29 October, 2006

A Pattern Developing

Shot an event yesterday. Many creative, interesting people in attendance. Movie people, photography people. There must have been a half a dozen people who looked at me, the equipment, and said, "Oh, film, that is just the best." The same storyline I am hearing over and over. "I use digital when I HAVE to, but it just isnt' the same," "It lacks....."
"I use it when someone needs to see it right then, doctor it, but all MY STUFF is shot with film this or film that."
Are those cracks forming in the foundation? No. I don't think so. I think the foundation has too much money stuck between the straw and mud to form cracks, but I feel like I know a dirty little secret that NOBODY on the inside want to talk about.
Well, I guess I'll just have to make myself at home here in the Dark Ages.

28 October, 2006

Dream Weaver

Well, it's over. The lowest rated World Series in recent history, and the puny, "no chance" Cardinal has wrapped it up. "The experts are idiots," banner hung over the railing proved once again just have savvy the average fan really is.
Through all the hype and circumstance, one guy, in my opinion, believe it or not, stands above all the rest. Pujols? Nope. La Russa? No. Rolen? Nah.
Believe it or not, to me, the guy who made the stand, who made everyone eat their words was none other than SoCal native Jeff Weaver, the punching bag of the entire United States based sports media, who by all accounts act more like a pack of jackals than the "fair and unbiased" group they claim to be.
Weaver, a hard luck guy, who has made stops in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and Anaheim, where he was dumped earlier this year to make room for his younger brother. Traded to St. Louis, he was left for dead, and once again provided fodder for local sports reporters.
"He will get lit up like a Christmas tree," one jackal said before last night's game. Eight innings, 9k's.
Weaver, a gangly, mullett wearing guy who scowls from the mound as he looks in for the signs, is neither a skilled public speaker nor a guy who seems to possess any kind of luck.
But last night's performance was dominating, a sledge hammer to the thin skull that was the Detroit lineup. Even though Tiger pitchers were charged with five errors through the first five games, the reality is their lineup hit under .200 for the series, and it doesn't take an expert to know you arent' going to win with that level of puny bat.
"St. Louis the worst team to ever make the World Series," the jackals wrote, again again, as somehow this opinion became standard printable material. How you get to the final showdown by being a bad team is a revelation to me. What "technology" gave them this info? The BCS computer?
It is clear now the sports media is suffering from the same CNN' ish glut of time they need to fill with useless dribble. With 24hour sports channels eating up story after story, the jackals need to fill air time, so we are treated to these poignant points of view.
Weaver 1, Jackals 0

26 October, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

My entire life I have destroyed watches. Some by accidentally breaking them, but most just stop working once they arrive on my wrist. Some after one day, others after one year. Tag Heur, gone. G-Shock, broke that one too. Timex, Casio, Seiko, you name it, I've broken it.
I sent one in for repair and the technician called and said, "I've never seen anything like this, the entire insides have shaken apart."
Now, my trusty Casio, the same model I had in eight grade, a collectors item in Japan, has frozen at 25:06, the time of my morning run. Stuck. No buttons work. It has been a good run with this baby, mabye two years, and now I am in the market once again.

24 October, 2006

Middle East Region

Emailed a journalist friend about the Middle East.

"They have the Palestinians going full Civil War tomorrow. They also just in case you have oil futures having the whole region sometime between now and the New Year erupting. Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and company attack Israel before the Americans can attack Iran. Iran doubles back on the Americans in Iraq and Saudi. The Turks and the Iranians invade the Kurds in the North from both sides. Take your pick what comes first and how, because nobody in this region, name the players knows how to stand down. Nassralah, Assad, Al-Sadr, Al-Queda in Iraq, Hamas, the Provisional Revolutionary Committees in Gaza, the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, Islamic Jihad, Al-Queda (the mother organization), Ahmadijad, Olmert or Bush. You got all of these little dicks trying to prove they can get the biggest hard-on and a lot of people are going to suffer for it...probably as you said, until the end of time. Or somebody comes up with a reality show that makes these guys all famous by dancing with Stars, instead of with the stars they all think are aligned for them eternally."

His answer. Brilliant but sad.

23 October, 2006

20 Minutes on a Cold Night

End of the road B&B, run by a fantastic, elderly Dutch couple. Twenty minutes. Temp was falling, fire going, relaxing. Leave the camera out and see what happens. One frame. You get it right or you don't. I can live with that.

Big Fat BC Snaps

A few snaps from BC.

I can't Cancel the Cancel

You ever notice how many cancel buttons don't work? You click on something, realize you just started a toxic chain reaction and frantically scratch for the "cancel" button, only to find it really doesn't work. The progress bar continues on, mindlessly destroying what you so cherish. Cancel, cancel cancel, you bang on the key. CANCEL!!!!!!!! Nothing. Gone. Nada.

Not Even Close

I was thinking I would get an hour each morning to write in the "real" paper journal. Not even close. I get up, turn the computer to work files, design, do billing , scheduling. Not difficult, not complaining, and this is the busiest month, for sure. Things will cool down later in the year when I work on my own projects.
Too much commercial makes Jack a dull boy.


19 October, 2006


If you don't know about this site, you must bookmark it now, today, right now.


The journals I use, and have used, for some time now. Quite a history with this little babies. Many famous hands have used famous pens to write famous things with this little books.

This site is a wealth of creative talent from around the world, all with one thing in common, okay, maybe more than that, but they all use Moleskin.

Smogranch Master List

Ten most polluted cities in the world.

Three Russian cities are among the most polluted — Dzherzhinsk, Norilsk and Rudnaya Pristan. The other cities are Linfen, China; Haina, Dominican Republic; Ranipet, India; Mayluu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan; La Oroya, Peru; Chernobyl, Ukraine; and Kabwe, Zambia.

18 October, 2006

I forgot, IT"S BETTER!

After yet another discussion with a non-photographer about the "death of film," I realized just how absurd the photo-world has become. Not like I didn't know this before, but now I am convinced beyond the a shadow of a doubt.
I mean let's face it, film looks too good, archives too well and is far too efficient to be any good. It's not like the entire foundation of photography is based on film or anything.
And, now, with digital, I can spend much of my day, inside, parked in front of my computer, correcting for things like embalmed skin tones, blown highlights (which I know are now widely accepted as being normal) and corrupted cards, computers, software, etc. And if this isn't enough fun, why gee whiz, I can take a little more time to upgrade all my addition software, firmware, hard drives and computer systems. I was going to say archive too, but digital doesn't have a good archive yet, so I can't spend much more time there. Oops.
Why shoot film and miss all this? Crazy.
Oh, and the good old environmental issue came up again. Wow, all those years of shooting film and destroying the environment. I had no idea how many photographers were environmentalists until digital came along. Funny, while everyone was shooting film, don't remember one person saying anything about environmental issues. I must not have been listening.
Oh, but just so you know. Digital equipment, cameras, cellphones and computers contain such lovely items as lead, mercury, and a material called gallium arsenide, which can degrade into the poison arsenic. Oops digi guy. Forget about that one? But what about the recycling programs! Ya recycling! Let's get em!
Well, according to the EPA, 11% of computers end up getting recycled and less than one percent of the cell phones....oops again. And according to EPA, digital cameras and camcorders are even LESS likely to be recycled.
Let's not forget that each new digital product, which has a far shorter lifespan than their analog version, requires design, promotion, development, manufacturing and marketing. Can you say natural resources??
Whenever I experience the digital shortfalls I remind myself, "Wait, it's better." And then, everything is fine.
I do see one GREAT aspect of digital, and that is the employment it is giving to all those unpaid interns who are "getting the experience" of being a photographer by doing other peoples digital grunt work. I keep hearing how "efficient" digital is. I guess this is what they mean?
Do I see a pattern here?
Hey, if you are shooting nothing but produced, controlled work which will be retouched and airbrushed beyond recognition... digital is your service partner. If you are walking the streets of Paris looking to make handmade, black and white fiber prints.....relax and just take the film body.
What is truly sad are the folks like Mann, Salgado, Corbijn, Burtinsky and a WIDE RANGE of others who obviously didn't get the "digital is better" memo. Bummer.

All kidding aside. I use both, and will continue to use both. No reason not to. Anyone that tells you you have to use one or the other has an agenda. Wants to leave the office at 5pm. Doesnt' care about quality. Isn't a photographer. Is misinformed. Likes technology more than photography. Likes post more than pre. Etc.

The digital machine reawakened a sleepy industry, and for that we say, "thank you." But please, if I see another article about the death of film," or "digital supremacy," I'm going to puke.
Now that I mention it. If I see another article on "digital black and white," "workflow," or another cover shot of some oddly lit, over retouched woman with her hair blowing I'm going to puke again.

A Snapper Follow Up

Two posts ago I wrote about eating dinner and watching the throngs of snappers work the HB pier.
A friend called today, telling me about scouting a location in Laguna. Just walking to the location he passed three snappers, all with 80-200 and 30D. There are too many of us. No wonder the location permit police are licking their chops. There is money to be made and the authorities want their piece. Time to dig deep. Those front lit flash memories are going to begin to cost......

My Head

Up early, a quick run, 3.5 miles, right before the wind began to blow. Allergies. Allergies. Oh my God, never before in California for me. The curse of Smogranch. All that Inland Empire horrendous air is now here, passing through on the way to Catalina and beyond, and I must have sucked up my body weight in pollution. I feel like my eyes are on fire and my head is full of dust.
No amount of cold beer, good wine or luck will get me through this one.

17 October, 2006


Dinner last night at Duke's in HB. A gift certificate. During the time it took to eat dinner I noticed seven different snappers working the pier area. Gangling gear, pods, arms, strobes, mashers, just blasting direct strobe into the night. All shooting backlit with strobe. White shirts and jeans, a refusal on my part, "sorry, won't do that shot."
Anything in a PCH window shouldn't be done again. Move on. Start over. Study. Learn.

16 October, 2006

Donde Esta

Where the hell am I?

BC Sky over Hatley

The Castle, the day before the event.


Virgin timber on the way to being chopsticks?


Seattle from the plane window, small, twin-turbo prop. Loud and low. On the way to Victoria. Crappy digital snap.

Oh God No

Yep, heard it again yesterday. "The Saints really are America's Team."
No, sorry, they are NOT America's team. They are the same hard luck lot that have been gettting burned for all these years.
Yes, new, improved, for sure, and all you needed to see was yesterday's fourth quarter to realize this ain't your old Brooks led, folding, house of cards.
The first half they owned the puny Eagle. Then, after halftime, for 1.5 quarters, the old Saints showed up. The gag reel was in place.
But suddenly, after giving up 21 straight points and losing the lead, something strange happened.
The regrouped. They tied it up. They held. They won the game.
I'm not sure, in twenty years, I"ve EVER seen that. Really. I don't remember it. It could be my bodies response to so much misery, like when your mind shuts down during a car wreck because it really doesn't want you to remember much.
Sean Payton is a miracle worker, and by the way, not affraid to get in the face of anyone from the team.
These same announcers, actually ALL of the announcers, from both networks, and both radio stations I listened to, PICKED PHILLY!
"The Saints aren't as good as their record."
"The Saints haven't played anyone."
Etc, etc,
Then, during the game, shock and awe. "Ahh, this New Orleans team is ah..ah., theya really....ah....playing well."
I think maybe that thump you heard was someone else landing on the Saint bandwagon.

15 October, 2006

How Low We Have Gone

I feel sorry for anyone from outside the United States who happens to end up staying in a hotel anywhere near an American Interstate Highway.
For a country with so much, we do so little when it comes to what we call hotels, or motels, or Inns or Casas.
Recently, I had the foul luck to stay in one of these little dwellings, and believe it or not, I think I set an alltime low for the overnight experience.
I knew I was in trouble even before exiting the freeway. From a distance I saw the poorly constructed structure and thought, "how can anyone legally build anything THAT CLOSE to the road?" And secondly, even if you COULD build it, WHY WOULD YOU?
An enormous "Free Internet" sign hung on the front of the building. Old plumbing equipment, trash, car parts and junk lined the perimeter and "landscaping" areas.
Normally, I would have just kept going, but I was here for an assignment and I knew all the other choices were booked. I was stuck.
From the window of the first room they tried to put me in I could see the faces of the drivers as they careened past at 80 mph. I could literally see their face, what they had on the seat, etc. I felt like a voyeur, peering into each little, metal coffin as they raced past. The noise was incredible.
I called the front desk, "no way," and off I went to another room, the "best" room there, strategically located right underneath the front desk. Half above ground, half below, this room, although an improvement, was dingy, dark, dirty, depressing and dank. Walking with my bags I passed another room occupied by a couple living in the hotel. Dogs, boxes, clothes, and the artifacts of people in permanent transition littered their room. Truckers? Carnival workers?
I rolled the dice, pulled back the sheets and hoped for the best. I would have paid $10,000 euro for a body condom. Like a soccer match, didn't want to touch anything with my hands.
Every guest, every body entering or exiting the building walked over the top of my room, past the front desk and out the door. The noice was incredible.
Luckily, I was exhausted, donned the earplugs and managed to sleep through it.
Morning I was treated with the "Deluxe Continental Breakfast," which forces me to ask, "what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
What is "continental" about fruit loops? toast? The world's worst coffee?
"You want a waffle?" came at me from about four feet four. A crotchety breakfast lady was manning the waffle iron and wanted my order.
I made the poor decision of hesitating for a half-second, and that was all it took to get on her bad side. "What are you looking for? she asked.
"Aaah, I don't know?" I said. She looked at me with total disgust. Across the room, a poor unsuspecting woman tried to close a window where diesel fumes and artic air blew into the room. Like a bullwhip, the breakfast lady smacked her down. "Don't close that window or it will set off the fire alarm and the fire truck will come," she snarled as she rode herd on the waffle fire. People took a wide birth and made no sudden movements.
I couldn't eat anything. Somehow they managed to ruin basic breakfast food. Just adding to my wonderful stay.
Oh, and the kicker, $99 for this slum. I don't know how they can get away with it, but they do.

13 October, 2006

American Badass Update

Kody Milnor, the nephew, in what I think is his first month of BMX racing has achieved the triple whammy! Three first place finishes in last night's moto.

He will not be denied.


This does NOT look good on a resume.

"Youth coach gets prison in autistic player's beaning"

12 October, 2006

Big Bang

Go Kim Jong. A big bang in a cave in NoKorea. Now what? Seems like a rational guy...
Great to see he has been industrious in his free time. Now, if he could just grow some food.

11 October, 2006

Go Yankees

Go Yankees, oh, wait, forgot, they lost. Couldn't have happened to a richer team.

Mom Feeling the Heat

My mom in airport security. She looks like trouble.

04 October, 2006

Reality of Technology

Everything high-tech breaks, fails, quits or dies.
Recently, after an unexpected shutdown of my online archive someone asked me how much trouble it had caused me.
"None," was my answer. Why? Well, first of all, I was prepared, and in the end didn't lose anything.
But, more importantly, I expected my system to fail.
My question to my frieind was, "what technological device have you had in your lifetime that didn't fail in the end?" "Ah, oh, ah, um,....."
My Atari broke, all of my computers have failed, died, exploded burned up, or just greeted me with the blue screen of death. My Ipod died, calculator in high school, and even my mom's gameboy crapped out. Hard drives? All eventually died. CDs and DVDs corrupt, flame out, etc. And don't get me started on the camera world, the neverending line of new models, rife with mini flaws that are here on day, dead the next.
So why would I be surprised when ANYTHING tech goes belly up? I"m not.


If the Yankee does not win every game, of every playoff series, and World Series, they are a bust. Nine all stars, 200 million in payroll, everything that is wrong with sports all on one team.
It's not that I don't like the players, they are fantastic. Just the idea of buying a championship, which is the REALITY of what is happening, it just bad for the game. Why? It's boring.
Your number six batter has 500 or so round trippers, and your number nine was third in the league in average.
I'm not even talking about fair. Life isn't fair, but to say there is not an advantage for large market teams is a joke.
Go anyone but Yankee.

03 October, 2006

Film Crew

Me being filmed. A change. Strange.


This little bugger just buzzed the house.


Was buying razor blades earlier today. Don't worry, things aren't that bad, just an essential part of my life at this point. A few more years and it won't matter if I shave or not. I will be past the "productive" part of my life, and therefore, far less will be expected of me.
There was an old timer behind me buying diapers. Adult diapers. And down below, right in front of me, right after I made the diaper observation, I noticed a naked Barbie shoved into the candy rack.
The entire scene was just wrong.

02 October, 2006


Dia Del Mar, marchers, protests, water strikes and a crowd of angry people trying to turn over our rented van. Trapped in Copacabana, gasoline strike. Cold, really cold, sleeping in my clothes, waiting for the strike to break so we can return to La Paz. "Can we eat?" "Sure senior, but we have no food." Okay then.
Unable to leave we walk in the mountains, the altitude a dominating factor. Coca tea, chew, chew, chew. Walk, walk, walk.

Saints and Bears and Poweful Drugs

After watching last night's Bears/Seahawks game I was once again reminded just how little training one needs to be an "NFL Expert." Before the game, three of the four "experts" I heard said Seattle was going to go in to Chicago, without star back Alexander, and defeat the puny Bear, proof in my mind of the powerful drugs being passed behind closed doors on these gridiron sets.
Why on Earth would anyone, let alone an "NFL Expert," believe this. "Seattle has a powerful offense," they said. Ya, sure, against the puny Giant last week, this same Seattle team put up 42 points in the first half. Then, in the second half, they gave up 30 straight points against this same, lame Giant team. Did any of these guys notice that? Three picks for Hasselback??? In one half?
And then you have the Bears. The Bears are hideous, and I mean that in the most flattering way. They wear black shoes, white tape, smudges of black under their eyes, nothing that would make you believe they should be feared. They look slow. They aren't.
Two weeks ago, against Minnesota, it was obvious to me, the Bears were playing harder, hitting harder, in the fourth quarter of the game than the first quarter. They are a well oiled pain dispensing machine, and to top it off, they are in the worst division in football, or close to it. I think they are on their way to the post-season, DEEP into the post-season, and right now there is no other team in the NFC on pace with Chicago.

Now, on to more important teams, like New Orleans. Being a Saint fan for over fifteen years, I have begun to hear things I have yet to hear in all my years supporting this team. And let me remind you, in case you forgot, what it is like to BE a Saints fan. Oh, and I'm not talking the new, "America's Team," Saints fan, I'm talking about the one playoff win in francise history fan, or the "Ain'ts" fan, or the paper bags Saints fan, or the 3-13 post Katrina Saints fan. It hurts. It hurts to be a Saints fan, and has every year since I have been following the black and gold. All these new "Americ'a Team" fans, frankly, I can do without you.
Yesterday, MY Saints lose a squeaker to Carolina, in Carolina. A drag, yes, but better to lose early than late. I knew they would lose, again, been following them for a long time, and they always lose. I'm somewhat glad it happened now. Now the pressure of being undefeated is gone, and most importantly, we get a chance to see how they respond. The old Saints would go on a four game skid, someone would get a DUI, someone else would get caught in a strip club with someone else's wife, etc.
Personally, I think, mostly due to Sean Payton coming in and cleaning house, I have a feeling those days might be over. This team looks really good, is playing smart, and had this Caroline game in their hands. I think this team comes back with a vengeance and smears puny Buc all over the field, at home, and remains in first place in NFC South, perhaps the TOUGHEST division in all of football.
The curse is still in effect as the Saints face crossover games againt Bengal, Steeler and Raven. How do you go 3-13 and get this schedule NFL? Someone please help me with this!
But, Sean Payton is front runner for Coach of the Year. Drew Brees is a possible Comeback Player of the Year, (Grossman is possible as well), and Reggie Bush, who has yet to explode could be Rookie of the Year.
Who dat?