Thursday, April 19, 2012

Playoff Hockey Fever

Hockey is my favorite sport. I love it, could talk for hours, could watch for days. Everything about it, good, bad, fights, bogus calls, breakaways, all of it.

 Admittedly, my love started late in life, in college where it was the school obsession...I mean sport...nah, I really mean obsession. Then moving to a new city with a new job with both access and means to attend NHL games, made it grow stronger. And now, attending my first playoff game has sealed my fate. There is no cure, not even cowbell. And even if there were, I wouldn't take it. The energy, the speed, the physicality, the skill, the tradition, all are elements that fascinate me to the core.

It speaks volumes that this pivotal game of deepening hockey love wasn't even one for my team (though the Hawks were playing halfway across the country and I was wearing my colors with pride), but the thrill was infectious and I was on the edge of my seat, or off it as the case may be, the entire game. You could feel the desire and the desperation of every single Caps fan in attendance. Bruins too, though they were out numbered 10 to 1 at least. The game had every high and low of a regular season battle, only intensified by the opportunity to tie the series or to start to run away with it.

Each team had their heart stopping moments, each goaltender sacrificed it all, and each of us held our breath for what seemed like hours, watching that puck fly. That is hockey. That is honor. That is my love. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery

The Space Shuttle Discovery was retired today. On it's final flight, it circled the DC area and headed to Dulles for an untested landing. I was not one of the lucky to be on the Mall or in the heart of DC itself, but I am lucky enough to work close to Dulles airport. And with that fortuitous work location came 3 flyovers and 1 successful landing at the airport.

To say it was mesmerizing would be an understatement. The sheer size of the shuttle and the even larger plane that it was bolted to was incredible.

It was absolutely a once in a lifetime experience. The ending of an era that, even though it falls outside the range of my memory, is one that grew with our country for so long. Leaps, launches, orbits, and explosions, it certainly has been quite the ride. I'm glad, for its sake, the shuttle was able to have a final flight.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Photography Field Trip

Even before I clicked "Buy" for my lovely new camera, I knew I was outmatched. Years of point-and-shoot experimentation piggy backing on high school black and white film photography classes was not enough of a background to be able to operate such a multi-dialed, mutli-buttoned piece of equipment. I will unabashedly say I was intimidated by the heavy, long lensed SLR now in my possession. Like the latest smartphones and facebook timeline, I had a sneaking suspicion it was smarter than I was.

But I wasn't about to take that defeat lying down. My favorite daily deal site, Livingsocial,...or was it Groupon..., had a deal for a 4 day Beginners photography course for people with digital SLRs. Specifically targeted at those who had a basic understanding of the fundamentals of making a photograph but are woefully lacking in understanding how to take a photograph with these new super cameras.

I'd never been a photographer who gets into the technicalities of aperture and focal length and shutter speed, especially not with a point-and-shoot where that was entirely out of my control anyway, but I did recognize that if I was going to be able to make this camera my friend (screw mastering it, I know that's impossible), I was going to have to go back to school.

Day one on a dark April evening, my roommate and I entered a sketchy building, climbed some sketchy stairs to an even sketchier industrial door and found a photographers haven among the backstreets of Bethesda. A small classroom with 10 students and an instructor, who looked like Santa Claus before he found Mrs. Claus and before he had abandoned his youthful artistic hopes for something more practical, was my reintroduction to the intricate and essential components of what makes a camera work.

Another classroom session followed the first before we took to the streets for a field trip 3rd class in DC. These are a few of the over 200 shots that I took while wandering the Portrait Gallery/American Art museum and spinning dials/pressing buttons like a newly acquired knowledge apprentice. 

I have to say it was a great experience. I love the slow shuffled pace of museums so to pair that with actively engaging a photographer's eye was a wonderful exercise in patience. It also brought a unique appreciation for the exhibits, as they provided not only an arena for learning (yes, I am one of those who reads every sign) but a canvas for my new chapter of photography.

Two thumbs way way up for the Washington School of Photography. I had a great time and learned a lot. Hopefully these photos reflect that. 


Saturday, April 7, 2012

DC United

A really quick post on the DC United match this past weekend. A chance to relax on a beautifully sunny day and enjoy the first game of many I'm sure this season.

Even though there was no score, it was still a battle filled with dramatic tackles, faked injuries (what soccer game is without a few), and some contested cards. Sounds like a perfect Saturday afternoon if you ask me.
Vamos United!