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Archive for January, 2010

Thirsty Thursday

According to Columbia College, a real estate agency, the city’s Chamber of Commerce and other very biased parties, Columbia is known as “Collegetown, U.S.A.”

I can’t find any vaguely objective sources for this factoid. But there’s little question in my mind that Columbia is a good college town, especially with downtown on the doorstep of three higher education institutes.

Yesterday was Thursday, which means last night in every college town and most bars was “thirsty Thursday.” Usually on weeknights, I stay in, but last night when I was out and about, I saw that thirsty Thursday also means the cops are on standby in case things get a little rough.

Thursday night.

Friday morning. Or any typical morning.

Is it strange that, for me, it was somewhat disarming to see two police cars (one is out of the frame) simply idling outside of downtown establishments?

Maybe I just don’t get out enough.

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90ish days of summer

Our plan, after hitting up lower Manhattan and Wall Street, was to cross the Brooklyn Bridge by foot, eat dinner in that borough and return to Manhattan after dark.

Our plan had to change when we were done with Wall Street just after noon.

So we went to Little Italy.

Touching up Marilyn Monroe, in Little Italy.

We walked around, thought about having a second lunch (we’d bought food earlier from the vendor with the longest line on Wall Street), decided against it, had gelato instead and then — upon realizing we still had at least three hours to kill before going to Brooklyn — took the train uptown for a detour to Columbia University.

Pretty big detour.

As we were changing subway lines in Times Square station, we heard the strangest music.

Edwardo Alvarado.

It was a wizened man on a keyboard. Whatever he was playing sounded like something you’d hear while on an animatronics ride in Disney World — it was lively, fast-paced and not something anyone would put on the radio.

The man was Prof. Edwardo Alvarado, and Jeff and I looked him up after we returned from the Big Apple. We found a Village Voice article about Alvarado, complete with Alvarado’s background and how he became a sanctioned performer with Music Under New York. We also found a video story by the Associated Press:

(You should really check out the video — this music is not to be missed.)

Not bad for half a day in New York City… so far.

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90ish days of summer

I really love black-and-white film.

Cops on Broadway.

I’ve said it before: Black-and-white film just lends this beautiful quality to any modern situation. It’s almost something of a throwback effect. The motorcycle and NYPD car in the above photo give away the fact that the exposure was taken within the past few years, but the black-and-white impart almost a quality of romantic timelessness. It’s beautiful.

At least, I’d like to think so.

Jeff and I continued our walking tour of lower Manhattan by taking Broadway to Wall Street. Lower Manhattan is basically a series of canyon-like streets. I hope nobody has plants in their office windows — the buildings are so tall and close together that any window-side plants probably get no more than a few hours of even indirect sunlight.

Not quite the Great White Way... at least, not this part of Broadway.

After a quick stop at a Bank of America and a Borders bookstore on Broadway, we went down Wall Street. Be still my heart.

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Three years ago, I was a freshman staff photographer for The Maneater student newspaper, and I was in enemy territory to cover the 2007 Border Showdown basketball game.

With former Maneater photo editor Ryan beside me, I was shooting only my second basketball game ever. Hell, it was also only my second sports event to cover as a photographer. I’d long overcome my timidity as a student photojournalist, but at that point, I had no confidence in my ability as a sports photographer.

But I came out of that game all right. And I captured this moment, which has remained in my portfolio:

Missouri forward Leo Lyons tries to hold onto the ball as Kansas guards Sherron Collins and Brandon Rush grab at Lyons' forearm on Jan. 15, 2007, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. The Tigers attempted a failed three-point play in the game's final 11 seconds and lost the Border Showdown 80-77 to the Jayhawks.

Missouri lost that game. And the Tigers have lost every Border Showdown basketball game since, with the exception of one in Feb. 2009. And the Tigers will probably lose tonight’s game against No. 2 Kansas.

But, even though Jeff has turned the TV off with the Tigers down 20 points at halftime, I’m sure it’s at least a good game to shoot.

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Late last night, Jeff and I took advantage of Hot Box Cookies‘ late hours and a Facebook special to get some fresh oatmeal cookies.

I also took advantage of it as an opportunity for another photographic sequence.

First, the ubiquitous box in which all Hot Box cookies arrive:

Then, the cookies. Jeff and I ordered half a dozen oatmeal cookies: three with chocolate chips and three with raisins.

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As a second-semester senior, I’m now in my photojournalism capstone: a course titled “The Picture Story & Photographic Essay.” My instructor is David Rees, who is also the photojournalism chair at the MU School of Journalism.

That I’m finally in my capstone is a little daunting. Fortunately, we’re going lightly — for now. David is encouraging us to be active equally in making pictures and blogging. For partly that reason, I’m going to try to inject a little more life into this blog. Not everything will be strictly journalism-related, as has usually been the case.

On Friday, David presented to us a few examples of photographic sequences. Although we don’t technically have anything due until this coming Friday, I played around a little with photographic sequences last night, starting with the ever-patient Jeff.

Before you get in a tizzy over how these photos look, let me explain something about Jeff’s bathroom mirror.

It’s divided into thirds. And the middle panel is on hinges, too.

Hopefully that will help you understand some of the mirrored wackiness in the following photos that illustrate a sequence of shaving.

My original plan was to shoot the entire process using one lens (an 85/1.4 on a D700) and from one vantage point. This became boring.

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90ish days of summer

It’s fairly ridiculous how long it’s taken me to resume posting photos from my weekend in New York City last summer, but hey — at least it’s getting done, right?

I considered just producing a slideshow of all the photos and posting it on my Web site, once I’ve revamped and launched that. I’ll probably do that anyway. But the weekend can’t be summarized by merely a series of photos, so because I want to publish commentary and not simply extended captions, here’s the second of a few more New York City photo blog posts.

After hitting up Central Park on Aug. 7, Jeff and I took the subway to lower Manhattan and the financial district. Having strayed into economics dorkdom for a few months last year, I couldn’t resist not visiting this part of the Big Apple.

The directory inside the World Financial Center.

We also took a peek at Ground Zero.

This photo was taken at the only gap in the construction barriers that allowed any visibility straight into the construction zone.

I had visited Ground Zero the last time I was in New York, in 2004. I don’t remember much, but not much had been done by that point anyway.

Taken with a disposable film camera, from the deck of a lower Manhattan apartment building.

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It’s the end of football season.

Missouri sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the Missouri players walk off the field after losing the Texas Bowl game.

Which means, on New Year’s Eve, I shot my last college football game.

Carrying two backpacks (one covered by the pink jacket), a camera messenger bag and a 400mm lens on a monopod, on the way to the media entrance at Reliant Stadium. Blame the wind for the bad hair. Photo by Jeff.

Okay — more accurately, the Texas Bowl game was the last college football game I’ll ever have shot as an undergraduate photojournalism student. And boy, was it a tough one.

I’d like to think that I’ve improved with every football game I’ve shot this season. I started out a little rough with the Illinois game, which I chalk up to my previously not having ever used Nikon equipment and shooting with a D3, a D2H and a 500/4 lens. Photographing the Nebraska game turned out a lot better, despite the personal misery associated with the inclement weather conditions. And I felt really on top of things when I shot Missouri’s unexpected victory at Kansas State and happened to be in exactly the right places to capture most of Missouri’s touchdowns.

But boy, did the Navy throw Missouri — and me — a curveball with the Texas Bowl game.

Marching Mizzou bandmembers Elysia Gooding and Alyssa Cowman perform as members of the Naval Academy band pass by and shout their cheer before the game outside the Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Going into the game, I had a few thoughts that shook me up a bit:

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