2014 Columbus International Festival

This past weekend I participated in the Columbus International Festival. My primary role was as a musician for the English Country Dancers performance, but I decided to bring along my Fuji X-E1 and 23mm lens. I thought there might be a good opportunity to get some street-type photos. It turned out that I was right. There were many interesting people doing interesting things.

When I first arrived I saw that there was some kind ceremony in progress. As I was preparing to go to a pre-performance rehearsal, I watched and listened to the goings on. It took me a couple minutes to realize that it was a naturalization ceremony. I'd never seen one, and I really wanted to get some photos. So I put down my instruments and made a beeline to a good spot amongst the other photographers.

After just a couple minutes the speeches were done, and it was time for the candidates to take the oath and become official citizens of the United States of America. During the oath I was able to shoot a couple quick frames including the one included with this post. Since I didn't know anyone in the ceremony, I wanted to be very polite to those who did, so I made just a couple shots and then got out of the way.

It was interesting and a bit humbling to see these people who must have dreamed of this moment and who had definitely worked hard to reach it. To me this was one of the most important scenes that I've photographed, and I hope I've represented it well.


Civil War Encampment

Last Saturday the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Battery A, a group of American Civil War reenactors, held an encampment at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus. The weather was rainy, which kept the turnout of spectators low and gave Andi and me a chance to make photographs without too much distraction in the backgrounds.

I mainly used my Fuji X-E1 and Fujinon XF60mm f/2.4 macro lens. I kept the aperture pretty wide to further reduce background distractions by blurring them out as much as possible. Even though I shot the photos as black and white JPEG files, I processed them in Silver Efex Pro 2. I used one of its Antique Plate presets as a starting point to try to get a more authentic Civil War era look. From there I took down the blacks to be more to my liking and added a rough border. As usual I set the final black and white points in Lightroom.

Here's one of a couple dozen keepers. The rest will become available in my Flickr feed over the next month or so.

Civil War Encampment 1

My Home Town

According to my parents, and they should know, and I do trust them, I was born in Portland, Oregon. Several people have corroborated this story, so I believe it. Though I don't visit there often, I do enjoy my visits. Andi and I were briefly in Portland in December while we were making one of our fairly frequent journeys between Seattle and Eugene. While waiting for the light-rail train from downtown Portland to the airport, I had a few minutes to do some street photography at Pioneer Courthouse Square. There was a lot going on, and I had fun shooting.

Copyright © 2013 by Stephen A. Wolfe

Amtrak Cascades

Last month Andi and I visited our parents in the Pacific Northwest. My parents live in a suburb of Seattle, WA, and Andi's parents live in Eugene, OR. They're close enough together that visiting them in a single trip makes sense, but they're far enough apart that getting from one to the other takes a significant amount of time. For this trip, for the second time, instead of driving the whole way, we rode the train, Amtrak's Cascades.

Riding the train between Seattle (actually Tukwila, WA, in our case) and Portland, OR, is comfortable, convenient, and fun. The route is mostly scenic and at times spectacular. I especially like the wetlands south of Puget Sound and would love to spend some time there to do landscape and nature photography.

Here are some of my photos on the southbound part of our ride.

Amtrak Station, Tukwila, Washington

Someplace in Washington

Another Amtrak station in Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Union Station, Portland, Oregon

Union Station, Portland, Oregon

Copyright © 2013 by Stephen A. Wolfe

Back Again / Deconstruction

I was thinking about this weblog today, and how I have not published anything for quite a while... since July, it turns out. I was thinking about whether I should just delete it, abandon it and continue to let it grow stale, or try to get back to posting once in a while. I guess since I'm posting this, I've decided on the latter option, but we'll have to see how long that lasts. I'm just not much of a writer, and, for the most part, I don't really feel I have anything interesting to say... at least in words. I hope my photographs continue to speak to the world in at least some minor way.

So I have a photograph to post, one that I hope is the first of many more, and there's a story about how I came to shoot it, which I'm going to try to relate here in a comprehensible way.

First, though, here it is:


As you can see, it's a couple of people working on a couple of cranes. They're using one crane to help in the deconstruction of the other, which was something I found fascinating to watch and to photograph.

In my day job, I work for a major healthcare organization, one that owns and manages several hospitals. We're building a new tower at the hospital across the street from the building in which I work. Every day I go for a lunch time walk, and I like to watch what's going on with the construction.

For most of the construction period, there have been two large, fixed cranes in use to raise or lower whatever needs to be raised or lowered. One of the two was removed a few weeks ago. I had hoped to watch because I really wanted to know how it was done. Unfortunately when I arrived on a Saturday morning on site, the interesting part of the job was already complete.

When I noticed that the removal of the second crane seemed imminent, I started keeping a close eye on the proceedings. Last Friday afternoon I noticed that the cable that runs through the giant pulley had been removed. During my walk I saw that a large, mobile crane had been brought in and was being assembled. So I correctly figured Saturday was the day, and I decided that this time I wasn't going to miss it.

I arrived at about 8:00 AM and was relieved to see that the deconstruction hadn't yet started. The mobile crane was set up and was in the process of being extended to its working height. I didn't have to wait long before four men climbed up the fixed crane and started to work. They first removed most of the counterweights on the back end of the boom. Then two of them walked out the front end of the boom and climbed into position to grab the lifting cables of the mobile crane. During that process is when I shot this photo.

After making this photo I continued to watch until the workers had removed and lowered the first section of the boom. At that time I decided I had seen enough, that I had the photos I wanted, and that it was time for lunch.