Challenges and Rewards

Empire Sandy

Capturing images of sailboats has many frustrations but also provides a level of enjoyment I find worthy of pursing. Geography in relationship to the ocean does limit my opportunities for capturing these classic boats. However, Tall Ships Challenge on the Great Lakes was not going to be a missed opportunity.  A stop of the tour in Erie PA in August was on my calendar for over 6 months.

Prior to the Parade of Sail at Presque Isle, I got a chance for one of my “Mind’s Eye” images. With nothing but sky, clouds & water, Empire Sandy is alone with her elements. The red Canadian Flag is an added bonus with the horizon line being about as unobtrusive as possible.  The one element lacking is sails full of wind. I’d like to duplicate this framing with a boat this size in 15-20 knot winds. The challenge continues with the reward of planning another day on the water!

Floating Photogs

I’m not usually the type of photog that participates in group shoots. However, to dilute the cost I reached out & found others that shared my exuberance for sailboat photography & chartered a fishing boat. This allowed us to get into a position with some control over background & lighting. It was an added bonus to be able to talk photography with a crew of wonderful enthusiasts. Of the 4 that reported, we shot a total of 1815 shots. I was the most conservative with only 281 snaps.

Flagship Niagara led the parade into her home-port. She served during the war of 1812 & is a wonderful example of the dedication to preserving a working example of history. Like many her age she had some nautical facelifts & now is a centerpiece of the Port of Erie.

For those who appreciate flag protocol, the flag on her stern is the only US Flag with 15 stripes & 15 stars. This version of old glory inspired Francis Scott Key. It replaced the 13 stars/stripes version in 1794 & was replaced in 1818 with 13 stripes & 1 star for every state format.

Appledore V

Appledore V is a sailing classroom with a homeport of Bay City, MI. As one of the smaller boats the light winds had more influence on her cutting thru the water. The wind shaping the jib with the shadows along the pleats of the sail is one of the many details of sailboat photography I love. My limited knowledge of the rigging on schooners makes me wonder if the name flag is on an extension of the main mast. I like the flag but question why it is so far above the top of the main.

Physics & Geometry

Far from pristine, this CU of the 2 jibs, the staysail & the foresail in the background highlight the complex fractal forms involved in capturing the wind. No mater the size of the sailboat the forces of physics on the geometric design can be seen in the fluid tension of the sails.

Picton Castle

The Picton Castle is not just a showpiece. Prior to the Great Lakes Challenge she was in the south Pacific. This 3 masted barque sails the oceans for training & educational voyages.

Look behind you!

As our boat was entering the harbor to find a good position to capture boats entering the bay I noticed 3 of the photogs on the boat with cameras pointing towards the shore. Keeping your head on a swivel can result in unexpected surprises.

Bluenose II

One of the aspects of sailboat photography I find compelling is that no matter the position of the subject or the sun you can find an interesting shot. As Bluenose II is headed to her berth, the view of her stern with the sun on her starboard bow creates a silhouette.

Lettie G Howard

Like many classic yachts the Lettie G Howard has been around. Built in 1893 as a fishing schooner in Essex, MA her home is now at the docks at the South Street Seaport In NYC. Believed to be the last remain ship of her type she is now a floating museum & a National Historic Landmark.

St. Lawrence II

One of the youngsters in the parade, St. Lawrence II built in 1953 primarily as a training vessel for those under 18. As one of 35 registered Tall Ships in Canada she spends most of her time in the fresh water of the great lakes. 

Dreamer

After a Coast Guard boat confirmed all of the parade had passed I saw another beauty following behind. Dreamer, from the Erie Yacht Club, decided to crash the party! The independent streak in me loves the fact that uninvited she joined the festivities. Maybe it was my mind’s eye reacting to the different rigging or the name but this boat may indeed be my the reward the day. She also inspires me to continue the quest for capturing these boats under full sail!

Inspired by New Eyes

 

01Learning new things can be part of the joy of going to a museum. I was familiar with the responsibilities of the audio person credited as the Folley Artist but never knew it was in recognition of an individual. At the Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY I learned a little bit about this man that made a very significant contribution to many forms of entertainment. Why did none of the great audio engineers I worked with never tell me that? Naturally there is a “boom shadow” in my frame. A few will understand.

02Anybody that knows me is aware I’m not a big fan of comedy. I only saw Blazing Saddles after it was listed in the top 100 films of last century. I do however understand & appreciate the role of comedy in entertainment, culture & history so going to the new Comedy Center was something I was looking forward to. A significant foundation of this museum is the contribution of George Carlin’s archive given by his daughter Kelly. The advisory board is represented by both well know active comedians as well as “seasoned” multi-disciplined performers & their families.

03All aspects of comedy from stand-up to cartoon strips & every media in between is well represented. As a child of the 60’s the TV room was one of my favorite displays. As with many of the exhibits your “personalized chip” on your wristband helps create a customized presentation to genre or comedian. Most multi-screen programs I have seen are filled with visual clutter. At the Comedy Center it is very well programed. Dave Taylor…you need to see this. The only disappointment was in the holographic presentation. With refinements it may become better. For now it seems to be a presentation medium in it’s infancy.

04I know & respect that Chautauqua County, where this is located, has a conservative population. I was curious as to how they would handle the profanity component of comedy. They choose a simple but effective solution called the “Blue Room”. If you are offended by words don’t go in. I learned of a connection between Carlin & Lenny Bruce I wasn’t aware of. In a photo of Bruce being arrested you see Carlin in the background also being arrested. In this photo from the Blue Room, notice the speaker in the parabolic dome hanging from the ceiling. It is focusing the audio for the viewers in front of the screen while reducing the “audio clutter”. VERY WELL done! The attention to visual & audio details throughout the center is some of the best I’ve ever seen.

05It is amazing that one individual can have such a significant impact in a way few could ever imagine. The seed of an idea to honor a local celebrity has grown into a world-class memorial to her craft. It began with a collection of memorabilia of one of the most significant & powerful entertainment couples in television at the Lucy & Desi Museum. Now, at the National Comedy Center a few blocks away, are archived some of the most influential, & funny, materials from generations of “A List” comedians that make us laugh by looking at our world thru different glasses.

06The ARTECHOUSE in DC was showing an “Immersive, Interactive Installation” which blended projected digital art with motion sensors. The lighting environment was superb for the primary room while the dominate images of Cherry Blossoms by Sukura Yume floated on the walls. The sensitivity of the sensors allowed visitors to interact with the floating flowers causing mostly subtle changes in the displays. The centered calligraphy display by Aoi Yamaguchi, was an intriguing component that provided a static dimension to the flowing relaxing space. The soundtrack of the room was done by Debrina.

07This young lady was demonstration the most effective way to interact with the artwork. In a position where the motion sensors could easily detect her she was slowly moving using broad gestures that resembled a yoga routine. Her connection to the art was in a very personal space. To describe the room to people of my generation it was like taking a journey on The Yellow Submarine thru a bowl of cereal made by Peter Max while listening to an 8 Track of Ravi Shankar.

08The Koi Pie 3D sculpture by Nathan Solomon & Karan Parikh was created using computer controlled machines then primed & painted with special video screen paint to display detailed projections. The real time interaction with this smaller dynamic sculpture with fine detail brought art into a more intimate space.

09Bloom by Story Lab was my favorite piece. It did not have any pre-developed background. The table was a clean canvas where only the movements of the people were used to create splashes of color. With no disrespect to the artists it was like finger painting without any of the mess. Here at ARTECHOUSE & at The National Comedy Center I found examples of why I love digital. The interaction of storytelling, technology & art can inspire even an old-school visitor.