Monday, December 15, 2008

My Grandfather's Television

I got a call from a magazine client looking for a cover image. It's to go with a story analyzing television coverage of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. We discussed the possibility of using a shot of Rehnquist with media (I didn't have a good one), and then turned to the option of a studio illustration.

I have here in my office a black & white television that once belong to my grandfather. He passed away more than 30 years ago, but his TV still works great (at least until the switch to digital broadcast comes in February!). I thought I could put it to use.

The shoot worked out well. A frame grab of Rehnquist with his distinctive Gilbert-and-Sullivan-inspired gold stripes was easy to find. Ring lighting helped create the distinctive shadows on the green background.

And the TV is appropriate, because I often think of my grandfather when photographing the Supreme Court. He liked to debate the court's decisions and constitutional questions with his grandson when he visited us in Miami each summer. He might have hoped I'd become a lawyer, or feared I'd become a journalist - but perhaps never imagined I'd so often end up photographing the people, the building itself, and the issues of the highest court.

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Old icon, new take

I've gotten an email from Justin Quinnell, the pinhole photographer (see Justin Quinnell, the Pinhole Guy). Justin's touring the U.S. following the premier of the movie he helped with, and he sent me this image of a landmark made famous by Ansel Adams. (The landmark is Half Dome, in the background. In the foreground — that must be Justin's toes.) It's a scene that's often been photographed, but never, I'm reasonably certain, quite like this.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fuel Efficient, Low Emissions

A few days ago I had an assignment to photograph the three American auto-industry CEOs at the Capitol. This was their second trip — the one where they left the corporate jets at home — and so they also thought to bring along some electric car prototypes, of the type they might manufacture if the companies are still around in the coming years.

The cars were interesting and I took a few photos. They'd even charged one up using a wind-powered generator that's by the Capitol at the U.S. Botanic Gardens. Still, none of these cars are for sale anytime soon, and at the end of the day I left on my own fuel-efficient, low-emissions (depending on what I had for lunch) vehicle. Thanks to Roger L. Wollenberg, chief photographer at United Press International, for the photo.

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