East and West

I stumbled upon this scene in a liquor store in Las Vegas just across the street fro the Mandalay Bay.

I thought it was super random that these two ladies were sitting on a bench in a liquor store. A bench in a liquor store is pretty odd, too.

The one thing that annoys me in this picture is that it looks like I am looking down on them based on the angle of the picture, I can not stand this.

I do like how the girl on the cowboy’s right side looks as if she is sitting close to her, closer to the cowboy than her friend. I can not tell if she is getting up and getting in closer to snuggle.

I do like the confidence on the cowboy’s face, too!

Christmas Lady

This picture was taken a day or two before Christmas 2016 inside a Right Aid.

I forgot what I went into the store for, but as soon as I saw this lady, I knew I had to get a picture because of her shawl and hat. I walked passed her as I got my phone ready to snap off a few pictures and then circled back again.

I took a few pictured of her smiling and then, all of a sudden, she turns around and I snapped away. It was not until I got home and looked at the pictures that I realized I got her unintentionally scowling!

What does one shop for in a pharmacy the day before Christmas?

Over 60 Bowl of Ice Cream!

So this was fun! The yearbook staff at my junior high decided to prank me and play off of my love of ice cream.

For the beginning half of the period, a student would come in every two or three minutes and offer me ice cream, saying they were having an ice cream party because the yearbook was finally delivered.

How can I say no!

Pretty soon, the entire yearbook staff came in singing “Happy Birthday” for some reason.

I loved every minute of it!

It’s Not About You Reading Our Blogs

A few days ago I came across @shareski’s blog post about him not reading “my” (I.e. ours) blogs anymore. He name dropped John T Spencer explaining that the two of them confessed to each other they do not read each other’s blogs anymore.

I really do not care. It is not about them reading our blogs.

It is about my reflection as a teacher.

It is about me and my craft, not their blessings bestowed upon me*.

There is a far greater problem than @shareski or @johnspencer reading my blog or others.

Boring blog posts and Tweets on #edchat that all say the same thing!

These posts either talk about the anathema of grades, the gloriousness of Maker Spaces and Design Thinking, or the perfection that is all things Edcamp!

It’s an echo chamber of hyperbole…

It’s an echo chamber of hyperbole.

I thought we were all more creative.

Why read teacher X’s blog when Teacher Y’s blog says the same thing? But wait, I’ve already read that blog post by teacher Z a few months ago.

Another issue that is causing others not read blog posts I think is that the writing is all puppies and rainbows! If I wanted puppies and rainbows I would go to Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers!

Where is the critical thought?

Where is the wrestling with ideas?

Where is the earnest struggle of a bombed lesson on a rainy Wednesday afternoon in February?

“Look how amazing my students are for making this robot do a ninety degree turn!” Nope, not amazing. That is what robots are supposed to do!

“Look at this wonderful game my students created with bits of cardboard from Mrs. Smith’s new refrigerator!” Nope, that’s what kids do!

If this student’s movie is awesome and amazing, where do you go from there?

Of course there are legitimate exceptions! I’m thinking in broad strokes here.

I still think my criticisms are valid, even if it’s just that I am filling in the void of criticism!

Didn’t the Lego Movie teach us anything about everything being awesome and amazing and wonderful?

* Does it feel good to get a retweet or mention by someone, um, “famous” in the education world? Sure, but like Halloween candy, it only lasts a little while and the ultimate crash is simply not worth chasing.

The King Eddy 2017

I had spent a few minutes trying to get some good pictures of the signs on the outside of this saloon. I was not happy with any of them, so I moved on. As I was about to cross the street, I turned and snapped a few pictures and this was the result.

I ended up using the iOS app *Retouch* to remove the man with the green shirt. I did a terrible job removing the guy in the green shirt — notice the weirdness of the old man, “King Eddy”, and his right arm.

I really like the sense of confidence this man exudes. Also like that I was able to get both feet and the cane on the ground. This adds a sense of frozen motion and somehow a feeling that this man is deliberately walking this way, with purpose.

An Inside Look: The Color Changing Pink Wall in DTLA

I actually like both of these pictures. This is from the famous Pink Wall in Los Angeles at the Paul Smith store.

I of course wanted to get some pictures of this building because of the giant, all pink wall. It’s basically on every Los Angeles photographer’s (or aspiring model) todo list.

While the giant pink wall is undoubtedly cool, I was more interested in the people who go there to take pictures of themselves.

I was able to capture that with the girl in the center of the picture taking a selfie! I also like how the guy is looking at his phone, perhaps looking at his selfies or getting ready to post it somewhere. The last girl seems to be rolling her eyes at the selfish idiocy of it all — her hand resting on her hips gives me this thought.

I do like the color version of this picture, but the black and white version seems to go beyond the trendy into more of a statement piece. It feels more powerful.

An Inside Look: An LA Story 2017

I’m driving to Downtown Los Angeles one typical May Grey morning, excited to roam wherever the pictures take me.

After exiting the freeway and crossing the Fourth St Bridge, I could see this mural approaching. I fumble around for my phone and blindly open the stock camera app in hopes of getting a picture of the mural.

As I drove closer, I glanced in my rear view mirror to see if there were any cars behind me so I could slow down to get a better picture.

Four cars behind me and three in the lane to my right unnecessarily increased my speed and urgency!

I reach across my chest and grab my phone with my left hand, ducking it under my right arm and hand holding the steaming wheel.

Just after I clear my left hand past my right arm, there is all of a sudden tension, then the phone flies out of my hand.

Luckily, my window was rolled up!

I grab my phone and push the button to roll the window down. I compose my shot as best I can driving 54 miles an hour (I can’t drive 55, like Sammy Hagar).

I snap off three or four shots with my thumb not knowing if I got anything good.

An hour or so later, while eating a yummy Big Dipper from Cole’s, I look and see that three shots are in focus. The second shot was the keeper!

I am a bit annoyed that the mural is not perfectly centered. However, as an English teacher, I am certain I can come up with some sort of symbolism.

I later put the picture into Hipstamatic’s wonderful Tintype app. I tend to use that app with murals and street art.

An Inside Look: Lady DTLA 2017

I almost do not even remember taking this picture! I do know I was in the Downtown Los Angeles Toy District.

I sat on this picture for awile because I knew it could be a great picture, I just did not know how I would edit it to bring out its potential.

The original picture was i color but I ended up putting the picture into the wonderful black and white iOS app Noir and once I dialed in the settings, I knew I had something.

It does seem to me that when looking at a thumbnail of the image, the highlight around her face seems more dramatic, halo like. However, when I look at he picture at its “normal” size, it seems fine.

Very proud that this image was selected by the editors of the JJ Westcoast community to be featured on their Instagram feed.

An Inside Look: Geisha DTLA 2017

There is a striking piece of art on the side of a random building in downtown Los Angeles. I had seen this piece of art the last three times I went to DTLA and had always wanted to do something with it. This time, I decided to “work the scene” and find some way to capture this art and do it justice in a picture.

The original is in color and simply perfect in form an execution. I felt I would be copying the artist if I posted a color picture without adding anything new or interesting.

So I ended up doing some editing in Hipstamatic and converted the image to a D-Type Plate and Tinto 1884 Lens to give it an aged look. Then I added some blur to the edges to drive the viewers eye to the lady’s eyes.

An Inside Look: Hailing a Bus DTLA 2017

I saw this man from across the street waiting at the bus stop. As I ran across the cross walk, the scene seemed to slowly set itself up for me: Bus coming down the street a block away; the man slowly standing up, getting his balance as the bus moves closer. After passing him, I turn around and take one or two pictures.

Then I see him raise his arm to hail the bus.

A few more pictures.

I did not notice until I was home the “Maui” on his hat and that the right side of his face is just barely lit. I am also very happy that there were no other cars passing by.

I did no editing on this shot. This is how it came into the camera.