Posts Tagged ‘flickr


Purple Nova at the French School


Purple Nova at the French School, originally uploaded by neocles.

I noticed the purple Nova while biking to work one morning. The intense color caught my eye. I took a couple shots, and I noticed right away on the camera that the color was not as bright and not as purple in the image. This was true on the computer as well, and I sort of forgot about it for a while. I didn’t think it would amount to much.

A couple weeks later, I started fooling around with the post-processing work on it, and got something I rather liked. I eventually uploaded something to flickr, and it suddenly turned out to be one of the more interesting and popular things I’d produced in awhile. (Bear in mind that I measure these metrics in small fractions of what most flickr pop stars do, so my data set is pretty limited. Nonetheless it seems meaningful to me!) I guess the moral of the story is that you can never tell what is going to resonate with people. At least I can’t.


a poem for our times

The Coil and the Supplicant

The Coil and the Supplicant, originally uploaded by neocles.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats


Love Seat Commute Diversion

Love Seat Diversion, originally uploaded by neocles.

Thursday is bike to work day, and that seems to be setting the tone for the week. My friend David wonders why anyone would live the automotive life after witnessing Seattle’s hellish cross-town traffic from the speediness, if not safety, of the bike lane.

I have been back in the saddle biking to work for a couple weeks now. I can definitively say the exercise has improved my disposition tremendously. But that’s not all. The opportunities for amusement are boundless, especially if you live in a place like Berkeley. This morning I found this enticing rest stop at one of Berkeley’s famously infuriating traffic diverters. Everybody I know hates these things designed to keep you on the slow crawl main arteries. But I love, I mean LOVE, riding through them on my bike.

I came across this a few minutes after coming across a medium-bad car accident just a couple blocks from my house, where a couple of Honda’s fought over the right-of-way through an intersection. (Sorry, no pics of that.) That’ll wreck your commute.

Of course, KQED’s morning news and traffic reports have been making much of how light the commute is becoming and attributing it to gas prices. I can certainly confirm the relative emptiness of the roads. It’s even making biking to work easier.


Turning Points


 Vintage Car and Topiary #3, originally uploaded by neocles.


I had decided early in 2007 that I really wanted to get back into photography and that I wanted a decent DSLR for the family trip to Greece. So in spring I got the Nikon D40x and started trying to learn it and get used to seeing my world through the viewfinder.

I got a fair amount of practice in before the trip and took over 700 shots while there. That was a lot of shots to curate and process, so I slowed up on shooting for a couple weeks. Of course, I threw hundreds away. And there were few that were any good at all.

It didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere very fast trying to improve my photographic skills, at least not insofar as satisfying myself with the results went. But then in October I took some shots around the neighborhood and also landed on a post-processing approach that resulted in a look I really liked a lot. It was a turning point of sorts.

I guess what is going on in these photos is this. Sarah and I have been into vintage “everything” for a long time—deco, 50s, space-age, etc.—ever since our punk/new wave days in the early 80s. My middle-aged nostalgia has ramped this up lately. And obviously I am not alone in this as there is a pretty huge retro scene that has moved from the underground into the mainstream.

And of course, flickr provides a great forum for people interested in documenting the cars, buildings, furniture, signs, graphics, and ephemera of the last century. In terms of photography, I enjoy documenting this disappearing world. I try to photograph it in the wild, as it were. In other words, I don’t seek out shows or conventions where stuff is on display. Rather, I am interested in things in their natural context of use.

This leads to the second part of the turning point, which is the processing of the image to look more like an old photograph of a “new car” than like a pristine digital shot of an “old car”. But not quite. There’s a juxtaposition of old and new together in the image that I can’t quite articulate, but that is part of what I am trying to get to. If I were reading more about art and photography, I would have a ready-made description of the approach I am struggling here to describe.

Chimpin' ain't easy

Another important influence is my co-worker Joe Reifer. Talking with Joe and going out together for a lunchtime stroll to shoot has taught me lots. Joe is a great photographer and has been very generous with his knowledge of photography, on everything from taping up a Holga to the business of selling usage rights for one’s work. I can’t thank him enough. And this shot of Joe and the Travelall was really popular among flickrfolk!



shorTCar, originally uploaded by neocles.

Last evening I attended for the first time the sf flickr group meeting. It was really nice to meet everyone and have a chance to shoot at the Palace of Fine Arts as the sun went down. A quick review of the download didn’t reveal any particularly great photos. Perhaps with some post-processing, something interesting will come into view.

One of the interesting things that happened was there there was a person their interviewing folks for a magazine story about flickr and the digital revolution in photography. I was so amped up from driving like a maniac to get there on time that I ran my mouth off about this, that, and the other thing. Talking about it did help to clarify some of my thoughts about more about what I think I am doing with photography. [I’ll talk more about that in this space later.]

In any case, after walking around the POF for awhile we retired to the Grove Cafe (?) for food, drink, and conversation. A great group of people and all around good time.