Tag Archives: Black and White

Aiport Taxis

Airport Taxis

One of my most-favorite and (at the same time) least-favorite parts of travel is jumping into a taxi cab at the destination airport.

It’s a favorite because everything I have been doing to get to my final destination is almost at completed. That last little leg, many times with the radio blasting local music (which is nice for a variety of reasons), is a fantastic and quick tour around my new temporary home.

It’s my least-favorite because nothing screams tourist like walking out of the airport with a giant sack on one’s shoulder asking to go to a hotel.

In Vietnam, for example, the taxi drivers all stood up with excitement at the two Americans walking toward them. The guidebook said it should be a $6US cab ride to our hotel, but our driver told us a number that translated to $10US. Plus, at the end, he charged us a toll of $3 or $4 dollars that he refused to pay on his own (the cab driver taking us to the Vietnam airport at the end of our stay did not charge us for that same toll, I might add). In the end, it really didn’t do anything to inconvenience us. Aside from being dishonest and annoying, it’s hard to get upset at a $5 bump in price when we just spent close to $1,000 on airfare.

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Looking Out From Wrigley’s Scoreboard

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a television show to use my previously posted image from inside of Wrigley Field’s scoreboard. It was a nice e-mail to receive and it made me think about other pictures I have from inside the iconic landmark. Hence, this image.

As you can probably figure out, this picture was taken from inside the Chicago Cubs’ famous manually operated scoreboard, looking out at a quiet Wrigley Field before a game later in the afternoon.

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Old Cannons, Great Wall

It is things like the Great Wall of China that make me want to travel to the country and spend every day for a month or two making photographs of the ancient fortification. Sunrise, sunset, snow, rain, clear skies, etc.: shoot it all.

The Great Wall has stood the test of time, even with the hordes of tourists visiting on a regular basis, it is still an amazingly powerful place to stand and look around.

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Lombard Black and White

Lombard Street, in San Francisco, California, is famous for having a steep, one-block section that consists of eight tight hairpin turns. The stretch of roadway is credited for being the “crookedest street in the world,” and it’s a hit with the tourists.

While exploring San Francisco in the fall of 2011, I tried to find a way to photograph Lombard Street to get the overall picture. It was difficult because standing at the base of the road, it’s too close for a good picture. Backing up  a block and, because the hill is so steep, I was barely able to see the roadway. Additionally, what I could see was obstructed by power lines. Looking around for more options, I spotted a hill waaaaaaaaay off in the distance.

The hill I saw ended up being Coit Tower/Telegraph Hill and it got me high enough to get a good view of Lombard Street. The downside, however, is I was now several miles away. Shooting through a slight haze and some harsh shadows, I was able to get a picture I was happy with.

San Francisco is a beautiful, beautiful city. If it wasn’t so damn expensive I’d love to move there. I feel like everywhere one points a camera they’d get a quality image.

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Water Taxi and the Michigan Avenue Bridge

A few weeks ago I had wandered down into the city to shoot some pictures of a hotel for a project I was taking part in. It was an overcast day, which was perfect for the pictures I was trying to take. (When not including the sky in various shots, overcast is actually better for images. In my case, I didn’t want the harsh shadows directly sunlight can produce.) The problem, however, is by the time I got downtown, the sun started to peak through the clouds and was throwing sunlight and shadows perfectly on what I needed to shoot. So, I waited for the sun to dip low enough that I could do what I wanted to do. While I waited, I wandered up and down the Chicago River, even taking a water taxi ride for a bit.

It’s nice to have such a fun city to kill time in. Sitting along the river watching boats go by I was surrounded by workers on break, school groups, love birds and tourists. The city of Chicago has a fun vibe to it, and the traffic on the river certainly helps.

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This is Drew Moling. At the time this picture was taken, he was a freshman at Ohio State University preparing for the 2012 Big Ten Gymnastics Championships in Iowa City, Iowa.

What impresses me is the hours of dedication athletes like young Mr. Moling put in to achieve success with their craft. In Drew’s case, it was quietly practicing with his coaches the morning of the tournament. With no one else around, he’d take off running at the spring board and vault high into the air. He and his coaches would see what could be adjusted and then he’d give it another go. For quite some time he’d run and jump, then gather ’round to look at an iPhone movie of his recent efforts.

With the Olympic games currently going on in London, I can’t begin to imagine the amount of hours, sacrifice, energy and effort put forth in the early and late hours of the day — long before anyone else arrives or long after they’ve left — from the different athletes in hopes of one day making it to the Olympics.

With Drew Moling, I don’t know if he was shooting for the Olympics, a scholarship, or first place on that particular day, but whatever the case, quietly with his coaches, he came in extremely early to fine tune his craft with no one else around.

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Resting Rickhaw

While walking around the streets of Delhi, India, it took me quite a while to get my camera out. I had heard and read so many stories of crime and I couldn’t bear to lose everything so early in the trip. By the second day however, I built up some courage and pulled my camera out.

And never put it away.

The colors and life of India are absolutely fascinating. For everything I didn’t like about the country, I loved the people who were friendly and didn’t mind having their pictures taken.

Yes, a few gave me the “wave off” as I raised my camera to take a photograph, but even the most hardened of teenage kids seemed to like having their pictures taken.

Obviously the rickshaw driver from New Delhi, India pictured above didn’t seem overly concerned about having his photo taken. Of course, I didn’t bother waking up to ask, either.

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French Canyon Black and White

This past weekend my wife was out of town and I had great plans of living the life of a bachelor. However, Friday’s baseball game involved a nearly-four hour rain delay and Saturday I fell asleep on the couch before I could make it out to a friend’s birthday party.

So, I ended up doing a lot of nothing.

Something I did before I fell asleep was go through a lot of my “saved” websites within my internet browser. Basically, over the years, I’ve been bookmarking photographers I like with the intention of going back to their site to see what they’ve been up to. Turns out I forgot about most of them. With the advent of Facebook, I looked up each of them to see who had pages and who didn’t. I liked whoever had a Facebook “photography” page where I can, hopefully, keep up better with what they’re doing.

None of this, of course, has anything to do with the above picture from Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Illinois.

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Cricket on the Sidewalk

While wandering around India, my wife and I realized just how popular cricket is there. Sure, I’ve heard many stories of cricket frenzied fans but never realized how frenzied it really was.

On our way back to the hotel, we were walking along the street and passed a park with droves of kids playing cricket.  Some were in jeans and T-shirts, some were in tattered clothes, and some were in traditional religious wear. It was fascinating to watch, but after a short while, they boys took quite an interest in my wife.

Everywhere in India we went my wife was quite popular. We weren’t sure of the exact reasoning, and it was further complicated when a older gentleman briefly chatted with us and mentioned she looks eerily similar to a famous Bollywood actress.

While we were watching the boys play cricket, one eventually came over with his camera phone to snap a picture of us. (And by “us,” I mean he motioned for me to slide out of the picture.)

Since turnabout is fair play, we continued to watch the boys play cricket, but before we left I took a few photos of them.

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Terracotta Army in Black and White

I didn’t get to a whole lot of postings last week because I was trying to get a jump on the 3,000 images from India, Bhutan, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates.

By Friday I had made it through Nepal and most of the Bhutan pictures, but this Friday I hope to make it through the pictures from the UAE and India.  The latter’s images will be a beast, because India was nearly overwhelming with things to take pictures of … not to mentioned the least of which was Holi Fest.

So, in an attempt to give myself a quick break from the recent trip, here is something slightly different for myself from China.

While in Xi’an, Alisha and I gave ourselves plenty of time to explore the Terracotta Army.  It’s amazing how much detail is in each of the different figures. It is said no two soldiers are the same, most likely because one man carved the appearance of another man, and the other man returned the favor.  Basically, “I’ll carve you if you carve me.”  So the various workers each made a point to include themselves in the army.

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Blazing Sun and London’s Eye

I like this simple picture showing the sun and the London Eye Ferris Wheel.  Both are big and impressive, to me.

The weather was freezing cold on this trip, so I don’t have many outdoor pictures from London.  I am, however, going back to London this summer, so I’m looking forward to getting more images and roaming around with my camera a bit more.

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Old and New Panama City

Wandering around Panama City, Panama for the day, we made our way into the Old City.  It was pretty and full of history, but also full of seedy-looking abandoned buildings.  At one point, we were stopped by the police and told to leave the area before the sun sets.

Helpful, but not exactly reassuring.

August 2007. (0038)

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Father and Son Boat Watching

It’s been so long since I took this image, I’m pretty sure it’s a man and his son just hanging out, watching boats pass through one of Amsterdam’s many canals.

Alisha and I were in Holland during the winter months, celebrating  a friend’s birthday.  I’d love to get back during the warm, summer months and enjoy the cities and countryside and everything they have to offer.

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Pyramid with Sphinx Profile

The Great Sphinx of Giza has become one of the national emblems of Egypt, frequently appearing on its stamps, coins, and official documents (sans its nose, of course).

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Vancouver Skyline and Seaplane

While up in Vancouver for a few days, some friends and I wandered around the harbor.  British Columbia is stunningly beautiful, and it always helps seeing things one doesn’t normally see.  In this particular case, watching all of the seaplanes come and go certainly lended itself to some of the charm.

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Preparing for Launch

Early one morning in Bali, Indonesia, a group of fisherman are prepping their boat to launch it out to sea.

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Damnoensaduak Floating Market

This picture was taken from within the Damnoensaduak Floating Market, located a short car ride outside Bangkok, Thailand.

People have complained the market has become touristy over the years, and while yes, tourists do go through it, schoolchildren and locals do as well.  It definitely made for a fun morning and a unique experience.

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Chicago Skyline in Black and White

This past weekend my wife and I went to a local jazz club. We ended up sitting at a table with random strangers, and during the break we all started talking. Turns out, one of the guys at the table with us was a die-hard Chicago Blackhawks fan, and he and his family have had season tickets for twenty years. (That’s pretty impressive, considering there have been some extremely dark years during that span.)

The part that bother me — and it really, really bothered me, I might ad — is the guy described the greatest Christmas present his longtime girlfriend gave him this year: It was a picture of the Chicago skyline taken the night in 2010 the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. He went on to describe how the buildings were lit up like usual, but when you look closer, a lot of them turned off their lights in just the right way to spell “Go Hawks” or show the team’s logo.  It’s something nice the city of Chicago does for big events. The moment Patrick Kane buried the puck in Philadelphia’s net and won the Stanley Cup, I was driving down Solidarity Drive to set up my camera and take pictures of the skyline. Now, the part that bothers me, is I can’t find the pictures from that night anywhere.

Obviously the pictures can be only three places: still in my camera, on a loose memory card, or on my hard drive. I can’t find them anywhere. I realized it sometime after I took the pictures, because I think I saw a similar image to the one the guy described, and when I went to search for my picture, I had no luck.

If I were to guess, I’d say I had it on a memory card, changed cameras and put that memory card into the new camera. Since the new camera doesn’t show another camera’s images on the memory card, I probably formatted over them without ever knowing they were there. Damn.

On the bright side of everything, I did learn to dump my pictures to my hard drive immediately after taking them. Don’t wait a week or two later when I sit down to finally go through pictures.

Lesson learned.

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Lobster Traps

From Rockport, Maine, these are a row of lobster traps. I’m fairly certain they were more for decoration then actual use, but lobster traps are always interesting to me.

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Docks of Positano, Italy

Earlier this week I shot an e-mail to a cousin I’ve never met. He lives not far from Milan, Italy, and I’ll be in his neck of the woods later this year.

I’m a big believer in family and, while I’ve been to Europe before, this is the first time I’ll be going knowing family who lives there. When I clicked “send” on the e-mail, I was far more excited then I thought I’d be.

I like the idea of visiting friends and family when I’m in the neighborhood, and I really like the idea of an international twist to it.

In honor, the above picture is from Positano, Italy. My wife and I visited there in 2005 on our first trip together out of the country. We spent the day lounging on the beach; she napped in the sun, I watched the boats come and go while playing with rocks. In the evening we took a taxi to the top of the mountain for a fantastic Italian dinner at a restaurant overlooking the village.

I’m really looking forward to the prospect of going back to Italy, but this time meeting up with family.

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