black magic behind them) said that on Friday, March 21st the full moon would pop up over the horizon and line up nicely with the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol. You know the view. Now I know this photo has been taken a billion times by many, many other photographers, but did that stop me from wanting to try? Absolutely not. I wanted my own shot of this view so I drove up to the Iwo Jima Memorial with camera gear in tow.

A little to my surprise I discovered about fifty other photographers up there, all with their cameras, tripods, and telephoto lenses, many identical to mine. I felt a little silly setting up my gear next to these guys (and three girls) so that we could all get basically the same shot, but as Ron Burgandy says, “When in Rome.”

We were all ready, fingers anxiously placed on our camera’s shutter buttons (or remote chord buttons as it were), shots lined up, apertures set, shutter speeds set, ISO’s set, when all of a sudden, “Where’s the damn moon?” Someone shouted, “Hey, it’s over there!” The huge orange globe lumbered into the sky about 3-4 frames to the right of where we’d all hoped it would be. I think the term that best sums up our disappointment is “WTF?”.

All in all, it was still fun to go up there and see the full moon from such an awesome vantage point. I managed to get some interesting shots anyway, and can only hope that later in the year I’ll get to try again.

Photo Rights Challenged at Chinese Embassy

As a good photographer, I sought out the rally at the Chinese embassy on Connecticut Avenue today. In case you were driving by and were curious what all those people just south of the Woodley Park Metro were hollering about, it has to do with the rights and freedom of the Tibetan people. Tibet has been occupied by China since 1959 and has been subject to many violent instances, including what you have been reading about in the news recently.

Like I said, I figured there would be a big rally there, so I made my way down there and was snapping pictures of the crowd when I noticed that someone had thrown red paint at the embassy earlier. I crossed the street to get a few pictures of that and was approached by two uniformed Secret Service officers who informed me that I was not allowed to photograph the embassy or even be on that side of the street.

I have been through this before with other law enforcement officers. The difference this time was that the lady and her male partner were polite when they stopped me, even if they did lie about my rights.

I explained that I was on public property, it being a sidewalk, and that I was within my rights to be there and photograph the building. After about a minute of back-and-forth, they could see that I was not budging and after examining my press credentials, they determined that I really was a journalist, or perhaps that I simply knew my rights, and left me alone, but not without some huffing and puffing about crowd control. They were determined to have the last word, even if the words were ultimately empty.

Okay, I get that the police need to keep order and make sure that nobody does stupid stuff and to ensure that a peaceful rally like this does not turn violent, but to me, photography is not a very threatening activity. If there had been a “do not cross” tape set up, that would be different.

When are we going to learn that photographers are not the problem? When is the last time you were told by police that you weren’t allowed to take pictures of something or walk on a public sidewalk?

Photo: Secret Service Officer, Tibetan Independence Rally
Originally uploaded by carlweaver
See more photos of this event here.

Weekend Art: 2nd Annual DCist Exposed Photography Show

DCist Exposed

It’s a blog-eat-blog world out there, but we here at Metblogs love DCist and hope that they love us too (or at least really like us a lot).  To show our love for them and to help promote what is turning out to be a great showcase of local talent, I highly recommend that you join me in attending the opening of their 2nd Annual DCist Exposed Photography Show. From their press release:

    The exhibit will showcase new talent as they reveal the city to us through the eyes of people who live and work in the D.C. metro area. In a city too often seen purely as a collection of federal government buildings or a destination for tourists, these photographers capture the local music, art, architecture, and urban surroundings that give Washington, D.C. its unique cultural vibrancy.

If you’re looking for a way to get into the local art scene and perhaps even start your very own collection, I can’t think of a better way to begin. Over 40 photographs will be on display and, dare I say, for sale at prices that may be a bargain one day when these photographers hit the big leagues. Regardless, this should be a fun, free event that should not be missed.

Friday March 7th, 7PM to 9PM
Civilian Art Projects
406 7th St NW (THIRD FLOOR)
Washington, DC 20004

Weekend Art

Many of you know that I’m not one to toot my own horn (I’m sure Carl will leave a joke in the comments about that one), but I wanted to let you all know about an incredible photography show going on now at H&F Fine Arts. Curated by J.T. Kirkland, “black and white and…all over” features an eclectic mix of over 100 black and white photographs from experienced veterans as well as up and coming local photographers. From the press release (PDF):

    To highlight the joint articulation of the various works, the identities
    of individual artists will be subordinated; the price of each piece and the initials of its creator will be
    presented on a brightly colored sticker meant to contrast with the dominant black and white palette.
    With the names and reputations of the artists subtracted from the exhibition, the work of seasoned
    veterans will hang alongside that of newcomers just finding their footing in the art world. The curator
    challenges viewers to try and tell the difference while posing the question of whether the distinction is
    even significant.

I took part in hanging the photos last weekend and was amazed by how different each artist is from one another and how amazing each piece is. In fact, if I was independently loaded, I would probably buy half of the photographs hanging in the exhibit. This show hosts quite a line up of photographers:

    Erin Antognoli, James W. Bailey, Danny Conant, Max Cook, Stephen Crowley, Justin Hoffmann, Michael Dax Iacovone, Nick Jbara, Jane Jeffers, J.T. Kirkland, Angela Kleis, Prescott Lassman, Thomas Paradis, Aleksei Pechnikov, Susana Raab, Alexandra Silverthorne, Jim Tetro, Bryan Whitson, Lloyd Wolf

I invite you all to join me at the Artist’s Reception tomorrow, Saturday March 1st, from 5 to 8PM. The exhibit runs until March 29th, and please note that the gallery will be closed between March 21-25.

H&F Fine Arts
3311 Rhode Island Avenue
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

(Don’t let the Maryland address scare you – it’s about one block across the DC/MD border)

Are You There Library of Congress? It’s Me, Max

Everyone got excited early last month when The Library of Congress created their very own Flickr account, aimed at sharing some old public domain photos with us. I think we all agree that this was and still is a very cool idea on their part, but come on! Don’t they know what Flickr is all about? You can’t just post 3,115 photos in the course of a week and then completely stop for two months. Their last photo (featured above) was posted on January 8th, has 48,430 views at the time of this writing, and 306 favorites. Am I missing something? Is there a strike going on over there at the Library Grande?

Obviously there is an interest in their photos by Joe Q. Public so come on, give us some more! I want to see a photo of a dude driving a tractor through a field wearing some grungy overalls and chewing on a piece of hay. I want to see some Confederate soldiers with their muskets in one hand and a tin cup full of battlefield coffee in the other. You know, cool old photos. What would you like to see?

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