Monday, March 24, 2008

Windows a la Edward Hopper

Last week I attended the Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Homer's mastery of light as portrayed in his multi-layer washes and scrapings on watercolor paper are truly amazing. His ability to capture the nuances and reflectiveness of water is unparalleled. His pre-Photoshop habit of copying and pasting elements from one drawing or painting to another made me chuckle. There truly is nothing new under the sun.

Of the two artists, Edward Hopper was the most artistically inspiring. I admired Homer's technique and blending of his own watercolors, but Hopper's composition and portrayal of everyday city life better paralleled my own photographic interests.

Hopper's views through windows into the lives of others inspired me to shoot a few of views of city life through a window myself. I've posted one above. The exhibit will remain until May 10, 2008 at the Institute. Check it out and see what inspiration strikes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fencing Tournament

This past weekend, some 1200 fencers converged on the Rosemont (IL) Convention Center for a United States Fencing Association tournament.

Wielding weapons in the epee, saber and foil competitions, women and men from youth to the 60+ veteran division stepped and lunged up and down the 30+ competition strips arranged throughout the room.

Electronic lames, scoreboards and weapon tips recorded the touches with referees officiating each bout.

Viewing the competition offered me a chance to step back in time and imagine swashbuckling battles raging in a castle or two men dueling for a lady's hand while having a 21st century digital camera along to capture the action. Which is a challenge!

Swords are flying faster than the eye can see, the lighting is sodium vapor blended with fluorescent which turns the white uniforms a lovely blend of red and green, the concrete floor is mighty hard, and the multiple strips make a clean background nearly impossible.

Still, my Canon 70-200 2.8L IS lens was fast enough so that I could stop the action and the zoom options gave me a range of close--ups shots to full strip action. Are you a sports shooter looking for a new challenge? Search no further than your nearest fencing tournament. Touche!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bat Column Sculpture

One of Chicago's less talked about sculptures is the "Bat Column". Ready for play outside the Harold Washington Social Security Center on West Madison street, this giant column is less likely to be seen by casual tourists and visitors to the city. Venture west of the Loop to view this steel and aluminum structure designed by Claes Oldenburg.

Could the Cubs win with this bat?