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New Hope, PA 18938
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Category Archives: Events
The reception for New Hope: In Character was Friday night at the New Hope Arts Center and we had a large and very responsive crowd.
Besides the local luminaries, many of whom were on the wall AND in the crowd, several old photographer friends showed up, including the Geographic’s Mike Yamashita, NY Daily News sports shooting ace Linda Cataffo (we started at The Dispatch together, but the years have been far kinder to her!) and The Record’s Peter Monsees (we’ve known each other since grammar school), The Intelligencer’s Rich Kennedy, and freelancers Jerry Millevoi, and Arun Paul.
Here’s a web gallery of the show. The prints, some as large as 30×40, were made by Aspen Creek Photo. This is the consumer lab division of West Coast Imaging. We had to keep the costs down on this job and WCI’s excellent custom B&W printing was not in the budget. But Rich Seiling and the Aspen Creek crew did magnificent work on the consumer prints that just looked great.
I’d love to take credit for the good looking files those prints were made from, but it was the Nik Silver FX Pro plug in that made those flawless B&W conversions so easy, even I could do it!
The prints were mounted by another crackerjack outfit, Philadelphia Photographics. Jack and his crew turned the job around quickly and perfectly….and they even delivered!
I can’t guarantee it would be the same for you, but photographing friends and neighbors was one of the most rewarding projects of my career…and one huge benefit was that all I had to do was walk two blocks to work—no metal detectors, no baggage handlers, and no crowded overheads! It’s the lowest carbon footprint travel photography I’ve ever done…..
We’ve caught a bit of a weather break in Lijiang, in western China. What a beautiful area this is! In the foothills of the Himalayas, it’s one of the gateways to Tibet, and it’s being promoted heavily as a destination for Chinese tourists by their government.
Here, the lives of acceptable ethnic minorities like the Naxi and the Mosos are celebrated (as opposed to the minority in the T-word country, which as you know, is not being celebrated).
Yes, tourism is king here. I used to joke with my brother Gary, a writer with whom I’ve worked on countless stories, that if we had a nickle for every hotel folklore show we’ve sat through, we’d be millionaires.
But as jaded as I am in that department, nothing prepared me for the 500-man spectacular show called Lijiang Experience. It is the mother of all folkloric shows, and was directed by the same gentlemen who directed the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics.
Gadzooks! I knew I was being fed a company line on the way all minorities get along together, but just like the Coca Cola Disney (thanks to reader Peter for pointing out the error in sponsorship attribution) “It’s a Small World After All” exhibit did at the New York World’s Fair in the early ’60’s, this show just captivated me. What can I say?
Sometimes, despite the 45-or-so years that has passed since I saw “It’s a Small World” out in Queens, spectacular visuals still sway me and help me overlook glaring script inaccuracies. I guess that’s why I’m a shooter and not a writer!
But, despite the slickly-packaged tourism product available in Lijiang, we did manage to capture some slices of real life, including photographing a couple Dongbas, or holy men, doing their thing. To see a few of them, plus a few more of the show pix, hit the jump.
It was the second aborted landing that really put my heart in my throat. In the best of conditions, landing at the short strip of Paro Airport, the only airport in Bhutan, is roughly equivalent to trying to land a jet on a bowling lane, with that lane being strategically placed in the middle of Sixth Avenue skyscrapers.
Strong crosswinds were vexing our Druk Air pilot on the Airbus approach. We couldn’t use our regular chartered 757, only Druk, the national carrier can fly into Bhutan, and they use specially equipped Airbus models to deal with the, um, insanity of trying to to land there!
Our pilot warned us we might have a tough go of it, but we were only a couple of hundred feet off the ground when he had to gun it, and bank hard to avoid the Himalayan mountain at the end of the runway.
Ain’t travel grand?
He gave up after a third pass, and we headed to Kathmandu. In the meantime, I was shooting video out the window with my little Kodak Zi 8 video point and shoot, and composing the headlines for the story in my local paper: “Photog documents own demise in final Kodak moments.”
I wondered what the repercussions would be of spending my last moments as a sentient being shooting video? Is this any way to move up the karmic chain and attain Nikonian Buddha-hood? What has the world come to?
We did have time for a quick walk round Kathmandu in the late afternoon, and that was all I needed to convince myself I was still either in this world, or purgatory. I’m sure Kathmandu was cool in the sixties and seventies, but it’s pretty much a madhouse now.
So when we flew out again at “oh-dark thirty” the next morning for Paro, I was happy to say “adieu” to Kathmandu.
I’ll keep you posted….
Cold, fog, and rain greeted us in Jordan, but the atmosphere was warm and welcoming at dinner the first evening. These musicians did a lot to warm up the reception when they broke into a traditional dance, complete with flourishing cutlasses (I’m glad they liked us).
The next day, though, was clear and sunny and most of our group headed off to the magnificent Petra. Having seen it before, I opted to go out to Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum looks for all the world like the Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park in southern Utah…..except that it has camels and bedouins. like these guys below, serenading us with music and song in their tent while we took a break from the midday sun.
For a couple more pix and a quick discussion of the flash technique for the top picture, hit the jump. Continue reading
Greetings from Jordan! Where the weather is wet and foggy and internet is GLACIAL.
I’m just preparing a blog entry about our visit to Egypt and the remote Siwa Oasis, but I wanted to share this video that Rich Kennedy, of the Doylestown Intelligencer, did about my little local portrait project.
Rich is an extremely generous photographer, and donated two full days of his time (on a weekend, on his days off) to run the computer end of the weekend of pro bono family portraits we did of area families serving in the armed forces.
I didn’t even have to ask Rich….once he heard about the project, he wanted to contribute.
Not only did he run the computer so that the 50 families could walk out from the session with a USB drive of JPEGs from their shoot, he also quietly saved my bacon with posing ideas when he saw me running into some creative brick walls (like fitting a family of 13 onto a backdrop).
If you ever wanted a guy to cover your back on a big shoot, you couldn’t do better than Rich Kennedy.