The “Almmond Project”, Barcelona

Almendras, #4. Barcelona, 2015
Almmendra, #4. Barcelona, 2015

 

Yes, “almmond” with two “m’s”. That is the trademark name of this healthy food restaurant, soon to open its doors in Barcelona. In Spanish, it will be “ALMMENDRA”, as in the above sample stock image of mine.

My assigned role was to create photographs of the food providers and the food products–photos which might possibly be used either in a photo book for the owner, or as large prints on the walls–or not used at all, depending on the final decision. (See the October 9, 2015 blog post, “Portrait of a Master Baker”, for images of one of the providers.)

For me, though, regardless of the outcome, the project was quite an education in many areas…in lighting in general, in the use of light boxes in particular, in food selection and arrangement (oh, attention to detail!), how to add steam to hot tea in Photoshop, and so on.

In short, I was quite uncomfortable throughout the whole journey…not my cup o’ tea, so to speak.

I consoled myself a bit by thinking that at least the product shots were like little mini-landscapes. And I also had plenty of help–my significant other and the restaurant owner herself designed the basic food setups and arrangements.

The computer backside of the project was also very time consuming what with the processing and formatting of a portfolio of 100+ selected images of the several hundred we shot. Yes, it only begins with the snap of the shutter. At least half of the work is in the post-processing.

Whether my images actually end up being used remains to be seen but, still, it was fun and I am likely a better photographer for it.

Here are a few examples of the ALMMENDRA style…

Croissants, #1. Barcelona, 2015
Croissants, #1. Barcelona, 2015

 

Bread, #7. Barcelona, 2015
Bread, #7. Barcelona, 2015

 

Carrot Juice. Barcelona, 2015
Carrot Juice. Barcelona, 2015

 

Bocadillo, #3. Barcelona, 2015
Bocadillo, #3. Barcelona, 2015

 

Hot Chocolate, #1. Barcelona, 2015
Hot Chocolate, #1. Barcelona, 2015

 

Choco-Almendras, #2. Barcelona, 2015
Coffee Beans and Chocolate. Barcelona, 2015

Sugarloaf Wind

High Flight. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
High Flight. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

 

Another sunrise, along with a moonset, on the Sugarloaf Mountain summit this morning. The high winds and a cold front made it seem like winter had most definitely arrived.

Some basic hints for high wind photography…

–If you are not completely out in the boondocks, shoot from inside your house, tent, or vehicle.

–Wait for a lull. Wind and waves share the idea of cycles. Just wait out the strong winds and hope for a calm moment to hit the shutter (better, the remote release). With a little awareness, you’ll soon pick up on the sounds that warn of an impending monster gust, or tranquil lull.

–Put your tripod as low as possible–collapse all of the legs and make it nice and short, thus more stable. Yes, this will effect how you can compose, just stop whining, be creative, and work around it.

–Grizzly bear down on the tripod (not on the camera) with your body weight. Just don’t shake or tremble as you do it.

–Consider a higher ISO to get a faster shutter speed to avoid blur. A wider aperture (if you don’t need the depth o’ field) will also help with this.

–Capture multiple images of the same scene. On the computer later, you may discover one to be sharper than all the others.

–Big lenses vibrate more in the wind when on the tripod (unless on a lens tripod collar). Consider whether you really need to use that excessively phallic lens or not.

–Hand-holding may actually work better than using the tripod in some more extreme circumstances. Again, multiple exposures will increase the likelihood of getting one that is sufficiently sharp.

–Watch out for flying saucers, sand, dirt and debris. Changing lenses without getting extraterrestrial garbage inside your camera can be a challenge. Change them during lulls or under some kind of shelter, maybe even just under a jacket, or in a tent or vehicle.

 

The lack of clouds, along with high winds and low temps, this morning had me thinking it would be a big bust for photography. Even so, there seemed to be one or two scenes worth freezing in time…

The three “stars” at the top of the picture (putting on my best Neil deGrasse Tyson voice here) would be Jupiter, Venus, and Mars (top to bottom). The next time you will get to see these three celestial objects so close together will be in 2021! Note the obvious line of headlights commuting from the Denver metro area in to Boulder on Highway 36:

Mars, Venus, and Jupiter Above Denver-Boulder. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
Mars, Venus, and Jupiter Above Denver-Boulder. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

 

The Divide was capped with boiling grey clouds this morning. Sugarloaf’s shadow can be seen on the right:

Moonset Over Arapaho-Kiowa Peaks. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
Moonset Over Arapaho-Kiowa Peaks. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

 

I also liked the B&W version of the image at the top of this post. To me, it is a bit more abstract and otherworldly:

High Flight. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
High Flight. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

Third Flatiron Portrait

Onward and Upward. Gary, on the Third Flatiron, Boulder, Colorado, 2015
Onward and Upward. Third Flatiron, Boulder, Colorado, 2015

 

A portrait of Gary, on the Third Flatiron, indicating the direction of the next pitch (or the threatening rain clouds???). Expect a few more rock climbing photographs scattered through this blog as time goes on.

Because…

I’m “back in the saddle again” after a 30-year hiatus and feeling like a kid with new shoes on a playground with a spiral slide and a rocket ship monkey bar set. That is, I am back to enjoying steep rock, the [sometimes] graceful movement from hold to to hold to stance, the satisfaction of setting up a quick and secure belay anchor, the grand vistas far below, the ravens, hawks and eagles, as they swoop and circle…and I’ll usually carry a camera with me on these climbs.

Back on the rock again, whoopee!

New York City, An American Paradise

American Paradise. NYC, 2015
American Paradise. NYC, 2015

 

I am still cleaning out the last of my iPhone images from New York City, so here are a few more.

In the above, there are a number of interesting elements all in juxtaposition: the crowd snapping away with cell phones at above left, the word “paradise” coincidentally on the screen, the “stand up” phrase maybe also referring to American individualism and determination, the NASDAQ implication of the stock market and capitalism, the multi-ethnic crowds on the street, the beautiful Big Brotherly model asking you with her eyes to consume their product, and of course the American Flag, larger than life. (Unfortunately, the fat finger smudge at the top takes the photo out of any kind of “keeper file”. Or…maybe it symbolizes the eventually eclipse of all empires by the circumstances of history.)

The iPhone 6 is pretty amazing for how easy it is to use and the relatively decent quality you get even in difficult conditions. Those with the larger “Plus” even have image stabilization. And these tiny cameras are only going to get better.

Probably the next step will be to incorporate multiple lenses or a lens array in the phone for capturing a single image (and video) with much greater resolution and dynamic range. The big camera companies ought to be really worried!

More examples…

A stars and stripes follow-on to the above…

Patriotic Apartment. Brooklyn, NY, 2015
A Patriotic Apartment. Brooklyn, NY, 2015

 

Consciousness–NOT…

Recycling Consciousness. Brooklyn, NY, 2015
Recycling Consciousness. Brooklyn, NY, 2015

 

To me, they are both weird habits…sucking on nicotine for kicks…

Smoking vs Vaping. NYC, 2015
Smoking vs Vaping. NYC, 2015

 

Who is the rocker? Cyndi Lauper, maybe? The body type doesn’t fit Madonna–my initial guess…

Rockin' Out in the John. Hard Rock Cafe, NYC, 2015
Rockin’ Out in the John. Hard Rock Cafe, NYC, 2015

Sugarloaf Colors

Pre-Dawn, from Sugarloaf Mountain. Colorado, 2015 (a four-image pano that measures 70" x 15")
Pre-Dawn, from Sugarloaf Mountain. Colorado, 2015 (a four-image panorama that measures 70″ x 15″)

 

Oh, how I love to be on top of Sugarloaf Mountain at dawn just as a storm is rolling out. Sometimes you strike out in a white out. Oh, well.

But sometimes your pluck gives you luck.

This morning it was all about light…and color…and clouds. For me, if there are no clouds, the landscape–which includes the grand skyscape, of course–is much, much less interesting.

I definitely have my head in the clouds.

From this morning:

The sun breaks the horizon–but only for a few short minutes before it disappears into the cloud bands. Sometimes the “golden hour” is pretty damn short and you have to move fast…

Sunrise on Sugarloaf. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
Sunrise on Sugarloaf. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

 

A close-up, with Green Mountain just visible on the right…

Plains Sunrise. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
Plains Sunrise. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

 

A beam of gold light fell nicely over Twin Sisters, up in Rocky Mountain National Park. That’s Estes Cone to the left…

Sunrise on Twin Sisters, #1. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
Sunrise on Twin Sisters, #1. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

 

The tall buildings of Denver are just peaking out of the mist and from behind South Boulder Peak

A Sunrise Peak at Denver. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015
A Sunrise Peak at Denver. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2015

 

A most excellent cloud, mist, and shadow show, high over Boulder…

Light Beams and Mist Over Boulder. Colorado, 2015
Light Beams and Mist Over Boulder. Colorado, 2015

New York City Ad Campaign

Whilst a cold autumn rain continues to fall outside here in Colorado–a portent of the snows to come–I thought I’d clean out my excessively enlarged and festering memory bank of iPhone images.

In doing so, I came across some pictures I made earlier this summer of a very imaginative ad campaign in New York City .

The company is focused on real estate in the City and is called StreetEasy.com. (Feel free to go to their link and fantasize about spending millions on a tiny crash pad in the Big Apple!)

Here are four examples of their ads as I found them sprinkled throughout the NYC subway stations. They definitely hired the right “Mad Men [and Women]” and the very well done posters certainly give you a feel for what it might be like to live in a cramped NYC flat…

StreetEasy Ad, #1. NYC, 2015
StreetEasy Ad, #1. NYC, 2015

 

StreetEasy Ad, #2. NYC, 2015
StreetEasy Ad, #2. NYC, 2015

 

StreetEasy Ad, #3. NYC, 2015
StreetEasy Ad, #3. NYC, 2015

 

StreetEasy Ad, #4. NYC, 2015
StreetEasy Ad, #4. NYC, 2015

Are you “on the buffet”?

Scumbags and Superstars. NYC, 2015 (iPhone6)
Scumbags and Superstars. NYC, 2015 (iPhone6)

 

It’s “buffet”, like Jimmy, not “boo-FAY” as in a place where you stuff your piehole to gag capacity. And it is a common aviation expression.

Example of use: I haven’t been posting on my blog lately because I have been “on the buffet”.

So from whence does the expression come? You should really know this, since you too are often “on the buffet”. We all are, in fact, as we try to live as best we can the frenetic lifestyle we have built for ourselves in this current version of western civilization. Some people are constantly “on the buffet”–at least until a heart attack fixes the situation.

So…

In an airplane, as you slow down and increase the angle of attack, thus demanding more performance from your machine, the wing initially produces an increasing amount of lift–up to a point, that is. If you increase the angle of attack (raise the nose) too much, the airflow over the wing starts to become less smooth and starts to create eddies and turbulence on the rear part of the wing–and you start to lose lift (a cheapo explanation, but good enough). If you keep slowing down, or demanding too much from your machine, the airflow become too turbulent across the wing to produce any lift at all and the aircraft will nose over into a stall. This is not a good thing if you are close to terra muy firma.

What the pilot feels on the stick or the yoke as the airplane approaches a stall is, initially, a slight shake, buzz, or tickle. As she gets closer to a full stall, the slight tickle becomes full-on buffet and even an almost violent shaking. Some old and crusty pilots (like CCCarl) might say “you go from mice bouncing on the wings to elephants bouncing on the wings”. Therefore, a pilot who is “on the buffet” is on the edge of losing control of her craft–the elephants are just too heavy.

Yep, I’m on the buffet these days, although it should only be temporary. Luckily things haven’t completely come apart structurally (as in the above image), but I’m definitely on the edge with too many projects on my platter. Dang, and it isn’t even the holiday season yet! (Although I did see red and green decorations at the local drugstore already–go figure.)

I’m thinking it’s time to ease off on the stick a bit.

How are you doing?