March 15th, 2013

comet pan-STARS

It was a long, long day here in Arizona. It was one of those Life at 100 MPH times where it feels like so much happened it must have happened over the period of a week. We shot book stuff in the morning, I got a call from my doctor very early in the day -- he'd looked at my MRI and discovered that my foot is indeed broken. He wanted me to come in and get a walking cast, but I'm in Arizona, so, in between shooting I was on the phone with a number of local orthotics places and eventually discovered that my insurance doesn't cover anything outside of Philadelphia (!) so no cast until I get back. Kake suggested we go to an antique store and look for a cane instead, which sounded like a good idea. We did and Ryan found an antique shillelagh that looks like a rattlesnake. We came back to the ranch and Ryan leapt into the pool, which kind of meant everyone else did as well. We spent an hour bobbing up and down in the pool while Ryan did cannon balls and we waited for the next shoot to start. Dorio regaled us with stories of her life in one of the first punk rocks bands and we were mesmerized. Did I mention that I'm now walking with a cane?

Another model shoot in the evening where I balanced between my cane and the ever capable Ryan, who hauled all the gear and treated me like a celebrity invalid. After the shoot, we ended up (by design) on a mountain in the middle of the Sonoran desert where it seemed there would be nothing between us and the setting sun but Mexico. (We all figured it was prudent to maximize our opportunities and try and fit as much awesome into the time allotted as possible.) In this isolated spot, we found there were about 100 other people, drawn like something from Close Encounters, they'd all come independently thinking this would be a good place to see the comet. There were a bunch of people with telescopes and tripod mounted binoculars and we watched as the sun set and the moon lowered. Finally someone shouted "I have it!" and there was a bit of a frenzy of pointing. It was actually a lot like that scene in Close Encounters now that I think of it -- where they're all waiting at the top of the hill for the aliens to come back. I couldn't see anything but I took a photo with a long exposure and eventually, after a few shots, there was a smudge in the frame. By the time it set, about 25 minutes later, it was very barely visible to the naked eye, but I managed to get some nice photos. Everybody was concentrating on getting as close a crop of the comet as they could -- I figured it was just a fuzzy blob without that beautiful desert in the frame. We went out to a glorious dinner after where we sat under the stars and watched the moon collapse behind the horizon.

So, saguaro cactus, and comet.

Life at 100 mph. It's a good life. I think there are two more days of this. Or maybe three. It doesn't really matter. Great things are happening.

Hope you're all well.




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The Pool

I can't walk past the swimming pool without looking to see if something's in trouble. It's one of my OCD behaviors I guess. So I'd occasionally halt the shoot yesterday to fish something out that was struggling and move it to the concrete to hopefully dry out and fly away. A large number of them did, but this morning There were four in the pile that hadn't made it. I decided to take on a portrait project of the bugs that didn't make it. Seeing them up close makes them seem more significant to me.

I took this with the Panasonic GX1 and the 45mm Leica macro lens, and an off camera flash in a really small softbox.

I'm weird, I know.




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