Took a walk to the Pike Place Market and back - ran into some characters and a totem pole. Also, ha, used 6400 ISO on a 7D outside during the day. Trial and error, I guess :)
The grand opening of "The Get Down" at Neighbours Underground, before the club attempted to renovate the space and then the City closed it for good. This was the night I met miss Gaysha Starr, not pictured below but whom I'd soon start seeing a lot more of.
"Bare Skin, Don't Wear Skin".
View of Convention Place Station from Pine.
A couple EMP studies - I think I was looking for texture. Everyone's always hating on the futuristic museum designed by Frank Gehry and constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs, but I've always loved it.
Besides with my iPhone, I think this remains the only Seattle sunset snapshot I've taken. It's a goal of mine this year to really start focusing a bit on making the time to do some nice cityscapes. And I'd bet money there are a dozen more cranes seen from this view today.
My first time taking photos at Lobby Bar was for the RuPaul's Drag Race "Official" Viewing Party hosted by Lily Armani and GLAMAZONIA (trademark registered less than a month later!). It's fun seeing Shaun Farmer, Robby Anderson, Philip Heier and Jamie Von Stratton in these shots - all people I've come to know and admire over the years.
Close-ups of a friend's cats! I think the homework assignment must've been getting the color balance correct while indoors. And then the last shot is of Toonces, at her old favorite spot in the living room.
Unique powerline find on the Hill. Wikipedia's word for it is "shoefiti".
Ron Reagan promotes his book "My Father at 100" at Town Hall Seattle.
Wandered over to Neumos to get some shots at the Secret Shoppers show. Unfortunately, I didn't do Garrett Vance and Evan Rodd justice up on stage, though; the lighting was cool but, in order to catch it, I had my shutter set too slow. But here's a crowd shot of a dude in a windbreaker getting funky enjoying the set! Afterwards I followed folks to Havana Social Club and recognized Lisa Dank, about to grace the February cover of City Arts Magazine and then The Stranger in March. I was probably annoying but she was a good sport and made light of all the photos being snapped of her and a friend dancing. And there's Kevin Kauer in the last shot- he was a resident DJ at the time. Didn't know him but soon became very familiar with his brand, Nark Magazine, as well as his photography, which had a great look to it that I hoped to emulate.
To get things going in the right direction and with tuition covered by my uncle Roger and aunt Marsie, I was able to enroll in three commercial photography courses at The Art Institute of Seattle. For most homework assignments I'd take walks around different neighborhoods with my camera just to see what I could see. For my 'Photo Design' course taught by Jeff Parks, he wanted us to makes images based on a different rule of composition each week. I enjoyed the exercises, and for this first outing it looks like I was trying to follow the rule of thirds and to focus on Line. In the first image I wish the husky was looking in the direction of the cat sign, but I still think it's a nice juxtaposition between the two. The second is of a street kid who asked if I had any spare rolls of film he could use. The third's just a snapshot I like.
My first gay circuit-party was a Seven Deadly Sins-themed event at Neumos where it was all men, almost everyone with shirts off - definitely new territory for me. I did what Shaun had suggested and just approached people and said, "Hey, let's take a picture for Seattle Gay News." Using a borrowed external flash for the first time, ended up capturing some fun moments. Back at the SGN's offices, George and Shaun basically reacted with, "Holy moly, you're an event photographer! We're going to send you to parties to take pictures and post them to Facebook." They were excited and gave the images a full-page spread in the print edition, and their excitement gave me the confidence I needed. And the Facebook page, with around 1,800 followers at the time, would be a pretty great outlet to run with.
Offered to shoot a show for my friend Matt Hart, one-half of the duo The Local Strangers. He and Aubrey Zoli had only been collaborating for four months, and did a really enjoyable set. Today they're a five-piece band with over 8,000 miles and one full-length soulful Americana album under their belt, with another on the way. The also-great duo of Whitney Lyman and William Ransom followed them up. It was my first time shooting without flash in low-light. Looks like I stuck with 1600 ISO using the EF-S 18-135 f3.5-5.6 IS kit lens on my 7D, which is all I had at the time.
I went down to Westlake to cover a vigil for the 2011 Tuscon shooting victims, the first somber event I photographed. I remember seeing Joshua Trujillo, the Seattle PI's staff photographer, there shooting - he was someone I'd start spotting all over the place. Anyway, the images I came back with weren't all that great, but it was an important experience for me in terms of being around photogs like Josh who knew what they were doing. Because I didn't; I was intimidated and definitely out of my comfort zone.
It was after midnight and was snowing a ridiculous amount so my roommate Paul and I took a break from vinyls and the wood-burning stove in the living room to check out the action at Denny hill. On the way over we encountered a couple building a snow-thing and, once at Denny, a mob that was busy sledding, drinking, and pelting passing cars with snowballs. The driver below was furious, and she became furiouser when she saw my on-camera flash go off. Five seconds later I think I'd become one with the snow after slipping while backtracking. Had on snow pants but the camera got pretty wet. It made it, though. Go, weather-proofing!
My first time photographing at Neighbours was for a fundraiser hosted by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey of St. Joan. Brian Daniel Peters, widely known as Mama Tits, performed as Sister Stella Standing that evening. Before the show, I spent the afternoon partaking in Emerald City Improv's 2nd Annual No Pants Light Rail Ride. Most of the candids I remembered liking are poorly focused and so they haven't held up very well, but here's a portrait I like of my roommate wearing his favorite Kim Jong-il shirt (a year before the leader's death) and one of a cute couple who rode the train beside me. The last shot is of a cool window display at Nordstrom's downtown. Fun day!
Wow, can't believe it's been this long. My first time going inside R Place was also my first time photographing drag; my first time even seeing a drag show! I caught four Lashes Cabaret performances, and these are the only selects of Lady Chablis, Donnatella Howe, Nina Maxwell and Sharon Husbenz that are worth pulling. The shot of Chablis ended up running on the front cover of the SGN the following Friday.
In my ongoing war with mirrors and windows, this first image was the first shot fired - the moment it dawned on me that I'd found my nemesis. The shot below it is the one that ran in the newspaper. Both are of Mike Roney, of the old Comet Tavern, for an article about fundraising for Youth Suicide Prevention Program.
When I got back to Seattle with my new camera, first thing I did was visit Seattle Gay News publisher George Bakan and associate editor Shaun Knittel, both of whom I'd met a month prior at a World AIDS Day event. I'd told them, "Hey, I'm gonna get a camera and be a photographer," and I think they liked me. We hit it off but, showing off my point-and-shoot, I don't think they took me seriously. Anyway, when the New Year came, I had my new camera from my parents for Christmas and came into the office and told George, "I'm ready to go!" so Shaun took me to a Greater Seattle Business Association event - it was a business casual mixer - and I didn't know anyone, didn't know how to use my camera, and did a really awful job. I was trying to get that magic shot of people having conversations with each other and eating and having cocktails. I came back, the pictures were crap, and Shaun gave me advice to engage people. He said to just say, "Hey, I'm with the newspaper and I'm going to take your picture."
Shaun's advice, more than anything, has shaped how I do my job as an event photographer. It's what I always try and share with new photographers - that instead of standing back in a corner and being a fly on the wall, to meet people first thing; let them know you're there to make them look good. We all like to be somewhat in control of how we look in pictures, so start by giving them that. Have them smile and do their thing and, in turn, gain some trust. Basically, give people a little to go on, and they'll start to let you get away with the candids you're after.
Anyway, here are the only two images I'm willing to share from that evening. The first is a sorta humorous but mostly just unflattering and pointless fly-on-the-wall of two gentlemen serving themselves, and the second is of now-former Seattle City Council member, Richard Conlin, and GSBA's current Vice President of Marketing & Tourism Rachael Brister (unflatteringly holding drinks for friends) both engaging the camera. There was room for improvement! Thankfully, George let me continue my trial run shooting photos for SGN.