Posts

Cold Morning in Minneapolis

Cold Morning in Minneapolis

Another cold morning in Minneapolis today, 15 below zero Fahrenheit — that’s 26 below Celsius for the rest of the world. Thank God, there’s no wind. I climbed up on the roof today for this picture. When it’s this cold, the air is very clear, visibility is great and it would be nice clean air if it didn’t sear your lungs with cold. This is my home.

Walker Art Center at Night

Walker Art Center at Night

In the great words of James Lileks, it’s the Rock’em Sock’em Robot, and he’s pissed. Why is there a giant robot trying to eat Minneapolis? This image has not been edited; this thing really exists. The Walker Art Center is an aluminum-encrusted monstrosity that actually scares me — this is about as close as I dare get.

Just below Mr. Rock’em is a tunnel. This allows Interstate 94 to go under one of the busiest intersections in the area. It’s not the big dig, but it’s pretty cool. The pedestrian bridge I’m standing on is insanely loud; the sound coming out of the tunnel/acoustic shotgun blasts straight at the bridge.

Aside from the cold, going deaf and being chased by an angry giant robot, I had a good time.

Hydraulic Truck Crane

Hydraulic Truck Crane

Had a visitor in my neighborhood today. I’ve already professed my fondness for gunpowder, but hydraulic anything is pretty neat too.

I spent some time a while back watching a tower crane assembled and I finally get how they add sections to make them taller; but now I have another crane mystery. How do these things work? I know how hydraulics work, but these big telescoping booms make my head itch. I know there’s not one big hydraulic ram inside the boom, that won’t work. They have to be integrated into the sections somehow. Where are the rams and lines and what do they look like? What’s pushing against what? If you know of a good cut-away illustration, please link to it as a comment, I need to know this.

I asked the guy working on it and he started explaining hydraulics. After trying to explain my question I felt like I was asking a squirrel about how a tree gets water up from the roots and he keeps showing me the acorns. Besides, I didn’t want to pester a guy with ten-pound wrench in his hand working a crane that probably costs $500 and hour.

Back to the picture: what did I do here? I centered the subject because I wanted to show the weight of the tackle — you don’t get to see this end of a crane much either. By centering an image, it makes it a little jarring, which is bad for nature & people, but it makes sense here.

This crane has seen some use. The industrial scuffed-up nature influenced me to give it a “direct positive” look: that’s the torqued-out contrast and saturation. I think it reminds me of Legos, so the color processing goes with the giant-toy appeal of the crane. I took it a step further and gave you a larger image than I usually do as well to add to the effect I’m going for. I’m trying to recreate for you the experience I had when I wandered out for my walk and found this massive machine jammed into my narrow little street & hemmed in by trees.

I hope you’ve been inspired to get some serious work done this Friday. Hop up into that big gear and crank — ’cause tomorrow’s Saturday!

Back to the Source

Back to the Source

The last day has arrived for the TFTTF Workshop (explained below Oct. 11). The assignment was: Go find the object from the first assignment and take another picture using the things we leaned in class. So back to my little Fire Plug I went.

This time I used the dark wet ground as a background. We learned that light objects on dark backgrounds sand out better than the reverse, and I also used Joins to create crossing lines through the image. Throw in a shallow DOF and I think it worked!

First day of the TFTTF Workshop in Minneapolis

First day of the TFTTF Workshop in Minneapolis

This innocent fire hydrant spends it’s days guarding the Chanhassen Rec Center, but on this day is starred in my first assignment for the Tips From the Top Floor Workshop. TFTTF is a podcast produced by Christoper Marquart of Tubingham, Southern Germany. I started listening to Chris years ago when Podcasting was in it’s infancy. He’s a great guy, and a lot of fun to listen to. He’s right on with the ‘tips’ and I’ve learned oodles of things from him and have been inspired to spend thousands of dollars as well.

Back to the assignment. After our introductions and an overview of the upcoming four days, Chris sent us out for our first assignment: Take a Picture, time: 15 minutes. I great way to see where we were at and to get us thinking about the ‘work’ in workshop. When I wandered out of the clean, organized & safe suburban rec center, I was confronted with a clean, organized & safe suburban parking lot. Being a city kid, I went looking for something that reminded me of home, and the smooth lawns and perfect flowers didn’t cut it. I chose this little guy and chose my framing to isolate him from the background and to revel in his flaws. The gray Minnesotan sky adds a lonely starkness as well. I give you the mighty fire plug.