Friday, February 29, 2008

Urban Snowman

On my walk to the car yesterday, I was walking past the Water Street Grill. Outside, the staff has constructed an urban snowman. What makes an urban snowman? Instead of buttons or coal for the eyes, the staff used portabella mushrooms for the eyes and celery stalks for the arms.

It is also an urban snowman because as you will notice, there is not a lick of snow on the ground around the snowman. The sidewalks have been cleared (as required by city ordinance)

Although his shape is not really round, he looks like he was constructed by some merry makers. He might be getting some extra protection today, because it is snowing like crazy right now.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Keyboard

As I was looking at some pictures I shot on my phone today, I caught a glimpse of the keyboard in the frame. I really felt the symmetry and the angle of the keyboard was pretty interesting from a visual standpoint.

It is also interesting to me because I spend most of my day behind the keyboard. It is how I send email, how I post to my world tour of beer blog, it is how I twitter. I guess in a lot of ways, the keyboard is an extension of myself.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Boss's Winshield Wiper

Most of the posts on here have been still photography. However, I think I will be posting the occasional motion photos as well. This video was taken yesterday when my boss and I were driving to a meeting.

By all accounts, my boss is very much the metrosexual male. He is a great dresser, very organized and very polished. The one crack in this stylish exterior is his car. He is driving a very old Honda Prelude - do they even make those any more?

At any rate, I could handle the eco-friendly idea of keeping a car as long as you can. However, when you let you windshield wipers split apart and your passengers can't even see in the car - well, I just call a foul. A little video for you to enjoy the experience I had the other day.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Guinness Reflection

While I was in Dublin, I found myself at The Celt pub. It is a place that I spend a lot of time in - my local - when I am in Dublin. They have music every night and some really good singers. One other great feature is the bar staff and the Guinness is always great.

On the evening I took this photo, I had just arrived in Ireland and was drinking the good stuff. As the night wore on, my pace was getting a bit slower. The one thing I noticed about these pints is the head of the beer was staying nice and fluffy - almost like a milkshake.

As I peered down when I was getting to the end of my pint, I noticed the reflection from the Guinness logo on the glass was on the foamy head of my beer. It was brilliant! It was almost like a little gift to me - much like the shamrocks the bar staff sometimes draws in the beer when they are board. Slainte!

Tower at the Airport

I have been spending a lot of time at the airport lately. I just had gotten back from my trip to Ireland and headed to Chicago for the weekend. I was not in downtown, but on the far edge of the city for a christening. I didn't even take my camera out of the case the entire weekend.

However, I snapped this photo while I was waiting for my ride home from the airport. It struck me as a strange design element for the building, but the odd green lighting made it stand out even more. I do like the geometry of the photograph, even if the subject matter is not really that interesting. It was enough to catch my eye while I was waiting for my ride.

Friday, February 22, 2008

St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox

Another thing that I often see when I am walking in the morning, or anytime through my neighborhood are the spires of St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox church. I love the way the spires are lighted.

There are so many churches in Tremont, however, this one really stands out to me. I think it is the spires and the fact that it sits away from the other churches on the corner of a hill. How it looked illuminated in the snow this morning was incredible.

Snowy City Morning

I think I am still adjusting from being Dublin time because I was wide awake at 5 am this morning. Instead of fighting it, I woke up and packed my suitcase for my trip to Chicago, then went for a walk. I was greeting with a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

At the end of the first street, there is a great view of the city that I have photographed - the skyline at sunrise. It is a really enjoyable way to start the day. Today, I took my camera with me again. I love this picture of the snow covered valley and the way the river snakes through it with the buildings gleaming in the background.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vathouse #4

One of the best parts of going to the Guinness factory, besides the fact that you get to pay homage to such a great beer, is that you are walking on the campus of Guinness. If you walk through town, you get to stroll through the streets to the factory.

It almost seems like you are walking back into a different time. The cobblestone streets and stone buildings always make me nostalgic. I have been to the factory, and on the tour, about a half dozen times. Every time I have walked there, I have noticed this sign and never taken a photo. I was actually walking back from the factory and had passed it. Then I stopped, walked back and took the photo.

I love this picture because it reminds me that Guinness is a real place - St. James Gate where they make the beer that I love to drink.

Stranded Mooring Balls

One of the things that is interesting about Ireland is that because it is an island nation, the tides can be very dramatic on the coastline near the bay. On this occasion, I visited Malahide, just outside of Dublin, to walk along the beach.

When I got there, the tide had gone out around the Marina stranding this set of mooring balls. I found it ironic since the purpose of a mooring ball and line is to allow ships to attach themselves in the bay so they don't have to dock in the harbor. I don't think anyone is going pulling up to these.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shopping off of Grafton Street - Dublin

One of the advantages of being in an older city is there are lots of great lanes and odd little streets to explore. This street off of the main shopping thoroughfare - Grafton Street - has always interested me.

Maybe it is the way the streets curve or the ornate lights that are above the shops. There are a lot of jewelers on this street as well and it seems to be a bit of a "lovers lane" in the city. I have never been in one of the stores on this street, but I find that I take it as a means to get across the city whenever it is convenient . . . and sometimes when it is not.

St. Stephen's Green - Dublin

All great cities have great parks. There are a lot of parks sprinkled throughout Dublin. However, the most popular park is St. Stephen's Green. During this trip, I had the good fortune to be able to walk through the park on my way to the City Centre every morning.

There is something lovely and compact about the park. Even better, there is not really a direct route through the park. With it circular walkways that intertwine throughout, you can enjoy walking a different way through the park all the time. It is a great place to also relax and people watch.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bluegrass Session at the Cobblestone

One of my favorite places in Dublin is the Cobblestone. It is a great place to enjoy a wonderful pint and listen to some great traditional music.

The music sessions at the Cobblestone are open, which means anyone can join in (and is encouraged to do so). It also means there is not set list of songs and the musicians do not have microphones. As you can images, the lack of a PA system encourages people to gather around the musicians.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, there is a blue grass session that goes on. Although not strictly traditional Irish music, bluegrass music does have its roots in traditional Irish music. The music is great and the pints are like mother's milk. Not a bad way to start of a Saturday evening.

Traditional Music at the Cobblestone - in motion

While I was in Dublin, I took some photographs during one of the traditional sessions that I attended. Since my camera was enabled with a video camera as well, I shot a bit of the song the bluegrass session players were performing. Isn't a video just a successive series of photos?

At any rate, the video work isn't the greatest, but it will give you a feeling for the environment of traditional music. It is amazing to me that a place like this still exists in Dublin. Most of the other bars use microphones, have bands or closed sessions, and are riddled with tvs.

The Cobblestone in Smithfield village is a proper pub. It is a place you go to drink pints of Guinness and listen to the local musicians plans traditional irish musics (and sometimes a little bluegrass).

Trinity College Dublin

I really like walking through the campus of Trinity College. Not only is there a buzz around the campus because of day-to-day activity, the place has been home to some of the literary geniuses of Ireland.

This photograph shows the campanile at the center of the main entrance. It is very close to the Old Library which houses the Book of Kells - an illuminated manuscript created by Celtic monks in the AD 800 period.

There is such a sense of tradition in this place, the old stone buildings and cobble stone courtyard help to create the sense of timelessness that exists here.

On Holiday in Dublin

I have not been very good lately about updating the photo blog. I was on holiday in Dublin. This photo was the first one I took. I went to my favorite books store and picked out a few books to read. Then, I headed to the Quays pub in Temple Bar.

There is nothing like a good book and a really good pint of Guinness. It was so lovely and creamy. Definitely a good start to any holiday. I am going to be posting my photos from the trip over the next few days.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Broken Phone Booth

Whenever I am at the laundry mat, I often wonder if anyone every used the pay phone. Tonight, that questions was answered with a resounding yes. I heard a drunk guy talking to someone about the fact that he wanted to get his stuff back. He was threatening to shut their gas off and was accusing them of taking his stuff to the dumpster.

I guess you use the pay phone when you don't have a cell phone or if you are broke. I guess that is why this payphone, the one outside the laundry, is even funnier because it was broken, but the folks using it are broke as well.

Chalk Talk

When I started this project, I was still writing a blog for the World Tour of Beer. I am still doing that, but it seems like the photo project has taken a lot more of my attention than I had originally planned.

Now, due to the cold weather, I am struggling with content for either one. As you know, it is good to recycle, so I thought I would recycle this photo I took in January. The friends who participate in the World Tour of Beer with me are big fans of the game Cornhole. We often have tournaments outside. Since the weather has gotten colder, I have resorted to mere threats on their prowess.

Fat Tuesday, Fatter Friday

Last week was Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the final day to whoop it up before the onset of lent. I don't really observe the tradition of lent any longer. However, I do look at it as an opportunity for two things. First, it is a chance to reinvigorate your new year's resolution that has been on the slide. Second, it is a great opportunity to throw on some plastic beads and have a good time.

On Friday morning, I was parking my car and walking to the office when I noticed these beads on the fence. It reminded me of New Orleans. I had been talking early in the week about a photo of a light post I have that is covered in beads. The beads that someone threw during a parade that were never caught, but always remember on the light post as a reminder of the good time.

When I checked this morning, the beads were still there getting more covered by snow and braving the single-digit temperatures. As they say in N'awlins "Laissez les bon temps roulez."

Friday, February 8, 2008

The EuroHawk

My Co-Worker, McNutty, got a haircut today. He lovingly calls it a EuroHawk. It was the topic of conversation over lunch. He was trying to determine what it looked like and couldn't really see himself in the window near where we were eating lunch.

Luckily, I had my handy cell phone camera to snap a picture for him. We tried a couple of different angles to make the hair look good. Unfortunately, the best angle was when he was turned to the window and the light behind him was a bit blown out. However, I liked the lines of the photograph the best and decided to post it today.

I also like the defiant sneer he has on his face. I didn't even ask him to do it, he just did.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

All the Pretty Horses

After a meeting with a client this morning, my co-worker and I decided to head to Red Robin. The meeting has been an interesting one and the client had not been so nice. The great thing about Red Robin is that the kid-friendly atmosphere guarantees goodies like milk shakes and burgers are on the menu.

There is nothing better after a bad meeting than a chocolate milk shake. For that matter, anything chocolate or any type of milk shake. As we were finishing our lunch, I was sitting around thinking about how crammed the rest of my day was. I had another meeting to attend, then go home and cook dinner for a guest.

I wasn't going to have time to shoot a photo. Thinking fast, I shot the carousel horse that was right near our booth. Not the greatest photo, but not too bad for only taking one shot and being under pressure.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Browns Football Walkway

After lunch today, I took a stroll with one of my co-workers. Although it is still cold outside, the break from the single digit temperatures was a nice one.

We decided to head toward the stadium. Instead of doing the complete loop, we took a walkway that cuts across the local road and the train tracks and cuts about 5 blocks off of the loop. As we were walking, I noticed this bridge with the football field markings on it.

I thought it was an interesting setup in a very hidden place. Only fans who have walked on this pathway would notice the ground was painted like a football field and there was a sign with goal posts saying thanks to the fans. It was also ironic timing since the Super Bowl was yesterday. The deserted walkway feels representative of stadiums around the country that will now sit empty until next season.

Great things are hidden around every corner.

Black and White Leaves

After I posted the photo of the leaves, it made me think about what a similar picture would look like in black and white. Would the beauty of the winter leaves still be as compelling in color?

I took another picture of the same grouping of leaves and converted the photo to black and white. I think it does maintains it beauty. The texture and the pattern of the leaves has a beauty that is only enhanced by the lack of color.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Autumn Leaves in Winter

As I have been doing this project, I have been noticing things more acutely. There are things that I see every day that I think are interesting, but I never think of them in the context of taking a photograph of it.

Today, I pulled my car into my parking spot behind my apartment building. I really noticed the brown leaves that were clustered against the neighbors garage. Usually, the leaves are bright and vibrant green the rest of the year. However, I really though this cluster of leaves that had hung on through the snow and cold were really beautiful.

I am wondering if they will hold on and become green again, or eventually give up the fight and fall off of their vines. If they are like the ones growing near the house, they are pretty stubborn.