Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flying--Wing or Front Rows?

As you all probably know by now--I am not the best flyer. I don't like getting in a plane. I know all about the logical reasons why it's safe to fly. I've been told over and over again. I have a couple of people I email regularly panicked before I get on a plane begging for confirmation that I'm not boarding a deathtrap. Remembering about a plane that crashed 26 years ago in some country that I can't remember the name of, knowing that my fate is inexplicably tied to that crash.

One friend was particularly patient, explaining email after email why it was safe to fly, why SWA is such a safe airline, why turbulence was not automatically going to cause the plane to drop out of the sky. But he stopped. He realized it was a useless exercise. His response is always the same now, always four words, "It will be fine". I live for those four words, knowing so far he's been right.

I was having dinner with another friend on Thursday and we stumbled upon the subject of flying, so I told him how much I hated flying. That if we plummet to the earth, there is nothing I can do. "Ah, you're a control freak." Well, yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?

Now that I get to preboard I'm usually the first one on the plane and I've started to talk to the pilots--"smooth flight today?" "Well, no. We'll be hitting some turbulence." Yesterday, after the pilot told me and I sighed a big sigh, he asked me--"Would you rather I lied to you?" Of course, I said yes, because I wanted that moment of knowing everything would be fine, but then I said no, because the truth is always better, right?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

They Way I See It

My friend Dave, an amazing mastering engineer, always questions the angles of my drive-by shots. He wonders why I can't seem to shoot straight. Why my images are never level. His question has made me wonder and I've thought about it a lot and I've realized something--I don't view the world straight on--I'm always looking at an angle.

Whether walking or driving, I'm always looking up. Watch out if I have a sun roof! And granted, this may be a little dangerous while walking. (I have tripped and run into stationary objects while glancing up.) It's probably more dangerous while driving, but have you ever looked at that keen angle? That one that takes you straight up the edge of the building, up a zillion floors ? It goes forever and ever. The cast of the shadows, the colors of the buildings, the reflections on the windows in the afternoon light--you can't get that straight on.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Time Flies

I'm not really sure how it's suddenly February, 2011 and the last time I posted anything was almost a year ago. How to wrap up a year in a few, concise words? Hmm... Well, as some of you know my drive-by shooting has been slightly hampered for about 11 months. I am no longer free to stick my camera out the window while driving down Wilshire Boulevard or along the streets of San Francisco. I have replaced my Nikon D200 with a tiny, lightweight Canon PowerShoot. The roads are now safe as I travel because I almost always only whip out my camera while stuck in traffic, at a stop sign or stop light. Well usually, unless it's something spectacular! Very rarely on the freeway. (That fact should make most of you feel much better about your safety. I must admit though--I love Bob Ludwig! Unlike most of you chickens, he thinks it would be fun to drive with me while I'm out shooting!)

My last year has seen a lot of time in Los Angeles (it's been suggested that maybe I should rent a room somewhere in the Southland). Golf, poker, golf, golf, awards shows, Anaheim, Carlsbad, Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles, Venice, Malibu. And shooting, shooting, shooting! Drive-by, fly-by and walk-by. I can't get enough of it! When I look at my hundreds of images from each trip I always stumble upon something I never noticed before. Whether it's the angle of the shot (yes Dave, I always shoot at an angle) or the lighting--something makes that shot, that moment totally unique.

2011 holds the promise to be even busier and more exciting. I've started things off with a bang by entering a photo competition called Urban Landscape. Now, I don't hold out much hope of being selected. After all, how much talent does it take to stick your arm out the window and shoot? But I figured why not. These five photos are the ones I entered. We'll see what happens...

I am totally optimistic about this year. I am ready for more and more travel. I need more places to drive-by and shoot. So far, so good. I travel down to LA next week. I'll be shooting my usual SWA wing shots while flying (you can stop laughing now Luke) and then record my wanderings in Burbank, LA and Venice. Should be fun...