Sunday, November 15, 2009

Central Park

Okay, sorry if you kept checking my blog to see more pictures--I kept running out of time to update everything! So here are a few pictures from around Central Park. Nothing spectacular, but I had fun exploring more of the city. On Halloween Day, a couple of friends and I walked through the park, taking pictures of whatever we could. Sadly, a large part of my pictures were slightly out of focus (I think the spot focus got shifted), and I didn't notice until after I got back.

But today I got back from church a lot earlier than normal because of stake conference. After a much-needed nap, I decided to go read in Central Park. I was able to find an open bench next to the Pool on the north end of the park, and I just sat and read for almost two hours (the "Pool" is a small pond, in case you were wondering).

In other news, I was sad to see BYU lose to TCU, but thrilled to see Utah do the same. And wearing my BYU hoodie around New York City has led to some interesting comments. On Friday night, some random guy stopped to ask me, "Is BYU that school with the women's soccer game? That one that's been all over the news?" I knew exactly what he was talking about (the slapping, punching, hair-pulling game when the BYU women's soccer team played New Mexico), so we talked for a couple of minutes about sports (and BYU in particular--I felt bad that I didn't have a pass-along card).

And I can't believe I'm almost done with my first semester here at NYU. It has gone by a lot quicker than I expected. Right now, I've finished all of the mid-term assignments, so all I have left to do are the final papers in each of my classes. I am going to try and get at least a rough draft done for one of my final classes--if I can spread things out over the end of the semester here, I won't get slammed with having to turn in three big writing assignments on the same day. Hopefully, I don't get too distracted with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up...

A tree
(ha, okay, I couldn't resist being just a little bit sarcastic...)

Hmm...I don't remember what statue this was. It's a little bit south of Bethesda Fountain.

This picture is really strange to me--I have no clue who this guy was, and I don't even know when the last time the stage was used. I just thought it looked kind of odd.

I don't know if you can tell, but the woman was having a hard time going up the stairs--it looked like they had been walking around for most of the day

This is what the trees looked like in Central Park--I'll try and get some more pictures before all of the leaves come down

Okay, this probably isn't going to be that interesting to everyone, but I was pretty excited that this picture came out. It was a little after 5:00pm (the sun set at like 4:45pm), and I was getting ready to head back to my apartment. The leaves were almost completely dark. Anyway, an ambulance was cutting through the park, and I did some quick guesses on ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. I didn't have a tripod with me, so I propped the camera on the bench and hoped like crazy my hand didn't move. If you look closely, you can see several bright starbursts in the ambulance's light trail--it's from the rotating light hitting the camera lens at different intervals.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Greenwich Village

Well, today was an entertaining day. First off, I recently got a job through the AmericaReads program. Basically, I tutor at a local middle school. It works out quite well because it is only about a twelve minute walk away from my apartment, and since it is above 100th Street, it puts me in a higher wage bracket. I've been working one on one with several students, helping them with their homework and reading things with them. During class today, the teacher asked her students, "Who wants to work with Mr. Ventura today?" Almost half of the class raised their hand--I couldn't tell whether they actually wanted to work with me, or maybe they just wanted to get away from the other students at their table. I still thought it was pretty cool.

A mechanic that works across the street from the school. I asked if I could take his picture, and I like the fact that he didn't smile--he laughed immediately after I took the picture and said he wanted to see a copy

And one of my friends (Brittney) is in town for the weekend with several of her friends from Washington D.C. We walked around Greenwich Village for a little while before someone realized that nobody had any idea where we were going--every one just assumed that someone else was the leader. We decided to cut through Washington Square Park and try to find some place to eat.

Brittney -- all of us were sitting on the steps inside the fountain at Washington Square Park

Some random performers in the park...

But I like this picture even better. This elderly man just stood there listening for awhile. He would talk to the musicians between songs, listen to them perform, and talk to them again. He wasn't rushed, and he seemed to be thoroughly enjoing himself. I wonder if this is something he does often.

The sun was setting as we were leaving the park, and I liked the way the clouds were lit. The only problem is that the best angle was shooting through one of the streams of the fountain--so if you see any random dark globs that look like they are flying through the picture, it's just huge drops of water

And in case you're wondering, yes, I am going to try and post on my blog more frequently. I am also going to try and post as many pictures as I can. One of my recent goals is to try and take my camera with me as I walk around the city. There are several reasons for doing this: I want to take in and record as much as possible; I want to improve my photography techniques; ha, and take this as you will, but I was looking at new cameras and lenses online recently. After a little while, I realized that there was so much I could do with the camera and lens that I already have. I looked through the pictures I took recently of musicians playing on old, scratched, and fading instruments--my camera isn't any of those. In fact, if you didn't look at the model number, you'd think it was a new camera. More than anything, I just need to practice and make the most of the tools that are already at my disposal. Which leads me to the last picture for this post, and one of my favorite shots of the day.

We cut through the park to get back to the subway, and I saw this trumpet player by the fountain. He was facing towards the fountain, so I set up behind him and just waited, hoping he would turn so I could get a profile shot. Luckily he did, even though I made the entire group wait just so I could get a picture. It took me a little bit to realize that he wasn't necessarily performing for the people in the park. He was facing the fountain, and he wasn't accepting tips. I don't know why he was doing it. Maybe he has to practice there because it bothers his neighbors. Maybe he was cooling his nerves before an audition. Or maybe he was simply winding down from a long day at work. At least he was enjoying the fact that he had an instrument, and that he knew how to play--and that's something I can learn from.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass...

Okay, this past month has kind of flown by, and I feel bad that I haven't posted any pictures of New York yet! I'm still getting to know my way around the city, and I've only been to a few tourist attractions. As far as "attractions" go, I went to the Museum of Natural History, walked around Times Square and Rockefeller Center, and I went to a Yankees game. Other than that, I've mostly just been getting to know my neighborhood and school area better. Don't worry--I'm going to be doing more exploring on Fridays and Saturdays, and I'm going to be taking more pictures.

My classes are coming along. One of my classes is very similar to the class I was a TA for at BYU, so I feel like I have good grasp on the material (we're even using the same textbook!). It is on a graduate level though, so the discussion and analysis is more intensive. It really makes me appreciate the education I got at BYU--yes, some students here at NYU are "hot shots" (it sounds like they've read practically every film book or article that's mentioned in class), but for others, it looks like they're in way over their heads. As for me, I'm enjoying it. The classes are more challenging (300+ pages of textbook and/or article reading each week--you miss one week, and you'll probably never catch up), but because of the preparation I received at BYU, I feel like I can analyze, research, and write just as well as the other students. Just this past week, several other students asked me about the types of classes I took at BYU (wearing my BYU hoodie to class sure can be a conversation starter, be it about football, school, or whatever). They were really surprised (and a little jealous) when I told them about Science Fiction in Literature & Film, Hollywood Films of the 1970s, Film Music, History of Animation, History of Documentary and Non-Fiction Filmmaking, Film Genres, International Cinema, Media in the Contemporary Classroom, and the list goes on. So here's a general shout-out to my professors--I tried to send them all postcards, but I keep thinking I accidentally left someone out. In no particular order: Sharon Swenson, Dean Duncan, Darl Larsen, Amy Jensen, Jeff Parkin, and Ben Unguren. And others that I didn't have class with, but worked with or learned from in various capacities: Tom Lefler, Brad Barber, and Tom Russell.

Okay, now for some pictures.

Marcus--me and him and a couple of others went to an
art festival down in Brooklyn, where most of these pictures were taken

Kind of random, but this is one of the art displays--it's just tons
and tons of rolled up piece of cardboard. Pizza boxes, shipping crates, etc.

This is an artist named Serge Mikel--he also writes and
performs classical and jazz music

Serge Mikel again--I think these were my favorite shots of the day

A random wall in DUMBO (see the title of this post)
--ha, I think I accidentally bumped up the red
saturation when I exported from Lightroom.

Alas, I didn't see that a car had come into frame until after I had
gotten home and downloaded the pictures from my camera

Okay, this wasn't at the art festival--it was on my last film set at BYU
(can I just say, being "set photographer" is like the most relaxing job on a film set?). But I liked the way this candid shot came out and thought I'd post it anyway.

This was a jazz band performing in Washington Square Park--I shot them in color, but even as I was taking the pictures, I wanted them to be black and white.

The jazz band again--I liked how their instruments were
kind of banged up and dingy looking

Yeah, it's another shot of the drummer, but I was just messing
around with shifting the focus from the near drum to the far one.

And a friend of mine needed some headshots for a broadcast
journalism resume. This was taken in Central Park
on a cloudy day

I think that's plenty for now--please leave some comments!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New York

I'm finally here. After a fun summer spending time with friends and family, it was time to say goodbye. Leaving was bittersweet, as I was excited to come out here to New York, but sad to leave Utah.

I'm getting settled in, but it will take me a little while to get used to it all. Everything seems so fast-paced here. I'm already getting the hang of the subways, and I've met quite a few people in my apartment building already. I also met some really cool people at church today, and I'm going to be okay (stop worrying Mom!).

Tomorrow I head down to campus for the first time (is it really a campus? I think it's more of a collection of buildings), and I'm looking forward to touring the area a little bit. I'll post some pictures once I've had a chance to go out and actually take some--I was going to walk around for a bit today, but I ended up taking a much-needed nap.

And on a slightly different note, I got a fortune cookie during my last week in Utah that said: "A solid challenge will bring forth your finest abilities." Nothing fancy, I know, but it still made me smile as I thought of moving out here to start grad school.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Photo shoots

So it is now August, which means that I have a little less than four weeks until I leave for New York. I'm really excited to head out, and I'm looking forward to new opportunities and experiences. I'll have a little more than a week once I'm out there to get settled and everything before school actually starts. I've been trying to make the most of my time here in Provo--this past week involved countless volleyball games, softball games, soccer games, pool days, film sets, and nights filled with board games. I've also been getting a lot of sun (hey, I almost fit in with my cousins! Almost....), and every day involves more preparations for New York.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, there is a trailer up for a short film I worked on earlier this year. It is called Inspector 42, and it is about a shirt inspector that is implicated after various accidents are linked to defective shirts. You can see the trailer here (sorry if you don't have access to Facebook). I was in charge of transportation, which included getting the various antique cars you see in the trailer. It was a really big task, but I'm glad to have worked on the project (especially after seeing the trailer).

And I decided to post some pictures from various photo projects I have done recently. Let me know what you guys think.

My friend Asia "working" on the set of The Favorite

Nathan on the set of The Favorite. He was also the director of Inspector 42

Lyvia (the Director) and Luke (the 1st Assistant Director) discussing the next few shots for The Favorite

Becca, one of the main actresses

Brooke -- she needed a portrait shot for an application/portfolio. It was my first time doing a portrait session with someone as opposed to just candids, but I think she was happy with the way they turned out.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

I figured the 4th of July weekend would be a good time to finally post something, especially since a lot has happened since April. I decided to attend NYU to get an M.A. in Cinema Studies (I want to teach film at the university level), and I'll be heading out near the end of August. I was able to find an apartment, and now I just need to finalize some paperwork and I'm good to go. I'm really looking forward to it, but it will be sad to leave behind so many good friends here at BYU. I figure I better do a better job of keeping up with this blog and trying to get access to all of my friends' blogs.

Aside from getting things ready for grad school, I also saw Pixar's latest movie "Up" with a TON of friends. We had almost thirty people go to the midnight showing, and we took up almost two whole rows. I was surprised at the depth of the storytelling, especially in the first ten minutes of the movie.

And this past week, I went to visit my sister and her family. I had a blast playing with my nieces and nephew. I am flat out impressed by my amazing sister, her husband (one of the hardest-working and humblest people I know), and their awesome kids.

Just to give you an idea: My 13-year-old niece won a speech contest and presented her essay/speech at the town's 4th of July celebration. You can read her speech at my sister's blog. my 12-year-old niece cooked the meals for the entire week (breakfast, lunch, and dinner EVERY DAY--and they were great meals too!); my 10-year-old niece is the fashion guru in her family, and even her mom (my sister) asks her for fashion advice...and she loaded up the dishwasher after every meal, which can be quite the task with twelve people around the house; my 8-year-old niece helped clear the table after every meal; my 6-year-old niece set the table before every meal, including putting on a clean tablecloth and setting out plates, forks, knives, napkins, and chairs for everyone; my 4-year-old niece is a computer whiz kid: she can navigate the internet, search for videos on YouTube (...High School Musical), and she knows how to access the games section of the LDS Church Website (it's a part of "The Friend" in case you're wondering).

And then there's my 2-year-old nephew (yes, he has six older sisters...poor guy). He gets the milk out of the fridge and puts it on the table for each meal (considering it weighs about as much as he does...), he can ride a Razor Scooter by himself, and he loves being tickled. At one point, I would act like I was asleep while he would "sneak up" on me, waiting to be tickled again. "Sneaking up" usually meant running up and stopping just inches from my face, or climbing up onto the couch to do a spread-eagle dive. One time he ran a little too fast and didn't stop in time--his forehead slammed right into my nose. Lights exploded in my head, and I frantically checked for blood (he hit HARD). My nephew grabbed his head, wobbled around, laid down on the ground and said, "Let's not do that again, okay?" He's only two and he already has numerous scars on his face from various accidents, but what a funny kid...

My 6-year-old niece and her tie-dyed shirt

Me trying to be "artistic"...

The 6-year-old complaining about the sun being in her eyes

My 2-year-old nephew--he was making mud in a flower pot, and I think this is the point where he was trying to decide if he was in trouble or not

My 4-year-old niece having fun with some sparklers

My nephew twirling a sparkler

The 10-year-old getting her hair done--you can't tell from this picture, but my sister styled all of her girls' hair into different patterns. This niece had a giant star braided out of red ribbon and curled into her hair (or something like that...I can't really describe it, and I can't seem to find a picture of it...)

My 13-year-old niece giving her speech. Don't forget to read it here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

At the old ball game

It has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks -- I graduated yesterday, and most everything up until now was gearing up for it. But now that it's done, I'm just going to try and focus on getting ready for New York University. Yes, I finally decided to go ahead and go there after a lot of research and talking with professors. They encouraged me to think about where I would like to end up teaching, and how the type of school I go to for graduate school could have a lot of weight in helping me obtain a better position. So I'm heading out there at the end of August, and this summer will be for work and rest. It will be the longest break I've had since before my mission, and I'm looking forward to catching up on a lot of books (and dating...can't forget about that).

And as for the title of my blog, I went to two BYU baseball games this past week and had a blast. We lost the first game, but the second game was amazing. The Cougars had a two-out, seven run rally in the second inning to give them an early lead. It ended up getting delayed because of rain, but the final score was 12-11, BYU. I'm posting some pictures I took at the game (but not actually of the game itself...). Let me know what you think.




This was during the 7th-inning stretch.

Clapping and singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"

Claire and Jordan

We were trying to think of a caption for this picture...basically, BYU was losing 12-2 in the 9th inning, hence all of the empty seats.

I don't know why Hayley had such a serious face

Sorry Hayley! I was trying to get everyone in, but I ran out of room because of the railing.

Emily doing the chicken dance

A better picture of Emily


Brittney said, "This is my 'I want to seduce Cosmo' picture"

I forget what was going on here

One of my favorite pictures of the day. This was during the rain delay, and I just really liked the way the colors pop.