Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guilty Pleasures 2 & 3

Two: Britney Spears "Gimme More"

Three: Saturday Morning Cartoons

I'll elaborate when I have the chance.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Week of Guilty Pleasures.

A Guilty Pleasure, to me, is something that one enjoys, but would not readily admit to enjoying to anyone. I'm sure everyone has one...or two, or three. With myself, I'm hoping to come up with seven of my own guilty pleasures for each day of the coming week.

Sunday's Guilty Pleasure: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I know, I know...I should be watching baseball or the Simpsons but sometimes, if I catch it, I'll watch Extreme Makeover. This week featured a Navajo family which had been living in a trailer without running water. At the conclusion of the show, the family has a spacious home designed according to Navajo principles and architecture, which is cool. There's something heartwarming about people who are down on their luck getting a helping hand.

But as I was watching it, I began to wonder who also received a helping hand, and by who, I mean Corporate America, those who sponsored the show. Two of this weeks sponsors, Sears and Ford, received a bunch of airtime, probably twice as much as the segment on the Navajo culture and living off the land.

One of the biggest publicity stunts for Ford was the presentation of a Ford Escape Hybrid to the family which they billed as "the greenest SUV on Earth" or something catchy to that effect. Sure, I'm not one to talk as I drive a Toyota Tacoma which gets about 350 miles to a full tank, which is nothing compared to the advertised "500 +" for the Escape. Kudos for a push in the right direction for a greener SUV... God knows American automakers need more of that. However, the presentation of the Escape was preceded by a "donation" of new science equipment to the local high school. The "donation" included a few microscopes and lab kits which looked like they were pulled off the shelves of the local (local is relevant as this show took place on a reservation) Toys R' Us from their science section...

...and let's face it, no kid really every goes to the Toys R' Us science section except to shop for that kid in your 4th grade class who's name you didn't know because he sat in the back of the room and smelled like bologna because you were invited to his birthday party...and back then, everyone in the class gets invited to parties out of obligation.

...and why did he smell like bologna, all the kid (I think his name was Steve) ever ate was fluff sandwiches, cut diagonal & crustless. But I digress.

If a company is going to make a statement to its consumers about social and environmental responsibility, it will have to do it in a bigger way than a few microscopes. How about a brand new science lab with a focus on greener energy? Imagine the benefits of education tomorrow's generation in the use of green technology.

But then, Ford probably couldn't afford such expenditures, with it's reported 5.8 billion net loss in the third quarter of 2007. Maybe the American consumer has given up on the 14/20 mpg rating of the F150 and switched to a less guzzler (My Tacoma gets 20/25...I think). A quick view of the Ford website boasts only two cars that get over 30 mpg (I could be wrong).

Further on in the show, the viewer is greeted with a huge montage of the house construction and furniture being delivered and set up. I noticed in every shot, there was a logo for some home decor company. I wonder how much of those kind of shots in movies and television get passed me, letting me absorb the ad subconsciously.

Hmm, it doesn't feel so heart warming now...it feels like I've just watched an hour long commercial...

and next week, they demolish a house with explosives, so of course I'll probably watch.

So that is all I've got to say tonight about one of my guilty pleasures, I need to rest up, because I have the odd feeling that I need to go to Sears tomorrow and buy some power drills or something.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Wedding.

My brother Billy got married at the beginning of this month.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Growing up in a multimedia world.

My generation, the iGeneration has been born with hands, feet, eyes, ears and a USB port.

There is only a few memories that I can think back to when computers weren't such a predominant part of life. I remember growing up with Legos, GI Joes and Ninja Turtles. Manhunt was a physical activity, not a Googled search.

I miss bruises, pine needles and pine sap stuck to clothing and skin, the taste of a bitten tongue, bloodied slightly from rough housing, backyard fort building with an enemy of girls who'd pursue us, now a reversed order.

My mother would always scold my brothers and I about the time we spent in front of the TV playing video games, an obsession that started with River Raid and Asteroids on Atari and continues with multiplayer, online gaming with Halo 3 (I'm twenty three, I don't have to be grown up...yet). And from her constant nagging to eventual forced eviction to the outdoor world of sunlight and grass, we'd whine from behind the shuttered sliding glass door from the outside, looking in on our paused game of Sonic the Hedgehog, pleading to be let back in to fight Dr. Robotnik.

And in those days of injustice of being forced out into the dangerous world of the other "out" with the threat of bee stings, sun burns and sweat, it's what I find myself missing most about my childhood, not the fleeting victory celebration of beating the final boss in "Doom," but the time I spent running about the neighborhood with a runny nose from chilly autumn air. Working now, two years out of college, the chance to be a kid again seems far, far away. (I hear the thousand laughing "adults" and "I told you so"s).

Now I find myself "growing up" with cellphones, iPods and PDAs. Recently, I was at the first game of the World Series (I'll tell you about it later) with the Red Sox playing the Colorado Rockies and one of my first observations were the absurd amount of cell phone cameras and point and shoots capturing everything. It seemed that everyone preferred looking through a lens at the game rather than with their eyes, documenting the Sox' victory in a static number of 1s & 0s of Binary Code to be emailed to everyone on their address book (which is now defined as a function of a computer, not an actual book with pages).

Now I am not one to talk, I am after all a professional photographer. My job is to document the world from behind the lens...and of course I had my smaller DSLR ready to take pictures. But as I drove up from Cape Cod and into Boston, I had time to reflect on the situation...on the whole event that I would be apart of.

Let me explain first that this was the first time that I had ever been to Fenway. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I had no idea that later that night I'd be heading to the first game of the World Series. I got the call mid afternoon from my father informing me that a contact with AT&T had secured two tickets for us and needless to say, I was incredibly stoked.

So as I drove into the game I thought of how cool it would be to go to a baseball game with my father, even at 23. If this doesn't scream "father and son bonding," I don't know what will.

And so while others at the game were snapping away in a digital world, I preferred a beer in hand, fenway frank in the other sans camera, being out in the cool autumn night air, enjoying the fact I was creating memories, not digital files...

ones that I know, I will remember a lot longer than those small, insignificant victories in front of a video game console.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A look back.

People say that they are their own worse critics. I hear that day in and day out in the Photo department at the Enterprise, sometimes, I think I'm the biggest culprit. As a general news photographer for a community newspaper on Cape Cod, I'm expected to cover a wide field of photo assignments. On any day, I could shoot high school sports, jewelry for local advertisements and town politicians in a town meeting format. There are some days when I know that I've nailed it, and others, it's tough to talk to the editor with confidence about what you're passing in. Some of the toughest aspects of news photography is the uncontrolled nature of lighting. In commercial work, photographers can (sometimes) rely on well lit sets and a number of assistants. In my case, it's me, an assignment slip and available light. Or so I thought...

www.Strobist.com has helped bring a little bit of that control of light into my shots. And it shows. The blog, written by David Hobby whose a staff photographer for the Baltimore Sun, advocates the use of off camera lighting through the use of small, radio fired strobes and is at the forefront of blog writing for the photo enthusiast/amateur.

Here's an example of how I've used some of Hobby's techniques in my shots.

The shot uses an off camera flash (a vivitar 285 hv with a pocket wizard) fired from camera right in order to fill in the left side of the subject's face. He's facing the late afternoon sun and without the flash, would have had dark shadows on one side of his face. Problem solved with a little fill.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It pays to know...

...people in the newspaper business.

Pulled from a recently issue of the arts & entertainment section of the Enterprise, the boys from the Old Silver Band get some press from one of their shows I photographed at Harper's Ferry in Allston, MA.

Check them out at The Old Silver Band.

An updated update.

Currently, I am updating my website (www.kapitolphotography.com) with the help of friends at Legitify and Rightside Productions. Unfortunately, some of the content that was on my website is now unavailable so I've decided to use a blog format to continue with a web presence for my photography business. I'll be looking to publish some of my photos that I take throughout the week working for the Enterprise Newspapers on Cape Cod as well as additional interesting things (i.e. websites, news).

Because I can not upload photos to my site, I've also created a Flickr page where I'll be looking to post some of those aforementioned weekly photos. You can find it here at:

Kapitol on Flickr

It's kind of bare, you'll only find one self portrait and two senior photo sessions, but I plan on adding more to the library.


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After trying out myspace and other social networking sites as a source to post a blog and finding little or no satisfaction, I've decided to move over to blogspot.com which seems to have a pretty snazy appearance and has worked for others (i.e. www.strobist.com).

We'll see how this goes.

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