Million Mask March in Denver

November 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Denver Anonymous-mask-with-roses

Anonymous In Front Of Denver Capitol Dome

    Yesterday I went to the Capitol building in Denver, Colorado to take photos of the Million Mask March. This worldwide event, taking place for the second year in a row is organized by the hacktivist group, Anonymous. They are the group that has a cosmic connection to Guy Fawkes, an early 1600’s Englishman involved in what we know today as The Gunpowder Plot. In a nutshell, he was a catholic that wanted to oust the ruling protestant monarchy but the plot was discovered by means an anonymous letter delivered to King James. Over the next 400 years, Fawkes and his likeness in the form of a mask came to be seen as symbols of protest and by 2008 as a symbol for Anonymous. The first time it got onto my radar was when I was covering the 2011 Occupy movement in San Diego.

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Anonymous Flag In Denver

    Anonymous has their own flag which is specific to the group while the mask is a general symbol of protest. At a protest or march organized by Anonymous you’ll see both of them.

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Protest Signs In Denver

    So, what was this protest about and what does Anonymous stand for? If you ask a room full of people you will get a room full of different answers. As you’ll see from the signs and posters in this post, there are many different points of view and many statements being made.

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Protest Signs On Broadway

    The evil of money was a common theme for this march. Our current status quo allows for people with more money to garner more influence, protection and power via political contributions and lobbying. It is not uncommon to see the right thing be ignored in order to go with a more profitable option. The mere fact that a term like “personal political gain” exists in a democracy should be a very telling thing.

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Political Protest Signs

    Another issue at hand for the march is capitalism itself. The way money is made has become a problematic for a lot of people because of the way it is tied to politics and the way politics is tied to capitalism. I’m not an economist or a politician so I won’t try to give my uneducated take on the matter but as the reader, you should look into points being made by these protesters and make up your own mind. Spending a week getting your news from sources other than mainstream media will help you do this.

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Lobbyist Sign

    Aside from reading the posters, I listened to what many of the protesters had to say. A lot of them are unhappy that corporations have the same rights as a person, the way mainstream media only reports stories that promote an agenda, failure to report on dissent and as a rise in the police state.

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Anti Police Poster At Million Mask March

    I have never been roughed up by a cop or thrown in jail but I have had a few run-ins with police officers that didn’t like me recording them in public. In 2009 I was kicked out of a San Diego trolley station after recording them arrest a man for smoking. Usually its security guards that give me the most grief over taking photos or recording video in public but a lot of them are police officers moonlighting so the cop mentality really does show through. The fact of the matter is that police like to be obeyed and rarely admit when they do something wrong. That is why so many people turn on their cameras during an interaction with a police officer; video footage provides a record that may or may not contradict what a cop writes on a report. The point is that when a camera is present, police can’t lie their way out of bad behavior. There is an excellent website, “Photography Is Not A Crime” that collects instances of police being recorded and challenging photographers for doing so. Anyway, all this reading and listening took place before the march started. As the sun set, preparations and instructions for the march started to happen.

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Million Mask March In Denver Group Photo

    I was very impressed with how organized the march was. Anonymous may not have a leader but there were leaders for this march and they did a great job keeping the chaos organized and keeping the protesters on task. There was a core group that worked together to decide what the route for the march would be and whose job it was to keep the group together once the marching started. It was stressed many times that the group had to remain together; no one should ever be more than two feet away from anybody else. I made quick friends with another photographer covering the march so we agreed to be buddies during the march; just in case. A group photo was organized, the PA system was broken down and the march started at about 6pm. They headed out on Colfax and onto the 16th Street Mall.

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Marching Through The Streets

    It is worth noting that with the exception of a Spanish language news channel, there was no media or police at the capitol building the entire time. There were some bloggers and a few live streamers but for the most part, the documentation of the march fell on the shoulders of the protesters themselves.

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Marching Down The 16th Street Mall

    Again, I need to give mad props to the leaders of this particular rally. They had runners that would shout directions to the protesters, kept them on the sidewalk when necessary and made sure the route went through the most populated areas of LoDo. I would say that about 90 percent of the route stayed on the 16th Street Mall and it was while on the mall that a slight police presence started to form. Since the protesters were adamant on staying together, red lights and calls of, “Hold the line!” kept the group moving slower than a parade so the police (motorcycle and bicycle) held a respectable 1 block distance ahead of the protesters. When the march stopped, the police stopped, when the march started moving, so did the police. At this point there was very little tension and no words exchanged between them.

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Million Mask March Aproaces Union Station

    After a few zigs and zags, the march headed towards Denver’s iconic Union Station. As I mentioned before, there were not a lot of police so as a photographer I was running up and down and all around the protesters without much worry about being singled out by law enforcement. When I realized the group was heading towards Union Station, I ran up ahead to frame some shots. When I got there, I saw lots of police wearing riot gear.

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Denver Riot Police At Union Station

    I got to the station about 60 seconds ahead of the march so as the group got closer, the police walked forward about 10 feet so they were standing in the street, facing the protesters. The next few minutes for me were the tensest of the evening. The march stopped at the intersection of 17th Street and Wynkoop, where the police had gathered. At this point some chanting against the police started to happen and a few people walked out from the group to flip them off and draw invisible lines they dared the police to cross. The police did not interfere with the exception of shining a few lights into a few cameras. The police helicopter showed up as well, lighting the scene from above. The way the police were stationed made it very clear that if the march proceeded west of Wynkoop, things would get ugly.

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Anonymous On The 16th Street Mall

    Eventually, the protesters simply hung a left turn and went back to 16th Street. Now all the police were behind, following them up the mall. A couple times the entire group did an about face and walked towards the police but as before, the police stayed back by at least a block so there was no real confrontation. The group then walked to the Money Museum at The Federal Reserve Bank where there were some speeches and chanting. It was at this point that I left the march to head home.

    My final thoughts on the evening were positive all around. The organizers kept people in line, even going so far as to make sure that trash was picked up from the gathering site at the capitol. I thought the police showed great professionalism and restraint. I did not personally see any altercations nor did I see any guns drawn or tears gas canisters fired. So, I’ll leave it at that. I do think you should do some independent research and question things that you have been taught are true yet in your heart you feel are wrong. Remember, the earth was flat for hundreds of years until free thinkers brought it around to its proper shape. Cheers!

Occupy San Diego Is Dead

November 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

occupy-san-diego-general-assembly-night

Occupy San Diego On It’s Deathbed

    Back in December 2011 I photographed Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego because the Occupy San Diego movement was going on and according to what I had read online, it was a force to be reckoned with. Not so much. At the time I predicted that the movement would be dead by the beginning of the New Year. It did in fact die. The photos for this post were taken on January 9, 2012. This was less than two weeks after my initial post and as you can see, nothing was happening.

Occupy San Diego General Assembly

Goodnight And Good Luck

    I’m not knocking the occupy movement but I am saying that it didn’t accomplish a damn thing. They should learn from two other organizations that always get what they want; the NRA and the AARP. There are never any marches, rallies or sit-ins for these two groups. You never see a gang of people with guns marching down Main Street any more than you see senior citizens shuffling down the road demanding an increase in their benefits. Why? Because the have the brains to know that marching does not accomplish a damn thing. They organize and vote! All you natural born citizens that stupidly wonder why your government can’t get 12 million illegal aliens out of your country is because their family members vote. All you do is complain about foreigners at a booth at Denny’s as you eat a meal made by the people you don’t want in your country!

Space Invader In San Diego

November 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Space Invaders In San Diego

Space Invader In Horton Plaza

    Invader is an international street artist who, back in 2010 invaded the city of San Diego, California. He’s the guy that uses tiles to create 8-bit themed, video game inspired mosaics which he then sticks onto whatever public structure or building strikes his fancy. Space Invaders, the 1980’s video game from which he drew his alias and inspiration for most of his art has become a universal symbol for the artist. This has had the affect of combining his alias with what he does. He is a space invader, participating in one invasion after another. His technique for displaying his art is brilliantly simple; if he wants a city to see what he’s up to, he just sticks his art up all around that city! The hazy shade of illegal that street artists like Invader cultivate is a very good thing because of how it affects and encourages the people of the invaded cities.

    Street artists transform urban landscapes into interactive adventures that will inspire you to get out and explore your city. Street art cannot be accomplished or observed from a couch; you have to get up off your ass and GO SOMEWHERE in order to see it! This adventure involves a lot of walking, smiling and photography.

Space Invaders In San Diego

Space Invader In Gaslamp District – San Diego, CA

    When Space Invader was in San Diego, he placed twenty-one mosaic pieces on various buildings, overpasses and structures. Souvenir hunters and black market art collectors are starting to chip away at what Invader left behind, so I would very highly recommend that you do a little homework and then set out on a downtown San Diego walking adventure. Street art is not always easy to see, even when you know where to look, so keep your eyes peeled. What you will discover is that an adventure like this is a gift that keeps on giving because you will find OTHER things that you’ll want to come back and see some other time. When you go on a street art walk, it’s very different than going on a regular walk. Street art forces you to engage the city in a completely different way, and you will notice that right away. Cheers!

Rob Hurlbut On The Las Vegas Strip

February 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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    Most of the time I spent in Las Vegas, while covering CES 2012 was spent taking pictures. CES was unbelievably big and besides the physicality of the event a problem I had was finding a way to make all the cool things I saw at the show translate in a cool way in my photos. I failed and I say that with the utmost of dignity; being worthy enough to be issued a pass, being financed enough to make the trip and being experienced enough to survive five days in Las Vegas ended up being the nuts and bolts of my trip, so it was a resounding success.

rob hurlbut at caesars-palace-holy-shrine

    I did take it upon myself to take some self portraits whilst walking around the Las Vegas Strip. While I was at Caesars Palace I came across the place of worship you see above. The Romans, the society responsible for the empire that paid for the original Caesars Palace were Pagans; they worshiped many different Gods and it was a Quid Pro Quo situation. I lingered at this place for a very long time, lighting & placing incense as I moved about the four stations of prayer. I asked for help and guidance with many things. The word I was looking for at the time was clarity and I do believe the time I spent contemplating at this shrine will give me the clarity I want to enable myself for the success I need.

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    I am a photographer that stays behind my camera most the time. Think of me what you will, but I see myself as a modern day gunslinger, so you will answer to my weapon before I answer to you. I really do love being a photographer, I love to travel and I love to show the world where I’ve been, things I’ve seen and things I’m going to do.

rob-hurlbut-in-a-mirror in a bathroom in the MGM Grand

    I’d like to take a break and talk a little bit about the public bathrooms in Las Vegas. They are awesome. Every casino, every hotel and every corner store has a bathroom and none of them will have any problem with you dropping a deuce or clearing your bladder at any time of the day or night. “The Bathrooms of Las Vegas” is probably the title of a blog post just waiting to happen and I’ll read it when it comes out but it’s just too shitty an assignment for me to personally take on at this moment in time.

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    Mercifully I had to get back to San Diego, so after 5 days and 4 nights in fabulous Las Vegas, it was time to get on a plane and get back to the real world. The photo you see above was taken with one of the last bits of strength I had, which was barely enough to press the shutter release button. I don’t remember any details after this shot was taken; I fell asleep and somehow made it from the airport back to my place without incident. After tending to all the bumps & bruises the laundry and the photos, I stand by my original assessment, which was that the trip was a five star, top shelf, resounding success.

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    Southwest Airlines is the airline I recommend for any air travel that begins or ends within the United States of America because their employees rock and their prices are the best in the industry. They’ll never hassle you about your carry-on luggage, they’ll let you travel with a small dogs or a cat and and they serve booze on their planes. No other airline is as cool as Southwest and that is a fact. I really do believe their business model is the way of the future and very much look forward to watching as Delta, American and all the other overpriced, baggage fee price-gouging airlines are forced to change how they operate, courtesy of Southwest Airlines. They photo above really was my last act and honestly, I don’t remember taking it, but it did seem like a great photo to anchor this post because travel always involves some form of conveyance and air travel is about the best there is when it’s on Southwest. Cheers!

Las Vegas Strip At Night

January 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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MGM Grand Lion Glares At New York Across Las Vegas Blvd

    Less than a year after attending the Nightclub & Bar Convention I found myself in Las Vegas again, this time to cover CES 2012.  This was my first time at the show so suffice to say it was a lot of fun and just about as close to overwhelming as you can possibly get.  Now that I’ve had a week to think about the show and edit some photos I do have a prediction that will merge some of the most impressive things I saw at CES:

    Waterproof 3D Eye Controlled Touch Screen Technology will be huge.

    I’ll elaborate on that in future posts.  For now, it will be all about photography and the 8mm fish-eye lens that was my solo companion as I walked through CES and the Las Vegas Strip for 4 days and nights.

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In Front Of Luxor Hotel Pyramid, Sphinx & Obelisk

    For me the Las Vegas Strip ends at Tropicana Blvd. so I never make it to Luxor or Mandalay Bay unless I make a specific trip just for those two places, which is exactly what I did for this trip.  I hadn’t been to the Shark Reef aquarium in Mandalay Bay for almost 10 years and I had never set foot inside Luxor so this was practically a new adventure for me.

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Inside Luxor Pyramid, Looking Straight Up

    Luxor is has more curb appeal than anything else, so I just did a quick run through the place.  A pyramid has a lot of attic space that you just can’t do much with other than stare at so I was not impressed and due to its location on the strip, I recommend you stay somewhere else, farther north on Las Vegas Blvd.

Jellyfish aquarium at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Jellyfish at Shark Reef Predator Aquarium In Mandalay Bay

    On the other hand, Mandalay Bay was an incredibly vast and visually appealing place to spend a few hours.  My reason for going there was their Shark Reef exhibit, which I finally managed to see on my last day in Las Vegas.  It is to aquariums what San Diego Safari Park is to zoos.  The place is dim but not dark so set your ISO at 1600 or higher, aperture at f/3.5 or larger and shutter at 1/60th or slower for some amazing results.  You don’t need a tripod for this but you will want to hold your breath and remain still while releasing the shutter. If you take a knee or lean against something while taking your photos, it will help out a lot.

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Shark Reef At Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino

    Las Vegas really is a street photographers dream because there are so many people and you have to walk for miles, even after you exit the taxi or monorail.  Seriously, don’t bother with a tripod, just crank up the ISO and have some fun.  There are plenty of inside things to photograph, so don’t be afraid to practice some low light photography indoors before you start roaming around The Las Vegas Strip, or your own hometown at night.

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Prada, In Crystals On Las Vegas Blvd

    Here are two things you might not know about Las Vegas; you can take your alcoholic beverages everywhere and gambling is not the only thing to do on The Strip.  Shop until you drop if you so desire or eat your heart out.  The retail stores and the restaurants are second to none and just as willing as a casino to take your money in exchange for goods and services.

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Fountains Of Bellagio and Las Vegas Blvd

    As I mentioned earlier, I had a single lens with me for this trip and that was a newly acquired 8mm fish-eye which gave me a full 180 degree field of view.  As a photographer, it’s really cool to have EVERYTHING in front of me show up in the viewfinder; it really is amazing how a new lens at Christmas can turn me into a kid with a camera.  Thanks Santa!

The Death Of Occupy San Diego

December 29, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Occupy San Diego Civic Center Freedom Plaza

Occupy San Diego Is Unoccupied & Dying

    Occupy San Diego seems to be suffering from a lack of occupation during this holiday season. Civic Center Plaza had around a dozen protesters and one homeless man when I walked through the plaza a couple days ago. The lack of enthusiasm and excitement around what is supposed to be representative of most of us has me questioning the life of and predicting the death of Occupy San Diego and the parent Occupy Wall Street protests.

Occupy San Diego Mantra As Street Art

The Mantra Of The Occupiers

    The Occupiers are mad and protesting because they believe the current system of capitalism is broken in a number of ways. In particular, corporations have been given the same rights as human beings. This allows a corporation to reap real-people benefits and deal with any legal ramifications that may arise from doing something illegal… INSTEAD OF THE OWNER OF THE CORPORATION!

    For example, it’s illegal for me to walk up to you and punch you in the face. If I did physically punch you or hired someone to punch you or set a chain of events in motion that lead to you being punched, I’d find my personal, physical being in some hot legal water. But, if I own a corporation that is directed to perform any of those punches to your face, the corporation would take to fall instead of me. The owner of the legal entity that controls a corporation is not legally responsible for what that corporation does, legal or not. Nice isn’t it? There is a lot of potential for corruption and criminal activity with a system like that and that’s something the Occupiers claim; the corruption and crime are real, have been happening in the past and are happening right now, up to and including any of the Occupiers being arrested.

Occupy San Diego Civic Center Freedom Plaza

Freedom Plaza Is Free From Occupation

    Corporations can be a good or bad thing, just like a gun. If a cop has a gun and uses it in the line of duty, that’s a good thing. If a thief has a gun and uses it to help him steal from another person, that’s a bad thing.

    I like that the Occupiers are bringing attention to the fact that Wall Street based corporations stole from so many American homeowners that it caused a real estate bubble so large that when it popped it caused a worldwide financial crisis that somehow required those same corporations be given taxpayer money to shore themselves up… Because those corporations are too big to fail. Remember, in the eyes of the government and the law a corporation is a person. Think about that for a while. A crime committed with a gun has a flesh and blood person to punish while a crime committed with a corporation does not.

    That brings me back to my original point which was what do I think of the life of Occupy San Diego and when do I think it will die? I think the life and message are great but I think it will be defeated by General Winter. Come spring, I hope to be proven wrong but as the photos and video above shows, Civic Center Plaza (Freedom Plaza to the Occupiers) was very unoccupied on this late December day. It was beautiful in sunny San Diego but the Occupiers seem to have vanished for the holiday season. I’m thinking that if they don’t come back right after New Years, all momentum will be lost and it will die; we’ll know by early next week. I hope I’m wrong because their message needs to be heard and if it is, real people will have to account for corporations that do bad things and maybe then corporations will keep their money the Hell out of politics. Cheers!

How To Photograph Celebrities At Comic-Con

August 14, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

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The Cast Of Fox TV’s “Fringe”

     You don’t have to stand in lines at San Diego Comic-Con to see celebrities and you don’t need to use a flash when you take their picture either. What you do need are comfortable shoes and patience. I very much prefer a spontaneous style of human photography over posed and static, smiling portraits. Leonardo Da Vinci did such a great job with the Mona Lisa that photographers have forced every woman in the world since then to stop what they are doing, look at the camera and smile in a way that says something without talking. I prefer the moments that happen before and after the party starts, like cast of the Fox TV show “Fringe working out seating assignments just before a signing.

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Adam Hughes

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David Finch

     I don’t collect SWAG or autographs and I prefer to watch movies at home on DVD so movie screenings aren’t my thing either. I collect photographs at Comic-Con, mostly for use on my blog here. What that means is that I spend my time on the move, constantly. It’s exhausting, and on Saturday this year my body forced me to rest for about an hour, which was torture for my mind because it hates not to be in charge.

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Emilia Clarke

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Matt Smith - Dr. Who

     I don’t live under a rock but I don’t command a starship either so I really have to pay attention to the crowd and Twitter to find out where things are happening and who people are. Many of the photos I take, successfully or not, were taken not because I knew the subject but because of the stir around them grabbing my attention. Comic-Con is a crowded and noisy place so it’s not exactly easy to notice every single thing happening right in front of you, which is why the photo of Matt Smith of “Dr. Who” is mostly of the back of his head. I don’t watch Dr. Who so I didn’t know who he was. He had a clamor of people and a film crew following him around, but I lost a few precious seconds trying to figure out who he was or if he was famous, so I missed what would have been a great shot. Shoot first and ask questions later, especially at Comic-Con.

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Kit Harington and R.R. Martin, Writer – “Game of Thrones”

     The celebs do have the ability to put themselves in a bubble, which is a big help for me. Take Kit Harington and R.R. Martin for example, pictured above during a signing for “Game Of Thrones.” There were hundreds of people clamoring in front of them but they managed to ignore all of them, and that’s when I took the shot.

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Danny Devito at San Diego Comic-Con

     I have some ideas that should bring a whole new level of excitement to my photos and posts during Comic-Con next year. Since I roam around the entire time, I think I’d like to be a roving line reporter, bringing updates for all the lines with video, photos and tweets. Since I never have an agenda during Comic-Con, I think it would be an amazing story to embed myself with people that live their lives by the panel and screening schedules. I think the world is finally ready to see the seedy underworld Comic-Con, don’t you? I think back door deals, black market SWAG vouchers and organized line cutters are just the tip of the iceberg, just wait and see. Cheers!

Coronado Sandman Street Art

August 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Coronado-Sandman

Coronado Sandman At Spreckels Park

        There is a man that decorates the land of Coronado with sand; Coronado Sandman. I met him at on a Sunday afternoon, just before the start of a free Rockola concert in Spreckels Park. Sometimes I see his work as I cruise around on my bike and I’ve seen videos of him on the net but I’d never even seen him in person, not even from afar. I guess it was meant to be because I was looking for something interesting to photograph when I ran into him creating some street art with, wait for it: Dirt. A spoon is not a fork, so if you are expecting one but receive the other you’ll probably ask why, which is what I did. It turned out that white sand doesn’t pop very well on the gray of concrete & cement so he opted for dirt, which is darker for these pieces of art. I joked with him saying that he couldn’t be Coronado Sandman if he didn’t have any sand, man.

Coronado Sandman Creating Street Art

        That turned out to be my segue to chatting with him for a few minutes so he told me all about his recent history and a few of his philosophies on life. He wrapped up with a one liner and a question. He said, “There are three people in the world, God, the Devil and Coronado Sandman. Do you know who you friend is?” I answered him very specifically and then he told me I was right. So, I have that going for me, which is nice.

Imperial Beach Farmers Market

April 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Imperial Beach farmers market flowers

People Looking At Flowers At Imperial Beach Farmers Market

        After wrapping up my third trip to the Imperial Beach Farmers Market, I’m ready to talk about it and post some photographs from my time spent there. The farmers market happens every Friday on Seacoast Dr. at the edge of the Imperial Beach Pier from 2pm – 7:30pm. The vendors at the farmers market are ever changing, which makes for both good and bad things. A good thing was that last week I had an amazing chorizo, potato and cheese tamale with jalapeño cream sauce… The bad thing was that the tamale selling vendor wasn’t around this week. That is the ever present rub with markets like this; it’s lighting in a bottle one week, amazing tamales the next and avocados on special the week after that. If you are at Imperial Beach Farmers Market and see something you want to eat or take home with you then you best buy it right then & there because next week it might not be there.

Imperial Beach farmers market people

Girls At Imperial Beach Farmers Market

        Imperial Beach Farmers Market is not big; you can walk through it in less than five minutes if you don’t stop to smell the roses. Realistically, you’ll need to spend about 20 minutes in the market, looking at what vendors are selling, tasting samples and just chatting with people. This is one of those uber-friendly events where sauntering, meandering and slow conversations are the norm so don’t be afraid to smile at or talk to anyone at the market.

Imperial Beach farmers market man

A Lurking Man At IB Farmers Market

        This market is not an outdoor version of your grocery store’s produce aisle; this is a gathering of people at the most southwestern beach in the United States with the common goals of buying & selling locally grown & created products. What does that mean to the layperson? Imperial Beach Farmers Market is a place to hang out and to see and be seen while eating some great local food, not necessarily in that order. The man above is a guy I see by the IB pier all the time, just watching people go by. Why is he here? I’ll tell you why; the wild women and the rippin’ & the tearin’.

Imperial Beach Pier

Girls On The Imperial Beach Pier

        Imperial Beach (IB) pier is the centerline thoroughfare for the farmers market, so if you go to the market, you should walk west, to the end of IB pier because it is the western most point of the continental United States. The women above were returning from this geographic Valhalla when I took this picture.

Imperial Beach Farmers Market Kermit Brown

Kermit “Froggy” Brown – Wagon Man At IB Farmers Market

        Kermit “Froggy” Brown is a disabled veteran that makes daily trips, back and forth (east to west) along Palm Ave. in an electric wheelchair. I’ve seen him on the news and all over Imperial Beach so it was really no surprise to find him at the farmers market with his wagons in tow, holding a munched on corn on the cob. This is a great farmers market!

Las Vegas Strip Photography

March 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

mirage-volcano-las-vegas-strip

Mirage Casino Volcano Erupts On The Las Vegas Strip

        During my trip to Las Vegas last week, I had a loose agenda. To attend the Nightclub & Bar Convention with my friends and to take some fresh photos of Las Vegas. I did manage to get some good shots of the people I saw walking along the Las Vegas strip, but what I really wanted was to take some original shots of Las Vegas landmarks that were new and different. This was a challenge because every time I thought I was heading to an area or taking a shot I thought was unique, I inevitably saw other photographers in the area. So, relative to my other Las Vegas posts, this one will have the fewest number of photos because being unique on a strip full of cameras is not as easy at I thought it would be.

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Fountains Of Bellagio

        What I really wanted was to create some images that had a timeless quality to them. What I mean by that is I wanted some Las Vegas photos that were recognizable yet unique. I wanted photos that were obviously taken in Las Vegas yet didn’t necessarily scream when they were taken.

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Pirate Show At Treasure Island

        What that ultimately came to mean was that after four days and three nights in Las Vegas, I ended up with five photos of the strip that I’d like to show the world. Averaged out, that’s the equivalent of one keeper every 19 hours. And you thought photography was easy didn’t you?

Aria Casino Hotel Las Vegas Strip

Aria Hotel & Casino

        The shot above is what I would consider to be my most original shot taken while I was in Las Vegas. This is the only photograph I made where I didn’t see any other photographers before, during or after I made it, so for now, I declare this the Mt. Everest of Las Vegas photos.

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The Fountains At Caesar’s Palace

        Way before I knew anything about Las Vegas, I knew about the fountains at Caesar’s Palace because of Evel Knievel. He had one Hell of a crash in 1967 when landing after trying to use a motorcycle to jump the fountains in front of Caesar’s Palace. He wanted to do something that had never been seen before, which is what I suppose I was trying to do as well, except I use a camera, not a motorcycle. It’s hard to gauge failure with stuff like this because it is very relative. Evel did jump the fountains but he fucked up the landing so he broke 40 bones and ended up in a coma for a month. Today in 2011, daredevils have gone the way of the Dodo bird, yet photography has flourished. In my head, that makes me the daredevil today and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Heh heh… Good luck!

Las Vegas Street Photography

March 13, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

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Traveling Clown Folk On A Footbridge Over The Las Vegas Strip

        Las Vegas can be as much or as little as you want it to be, no matter what you want to do. For me, for this trip it was about catching up with old friends and having some fun with my camera. I didn’t want to take the same old Las Vegas photos that everyone takes, but at the same time, I had no idea what I wanted to photograph instead. I had no idea how I would get shots that were or could be unmistakably Las Vegas yet be different from what has already been done a million times before. The people turned out to be the answer.

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In Front Of The Mirage Casino

        I did a lot of shooting from the hip for these photos, which is always fun and a little bit scary because it is so not the way I usually take photos. I’m used to my viewfinder so shooting from the hip is hard for me. I missed a lot, but the Las Vegas strip is a busy place so I ended up with a few that I liked. The moral of the story: Practicing helps out a lot, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not good at it right away. Eric Kim has a great post that explains how to shoot from the hip that is a great read that will help you out a lot.

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Jynn Palazzo

        Thanks to random timing and the position of my camera, the woman above will always be known to me as Jynn Palazzo. I wonder what the actual odds are of something like this photograph happening are, where the woman’s name actually turned out to be Jynn Palazzo. I tried search engines but came back with nothing so I don’t think a person by that name exists, but how celestially cool would that be if it worked out? Really cool!

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A Chiseled Woman With Caesar’s Statues

        There are so many different people walking up and down Las Vegas Blvd and it can be so crowded that it might seem paralyzing but I promise you this is a place where you can open carry your camera and take all the photos you want.

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The Familiar Pose In Front Of A Fountain

        What I like best about shooting from the hip is avoiding situations like what you see above. Looking right into the camera and smiling can be a good photo, I just don’t understand why people try for it so often right off the bat. I like candid and unposed photography much better.

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The Deciding Couple

        The sidewalks on the Las Vegas strip always have lots of people on them, so shots like the one above, with a couple that seems to have the place all to themselves is a rare treat. This is in front of The Mirage Casino’s volcano.

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Waiting For The Bus & Missed The Spaceship

        The architecture and shape of things along Las Vegas Blvd are like nowhere else. From the photo above we could imagine being in a spaceport and the woman is checking a space schedule for the spaceship looming over her head.

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        I don’t know for sure if it was his snake or not but the guy in the photo on the left happened to be walking in front of me so I stuck with him until he eventually set his snake down and just started hanging out, at which point I took his picture. Most people didn’t even notice the snake and the guy didn’t seem to notice any of the people so I’m not sure what his game was.
        The fountain and the woman to the right are in front of The Monte Carlo. The wind was blowing water all over her, so she was turning away from a spray of water when I snapped the pic.

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Me, Being Reflected In A Restaurant Window

        I was pleased with the photos I made during my time in Las Vegas. I’m happy to say that my shots didn’t seem like ordinary, cliched postcard shots… They seem to be unique, so I feel good, and that’s what this trip was for in the first place.

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Apple On The Strip

        I was happy to be on an internet and computer-free regimen the entire time I was in Las Vegas, but others can’t do without, and the woman above was one of them. Anyway, that’s my take on people of the Las Vegas strip. I hope it helps to inspire you the way Vegas inspired me. I also attended the nightclub and bar convention, so be sure to see my post and photos from that event as well. Cheers!

Steam Powered Giraffe In Balboa Park

June 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Steam Powered Giraffe

Steam Powered Giraffe

        What happens when you HAVE to do something you enjoy, but you don’t want to do it? Being forced to do what you enjoy should be, by definition, impossible. Oh, but it is NOT impossible! Elaborate this point in your own head. Do it. Do it now!

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What A Difference Shooting From Behind Makes!

        These face-painted space travelers named, “Steam Powered Giraffe” only managed to rapture the audience in front of them. From the rear, they had no color, super-powers or faces. They were reduced to mere people wearing worn out shoes on a hot day, carrying heavy objects and counting on charity from strangers to refill their water bottles. They enjoyed the front while I enjoyed to back. Only one of us can be right so, I’m right!