Sunday, October 26, 2014

When night falls–Thematic Photographic.

I love taking pictures in low light.  You can’t just point and shoot, not if you want to capture the colors of a sunset or the detail in the evening.  It takes a lot of planning, practice and trial and error.  Especially before the digital age, when you had to wait to see the results.

The sunset above is not digitally enhanced, that’s just the way I took the picture back in 1980.  I had to use the light meter on the camera as a guide and adjust the aperture and shutter speed to the best of my knowledge.  I wouldn’t be sure I had captured what I wanted until week later, when the photographs were developed by the local photo shop. 

Even with black and white photography it took some planning.  Would you get so much light that everything came out looking blurry, or not enough light so you wouldn’t see any detail.  How much detail did you want.  The picture above is of “The Aves” in salt Lake City.  The picture below was taken at the University of Utah, an assignment for my Photography class there.  I don’t know who that car belongs to, but it was just like the first car I owned.

And sometimes, by accident, you get something completely abstract, something that you didn’t expect. 

In today’s digital photography world, it is a lot easier.  Not that it still doesn’t take planning and trial and error, but in that you can see the results immediately.  That gives you the power to adjust right then and there, you don’t go away wondering if you caught what you wanted to.  Not to mention the number of pictures you can take is only limited by the size of your flash drive, the cost is the same if you take 1 picture or 1,000.

That’s Saltair, out on the Great Salt Lake.  I wanted to get a picture with the sun shining through the windows.   Thanks to my digital camera, I was able to see the first picture, realize I was too far to the left so I moved to the right and got the shot.

We also have the ability to enhance the pictures when we get home.  Yes, I could do that with film, as I developed the pictures in my darkroom, but there was no “undo” button and if I didn’t get it exactly right I just wasted some expensive paper.  The picture above is not digitally enhanced, the one below I adjusted the brightness and contrast.

About 5 years before I got into high school, there was a fire that almost burned Saltair to the ground.  I heard a lot about it and we would go out there at dusk for the eerie atmosphere.  In this picture I wanted the light from the sunset coming through the windows to look like what it might have looked like during the fire of 1970.

Click the link at the top to see more night fall pictures.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This week.

At lunch, I was talking to a small group of 8th grade boys. “T” was speaking when his voice cracked and he commented “Ain’t puberty great?” I said something about how everybody goes through it and he responded “I’m not going through puberty - puberty is going through me!

Earlier in the week another student was telling me about what he had done over the long weekend.  He had gone to his grandparent’s farm and helped prepare the live poultry for dinner.  Since he had to grab them by the throat he referred to it as “choking the chicken.”  I had to hold in the laughter because I honestly believe he did not know the other meaning of that phrase.  Neither did any of the other students hanging around, not even a snicker from any of them. 

And finally – I keep saying that there is a reason I teach math and not English.  But according to a Facebook online quiz (which are totally reliable and accurate), maybe I should be teaching English.

Mebbe not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Intersection from hell.

I wrote about an incident at the intersection of 21st South and 13th East that happened last Saturday.  I got onto Facebook today and a friend of mine who is the manager at the Chevron there wrote:
That's bad intersection, today at the same intersection someone was hit by a car.  The same guy (butt crack boy) in fact.

And then just about an hour later he posted:
 And now this happens because they have the intersection blocked off, smh.

 I'd love to avoid this intersection, but unfortunately I have to go through it twice a day to get to work and home.  Either that or go 20 blocks out of my way.
Crazy stuff.

Update:  Here's the article on

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How things have changed.

I saw this 4-Runner on the way home from dropping off payroll today.  Considering how I had to special order my Wrangler to get a manual transmission, it amazed me how much things have changed from when an automatic was so novel that they advertised it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bizarre Morning.

Whoda thunk just filling up the Wrangler could be such an exciting event? [Note: “the other guy”, “the maniac” and “the crazy guy” are all referring to the same person – butt crack boy who started the whole thing.]

On my was to the Chevron this morning, while I was waiting at the intersection of 21st South and 13th East, I saw what I thought was a homeless man going up to cars stopped and asking for money.  It was obvious he was being aggressive, at least in the sense that none of the people in the cars had called him over to give him money.  They kept their windows up and took off as soon as the light let them.

As I was filling up I looked over to see if he was still going out into the road to harass drivers, and saw him (he’s the one with the blue hoodie on and butt crack showing in the first picture) at the driver’s window of a red Mercedes.  It caught my attention when he started banging on the window.

By the time the Wrangler was filled up, he had started punching and kicking the car.  I went to the front door of the Chevron where one of the workers I knew was standing and asked if anyone was calling the cops, I had no idea who was in the car and things were escalating.

A customer coming out of the Chevron was on the phone, and told us that he was calling the police.  By this time the driver of the car (he’s the one in the blue shorts and neon yellow shirt) had gotten out and was trying to keep the assailant from further damaging it.

The driver was trying real hard to keep his cool, but the other guy was swearing at him, insulting his family and continuing to kick the car.  Finally the driver had had enough, got in between the other guy and the car, trying to keep the other guy from doing any more damage.

The other guy wasn’t having anything of it, and tried to push past him to get back at the car.  At this point a brawl started.  It had been 10 minutes since the police were contacted and still no sign of them, even though the guy on the phone (and the driver was on the phone to them also) was encouraging them to get there fast before someone got badly hurt.

The other guy’s buddy, who was yelling things about the world coming to an end (I’m not making this up, honestly), pulled him away from the driver, things would deescalate for minute, then the other guy would head back towards the car, the driver would get in the way and the brawl would start over again.  This repeated itself several times, and still the comps were nowhere to be seen (it took them a full 20 minutes to get there).

A crowd had gathered, people had their cell phones out taking pictures (obviously I was one of them) and video of the whole event.  The Chevron parking lot was packed.

A young lady unknowingly pulled up behind the red Mercedes in her Honda Element.  She started taking a video of what was going on in front of her, the other guy noticed her (and for some reason he didn’t notice the other dozen people with their phones out).  I watched as he kicked her front bumper and then went up to her window, yelling at her to stop.   When he started pounding on her window a bunch of us started yelling at him and moving towards the Honda.  A guy across the street, in the white pickup, grabbed a 6’ pole out of the back of his truck and got the other guy’s attention away from the Honda.

I will never forget the look of sheer terror on the lady’s face as she jumped out of the driver’s seat into the passenger seat to get away from the maniac banging on her window.

The guy with the pole really didn’t want to fight, so when the other guy came towards him, the guy with the pole led him around the white truck away from the young lady, who took this opportunity to climb out the passenger side of her Honda and blend in with the rest of the crowd.

At this point I’m not sure what happened, but we noticed that the crazy guy had calmed down and was hugging his buddy who had pulled him away from the fights earlier.  Finally, the police showed up.  No lights, no sirens, no hurry.  The paramedics beat them there by a minute or so, at first we thought they had just happened across the scene.  The crazy guy was sitting calmly on the back bumper of the ambulance being looked over by the paramedics when I (and a couple other witnesses) went over to the driver to give him my name and phone number in case he needed witnesses.  I saw the police putting the other guy into the back of the police car as I waited at the left turn light on my way home.

And the whole time my good camera was sitting on the table in the garage.  Gotta learn to never leave that thing at home.

And I’m still wondering how the driver is going to explain all this to his insurance company.