Friday Favorites: Epic Parking Sign



This image is Naners’ favorite image (I think) from our 2010 trip to Mobile, AL. I know she liked it enough to want it printed out and hung up in our house. To me, that must mean she digs on it pretty hard. Anyway, the image above is actually a reimagining of a previous edit. My original edit of this photo always left a lot to be desired in my eyes. It had huge blown out bits, wasn’t overly colorful and just had a different feel. Each one has it’s charm though. The other edit, which can be seen on the Empty Seats blog has a bit more of a “summer fun” kind of vibe. Washed out, sun-kissed and like stepping out into the sun from a dark room.

I don’t remember much about taking this photo other than we were walking around the city and I saw it and snapped an image. A hunch tells me this probably appeared shortly into our venture into the city after sleeping in my car the previous night. We woke up, drove into town, parked and then walked the morning away. Good stuff. We saw lots of cool things that day with this amazing sign being one of the first.

I had to re-edit this photo because I just didn’t have the original data that contained the adjustments I made the first time through. I could have gotten those adjustments but I felt like giving it another go and this is what I came up with. Click the image above to see it much larger. Click the link below to see the original image over at Empty Seats. Take a minute and let me know which version you prefer in the comments.

Epic Parking Sign on Empty Seats

Friday Favorites: Mohawk



Mohawk is one of those “for fun” images that I snapped one summer at my aunt/uncles house. Not too much of a story here. I had just given my cousin his first mohawk haircut and decided that we needed a photo to commemorate the event. I dragged him outside, positioned him at the edge of the garage so that he had some nice light coming across his face and into his eyes and I snapped maybe 5 shots.

His eyes are fantastic and I boosted them a little in Lightroom and the rest was good. I wish the ladder and lawn tools weren’t in the background of the photo but that’s just what happens when taking photos on the fly.

Mohawk on Empty Seats

Friday Favorites: Reggie



Look at that mug! How can a person not instantly love this big guy?

Here’s the story on Reggie: I was staying at a friends place in 2010, just visiting and hanging out with a guy I hadn’t spent much time with since we moved out of the same college dorm building some years before. He took in this dog from his boss or something and I think I had only briefly had the pleasure of being around him before. Now I was rooming with Reggie for a week and I had plenty of time to get to know him.

Animals are notoriously hard to photograph. Reggie proved to be no different in this regard. While I was sitting around planning my day I had my camera out and decided to try my hand at getting some simple portraits of him. I think I shot 20 frames and maybe 3 came out decently. This was one of those 3. Since it was just Reggie and I sitting int he living room it was pretty hard to get him to sit still and listen to me. My buddy was gone for an early shift at work and I had no clue where his treats were. Oh well, lessons learned. It’s a good thing that all you need from a shoot (no matter how big or small) is one good raise of the shutter. This photo is that.

Reggie is showing so much personality here and this photo always appeared to be of a mugshot of an awesome dog who had a great night out on the town. The straight-on angle, the rugged lines in his face, the stern eyes… it all amounts to a good representation of what this dog is really all about.

Reggie on Empty Seats

Friday Favorites: You Lookin’ At Me?



Pigeons are nasty. I am aware of this. The poop, the skanky feathers, the general walking around all day in filth. It’s gross. But for some reason I LOVE looking at them. I don’t want to keep any or race them or something like that. I just really enjoy watching them walk about, giving weird looks to things and just be odd birds.

This photo came about as I was walking around the city one morning (same morning as the other two Friday Favorites photos) and while waiting for the sun to peek through some buildings I noticed this little gathering of pigeons on a slab of concrete by the river. I managed to snap a few photos of them before they became completely disinterested in anything I had to offer them, which was absolutely nothing, and we both moved on.

The reason I like this photo is the look on their faces. It’s not just the bird in the foreground that I love. The one right behind it is also looking towards me, and I like to believe it’s like a big brother and it’s watching the other guy’s back. Then dropping back further into the frame is some other bird not even aware of my presence and finally a fourth bird standing guard in the distant background. I look at this and see a group of friends that are just hanging out, giving passersby the stink-eye and then laughing about it afterward.

The photo was meant to be a quick snapshot and not even something I looked at ever again but it quickly became one of my favorite photos from this city.

You Lookin’ At Me? on Empty Seats

Friday Favorites: On The Job



I love black & white photography of construction scenes. I just realized this as I sat down to remember when I took this but this photo was taken the same day as my first Friday Favorite except they were about 4 hours apart and felt like completely different days by the time this was taken. To quickly recap, I was out shooting some city scenes for a freelance gig and I shot the previous photo around 7:30-8 in the morning. Maybe earlier, maybe later… I can’t really remember. Anyway, after shooting some photos of the stuff they actually wanted I grabbed some lunch and went about getting more photos. This was the last location I visited. I was tasked with shooting a condo building in the process of being built. It was odd but the photo came out well.

The location was a bit further away than the other spots so I wandered over toward the locale and just snapped some pictures as I went. This was a scene that I spotted from across the street and I just hunkered down and waited for some guys to appear. I really wish that there were one or two more guys in the photo or at the least have the guys interacting with each other but it is what it is and I like it despite what I consider to be shortcomings.

I’ve always been very fascinated by industry and the rugged types of people that work with the heavy equipment and perform back-breaking labor. To capture just a little bit of that here is pretty neat. I also love the detail in the image. There’s a lot going on in the scene. Lots of materials (fence, concrete, wood, steel bar), soft edges and hard edges, roundness and softness, lights and darks and even the people are slightly different.

On The Job at Empty Seats photoblog

Friday Favorites: Glass and Steel



About Friday Favorites: The intention for these Friday posts will be to showcase a photo, video, song or something and to give a little story behind it, why I like it or why I feel it is meaningful. Photos will likely come from my Empty Seats photoblog so that I am able to provide a better understanding and more detailed story behind each image.

The first photo I’d like to showcase is probably my favorite photo that I’ve taken in the last 3 years. Maybe not the most meaningful, it surely hasn’t made me any money and it doesn’t tell a story at all but it’s definitely my favorite.

The story behind this photo is actually very mundane. I was out early one morning in downtown Chicago, IL taking some photos for a freelance client and I simply turned around, pointed my camera upward and took a photo of my favorite building in the city. No excitement, no drama and I certainly wasn’t trying to create something spectacular. Hell, I had no intention of spending a lot of time even editing the image and it was purely for me to enjoy. In fact, when I did edit it only saved it in a low-res format for the photo blog. I had to re-edit it later on to get a high-res version for print. I feel I lost a little bit of what I like about this version but that’s a sob story for another day. What I  do like about this photo, regardless of when it was edited is all the detail and lines that it contains. I am a very rigid person and things always have to be in their “rightful” place and that’s what this image is to me. I absolutely love the tones, I love the windows and I just really enjoy looking at the contrast of the overall image. At first glance it’s really simple and it appears to just be a bunch of lines but then I get all caught up in the detail of it and I like it all over again. It may not do that at all for anyone else but I am a weird guy and that’s why I like this photograph.

See “Glass and Steel” on Empty Seats