Friday, November 30, 2007

The Online Audience

The video I made for NYIP on the recent Photo Contest has passed 2,000 views. It's a strange thing: 100 views a day doesn't seem like very much, until you realize that the Internet is on and available every day, 24 hours. So the first few days, you shrug. A few hundred.

If a video keeps going, however, soon the views are in the thousands. While that won't compare to broadcast audiences, it can be a significant number of people.

So the question becomes: what's the goal? I expect the screening tonight for "12th and 3rd in Brooklyn" will be a medium-sized audience. Is that better? Worse? Just different?

Philip-Lorca diCorcia Case Appeal Dismissed

I thought this had been settled a while back, but the appeals process takes a while, I suppose.

Case Over ‘Heads’ Photo Is Dismissed
"Do people walking down the street have a right of privacy against having their picture taken, without permission, for a gallery show? The Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, skirted that issue on Thursday when it cited procedural grounds to dismiss a lawsuit by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who had sued a photographer on religious grounds. The court did not address the privacy issues at the heart of the case."
If I'm understanding this, does that mean the privacy issues have not been adjudicated -- that the dismissal was based on the claim being filed too late?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Should You Attend NY Short Docs on Friday?

Yes you should. I'll be there. My film "12th and 3rd in Brooklyn" will be there. It's in Lower Manhattan, so it's probably on your way to the bar, anyway.

On Friday, Go To NY Short Docs

Yes. Go directly to NY Short Docs.

If you want to.

Which Qualifies You for the Harry Winogrand Medal

The phone rings. You stagger over to it. Who would call at such an early hour? The news, however, is great. You've just won the Friedlander award! Fantastic! Will you get to meet him? Lee Friedlander is one of your favorites, a legend in the field. He's amazing.

Umm, what? Her? Meet her? Marti who? Marti Friedlander? She's well-known in New Zealand?

Auckland photographer wins Friedlander award
'"I have chosen Edith as the inaugural recipient as I believe she has an exceptional talent," says Marti Friedlander. "I particularly like the way her photographic essays portray people and places that reveal New Zealanders and all their diversity."'
Might as well check out Marti Friedlander, New Zealand Photographer. Just in case you get that phone call.

They See Her Rollin' -- They Hatin'

I've been helping judge a photography contest this week, and I've come to one very specific conclusion: there are a surprising number of photographs of children stuffed into pumpkins.

Imagine: "Okay, honey, Mommy and Daddy are just going to put you into this pumpkin and take a picture, alright?" I spent hours looking at photographs showing kids sitting inside big pumpkins, head sticking out, or with the pumpkin around their torso and their little legs protruding out of legholes, usually with a pumpkin stem worn as a beret as well...

It took me a few shocked moments to remember the source of this barrage of vegetable / infant photography: that woman who puts lettuce on babies heads.

By coincidence, yesterday there was a little article on that very same photographer, who has now convinced herself she is best imagined as a rock star:

Anne Geddes details her triumph over self-doubt and skeptics
'Some time later she first suggested doing baby calendars to a London editor, who told her, "If I can give you some advice, just photographing babies is never going to work for you. You need to broaden your portfolio to include adults and animals." That memory prompts a dimpled smile on Geddes' face as she relates, "I have talked to that editor many times since and he often tells me his 'broaden your portfolio' advice now makes him feel like the guy who turned down signing the Beatles."'
Of course, simply being the Beatles of photography may not be enough for her: later the article describes her work as having progressed through distinct artistic phases. Picasso, watch your back.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


On Monday, I had my video editing class interview each other. Our topic: bad dancers. We shot with 2 Canon GL2s, one on a tripod and one handheld. A shotgun mic was setup on a stand, running into a BeachTek and into a GL2.

Today I had the footage from those interviews ready for them, and they started the process of getting to know the material, trying to find a beginning and an ending and the best bits, and trying to make order out of chaos.

Great fun. We'll see how the pieces turn out....

Still Fall

I may have been a little early with the talk of Winter. Today was clear and cold, but definitely more Fall than Winter.

Above: Bronx Community College around 9:15 this morning.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For All Your Holiday Shopping Needs

Since there are some holidays coming up, you're probably wondering what to put on your list. Well, there's always Magnum Magnum, which hits stores on Friday.

That might be a little pricy, though.... So maybe Fashion Magazine by Alec Soth is the way to go. Yep, that will work.

Doesn't ship for 4 to 7 weeks, however....

Monday, November 26, 2007

From Fall to Winter

My Santa suit? I'm glad you asked. It's in the closet, back from the dry cleaners. It's ready to go.

Above: earlier tonight, East 89th and Lexington.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

3D Can Be 1D Worse Than Regular Bad Photography

Ah, yes, I did watch episode four of The Shot. A roomful of synchronized cameras, two fans going full blast, a huge lighting rig and some of the worst photographs ever. Amazingly painful to watch.

Is that why it's sponsored by Vaseline?

For those of you self-punishing enough to have seen it, here are some real lessons to take from it:
repeating "hair dance, hair dance" over and over again is not actually the same as having a plan for a shoot

claiming that the best fashion photographers are men is a sign you should look around at the field a bit more

having the hair look bad in a shoot that's about hair (and supervised by a hair guy and a photographer with great hair) may shows poor listening skills

if your photographs look exactly like those of the other six contestants, you're doing it wrong

The New Rules Comment Period

Over on Actualities I have an update on the proposed new rules for photography in New York City.

News Followup

This story, I expect, will continue to unfold. Will we ever hear the details?

AP Chief Slams Case Against Photographer
"We believe Bilal's crime was taking photographs the U.S. government did not want its citizens to see. That he was part of a team of AP photographers who had just won a Pulitzer Prize for work in Iraq may have made Bilal even more of a marked man," [AP President and CEO Tom] Curley wrote.

NY Short Docs on Friday

On Friday, go and see: NY Short Docs.

I'll be there, screening "12th and 3rd in Brooklyn." Bought my tickets today.

The Rules on NYC Photography and Videography

We are nearing the end of the comment period on the "new rules" proposed by the Mayor's Office regarding permits for photography and videography in New York. What should you do?

1. Read: The Rules, especially this paragraph on activity that will require a permit:
"Filming, photography, production, television or radio remotes occurring on City property, as described in subdivision (a) of this section, if such activity involves the obstruction of one or more lanes of a street or walkway of a bridge, or if such activity results in less than eight feet or one half of the width of a sidewalk or other public pedestrian passageway, whichever is greater, for unobstructed sidewalk use by pedestrian traffic."
2. Mail or email: your written comments to Mayor's Office Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, Communications Department, 1697 Broadway, New York NY 10019, or -- and I strongly encourage physical mail over email if you wish to be effective.

3. Attend: the public hearing at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2007, at the offices of the Economic Development Corporation, 110 William Street, 4th floor (between Fulton and John Streets).

Tickets for NY Short Docs

I've just purchased my tickets for Friday night's documentary screening:

NY Short Docs.

Here's how they list my film:
"12th & 3rd in Brooklyn (Ted Fisher | Brooklyn | 6:00)
In Park Slope, stickball is a cherished tradition. This slowly gentrifying neighborhood is home to men who have gone to bat on the same block 12th Street and 3rd Avenue for decades. This film offers an intimate portrait of the game and the unique brotherhood it forges among the players."
(I should mention that this film is made with Iris Lee and Maya Mumma, and -- as festivals sometimes do -- they've only listed me since I was the first name on the list.)

Here's a still image from the day we shot the film: On the Streets of Brooklyn.

There's a lot of good work on the program -- I've seen a few pieces that are screening -- so you should definitely go.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Found: Diane Arbus Photographs

Genuine Wonders From the Flea Circus: Photos by Arbus
"But when sorting through the pile, Mr. Langmuir found a note in a dog-eared datebook kept by Lucas that stopped him: “Diane Arbus, 131 ½ Charles St. WA 4 — 4608.” Then, he says, he looked again at some of the heavily flashed photographs of performers like Estelline Pike, a sword swallower, and DeWise Purdon, a man with no hands, and wondered: Could these possibly be early Arbus works? Or am I just dreaming?"
He wasn't dreaming. 21 of the photographs have been authenticated. I'm very eager to see these....

Documentaries in the News

Well, any news from the world of documentary production? I'm glad you asked.

RTÉ launches inquiry into cocaine claims
"The station, which has come under increasing pressure to defend the claims made in 'High Society', last night confirmed that it had launched an internal inquiry into the production and commissioning of the series, which is expected to be completed by the end of this week. ... Beleaguered RTE executives are standing by the author, who claimed a minister regularly abused cocaine -- even after it emerged yesterday that a recording used to substantiate that allegation doesn't exist."
Maker of Undercover Mosque documentary considers suing police
"It was "something of a surprise" when the West Midlands police issued a press release eight months after the programme was transmitted in January, accusing its producers of selective editing and distortion. ... "Our reputation was really seriously damaged by this. We're only a small company but we've done quite a lot in the last 15 years," said Henshaw."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Frugal Seattle

Over on Actualities I discuss editing the latest Frugal Traveler episode.

Oh, and there's some Thanksgiving-related fun as well.

Frugal Traveler: Seattle

There's a new episode of The Frugal Traveler posted. This one's on Seattle.

I had a very tough time with this edit, but in a way that's hard to explain. The short version: the main strategy with these pieces is to create a flow. We follow along from one event to the next, but -- since it really isn't the type of thing where we worry "Will he make it?" or "Can it be done in time?" or "What will he decide?" -- there isn't necessarily a driving conflict or goal, but instead a need to keep it interesting from one experience to the next. We go along for the ride, so it has to be an enjoyable ride.

And this time, though there was the usual collection of good material, there were a couple of spots where there were two problems happening at once -- and I just kept feeling there was no way to make the material and voiceover work together. I ended up, midway through the process, abandoning the first half and finishing the ending.

And then I sat there, staring at two big holes, realizing I still didn't see a way to reasonably smooth out the viewers path through the video. I had shots to cut to, but there were reasons why one shot couldn't cut to the next -- and the usual amount of this that happens just by chance was, unluckily, amplified.

Eventually, as I got to know the problem areas on a first-name basis, I found ways to close those uncloseable gaps. Steal a little from this shot, intended for a slightly different purpose, then change this one here, then try that one ... Eventually there were ways to keep the written shape of the piece intact, and to keep the viewer on a smooth, comprehensible path.

I think the final version is straightforward and simple, but getting there was a complicated and tough road.

Without Commentary

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Second Chance

I missed the Elliott Erwitt booksigning at ICP, and I've been kicking myself since. Luckily, there will be another, this time at Strand Books on Wednesday, December 12.

What Would Elliott Erwitt Do? Well, he would attend.

Photo History in the News

Are there any stories in the news about folks using nondestructive reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to study the earliest color photographs? You bet, but first there's a story about a possible previously-unknown photograph of Abraham Lincoln.

Purported Photos of Lincoln at Gettysburg Discovered
"The photos show a man in a black suit and Lincoln's trademark "stovepipe" hat, looking away from the camera. Some experts say they believe the man is indeed President Lincoln, although not all are convinced."
Other experts believe it is actually a piece of blue fluff on the lens.

Was the Inventor of the First Color Photograph a Genius, or a Fraud?
"... the Rev. Levi Hill of Westkill, N.Y., claimed for the first time to have invented a way to produce naturally colored daguerreotypes, or Hillotypes, as they became known. When Hill refused to release the details of his process until a patent was filed, the profession denounced him as a fraud. In 156 years, no definitive evidence has been presented to suggest that Hill was or was not an imposter, until now."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cast Photo

Last Friday, I shot a little video aimed at That's the cast, above.

The strange thing is, shooting that sort of piece is really all documentary production technique. I used a Canon GL1 with a little BeachTek adapter underneath it. A wireless body microphone and a clip on lavalier microphone were cabled into the BeachTek, one to the left channel and one to the right. Half was shot on a tripod, the rest following the actors around.

The thing is, fiction film is really documenting acting that happens in front of the camera, isn't it?

Trailer Theory

I did a little unit with my video class on editing movie trailers. We looked at about 20 old horror film trailers, then some trailer mashups -- for example, one that makes "The Shining" look like a Romantic Comedy and one that makes "West Side Story" look like a zombie movie -- and finally a few contemporary trailers.

One of the big points: the old techniques of Persuasion still apply, not any that different from how Aristotle thought of them.

You appeal to the emotions, trying your best to show a viewer that they can identify with the characters in the film and that it will make them feel a certain way. You appeal to the viewer also based on the reputation of the filmmakers and the actors in the film and the reviews the film has received. And you make a case that the film is about something the viewer should care about and want to see.

Beyond this: the marketing folks insist: there must be five "movie moments" -- five images one would want to see, selling the experience of seeing the film.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Just finished the next Frugal Traveler episode. It will run Sunday, so take a look at The New York Times then.

Genius of Photography

I've been watching The Genius of Photography on Ovation TV. It's a great series. Some of the camera work for the show seems strange to me -- perhaps a bit forced -- but the content is fantastic and well handled. And they got interviews from a wonderful group of people.

The only strange choice: the photographs are presented on a beige background.

The Short List

15 Docs Move Ahead in 2007 Oscar® Race
Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 80th Academy Awards®. Seventy pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order:

“Autism: The Musical”
“Body of War”
“For the Bible Tells Me So”
“Lake of Fire”
“No End in Sight”
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience”
“Please Vote for Me”
“The Price of Sugar”
“A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman”
“The Rape of Europa”
“Taxi to the Dark Side”
“White Light/Black Rain”

Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Photography in the News

Any photography-related stories in today's news?

Well, there's this:

Kidman tells court she feared death during car chase with photographer
"Nicole Kidman was so scared by a photographer who chased her car across Sydney almost three years ago that she crouched down on the back seat and burst into tears, afraid of an accident like the one that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, the film star told an Australian court yesterday."
And this:

US seeks charges against AP photographer in Iraq
"The U.S. military will recommend criminal charges in Iraqi courts against an award-winning Associated Press photographer it accused of working with insurgents, the Pentagon said on Monday."
And, from the Maldives, there's this:

DRP Whitewash Fathin Finger To Photographer
"Aneesa said several colleagues had told her a "distorted" photograph of the Government MP, who is also a deputy minister, had appeared in the press. She said the photograph had been tampered with, complaining, "it has become common practice to malign Government officials and DRP members."

But the photographer, who does not wish to be named, has responded fiercely to the allegation that he doctored the photo. "It’s a 100% untrue. Look at the photos taken before and after, the scene outside the Majlis building is identical. Its not been faked at all.""

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Meanwhile, in California

Profluence member Linda G. will be screening her film "Double the Pleasure, Eight Times the Therapy" at the Vines Short Film Festival in Santa Monica.

The festival dates are October 28 through November 11; specific screening dates and times TBA.

Save the Date for NY Short Docs

I mentioned that our film 12th and 3rd in Brooklyn will be part of the NY Short Docs program. Here are the screening details:
"NY SHORT DOCS (Presented by DCTV & Rooftop Films)
Friday, November 30th, 2007 @ 7:30PM
$5/Advance Tickets; $7/At the Door

New York is home to some of the most innovative and inspired documentary filmmakers in the world. And on November 30th, DCTV & Rooftop Films are proud to showcase an evening of short documentaries about NYC made by NYC Filmmakers from the Rooftop & DCTV Communities."

People Paparazzi

Well, now that we have the news from the Maldives squared away, the question remains: who are these photographers who spend their days taking the pictures of people who don't want their pictures taken?

Apparently, now the answer is: everyone, all the time.

Everyone Wants to Be Taking Pictures
"In the two years since prosecutors in Los Angeles threatened to file felony conspiracy charges against photographers engaging in dangerous tactics, and started monitoring them more closely, complaints of egregious illegal conduct, like assault, trespassing and reckless driving, by paparazzi have decreased, said William Hodgman, the head deputy of Los Angeles County district attorney’s target crime division. But now, Mr. Hodgman said, celebrities are followed by more celebrity news media and what some photographers call “people paparazzi,” which has reignited the pursuit. “The celebrities don’t feel any safer,” he said."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where Hearts Were Entertaining June

Profluence member Dana B. is in the news for her upcoming documentary trip to Brazil:

Sambadendê will trek to its source
"The road trip sounds like a party. Seven band members on a bus playing their way through cities large and small, picking up local players along the way. Band members have enlisted the talents of New York-based documentary filmmaker Dana Bartle, who will accompany them and record interviews and performances by local artists, musicians, and cultural groups as they travel."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Screening at NY Short Docs

Remember that little film on stickball we made last fall? It's going back out into the world. Details soonish.

NY Short Docs

Just got an email from Maya: our short film "12th and 3rd in Brooklyn" will be screening at NY Short Docs on Friday, November 30th.

The night's program looks very good. I've seen "A Son's Sacrifice" and really liked it, and I may or may not appear in "Bubblebattle" since I was there at the event....

Also, congratulations to Chris Schuessler -- "DiFara's" will be screening too.

Photography in the News

It's been a tough day, partly caused by a problem with the plumbing in our building. So, I just thought I'd check the news quickly to see if there are any items on photography....

Well, there's this again. Actually, apparently it's the third time.

Spears runs over another photographer's foot
"This is the third time Spears has been involved in such an accident. Last month, she ran over the foot of another snapper, while doing the same to a Los Angeles County Sheriff deputy, who got his foot caught under the star's Mercedes. This is the latest in a string of traffic incidents for the 25-year-old, on Monday Spears was accused of leaving a paparazzo seriously injured after knocking him off his motorcycle."
I'm telling you: do not take pictures of Britney Spears.

The Monochromatic Angels of Parma, Ohio

Appearing as an anonymous video expert, I have now officially spoken out -- for all of two seconds -- that blue fluff is more common than blue ectoplasm, and that cameras don't actually record ghosts.

The Inside Edition story is here.

This Just In

Well, I've done my part.

While a stunningly large percentage of my fellow citizens continue to believe that cameras capture photographs of ghosts, I have now appeared on television -- for perhaps two seconds -- noting that blue fluff on the lens is a more likely theory than ectoplasmic blue mist or monochromatic angels.

Not that I'll change anyone's mind.

Inside Edition story here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Mist It

I did not get to see the 6 p.m. showing of Inside Edition so I'm not sure if I'm on it or not. But note the otherworldly rectangle at the bottom of this snapshot: it baffles even the most confirmed skeptic.

Another snapshot over at New York Portraits.

At Inside Edition

Look. There. At the back of the photograph. Is that a blue mist?

Three Seconds of Immortality

I just went across town to be interviewed at Inside Edition. I believe I will be on tonight, for a very, very brief time. More soon.


I will probably be on "Inside Edition" tonight. Probably for less than three seconds, I expect. Details soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yet More Photography in the News

This is from a few days ago, but worth noting. It brings up an interesting hypothetical: you're walking along, you see an arrest, you take a picture. Now, if a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. But what if, instead, they insist you give them the camera?

Man jailed in photo incident awarded $8,000
"An amateur photographer who was taken into custody last year after shooting pictures of two Seattle police officers making an arrest on a public street received an $8,000 settlement this week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington announced Thursday."

Photography in the News

Any photography-related items in today's news?

Well, it's just straight-up dangerous to photograph Britney Spears.
"A paparazzi chasing troubled pop star Britney Spears was injured when his motorcycle was struck by a car driven by another photographer, police said Tuesday."
My advice: don't do it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Taking "The Shot"

Well, sure, the idea of a "reality" television show about photographers might have jokingly crossed your mind once or twice in the past.

But did you think it would be as bad as The Shot is?

I mentioned the show to some photographer friends, and they watched it, and I feel sort of bad for that. Still, I'll probably suffer my way to the end. A challenge to photograph a model and a monkey? Even if it's bad, it's good.

Eisensteinian Diminution

So, in my video editing class today I gave a lesson I've taught before: we take the famous "Odessa Steps" sequence from Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin -- 7 minutes and 19 seconds long -- and work to cut 30 seconds out of it without ruining it.

It's a great process, and for those of you who enjoy editing I suggest you give it a shot. (You can grab the Eisenstein film over at

In any case, every student has their own ideas of what shots are crucial to the edit, and which can go away. Sometimes people are very conservative -- just making shots shorter, but keeping them -- and sometimes they go right for elements you or I might say are critical to the story ... and cut them right out.

It never fails, however: at least one student misunderstands: "Here it is," they proudly say, "I cut it down to 30 seconds."

Pop Photo Flash

The video on the NYIP photo contest has received a link from Popular Photography -- so it will be interesting to see if that leads to a good number of viewers for the piece. There are no parachuting squirrels in the video, just folks talking about photographs and photography, so I'll be very pleased if it does well on YouTube....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Photography in the News

Are there any photography-related items in the news?

Well, in Berlin 250 Leni Riefenstahl photographs were stolen. More importantly, at least for this blog:
"...300 works by American photographer Elliott Erwitt disappeared from a basement storage unit at the offices of Photo Estate GmbH, a subsidiary of Berlin gallery Camera Work AG, police said."
Here's the article.

What Would Elliott Erwitt Definitely, Definitely Not Do?

Elliott Erwitt would not put a booksigning he wanted to go to on his calendar, then forget to go.

Especially if he was someone else, and the booksigning was by Elliott Erwitt.

It's been a rough week all month.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Project No Way

Don't tell anyone, but I watched The Shot.
"Whether it's shooting on the deck of a schooner in the midst of a storm, or trying to get a supermodel to cuddle up to a Siberian tiger, our cast will face daunting tasks and obstacles that will test their talent, desire and drive to be the next great fashion photographer."

And then the Prequels Will Follow

Taped a new episode of "Photo Chick" today.

Episode One and Two continue on, with about 12,000 views between them on YouTube. That's not a huge number but -- if you've ever screened one of your films for thirty people, as I have -- it's a significant audience.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Photography Contest

New video I made on the process of judging a photography contest. More details on the production over on Actualities.

New NYIP Video

Here's a new video I made for the New York Institute of Photography.

The logistics were:
shot with Canon GL1, using natural light until the day faded away (then a little tungsten bounce light was added to brighten the room a bit)

each contest judge was recorded with a lapel lavalier microphone, then the general judging was done with the built-in camera microphone

the piece was edited, minor goofs were fixed and especially sound clean up done (since it was in a room where it would have been terrible to turn off the air conditioner)

and a pristine H264 format MPEG 4 file was exported (with some experimenting, a very very clean output was produced with a file about 42MB in filesize)

this was then uploaded to -- where they have special elves that make it look very poorly compressed -- and totally low-resolution whenever there's a cross dissolve or a fade-out-fade-in dissolve
More on fixing those "minor goofs" later.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm not sure why my photographs lately have had so much yellow and orange, but at least this one's honest about it.

New Frugal Traveler Video

Over at Actualities I have a few notes on editing the latest "Frugal Traveler" video. I've been very quiet on that blog, which is strange since so much of my time lately has been taken up with video projects and teaching video....

New York City Marathon, Part Five

Above: Surprise Attack, November 4, 2007.

Moving on Up

Upper East Siders are some of the nicest people on the planet. Their Kryptonite: inconvenience.

During the marathon, we saw the expected: folks getting massages while positioned so they could see out the shop window to watch the runners, the matching-pink-purse-and-dog-sweater set navigating First Avenue to get to their normal appointments, and the UES equivalent of tailgate parties. As well, we saw a surprising number of folks who spent the day supporting the runners along the sidelines, shouting names and clapping for hours.

The UES air, however, holds the idea that you should be able to get what you want, when you want. Why did the Upper East Sider cross the road? To get to the other side, in time for a play date.

Monday, November 05, 2007

New York City Marathon, Part Three

The city's pigeons were clearly troubled by the huge human migration up First Avenue. They circled in flocks, but eventually saw food on the ground and decided to brave the crowds of runners. They flew in and out of the race, often directly at runners.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New York Marathon, Part Two

The first half of the day the crowds are upbeat. Some come out to cheer their friends, usually holding signs.

Later, as the run goes on, there's a very specific moment when the euphoric swell changes -- it becomes clear there's only a thin pained line of stragglers, fighting out each step. That's almost hard to watch as we sit there, eating pizza.

New York Marathon

The marathon travels up First Avenue, and so passes 1/2 block from my apartment, more or less. I overheard someone say we're near mile 15.

Above: Close Call, November 4, 2007.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Frugal Traveler: Chicago

There's a new Frugal Traveler video posted: Frugal Chicago.

Here's the strange thing about editing Frugal Traveler episodes: at the end of each one, after a process of watching a lot of footage over and over, I feel like I've been somewhere that I haven't actually been.

I find myself wanting to tell people about a place I haven't been, as if it were my own memory. It's a strange feeling.

Like Woodstock, but for Port-o-Sans

Sunday morning the New York Marathon will begin in Staten Island. In the hours before the start, thousands and thousands of runners will gather in a field, waiting anxiously.

They'll need portable toilets. Thousands and thousands of portable toilets.

Above: a snapshot from Saturday's visit to Staten Island.

There Should Be Some Sort of Ceremony

Well, today I am a true New Yorker. I've made it to my final borough: Staten Island.

Sort of, anyway. Got there via taxi. Stood in a field for a while. Took a bus to the Ferry. Left on the Ferry. That counts, though.

Above: a woman sketching on the subway, seen on the way back.