Lidar in my own Parking Lot (Looking for LiDar in all the right places)

It’s indeed a small world after all. As I was returning getting supplies for our 2nd Friday Art Walk that my studio mate and I were prepping for, I noticed Lidar in our parking lot.

Velodyne in Alameda

Turns out we share our parking lot with Velodyne- the preeminent Lidar manufacturer!

Velodyne in Alameda

This isn’t a self driving car, but used for Lidar research of some kind.

Velodyne in Alameda

They had a lot in the trunk (Matt!)

Velodyne, Alameda
Velodyne, Alameda

I should have known, I walked past this sign thousands of times!

 

The Buttertones Live (*this post has nothing to do with my usual work)

My daughter is a huge fan of a band called “The Buttertones.” In fact I even like them! My wife and I promised to take her to a Buttertones concert – and finally they were playing not too far away in a venue allowing 16+ so my daughter and a friend could go see.

The Buttertones

They were playing at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz- I was unfamiliar with the venue. I checked the Catalyst’s website and was pleasently surprised they allowed photography. That meant not only would I have to leave my camera gear in the car in a seedy neighborhood, but I could have a go at some concert photos.

The Buttertones

Another pleasant surprise about the Catalyst, it really reminded me of the concerts I’d seen back in the day like at the Warfield in San Francisco. Perhaps my most memorable concert there was in the early 1990’s where my favorite band of the time, The Pogues played without Shane MacGowen, but was substituted by Joe Strummer of the Clash. London Burning was much better with accordian! But in any case, prices were reasonable, and musicians and the venue cared as much about music and their fans as they did about profit.

The Buttertones

While I’m writing here, let me lecture the young folk of the music viewing world. If you want to be right up front in full view of your favorite band: watch the friggin’ opeing band. In this case it was Tracy Bryant, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed their performance. But it’s not only polite, but you then are not showing up late and having to try and shove your way to the front.

The Buttertones

Luckily I did see Tracy Bryant, and managed to stand right next to the stage. I stood my ground as the newcommers tried to push their way in front of me. Plus I’m 6’2″ and was wearing boots that gave me another inch or two of elevation.

The Buttertones

So I managed to get some good closeups. Lighting was tricky for photography, and many of my images were shot wide open (f1.8 mostly with the 85mm Zeiss Batis) at ISO’s in the 3200-6400 range.  I opted to convert the resulting images to monochrome. The noisy high speed meshed well with monochrome Tri-x look. And that fits well with the sound of The Buttertones. They have a very analogue sound that seems to reference Los Angeles bands of the 1960’s and 70’s.

The Buttertones

Seeing that I still shoot lots of film, I’d love to get these guys on real film! Who knows, maybe one day I’ll become a music photographer?

The Buttertones

See all the photos here

Open Studio/Camera Crap Sale

  • Who: You, Phil & I
  • What: Open studios & Camera Swap
  • When: 09 November 2018
  • Where: 1070 Marina Village Parkway Suite 204, Alameda, CA
Reel Silhouette Study Series
Reel Silhouette Study Series

If you are lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and unlucky enough to be interested in photography this might be of interest to you. My studio partner and I are having an Open Studio and camera junk sale. We’re hoping to participate in a regular 2nd Friday Art Walk that takes place in Alameda and Oakland’s Jingletown (you guessed it- every 2nd Friday!)

Reel Silhouette Study Series

So if you’re interested: in seeing our artwork, chatting with Phil & Mike or buying some old camera crap (lenses, flashes, and lots of bags and tripods) come on by!

Polarized Audio Cassette
Polarized Audio Cassette

There should be a few of my Obsolete Technology series on display: film and tape in the digital era.

Copenhagen Shattered

Maybe a few recent travels photos, like From Copenhagen and Berlin.

Bored Angel, Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California

As well as some of the “usual suspects”, like cemetery photos, other travels, and some “analog photos” old and new.

We’re also going to try and sell some of our old camera crap- we have some old cameras, lenses, and lots of bags and tripods.

If you plan on joining us, please give us a heads up so we know how much beer to have on hand 🙂

Here’s a map (we’re on the second level and there’s no lift FYI):

 

Another Visit to Davis

I got word that a stock photo client was looking for photos of Davis, and thought I’d give my stock photo library a refresher.

Davis, CA
Pedestrian Underpass, Davis

Fun fact: my grandfather “Hal” (Milton Halberstadt’s) work is housed at UC Davis. I’ve been meaning to dig through the special collection at some point to see more of his work. Hal was known for food photography in the 1960’s and 1970’s as well as his “Tone Line” photography (sample below). We have a print of this on our wall that was printed from the original neg by Hal’s former assistant Alan Ross.

Golden Gate from Twin Peaks, Toneline, Milton Halberstadt (UC Davis, Special Collections)

In any case- I went down the list of things my contact needed photos of. They were all photos of an art walk: Davis’s Transmedia Art Walk.

" Bookhead", Davis, CA (note this image contains other artist's artwork and can only be used for appropriate uses)
” Bookhead”, Davis, CA (note this image contains other artist’s artwork and can only be used for appropriate uses)
"See No Evil/ Hear No Evil", Davis, CA (note this image contains other artist's artwork and can only be used for appropriate uses)
“See No Evil/ Hear No Evil”, Davis, CA (note this image contains other artist’s artwork and can only be used for appropriate uses)

The sign (below) just made me giggle. “School of Education?!” How about education of school? Or redundant sign department?

Davis, CA

Davis, including the school is known for its agricultural ties. I had a good time photographing the vineyards of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences.

Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences, Davis, CA
Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences, Davis, CA
Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences, Davis, CA
Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences, Davis, CA

And I grabbed a few misc stock shots where I could.

Mondavi Center, Davis, CA
Mondavi Center, Davis, CA
Davis, CA
Davis, CA

Vintage Technology as Art?

Obsolete Technology: 16mm Movie Film
Obsolete Technology: 16mm Movie Film

All this stock photo stuff can get to you….. most of it is well worn cliches. I guess not all of my stock photography is very cliche- but none-the-less I’ve been itching to do something related to my niche “Silicon Valley” theme.

35mm Movie Film Canister

As such, I’ve started a theme: obsolete technology.

Of late I’ve been photographing movie film ephemera. I picked up a few rolls canisters of movie film from Last Chance Mercantile in the Monterey Bay area. Basically it’s a thrift store at a garbage dump. They just pull the interesting stuff out of the trash and sell it.

16mm Movie Film Canister

At one point LCM had a stack of films, complete with the chrome film canisters in green cardboard carrying cases. At the time I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. But they were interesting. Interesting in an analog sort of way. Like the cases had a patina, the chrome had scrapped off the edges of the canisters. And most interestingly they had lots of handwriting and labels.

This is an ongoing project- I’ll report back with more work.

 

 

Zoox’s VH5

I just read that Zoox’s CEO was unexpectedly ousted. I also noticed the name of that Bi-directional car I caught being tested on the runway near my house. Guess it’s time to update my Keywords. 

That funky car is dubbed the VH5. Reminds me of a cable TV music station: like there was VH1, then they added a bunch of variations up to VH5. 

Autonomous Lincoln MK Z Spottings

I got a reader of this blog trying to help me discern the provenance of an unmarked Lincoln MK Z (in the photo below.) I took the photo in the parking lot of NIO in San Jose. Teague (the reader) mentioned they thought it might be aurora.tech.

Unidentified Self Driving Vehicle near Nio offices in San Jose

Then it occurred to me, I had just gotten a request from Bloomberg for another Lincoln MK Z to use in a story. 

Roadstar.ai Self Driving CarRoadstar.ai Self Driving Car on the Streets of Silicon Valley

I believe some of the Baidu autonomous cars I found in this Silicon Valley parking lot are also MK Zs.

Baidu Self Driving Vehicles, Sunnyvale, Silicon Valley
Baidu Self Driving Vehicles, Sunnyvale, Silicon Valley

Then my most recent paparazzi attempt I spotted this MK Z a block from Zoox’s secret lair.

Zoox Self Driving Lincoln MK Z
Zoox Self Driving Lincoln MK Z

I have no idea what the appeal of a Lincoln MK Z is over, say a Honda Civic, or any other car is. But it seems to be one of the most popular choices for self driving vehicle startups.