Categories
Arizona Phoenix Photography

Rebirth of the Camera

On my last sailing trip, I had my Canon SD750 point-and-shoot camera safely stored below deck, where I thought it would be safe from rolling waves and splashing water. But in a twist of fate, in which the irony is not lost on me, the camera was siting right next to an inappropriately capped bottle of water. This bottle of water, and not a drop from the Pacific Ocean all around us, was the culprit of what I thought was the end of my camera. I remember looking at the drench screen, now flashing completely white, and the equally drenched battery and memory card.

The short burst of disappointment ended when I realized how far, how great and for how long that camera had served me — much longer that I had ever hoped. It went skiing with me, lived on a boat, it traveled to several countries and islands; it attended gatherings at seedy bars and lame restaurants.

Categories
Arizona Music Phoenix Photography

Crushing

I’m totally crushing on Colbie Caillat, who is a gorgeous lady.

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Categories
Arizona Music Phoenix Photography

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.

I could not have asked for a better first show since departing in February to sail the seas. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix, Sunday September 26. There was never a thought in the house to sit down. There was too much heart and soul in Sharon Jones and the music, leaving the audience no choice but dance, move, stand and feel. Sharon Jones actively encouraged audience members to come onstage, to show their dance moves, to seduce them.

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The entire show, from beginning to end, filled the Orpheum with energy and rhythm. As the crowd walked out, they probably blessed their lucky stars for the pleasure of attending instead of going to bed early or watching TV at home.

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Amazing! Phoenix Random

Tropical Storm

Honestly, is Patricia that weird of a name that it deserves a Tropical Storm?

Let’s see, I’m sure you’re all dying to know about what happened with my dentist’s office turning me over to a COLLECTION agency! So I went in and asked to speak with the Doctor but he wasn’t in the way, so I spoke with the receptionist who at first seem sullen that I had the audacity to imply she hadn’t updated my new address. So she looked up the reminder postcards we fill at the end of every visit, to be mailed out to remind us of our future visit. Oh, what’s that? The postcard has my NEW address? Right. You’d think that would’ve been followed with an abject apology.

You’d be thinking wrong.

The Dr. eventually did email me and said I could call him at my earliest convenience.

Moving on.

My neighbor in #3 decided to have a Prince-themed party in our little courtyard, so I decided to take it to the next level and invite all the Republic peeps (aka those of us who toil and moil for the Arizona Republic). My Photoshop skills were put to the ultimate test with the invite…

How could you NOT want to go THAT party? Prince? Pirates? Prince on a Segway attacking Pirates?

That’s me with a purple jacket I got at Salvation Army for $1.99. And I might wear it at non-Prince related public outings, because I think it’s pretty snazzy. And one of the winners of the night, my Crying Dove. You can sorta see the tears, but you can ask anyone who attended. They were witness to The Amazing. At some point in the night, I thought it best to put on my pirate coat from Halloween a few years ago and, obviously, a Mexican hat… So technically I was Prince-Mexican-Pirate. I don’t believe that was recorded. Probably for the best.

And just because this post isn’t random enough. A photo of the Greyhound dog races in Phoenix, where we celebrated a friend’s birthday. Yes, at the dog-races, which, I might add, was a cool place. I can totally picture in its heyday, full of people betting and screaming. Although our party did do a fair share of both. Now, it’s about to close down, so get all your dog racing in while you can.

I’m all ready for the Kentucky Derby. Note to self: upgrade from Mexican hat.

 

 

Categories
Arizona Graphics Phoenix Random

Good things happen

First update in some time. I haven’t had any concerts to shoot lately due to the fact that… well, we won’t get into that, but I assure you I will try my best to claw my way back to doing them, even if I have to offer a sacrificial medium-sized, porcelain Baby Jesus. 

Speaking of Baby Jesus, Grandma Lapadula (keeper of all-sized Baby Jesuses), The Matriarch, Da Original, is coming to the the United States of America, and she has a scheduled visit to Phoenix (scheduled meaning, Stand-by tickets with my dad’s airline). What to do with a 70-year-old lady who doesn’t even want to be taken from her house, let alone sent to another country? Who, when asked if she wanted to come to Phoenix while she was visiting my dad in North Carolina, asked “can we drive there?”. No ma’am. My point being that she doesn’t even know what or where is Phoenix. So if you have any ideas, do pass them along. Are there any Church Tours, with an optional Salvation package? 

Salvation or not, I think it’ll be interesting for her to see the Phoenix area. It being such a different landscape than anything she’s ever seen before (did you know that the ONLY place in the world with Saguaro Cacti is the Sonoran Desert?), particularly Sedona. It’s just breathtaking for anyone, let alone someone who has lived in the jungle all their lives. 

“Abuela in the Desert: Why am I here?”. That should be an interesting photo story. 

I finally got some of the Matt and Talat wedding photos printed out. Yes, it’s a slow process. I have to let them simmer in their own Photoshop juices for some time for maximum impact. I reluctantly took them to the local Ritz Camera. Reluctantly because I used to work for Ritz in NC for years, and let’s just say we weren’t the most conscientious when it came to printing. Come on, would you really want to go editing one by one, 500+ BAD digital photos from someone’s trip to Mexico? At least with film there usually was a limit to how many BAD photos a person could take. With digital cameras and inexpensive giant memory cards, people feel the need to take a photo of EVERYTHING… TWICE for good measure, that oughta show ’em. 

As an aside, during my days as a lab technician, I color corrected some of the most ridiculous photos. Yes, we see them. Keep that in mind next time you decide to drunkenly take photos of things best left unrecorded for posterity.

I really have to give props to the guys and gals at the Phoenix location (the only one that survived after they declared bankruptcy). Since my monitors at home or work are not calibrated to their printer, the photos were coming out somewhat dark. They went through each photo and even printed some three, four times, to make sure they came out looking great. I will definitely be returning there soon. 

On a graphics note, here’s a Double Truck project I worked on for a special Good News section at work:

I’m particularly proud of the railroad tracks! Combination mad Illustrator and Photoshop skills! Although I sometimes feel like I overuse drop shadows. Thoughts?

I think this drought in concerts will give me a chance to catch up with re-editing and posting the photos from my photojournalism days. I’m excited to show you some of those and relive the good ol’ days. Like the photo of me hanging out with the long-bearded, one-toothed bikers at a redneck bar. God, I hope I can find that one. Good times!!

Categories
Arizona Music Phoenix

Judas Priest @ Dodge Theatre

I got a ton of great photos from the Judas Priest show on Friday. Even though it was at the Dodge Theatre, which usually doesn’t have a pit for photographers. But since it was a heavy metal show, I guess they do put a barrier and some space between the crowd and the stage. The guys worked it out with goodwill, even with our cameras right in their noses. I love shooting these type of shows. Rob Halford and company were jumping around with tons of energy, making for easy good shots. There are a ton more photos over at azcentral.com, and you can go see them (but come back!) by clicking here.

Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed the website is looking different. Love it or hate it, I just wanted to try something radically different, and it’s a proven fact that photos look better on black backgrounds, or so I vaguely remember hearing at school. At any rate, I’m sure I’ll get tired of it soon enough and try something new again. The banner was inspired by the sticker/photo pass that photographers get at every show. They’re all different, and some are pretty cool. I really liked the shape of the Judas Priest one, so I nabbed that one and Photoshoped the hell out of it.

I was excited about shooting the Bob Dylan show on Tuesday, but it was canceled because of the ‘heat’. WTF@3$%^ were the organizers expecting in an outdoor venue at 5 p.m. in AUGUST in PHOENIX? Did they think it was going to be mid-70s with a light breeze?

Categories
fail Music Phoenix

An open letter to Keith Urban and his ‘People’

Dear Keith Urban and People,

I appreciate that you, as a music superstar or superstar associate, have the right to dictate all aspects of media relations. For example, you can determine where photographers stand during your shows, how many songs they can shoot, etc. Perhaps there are certain aspects about photography that you are unaware of, which is totally acceptable since you’re not a photographer. I’m interested in clarifying this. If you place photographers 50 rows back at the same floor level as everyone else, it makes it rather difficult if not impossible to get a decent shot of the performer that doesn’t include at least half dozen heads. Not to mention that it’s rather discriminatory to height-challenged photogs, such as myself.

Listen, maybe you do understand all that and you just don’t care. I’m not being facetious when I say that I get that maybe you just don’t care to have photographers bobbing up and down in your face at the start of your concert and you would rather have them at a considerable distance. I am, personally, completely ok with that. It is after all about the music. But give us a ledge, some stools or just let us stand on empty chairs. You can place me two miles away if you’d like but at least allow me a relatively clear view of the stage. All I’m asking is to be given a chance, some hope of at least one good picture. 

Why even invite photographers when you’re going to treat them so shabbily? You don’t invite people to your house and then make them sit in the laundry room (although I’m sure Mr. Urban’s laundry room is a palatial abode compared to most places I visit or live in).  

That said, I must praise you on the nice hi-definition screens you had at the venue. Very nice. Still and all, I must politely ask for a reimbursement of the $27.13 I spent to rent a lens that ended up being useless, it not being submarine telescope. Feel free to contact me through this website. Thanks! 

Your most humble servant,

Me

 

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some (mediocre) photos from the Blondie show @ Dodge Theatre. I freely admit I did not procure the right lenses, feeling a little burned out after the Keith Urban and Kid Cudi/Asher Roth debacles (the latter one didn’t have photo passes for me). I crossed my fingers and hoped there would be good enough lighting and unfortunately that was a major FAIL. 

Categories
Arizona Music Phoenix

American Idols Live! Tour

Very much enjoyed shooting this concert. Say what you will about the big corporate machine that is American Idol but they do manage to find some people who are really good singers and performers. I can’t say that I religiously watch the show (nor that I bother to vote) since it airs on TV, oh, around 7 p.m. while I’m still at work. Everything airs so early here in Phoenix… our theory is that stations cater to the large retired population who MUST get their nightly news in at 8 p.m. before they go to bed. Some seasons of American Idol I follow more than others, as in read the reviews and maybe try to catch the better performances online. Entertainment Weekly puts together some hilarious video recaps of each episode that are probably just as good as watching the actual show.

We ran into Kris Allen and Adam Lambert backstage, but since we technically weren’t supposed to be there, approaching the “talent” would’ve been a big no-no. Not that I would’ve anyways. I’m too chicken for that kinda stuff.

The interesting thing about this concert was that instead of shooting the first two or three songs as usual, we were allowed to shoot the last three, since those are the songs that included Kris Allen (the winner), followed by two group numbers that included everyone. Otherwise, the first few songs only include certain Idols. I also appreciated that the Media people were kind enough to take us to our spots with enough time to scope out the lighting and the overall layout of the stage (and enjoy a few songs from an awesome spot!). Downside? We were leaving at the same time as the crowd, so I had to deal with a little bit of traffic. Not too bad, since we managed to bolt from the arena pretty fast, and Jobing.com really takes care of their media people when in comes to parking.

My only complaint from a performance perspective was that the Idols were mostly just signing covers of overly-played, sugary pop culture songs, which, I know, is kinda expected with their target audience, but some of them could do much better, I’m sure. Oh well, I’ll be excited to catch Allen, Lambert and Allison Iraheta when they come out with their own stuff.

Gotta run. Going by Tempe Camera to pick up a lens, and then Keith Urban tonight if all goes well.

Categories
Music Phoenix

Rascal Flatts at Cricket Wireless Pavilion

I think we can establish that I’m not what you would call a country music fan. But I’m more than willing to give credit where credit is due. Rascal Flatts put on a cool, energetic performance last Thursday at Cricket. They had the high-tech, giant screens, hydraulic stairs that deployed space-ship like, and show-opening pyrotechnics so unexpected that I almost died of fright.

 

I also almost died of fright when I saw lead singer Gary LeVox’s jeans…

One word: bedazzled. 

 

The guy with a fiddle, a John “Chank” Jeansonne, was pretty ridiculous in an amazing way. And I don’t even know anything about fiddles. But I felt the amazingness in my musical heart. 

Obligatory Jessica Simpson shot…

She was opening the show. And yet she made us sign a release (Rascal Flatts didn’t), we had to shoot from far away and for only one song. You can arrive at your own conclusion on how I feel about that. 

Categories
Music Phoenix

Heart

Heart @ Celebrity Theatre

That last photo was taken at about half a second, but there’s something about it that I like, even though it’s not your usual shot from the front. It was my first time at Celebrity Theatre, and it was an overall good experience. The parking people didn’t give me any problems nor did they make me pay. Also, they have a revolving stage! 

Ann and Nancy Wilson were rocking it out, and I wish I could’ve stayed for the whole show. Granted I did have tickets (technically, I could’ve taken photos the whole time. I love it when media reps give us tickets instead of just escorting us in a out of the venue!) but I had to get back to The Dark Tower to return a lens to Manny. At which point he found out I was shooting Heart, and I believe his words were “if I had known you were shooting them, I would’ve taken that assignment from you.” I’m thinking he was joking, besides, Manny, you just came back from the SUPERBOWL!! 

Also shot some country dude called Josh Turner earlier this week. I had to wait about an hour before he came on, while listening to random country music. I can’t quite explain, but I felt it in my soul, in my bones… how much I was not digging it.  I’ll put those photos up later on. Anyone watching the Grammys?