Monthly Archives: January 2014

Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane)

Where: Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan



Between Meeting: Night Before Worldwide Meeting















Flights from North America into Tokyo’s Narita airport usually arrive late afternoon local time. It can be disorienting because these flights seem to get in only a couple of hours after departure, but they actually arrive the following day. Narita is a long way from central Tokyo so by the time one clears immigration and gets to a bus or train, its 7-8pm when finally checking into a hotel. Right about then the jet lag kicks in and it’s easy to crash. But I force myself to stay awake until midnight because I don’t want to wake up at 2:30am, and some of the best images to be made in Tokyo are at night.



We stay in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo. It’s a modern part of the city but my favorite section of Shinjuku is Omoide Yokocho or, Memory Lane. It’s the complete opposite of modern and is also known by another name. It’s basically a ramshackle ally jammed with cramp, tiny restaurants and bars just behind the train station. Late at night every seat is taken in these establishments by locals. The alley is filled with amazing smells, noise from the train station and an amber glow that reminds me of an old darkroom safelight.



The clock in the picture upper left is a nice time stamp showing how this area comes alive late at night. Someday I hope to return to this area with a guide who speaks Japanese and can introduce to the interesting people I see through the small windows, and can identify some of the unusual foods I see on the grills and in the Nabemono.



Posted in Between Meetings

Livin’ the Dream

Where: An Airport Somewhere in North America



Between Meeting: Can’t Remember





Not being a morning person, I turned into a disagreeable hibernating bear when the alarm starting blaring to wake up today for an early morning flight.



My strategy was to stagger to my seat, put the computer in the overhead (along with my camera) and sleep from Rochester to Chicago. Then fire up the computer on the Chicago to LA leg.



My plane pushed back on time and I was unconscious in 45 seconds. I’m a light sleeper and I woke up feeling surprising refreshed. So I looked out the window and saw the tarmac, some snow and assumed we were at O’Hare. Now the two airports I know inside and out are ROC and ORD, and as my eyes adjusted, I saw Interstate 390 in New York instead of Interstate 90 in Illinois. 



We were still on the ground in Rochester. Yep, I’ve been in this movie before and baby, it’s a rerun.



Turns out we had been waiting on the tarmac for about 40 minutes for the de-icing truck. With a 45 minute connection in Chicago and the de-icing process just starting, I knew I would miss my connection, be spending time at O’Hare and stuck in a middle seat on a later flight to LA.



I’m now writing from the center seat, in the back, on a later flight and I thought of the above image I made of a fellow traveler. Based on his expression he is probably experiencing his own starring role of flight delays and missed connections.



Based on the light and the glass I was shooting through, plus the jet in the background, I could have shot this at an airport in either Seattle, Chicago, LA, Toronto, San Fransisco, Washington DC or Boston, but I just can’t remember. Because when you are in the travel twilight zone, it really doesn’t matter where you are because you’re stuck.



Posted in Between Meetings


Where: Detroit MI



Between Meeting: After a Photo Shoot



DetroitI was directing a photo shoot to create high-resolution print samples with Andre LaRoche at Stage 3 productions.



Stage 3 is located in Warren Michigan just outside of Detroit.



Detroit is another one of my favorite “tough towns” to make pictures.  Unfortunately on this trip, I didn’t have much time to make personal pictures and had to head straight back to the airport after the photo shoot.



Fortunately, the tunnel that connects two terminals at the Detroit Metro airport is filled with interesting changing colors that more than made up for not having time to make pictures in the city.




Posted in Between Meetings

My Jersey Shore

Where: Atlantic City, NJ



Between Meeting: After The Sign World Trade Show



atlantic My colleagues asked, “Why would you volunteer to staff a small regional trade show?”



Then they realized the show was in Atlantic City, and they know it’s one of my favorite places for photography. While I enjoy watching Boardwalk Empire, my Atlantic City is full of real life e.g. gritty.



Right after the trade show closed I headed out to take advantage of the short amount of sweetlight. It was late Fall, great light, but the weather was blustery. Due to the cold there weren’t many people around, but towards the North end of the Boardwalk I saw an interesting graphic element. What caught my eye was a man fishing in a red hoody that reminded me of Pete Turner’s classic “Push”. I was just past Oriental Ave. and for those that know the board game Monopoly, I was in the less glamorous light blue-purple part of town.



I don’t recall all the profanity barked at me by the man in the red hoody to not take any pictures, but I knew this could be a great shot. I was confident that I could outrun someone chasing me with a fishing pole and tackle box and that I was only interested in the graphic angle from behind. So I just smiled at the barrage of F bombs and when he turned to check on his fishing pole, I lined up the horizon, placed the thirds, made the exposure and proceeded at speed toward the green streets.



Posted in Between Meetings


Where: New York, NY



Between Meeting: Before Seeing Peter Max



Water-Hug-lr I was 20 minutes early for a meeting with Peter Max. It was a surprisingly warm Spring day so I walked over to Lincoln Center, which is near Peter’s studio, to see if there were interesting people to photograph.



I was not optimistic on making a good photograph because it was almost noon and the light would be flat.



Sure enough the light was harsh and non-dimensional. When I’m in this kind of situation I dig deeper and look for ways to make pictures often via reflections in buildings, cars and even sunglasses to take the sting out of the unflattering light. While in that mode, I noticed brief glimpses of people through the jets of the Revson Fountain. 



I went to manual on the camera to find the right shutter speed to stop the action of the water, but not too fast that individual water droplets would cause distraction from possible subjects. I also turned off auto-focus so that I could ensure sharpness manually on subjects behind the fountain.



Then I started looking for stories and gestures among the hundreds of people around the fountain. This greeting of two Juilliard students (they put their instruments down first), made an ordinary moment more interesting by shooting through the water jets which also blocked out the harsh highlights behind them from Avery Fisher Hall.





Posted in Between Meetings