Sunday, May 31, 2009

Busy Day in the Midwest

At the end of another day on the road I'm resting my head in the place where Abraham Lincoln began his political career. I'm in Vandalia, Illinois with about 800 more miles to go before I'm arrive in Brooklyn, New York. I pulled over to the side of the highway in Springfield, Missouri to get this shot of the sunset. I once got a ticket for doing this - the cop actually wrote,"taking photos" on the ticket that I'm not sure I ever paid because I still have that ticket - I saw it last week while I was packing for this trip.

Earlier, upon arriving in Springfield, I went underground at Fantastic Caverns. Our tour guide, Karen gestures toward the Hall of Giants Stalagmite formation inside the caverns that were first explored by 12 women in 1867. This formation is thousands of years old. In the 1920's the place was a "Speak Easy" which included a dance floor and cock fights. In the 50's and 60's top name country music artists staged concerts in the caverns. It was about 85 degrees outside and in the upper 50's to low 60's inside.

Then it was on to Saint Louis and the famous Gateway Arch. I had to take this and some other pictures in a hurry because the park area surrounding the arch was closed at 11 p.m. which was about five minutes after I showed up. I wanted to include some other elements in the picture to make it stand out from the thousands of other pictures taken of this popular landmark.

And nearby, is the Cardinals new baseball stadium where this year's Major League Baseball All-Star game will be held. There's a statue garden of nine famous Cardinals players on one side of the stadium and St Louis icon, Stan Musial - who's in the garden array as well- has his own giant monument on the grounds of another part of the stadium.
I'll be in my new home tomorrow by 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bury A Car and Draw A Crowd

The concept is simple enough: Bury a bunch of old Cadillacs near a busy highway and wait for the crowds to show up ... many with cans of spray paint. That would be Cadillac Ranch off I-40 near Amarillo, Texas.

I arrived late in the day - meaning great light- and folks were there with their paint cans going to town on the cars. One crowd of teenagers showed up on a bus. They were on their way back home to Durango, Colorado. Others were just tourists who happen to be in the neighborhood.

Climbing onto the cars was a popular trick but finding adequate space to spray-paint something meaningful was pretty tough.

This woman already knew what she was spraying onto this car would probably be painted over before the next morning - as she covers up something somebody else had written before she arrived.
The last time I was here I was shooting with a film camera. Ages ago by digital standards. 1350 miles into my 2780 mile journey. All is well.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Along For The Ride

I'm on my way to New York again ... but I'm driving the 2780 miles. I did 713 the first day and night - I like driving at night. I'll be leaving Gallup, New Mexico soon and I hope to knock off another 700 miles which should put me in Oklahoma by the next blog post. I have my lizard pal with me on the trip. He's happy to be returning back east. After four years of hanging on a large clock in the living room, it's a nice change of pace to be in the car with me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thinking Of My Father

While I was working at Yankee Stadium in New York this Memorial Day weekend, I learned that my father's name - "Theodore Roosevelt Olden, Tec 4, U.S. Army"- was being read out loud at the National Cemetery in Riverside, California. Daddy was buried there after he passed in 1986. His name and the names of hundreds of others who served their country in the military and are interred in Riverside, are being read aloud by dozens of volunteers this weekend.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Take a Picture ... It's OK

New York's Grand Central Station has always been a favorite place to photograph. But after 9/11, it was touch and go in many public buildings like this in terms of simply taking a picture. Officials were jittery about he 'wrong element' taking photos for use in terrorist activity. Of course, since its hard to tell who might be a bad person, that meant everybody was under suspicion. Things are sure different these days. It seems everyone has a camera in some form or another and people are snapping away at the NY landmarks.

Spoon Art

These spoons were placed on my lunch table - just before dessert- by the waiter at the Bryant Park Cafe in New York City. I didn't touch them before I took this shot because there was nothing I could do to improve the composition. The spoons are reflecting the overhead foliage and the marble-like table makes a nice background.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yet Another Single Parent Household

You don't have to look very long in New York to find the off-beat and unusual. This window display caught my eye and I wonder what the thought process was that led to this result. By the way, the easy caption for this is: "I bet the dinner conversation is a bit wooden ... "

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hi-Def Danger?

I put a question mark after the title of this post because I don't know of any photographer who has breached the canons of ethics by passing off an image shot from a Hi-Def television screen as something other than just that - a picture FROM a picture. But as you can see from my shots - including talk show icon Larry King - who threw out the first pitch at Sunday's Yankees-Twins game to my introduction - a photo taken with my little point and shoot digicam from a Hi-Def transmission from the YES- TV network looks pretty good. Hard to tell it's from a screen. The old analog technology - with far fewer lines of resolution- made it tough

to take a picture without being able to easily tell it was from a TV. So if I can take these photos with a relatively inexpensive camera, what can be done with a high-priced camera and lens combination. I'm guessing that - human nature being what it is - some photog will cut corners eventually and try to pass off a picture from a Hi-Def screen as something original. And the profession will take another hit.

"When's the Next Train?"

That seems to be the question this man is asking as he passes up the chance to step into a crowded train after a Yankees game in the Bronx. I've seen some wild You Tube videos showing the professional subway train "stuffers" in Japan and China. Such a job thankfully does not exist here in America. There's no way 'strap-hangers' would allow somebody to push them into a train ... and not be ready to fight.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Dramatic Win - Then ... Pull-Ups

Number 53, Melky Cabrera, gets a bear hug from Alex Rodriguez after driving in the tying and winning runs in A-Rod's first game this season at Yankee Stadium. A few moments later Cabrera got the shaving cream pie in the face treatment which is accorded the hero of the game. The Yankees scored three runs in the ninth-inning to win, 5-4.

This was the scene at home plate as Ramiro Pena scored the winning run. Number 17, Kevin Cash, has a firm grip on Mark Teixeira's shirt and Derek Jeter can't wait to deliver twin high-fives. Meanwhile, Twins catcher Joe Mauer leaves the field with plate umpire Wally Bell who is watching to be sure Pena touched home plate to make the 5-4, come-from-behind win for the Yankees official.

And then this Yankee fan celebrated the victory on the number 4 subway train back to Manhattan, by doing a series of pull-ups. Who needs a fancy gym membership when you have all the necessary equipment on the tube.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Speak Loudly

Finally ... Alex Rodriguez makes his first appearance at the new Yankee Stadium. Before the game against the Twins, the news media wanted to get his impressions of the place and to see how he felt about being back in uniform in the Bronx, A-Rod had been in Colorado and Florida recovering from hip surgery in March. He hit a homer on the first pitch he saw upon his return on the road in Baltimore on Monday. #13 gets a lot of attention - there's a new, less-than-flattering book about him in the stores and of course, there was that steroids use admission earlier this year. But now it's all about producing on the field and the Yankees need him to succeed in order to make the playoffs this season.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dressed for Success ... Walking the Dog

It's a scene repeated hundreds of times a day in New York City and the outer boroughs - walking the dog. This guy appears to be taking his dog home from work if you judge by what looks to be his dapper suit from his 9 to 5. And maybe dinner is in the white bag. He and the dog have some style - check out the leash - as they go about on their post-work constitutional. Usually, the dog does the leading - since most dogs are untrained - but you can tell who's in charge in this household.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

L.A. Times Use of My Picture

It was a nice surprise to see the Los Angeles Times using my photo of twilight at Dodger Stadium - shot in September of 2005 - to help illustrate a story about ... Twilight at Dodger Stadium. (Scroll down to see the smaller version of my pic in the story). I'd sent this picture into the public photo section where anybody can upload pictures on myriad topics. There's no payment for those shots - just the "thrill" of seeing your picture online. Little did I know the paper would use any of those photos to flesh out actual stories. I don't know if this picture was used in the newsstand version of the paper. Since they raised the price to 75 cents a day I stopped buying it and only read the free online version of the Times. And thus, you have one of the reasons why many newspapers are struggling to stay afloat.

Catching Up

This is a shot I've been meaning to include ever since the Holiday Bowl football game was played in December. Every year in San Diego, The Big Flag - which can be hired for a price - is unfurled before the game accompanied by a military jet flyover. These Marines earn the right to be included in the team of flag holders. Would you like to be on the edges of underneath the flag? Photographers try to find an interesting angle to shoot this annual event. I like the repeating pattern of the arms holding up the flag for as far as the eye can see.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yea Team!

Apparently, this is a rare sight around southern California - a demonstrative Lakers' fan. And I must admit, after reading complaint about lack of fan support in the Los Angeles Times recently, I started looking for playoff-rabid fans who are showing their allegiance to the home team. And I haven't found many of them. I don't think L.A. sports fans like plastering their vehicles with flags and stickers ... it's more of a mid-western thing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Right Back at Ya

Yankees left-fielder Johnny Damon is not doing a pre-game stretch. Instead he is answering the "bleacher-creatures" who sit in the right-field stands and chant the Yankees players names as the game unfolds in the first inning - The Roll Call. Some players merely wave at the fans in an almost grudging acknowledgement. But Damon has embraced the tradition and gives a strong shout back to the fans. Damon's been a hot hitter as well which has added to his popularity.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Anybody under there?"

Another night and more rain for the grounds crew of the New York Yankees to deal with. Only this time, in their haste to get the field covered, they thought maybe one of their guys was lost somewhere under the trap. So those humps you see are actually people under the tarp checking to make sure no one was left behind. The crew has performed at a top level in light of four straight days of rain ... and more is on the way for Thursday.

Meanwhile, at the subway station after the game when the skies really opened up and poured rain, this scene reminded me of a famous picture taken by photography icon Henri Cartier-Bresson. Something about water and the right kind of light to make a nice picture during bad weather.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can't Miss Her!

I'm glad I don't have to wear an outfit like this one when I go to work. A Brooklyn, New York meter maid is ready for the rain and - if need be - to be seen from the moon because of the bright orange color of her rain slicker and cap cover. A cynic might suggest she's an easier target for irate car owners who might have over stayed their parking meter time. But, as it should be, attacking a meter maid can be very costly.

Lake Yankee

A small lake was created when the Yankees ' grounds crew flipped over the tarp that was covering the infield after an all day rain. It looks bad, but the water drained in about five minutes and the game against the Red Sox was played as scheduled. The game started at 9:22 p.m. and ended at 1:10 a.m. with the Red Sox winning 6-4. The Yanks had a chance, Robinson Cano struck out with the bases loaded for the final out against closer Johnathan Papelbon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

NY Marathon ... on Two Wheels

Rain or shine (mostly rain) the annual Five Boro Bike Tour took place with thousands of two-wheel lovers taking to the streets and bridges of New York for 42 miles of fun. Traffic was stopped- both in cars and on foot - to allow the cyclists safe passage to the eventual end of the route in Staten Island where a big post- event festival was scheduled.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Time to Eat

As I emerged from the subway from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx into the upper east side of Manhattan, I happened upon a street fair on 60th street, between Central Park and Lexington Ave. Food, clothes, jewelry, massages, artwork ... you name it and it was on display and for sale. I indulged in one of my favorite foods - roasted corn on the cob. I also had a spinach and chicken wrap, a slice of banana cake, a veggie pita sandwich, another corn on the cob and a strawberry smoothie which was at a discount since the street fair had to close and they needed to get rid of inventory. And yes ... I ate again two hours later.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Tradition Continues

These two members of the New York Yankees' grounds crew are forming the letter, "Y", as in the 70's disco anthem, Y-M-C-A, by the Village People. For many years, the crew has performed the famous moves while smoothing over the playing surface before the 7 th inning at Yankee Stadium. The crowd gets a big kick out of the routine and many fans join in and flash their best moves for the stadium TV cameras.