Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays

Jacksonville has this fantastic event over Thanksgiving weekend called the Jacksonville Light Parade, where folks dress their boats up in Christmas lights and drive around the Landing to show off. There's also a huge Christmas tree and live music. Then they launch fireworks over the river from two different bridges.

This is the Acosta, which is my favorite bridge in Jacksonville even when there isn't light pouring off of it. I love Thanksgiving in Jacksonville. Happy Holidays, everyone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

8mm, or What I Do in My Spare Time

I've been playing around with Nikon's 8mm fisheye lens (we had one buried in a closet in the studio here). Half of my photo friends think it's really cool-- the chief photographer here at the Monitor even suggested I do a book. Everyone else thinks it's a total waste of time. Ken Rockwell says, "This is among Nikon's least useful lenses for photography."

I will defend the 8mm. As a colleague once pointed out to me, when you use different lenses, you look different places for photos. Shooting at 8mm has helped me to notice everything, since basically everything ends up in the photos and in focus (including my feet, sometimes). It's fun to play with because it's so different from my normal work, which focuses on truthful portrayals of genuine moments and personalities. It's tough to capture a "moment" with a fisheye lens. As far as people go, well, everyone looks goofy at 8mm. Fisheye photos are more about shapes, light and shadows.

Here are a few--click to see them bigger.

A collection of fisheye photos. These were taken over the past several weeks in Somerville, Allston, at Walden Pond (I biked almost 40 miles with that heavy chunk of metal on my back and was not about to let these go to waste), and Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

All that goofiness actually came in handy when I had to photograph Yelp's iphone app for a Monitor article on Augmented Reality. Yelp's Monocle uses the iphone's camera, GPS, and compass to display reviews of places right in front of you (when it works). The fisheye let me get the image on the phone and the restaurants behind it in the same picture, properly-exposed, and all in focus. With a little help from the graphics department, we have an Innovations section cover that carries the page (see below). Take that, fisheye naysayers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

CSM Pictures of the Year

We're in the final stages of editing the Christian Science Monitor staff photos of the year for our upcoming special issue (you know, the thick one that counts as two weeks and lets us take Christmas week off). It's been quite the editing process, and we have a gorgeous 6-page spread. I'm delighted that two of my pictures made the cut this year. Most notably, this photo from Obama's inauguration is on the first page, and it's the biggest in the spread.

We have an extremely talented team of editors and our staff is top-notch. In the past year they've covered assignments in India, Africa, Ecuador, and all over North America. I can't think of a greater honor than to have my work featured with theirs.

Charisse Raysor, from Washington, D.C., shows off her earrings during the inauguration of Barack Obama in the National Mall. January 20, 2009. PHOTO: SARAH BETH GLICKSTEEN / The Christian Science Monitor.