Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L

Obama holds another baby


President Barack Obama holds a baby while greeting guests during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

All Presidents do this and it’s great fodder for photographers. Great juxtaposition of faces: baby and Obama.

Power shooter takes a power shot

Captured Flatiron

New York City. Gary and I spent the afternoon walking around New York and as usual, the flatiron building was a magnet. I caught him getting a picture of it with his Canon PowerShot 1200 IS which both of us consider a very nice compact camera.

Power shooter makes a power shot

Gary taking a picture of the Flatiron Building with a Canon PowerShot 1200 IS as his Canon 5D and a pile of lenses sits at his feet. Gary is an excellent photographer and can make great images with any camera. By comparison, I need a ton of gear just to make a so so snapshot.

New York Financial District at night

Canyon of Heros at night

Bowling Green and Canyon of Heros at night

New York City. Just north of Bowling Green Park Broadway merges with Whitehall Street and is called Canyon of Heros because New York’s ticker tape parades originate here.

Canyon of Heros

Canyon of Heros at night

Some of the buildings that form the "canyon walls" along the Canyon of Heros in the Financial District.

Wall Street Subway Station

Wall Street Subway Station

Descending into the station I noticed that the railing has spikes on it (painted over), no doubt to stop people from sitting down. You know those investment bankers, always trying to stick their butts where they don’t belong.

Notice the Trinity Church lit up in the background at the bottom of Wall Street.

Even at night when people who work here have gone home this place has an air of excitement about it; most days much of the world’s money passes through here in one form or another.

Doubt at the Los Angeles Music Center

Doubt at the Los Angeles Music Center

Los Angeles, California. Last night my mother and I went to see Doubt at the Ahmanson Theater at the LA Music Center. She can’t drive at night or on the freeway anymore (she’s 91) so she hadn’t been to the Music Center in a while.

We got there early and the entire plaza that houses the three theaters was alive with people eating, drinking, and dancing to big band music. The weather was great and the light was fantastic.

Just to orient those of you who have not been to this place, ahead of me is the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where the LA Opera performs. The round building I’m standing next to is the Mark Taper Forum, a small, intimate theater (Doubt would be been better in this smaller venue) and behind me, out of view is the Ahmanson Theater, a relatively large theater where we saw Doubt.

My mother pushed my wife and me to go see Doubt in New York but we never made the time (and tickets were hard to get). So, she took matters into her own hands and pulled/pushed me to go on this visit and I’m delighted that she did. Doubt is, without a doubt, one of the best plays I’ve seen in my life (I’ve seen many and I’m not young). It is superb in every possible way. The playwright, John Patrick Shanley has written the most amazing script (he wrote the screenplay for Moonstruck, one of my favorite movies among other plays and screenplays), and the cast is incredible. Cherry Jones, Chris McGarry, Lisa Joyce, and Adriane Lenox are all outstanding. This play and its actors have received numerous awards and they are well deserved. The staging, the lighting, the entire experience was first rate.

For those of you who don’t do much theater, I must tell you, there is nothing like live performance. I’m a movie-a-holic but theater is different and when you combine a script like Doubt and actors like these you’re in for a mind-blow beyond words.

Jersey City across the Hudson

Jersey City Across the Hudson

New York City. This is a view across the Hudson River to office buildings in Jersey City that have sprung up as Manhattan pricing has risen. I’m standing in Rockefeller Park at the west end of Chambers Street, the northern boundary of a series of spectacular parks that together form a strip of commercial development and public space that cradles the World Trade Center site. The cost and exclusivity of the office space behind me gave rise to the office space in front of me, across the river. I’m sure the view from across the river is as good or better.

Old on new

Old on New

New York City. An interesting aspect of large glass buildings is how they interact visually and spatially with the buildings around them, be they other glass buildings or older buildings with stone or brick facades. The most photogenic glass buildings are glazed in a way that distorts, warps, or colors the reflected image in unexpected ways.

Brooklyn Bridge, west tower

Brooklyn Bridge, West Tower

New York City. This is the west (Manhattan-side) tower on The Brooklyn Bridge and just one of the two massive arches that unite the three vertical columns (like an “M”). Most modern bridges have two columns that are connected like an “H” and some of the most modern bridges in both Europe and Asia have a single column on each tower with the roadway suspected under it (like an “I”).

The size and weight of these towers is impressive even in modern times; I felt like I was looking at The Great Pyramids and wondering how on earth the engineers of the time built this thing, let alone got the bridge put together. Maybe it’s time to rent and re-watch the PBS special on the building of this monster of a bridge (in its time).