December 16, 2009

The Cost of a Toss

A week ago, I sat on a snow-caked bench throwing my shoe in the air. My hands trembled as a chilling wind picked up, bringing the adjusted temperature down into the the single digits. I shook the snow off of the Vibram sole, rearranged the red laces, reset the focus and stretched out my hand. With a toss and subsequent “thump” of the shutter, my 5d Mark II took a 1/8000 second exposure, freezing my Danner boot in the air forever. Unsatisfied with the result on my three inch LCD, I repeated the process. As blood drained from my hand, I focused on the small image visible through the viewfinder for another 40 minutes deadset on getting the desired image. After 100 tries, my freezing hands overcame my uncompromising, perfectionist desire to get the perfect image and I retired my camera to my backpack and headed towards the car.

My stubbornness, overly critical tendencies and often stratospheric expectations instrumental in creating my aesthetic taste lend themselves to all aspects of my life and identity. Recently these traits have put a lot of pressure on the relationships in my life that I value most and forced me to take a step back and assess.

The cost of not getting your way or being over critical is not an uncomfortably cold hand (like with taking photos of flying shoes), but a break down of close ties. I can afford to toss my shoe in the air 100 times to capture an image but I cant afford to approach my personal relationships with the same selfish criteria.

On the flight home from New England to the Northwest, I finished Edward S. Curtis’s biography, Shadow Catchers. Curtis’ inability to compromise and approach to his personal relationships with the same criteria of his capturing images of Native Americans resulted in an extremely depressing personal life culminating with his death at 84 in the house of his only child that would put up with him. I share this story and metaphor not as an excessive public self critique, but because I feel it has relevance to a lot people and is a topic often overlooked. The challenge is to let my critical eye, high expectiation and conviction to my values florish with my work but not define my relationships with the people around me.

Here are some more links,
The Cost of a Toss (Picasa).

December 11, 2009

Changing Seasons: Winter

Winter comes on early Maine. Starting in early November, the imminent threat of snow lingers on the fringes of the ten day forecasts. When the snow finally arrives, Mainers show their true colors and break out plows and shovels and attack the snow with the tenacity of a teenage boy attacking a zit on his nose. The snow and freezing cold usher in a new tempo and force people to adjust to the harsh conditions. I like it. This collection of images shows the contrasting aspects of my aesthetic and the rugged seasonality of the place I currently call home.

Sitting on a bench over the quad last fall I took off my shoe on an ADHD impulse and threw it in the air.

Paul Smith Hudson Canvas Sneaker in January.

Common Projects Court Sneaker in April.

Vans Era in August

Ralph Lauren Wingtips in October.

My Danner Mountain Light II over the quad on a chilly Thursday in December.

Here are some more links,
Changing Seasons (Picasa),
Changing Seasons (ART).

December 8, 2009

Playing with Small Radio Control Planes

Ever since I was a kid I have always wanted to fly. As an elementary school student, when asked what superpower I would have if I were a superhero, I would immediately reply, “I want to fly.” The possibilities of invisibility, living forever or being the strongest person in the world failed to register as a blip on my radar. The idea of seeing things from a different angle always has and always will intrigue me.

Recently I have spent a lot of time chasing buzzing RC planes around fields, climbing trees, gluing plane parts back together, and soldering electrical components after frequent crashes, all in the hopes catching a few glimpses of ordinary objects from a few hundred feet up.

With a quick toss into the wind, the foam plane soars into the air as the electric motor buzzes. The plane bounces around on the breeze, slowly gaining altitude. I relax and the whir of the plane’s motor slowly fades to faint hum.

For aerial photography I have been using a Pentax Optio A40 velcroed under the wings of a small electric plane. With a flick of a switch on the radio, an infrared trigger hooked up to the plane’s receiver fires the camera shutter. Driving along I-95, these black lines in the pavement, tar patches, register as nothing more than an annoying vibration, but from an altitude of 300 feet they look like something from movie 2012.

Test firing the Optio A40’s remote shutter. The plane’s tail is barely visible in my Vuarnets sunglasses.

Tucker and Dan’s eyes to the sky.

My shoes from a different angle on a chilly December afternoon.

I think it’s very important to pursue things that are fun regardless of apparent face value practicality. I have no idea what will come of taking photos from small RC planes, but it sure is fun to see them fly around above.

Here are some more links,
Playing with Planes (Picasa),
A Sunday Flight (Picasa).

December 1, 2009

A Bench by the Sea

Sitting on a stone bench, I watched the cold morning’s wind skip across the Atlantic like a stone on a pond. I kicked some moss into the wind, stretched my back and nestled my fingers into the depths of my down jacket to protect them from the constant nibbles of the late fall breeze. For an untold amount of time, I repeated this process in a distant daze known only to a morning person with ADD. I pondered this and contemplated that.

This Thanksgiving I forwent the 3,000-mile jaunt back to the Northwest and instead made the 75-mile drive down to Cape Elizabeth. For the first time in my 21 years, I spent a holiday without kin but with a close friend and his family. In the mornings I would wake early and wander down towards the crashing waves and whistling wind.

The constant sound of waves crashing against the jagged shoreline formed a rough melody for my daydreams. Suddenly avoiding the occasional overzealous wave and staying out of ankle-deep tide pools whilst hopping from one kelp-covered rock to another replaced my superficial worries.

Meandering down the shoreline one morning, I climbed over a large rock to see a rock bench set into the a hillside. Despite a dilapidated sign offering a halfhearted warning, I kicked back and made myself comfortable.

Oh life’s simple joys…

Here are some more links,
A Bench by the Sea (Picasa).