Saturday, December 18, 2010

Adventure Trek: New York

So, I'm back in the States. I just realized that I have to change some of the details in this blog, but nevertheless, it shall stay as interesting as it possibly can, as I keep building photo work. The long haul is nowhere near over, people.

I went out shooting with my brother yesterday, and my first day back in the United States consisted of walking around uptown New York shooting some b-roll for a documentary he's helping to shoot.

Check out some of our day:

Alfredo Alcantara, cinematographer

Photo Story: London Neighborhood

Alright. The time has finally come for the end-of-the-semester photo story post, which should be pretty cool. At least in theory.

For one of the photo stories of the semester we were asked to choose an interesting bit of London, explore it, find out about it, and through a picture story tell a little bit about it.

I chose the area of Angel in the borough of Islington because (and this is really embarrassing) Islington is where Arthur Dent met Trish McMillan - later to be known as Trillian - in Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But it was a good choice, and this is some of what I encountered.

And the stills:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Music

Alright team, I know the blog has been running low on photo-content, but I have been working on two (2!) photo-stories for my class and they are slowly, but surely coming together. I assure you that once they are done, they'll be posted on here for your personal scrutiny. Don't fret. But until then, I have some Christmas tunes to get in the Christmas spirit. Also, I've started putting things on my Momentile (and most have been from the stories).

I used to work for Syracuse's music magazine and blog, 20 Watts, and last year the editors gave us a cool Christmas mix, which they (or I, I can't seem to recall) titled "A Very 20 Watts Christmas" and it's never stopped being the best collection of Christmas songs I can come up with. Like a fail-safe, if you will. Check them out by clicking on the logo. you can download the album off of my MediaFire

Happy listening!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The 12 Days of Photo-Nerd Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas, phot nerds gave me:

12 printers printing

11 strobes a' flashing

10 models posing

9 shutters snapping

8 gigs of memory

7 jobs a' hiring

6 external hard drives

5 D Mark II

4 batteries

3 tripods

2 camera bags

and a 7D camera body

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wish List

I woke up early this morning (after going to bed late) hoping to snag a free totally awesome Sprocket Rocket camera from the Lomo store in London because of this tweet:

I was ready. I went to Liverpool Street. I bought Time Out London. I went to get the Sprocket Rocket.
Which looks like this.

But sadly, I got there and was two minutes behind some bloke who took the last one. So naturally, after some coffee and a nice walk, I came back home and googled all the things that I want and can't have. I ended up with a super-handy shopping list, you know, in case you're stumped on what to get your photographer friends *cough* for Christma-hannu-kwanza-kah. No pressure.  Seriously.
(after the jump!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Flat 5

Flat 5 is described as being many things. The adjectives range from awesome and super fun, to freezing cold and/or filled with smoke ( our cooker1 is the most incomprehensible technological device we have ever encountered), but mainly Flat_5 can be described as a GFT2. 

We partake in all sorts of shenanigans. For instance, Flat 5 deserves all the credit for coining in the term "couch-podding."

Urban Dictionary defines a "couch-pod" as: The location you sit in for hours, weather on your laptop, watching TV, or eating - you can do it all from the couch-pod. Sometimes one will spend hours in the same location, with laptop, drink, food, and remote all within reach.

Want to see the thrilling action? 

Don't let appearances fool you, we do loads more than just sit around on our laptops (which – contrary to popular belief – is inevitable when the "study" in "study abroad" rears it's ugly head). But, more often than not, we are knee deep in exciting or at least amusing activities, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

1: "cooker" is British for "stove"
2: "GFT" is Internet for "Good Fucking Time"

Hipstamatic Documentation
Leicester Square Carnival

"Oh my god, I actually licked it." (from left to right)

Dear Sunshine,

It seems like our relationship has ended abruptly. I don't know what I did, I don't know what I said, but one day I woke up and you were gone. Do you know how much it hurts to be abandoned without a single reason? I thought we were doing alright. Yes, there was that point in July when I said you were coming on a little strong, but I didn't mean it. My farmer's tan is proof that we both did and said hurtful things. I just don't understand what happened. Whatever it was, I'm sorry. Tell me what to do so I can make it up to you and you can come back. I miss you.


P.S. I've included some pictures of all the fun we used to have together. For old times sake.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Adventure Trek: Florence

I went to Florence with my English class. When I say it like that it sounds boring and commonplace. Well, as boring and commonplace and going to Florence sounds. I digress. I went to Florence with my English class called Traveler's Tales: An Education Abroad. To paint you a picture of what this class is about, the first day of class the professor announced he had no real idea what this class was about. Aside from the fact that it was about a new way of learning how to learn. He had me at "no real idea."

We've been talking about Florence for months. We've been reading books from Henry James' Portrait of a Lady to E.M. Forster's Room With a View, Mary McCarthy's The Stones of Florence and Venice Observed  to an early 20th Century guide to Florence. The anticipation alone was monumental.

Once in Florence I found myself in the middle of a Knowledge-Sandwich. Meet the bread:

Left: Lucia at Santa Croce. Right: Forbes in front of the Baptistry.
Forbes Morlock (right) is my professor. He's a combination of nice, smart and smartass with a dash of Gregory House thrown in for good measure. Lucia (left) is just all around nice and kind. Forbes took us to Florence, and while he knows quite a bit (biggest understatement of the century) it was Lucia who showed us Florence, for she is a native Florentine.

We went everywhere. Name the piazza, church, museum, bridge, gelateria, we pretty much hit them all.

We didn't spend the whole time together. Which was nice. Forbes is a big proponent of learning a city and then exploring on your own. Everyone's pace is different, and what better way to learn a city than at your own? We were sent on adventures ranging from lunch (when I had a sandwich made of the third stomach of the cow) to finding a neighborhood using a 19th Century map (not that much has changed). This is some of what I saw (I'll probably revisit this post and add more to it, I'll keep you posted):

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Crazy Tube Stop: Swiss Cottage

The kooky assignments just keep on coming. This week? The name of the game was Crazy Tube Stop.

You look confused. What's the Tube, you ask? 'Tube' is British for 'subway,' 'metro.' Why are there stops that could be considered crazy, you wonder? Well, the London Underground system has hundreds of stops, some with crazy, funny, or just plain inappropriate names: Cockfosters, to name an example.

Not My Picture

As a salute to the (mostly) easy and effective public transportation system and its iconic presence in everyday London life, we were assigned a Tube stop with a funny name. Most likely a place we've never been before. Mine, as the title of this post rightly suggests, was Swiss Cottage, a name which can be construed in a variety of different ways: as two types of cheese, as an actual cottage in's about it.

This is what came of it.

I'm Thankful for Snowy Owls and Remembralls

don't judge me

This is going to sound a little strange.

But I really think if this is going to work out, we all have to be honest. I'll start.

I've never really thought of myself as a muggle. 

There. I've said it. Now, before you judge me, drop the attitude and admit that you've never considered yourself among the un-magical folk either. Don't even kid yourself.

There. Now that everyone has come clean, we can get to the point. I watched Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 [HP7.1] this week (twice, actually) because I feel like I've grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Or better, they've grown up with me. As the movies wind down in number, and the real end is near, it seems appropriate to have a bout of nostalgia about the magical series that defined my childhood.

I became a part of the magical world in 1999. I was one of the early fans. I read and re-read Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. I was there when Harry got his letter, I was there when he stepped into Hogwarts, I was there when all he saw in the Mirror of Erised was his broken family. His troubles and fears became mine, but his friends and his triumphs also became mine. When I found out it was going to be a series, and that there were going to be six (six!) more books for me to read, and re-read, more books that needed their spines to be broken, their pages turned, their corners dog-eared, I was ecstatic. 

I read The Chamber of Secrets in less than a day; The Prisoner of Azkaban within 24 hours. Then, Goblet of Fire came out, and after I was done tearing every detail apart  - both by reading the story and having to glue the binding back together - I realized I would have to wait. I had to wait three years. But when The Order of the Phoenix came out, and it was thicker than the previous, I almost got a panic attack of excitement, and the same excitement was true for the sixth and seventh book in the subsequent years. Waiting in the morning, outside the only bookstore in Mexico that had the books in English, itching to start turning the pages and taking in more of this story, is one of my fondest memories growing up. 

Now, about half way through this phenomenon, the movies came out, and along with them came the merchandise and the marketing and all the people who found it so easy to hop on the Harry Potter bandwagon because it came with prefabricated visuals and sweet special effects. But I was excited for an entirely different reason. When the movies came out, I was going to be able to enter the magical world, and be able to close my eyes. I was going to be able to hear a favorite story develop and try to fill the shoes of the most powerful images ever created: the ones I created for myself. I wanted to see the movie step up to the challenge, and I'm not gonna lie, I think they did it admirably. I'll never say that the movies are even remotely close to being comparable to the books. No way. Not ever. But I will say, that as an entirely separate institution, the Harry Potter movie phenomenon has been one of the reasons I still hold faithful to the storytelling industry that is the motion pictures. 

All of these things, the books, the movie, the super-soft hoodie that still hangs in my closet, are all parts of this, all parts of what history will only remember of the popular culture stint known as the Harry Potter Phenomenon. But on this thanksgiving day, I am thankful for Harry, Ron and Hermione, Dumbledore's beard, Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback, pumpkin juice, sneakoscpes, Bertie Bott's Every Flavoured Beans, snowy owls and remembralls. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Adventure Trek: Amsterdam

When my flatmates and I decided to go to Amsterdam in November I was elated, overjoyed, filled to the brim with excitement. Not only was this trip going to be crazy amounts of fun (if ya know what I mean) it was also a chance to get out of London for a weekend and check out a different scene. And we did.

After the typical sights, and not-so-typical sights, on Sunday morning Adam, Alyssa, Jenna and I went to the Christmas parade, which was entirely dedicated to the kids - and thus was not that much fun for us - but I did manage to get some good shots in. And a fun surprise right after the jump.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Night Shooting

Alyssa and I walked along the Thames on our way to shoot London Bridge (a project I am not finished with) and this is what the walk produced. Also, since we are assigned different "beats" every week - like a magazine or a newspaper would assign "beats" - I shot for that assignment as well. My beat for this week was "light," so a lot of the photographs are with that theme in mind.

Also, I'm obsessed with London's Public Transit system. It's actually a little unhealthy...

(Photos from Amsterdam soon!)