Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winter in black and white

Sugar River
Sugar River
Still Waters Run Deep
Sometimes black and white just seems to be the best way to capture winter's beauty. Scenes along the Sugar River in Paoli, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I didn't take the photo of a phone getting smashed, but I sure had a lot of fun setting it up

Not My Photo, but I Sure Had a Lot of Fun Setting It Up

The 1983 photo was by Madison's Brent Nicastro for a magazine I edited, Credit Union Management. He had the equipment I lacked, and besides, I wanted to be the one wielding the mallet. The breakup of AT&T the coming January was of interest to our readers because there were were a lot of telephone company credit unions.

In working on the article, I had a vision of a red dial phone (with a Bell logo we could paste in) being smashed in a flash of light. To do that I needed to get a red phone, and went to our local phone company's office to buy one. It had only recently become possible to purchase your own phone, and this was the first one I ever bought.
"I'd like to buy a red rotary dial phone, please."

"Are you sure you don't want a TouchTone phone? Or one of the new Princess phones."

"That's OK -- I'm just going to break it anyhow."

"Oh, I don't think it will break. They're very reliable, sir."

"No, I mean I'm going to smash it with a hammer."

The look on the sales clerk's face was priceless. For a moment, I thought she would refuse to sell it to me for such a blasphemous purpose.

"It's OK -- it's for a magazine photo."
I cut up the phone with a hacksaw first, then reassembled it with the Brent's slave flash inside, rigged so that the phone would fall apart and the flash fire when tapped with the mallet.

What a different world. Appropriately, perhaps, AT&T was broken up in January of 1984, and seven regional operating companies spun off. It helped pave the way for the telecommunications revolution, but the actual pieces began reconstituting themselves almost immediately. Two companies emerged from all the wreckage and you could symbolize them today with two iPhones -- AT&T and Verizon. But I'm not about to take a hammer to my iPhone.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fallout shelter nostalgia

Fallout Shelter Nostalgia
A satirical op-ed piece I did for The Capital Times in the late Seventies -- "Will there be parking at Armageddon?" "Will there be sexism at the holocaust?" The shelters signs are no longer posted publicly and have migrated to the collectible market, much as I predicted, but the nukes are still there. There's still quite a bit of shelter activity as well, but it seems to have gone underground. So to speak.

Packers head for Super Bowl in a blur of motion

Packers Advance to the Super Bowl in a Blur of Motion
I did some experimenting with shooting motion blur off the TV during the NFC Championship at Soldier Field, where the Packers hung on to beat the Bears, 21-14. Having something to do with my hands helped keep my nerves under control. An exposure of 1/6-sec. seemed to work best. This is James Starks on a 12-yard gain early in the second quarter, in the drive that ended with the offense's second and -- what would turn out to be their final -- score.

Packers Advance to the Super Bowl in a Blur of MotionAaron Rodgers sees a hole and takes off on a 25-yard scramble late in second quarter. Although Rodgers and the Packers offense got off to a hot start, they cooled off as the game went on. In the end, they needed Rodgers to make a TD-saving tackle and B. J. Raji to score a game-winning defensive TD on an 18-yard interception return in order to outlast three Chicago quarterbacks and hold on for the victory. But hold on they did, and they're in the Super Bowl -- for the first time since 1997.