Category Archives: News

A Week around the Olympic Peninsula

Finally, here’s the re-cap of the Olympic Peninsula trip I took with my parents in the first week of September. Words don’t do the sights a lot of justice, so I’ll keep this brief and point you back to all the photos I’ve been posting in the past few weeks (which I’m sure most of you have seen). I’ve also finally gotten through sorting all my pocket camera shots, and added them to this Olympic Peninsula photo set.

The first day, we set out from Seattle and caught the Bainbridge Island ferry across the water, and then drove North to Port Angeles in the morning. From there, we spent the afternoon up Hurricane Ridge taking in the spectacular mountain views.

A night in Port Angeles, then the next morning off to the shore near La Push, where we enjoyed our first taste of the Pacific beaches.

Black and White Sea Stacks

We knew we were heading to more beaches, so we headed inland to the Hoh Rainforest for the afternoon. The bright sun and beautiful weather surprised everyone including the Park Rangers. After our necks got sore from all the looking up at the trees, we headed back out to the shore and a little ways South to Kalaloch.

We spent two nights and days enjoying endless beach walking and photo ops at Kalaloch. It made for a nice break after a couple days of driving.

The final two-night stop on the trip was inland again to Lake Quinalt, and it’s accompanying rainforests, and old lodge (FDR visited there and was so impressed with the surroundings, he helped found the Olympic National Park).

I did my best to plot my photos using Flickr’s map here. You should be able to scroll through the photos by recency to see where everything was taken. If you want to see the full driving route we followed, here’s the route on Google Maps.

Enjoying Photo Overload

Since starting at the big daddy of photography, I’ve certainly been surrounded by imagery. Given that photography was a hobby of mine before then, I was a little worried that the interest would wane after being around photos all day long. Thankfully not.

Surveillance Cameras Surveillance Camera Duo

Some of the photo stuff I’m enjoying:

  • Linked before, The Big Picture blog puts together some great galleries on current world events.
  • Go install the Cooliris (formerly Piclens) plugin now! Exploring their selections, or browsing Flickr photostreams is so very cool-looking, and more practical than clicking “Next” page after page. (When the plugin doesn’t mess up, of course)
  • Browse the Getty Images Olympics coverage (also Piclens/Cooliris enabled!) for some great stuff.
  • My new lens, and my first Canon “L series” lens. Expensive, but totally worth it. I still need to shoot a side by side comparison with my first kit lens (similar wide angle) to show the quality difference.
  • I’m still posting some to my other Flickr photostream, but that’s getting to be a bit much with the iPhone and pocket camera (plus video mode) all contributing to the photo backlog.
  • Weird Olympics photos from the Guardian.
  • I keep hearing great things about the new version of Adobe Lightroom and will have to check it out, but I’m loving my Aperture workflow. Good organization tools, auto-tagging with the FlickrExport plugin, and all the adjustments I ever used from Photoshop.

Last September, I wrote this summary of three years with Flickr, and reaching the 1,000 photo-upload mark. Less than a year later, I’ve broken the mark of 2,000 photos on Flickr (somewhere in the midst of my bulk dodgeball photo upload). And in last year’s post, I claimed 32,000 views of my photos, but I think that was actually the view count for my photostream. Total views of my photos has now just topped the 150,000 mark, which I think is pretty crazy. Who are these people?

I guess I’ll keep taking photos as long as there’s stuff to be seen, and people keep looking.

Living in a Blog Cabin

Yup, I’ve only posted here a handful of times all summer. But apparently my http://delicious.com/lopolisdel.icio.us links started auto-posting to my blog again. They had stopped for a while and then maybe around the time of the del.icio.us redesign it came back to life. Note that del.icio.us now redirects to delicious.com. Late for a change, but finally a URL that’s easy to tell someone.

What else?

  • I’ve been catching up on lots of old and new photosover at Flickr.
  • I finally have an iPhone and I love it.
  • Go download Jamd Mobile for free.
  • The CBC Olympics coverage is so good, and I keep catching all the sports I’m actually interested in. They played almost the entire triathlon live (small breaks for news) and the finish was awesome. The commentators also know something about the sports and are able to describe the unfolding events in dramatic ways.
  • Flipping back to NBC, the women’s vollyball announcer says something like, “Misty May is a scoring locomotive,” before cutting to a 15 minute human interest story on a gymnast.
  • Dark Knight was great even though it was a little long like everyone says.
  • Braid is a uniquely styled puzzle game that quickly presents a challenge without losing it’s charm.
  • I re-read Watchmen around the time the trailer came online. Now I can’t stop re-watching the trailer. The visual power of 300, plus the great writing of the original story. Fingers crossed.

Weekend Ups and Downs

Low point:
Car breaking down on the I-405 exit ramp on I-90, while on the way to the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Music Festival, and waiting 2 hours for a tow truck.

Especially frustrating:
I just had my car serviced 3 weeks ago for the big 100,000 mile recommended maintenance and didn’t hear any mention of the hoses that were supposedly very corroded and needed replacing.

High point:
Still making it to the last half of the Sub Pop festival to catch the big acts I wanted to see. The Flight of the Conchords were especially awesome and I snapped this short clip of their robo-banter before they started the song…

Smith Garage Door Accident

Friday evening I was on my way to meet a friend at the bar Smith in our neighborhood and upon rounding the corner I saw a firetruck, ambulance and a large crowd of people gathered outside. As I got closer I noticed there was something not-quite-right about the garage door that usually covers the front. There were large blood spots on the sidewalk in front and a guy lying down on the side holding a wound somewhere on his head/face.

Smith Garage Door Accident

The Stranger’s blog had more info from Friday night (with commenters joking that the Stranger is always first to report news at bars), and details confirming the victim will be OK. And Smith was open for business the next day with a few jury-rigged windows. Just beware of the vicious garage door attacks!

New York City Visit and Photos

I finally caught up on all the photos I took while visiting New York City last week. Here’s the main batch with the usual assortment of street art, buildings and urban scenes. I also put together a small set of New York City standpipes in the tradition of my ongoing obsession with utility fixtures.

Green and Red Standpipes

And here’s another whole set of photos from my pocket camera (also the only wide-angle I had with me), which includes more snapshots around the city.

The highlight of the trip was also the main reason I was there, the NYU Medical School graduation. It’s still hard to believe that my sister is now a doctor! The graduation ceremony itself was quite good, with some inspiring speeches, and the celebration afterward continued late into the night with a lot of happy new M.Ds.

And with any trip to New York, there was plenty of delicious and varied food (and drink) every day. I also made it to the Whitney Museum to catch the Whitney Biennial on a rainy afternoon. The amount of new art packed into the space was overwhelming, especially for someone like me who enjoys reading the full descriptions of nearly every piece (with contemporary art it’s almost a requirement in order to understand what’s going on). There was also a collection of early Maplethorpe polaroids. It was fun seeing a new photographer’s experiments in the instant-photo medium of the day, much like we all play with digital these days.

Until my next visit, thanks for the continued good times, New York!

Out with the old, in with the new

The White Pages By now it isn’t really news to most of you that read this, but I decided that it’s time to move on from WhitePages.com. Last Friday was my official last day. It was a great 3 year (and 2 month) run, and I learned a ton. I held three different positions, under 4 or 5 different bosses, and sat in no less than 9 different desks. I made a lot of great friends over the years who I know I’ll keep in touch with, and I really enjoyed working with all the people there. It was hard to say goodbye. I think there are great things in store for the company in the coming years, and they (we) really finished off 2007 with a bang. There’s no one reason why I decided to leave, it had just become clear that it was time for a change.

What’s next, you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask. Jerk. Well, I’ll tell you anyway…

A great opportunity came knocking at my door (thanks Jeff!), and just after the New Year I’ll be starting at Getty Images as a Program Manager. I’m excited by the things that Getty is doing (plus the photography thing fits nicely), and the PM role sounded like a little bit of everything, which I enjoy. So far the people I’ve met have lived up to (and exceeded) my high expectations, and I hope it continues. I certainly have the typical new job jitters, anxiety, and worries, but most of all I’m excited for what the new year has in store.

High School Reunions are Weird

A little late on the posting here, but a couple weekends ago I flew back to Connecticut to attend my 10-year high school reunion in a whirlwind of a trip. It was the shortest trip back East I’ve done (flew out Friday, flew back Sunday), and I don’t think I want to do it again any time soon. With everything else going on during those two days, it was just exhausting.

A lot of people asked me why I was bothering to go back to the reunion, and honestly, I kind of liked highschool and a lot of the people I went to school with. I knew I’d have regrets if I missed it, so I decided to go for it. The weekend consisted of an informal gathering at the (only) local bar on Friday night, a tour of the highschool Saturday morning, and then the reunion party/cocktails/gathering on Saturday night.

I’ve heard that the 10-year reunion is supposed to be the most fun, but also mostly about bragging and showing off. I did get a sense of this from a lot of people and probably did a good bit of it myself. But equally so, I heard a lot of people almost discontent with their jobs or where they’re at, and not spending much time blabbing about it. Overall, it seemed like everyone was genuinely (surprisingly) interested in just chatting and hanging out with each other.

There was plenty of standard reunion gossip too. Who got fatter, who got skinnier, who looked exactly the same, married, kids, and so on… There were only a couple people that I had a really hard time recognizing. I think somewhere around 80 people showed up out of our class of about 150.

Long story short, I had a great time. My only complaint was that the reunion itself was a little too short. Trying to catch up with so many people within the 3 hour time block was impossible. A lot of people stuck around for an extra hour afterwards, or went to various after-parties, but a little more variety to the reunion event itself might have been nice. And c’mon, no cheesy DJ playing our old high school favorites?

Internationally Published Photographer? Dubai?

About a month ago I got a message on Flickr from a Japanese publishing company, CONEX Asia Network, requesting to use a photo of mine in a business magazine of theirs. Even more surprising was that they wanted to use it for Dubai Business Today which, “focuses on informing Japanese businessmen the various aspects of Dubai and the United Arab of Emirates in general.” The photo they asked about was this shot I took of the Las Vegas construction. Apparently, Dubai World is investing in the new MGM Mirage City Center project. I agreed to the request and asked for a credit on the photo, as well as a copy of the magazine, if possible. I didn’t expect to hear another word.

Lo and behold, yesterday in my mail was a large envelope from Japan, via airmail from Hong Kong. Inside was a copy of the October issue of Dubai Business Today, entirely in Japanese. And sure enough, in the middle of the magazine, as part of an inset article was my photo and name. It’s too bad that the caption and credit take up a lot of space at the bottom of the photo, but it’s still pretty cool (click the thumbnail at right for a larger view of the article). Does anyone read Japanese and want to tell me what it all says? So far, I’ve figured out the parts that are “MGM”.

I guess now I can officially call myself an “Internationally Published Photographer” or something. What a strange small world where I can visit Vegas for the first time… post a photo on the internet… and 6 months later it’s stumbled-upon and then published in a Japanese magazine about Dubai.

Allow me to introduce you to Coffee Milk

Having gone to school in Rhode Island, I was exposed to the somewhat odd beverage of Coffee milk. Exactly as Wikipedia describes, it is a syrup-flavored milk similar in consistency to chocolate or strawberry milk. I knew it originated in Rhode Island and was common there, but didn’t realize it was so popular to be dubbed, “The official state drink of Rhode Island”.1

In my college cafeteria next to the regular, skim, and chocolate milk dispensers, they also had one for coffee milk. I tried drinking it for a while but it was too sickly sweet for my taste (which is funny, because that’s exactly how I like my coffee). I’ve asked many friends and coworkers from all different parts of the country if they’d ever heard of coffee milk and not a single one had.

It’s common to find highly regional foods and drinks all over the place, but coffee milk strikes me as particularly odd. Why did it never catch on like other flavored milk? It combines three things that almost everyone in this country loves: coffee + milk + sugar. I guess the closest we’ve gotten are the other coffee-syrup-based drinks you now find in Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, like the coolatta or frappuccino. I guess the rest of the country needs a fancily-marketed, masquerading-as-real-coffee beverage instead of a plain ‘ol ice cold coffee milk.

1I didn’t even realize that states had official drinks until now. Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have plain milk as their state drink. Here’s a list of all U.S. state beverages. The only alcoholic beverages represented are (not surprisingly): wine in California, beer in Wisconsin, and Conecuh Ridge Whiskey (moonshine) in Alabama. Though I would have expected bourbon out of Kentucky. Slackers.

A good mix of vacation

This week I got back from an 11 day vacation out of Seattle, back home to CT for a while and then down to New York City. Each part of the trip complimented the other perfectly, from the quiet rural setting of the old homestead to the hustle and bustle of the city. I enjoyed catching up with friends and family, and also the natural photo ops all around the old backyard.

New York Skyline

I’d been to New York a number of times before and had seen many of the big sights, so a goal this time was to get off the beaten path a bit more. I lucked out having some good friends in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, where I stayed for a few of the nights, which was just the right pace. Given that it’s a pretty young and hip neighborhood, there were plenty of great options for food, bars, shops, galleries, and street art all over the place. I of course took many photos of the whole trip, and I’m still posting more.

Some of the other highlights…

Duluth Take Two

This year saw another wedding in Duluth, Minnesota. This time it was the youngest of my Duluth cousins getting married. It was a great trip again, great ceremony and reception, and I enjoyed catching up with family and cousins. Relaxing away from work for a few days is always nice too. This year we also took an afternoon trip out of town up the Lake Superior shore to Gooseberry Falls, and some rocky beaches. The weather and scenery were all excellent. Although we didn’t fit in a stop at Tom’s Logging Camp.

I’m still catching up on all my photos from the trip (250+) and will be posting many more soon.

Duluth at Night