I was quite surprised to discover that I was the popular winner of Wired.com's last photo contest, of City Photos! The funny thing is, I didn't realize that there was even a prize to be had, but it looks like I'll be getting a subscription to Wired Magazine for a year as well as a groovy picture frame.
This particular photo has remained one of my most viewed shots on Flickr, with currently over 20,000 views.
I figured I should post some of my favorite pictures that I've posted on Flickr here, so that I can talk about them some more, and provide an alternative outlet for them - plus I can show them larger than the small size that Flickr defaults to. So here we go with the first, which really looks better bigger....
First up is this shot from the Sanja Festival, which I attended last year in Tokyo at the SensÅ-ji temple . It is a very well attended event, with somewhere near a million people visiting it each year, over a couple of days. When the floats are paraded, the crowd really gathers tightly along the path up to the main temple.
I took up residence in the main temple, trying to get a good look at the parade of the Mikoshis, but I was foiled by the packed crowd around me, which cut off the view. I ended up having to just hold the camera over the crowd, and aim in the general direction of the parade to get this shot... Something I wouldn't have even tried to do with a film camera, considering the high potential failure rate. I ended up with a number of useless shots, and a couple that came out even if they weren't exactly what I was trying to capture. This one, did come out, so it was worth the hustle and hassle.
I've been working on a couple of new websites recently, both of them for my lovely and hyper-active girlfriend who is going to write two parallel food blogs - one in English and the other in Japanese. For anybody who knows us, this shouldn't come as any sort of surprise - we are both quite obsessed with tasty food, and over the years many different people have suggested that we do something with our ever-expanding knowledge about good places to eat.
We played around with a whole bunch of possible URLs, and this was the cutest one we came across that didn't have some sort of web-ish prefix added to it. "Nibble Kibble" was much more fun than "MyChicagoFoodBlog.com" or "EasyTastyChicagoFood.net."
I just finished putting together a design for the English language site, it features a cutting board theme, with ingredients and even a chef's knife (How can one resist putting a sharp knife on a web site?) to spice things up some. It is fun getting a chance to do a design without having to please some random committee of strangers who don't have a sense of humor or any sort of taste at all. Nibble Kibble is a bit over the top, let me know what you think!
"Gochiso Sama" is a customary Japanese phrase that one says after eating a good meal, to express appreciation and gratitude for the food and the person that cooked it. My girlfriend wants to write a blog that will be read by Japanese people back home, who are interested in the 'alien' cuisine in Chicago. If you're trying to learn Japanese, it might be an interesting experience seeing how she handles the posts between the two sites.
As for the look of this site, I haven't gotten a chance to give it a new look and feel, so for the moment it is quite plain. We're trying to decide if we'll use the cutting board design here as well, or go with a more conservative style.
This afternoon I heard the buzz of helicopters overhead, and my immediate reaction was that it was time for the yearly death at the Morse Red Line stop. It seems like every year there is an accident, or suicide, or somebody pushed out onto the tracks but fortunately this wasn't the case, and nobody lost their life.
What was lost instead was at least several local businesses, due to a two alarm fire that ripped through the old buildings. It took around 4 hours for the Chicago Fire Department to stop the blaze, before it took out the entire block.
One of my favorite cheap restaurants was taken out by the fire, Pollo al Carbon - A very tasty Columbian restaurant that's been there for a year or two. They had really good charred meats, my personal favorite being the excellent garlic chicken. It was a huge meal, a massive pile of extremely garlicky chicken on top of plantains, yucca and a couple of boiled potatoes.
Hopefully they were insured, and will make it back to Clark again. In researching my picture postings on Flickr I found another restaurant with the same name somewhere else in Chicagoland, so maybe all hope isn't lost for a return of the tasty goodness. Here are a few shots from the evening's blaze:
Thanks to everyone who came out to the "Love-A-Palooza pre-Valentine's Day Art Show" and checked out my photos (and bought them!) It was a great and exciting evening, and I hope that I'll be exhibiting my photographs a whole lot more over the upcoming year.
For those of you interested in seeing more of my Chicago work, check out my account on Flickr, which has a lot of different pieces that were at the show, and many, many more that weren't.
Here are a few works that were being shown tonight: