Saturday, January 16, 2010

Holding pattern.

I'm in one of those holding patterns today. I should be making the most of the day. As it is, I'm scheduled to fly to Phoenix tomorrow so I'm resting my arms. Ok, bad joke. Funny how the trip looms on our minds, though. It's like I'm drifting through today waiting for tomorrow. This Phoenix trip is crazy. I'll arrive tomorrow in the late afternoon. We have a regional meeting that starts at 7:15 AM Monday morning. By 12:30 I will be on a shuttle to the airport, arriving back in Portland late Monday afternoon. Last time we had one of these meetings we went to Orlando, Florida for a few days. This one's a condensed version. Sign of the times.

The timing for the trip isn't the best. My daughter is ready to pop any time. I talked with her this morning and she's in her own holding pattern. The meeting in Arizona is mandatory. I hate the conflict. The ending of the story is yet to be written.

In the meantime, I've been playing with the G11. The experts say we should only show our very best photos to others. That way it will boost everyone's opinion of our skill level. I guess I'm not too worried about that right now. The discovery process is still too young. It's been a lot of fun learning to see colors, light, patterns, and whatever in different ways. Learning how the camera controls work is only the very beginning. The "why" and "what", and "when" takes a lot of time and practice.

The good news is that experimenting with a camera is a lot safer than doing it on a bike. When we get a bad result with the camera, we merely hit the "delete" button. Riders should experiment on a bike, but carefully. It would be all too easy for us to be the one deleted. Not good.

One of the skills I'm working on is getting the proper white balance setting for the ambient lighting. Check out the photographer's term. Ambient. Am I getting skilled, or what? There are ways to sort of cheat the system and add some extra warmth to the scene. Sometimes the exactly correct setting makes the scene look colder. Interesting how that works, isn't it? Old stuff to some of you, new and fascinating to me!

Anyway, probably for my own gratification more than yours, I'm posting some photos taken around a mall. Malls make great places for roadies like me to catch up on business. There's enough background noise and activity so that we really don't disturb others while making phone calls, for instance. Food and restrooms are conveniently at hand. Those of us who like to "people watch" find plenty to keep us entertained.

So here's a few photos and some short comments.

I'm going to start buying apples instead of bananas. They should hold up better in a tank bag. Not to mention being useful for tailgaters! This is a store next to the mall. I cheated. Sorry.

Women's clothing is taking on a whole new fascination for me. The pastel colors are so appealing as photographic subjects.
Even without actual women in them.

Store displays are starting to get my attention. It's a world of pattern and color I never really paid much mind to before.

This little dude is patiently waiting for his mother and trying to look cool. Check out the foot up on the tray of the stroller.

Even cool little dudes have their limits, it seems. "Hey, Mom, are we about done here? I'm going to start timing you on one of these calendars."

Another store display. Hey, somebody goes to the trouble to make it look nice. The least I can do is to take a picture of it. The shutter speed was a bit slower than I could hold perfectly still, it seems. I didn't notice it until now, but the colors are still neat.

She looks a little bored at the moment. Seconds later:

I would have liked to hear what was actually being said. Although probably not on the receiving end. Things look a bit "venomous". She wasn't aware that her picture was being taken. That's a great advantage of the Canon's swivel screen. I can set the G11 down on a table and flip the screen so that I can see it. With a little shimming up or down, and being able to operate without a flash, it's easy to reach over and discreetly push the shutter button. Hmmm, do I see a career as a private investigator coming up? I don't care what they say, though, I'm not looking in bedroom windows. I'll hire an assistant nicknamed Reep for that!

Mine was not the only camera being used. There's something devious to me in taking a picture of someone else taking a picture. This is a covert photo of an overt snapshot.

I threw this in because it's my daughter's favorite store. That's a lot of yellow! If I had used the corresponding white balance adjustment, the whole yellow glow would have been lost. So I fudged a bit.

I'm playing with framing and composition. I like milk, too! Anyway, I thought it was kind of neat how the framing draws your eye to the milk display. Especially the grocery rows on the right. The lighting in the cooler adds a bit of a prize for getting to the subject. Not a great photo, per se, merely an exercise.

Again, nothing spectacular just a different way of looking at the coffee on display. I like the way the color goes from warmer to cooler as you look down the picture. Lighting is taking on a whole new magic of its own.

Lastly, this photo comes with a cute story.

This is another exercise in white balance settings. I was able to offset the effects of several different light sources. The exterior lighting coming in the front entry, the florescents of the mall, and the tungsten from the Starbucks nearby. I thought this one came out pretty accurate for color. I happened to chose the gear at the table as a random subject.

Most people walk by and avoid eye contact. That's pretty much standard for people anymore. Some people had this look like they wondered what the heck I was doing and why. You can see in their eyes that they think you're a bit off. It's probably true, and I'm totally okay with that.

One white-haired, petite old woman, though, had an entirely different reaction. She actually stopped beside me as I was framing a photo. I was taking several shots at different settings. Like I said, this was a practice exercise.

The woman stood beside me while I captured my shot. Then, very sweetly and sincerely, asked me if I would like her to take a picture so I could be in it, too. Bless her heart.

I guess that she figured if I was interested enough to take a photo I might find it desirable to be in the picture, too. Her offer was politely declined along with an explanation of the purpose for the pictures. She was so sweet it was the least I could do. Gotta love her!

Miles and smiles,



Orin said...

I also get offers from strangers to take a picture with me in it (this was particularly true at Alki Beach). I always politely decline. But their perspective is interesting. Not unlike the non-rider, actually...

Scootin' Old Skool

Dave said...

If folks think your only a bit off your not trying hard enough ; )
So you better pick up the pace : )

I always like the looks I get when riding in the teens and twenty deg weather

Old F

Lucky said...

Are you going to have time to get into trouble while you're in Phoenix?

Chuck Pefley said...

Nice series of images, Dan. Your LOL story is precious. So many people simply don't see you, and if they do they have no curiosity. This LOL was polite and helpful. Glad you treated her well -:)

Conchscooter said...

Anyone with a camera in Key West is a tourist, which is the perfect camouflage. In three years of taking pictures in the streets only once did someone ask waht I was doing.
What is a yellow store?

irondad said...


Weirdly enough, when I have the Nikon, a big lense, and the tripod, people easily mistake me for some kind of pro. Doesn't hurt my ego at all! You're right about the perception of "outsiders".


Sorry for the short reply but it seems I have much work to do acccording to you.


See my reply to your e-mail. Love to see you.


Thank you for the compliment. I try to put myself in someone else's shoes. Always a good default operating method, I think.


I was talking to some people at the mall who do a sort of photo scavenger hunt every year. It's a continuing birthday celebration. Mall Security asked them to stop taking pictures. Perhaps they were too obvious or annoying. Certainly not treated like tourists and welcomed!

The store is a Bath and Body Works. They change themes and colors fairly often. Last time it was red with pomegranate, or something.

Take care,


comrade said...

been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. Congrats to your daughter and good luck in PHX. I too ride, photograph, and blog. I run the blog, am a patch-holder, and also a professor of fine arts running the photography department at the university here in Houston. Just wanted to say that I have enjoyed your images and your observations as an enthusiast. And that picture of the milk cooler in the grocery store is stellar! Love it. You should check out the work of Gregory Crewdson, or Jeff Wall. I think you might dig their works... Take care and keep shooting.



bluekat said...

Safe journeys on your trip and may you arrive back safely in time for your new grandchild.

Nice series in the mall. I like how the milk cartons turned out. Everything just leads the eye to the milk which have very nice lighting. Kudos for working on your lighting technique. I'm pretty lazy about that sort of thing.

Looks like you met one nice old lady to make up for the scary one from your other post. :)


Steve Williams said...

Hope all goes well for your daughter and the new addition to the family. Grandpa.

You certainly are shooting a lot of pictures. And the recent ones in the mall reminded me of a German photographer, Andreas Gursky, who at times has worked in similar environs. And he sells those pictures for a lot of moola. A couple years ago one of his pix went for $3.3 million. Geez...

Story on Gursky the highest paid photographer ever.

You can see one of his pix here that reminded me of your mall photos:

Gursky's 99 Cent Store Photo

Be well.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Balisada said...

Nice pics. The rule with my camera is no deleting pictures.

I have taken pictures that I didn't really care for, but found that others actually liked them.

And the elderly lady needs to have more like her around. The world would be a better place.