Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New photos

I posted a new image over at eighteenpercent.net. It's my favorite (so far) from the protests this past weekend.

I also put up a few more shots from the weekend on my pbase account. I still have a couple hundred shots to look over, so the gallery will probably grow.

One thing I learned...I need lots more practice shooting crowds. I've seen some other photographers' work (one pro) and it's easy for me to see where huge improvements could be made in my own stuff.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What a Dick

I spent Saturday down in DC at the anti-war protest put on by the ANSWER Coalition, Operation Ceasefire and United for Peace and Justice. While I am, and have always been against this (bullshit, unjust, for-profit) war, I don't support the "bring the troops home now" ideal that was the main idea of many of the marchers. I don't understand how people can justify pulling all of our troops out, after we've toppled a government. It seems to me that that would lead to open class- and civil war in the country, resulting in thousands, hundred thousands, or millions more deaths. We've done a 'heck of a job' fucking the place up. It should fall to us to stabilize things before we abandon it. Basically, I guess it serves us right.

So anyway...

Started the day out driving down town. With over 100,000 expected for the march, plus a few other events going on in the area, I knew parking would be a bitch. So I tossed the singlespeed on the bike rack, grabbed a cable lock, and headed out. My plan was to take Rt66 just into the city, then head north and park a few miles away from the epicenter of activity (the Ellipse at the White House and the Washington Monument). Man, did I underestimate the parking situation. After nearly an hour of roaming every side street known to man (full-on lost a number of times) I made my way over to the Union Station side of town. Eventually, I found one lonely parking space, parked the car, mounted the SS and headed towards the action.

At about 12:30, I arrived on-scene at the Ellipse, where I found 99,999 like-minded folks doing everything from chanting to singing to praying to climbing street signs and waving corporate American flags (I gotta get me one of these!) to just being seen in fantastic costumes. It was looking to be a very animated march. And by far, the biggest I'd ever been a part of.

After milling about taking scores of random photos for an hour past the scheduled march start-time, things finally got moving slowly up 15th Street. The march was pretty uneventful on the whole (damn peace-niks! Where were the riots? Everybody loves pictures of riots!), but as we walked in front of the White House (in the street-cum-parklike "please don't blow up our president" zone), emotions ran high. I continued marching with the crowd until we passed the north side of Lafayette Park where I decided I wanted to spend more time in front of the White House. I cut south through the park and wandered around the "please don't blow up our president" zone for a while more. It was here that I got my favorite shot of the day. The devil (ok, probably not "the" devil, but one of his minions, no doubt) held a puppeteer's rod (you know...the stick thingies to which strings are attached, which in turn control puppets). To this puppeteer's rig was attached 'Dick Cheney', also holding a puppeteer's rod, which in turn was attached to 'W' who was holding an inflatable globe, a quart of oil, and a soft pretzel(?). It was a fantastic costume setup. I (and every other photographer in the immediate area) snapped off dozens of shots. As the other photographers moved on, I kept snapping when Mr. Cheney looked right at me and told me I was #1!

(Worth noting that when I scaled this image to the correct width (400 pixels) the height became 666 pixels. Coincidence? I doubt it).

After a highlight like that (not to mention that I had already spent 2 hours more time there than I had planned on), I figured nothing could top it and decided to head for home. I made a bee-line hike back towards my bike, straight down 14th to Constitution, skipping the Pennsylvania Ave and Constitution parts of the "official" march. A quick pedal up Constitution on the SS (which was very cool, since Constitution was still closed for the march, and the last few thousand marchers were still coming in, so I got to ride upstream in their midst), and I was back at Union Station and the car. A few detours later I was out of the city and heading for home.

I had originally planned on going back into DC for the concert and speakers later Saturday evening, but was pretty wiped by the end of the day. So I blew it off. I didn't realize that there were other protests going on Sunday (including a pro-war march). Had I known about them, I would prolly have gone back down in hopes of getting some confrontations on film (err...you know what I mean).

Interesting numbers that I heard regarding the march:

* The anti-war organizers had hoped for 100,000 people. Estimates were anywhere between 150,000 (DC police chief) and 300,000 (event organizers). I'd bet closer to 300k. It's nice to see that there are lots of people fed up with the war machine.

* Counter demonstrators on Saturday were numbered under 200 from what I heard on the news, and fewer than 400 on Sunday. From what I read, they were hoping for 20,000+. Interesting that they still claim they speak for the majority of Americans.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

See, I *told* you Google Earth was cool!

From Slashdot:

"Google Earth Used to Find Ancient Roman Villa"

and the direct link to the (brief) article:

"Enthusiast uses Google to reveal Roman ruins"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


One of the local singlespeed bike guys works for a rather cool company (plug). They are donating $1 for each click on a link on their web page (link below), up to $20,000. Why they make us jump through the hoop and don't just cut a check for $20k is beyond me. But at least they're doing something.

His original post on the bikecentric blog is below.


One Click Equals One Buck...


no doubt we have all been shocked at the absolute disaster that Katrina caused in the south. Now I usually try to keep my work life and my secret identity as a single speeder with bad sideburns totally seperate, however the company I work for, which is a pretty outstanding company, is doing somethign really cool. They are donating $1 to AmeriCare for every click that they get on this website:


So if you have a few seconds, and want to help make a difference click on over and click the magic button. Please share with your friends, and family. Click 'till it hurts folks.

much respect,

Monday, September 12, 2005

New Photo Up

Posted a new photo to eighteenpercent.net.

I spent a few hours at Huntley Meadows park in Alexandria just after sunrise on Sunday morning. I unfortunately didn't see much wildlife. (The story is that the beavers who maintained the dam (which created/preserved the marshland) have moved on due to lack of food in the area. Their old dam has washed away, so the marshland has drained. As a result, 99.9% of the bird life around there has moved on. It's actually really sad. You would think the park service would construct some kind of man-made dam (but keep it natural looking) to allow the marshland to build back up. After all, what's the point of a park based on marshland, if there's no marshland? You got a park with a boardwalk through the grass. Not too exciting. But I digress...).

Anyway...the one bit of interesting nature I saw was a bigass spider who had caught a full sized cicada in it's web. I set up the tripod and spent something more than 2 hours shooting the morning meal. I used every combination of lens, 1.4x teleconverter, and tripod position I could. Obviously, the nice 200mm lens produced the best images. The 200mm with TC the next nicest, crappy 300mm the worst (tho not at all bad). I was pretty surprised with the quality of the crappy 300mm and TC. Not great. Probably not even "very good". But not horrible. Definitely good enough for making small WWW shots. And it's 672mm (35mm equivalent) when you add up the digital crop factor and TC. Pretty long.

As a size reference, this flavor of cicada is about 2.5" (via this page), including wings. Which makes that the biggest spider I've ever seen around here. Ew.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Name Game

For lack of better content, I think I'll start a list...people (in the news) who should be given a free pass to change their names. All expense paid. For they were not responsible for what their parents did to them. The first two names on my list are:

Ms. Michelle Biatch


Mr. Rick Shaw

Rick was interviewed on one of the news programs about Katrina. Poor little Michelle (maybe 10 years old) was featured in a newspaper article a year or two ago. She's gonna have a traumatic middle/high school experience, I'd bet.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mapping goodness (or badness, as the case may be)

Google Maps have updated their New Orleand data with post-Katrina images. Zoom, click, drag to see what there is to see. Note the red "Katrina" button on the top right side of the map. Fascinating stuff. You can see pre-Katrina images by clicking the "Satelliet" button for comparison.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dark Days

Farewell, Gilligan. Actor Bob Denver died last Friday (damn hurricane getting all the attention) at age 70.

I don't have many memories of growing up. Not sure why. I'm not repressing anything (that I can remember, heh). I just don't. But one of the few memories I do have is watching Gilligan's Island (reruns, by the time I saw them) with mom way back in the day. So I've always had a soft spot for that show, along with MASH and Hogan's Heros (for the same reason). So the day Gilligan checks out is a sad day indeed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Other people's brushes with fame

Props to Spearman on having his "Big Meats" drawing published in the "Reader Art" section of the latest Dirt Rag (issue #116). See the image here (since I can't find it on the DR web site).

Further props to RickyD on being the "Readings" poster boy. No matter how disturbing the picture may be.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Another brush with fame

Ok, so "fame" might be a bit strong of a word, but one of my submissions did get picked up for the Image Of The Day over at The Cellar.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The end is near

Another harbinger of the end of humanity as we know it. If we, as a society, need to be told things like this, we don't deserve to exist anymore.

As seen on the trash cans at a rest stop along I95 in MA or CT (I forget which):