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.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

my All Souls Procession photo contest entries

I entered this year's All Souls Procession Photo Contest and thought I'd share my entries here.  Each entrant could submit up to 4 photos for consideration.  The photos were judged by Mary Virginia Swanson with awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place plus honorable mention.  The top 20 photos are going to be hung at Delectables restaurant for a show running October 5th through November 8th.

This year there were 43 photographers entering a total of 161 photos, dare I say some stiff competition with many excellent photographers and images!  I didn't make the top 20, but that's cool, I learned a number of useful things by participating and can't wait to see all the images submitted.  :-)

One of the fun challenges was that the contest was encouraging "outside the box" interpretations of passing, transformation, renewal, and rebirth.  So rather than going for my traditional favorite pictures taken during the All Souls Procession, I found myself digging for more unusual images -- a really good exercise.

I've posted the 4 photos I submitted in order of my personal preference.  My favorite of the set is the image of the woman and child above.

The photo below is from last year's Procession of Little Angels.  Who's carrying who?  Who's watching over who?

This photo is of a woman watching last year's Procession from the sidewalk as the Procession neared the finale grounds.  She's on oxygen and yet dressed up very nicely for the event. 

And finally, this image of two people at the start of last year's procession.  Both with very different face paint and appearances than one traditionally sees at the event.  I like their unusual appearance and how their eyes are fixated in different directions.

I took all of the above pictures last November under "run & gun" circumstances typical at the All Souls Procession -- low light and either I'm in motion or my subject is in motion while I'm trying to capture an image, a lot of one-shot opportunities.  That's one of the fun challenges of photographing moving events.  Another fun thing with the All Souls Procession is that everyone sees something different during it, including photographers.  There are some subjects that it seems everyone gets, and then a handful of unique people or shots that you didn't even see during the evening.

I enjoyed entering the contest and learned a few new tricks by doing so that should serve me well with future photographs.

If you are in the Tucson area and want to see some great images, drop on by Delectables and grab a bite to eat while you're there.  On October 5th from 6pm - 10pm at Delectables on 4th Ave, there will be an opening show of this year's submitted photos (open invitation).  On this night you will not only be able to see the selected 20 prints that will be hung in Delectables, but also a slide show of all 161 entries in this year's contest.  Bound to be some great images and a good time!  Drop on by if you have a chance.

Kathleen Dreier (an excellent Tucson photographer from Esens Photography) did a great job of organizing this year's All Souls Procession Photo contest.

This year's Procession is coming up November 3rd.  Remember, this is far more than just some kind of parade, it is a time of remembrance, reflection, mourning, and celebration.

The All Souls Procession is organized by a non-profit (Many Mouths One Stomach) which depends on the people of our community (you & me) to contribute donations each year to pull it off.  Personally, I feel that the All Souls Procession is not only special to our community, but that it is very healthy for our community as well.  It pulls people from different walks of life together.  It brings young and old together.  It brings people downtown who may not have even realized that we have an increasingly nice downtown.  Healthy.

If you would like to support the All Souls Procession, support the Tucson community, here is information on how you can make your tax-deductable gift.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild tests his mettle at this ribbon cutting

 It seems to be ribbon cutting season (see previous post).  On September 7th, I was able to visit Xerocraft's grand re-opening of their new hackerspace in part of the old Steinfeld warehouse in Tucson.  Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild was on hand for the ribbon cutting -- fitting for a hackerspace, they made the ribbon out of metal and gave the major a face shield, apron, and angle grinder to do the ribbon cutting.  Nice!

The crowd enjoyed the ribbon cutting method, the organizers were visually pleased with how well this unique ceremony went, and Mayor Rothschild seemed to enjoy the uniqueness of it himself.  I'm sure he cuts a lot of ribbons as Mayor, but none like this before!

Mayor Rothschild standing victorious.  Who knows, maybe more red tape should be addressed with an angle grinder?  :-)

Xerocraft, by the way, is a cool non-profit that provides access to workspace, tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, etc.  From their website:  "The concept of a Hackerspace is a general workshop with resources to take on any project from simple electrical repair to complex electronic design and prototyping to machining gears, casting odd pieces, creating innovative costumes, building art pieces, exploring esoteric arts, and teaching cutting edge technologies."

I plan to take some instruction and use some of their facilities in the future when I get some time.  A very healthy concept, this hackerspace.  Check out their website.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tucson Modern Electric Streetcar Maintenance Facility Tour Photos

I was able to take some time off work this afternoon to attend the dedication ceremony and open house  for Tucson's new Sun Link Operations and Maintenance Center (aka Electric Streetcar Maintenance & Storage Facility).  I was also able to get my first look at the first of eight modern streetcars to arrive in Tucson (above).  This is another major milestone for the new electric streetcar project which has been underway for some time.

There was a good turnout of folks in attendance for the ceremony and probably rare opportunity to see the maintenance facility located a block west of 4th Ave.

Here we see a potential future streetcar rider arriving by one of the older transportation methods still used in Tucson:

Our local representatives associated with the project showed that they could still take a 'ribbon in front of the public and enjoy it!

not sure if politicians should run with scissors though...

Below we are looking at the entrances to the three maintenance bays, with the very first streetcar to be delivered parked in front of bay #3.

It's an impressive building and appeared very well planned out and constructed.   Makes sense if you are needing to service very heavy equipment that runs on rails.

Inside looking at left to right maintenance bays 3, 2, and 1.

(above & below) photos of maintenance bay #1 which is a service pit -- a street car can roll in here and then be worked on from below by maintenance staff in an incredibly well lit area under the streetcar.

track on heavy support pillars for the well-lit pit in maintenance bay #1

ok, it's not just me is it?  Don't these 10 ton jacks look like they could play a roll in a Dr. Who episode?

There appeared to be eight of these 10 ton jacks that could be rolled around for maintenance needs in bays #2, #3.  They were pretty impressive lifts.   Makes the computer server lifts used in computer datacenters look wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.  :-)

The business end of each jack had two lift points

turntables to shift between tracks in the building.  at first glance, it appears to be way too small, but all you have to do is turn the trucks (wheel assemblies).

A parts / tools storage area in the building.  The building also houses offices, conference rooms, etc.

Back outside to take a few more photos as the crowd thins.  This was not a "touch the streetcar" event, in fact they don't want anyone to touch the streetcar for a while (especially cars) while they complete acceptance testing and run through procedures.   Since these are new streetcars on a completely new rail / electric infrastructure, you can imagine that will take some time to do so properly.

streetcar storage area on the left, streetcar "carwash" to the right:

One thing that may surprise my international readers, but this is unusual for the U.S.  These streetcars are actually being made in the U.S. by a Portland Oregon company and you're looking at the fifth streetcar to me made by them (Portland just recently got the first 4 production cars).  Before that, if I remember what I read sometime back correctly, you'd have to go back something like 60 years to find a U.S. made streetcar.

looking through the window at the driver's console

It's finally getting close to that point where the rubber (or lack thereof) meets the road for this project.  We're always fixated on all the new overhead power being installed along the route, here you can see the bottom part of what it take to stay current in this business.

My understanding is that they are ready to start the initial work of taking this car out on a portion of the new tracks in the next few days.  They are apparently going to start with towing the car to check clearances, tolerances, and other items.  Then will start testing the power connections.

Streetcar #2 should arrive in October if it remains on schedule (the revised delivery schedule following early production delay issues).  I think they are less than a year away for the new system going into service for passengers and regular schedules.  While there continue to be differences of opinion about this project, it is great to see a voter approved, funded project actually being completed.  So far everything appears (to me) to be being constructed very well.  Only time will tell the full story of this project.  Since it is obviously happening, I think it best to hope for its success and successful impacts to our city.

Street entrance view of the new facility