Tuesday and celebrating the goddess Durga


Being in focus is over rated according to fellow photographers Brian Frank and Michael McElroy . . . . I put this picture up on facebook to ask fellow photographers how much it mattered that the focus was on his chest rather than his face. I really liked the photo, I almost started to feel that if I had focused on his hands it would have been a better technical photo, but weaker in its’ sentido and it was comforting to hear other photographers echo that idea.

Then I started thinking about this assignment. Visually it was captivating. It is a celebration for the goddess Durga, she is considered, according to wiki, a demon-fighting form of Lord Shiva’s wife the Goddess Parvati. She manifests fearlessness and patience and this festival, the Durga Puja, celebrates the slaying of the demon Mahishasur by the goddess Durga.

The best part was how the parents had the children do the dances, depict the battle between the goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasur. So I got to run around photographing little boys and girls being dressed to depict soldiers, traditional dancers and even a goddess. I’m putting up my favorite, non-literal images of the evening and at the end I’ll put up a couple of the more literal, straightforward shots.

Though like was stated at the beginning . . . being in focus (whether that means literally in focus or a literal photo) can be overrated.





As for the more literal images:







Tuesday and Wednesday


Yes, that is my hand next to that quite large gun . . . I’ve forgotten the name of it, but again yes, I did shoot it. I have to say that when I saw one of our photographer’s assignments for the monthly South East Republican Club’s monthly meeting was being held at the Pembroke gun and range I got so excited.

I love, love, love shooting ranges. I love, love, love shooting (photos) of guns and people who own them.

Don’t know why I do, couldn’t tell you since you’d nearly go deaf from the noise and I believe the fellow photographer I worked with saw a woman drop a loaded gun on the floor but there is something to say about gun culture in the United States that is just incredibly interesting. Below is a picture of mom and son-in-law (who came along with father-in-law and daughter). Mom is talking about shooting the civilian issue AK-47. She was adorable and said, “Oh you know what they say, the family that shoots together, stays together!” What a sweetheart and you know I’m not messing with that family any time soon . . .



Anyway I’m rambling, but it was pretty cool way to end a Tuesday night.


Earlier that day:

I helped another photographer, Sun-Sentinel staffer Joe Cavaretta shoot Vanessa Williams of American Ugly Betty fame (as opposed to the original and most interesting Colombian “Yo Soy Betty la Fea”. Joe set up the shot outside of the building and used the colonnade that wraps around the building to frame her and a simple reflector and off camera strobe to light it. Here is the final photo, it took literally about 1 minutes and 30 seconds to complete.


A vendor at the Lauderhill mall who was interviewed for the story.

First off:Lauderhill Mall which is most likely the equivalent of a mall like Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, Ariz. in about another ten to fifteen years. Second, Joy’s Roti Delight is probably the neatest restaurant I’ve been to. It is Trinidad and Tobago food, but for most who don’t know this the small caribbean country has an Indian (from India) population of nearly 40% so this restaurant is the indian-caribbean style food. Below is the Chicken curry roti. The curry is great and authentic but the roti, which in India is more like a cracker-ish or harder bread where as in this restaurant the bread is a little moister, reminiscent of Ethopian injera bread than Indian Roti. Also they throw some flour in there . . . like Brazilians will have for sprinkling on feijoada . . . it just reminded me of the Caribbean and other foreign flavors combined to make this food.


Third: This weekend is carnival in South Florida . . . Most people think of Brazilian Carnaval as the main or only one but Trinidad and Tobago claim to have had the fist carnival and today countries all over South America, Central America, and the Caribbean have developed and grown their own celebrations. In Barranquilla, Colombia carnival is huge, it is said (by Colombians at least) to be the second largest celebration in South American lasting four days and only outdone by Rio de Jainero in Brazil. In North America with a huge immigrant population carnivals have caught on and in my opinion they’ve been quite smart because New York, Toronto, and South Florida, all celebrate at different times. New York celebrates Labor Day weekend, South Florida is this weekend, and Toronto’s dates (although not released for 2010) are in July-August. Traditional carnival precedes the forty days of lent marked by the first day, Ash Wednesday, which can vary from late February to early March. So essentially you could easily enjoy an enormous carnival celebration at least four times, if not more, over the year . . .


In another change I hung out at the federal court house again, and yet again got nothing . . . but the photographer I was with, Mike Stocker, treated me to lunch at a Texas BBQ place . . . I ate the pulled pork sandwich for lunch and unfortunately only thought to photograph it when I was done.


And ended the night by photographing some people preparing for carnival this weekend. Although it was kind of like everyone hanging out and one guy was probably working the most on a hip piece. You know all the feathers that fan out from behind like this. Also at Joy’s Roti I got invited to a band’s jam session . . . trying to find someone to go with me to go check out these guys since they practice from like 9pm until 1am or so. Could be pretty cool.




Spent the later part of the night meeting with South Florida freelancer Jesse Swanson who will be heading out to the photo workshop Eddie Adams and I’ve no doubt he is going to be awesome. Today is a border patrol new site opening and maybe some high school football if I’m lucky.



Tuesday was the start of my second week at the Sun Sentinel . . . I admit it kept me up at night during the weekend trying to think of what I wanted to do a story on and thinking wether it had been done before or not. But Tuesday was great, I think I have one of my ideas down and I am really enjoying the Sentinel as well as Florida.

Jackie Gleason, of Honneymooner fame was honored in South Florida by being placed on a stamp. These are the outtakes of that shoot for the Sun-Sentinel and here is the photo gallery from the Sun Sentinel site. Personally the first is my favorite . . .


Gleason’s widow was there and while she was very nice and smiling she teared up below when talking about him and placed a pin of the stamp on her blouse below.




Picture 2

Cross country trips are exhausting. I left Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday at about noon and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 48 hours later. I went from point A to point B on Sunday, referring to the above map. Then I drove from Point B to Point C on Monday/Tuesday. Today I am completely exhausted and on the trip I was a bit bored out of my mind . . . so I kept myself busy I bought an awful book on tape from a Loves Trucker stop in Baton Rouge. While there was a lot of violence, but plot wise it was pretty simple. I also calculated over and over again how much time I had left to get to point A,B,C, whatever. And I counted things . . . That was the most fun, here is my list!

1 – One of each: racoon, possum, and armadillo roadkill (only special because we don’t have them in AZ!)
2 – Number of times I was cut off by Arizona drivers outside of Arizona . . . jerks . . .
3 – Number of times I locked my doors while driving because I thought of those horror movies where the guys hide in the backseat . . .
4 – Number of I called my sister on the road 🙂
5 – The number of grasshoppers I crushed in Texas to get to the motel . . . so . . . gross . . .
6 – Number of Pilot truck stops I stopped at to use the restroom.
7 – Number of times my car made that noise when you run onto the shoulder because I was trying to take video of the trip and got distracted.
8 – Number of times I passed Cracker Barrels . . . . Oh Ashley
9 – Number of pictures of fetuses (plural?) on Prolife billboards in Florida and Mississippi, I only put this because they are the size of my car . . . thought it was weird.
10 – Number of times I heard Pitbulls Calle Ocho song . . . . you know you want me . . . .

I’ll be adding the random clips I took that nearly ran me off the road later . . . for now I want to sleep before my first day of work!!!


So I busted out an old Fuji a few days ago and threw in a roll of Ilford 50, it has been a while, I shot at 400 ISO and these scans are low quality, but it was just fun to shoot film again, it’s honestly been a couple of years . . .