One of, what I would say is becoming tradition is when I head home I typically fly in via DC in order to spend a day or two with my sister. Unfortunately we don’t see each other more than about 2 times a year but it is always fun to explore her turf with her.
I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I have in the past but we had a chance to do a bit of exploring. One of the places that we visited was the Crime and Punishment museum. This place has a lot of memorabilia from famous gangsters, mobsters and of course devices of torture back to the earliest times. Parts of it are fascinating, parts of it are horrifying but it is pretty interesting. Turns out that is also where Americas most wanted is filmed as well so we explored the set a bit as well.
(sorry about the quality on this one, that’s what happens when you are ramped up to 6400 ISO, 60×4.0!)
Oh and of course the “CAUGHT!” pic
After leaving we were left to our devices at night in DC. I can’t say that I have explored monuments at night there before but it was pretty interesting to check out. We wanted to check out the brand new MLK memorial and on the way we saw the sights. The WWII memorial is a very beautiful structure at night. I really enjoyed seeing it all lit up.
The Washington Monument is also very impressive and after the earthquake it is apparent that it has some damage. We could see some of the chunks that had fallen out, some cracks that were apparent as well, though you had to get pretty close to see that stuff.
Onward and upward we arrived at the MLK memorial. I think it is a great monument, the detail is incredible in the carving but more important in my mind is the quotes that line the memorial.
I quickly became pretty fascinated with the silhouettes of the other people who were reading the quotes. I enjoyed seeing them become part of the memorial as they enjoyed it.
Oh and of course, this little girl was awesome, she kept saying “I want to see Dr King!” I think she found him!
After a couple days in DC, Meg, Val and I headed up to Pennsylvania to enjoy the holidays. It’s always great to spend a couple days catching up!
Yeah, I don’t know what it is, but there is something about a Hot Air Balloon that will bring the neighbors out of their houses. People who have lived next door to one another for years will actually say Hi to one another because of this little event. Every once and a while they will fly from or land at my house. I am sure it is more often than I know, but there are some big fields nearby and they tend to make use of them when they can.
Today they flew in again and as I sat in my livingroom sipping my coffee I thought to myself. What is that sound? Then it occurred to me exactly what it was. I stepped outside and 4 balloons were in the sky and one touched down just 200 yards away. I looked outside and the neighborhood was beginning to emerge from their houses and I stepped out and grabbed my bike to go explore.
I passed by the first to touchdown because it had already been deflated when I got there so I rode onward to the next. I could see it just touching down in the distance and it was definitely a bit of a race to get there before they deflated the balloon. Of course the maze of streets that I was unfamiliar with in that direction proved to be a bit of a challenge. When I arrived the balloon was still inflated and the pilot was just beginning his sequence of deflating it. He hopped out and grabbed a rope then started tugging on it as another passenger in the basket was pulling a separate cord.
As the balloon quickly deflated it was pretty impressive to watch. One person seemed like a small crew to be able to handle such a large beast of material. I mean, I kite can be a handful for one person and here is a guy manhandling hundreds of square feet of material blowing in the wind. Pretty impressive.
When I began to ride away I looked back. It was interesting to see how many people had gathered! The crowd was pretty impressive and the pilot probably could have started signing autographs with how many people were approaching him!
Now as a side note. The last time that I shot some photos of a balloon landing by my house was a couple years ago. That time I woke up to a balloon probably 40ft over my house which ended up landing just 100 yards away in a field. Imagine waking up to a large pig flying over your roof as your house is engulfed in shadow…
I have always been a fan of urban art. I do have this small issue with things like “breaking the law” and “vandalizing property.” Yeah, call me snotty or whatever but I guess I have this sense that maybe I can participate without any permanent alteration of a current location. How could I create something that people could enjoy and maybe even catch people off guard without creating a permanent mark on the area?
That question boggled my mind for a while. I spend time on http://www.woostercollective.com/ looking at peoples art. some of it doesn’t provide a permanent mark, but may blow away becoming another piece of litter in the street. Some of it leaves behind a permanent mark that, though beautiful, may not be welcomed by the owner of the location. So finally the idea was born. What material could become this urban art. What material could both serve the purpose of stimulating ideas and trigger emotions in people but would also completely disappear without any sign in the future. Water.
My project began with molding processes. Creating molds of my hand and my friend Matt’s hand. We created Ice hands.
These have incredible detail. Every wrinkle and every detail in my hand was transferred to the mold.
Last year I created many of these hands but they stayed local. I never was able to transport them effectively and therefore I could never really get them out beyond my neighborhood. So this year i decided that I needed something that was smaller, more portable and easier to assemble. I looked high and low and created gears. Gears! How simple and how nice to be able to create dynamic assemblies! Maybe one day I can make the function as well.
The beautiful thing about these gears is their simplicity. Individually they are interesting, they have nice detail and they are clearly precise parts, but together they take on an organic shape, they contour to the landscape and they interact with the other gears to create a chain or even an organism of some sort that is able to traverse the contours that it is crossing.
As they melt they begin to take on their own life as well. They sink and fall and they separate and find their own way to dissolve into nothing.
It is difficult dealing with ice however, it sticks together, it melts and it basically does everything very quickly. Transportation isn’t easy. Coolers aren’t good enough usually, but I am working on a plan. Hopefully there will be some new sculptures out in time for the Art Walk in Denver. Hopefully the weather cooperates… I guess you never know but more pictures will surely follow.
It has been several years now that I have shot Hells Belles. It started off with a simple phone call and after I showed them my first shots I have been shooting many of their local shows ever since. I like the challenge of using the “natural” light of a venue. Some venues are definitely more of a challenge than others and some lighting tech’s are more challenging than others.
The Belles are always good fun to shoot and they really do put on a great show! I hadn’t shot them for about 2 years when I finally got a new camera recently and figured it was time to stretch its legs! So how about we see what I got!
Check out that guy smiling…kinda seems out of place doesn’t he?
Anyhow, The new camera is great, sharp pix. I find it to seem a bit less sensitive than my old camera, so I find that I have to shoot a bit lower shutter speed. I also think it really soaks up the reds a lot. so I may have to adjust a bit to that, overall i’m fairly satisfied with the results.
Here are a few favorites from the past several years with the old 1DMKII
Anyhow, if you have never seen the Belles, check them out. They put on an amazing show and it is always worth the price of admission! Hells Belles Website
I have known about Ice racing in Georgetown for years but this year was the first that I have participated. I was fortunate to have a good friend, Jon Coln, that was motivating to the point of letting me borrow his wheels/tires to go play on the ice. So lets give a bit of an idea of what Georgetown Ice racing is all about.
The Ice racing at Georgetown is organized through a group called Our Gang Ice Racing. They are a group of Jeep guys/gals primarily that have been racing up there for many years. This is a close knit group of families that all race together. Mothers, daughters, fathers and sons all have turns behind the wheel. Everyone has responsibilities besides their races as well. There are people who set up the track, others who manage registration, some who run the races and others who help keep everything organized. Overall it is a fun group who just want to go out and play with some big kid toys. I have been going to the meetings as well and this is a really fun group of people. I thought I’d feel like an outsider, but they were incredibly welcoming and pretty much excited that I was willing to go to their meetings.
When Jon and I went out there the first time we were met with a bit of disbelief. The suby with the studs was a big hit with the locals. We would pull up in line and the officials would mention that “everyones asking about the ‘subaru with the roof rack on it.'” Every time we stopped the car people would come and check out the studs and ask us where we got them. The next time we headed up both of us had studs and they got a bit pickier about the legality of them by their rules. The studs that Jon had were a little outside of the rules which indicated that in a 7-1/8 inch circle you may have 20 studs or less. Jon’s wheels had 30 studs in a 7-1/8 circle. It seems that at first they were willing to let him race anyway since the tires were only 5 inches wide and all the comp Jeeps have tires that are 12 inches wide. In addition they figured the Comp jeeps are lighter with more horsepower and purpose build braking helps them get around corners faster. Unfortunately one of the other drivers questioned the tires and based on the count he had to switch out. This put him and I on Continental Contact Ice racing tires. These tires have 17mm studs (rather than 20mm studs) and have them at a density of approximately 15 studs in a 7-1/8 inch circle. We are going to propose an amendment to the rule at the preseason meeting however that asks for a count of the number of studs contacting the ice rather than the number within a set circle. (the comp Jeeps have, at my count, 36+ studs on the ground at any given time)
Ok enough of the technical talk. Lets get to the fun stuff!
Friday I went up to the lake for their Practice day aka a fun day. The practice days are just a free for all. You can race anyone and you can run as many laps as you can bring yourself to run. My co-worker Stephen came out. He had raced once before and has gotten the bug as well. This time Dave Kern came up to join us. Dave is an actual professional driver and a very impressive one as well. In addition to those two guys Matt from BikeRadar came up to join us as well. Matt was doing a review on a set of Dugast studded tubular tires and this was a fun way to compare them. We arrived up on the lake and switched out tires. I had a chance to go ride along with Stephen in his pristine 325ix. This thing is so nice inside and out and it is nearly 25 years old! After racing in the bimmer we took my car out for a spin. the studs just tear into the ice and it is quite an eye opener when you experience it for the first time.
Eventually Jon got out on the ice as well and we had a chance to race, then Dave arrived as well. Dave didn’t have a car to drive so I let him drive mine around. He was great with tips and pointers every time I drove. and when he drove it was fun just to watch the lightning fast movements that he was doing to constantly control every aspect of the car. We battled with my ABS and hoped to turn it off, but unfortunately had trouble getting that to happen.
Throughout the day I was playing with my new GoPro HD camera. This is also a fun toy…for me at least. But I had a good time finding angles that would look good on camera. I put together a little video from that footage as well.
I put a quick vid up of Dave driving as well, this one you can hear the engine just screaming!
At the end of the day I had logged over 9.5 miles of driving at full throttle on the ice. This is in 1/4 mile increments since each track is probably 1/4 to 1/3rd of a mile. We maxed out at 35.1 miles an hour as well, which I would say is pretty impressive considering how small the courses are and how tight they are as well.
We even had a couple fans. While I was in the pit I talked to a couple people who pulled off the highway to come check it out and were drawn to the fast subies on the studs!
This was the last weekend for racing this year. There is actually plenty of Ice up there, but this was the championship weekend so the next race will be on New Years day…I CAN’T WAIT!