I don’t think I’d seem Lem since college. And I have only seen Sam once in the last 15 years. But this weekend the three of us got together in frigid Minneapolis. A gathering of the fellas to talk about…anything and everything. Both Lem and Sam were grad students whom I met as a freshman at Northwestern. They were great role models then and are even better ones now. Seeing Lem’s family (his wife was actually my freshman Chemistry TA) was especially fun, and you can see from the pics that none of his 3 kids is especially camera shy.
We had the chance to see Raul Midòn perform at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts Theater recently. He is incredible. Take a look at this video to see how fantastic a performer he is. I also had never attended the SF Jazz concert series. Joshua Redman at Grace Cathedral (!!!), Bobby McFerrin (who amazed me in concert when I was 11 and I would have loved to see again), Maceo Parker, Booker T…you get it…the lineup is ridiculous. Damn! Just saw that the Bela Fleck show is sold out! Anybody got extras??
This weekend I attended a lighting workshop with Canon speedliter Syl Arena. Actually it was much more a seminar than a workshop in that I took exactly zero pictures. But it was great for reinforcing some of the stuff that I’d picked up about lighting over the past couple of years. My kit doesnt come close to scratching the surface of what Syl carries in his gearbag. Probably never will. But that didn’t stop me from coming home and trying to rig up some relatively elaborate (with my normal lighting scheme as the baseline) setup to get a shot that I had been thinking about since seeing reading Joe McNally’s book The Hot Shoe Diaries. Both Syl and McNally are lighting savants, and if I ever thought either would come within 100 mouseclicks of my blog, I wouldn’t dare attach his name to this attempt in any way. The image didn’t live up to the lofty goals I had for it when it was just in my head. But this is what you get when you have two speedlites with no wireless trigger and have to bounce a pre-flash signal around a corner and down a hallway with the help of reflectors, mirrors, and foamcore. I definitely had it coming.
Last weekend I met Dr. Vanessa Perez. Vanessa is a NYC-based professor of 19th and early 20th Caribbean Literature. The moment she said that my mind started racing to see whether I could come up with some author that might fit into that category. Not even close, so I kept my mouth shut and kept shooting. Vanessa wanted some headshots to gear up for (and maybe include in) her upcoming book: Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement. It turned out to be a glorious day in the park, so I shot way more than a few images. Vanessa was a fantastic subject and was even thoughtful enough to bring bottles of water for the shoot, which would have been a really nice touch for the photographer to have taken care of. Hmm. I can’t say that I learned much about Caribbean Lit, though. Maybe I’ll have to pick up a copy of the book when it debuts later this year. Congratulations, Vanessa. And of course a special shout out to Serene, my very capable assistant, for helping me with lighting, gear, and entertaining the talent.