At the Slowdown

The other night I went to The Slowdown in Omaha to see a local band named Lot Walks. I took a few pictures of them, the bands that played before (We are the Willows, and Anniversarie), and some scenes around the building. Taking pictures of bands is one of my favorite things to do. I get to hear great music and I get to capture unique moments that only exists for split seconds of a time. It’s an interesting trying to balance simply being there to enjoy the band’s music, the experience with those around you, and taking pictures. When there’s no pressure of getting shots for the band, like just taking them for myself, the night is a lot more fun because I’m not concerned about missing specific moments.

For this show I just took my MX-1 and determined to just have an enjoyable night that would be getting myself hyped up for Maha Music Festival the next day. It was a low key fun evening. Here are some of the pictures:

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Untitled

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Untitled

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsUntitled//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Black and White Project: Day Twelve

A New Lens, Rory Tyer Band

Living on a university campus in on-campus housing has its positives and negatives. The positives mostly revolved around it being incredibly convenient for me to go to class and to fulfill my responsibilities of the various positions I had on campus. Also, there’s a somewhat built-in community. The community is full of introverted academics, but its a community nonetheless. It did me well for the three years I was there.

When you live in an apartment on campus, it still kind of feels like a dormitory. We didn’t pay utilities, just rent. Even the internet was provided. The carpet is that really thin industrial kind that you’d find in a dorm room or office building. It just takes a lot of work to really make it feel homelike. Not to mention, the furniture we organized our stuff with is what you’d find in a dorm room: plastic containers, drawers, shelves. When we moved to our new place we wanted it to be more like a real home. It is our real home now. But it seems silly to set up plastic drawers from Target as our bedside tables. Makes it still kind of feel like a dorm room.

Furniture is expensive, though. And so after one trip to a store to buy very expensive furniture, I decided it was time to search out Craigslist for some good stuff. I found some great deals on a couple bedside tables, and the people lived right down the street from us. It was great. When you live in the city, Craigslist is a goldmine.

However, in the process I decided to search the words “lens” and “camera” and “Pentax.” That was very dangerous. I found that there were a lot of people selling their old film Pentax cameras. Not many people have use for those anymore. I mean, I don’t. Except for one thing: lenses. All of Pentax’s lenses, stretching back decades still fit their cameras today. Sure the lenses were all manual focus, and not many people like having to deal with that, but they were some quality lenses. So here people are selling these film cameras for dirt cheap and they’re selling all their lenses and equipment with them. The lenses are great quality lenses, and so I decided to contact a couple people offering their cameras and lenses for quite reasonable prices. I made a quick trip up to Evanston to pick up a camera bag with the K1000, three lenses, two flashes, and the bag itself. Met another person at a train stop in Highland Park and got a great 50mm f1.7 lens with the Pentax ME Super.

Manual lenses may be a bit more work, but not that much more. And it’s great. I’m getting some great quality shots from especially the new f1.7 lens. I haven’t really done much with manual lenses in the past, so I decided to just keep it on my camera and practice with it a lot.

Recently my friend Rory Tyer has a band (Rory Tyer Band). They played at show at the Elbo Room in Chicago. It was the semi-finals of a Battle of the Bands that has been going on for a while now. The winner gets to play at the House of Blues in August, I believe. (They won first place at the semi-finals…)

By the way, you should check out Rory’s band. Their newest album is a free download. They’re also on Spotify – “Six Thousand Summers” is their newest album. If you live in the Chicago area, you should go hear them at the Elbo Room’s Battle of the Bands finals on July 27th.

Anyway, I took my camera and my new (old) lens with me to their last show and tried it out. I was happy with my results. Here are a few snapshots from the evening.

Rory Tyer Band

Rory Tyer Band

Rory Tyer Band

Lollapalooza 2012

Wasn’t allowed to bring my camera, so these are all from my phone. Awesome show. Jack White and Sigur Ros definitely stand out. Great day of weather, too.

Rory and I spent the day at Lollapalooza 2012
This was on the train on the way to Union Station
BEFORE all the people
Bombay Bicycle club
This was the crowd for Bombay Bicycle Club, now imagine what it was for Sigor Ros and Jack White!
Trampled by Turtles — notice they don’t have a drummer.
Yep, that’s Jonsi singing into his guitar. SIGUR ROS!!!
Jonsi playing the guitar like he does. And yes, that’s how close we were.
Sigur Ros
Jack White! He had two separate bands that switch midway through. The first half was an all male band, then the second half was an all female band. Pretty cool stuff. Incredible musicians. I saw the White Stripes before, but this is just incredibly better.
Same in black and white
Closer shot
black and white version
Jack White playing “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.” Very cool to hear it with a full band. The picture is blurry because the entire crowd was shifting, shoving, moving, jumping. Couldn’t stand still.
Here’s the switchover to the female band.
As soon as the encore ended my friend and I bolted as fast as we could. That’s hard to do when your knee is sore, the ground is nothing but mud, and you’re trying to walk through 100,000 people to get to the train on time.

So much for ‘ars gratia artis’

At Trinity there is a lot that is easy to come by: homework, a filled library, the smell of coffee wafting from behind books, people walking briskly from one place to another as to not waste any of their precious time. But because of this there is a lot that is hidden on campus, some of it good and some of it bad.

Loneliness, a surprisingly common issue at Trinity, hides behind busy schedules. Stories of God at work are a constant flow in the lives of people at Trinity, but they are put on mute because of reading assignments and papers which keep students from telling their own stories. Spiritual gifts are veiled as we sit in classes unaware of the fact that the room in which we sit typing away notes is really a treasure chest of talented spirit-filled individuals.

Last night the curtain was lifted back a bit.

Thursday nights in seminary are our Friday nights because we do not have classes on Fridays. Usually, Thursday evenings are reserved for nights NOT spent in the library, NOT doing homework, and NOT reading books. So it was a perfect chance to go to Trinity Artist Guild’s open mic night.

I like to consider myself a part of Trinity Artists Guild, typically referred to as TAG. However, I’ve always felt like I sounded kind of pretentious calling myself an artist. This is mostly because my art is usually limited to playing drums ( in which you just hit stuff at the right time) and photography. I feel like photography a lot of times is the art of happenstance. All it requires is being at the right place at the right time with a camera in hand. (Sure there are things to know about what makes a good picture, but that is so easily learned it really doesn’t seem significant. Digital cameras have made photography an art that anyone can master).

Anyway, I gave a couple of my more recent photography projects to be put up in the room for the open mic night. It really is the first time I have ever done such a thing, so it made me feel kind of legitimate, but also somewhat like a poser because of the REAL artists who were there. There was a girl there who does phenomenal paintings, usually of portraits using wonderful colors. There was another girl who makes biblical scenes from paper and other methods. (See I don’t even know how to describe art…) There was another photographer who I consider a real photographer. He’s not afraid to walk up to someone and capture a moment in which they are expressing a very vivid emotion.

And then there’s

me.

But nevertheless, it was cool to hear people’s responses to my stuff. The usual response was, “YOU MADE THAT!? I had no idea you took pictures.”

“Yep…I take pictures…”
I really didn’t know what to tell people.

But beyond me was the real experience.
The real artists.

There were powerfully written, and chillingly wonderful poems presented. There were musicians who brought me into their lyrical world as if their music were hypnotic. Music that I couldn’t help but feel anger and hope at the same time. Songs that made me contemplate moments in my own life and helped me appreciate where I’ve come from and what God has done in my life. Songs that made nod in agreement with smile forcing itself upon my lips.

The setting was right. The smell of coffee filled the air. So many people came, there was really standing room only. A group of people all engaged as a single community not typically seen at Trinity.

But it’s only an open mic.

Art for art sake.
Right?

No.

And that was made clear. With the reading of Scripture and the intentional theme of the night being that this is WORSHIP to God. That art is more than just creative rubbish. This is art, not for its own sake.

This is art for God’s sake.

ARS GRATIA DEI

The curtain was pulled back a bit. We all learned things about each other last night. There are a lot of people with a lot of imagination and wonderfully creative talent in our midst here at Trinity. People loved this so much they practically begged to have this be a once a month thing. Creativity is so important. Art is so important. To hide these talents is to hide the blessings of God. It is to put the light of God under a bushel. I wholeheartedly believe that these talents reflect the creativity of our Creator. We are catching glimpses of His glory.

So this week as I go back to the library, and as I read my books, my earbuds are now filled with the sounds of those who have used their creative gifts in ways which bring glory to God.

What’s heaven going to be like?

I think it’s going to blow our minds.