Pacific Beach 9/20/08

I haven’t really updated in a while since I’ve been pretty busy with lots of stuff, and my website is stalled because my FTP clients don’t want to connect. My web guy thinks it’s my DNS settings, but I have them set to automatic, and they worked fine until a couple weeks ago. I have been taking photos, a few of which are below.

Once again, we went to a beach before sunrise (PB this time) to get some long exposure images:

After sunrise, we ate at Kono’s for breakfast (not very good) and then stuck around for the classic surfboard surfing contest. No post-1969 boards allowed!

Plenty more pics online if you know where to look for them!

Michael

Wind an Sea Beach After Sunset 9/13/08

I went to Dominic’s bachelor party last night, and found myself less than a block away from Wind and Sea beach just after sunset.

I wanted to get there a bit earlier so that I could capture the actual sunset, but I was running late and showed up almost an hour after the sun had already gone down. Good thing I had my tripod!

This was my first time at this particular location and I think I can do it more justice if I come back when there’s some more light. You can’t see it from these multi-second exposures, but the waves were breaking hard against the rocks and it was actually pretty loud and violent.

With 20-30 second exposures, the waves blur out and it makes it look quite peaceful, which was definitely not what I was seeing in front of me. Photography is not just about capturing what’s in front of the lens, the photographer makes a conscious decision to interpret a scene in a specific way. Given the right lighting conditions and tools, a scene becomes a statement- bending to the will of the photographer’s vision.

I don’t know how it happens, but I always get one shot with the subject moving out of frame during exposure. A great effect, and something I need to keep in mind when I want to use it to say something specific.

Michael

Polvo at the Casbah 8/30/08

As I mentioned in the first post on this blog, I was REALLY excited to finally get to see Polvo. They broke up right around the time I got into them, and I wasn’t going to miss this chance to see them. I saw three of the members hanging out at the merch table, so I went up to buy a T-shirt, and got the Black Taj CD too, which has Dave Brylawski and Steve Popson from Polvo in it. Very good CD, a bit more straightahead rock than Polvo.

I mentioned to Dave that I had been waiting 10 years to go see them, and he seemed flattered. I felt like a giggling schoolgirl talking to these guys, I tend to get a bit starstruck around musicians who I really like. I asked if they were taking any requests, and then totally blanked when he asked what I wanted to hear. I asked for them to play City Spirit since it’s one of my favorites, very evocative of a downtown at night. He said they were just talking about doing that song, and that they’ve only played it once in this incaranation of the band (different drummer for this tour). And sure enough, they did play it during the set! As soon as I walked away from the merch booth though, all these other songs popped into my head that I should have asked for instead…. By the way, Dave has a huge, husky voice, like a grizzly bear. I never noticed it on the albums, maybe it’s from years of smoking?

I stood in the same spot for both Trans Am and Polvo, as not to lose my place. Oddly enough, the Polvo guys stood in the same place as the last time they played the Casbah in 1996. It was tough to get full band shots since I was right in front of Ash Bowie, so I shot mostly individuals/ duos. Since I went by myself, this meant that I couldn’t move to go get another beer between the two bands, so I was pretty thirsty during this set. Ah well, such is life.

Being a sold-out show, I had zero room to move around, so all the photos have the same view. The bass player, Steve Popson, was the most animated of the bunch, so many shots were of him. Not a problem for me, as I’m a bass player….

Ash Bowie looked like he hadn’t aged a day in the past 10 years. The other guys are showing their age a bit more, but they seemed to be happy to be playing together again.

Dave Brylawski hung out on the far side of the stage most of the time, and it was cool to see who played/sang what.

The drummer, Brian Quast, was the only non-original member of the band. It would have been cool to see Eddie Watkins, but this guy was more than capable. Less finesse, more power than Eddie, I think, but it could have just been the difference in seeing it live. He was a sweaty guy, though. By the end of the encore, his shirt and pants were drenched.

I really wish I got a sharp version of that photo….

For the encore, the lighting actually changed the lights from the deep red/little bit of blue that they normally have, to all blue. It was a welcome change. I wish the Casbah put a little more effort into lighting. I actually have a preset in my photo editing software specifically designed to tame down the overall red cast on this stage.

All in all, a great show to see. The playing was much looser than what’s on CD, possibly due to not playing the songs for so long. They also changed around the structures for some of their well known songs, sometimes drastically. Thermal Treasure was almost unrecognizable. As an improvising musician, I can totally understand that. As a fan, I want to be able to sing along, which was tough when the songs are organized differently, or the lyrics are totally different (Feather of Forgiveness). One thing that was just like the CDs- it’s pretty tough to be able to hear/understand the lyrics in many places, since they are very buried in the mix. And I was standing close to enough to Ash to be able to reach out and touch his guitar.

If these photos, and the ones in the gallery page, aren’t enough for you, just let me know and I can send you a link to my other site which has quite a few more. Of course, my friends who get regular email updates about new photos already know where to look.

Michael

Trans Am at the Casbah 8/30/08

I was really looking forward to see Polvo this night, but I’d never heard of Trans Am. I listened to some of their stuff online, and it just seemed a bit too electronica for me. As soon as the opening band finished up, I parked myself in front of the left side of the stage for a good view. If the music wasn’t going to be entertaining, at least I could pass the time taking photos. Phil was going to go to the show with me, but he ended up playing a gig with the Tractormen that night and wasn’t able to make both. He did say that he’d look out for my photos of the show, put on a Trans Am CD, and it would feel like he was right there. Awww, thank Phil, this post is for you!

3 guys playing 2 keyboards, 2 basses, guitar, drums, and drum machine, along with heavily effected vocals.

This guy and the drummer were both wearing a slightly out-of-place looking piece of bling. The drummer had a heavy gold chain, and this guy had a blue arm-warmer on his right arm. I spent some time looking for the one piece of flair on the guitarist, but couldn’t find one.

The music still didn’t move me too much, although the crowd at this sold-out show was definitely into it. It seems to me that the music was all about the heavy, pounding drums. The drummer was going full-blast the whole time.

I was entertained during this set, I think they sound better live than they do on CD, although I’m certainly not the best judge of their music, having had very little time with it.

Check the People Album for more pics.

Michael