A lot has changed since I last posted here. My family has moved from Chicago and into the Omaha area. We are currently staying with my mom in Iowa as we figure out exactly where we are going to be living next. Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks. I sadly have not gotten my camera out very often through the course of all that has been going on. Here are some that I have taken, however.
Today I went on a brief walk in my neighborhood. I threw on some headphones, started an audiobook, and took my camera with me to capture some shots of autumn in my neighborhood. I ended up taking a stroll alongside the Brown line. The first three shots are from my iPhone 5s. The rest are from my Pentax K-01.
Over the past month or so I’ve been on a couple photo walks through the city of Chicago. The first one was in celebration of Flickr’s 10th anniversary. Flickr had a global photo walk in which people in cities all around the world came together to met up and take pictures together. The second photo walk was I attended was similar, only it was organized through Instagram. It was Instagram’s 9th global “Instameet” where local Instagrammers get together and take pictures. Chicago instagrammers tag their photos #igerschicago. It’s a creative and fun community of people.
People often criticize social media of distancing us from having real relationships with one another. We interact with people online rather than face-to-face. And in the process, we lose the ability to really connect with people (supposedly). I don’t believe that social media is the enemy. I believe social media is an incredible tool to enhance and enable real relationships in this 21st century, technology driven culture. Social media is tool – and it can be used to drive one to seclusion or it can be used to connect to real people with common interests – people who you would never come in contact with otherwise.
Flickr and Instagram have two of the largest online photo communities. People from all over the world post pictures from their communities, their families, their travels, and their lives. We get glimpses into corners of the world that we will never visit. We get to see what life is like for a 17 year old girl living in eastern Russia or a 35 year old dad of three living in Norway. We may even get a glimpse of someone living right down the street that we’ve passed on the street a number of times without even knowing it. Are they showing us only the aspects of their life that they want others to see? Sure. That’s ok. I don’t like seeing my own dirty house, why would I really want to see someone else’s dirty house? I understand that most people’s lives aren’t as beautiful as their Instagram feeds or their Flickr photo stream seems to suggest.
In the process of these photo walks, you spend half a day walking around with people with similar interests to you. You meet people from all walks of life, and from all over the region you live in. On the Flickr photo walk I met people who’ve been doing this sort of thing for years and years, walking around Chicago taking pictures of every building from every imaginable angle. These people loved the city. Every brick. They knew the history of the areas.
I remember when this was just a field, now it’s a high rise.
The Instagram photo walk had a lot more participants — probably about 150 or so. And most were younger than those on the Flickr photo walk. Some came armed with their $5,000 cameras and lenses, while some only came with their smart phones. It was neat to see people walk around and capture angles of the city in ways that most walking by would never even notice or think twice about.
After a day of shooting and chatting as we walked, we ended up at The Billy Goat to get some burgers and chat.I remember coming home from the Flickr photo walk and thinking to myself, “These are my kind of people.”
I’ll include some photos from my Flickr photo walk here. Some will have been taken on my iPhone 5s, some on my Pentax K-5, and some on my Pentax K-01. The one’s on my iPhone will be more obvious due to their small size. I’ll make a second blog post including my shots from the Instameet.
Yesterday as I was coming home from work I heard news briefs about five topics in the matter a few minutes that really made me heavy hearted for the rest of the trip home. We are living in a very interesting time in history right now.
Botched Execution in Oklahoma
I don’t believe in using the death penalty. I do not believe it is a deterrent for crime, nor do I believe that it balances out any injustices committed by a criminal. America is split down the middle about it. 50% of Americans support the death penalty. (Obviously, 50% therefore are not in support of it). In states that practice capital punishment, however, it makes a lot of sense to have transparency on the drugs being used to kill someone. If we are desiring to use lethal injection as a means to be as civil and humane as possible when killing someone (something that is not civil, nor humane IMO), then you’d think that we’d also want to make sure that the drugs (poison) being used should be administered in a way that reflects that supposed desire. It has not been that simple.
Ironically, the same groups of people who are incredibly (and rightfully) angry about this situation are the same groups that have made it hard for state’s to have access to the drugs (poison) that are used for lethal injections. States have been having to figure out other ways of getting access to drugs to use, leading to highly secretive sources and basically experimental death cocktails. In this case, the drugs didn’t have their intended impact. What has happened in Oklahoma is exactly what the anti-death penalty groups have been saying could happen if states decided to use drugs (poison) in ways that have not been confirmed as actually being able ot be “humanely” administered and successfully lethal.
The guy was even talking before he died of an alleged heart attack. Yikes.
I don’t have much to add to anything anyone else has, but I’ll right just a few thoughts down about this whole fiasco. Did Donald Sterling deserve to be booted for life from the NBA? Yes. Should it have happened years ago? Yes. Is it right that he got fined the league maximum $2.5 million, and banned for life because some horrible comments made in private to his girlfriend/mistriss? Maybe – but I’m pretty actually leaning towards the direction of ‘no.’
Having Donald Sterling out of the NBA is a good thing, I wholeheartedly believe that. I just find it very strange that in our day of promoting freedom of speech to the grave I don’t hear much being discussed about the fact that this all blew up because of some pretty dumb, bigoted comments spoken to his girlfriend in the privacy of his own home. It wasn’t in public. It wasn’t during a press conference.
There has been practically unequivocal support of the NBA’s decision and bold statement. Ultimately though, I think those who have been the most outspoken in their support of this situation have done it to make themselves look good. What he said was so obviously stupid that practically everyone agrees that it was a bad thing to say, not to mention weirdly inconsistent.
I think it would have been a much stronger statement for the NBA to go deeper and specifically mention his history of actual racist actions over some kind of stupid argument with his girlfriend. He’s had lawsuits against him with clear evidence of housing discrimination. For some reason that gets primarily overlooked, especially by the NBA. (Many people who write about racism, classism, and even some sports columnists have brought this issue up before now – and they are the ones that seem the most frustrated by this whole ordeal). That is where the real issues of racism have actually hurt people. That kind of racism is the structural racism that contributes to the communities we constantly hear about being violent gang-ridden.
We are seemingly getting more and more reactionary as a culture. The CEO of Mozilla recently was pressured to resign because he had donated substantially to support Prop-8 in California. Now we are fining someone $2.5 million and banning him from life because of something he said in private. The New York Times and countless other companies quickly voice their overwhelming support. I hate the “slippery slope” argument – because it usually is a fallacy – but boy, this feels to me like a slippery slope. Isn’t he free to believe what he wants, even if it is hateful and ignorant? Isn’t he allowed to say dumb, inconsistent things to his mistress? Let’s react to the actions that stem from those beliefs and words – not his private conversations. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I think we’re going to look back in a few years on this time of high social pressure in America and realize just how reactionary we were about things like this.
Chic-fil-a, Duck Dynasty, Mozilla, World Vision, Donald Sterling — is this how things are going to continue to be or is this just a result of the high pressure society that’s been created due to the nature of our media, social media, and desire to be politically correct and to never look intolerant in any way? Are we ever going to slow down enough to have meaningful conversations that lead to real change rather than immediately jumping at opportunities to point fingers, condemn, and make ourselves look good?
No More Plastic Bags in Chicago
Chicago voted yesterday to ban plastic bags from grocery stores starting next year. It makes a lot of sense. Plastic is horrible. It really is. I like that my city is trying to take meaningful steps to be “greener.” (Again, this could be more about making us feel good about ourselves, rather than really attempting to make real changes, but who knows?) It makes a lot of sense, right? Well, the city council’s decision was not unanimous. Why? The south side of Chicago struggles to have very many grocery stores. I heard an Alder(wo)man say that she voted no because it doesn’t matter what bags they use where she’s from in the city. There’s no grocery stores to use them in. Stores will be expected to provide alternatives to plastic bags, but paper bags cost three times more than plastic bags. It’s argued that this would be just one more hurtle that keeps grocery stores from being built in the south side neighborhoods. Interesting thoughts to consider, for sure.
I’ll be happy to stop using plastic bags. But what’s to stop me from using thing now?
Oil Spill in Lynchburg
I was very sad to hear about another crude oil spill – this time in Virginia. And it’s polluting the local water. Not much to say about it, other than it seems like these types of occurrences seem to be happening more often.
Minimum Wage Vote Blocked
Democrats (and some Republicans) want to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over the course of two years – but the bill was blocked from going to a vote by the GOP in the Senate. Obama wasn’t happy about it being blocked, and it seems that this topic is starting to become a central issue for the Democrats. I’m totally okay with that!
It’s hard to listen to the news sometimes. I didn’t even mention anything about Ukraine, or about the near 200 girls that have been kidnapped in Nigeria, many who have probably been sold or forced into marriage by their captors. There’s so much going on out there sometimes that it makes me just want to never listen to the radio or read any headlines. But that’s not helpful. I’m an optimist – and I believe that things can change for the better. We just need to take the time to listen to each other, work together, and not focus so much about making ourselves look good.
Thanks to Rory Tyer I was able to get all access to Metro Chicago to take some shots of Rory Tyer Band playing for their second time at this venue. I wasn’t the primary photographer this time, so I had some freedom to just relax a bit and enjoy their great performance. I took a few pictures at the front of the stage, and then headed up to the balcony to grab a few shots. It was a great night of music. I love the venue and it was fun to get a few shots.
I’ll explain a bit of my photo taking process at a show like this, and parts of the joys and challenges of shooting concert shots.
Grandma #2 came into town on Thursday to meet Ezra. She took the bus up to Chicago. It was a windy and rainy evening. I snapped a few pictures before her bus came.
I snapped a few pictures on the way to pick up some milk this morning. The sky was beautiful and the neighborhood was rather quiet. We are on the brink of spring. It’s in the air. I can feel it.
After two wonderfully mild days with temperatures in the 50s, it snowed again. Overnight in the Chicago area it snowed 3-7 inches. I don’t think anyone was wanting to see any more snow, but at least it’s beautiful. Here are some pictures from around my apartment in Chicago.
These are from a bit later in the day:
My good friend Eric recently decided to move out of the city, downsize all of his belongings, buy a bike, and start farming. Today was the start of his new grand adventure. After a brief stay with Sarah, Micah, and me, he set out for Indiana. Before he settles down to start farming here in a couple weeks, he’s biking all across Indiana to meet up with family and friends. To read more about his biking and farming endeavors go to ericradoux.com
He had a bike custom made by Green Machine Cycles over the course of the last month or two and a couple days ago he picked it up. I must say, it was quite the nice looking machine. Yesterday we decided to take a few pictures of him and his new bike before his journey. Here’s a sample of some of the pictures:
Took a cold bike ride today with a friend. It’s been years since I’ve ridden more than a few blocks, so it was nice to get out and bike, even if it was face-numbing cold. We biked over to Lake Michigan which, sad to say, I hadn’t been to since moving into Chicago.
We biked over to a dog beach where there were a number of dogs out running around. The day was hazy, so the Chicago skyline was a bit overcast, but it’s always nice to see no matter what the weather looks like.
Here are a few pictures I took.