Category Archives: Photography

Honest Abe confers with his realtor, Bob

I finally managed to stop today to snap a photo of the statue of Abe Lincoln talking with his stockbroker.

Every time I go by this ginormous art installation adjacent to the Tribune Building I laugh. 

Because that is what it looks like: Abe Lincoln consulting with some suburban tax attorney or realtor.

The less interesting version — to my warped mind, anyway — is that the guy in the sweater (an annoying Tea Partier) is holding a copy of the Gettysburg Address, which 25-foot tall Abe Lincoln is trying to explain to him had nothing to do with the Republican Party of today and that he would have switched over to the Democrats long ago.

(OK, I embellished a little with that description.)

This Tribune article explains that the “[T]he large bronze sculpture — called “Return Visit” — was created by Seward Johnson, the 86-year-old artist who brought to Chicago the “Forever Marilyn” sculpture of Marilyn Monroe in 2011 and the “God Bless America” sculpture in 2008 of the farmer and his wife from the “American Gothic” painting.

You can see Marilyn below. I definitely prefer her, but Abe is cool, too.

However, if anyone in charge reads this: please bring Marilyn back. She was awesome. As you can plainly see. 

Marilyn Monroe used to reside where Abe Lincoln and his tax preparer now stand.

This pic will drive Trump crazy

Go forth and share it wherever you can. Especially on Twitter.

Oh, and: scary as shit. If they wanted to make Trump into a Marvel comics supervillain it would take so little make-up and he wouldn’t even have to act.

Life before social media

What men did before courtship moved online.

Past lives: sailor and his sweetie with motorcycle

It’s weird sometimes to think that at some point your parents might have been more cool than you are.


Drone footage montage from the NYCDFF


Here is a cool collection of drone footage from the NYCDFF (the New York City Drone Footage Festival.

It’s actually from March, but I had not seen it, and I’ll bet a good number of you have not either.

I would have made this much longer to allow longer clips and more photographers, but nobody asked me.


Astronaut snaps night pic of Chicago, Great Lakes

 Scott Kelly ISS International Space Station Great Lakes Chicago

Picture of the day: civil disobedience

It was only 51 years ago that this happened, recalling also that small acts of civil disobedience could have gotten this man arrested or killed in many parts of the country where signs similar to this could be seen cross-country in the U.S.

drinking fountain bubbler whites only 1964
Civil disobedience in 1964


Jet shock wave using the sun as background

NASA Jet Shock Wave sun
This schlieren image of shock waves created by a T-38C in supersonic flight was captured using the sun’s edge as a light source and then processed using NASA-developed code.
Credits: NASA Photo

Using a new technique called Background-Oriented Schlieren using Celestial Objects, or BOSCO, scientists at NASA are finding news ways to photograph moving objects against, in the case above, the sun:

Using this naturally speckled background,” said Haering, “we could make hundreds of observations of each shockwave, greatly increasing the acuity of the camera system.”

Researchers at Armstrong and NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, have developed new schlieren techniques based on modern image processing methods. Shock waves, represented by distortions of the background pattern in a series of images, are accentuated using special mathematical equations. This method requires only simple optics and a featured background, that is one with a speckled appearance such as the cratered lunar surface or the mottled appearance of the sun when viewed through certain filters, such as the CaK filter.

One recent demonstration of this technique was called Calcium-K Eclipse Background Oriented Schlieren (CaKEBOS). According to Armstrong principal investigator Michael Hill, CaKEBOS was a proof of concept test to see how effectively the sun could be used for background oriented schlieren photography.

“Using a celestial object like the sun for a background has a lot of advantages when photographing a flying aircraft,” Hill said. “With the imaging system on the ground, the target aircraft can be at any altitude as long as it is far enough away to be in focus.”

Researchers found the ground-based method to be significantly more economical than air-to-air methods. Merely eliminating requirement for an airborne camera platform reduced operational costs and complexity, as did the use of off-the-shelf equipment.

“The CaKEBOS imaging system was very simple, consisting of consumer grade astronomy equipment we had from previous tests,” said Hill. He further noted, “Someone could probably build a system that would get similar results for around $3000.”

The Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards provided a supersonic T-38C to serve as a target aircraft. Air Force test pilots Maj. Jonathan Orso and Col. Glenn Graham worked with NASA in planning how to precisely align the jet’s flight path to capture the schlieren images. The aircraft needed to be in the right place at the right time in order to eclipse the sun relative to the imaging system on the ground. The pilots had to hand fly the airplane to hit a specific point in the sky to within approximately 300 feet, while travelling faster than the speed of sound. This had to be accomplished within a two-minute window as the sun’s relative position in the sky changed due to Earth’s rotation.

You can find out more here, if you are so nerdily inclined.


Dog playing catch at sundown

An interesting photographic perspective on something nearly all of us have done: play catch with a dog.

Click to make bigger.

dog playing catch

A jet breaks the sound barrier

This is what a jet looks like breaking the sound barrier. Must’ve been a pretty impressive camera to catch something that happens that quickly.

sound barrier