Monday, December 30, 2013

Tucson Streetcar Poet Sculpture (aka blue head)

The Poet at night with interior blue lighting, 12/30/2013
This is the "Poet" sculpture located at the University Medical Center (UMC) stop of Tucson's new modern electric streetcar system, slated to go into service this summer.  I like it.

The Poet was created by Ben Olmstead & Simon Donovan for the Helen/Warren Streetcar stop.

The head is made up of letters of the alphabet and is illuminated from the inside with a blue light at night.  Coincidentally, the UofA's Poetry Center building is just a block west of here.  It's not as strong a blue color as my camera picked up when viewed by the human eye due to all the ambient light in the area from streetlights.

Track infrastructure is done.  Two streetcars have been delivered so far and it is getting common to see them running down the route doing test runs.  There will be a lot of test/acceptance/training runs as more cars are delivered in preparation for summer ridership.  Looking forward to it!

The Poet in Daylight

My favorite 33 photos from 2013 (with 36.5 hours to go)

I decided to make a quick pass through my 2013 photos and pick a few personal favorites to share.

This turned out to be an interesting process.  I ended up with 33 images.  These aren't necessarily the best images, just a few personal favorites.

I selected five images from this year's Veteran's Parade.  The five combined make for an interesting and emotional sequence.  

There were several large groups of High School JROTC students marching in the parade.  I couldn't help but look at these young men and women passing by and wonder what their futures will hold, what they will do for our country, what our country will do with them, to them, and for them.  It makes me both proud and concerned in a mixed bag of emotions.

The Future:

The Present:

The Past:

poster carried in the parade -- "Have a great time in heaven.  You were awesome"

I'm proud of our military; less proud, at times, of what conflicts our civilians send them into.

Veterans for Peace marching in the Veteran's Day Parade.

ok, moving right along, trying not to bug anyone...  I really like old fluorescent signs that have survived time, including this one at a pest control company in Tucson.

I didn't do as much birding as I hoped to during 2013.  This is probably my best bird image of the year, a Great Horned Owl leaving it's perch during one of the Free Flight programs that the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum holds.  I like the intent focus of the eyes, it already knows where it is going and what it is going to do.  Check out the talons.   BTW, you can click on any of these pictures (no, not like a porpoise) to see a larger image.

I really like the lighting of this Belly Dancer performing at this year's MoctoberFest.  Great eyes and smile!

A couple and their dog enjoying the day during Cyclovia.  Smiles all around!

"The Messenger" in snow.  One of my favorite sculptures in Tucson.

It is not at all unusual to see architects, landscape architects, and artists have great initial concepts and then trip all over each other in what the passerby sees.  This house in downtown Tucson really blended colors nicely with the outside vegetation.  This is also one of the very nice things about The Messenger sculpture above: clean lines of sight of the sculpture and all the way back to the Santa Catalina Mountains, no utility lines or street lights in the way.

If you hear someone talking about the 'blooming desert" around here, they aren't talking about the heat.  Below, a night blooming cereus that blooms one night a year and looks like a dead stick much of the rest of the time.  Also called "The Queen of the Night".

Not a great technical shot, and no time to retake before the subjects shifted around, but I still like it.  I especially like the Corgi taking a drink out of the cup while folks enjoy violin music at one of the Armory Park PorchFest stops this year.  Adults, kids, musicians, and dogs all enjoying PorchFest -- the way things should be.

Another image from the Armory Park neighborhood PorchFest.  This one reminds me of what a great night that turned into with a very hot day turning into an event-threatening rainstorm which turned out to only show up long enough to cool things off;  the evening of porches and music proceeded spectacularly.  Classic example of the benefits of not letting weather discourage you from attending an event, especially in Tucson.

My night blooming Echinopsis cacti really outdid itself one night.  I captured this image with the patient help of a friend -- I handled the camera while she moved a light at different angles.  I really like the way it turned out.

A fun shot at this year's GLOW festival, a Circus Amperian performer standing on top of a Tesla coil holding an umbrella frame with one tip igniting.

Miss Frankie Stein and James Arr of the Mission Creeps performing downtown.  Always a good show with great music!

Having fun at the Cardboard Ball, where most everyone wore one or more pieces of cardboard.  This was such a fun evening among some very creative folks in Tucson.

This is one of my favorite shots of the year.  This was a quick candid shot during the Cardboard Ball and is just so strange.  What's that bright light come from the left?  Where do all these stairs head to?  Why the barricade?  What's death waiting on?

I took a number of pictures of Tucson Mayer Jonathan Rothschild at events over the year, but this is one of my favorites.  He is holding his hands up in victory after having just used an angle grinder to cut the steel metal ribbon bolted across the entry at Xerocraft's Grand Opening of their new Hackerspace home.  Several Xerocraft members are in the background, rightly pleased with how well their unique ribbon cutting ceremony went off.  The Mayer is a good sport.

Stiltwalkers performing in Armory Park at Dios de la Adrenalina 

This is a small portion of a wonderful long mural in the Dunbar Springs neighborhood.  I like the angle and lighting which conveys a wind blowing out of the shadows...

Performers at the second PorchFest in of the year in Tucson, this time in the Dunbar Springs neighborhood.  I love these informal community neighborhood events that bring people together, out of their own neighborhoods, out of their houses, out of their backyards.

A talented harp player with a great look -- at this year's Procession of Little Angels in Armory Park.

Roaming neighborhoods to celebrate the longest night -- during the Winter Solstice @ LumiNight.

A passerby during LumiNight holding his present, a small lit candle.  This photo could certainly be improved upon technically, but I still like it and what it captures for that evening of giving out small presents to strangers during the Winter Solstice.

The Festive Bike (aka The Loud Bike) which carries a 300 watt sound system and is a very popular addition to many small community events around town.  Seen below with Christmas lights at night during LumiNight.

I acquired the metal sculpture created by Erik Bang during this year's BICAS silent art auction and had a tremendous amount of fun building a temporary "world" for it on my kitchen counter with sand, sky, colors, lighting angles, etc.  I really like the way it came out and its was fun to be doing this in reality, not with Photoshop effects or anything.  I want to do more!  Moving and positioning lighting and angles on inanimate, non-blinking objects gave me a new appreciation of what my wedding/portrait photographer friends must go through with living, moving people.  :-)

And of course, I have to include a few images from Tucson's signature event, the All Souls Procession.  I really liked this trio's look.

as well as this trio -- simple face designs that look incredible

This one, because standing on it's own visual merits alone, it's pretty strange.  In a good way.

All Souls Procession Finale Performers, amazing as always!

. . .

Part of my to-do list for the coming year includes increasing my technical, composition, and photography related people skills in a variety of environments and settings.  

Stay tuned!   And thanks for visiting my blog!  :-)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

yep, it's like I've been away on another planet...

Metal sculpture by Erik Bang set in a world created by, and photographed by, Warren Van Nest (Dec 23, 2013) - all rights reserved.

Wishing all of my blog readers a safe and happy holiday season!

Wow, I haven't posted to my blog since October...  bad blogger, bad.  I will try to post more frequently going forward if there is interest.

The metal sculpture "5 x 10^7 Light Years Away" in my photo was created by the artist Erik Bang!!!  I won it in a recent silent auction fundraiser and immediately started pondering the possibilities of taking a photograph of the two creatures in their "native" habitat.

Last night I took over my kitchen counter to create a little "home world" set using some orange sand, a cloth backdrop, and a gelled off-camera flash to the left.  I really like the way the shot came out and how the colors provided contrast to make Erik's cool work stand out. As is the case with creatures from another world, proper atmosphere is everything!  [click picture for larger image]

One of the challenges of sharing photos is where to share them given limited time...  Personal Blog, Facebook, Smugmug, Flickr, etc, etc.  Each has a different set and number of followers.  For event photography, I find that the biggest audience of people interested in the images is on Facebook, where folks like to tag images of themselves to share with friends as well as to see and share images of events they attended.

Even a so-so quality event image that would get zero interest on my blog may get a number of comments and an even larger number of "likes" and "shares" on Facebook.  It's really quite fun and fascinating to see the differences in different social media.  But it is also sometimes a bit frustrating since to try to reach everyone that is following you, it may take posting an image in four or five different places, and that's not realistic.

Conversely, some of my favorite images may get little or no interest in the Facebook world due to the algorithms that Facebook uses to determine who sees what postings.  The same image posted on my blog may be actually seen and be of interest to folks.  What I really like about posting images on blogs is that I can tie together multiple images with text and provide more information than to which the Facebook environment lends itself.  Blogs are also off the chart better for providing relevant web links and context.   No perfect solution.  But challenges are fun.  :-)

Another difference between Facebook and Blogs is that once posted on Facebook the photo tends to quickly get "lost" over time because Facebook tends to focus on the here and now.  Blog posts tend to "keep" better and are often found by folks doing Google searches on subjects, or researching a subject, place, or event.

I'm still missing Google Reader by the way, I have yet to find a reader that I've adjusted to that presents your blogs the way I like to read blogs...  My visits to a number of my favorite blogs have been a bit hit or miss due to that, but I will be back to read your blogs, miss them!

Best wishes & Happy New Year!

-- Warren

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blue skies at night

Toole Ave, Tucson, AZ (10/5/2013)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Cardboard Ball

On Saturday night I attended a Cardboard Ball -- a wonderfully creative fundraiser for the All Souls Procession workshop program organized by local artist Mykl Wells.   Attendees were encouraged to make outfits out of cardboard or other recycled materials.  It was a really enjoyable evening with art, music, dancing, raffles, and more!  Great event, Mykl!

Amazing costume, and the banjo is made of cardboard as well!  The banjo brought back memories of a great temporary exhibit of cardboard art guitars that I took pictures of sometime back.

even her purse is cardboard, very well done design

beautiful gown made of paper

yet another great Tucson event with a diverse gathering of folks of all ages having fun!

If you would like to see all of my images for the evening, go to my smugmug gallery and then click slideshow in the upper right of your screen for full screen images.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

GLOW! 2013 in Oracle, Arizona

Here are a few of the pictures that I took last Friday night at the annual GLOW festival, a night arts festival, held in Oracle Arizona.  Circus Amperean put on a great show using their Tesla coil to generate electric trails in the dark night.

Here's what you get when holding a metal umbrella frame while standing on the Tesla coil, has potential, don't you think?

It was a very pleasant night to wander the trail around the ranch looking at night art created by a lot of of different artists.  I like the one below, a set of old televisions sitting outside in the desert, each displaying different videos of animals in nature.  Since more and more people seem to (sadly) get their fix of reality by watching TV instead of going outside to experience it firsthand, this piece makes a nice statement.

Karen Medley always goes all out with a completely new and large art piece.  Her art for this year was about plastic food and GMOs.  If you click on the picture to see a larger image, you will see bananas and fruit, lines of the building made out of plastic bottle caps, everything painted fluorescent colors and lit by black light.  A striking piece as usual!

On one exterior wall of a ranch building was "Bag It", a really beautiful piece made out of plastic bags from various businesses and back lit.  Click on the picture and you may recognize a few logos.

Just passing through...  simple and really, really nice piece

plenty of time to hang out and meet a few strangers

gotta have fire dancing!

A number of different musicians performed over the weekend, including this one that I really enjoyed, Black Skillet Review(?) with Mitzi Cowell & Sabra Faulk.