16 March 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Norris...So Long, Mr. Moore

Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are known today as giraffes.

 The square root of Chuck Norris is PAIN. 

Godzilla is a Japanese rendition of Chuck Norris' first visit to Tokyo.

When Bruce Banner gets mad, he turns into the Hulk. When the Hulk gets mad, he turns into Chuck Norris. 

Yes, We live in an expanding universe. All of it is trying to get away from Chuck Norris.

Model, Joan "By the Serenity Pool"

Last week I attended the WPPI 2010 Trade Show and got my hands on a few interesting new products that I think could be helpful in my arsenal of photo works. And then I also encountered a booth that promoted their wedding albums at every 3.2 stations I passed by. Good GRIEF! I think there should be a limit to how much of one product or service that we should be inundated with. They were like the porn card pushers you encounter on the Las Vegas strip.There's got to be some regulation on that sort of thing. Of everything that I came across, I think the most intriguing thing and funniest was the View-Master style reels and views being offered by Celebrations3D. Everybody had a View-Master when we were kids. To see one now, was both funny and a potentially great novelty to promote. It wasn't all that cheap though, but it could be well worth it to pursue. Check 'em out.

A few days before the WPPI trade show, I also did a certification training seminar for the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation, which is a special organization of which I have recently become a volunteer. The workshop proved to be very insightful for me. In a nutshell, this group was founded about 5 years ago to help parents deal with the grief of giving birth to a stillborn child or one who is not expected to be in this world very long. This is a nationwide foundation that collaborates with hospitals and parents to provide professional portraiture of these babies free of charge for the families as a remembrance that these babies were actually here and to confirm that they did indeed exist. A birth certificate is certainly a certification of proof of life. However a photograph truly announces to the world that a life existed today and has left an indelible impact on the world, even if that world only consists of a mother and a father. 

I've taken a personal interest in promoting this cause because they could use a few more photographers to lend a hand and serve this need. I understand that this is not for everybody. It's actually a good thing for you to know your limitations and accept them, if even just for the time being until those limits change. For those of you wishing to find out more about NILMDTS, you can visit the website,www.NILMDTS.org. A documentary has recently been produced on DVD entitled Capturing a Short Life. You can view a short trailer on the film by going to it's website and then selecting the TRAILER tab. www.capturingashortlife.com. If this is something you feel you have a heart for, please consider a closer look and become well informed before making a decision. I believe this to be a cause worthy, not only for consideration, but also service. 

You'd think that a person who's dedicated to his craft would know 90% about the history of their chosen field. Sort of like an actor who knows of all the notables who came before him; or the musician who has studied all the famous artists of her genre. I'm so not there yet. There are a whole bunch of photographers. I was talking to a lady on the phone today who asked me about a few photogs here in Vegas. I think I had heard of one. Vegas is chock full of photographers. Even moreso than a Chips A'Hoy cookie has chocolate chips that you are promised to get in every bite. Well, in a little bigger news, I was surprised to see a good friend of mine make a message board post about Charles Moore who passed away at the age of 79. This guy was the front and center photographer who was up close and personal getting many of the shots from the civil rights days. According to Wikipedia, he also covered conflicts in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Venezuela, and also Haiti. He was all over, but he's mostly know for his shots traveling throughout the South.

I've seen his shots, but never knew who took them. The images were so powerful in nature that, I just never bothered to ask who the author was. You were too emotional about the images and the people in them. He's got the one image of the demonstrators being hit with  high-pressure water hose. Finding out who took the picture would have been the last thing on your mind unless you were a newspaper editor and needed it on your front page. No, in this case your heart would inevitably go out to the young black people being blasted with the water and then become so angered by such atrocities that you want to cry out. But you don't really stop to ask how the images came to be. Until my friend Scott, mentioned it, I never knew the man. The guy certainly put his life on the line to get these shots. It was one thing to be black during these days. But being white and supportive of black causes could have been even more appalling. You can see one of his books at Amazon, "Powerful Days: The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore". Do a Google Image search on his name. 

These are images of Joan who wanted to see how I might capture her with a camera. I was humbled that she felt I was the right guy to do these shots and was very pleased that she enjoyed them. Being so uninhibited made her easy to shoot and I knew things were flowing well when we were interrupted by 3 hikers and her clothes were out of reach. There was no sense of anxiety. I even gave some directions to the hikers to help find a path up the canyon walls since I had been up there before and gotten stuck.We kept on shooting for another few hours and called it a day. AND she waited patiently for me to edit the shots. As anxious as she was, she never called me once about them to ask to see "some" of them. It was a cool shoot. Expect more. 

Oh, Chuck Norris recently had a birthday and turned 70. Thought I'd share some interesting facts I found out about him from Chuck Norris Facts.com.

  • James Cameron wanted Chuck Norris to play the Terminator. However, upon reflection, he realized that would have turned his movie into a documentary, so he went with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding. 
  • According to Einstein's theory of relativity, Chuck Norris can actually roundhouse kick you yesterday. 
  • Chuck Norris CAN divide by zero.
  • Police label anyone attacking Chuck Norris as a Code 45-11.... a suicide.
  • Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and GOT one.
  •  If you spell Chuck Norris in Scrabble, you win. FOREVER...
  • Google won't search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don't find Chuck Norris, he finds you.
  • Chuck Norris uses a night light. Not because Chuck Norris is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris' first job was as a paperboy. There were no survivors.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Titanic didn't hit an iceberg. The ship was off course and accidentally ran into Chuck Norris while he was doing the backstroke across the Atlantic. 
  • Human cloning is outlawed because if Chuck Norris were cloned, then it would be possible for a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to meet another Chuck Norris roundhouse kick. Physicists theorize that this contact would end the universe. 
  •  There are no such things as tornadoes. Chuck Norris just hates trailer parks. 
  • Chuck Norris and Mr. T walked into a bar. The bar was instantly destroyed, as that level of awesome cannot be contained in one building. 
  • Chuck Norris does not follow fashion trends, they follow him. But then he turns around and kicks their ass. Nobody follows Chuck Norris.
  • When an episode of Walker Texas Ranger was aired in France, the French surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side.

04 March 2010

Death Valley First Visit

It always rains on tents.  Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.  ~Dave Barry

How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?  ~Author Unknown

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.... People think pleasing God is all God care about.  But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.  
~Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982

Its been a very interesting past two weeks or so that has been both a kick in the 'nads as well as a breath of fresh air. Its definitely been drama city over the last few weeks, but I think I'll concentrate on the breath of fresh air part. To start with, last weekend, I took the opportunity to head to Death Valley and camp out there with some friends. So let me give a big-ups to Soibhan (pronounced, Shev-on), for arranging the whole thing for us campers. She still had several people RSVP and then bail on her at the last minute which is totally unsat in my book. She booked the camp sites for us and put this thing together and asked politely that anyone who had a change of plans to announce the fact early. All the slots filled and still 7 people no-showed or cancelled at the last minute. Ridiculous. But I'm glad I was able to be a last minute addition. I found out about it the day before, so I jumped on it.

Death Valley isn't but about 2 to 2 and a half hours from Vegas, which is good. I plan on treating this place much like I did with Zion National Park when I first got here. I drove out there at least 5 times in less than 2 months. There was just so much to explore and I wanted to get to know the place. It's so beautiful out there. I've still yet to do my main project of hiking the Narrows from top to bottom with a model, but it'll happen. I may not do Death Valley every weekend like I did Zion, but I'll be making multiple trips to explore the place. A car may suffice, but I'd much rather be in a truck. I rode with Soibhan who has a small SUV that was surprisingly roomy and comfortable.

This trip didn't pan out as well as I had hoped. DV is the lowest place below sea level in North America. It boasts the hottest temperatures in the western hemisphere of 134 degrees, just shy of the wold record of 136. The place gets less than 2 inches or rain a year! Yet THIS WEEKEND, it rained on us almost the whole time. Our campsite flooded around us. Fortunately we were on higher ground at Furnace Creek, but the same couldn't be said of some neighbors from India. Three of them were camped about 20 feet in front of us and found their gear and tents in a foot of water. On and off, the rains came on Saturday til about just after midnight on Sunday morning. Our potluck had to be quickly eaten, but we did chill by the fire...in the rain, but it wasn't coming down in torrents at least. I still took out my camera to get some portraits of everyone, and it got wet enough that I had to let is sit for a few hours the next day to let it dry out. Mainly the lens and the settings LCD screen fogged up. I didn't get any landscape shots until the ride home, but that's okay. I'll be back. And next time, I'll have a rain bag to operate my camera no mater what the forecast. We knew it was supposed to rain, just not that much for so long. I mean, come on...it's Death Valley!