Archive for February, 2011

Labor strife in Madison, WI

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Defending Collective Bargaining

I drove down to Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday to participate in demonstrations against an attempt by Governor Scott Walker to strip public employees of their rights to collectively bargain. This was one of the calmest, most well-organized mass protests (estimates ranged from 55,000 to 70,000 people) I’ve ever seen, even when the Tea Party counter-protest was exiting the area through throngs of pro-labor folks.

Here are just a few photos from the day.

Defending Collective Bargaining

Defending Collective Bargaining

Defending Collective Bargaining

Defending Collective Bargaining

A few more photos here.

The Decemberists vs. the Super Bowl

Monday, February 7th, 2011

The Decemberists

If any band whose album debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts could get away with playing a show on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s The Decemberists, who sold out Minneapolis’ State Theatre with a crowd who apparently couldn’t care less about the big game. (Even a security guard told me, “Even if the Vikings were playing, I’d probably still be here.”) The indie-rock stalwarts seemed to be lacking in energy a bit, but they’re good enough performers that even without being totally on their game, they played a reasonably satisfying set, though far from the best I’ve seen them do.

Colin Meloy spent some portion of the first song, “California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade,” lying on his back playing guitar. I thought perhaps this would be a sign of some wild antics to come. Instead, it was probably just because he was feeling kind of sleepy. That’s how he acted for most of the show, anyway. Still, I came away with some decent shots, aided by a great lighting treatment, and stuck around to enjoy the rest of the show. The one hitch was that venue staff treated the opening song as two songs, which, I suppose, it technically is. So I got kicked out of the pit a song earlier than expected and missed some shots as a result – notably, I didn’t get any shots of guest violinist/vocalist Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek). Boo.

The Decemberists

The Decemberists

The Decemberists

A few more shots here.

Best of 2010: October

Monday, February 7th, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance Tour

Have I mentioned before that shooting dance is pretty much the best? I only got to shoot two numbers of the So You Think You Can Dance Tour, but man, that was fun.

Chikita Violenta

I’ve probably posted enough Ra Ra Riot photos here for several photographers, so here’s a photo I took of one of their opening bands, Chikita Violenta. The lighting at the Varsity Theater for the two opening bands at this show was just phenomenal.

Nikki Yanofsky

Similarly, the lighting for Nikki Yanofsky at the same venue was great, but as I posted here before, my favorite shot from this show was this out-of-focus accident. I wish I could say I did this artistic blur thing on purpose, but alas…


And then there was the Zombie Pub Crawl. Lots of people got some amazing photos from this event. This one and one or two others aside, mine weren’t so hot, just because I wasn’t quite comfortable sticking my camera into people’s faces given that I was completely not dressed up at all. Felt rather out of place among the armies of the undead.

Best of 2010: September

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Dir En Grey

If July was a month of transition, so was September, as I settled into life in a new city (Minneapolis) and tried to find a publication to shoot music for. Eventually I hooked up with Retna and got back into the swing of my concert photography, but it took a few weeks. Even before I was with a publication, I managed to finagle my way into a photo pass for Dir En Grey and Apocalyptica at First Avenue, and one of the best concert photos I’ve yet taken in Minneapolis came towards the end of Dir En Grey’s set, above.

Crooked Still

A week or two later, I ventured out to a venue a couple blocks from my house and saw some pretty excellent bluegrass, Crooked Still, a show that was quite well-lit by this venue’s standards.

The Flaming Lips

Then the big show of the month was a Flaming Lips gig. There are no real surprises anymore at Flaming Lips shows, but nonetheless they’re invariably a blast to shoot. I basically kept my 14-24 on my camera for the entire three songs, trying for something a little different, perspective-wise, than the majority of photographers’ shots of this band. Not sure I succeeded, but I did get several shots I’m happy with, including this jump shot that just wouldn’t have worked as well without the ultrawide perspective.

Those Darlins

Finally, I got to shoot Those Darlins, which is always a treat because you never know quite how crazy things are going to get. Things got a bit crazy during their last song, but unfortunately, while I got a couple good series of photos, I didn’t really get one awesome photo that really pops. This one will have to stand in, but check out my original post for more.

Best of 2010: August

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Reykjavik Harbor

The only photos I took in August were during a two-week trip to Iceland. I have a few posts on the early part of that trip up already, and still plan to do a few more on the latter half of the trip, particularly since the second week saw us hiking in some of the most picturesque (yet bizarre) landscapes I’ve ever encountered. For now, here are just a few favorites with very brief captions. Above is a macro shot of some rope on a rusty pier in Reykjavik.

Starting the hike

This was the scene as we began the first of two backpacking trips, in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park. This kind of wide-open landscape would soon become a recurring theme of our surroundings. The cliffs in the distances are the main attraction of Ásbyrgi, a huge horseshoe-shaped canyon.


That trip ended at Dettifoss, Europe’s biggest waterfall. I’ve already written about it; suffice to say that it was impressive.

Road to Reykjahlíð

We spent a few days in Reykjahlíð, on Lake Mývatn, and it ended up being perhaps our favorite place in Iceland. We rented bikes for a day and biked a bit around the lake; this shot was taken from the road look back towards Reykjahlíð.

In the middle of nowhere

After leaving Mývatn, we took a 10-hour bus ride straight through the deserted interior highlands of the country. This was the most barren landscape imaginable. The shot above is indicative of the “scenery” we were treated to for the majority of the bus ride.

Onward Through the Fog

Our next hike also featured some barren stretches, although it was mitigated by plenty of beautiful scenery as well. On one stretch, though, we walked over deserted-highland style hills while encased in a pea-soup fog. Luckily for us, the trail was well-marked, or we’d have had a hell of a time navigating.

Descent to Álftavatn

Barren gave way to beautiful at the end of our first day on this hike, as we descended to Lake Álftavatn (visible in the photo above as the big body of water in the middle), our destination for the night.

Laugavegurinn, third leg

The valley in which Álftavatn nestled was a verdant green, some of the most fertile-looking land we trekked through on our trip.

Reykjavik at Dusk

We eventually made our way back to Reykjavik, where my nature photography turned to street photography. Between the wildly eclectic Icelandic fashion sense and the colorful city architecture, I got some fun shots like the above.

That was August – more of this to come, and I’ll be closing out the 2010 retrospective shortly as well.