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Monthly Archives: August 2011
The other idea I had for a title to this image was Everyday is a Winding Road, but choosing between the Beatles and Sheryl Crow is an easy decision.
This is another image from the Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas. Considering the amount of people that descend on Sin City daily, I was surprised to see so few people on my drive through the desert. Once I got back to Las Vegas, it occurred to me that the crowd in Las Vegas isn’t really the “state park crowd.”
That being said, this was my sixth time to Las Vegas, and the first time I’d ventured off of The Strip. My rental car was something my grandparents wouldn’t be caught in, but the sights were amazing none-the-less.
The Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest state park in Nevada, and covers nearly 35,000 acres. Not far from where this picture was taken I passed the Google Street View car going the opposite direction. I think it would be fun to find myself on the map, but the road goes for quite some time and I’m too lazy to click my way through the map to find me.
I really like pictures of empty stadiums because I think so often we see them full of people (except the Florida Marlins in the early 2000s, of course). It’s nice to see such a large place in such a different situation.
This is, obviously, U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, and, for three games in 2004 the Florida Marlins.
Every so often I get antsy sitting around the housing and want to go out and take pictures. Most of the time I do head out, however sometimes the weather is foul and leaving the house at that time is a terrible idea.
That’s usually when I scour the house looking for things to photograph. My collection of wine corks is well-documented in this space, as is my pile of foreign currency.
On this particular day, I don’t recall the exact circumstance, but I found all of the birthday candles I could dig up. I piled them up and started to photograph. This image was created early in my photography days, so I already have a list of things to do differently, and to play with the macro lens doing other stuff.
Perhaps one day this winter I’ll find the candles again and give it another go.
This is another picture from yesterday’s sunrise shoot.
As you’re watching the sun rise, it’s always good to check the sky over your shoulder to see what it’s doing behind you. The early morning sun creates and really soft light on the world, and in this case, it lit the buildings very evenly. I like the different colors of the different buildings, and then the dark-pink sky mixes in well.
This might not be the best picture I’ve ever taken, but I like it too much to let it sit on my hard-drive forever and not see the light of day.
This was this morning’s sunrise.
It has been quite awhile since I was out taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures. The wedding seemed to have chewed up a lot of my time this summer, so I’m just getting started now. When it came down to deciding where to head to take pictures, it’s been so long I couldn’t narrow my choices down easily: Montrose Harbor? Navy Pier? The Planetarium?
In the end, I chose to head back to basics and start with Navy Pier and the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse.
I forgot how nice watching the sun come up can be.
This picture was taken the night before the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Considering the chaos that as about to ensue, I remember at the time it was very, very quiet.
The following morning — game day — I was taking in the scene, just off of the ice, when Martin Havlat (then of the Blackhawks) came out and was standing next to me. He let out a “Wow” to no one in particular. I asked him the last time he played a hockey game outside and he said it was years ago, probably when he was twelve or thirteen. In chatting a bit more, I asked him if he was excited, and he motioned to the ice with his head and said “How can you not be?”
Best. Layover. Ever.
En route to South Africa, Alisha and I had a six hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Normally, we’d detest such a long amount of time sitting in an airport rotting away, but since we’ve never been to Turkey, we made the most of it.
Immediately after landing, we headed to the visa line, paid our $20 and cleared immigrations nearly as fast. Jumping into a cab, we headed to the Blue Mosque, which is one of Istanbul’s more well-known sites.
We did some exploration of the mosque, with its incredible cool blue coloring of the interior’s tiles, and the towering ceilings. Before heading back to the airport, Alisha and I wanted to grab an early dinner. Wandering around Istanbul in search of food, we passed through a small bazaar, containing mostly locals enjoying the warm summer evening.
A couple of times we passed men sitting around — in this case sitting in the middle of the walkway — playing a fierce game of backgammon. I’m vaguely familiar with backgammon, except the men played it so fast I could barely keep up with who was throwing the dice, let alone who was moving their checkers.
The Air and Water Show went on this past weekend. Saturday was an abbreviated schedule because of the heavy rains, but Sunday went off as planned.
On Saturday, during their grand finale, the thunderbirds screamed over our house. The planes can be a bitch to spot because you hear them before you see them, but they’re long gone by the time you see them. I spent about four minutes outside looking up into the sky before I decided to go back into the air conditioning.
I’m not always a wimp for heat, but on some humid days I can’t promise much productivity.
Next year I’d like to head to the lakefront on the rehearsal day and shoot some images of The Thunderbirds flying in formation.
I think this is a dramatic contrast to the previously posted image from Vietnam. Life in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is slower-paced and more run out of necessity. Life in Las Vegas, Nevada is not quite the same.
I have been wanting to get up in the air for some pictures for awhile now. There aren’t a whole lot of things to read about tips and tricks to aerial photography, unless I’ve got an unlimited budget (which I don’t). Being in Las Vegas, it was a nice chance to find one of a dozen helicopter companies offering aerial tours for about $100. It’s far easier to pay that price, do a ten minute flight, learn what I need to learn and land. Paying $500 to charter a helicopter (in Chicago, for example), I’m not really interested in learning new things about aerial photography at such a high price tag.
As a disclaimer: I still think $100 a lot of money, but for some reason being in Las Vegas, it seemed like a bargain. Vegas is so damn pricey.
Today in Chicago it has been raining quite a bit. That’s a bummer because it’s the weekend of the Air and Water Show, and we had grand plans to ride our bikes down to the lakefront to watch the Thunderbirds do their thing. Mother Nature decided it’d be a great day to stay inside and take a nap, instead.
As I was laying in bed listening to the rain fall, I got to thinking about our time in Vietnam. For some reason, the Mekong River popped into my mind, and I couldn’t stop thinking about life on the Mekong Delta. It’s dramatically slower paced then you’d think, where people trade for what they need and make or hunt the rest.
The personal boats of the delta are long and slender, not unlike a canoe. Other boats are larger and contain piles of a single-type of food.
For example, the boat will hang a pumpkin on a pole off of their bow. That is an indication they are buying and selling pumpkins. If you have some pumpkins to sell, or you need to buy some pumpkins, just swing on by! When the time comes for the boats to officially sell their stockpile of vegetables, the larger boat will motor up to shore and offload to a waiting truck.
It’s a great way for small farmers to team up with other small farmers and create enough vegetation to sell on the market.
Okay, so maybe the piano is still in tune, but I’d bet my money otherwise.
This is another picture from the Gary, Indiana trip to document the decaying buildings. The front of the Palace Theater building was completely padlocked and secured. The back, however, looks quite the opposite. It looks like someone drove through the back wall with a bulldozer, then realized they wanted another six entryways into the building.
The stairway going up to the second level had completely collapsed, as I’m sure the second level wasn’t far behind. There was also a stairwell going down under the stage, but from my observation of the second level’s stairwell I didn’t need to go down that path.
Several months back a friend and I had discussed Twitter and he strongly encouraged me to join. “It would be a good way to promote [my] photography,” he said. I’m still not sure how, but I’ve indeed joined Twitter.
Feel free to follow me @kjkettnerphoto and we’ll try to have some fun. My intention is to post a note when I update this blog, or perhaps find some fantastic images online somewhere else. I do loathe junk mail and such, so rest assured there will not be 600 messages from me a day.
I’m not a fan of the PR blasts that seem to be the case with a variety of Twitter-folk. That being said, I’m a news junkie and I’ve already “unfollowed” one news correspondent I like because he’s way too work-oriented and likes to push said PR blasts.
Another correspondent I enjoy has three messages about his beloved Red Sox, and I’m okay with that. As Guillaume Apollinaire said,”Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” It’s good to stop once in awhile and cheer on your favorite baseball team. For Pete’s sake, it’s midnight, there is no need to still be “tweeting” about the vice-president and his comments in rural Iowa.
One final note: This will be the first and last time I use the word “tweet” in this space. I hate the word and dislike the amount America likes to use it. Journalists should consult a thesaurus to learn new words to say the same thing, instead of blurting out “tweet” all of the time.
I’ve been spending a large part of today going through pictures.
I use Adobe’s Lightroom to organize my images and on our last multi-country trip I broke up the pictures into folders on my computer for Turkey, Namibia and South Africa. It occurred to me that previous trips I’ve only loaded the pictures on my computer into a massive “Asia” or “Europe” folder.
Today’s project then, is to break “Asia” into separate folders for China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia, and do the same with my European trips as well. Right now it isn’t that big of a deal what folders are holding what pictures but in 30 years when my memory isn’t at it’s prime, perhaps it’ll be more of a challenge.
This picture, then, is a random photo that caught my eye during the aforementioned. We were on our approach into Siem Reap, Cambodia and the area was littered with various temples. Obviously it’s the old temples that make Cambodia famous, but “new” temples are more popular with the locals!
I posted pictures online from our safari in South Africa. You can click your way over to them in the Travel Photography section by clicking here. The albums are cut up into two sections; Namibia and South Africa.
During out stay, we really enjoyed the lion cubs. There were many times I put the camera down just to watch the cubs tackle and play with each other. At one point, we watched a lion cub hide behind a tree and jump out to playfully “attack” it’s mother.
Lion cubs are so damn cute.
With the crisp mornings to the colorful trees, autumn is my favorite season. The day I took this picture, it was the type of day I love: you could be in shorts and a T-shirt, or jeans and a sweatshirt, all while being totally comfortable.
My wife and I wandered into a little flower shop in a neighborhood of Chicago, and upon exiting we passed this big, open, empty garage. Aside from a few leaves blowing around, there was only a crate of pine cones sitting right next to the door. There are tire tracks in this building, but I’m curious what this space is mostly used for.
This is the Fond du Lac lighthouse, located at the Southern end of Lake Winnebago, at the entrance to the Yacht Club.
I was up visiting my mom for a day or two and wanted to get up one morning to take pictures of our nearby lighthouse at sunrise. So, at 6AM my alarm goes off and as I’m getting ready to head out my mom said she’d like to come along. I warn her it’ll be boring and cold, but sure!
So, my mom and I sat in the car waiting for whatever Mother Nature would present. Eventually, there was about twenty seconds of sunshine peaking through the clouds before the sunlight went away for the rest of the morning and, keeping with tradition of my friend Danny and I, my mom and I went for breakfast. I do love me some breakfast after an early morning photo shoot!
I’ve been working hard getting through my pictures from South Africa and Namibia, but had to make a pit-stop in my pictures from Maine for something else. While I was quickly scouring through images from the week I spent there, I passed this one and said, “Hey, I like that.”
While in Maine, a friend and I wandered down to the break water to watch the sunset. He let me borrow his 80-200mm f/2.8 and it was a pretty sexy lens. Heavy, but sexy.
Alisha and I happily survived our wedding and honeymoon. We had a pretty spectacular evening of celebrating with our close friends and family, and then we whisked ourselves away to Namibia and South Africa.
Namibia was a strange choice for a honeymoon location, but we saw a picture on the front cover of a magazine that caught our attention. Both Alisha and I said “I want to go there!” and so while we were in the neighborhood of South Africa, we also went to Namibia.
The picture above is taken from the Big Daddy dune at sunrise, looking over at the Big Mama dune (Big Daddy is the highest dune in the Sossusvlei area, towering over 1,300-feet high).
For this picture, the wind was so fierce! In the foreground, you can see the sand blast over the ridge of Big Daddy, barely making out our footprints from ten minutes prior.
I’ll post more pictures in the coming months, but right now I just wanted to get a picture up online since it has been awhile since I posted.