New York City

HUGE Photo-Poster and Flywheel Sports

Brooklyn Bridge, Nightscape #1. New York City, 2015
Brooklyn Bridge, Nightscape #1. New York City, 2015

 

I am very excited that I just licensed one of my images (above) to Flywheel Sports of New York City and, rather than on a typical website page, they used it in a most unusual way.

First, who is Flywheel Sports, you ask? Lets get that out of the way first.

Well, they are an up-and-coming sports-exercise company with a unique take on the more traditional stationary cycling classes you have probably already sweated, groaned, and screamed your way through. Flywheel has group cycling classes on high performance bikes that track exactly how hard you are working on a big “TorqBoard” for all to see (or not–your, and the instructor’s, prerogative). Looking at the numbers thus displayed, you can compete just with yourself, adjust your workout to your personal specific fitness goals, or you can compete against others. Groups can even compete against other groups…one Flywheel class versus another class…friends v. friends…enemies v. enemies. Upper body exercises can also be woven into the session. The competitive and motivational possibilities are limitless. And all of this accompanied by a super high-energy, pulsing, pounding musical sound track and top-notch super-fit instructors to keep you focused and majorly motivated.

For more on this…Slate Magazine did a nice report a few years ago on what this latest craze is all about and you can read it here: Flywheel: SoulCycling for the Truly Sadistic, April 10, 2013.

And here is a very recent (yesterday!) article/press release about their expansion plans: Flywheel Sports Announces Plan to Extend Studio Cycling Experience Into the Home, May 17, 2017.

It all sounds like a seriously fun and strenuous challenge (“Sounds dangerous. Count me in.” –Alan Shepard, in Top Gun). And since it may be coming to Denver soon, I just might get a chance to give it a whirl, so to speak.

Now, to the commercial use of the above abstract image of the Brooklyn Bridge…

They took my full file from the D800, which measures 7360 x 4912 pixels at 300 ppi (that’s a 24″ x 16″ print at 300dpi), and they blew it up…and  up…and up… and UP! They eventually stretched it into what looks like a 10-foot by 30-foot giant wall poster. Pretty impressive! Kudos to their art folks for recognizing the possibilities here–it’s all about depicting motion, movement, energy, and so on.

Of course, the fact that it was an abstract image gives the printer a lot of leeway when it comes to going BIG. A tack-sharp landscape might not look quite as good at this size (although up on a highway billboard, with a viewing distance measured in the hundreds of feet, it just might).

Here are a couple of snaps of the finished product, as it now appears in the new Flywheel building in Brooklyn:

Flywheel, #1. NY, NY, 2017 (Photo courtesy of Flywheel Sports)
Flywheel, #1. Brooklyn, NY, 2017 (Photo courtesy of Flywheel Sports)

 

Flywheel, #2. NY, NY, 2017 (Photo courtesy of Flywheel Sports)
Flywheel, #2. Brooklyn, NY, 2017 (Photo courtesy of Flywheel Sports)

June 10th Opening at The Darkroom Gallery (Longmont, Colorado)

Building, #37 (The Great Escape). New York City, NY, 2015
Building, #37 (The Great Escape). New York City, NY, 2015

 

Next Friday will be “Second Friday” in Longmont and the galleries will all be open. There will be music, mingling humans, food and drink…

At Julie Cardinal’s The Darkroom Photography Gallery, there will be an opening for a new show called “Architecture-Structure-Form”. The above piece of mine was juried into the exhibition along with 54 other images. So, come on out and take an artistic gander!

Here are the details:

What? A new photography exhibition called “Architecture-Structure-Form”. Juror: Kate Zari-Roberts. The show will run from Friday, June 10, 2016 through, Sunday July 31, 2016. After this date, the show will be moved to Bin 46 Food and Wine Bar in Longmont (600 Longs Peak Avenue) through August 13, 2016. You can preview some of the work at THIS LINK.

Where? The Darkroom Photography Gallery, 515 Main Street, Longmont, Colorado 80501; Telephone 303-485-7191. This is right on the downtown main drag–where the Friday night action is! Look for the gallery right next door to the Longmont Theater.

When? The opening is Friday, June 10, 2016, from 5p.m. to 9p.m. The show runs as mentioned above.

Why? Because humans, by nature, are artists!

[Background on my image, above: It is a single image, not a composite, converted to monochrome. I was struck by the juxtaposition of the tenement-style building and the  man “running away”, with some difficulty, from that boxed-in life. Careful framing included only the elements I wanted in the photograph and eliminated, especially, the bulk of the advertising on the giant billboard sitting to the left.]

POSTSCRIPT: With some 55 photographs on display at the gallery, my image above was awarded an Honorable Mention at the show–one of three that were given out. A very nice compliment! In addition there were the standard first, second, and third place prizes. Here is the complete awards list and image titles with artist website links (to be updated when I confirm all the info):

First Prize:

Second Prize:

Third Prize:

Honorable Mentions (3):

In addition, at this show, it was nice to see the fine work of a number of many accomplished local photographers who are also friends: Bruce Henderson, Peter and Charlene Bandurian, Maureen Ruddy Burkhart, Murth Murthy, Cary Wolfson, and Jack Sasson.

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

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?

Today’s Tidbits to Ponder

Twin Menhirs. NYC, 2015
Twin Menhirs. NYC, 2015

 

Two quotes I came across lately…

 

How about all the folks who look at your work and ask, “What lens?”, “What f-stop?”, “What shutter speed?” And so on. That is natural, I suppose, and it happens all the time. This could be valuable information for the person looking to perfect a certain technique…but, from the standpoint of art, consider this:

“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”

Man Ray, 1890-1970

 

And, do you ever feel this way about some of your images? If so, perhaps it means that you do indeed have a personal style and a unique perspective on this weird wonderful world in which we wander and wonder:

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”

Diane Arbus, 1923-1971

New York City in Motion

Just worked up a few more images from a recent trip to New Yawk City.

The style with these is different. First, color. Second, blur. It was a matter of embracing the conditions once again: low light, no tripod, and the motion of the ocean…er, well…the river.

The goal of sharpness in photography does not always have to apply.

 

Brooklyn Bridge, Nightscape #1. NYC, 2015
Brooklyn Bridge, Nightscape #1. NYC, 2015

 

One World Tower, Nightscape #2. NYC, 2015
One World Tower, Nightscape #2. NYC, 2015

 

River Skyline, Nightscape #3. NYC, 2015
River Skyline, Nightscape #3. NYC, 2015

 

Manhattan, Nightscape #4. NYC, 2015
Manhattan, Nightscape #4. NYC, 2015

 

Empire State, Nightscape #5. NYC, 2015
Empire State, Nightscape #5. NYC, 2015

 

And a more “stable” bonus image to calm your jitters (I like the airplane just exiting the photo, right edge)…

Under the Brooklyn Bridge. NYC, 2015
Under the Brooklyn Bridge. NYC, 2015

It’s the economy, stupid!

Center of the Known Universe. NYSE, Wall Street, NYC, 2015
Center of the Known Universe. NYSE, Wall Street, NYC, 2015

 

No, it’s the stupid economy!

It always amazes me that we have managed to construct a system that can be so easily and heavily influenced by fear, expectations, rumors, and so on. Something big on the other side of the world (like China) stutters, trips, falls, or fails and it affects us directly and immediately. A big bank fails in the U.S. and millions lose their jobs. Constant cycles of boom and bust that hit the lower, middle and working classes hard, but leave the upper classes largely unaffected (and some of whom in this class are the causes). An economy is growing–but not as fast as projections, so paranoia sets in and the markets go jittery…etc., etc., etc.

It seems normal to us that things would work this way and there are many economists who could explain exactly why these things happen. It’s just they way things are.

But, if we could think outside the box a bit, isn’t there a better way?

Why do we have so many entities that are “too big to fail”–like countries with huge GDPs, and companies with huge piles of assets (and/or debts)? And, why isn’t the economy more compartmentalized, for example?

It is as if we are all on a big submarine with no watertight compartment doors anywhere on board. It’s sort of Titanic-like in a way, no?

Some Brooklyn graffiti on the subject…

Cost, #1. Brooklyn, NYC, 2015
Cost, #1. Brooklyn, NYC, 2015

New York City, A Summary

NYC Skyline, #1. 2015
NYC Skyline, #1. 2015

 

A great place to visit–but I wouldn’t want to live there. Too many human beans piled atop one another and crammed into the streets. And too expensive. I’ll stay with the fresh air and the mountains, thank you.

Here is a visit summary, including some photography related points farther down, from my naturally very biased view…

Random, General Stuff

–We never felt unsafe anywhere. That hasn’t always been the case in NYC, so good on them.

–Some areas of the City were pretty filthy–the Theater District and Hell’s Kitchen, for example. With the summer heat, the garbage piled on the sidewalks for pickup certainly assailed the olfactory detectors quite negatively. So many people live there, though, I am sure garbage collection is one of those jobs that just barely keeps up with the flow (12,000 tons a day, they say).

–Speaking of garbage…I was not very impressed with the recycling efforts. An effort did exist, yes, but the amount of plastic that was being thrown in the trash (all those to-go containers) was appalling.

–If you are into theater, or any of the arts for that matter, there is an incredible energy here. No wonder “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere“!

–Just the buildings and the architecture are worth a specific two-week self-researched, self-guided tour.

Real estate is so insanely expensive it blows the mind into tiny, fragmented and scattered, fragments. Better a 50,000-acre ranch in Montana than a 6,000-square-foot penthouse luxury apartment, I say. But, I suppose those who can afford $70 million for the NY penthouse probably also have the other $50 million (stashed in the kitchen cookie jar) they would need for their Montana ranch summer “get-a-way”.

The subway…well, at least they have one. And it’s one of the biggest, busiest, and oldest in the world–which explains a few of my complaints. It was very frustrating to use until we learned the difference between express and local trains, where they each stop and don’t stop, which stations have easy crossovers to the opposite track, weekend versus weekday runs, etc. Still, I was cussing it quite often for its confusing or badly placed signage, the many cars with little, no, or confusing route information inside, tickets that don’t tell you how much you have left unless you scan them in a machine, the same tickets that refuse to scan until the third try, underground line construction that will force you to go up one stop, cross, then back two stops to get the train you want, delays due to “switch problems” (euphemism for suicide?) or construction, etc.

If you know the system, I guess you can make it work for you, but they could sure take some cleanliness, simplicity, and efficiency lessons from the Barcelona Metro, or even the subway in Washington, D.C. The NYC system is a huge hodge-podge that has been growing like a blob over eons, so, like the garbage thing, I’m sure it’s a major mayoral task just to keep up with normal maintenance and keep the subway tunnels from flooding.

–The art museums were awesome. Definitely worth the trip to NYC to see. Most require multiple visits to really feast properly on everything. The Museum of Natural History, though, was good but seemed a bit past its prime. Denver could almost hold its own with their equivalent museum.

–This trip we concentrated on the sights and the museums, so no Broadway musicals, opera, theater, or symphony. (The opera and the symphony were on summer break anyway–off in Vail, ironically!) If there is a next trip, we will concentrate on those things.

–Also, next time I would go in the spring or fall. We pushed our comfort limits with the August summer heat and humidity. Winter would just suck. Maybe. I think.

–Why do they crank the air conditioning down so low in the museums and stores that you need a jacket? Even in the United Nations building it was freezing. You’d think with our concern about burning too much carbon, that we would just set those thermostats three or four degrees higher. It would save literally tons of coal and the monthly electric bill for these places could be reduced tremendously. This isn’t just a NYC problem, it is a nationwide cultural problem.

–Gentrification continues…Harlem seems to be the current target. Brooklyn-Williamsburg is already pretty much done, it seems. NYC isn’t the only place where this happens, of course. Here in Colorado, think of all the big ski resort towns like Vail and Aspen…and even in the good ole Boulder Bubble it continues.

–We never seemed to go wrong wherever we ate pizza–awesome! You might avoid the $1 a slice places, though.

–There were six of us in a tiny, tenement-style, Airbnb apartment near 9th Avenue and 47th Street–the only way for your average middle-class tourist to afford being on the island.

–In our two weeks, we only scratched the first atoms of humidity on the coating on the metallic surface of things to do in NYC. You’d need a good year or two of full-time exploring to really get to know this place.

Some Photography Comments

–I brought my tripod but never used it. The only time I might have wanted one was on top of Rockefeller Center (The “Rock”). There, you could NOT use a big tripod, but a small tripod (say, six to ten-inch) for sunset and night shots from the top of the retaining wall would have been helpful. Large tripods are prohibited there and almost everywhere. To compensate for no tripod, I often shot my D800 at anything from ISO400 to ISO3200, depending on the situation, and tried to brace or lean on something whenever I could. There were times when I found myself changing the ISO almost as often as I changed the f-stop.

–During our day hikes around the City, I rarely carried the D800 and all three of my lenses due to the annoying weight. If using the D800, I tended to pick just one lens for the day (sometimes a second lens) and that was it. I carried everything in a daypack rather than in an obvious camera bag.

–The high tech audio-visual event that is the ascent to the One World Observatory was most interesting for the time lapse video they show you on the elevator walls as you zoom up the 100 stories in 40 seconds or so. For photography, though, the viewpoint sucked. You are shooting through Plexiglas. To maximize the possibility of getting any decent images, at least try to get a ticket for a sunset visit–or during a raging storm. As an aside, I had a funny thought when I went: the visit is so audio-visually stimulating and over-the-top high tech, I almost had the impression that the view of the real NYC skyline was sort of an afterthought. A case of the artificial and the digital overwhelming tactile reality.

–Someone had told me that the Empire State Building wasn’t particularly good for photography due to the high retaining wall and the safety bars. Not so, at least for me. There are low points along the wall and the bars–the lens fit easily between them–actually could be used as an aid to hold the camera steady.

Times Square at any hour is pretty good for candid tourist and people photography, as well as for shooting Las Vegas-meets-Madison Avenue-hurt-the-eyes-LSD-way-too-bright-LED signage. I am guessing there is always something going on at this epicenter, even when it isn’t December 31st.

–The major art museums allowed photography, with the exception of a few individual exhibits.

–In addition to the museums, before you go, Google “photography events NYC” to see what might be happening around town. Then don’t forget the elegant Aperture Gallery and the huge photo-toy store of B&H Photo.

–Anywhere in the City is great for street and people photography. Come with a goal or project in mind for street (I didn’t) and an unobtrusive camera–maybe just your iPhone. Or, hell, just come with your medium-format Yashica. No one seemed to care.

A big thanks to María Rosa, Jaume, Dolors, Roger, and Sara for making it a wonderful and memorable experience!

Adios, Adeu, and Chau, New York!

Pretty Maids, All in a Row. NYC, 2014
Pretty Maids, All in a Row. NYC, 2014