Herb Alpert for my hooligans in Brooklyn

I was spacing out in my dentist’s office lobby the other day unconsciously bobbing my head to the quiet assortment of songs playing over the sound system when a very familiar minor 7th chord shook me out of my reverie:

Jump to around 3:09-ish if the video doesn’t start there.

Yeah, that’s right, turns out this is the famous bit sampled (and pitched down) in Biggie’s “Hypnotize”. Maybe I’m one of like, 5 people who didn’t know that, but it was fun connecting the sampling dots between a jazzy hit from the 70s and a modern hip hop classic.

Rumors of Samsung

Kehinde Wiley's monumental statue, "Rumors of War" standing in its temporary Times Square location
Valerie and I were lucky enough to catch Kehinde Wiley’s “Rumors of War” in Times Square back in October before it came to its permanent home in our very own RVA.

Shot on expired (discontinued) Fuji Neopan 400 in 120, pushed 2 stops to ISO 1600.

The Bridge

Valerie and I took a weekend in NYC this past October in celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary. I grew up in the shadow of New York, but despite uncountable visits, I’d never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge until this visit. It was worth it, and an absolute treat. These photos were shot on expired (and discontinued) Fuji Neopan 400 film in medium format size on my Hasselblad 500 C/M.

Unforeseen Consequences

Wind turbines sitting idle in the fields of Jasper County, IN, near Wolcott. Shot with Kodak Portra 160 using a 1994 Hasselblad 500 C/M.

Twice, now, my family has made the drive from Richmond, VA, to Wauwatosa, WI. On the way up we drive through a massive wind farm in Jasper County, IN. My jaw drops and I squeal like a little kid with wonder at these behemoths. So this summer I finally stopped on the way back and took some photos.

I’d rather have these around than coal power plants, but I caught some interesting anecdotes from a gas station clerk. He told me that if you stand near the base of these massive towers, you get nauseated because of the low-frequency resonance of the blades passing by, or something like that. I want to verify that for myself, but sounds like I should be glad I kept a healthy distance 😀

He also told me that, while the land owners get healthy payments for leasing the land, the whole character of the countryside has changed. Not because of the giant propellers themselves, however; he talked about how it used to be pitch dark at night, and you could easily see the stars. Now there were fields bursting with these turbines, each with bright red strobes to warn off aircraft. And they all seemed to flash in synchronization, creating a night full of endless flashing from black to red.

Something something no free lunch, I guess.

Improv Dictionary

My daughter and I invented a little game this afternoon that gave us some good laughs for a solid half hour. We call it “Improv Dictionary”, and we basically take turns with one person making up a word and the other making up its definition. She’s six years old now, but I immediately started thinking about playing this as she get older and more capable with her writing or computer skills. We could actually start cataloging the words we make up into a document or little notepad so we can remember what we’ve done before – a real sort of silly dictionary of our own.

Small Town Parades, Free Time, and Self-Doubt

That’s a horse of a mottled color!

Writing this now makes me laugh a little, a post ostensibly about a 4th of July parade, in mid-November. This is a travelog of sorts, sharing part of my family trip to the Milwaukee region back in June and July of this year.

It’s not talent that keeps this band afloat…

It’s not that I haven’t had a chance to develop and process my film until recently—a problem all-too-typical with my photography these days—rather I’ve been sitting on these pictures for a few months just trying to figure out what to do with them. And that is related to my infrequent, scattershot shooting habits. It’s bad enough that I don’t get out much to take pictures, but I find myself feeling out of practice.

My family and I were visiting my wife’s sister in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin – a suburb in Milwaukee County. Our visit overlapped Independence Day in the US, so we decided to join her family at the local parade. Sure, it was a bit jingoistic and a little heavy-handed, but there was something about the parade I really enjoyed. This could have been a Secretary’s Day parade and I think I would have liked it just as much. There were all the local political big fish in vintage cars, freshly-polished emergency services vehicles (that MFD amphibious truck!!!), tacky floats, and marching bands. And the streets were lined with scores of people on a beautiful upper Midwestern morning making pleasant chit-chat while the kids ran into the street to collect candy thrown by passing floats. I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d actually attended a parade, and now I’m sure I’ve been missing out a little.

In case Lake Michigan catches on fire?

But every time I reviewed my photos from the morning, wondering what to post next, I just gave up. I didn’t really like any of them in particular. They’re all shot from nearly the same vantage point. A few of them have weird, distracting things inconveniently located in the frame. Or, ugh, the kinda bland look of Cinestill 50D.

Well something changed over the past few months. Part of it is that I got over the need to have some portfolio-worthy set of photos to show. And part of it is that I just wanted to share the visual evidence of what was a pretty great morning. It transitioned to some chill cookout time back at my sister-in-law’s house followed by some lovely fireworks in the evening. A good day over all.

I still have a few photos to share from back in July, and I’m getting ready to ship off some more rolls for processing in the near future. So part of this is also that I needed to clear my head of this little mental weight so I could get on with sharing the really fun stuff from the drive home, and whatever else is yet to come. My photography doesn’t have to be an exhibition; sometimes it can just be the supporting cast in a story about a little piece of my lived experience.

It’s all over when the patriotic street sweeper cruises by.

[USA] by Anamanaguchi

Album cover for the album USA by Anamanaguchi

A friend of mine recently linked to the new album from Anamanaguchi, [USA]. It’s been a while since I loved an album so much from start to finish, but this was one of them. It has that tasty blend of pop, rock, and chiptunes I associate with the band, but something about the melodies and synth sounds feels akin to Mew’s No More Stories…

Put on headphones, give it a listen, and maybe your Monday will be a little brighter.