Monday, January 30, 2012

A fun blog to follow


Here's something to check out on a slow Monday: T Rex Trying

I lost it when I got to the Ukulele

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mad Skills


For those of you that follow this blog, you know I have a signature shot for concerts. I like to take a picture of the performer's shoes. I also have a signature shot for sports.

I somehow manage to get a picture of just the ball. I don't plan for this to happen, it just does. When you think about how everyone is constantly hustling to try to get the ball, you grasp how utterly impressive this is.

Eat your heart out, Sports Illustrated!

Caturday


Today's Caturday post is from the archives. I was trying to pack before my ACL reconstruction surgery and this was Addy's idea of helping.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Commitments vs. Goals


Tonight, I will be doing my annual shoot for Masuk High School Boys Basketball. I've been covering this for the past five years and it's one of my favorite shoots of the year. One of the first times I realized I wanted to be a photographer was after seeing the Cleveland Cavaliers upset the New Jersey Nets in the final seconds of the game. I tried to take pictures with a 35mm point and shoot Kodak film camera. If those pictures weren't tucked away in the crawl space, I'd have scanned one for this post. They're HORRIBLE, yet I love them. Shooting sports is always a fun challenge for me: timing, position, proper lens selection. It's thinking on the fly and it's exhilarating. And it always feels cool to be standing on the court with my press pass.

Then what's with the title of this post? I got the call to cover the game tonight early on in the month and agreed to it. At the time, there was nothing going on. About two weeks after I made the commitment, I found out about this.


ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRG!!!!! (is the edited version of what went through my mind)

Another amazing photo exhibit that is all but screaming, "Audra! Come see me!" 120dB. The level of sound intensity at every concert. The level of passion and perseverance echoed back by every one of these photographers. The sheer level of artistic energy and audience engagement that resonates loud and clear in their each and every shot.

For those of you that follow this blog, you'll remember my post on 12 New Things. If you forgot, check out number four on that list. Yes, several of the photographers at this exhibit are ones that I want to contact. More than likely, many of them will be at the opening tonight. And I am stuck in Connecticut, shooting basketball.

But that's not how I'm letting myself think about tonight. I'm fortunate enough to be covering something I love, and getting paid to do it no less! I have a great relationship with this client and I look forward to working with them in the future. Although this event seems like a great networking opportunity, it's not the right one for me. Not at this time. My website is close, but it's not complete yet. I refuse to rush that and put out a product I'm not proud of, and I don't want to pitch myself as a concert photographer when my work isn't properly displayed, i.e. my current website. There will be other opportunities for me to reach out.


Just in case you were wondering who my favorite basketball player was, it's a tie between Mark Price and Craig Ehlo. Mark Price you might have heard of, highest all time free throw percentage in the NBA and two time 3 point contest winner. One of the purest shooters ever to play in the NBA and was my ACL recovery inspiration. (Price also had a complete ACL rupture in his left knee.) I bet you know who Craig Ehlo is, even though you think you don't. Ever hear of The Shot?



Effing Michael Jordan, but talk about drama! That's when basketball was good, my friends. Ehlo was one of the most under appreciated, yet hardest working players I've ever seen. And this link made me remember what a fantastic human being he is.

Sorry about the basketball geek out. I bet you weren't expecting that!

In closing, I'm covering a basketball game tonight. And for a girl that dreamed of doing exactly that when she was 11,  I can't tell you how happy and proud I am.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Politically Incorrect Blog Post

Dear Mayor Joe,

I thought you might need this.


And if people continue to give you slack for your statement, show them this video.


Love,
Audra

P.S. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, do a google search for Mayor of East Haven, CT.

P.P.S. Yes, I do have a gif for every occasion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aimee Mann at The Ridgefield Playhouse


Is there anything better than a good concert on a Friday night? The Playhouse was a great, intimate setting for a sarcastic filled show. By intimate I mean if you liked having your knees rammed into the seat, or in my case wall, in front of you, this is the venue for you! I jest, I jest. It took me a long time to settle in at this venue, but that's more for personal reasons than anything else, still it was hard for me to find a groove shooting wise. It was a much older crowd, and except for a few people trying to take pictures with their cell phones (again people, your flash is only going to reach MAYBE 8-10 feet, just turn it off!) there weren't any cameras. The light was very low, which lead to me really pushing my ISO on the point and shoot much higher than I like and lowering my shutter speed. So there is some motion blur in my shots. Although I struggled on the picture front, the actual concert was very enjoyable.



I definitely enjoyed Aimee Mann's light hearted banter throughout the night. She joked about Griffin Park in LA being the epitome of an episode of Law and Order where a head was found in a plastic bag. Not even a duffel bag, she joked, just a plain old plastic bag. This was her segway into the song You Could Make a Killing. Later, when she played some new material, she teased that it would be fine if people wanted to take the opportunity to refill their drinks or use the facilities. When she saw people taking her up on the offer, she stated that she knew where their seats were and she knew where she could hide their heads, but she promised she would use at least a nice tote.

There's a new song on her not yet finished album inspired by the show Hoarders which I thought was pretty funny. Mann explained that she couldn't understand how people refused the help even when rats and possums(!) were taking over their house. (I'm a member of the Possum Posse over on facebook, so I thought that shout out was awesome.)

She egged the crowd on to request a bass solo. The bass player, I caught his name as Paul Bryan, jumped in saying that the bass was the most self deprecating instrument; everyone wants to play it, but nobody wants to hear it.



During the encore, the crowd started to shout requests. Because I thought this was a bit ridiculous, I decided to shout at the top of my lungs, FREE BIRD!!! For those of you that don't know me, I'm pretty loud and can certainly project my voice in a shoebox like the Playhouse. The audience and Aimee cracked up. She teased that she couldn't believe 30 years later, that gag still gets laughs. She theorized that it must be the same person at every concert that shouts it. Hehehehe

Musically, some of the highlights for me were: the slow, acoustic rendition of Red Vines (which she played instead of Free Bird), Save Me, Deathly, One and Wise Up. I'd forgotten the power behind that last song, off the Magnolia Soundtrack, and was really touched by how delicately she played it.



What I took away from this concert was that I'm starting to lose patience with my point and shoot camera. I was literally aching to have my SLR, although that might have been from the lack of circulation in my legs from being crammed into that miniscule aisle. No really, I would've gotten some incredible shots from my vantage point and I would've nailed this energetic moment at the end of the night...


I have some connections here, and I'm hoping to build them. For now, I have to keep plugging away, even if I'm not getting the results I'd prefer. Everything is a learning experience. At the very least, I can continue to shout Free Bird until it gets played...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lil' Bill


Long overdue, but I finally had the opportunity to get Lil' Bill and family in front of the camera. Cute babies need no words. Enjoy!


I couldn't get over how cute his sideways glances are!


And some room details. I'm totally jealous of the hand made wookie!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photo of the Week: Week 3


There was no competition this week. Seen above in her tiara and a heartfelt laugh is Dotti, ending one chapter in her life, yet there's so much more she's planning on doing. I hope that I can be that active and happy when I decide to call it a day.


I'm throwing in a shot of my peanut butter cookies, not as a picture of the week, but to make you hungry. They were just as delicious as they look!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Aimee Mann Teaser


Great position.
Horrible light.
Beyond ass kicking boots.

Caturday: My Camera Is Fixed!


It feels good to have my camera back. I seriously missed having it during the holidays, but the separation anxiety was worth getting a brand new shutter.

Addy's gotten quite good at the epic stare. She should go into modeling; it's about time she earned her keep.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Read my first book this year, knee pain and a concert tonight


One book down this year! The first Eels biography wasn't easy to get through for several reasons. After I got my new glasses, reading was at least easier on my eyes, but it didn't make the book any more enjoyable. The chapters were massive with no place for breaks. I understand the author wanted to group certain things together, but give me a place to put it down for a while. I guess I don't like leaving in the middle of a chapter, so that's my own issue. There was a lot of rehashing of E's autobiography because he didn't give any interviews for this book and the majority of the rest of the book was the author's opinion on albums. I nearly lost it last night when the final chapter gave a song by song breakdown in seconds as opposed to minutes. I get it, you wanted to make a point that the songs were short,  but telling me that a song is 137 seconds instead of 2 minutes and 17 seconds is ridiculous. To do that for multiple songs was laughable. I own the albums, I know the songs are short. Move on. The only redeeming parts of the book for me were some very clever quotes from The Chet and some pictures I'd never seen before.

Old photo just after surgery

My knee has been acting up the past couple of days. I haven't done anything strenuous in my workouts lately, so I'm chalking it up to the weather. How great is it to be 31 years old and to be able to say, "A storm's a brewin'! I can feel it in my bones!!!" But I really do, and the Nor'Easter barreling down on the east coast is proof. The pain I feel is where the tiny little screw attach my reconstructed hamstring ACL to my tibia.

Even though the screws look huge, they're only about 3mm long

Lastly, I'm going to my first concert of the year tonight. FINALLY. It feels like it's been forever and a day since I saw a show, which is really only two months. I'm going to see what's being billed as "An Evening with Aimee Mann" at the Ridgefield Playhouse. I don't go to enough concerts in Connecticut, which is just plain stupid. I think this is going to be a great way to ease into goal #3 for the year: going to a concert every month. I'm not completely versed in Mann's entire catalog, but she's a great singer/songwriter that has worked with a lot of musicians I admire. (I'll expand that thought when I write my review of the show.) I'm expecting a mellow evening, seated in the front row of the balcony.

What I find ironic is that I haven't been back to the Playhouse in two and a half years. The first and last time I was there wasn't for a concert. I was playing THE pick up game of basketball with coworkers at the gym attached to the Playhouse. Maybe my knee is acting up because it knows I'm about to return to the scene of the crime...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Velociraptor Derek


I'd love to take credit for this picture, but I can't. That's Derek and that is his self portrait, taken at Milford Camera Shop. Derek liked to set up cameras on timers and take goofy pictures of himself. This was his velociraptor pose, and seeing how much everyone here loves velociraptors, I thought I'd share. Oh, and it's his birthday today, so Happy Birthday, Derek!


You're going to see a few pictures of Derek on my website redesign, which I'm hoping to finish up by the end of the month. His wedding was one of my all time favorites to photograph. I don't think any of them will top his self portrait though.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Osprey


Trainer Steve was teasing me about freezing my butt off for non existent duck pictures over the weekend. He thought the picture to get was an osprey with a fish in its talons. I laughed and said, I've already got that picture! And a couple more because I'm a  show off.



Snack time!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stick Stickly


I thought it would be fun to start off the week with a blast from the past. Stick Stickly was a popsicle stick with googly eyes and a clay nose and mouth that hosted Nick in the Afternoon in the mid 90's. Just a silly little blip on our pop culture background that only a certain age group would remember: my generation.

I'm lucky enough to have a brother that was a set designer for Stick. Yes, they paid people to create sets for a popsicle stick! Said brother came across some old Polaroids of a Stick photo shoot, and I feel like it is my duty, nay, privilege to share them with the world.

World, I give you never before seen Stick Stickly!







Sunday, January 15, 2012

Photo of the Week: Week 2

  
The shot that I really wanted to get was of the Hooded Mergansers that like to hang out by the gym. They are the flightiest birds I've ever seen; sorry for the bad pun. As soon as those ducks see a camera, they take off. 

No good duck shots this week, but this tree picture is all right, too.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Caturday: National Dress Up Your Pet Day!


I told Addy today was National Dress Up Your Pet Day and I asked if she wouldn't mind trying on the hat I bought for her...

She laughed in my face.

So I decided to create the image. She made the perfect full of disdain face, like she knew what I was going to do with the photo.


Doesn't she look smashing?

Friday, January 13, 2012

STOP THE PRESSES!!!



Now that I've secured my tickets, I feel like I can really share this with my tens of dozens of readers.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
WILLIAM SHATNER IS GOING TO BE ON BROADWAY AND I'M GOING TO SEE HIM!!!

Ok, sorry, I've got that out of my system. I can think of nothing I'd rather do than spend two hours listening to The Shat ramble on. Seriously, he could read the phone book for all I care and I'd be thrilled.

I'm still trying to talk the Lewisboro editor into getting me to cover this for our weekly. It hasn't worked yet, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop asking...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All work and no play...


It's been quiet on the blog front and it's going to be that way for a while. I'm diligently working on my website redesign. I can't wait to share it with you!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Caturday


I had this made into a t-shirt for my father last Christmas as a joke. The joke being Addy runs in fear whenever she sees him. Amazing design by Mario, photo of Addy by me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's your normal?

Self portrait before my eye exam

Today I want to talk about personal experiences. I wear glasses for distance; I'm wearing contacts in the photo because I was due for a contact lens fitting. I didn't get glasses until the seventh grade, even though I couldn't see well before then. How was I supposed to know? I distinctly remember sitting in church and thinking that nobody could see the priest's face until you came up for communion, like it was some trick of God's. Why would I think anything else? That's how I always saw the world; that was my normal.

One of my goals last year was to read more. I like to read, so it seemed like a simple goal to accomplish. It wasn't. I read slow. When I read articles online, I scan. I attributed that to the fact that people of my generation are bombarded with information and we want to get to the point as quickly as possible.

I've been waiting to start a new book until after the holidays. As I set aside an hour for reading the other night, I was excited. After that hour was up, I'd only read 40 pages, and I thought, isn't that a pathetic number? For something that I really wanted to read, you'd think I'd be 100 pages in, right?
After an hour of reading, I had a pretty bad headache.

Have you ever seen the commercial for 1-800-CONTACTS? The one about the man with the special eyes? Oh here, I'll show you...


A few years ago, at my eye exam, my doctor made the always concerning exclamation, "Hmm!" He did the test a second time. I asked him what was up. He told me, and I quote, "You have one in a million eyes!" When your eye doctor, who happens to have a lovely South African accent, tells you you have one in a million eyes, you take that compliment with a smile. Well, it turns out, my special eyes aren't such a great thing after all.

I see pencils in front of me. All. The. Time.

I have something called convergence insufficiency. Basically, when I'm looking at something close, i.e. a book or a computer screen, my eyes don't know where to focus. They're supposed to turn inward, but mine turn outward. When you have an insufficiency, you usually have an excess. If convergence equals near, divergence equals far. I should have divergence excess, but I don't. I also have divergence insufficiency. When I look at something far away, my eyes turn inward when they should be turning outward.You know me by now, I don't do anything half way. My eyes don't know where to focus when things are far away either. The combination of the two is what makes my eyes as special as they are.

What do you see there? It says there's supposed to be a 3D shark. It could be a narwhal fencing with a unicorn for all I know; I can't see a thing

What does it mean? Apparently, I have horrible depth perception. I'm completely insufficient! My eyes work twice as hard as other people just to keep things in focus. Again, this is something I've never been aware of. Sure, there have been things that have stuck out. The fact that I've never, ever been able to get one of those magic eye things to work. 3D movies cost more money and all I get after watching them is serious eye fatigue while my friends are ducking and screaming as objects fly at them. There's no way for me to show you what I see.

Travel softball picture of me, circa 1997 in Houston, Texas. (Doesn't my coach in the background look like Elvis???)

I'm completely amazed at the fact that I not only played sports, but I was really good at them. Seriously, my eyes can't see what's coming or going, yet I was a talented catcher from the age of 12 on. I shouldn't be able to hit a ball if my eyes can't focus on it far away or as it comes closer, yet I can. I have ridiculously good hand-eye coordination. I have "astonishing" peripheral vision. (Quotes from my eye doctor.) Somehow, my eyes have found a way around all these things.

It's not like I have no concept of spacial relations; I don't walk into walls because I think the door is in front of me when it's five feet to the right. My brain has become very adept at making sense of the skewed information it's receiving from my wonky eyes. Something tells my brain to turn off one set of signals. That's pretty incredible.


I want to break it down in a way I know my readers will understand...


If we were being hunted by velociraptors, you'd want me around. I won't waste time focusing on the raptor we see. My eyes will be on top of those other two, coming from the sides!

Now I'm just waiting for my computer glasses to come in. They aren't reading glasses; old people get reading glasses and I'm not old. Instead of making things less blurry, computer glasses allow my eyes an opportunity to relax and stop trying so hard to stay in focus. The best way for me to describe it is that every time I blink, my eyes have to refocus, which is why line breaks drive me insane. (Have you noticed that I've made my blog layout as wide as I possibly could or that I give a nice line of white space so that your eyes have a chance to rest?) Again, I never knew this wasn't the same as what everyone else saw.

I could go on and on about self realization, but quite frankly, I need to stare at a TV for a while to give my eyes a rest.