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Road Trip Reprise

Monday, September 5, 2011

Slightly more than two weeks have passed since I returned from my 35 day road trip across Canada and the United States.  I haven't written about the trip or discussed it very much because I wanted/needed some time to digest my experiences before describing them to the world.

Despite my above statement, I did a guest appearance discussing the road trip on the most recent episode (#27: The Road is My Home) of Attention Surplus, a podcast by Eric Portelance and Sean Howard (produced by Eli McIlveen). I requested a month's time before appearing, but they convinced me to be on the show only five days after my return! When listening back to the episode, I hear myself prematurely processing my experiences and giving (what I believe are) incomplete answers to Sean and Eric's questions. We discussed a few key elements of the trip, but many things that I feel were milestones were missed because I wasn't ready to verbalize them. However, I've read and received good feedback about the episode, so I suppose it's best to view it as a preview of what's to come.

Over the course of the next couple of months, I'm going to dig into the heart of the trip; why it happened, how it happened and what it all means. I'll provide a ring side seat into my experiences with the people I met, the places I saw and how it all connects (us) together.

Besides the obvious photography I did on the road trip, I also shot countless segments of video with my DSLR and iPhone 4. I'm hoping to stitch these video clips together to reveal some fun and interesting moments on the trip.

Strap yourselves in, we're going for a ride!


A small sampling of locations I visited.

Christina Laing

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Christina Laing is a fellow urban explorer from Buffalo. She has an incredible portfolio of urban exploration photos covering some of the best abandoned buildings in the Buffalo area. In fact, I can't think of another photographer that loves capturing images of Buffalo more than Christina!

A few days ago, I was fortunate to be able to turn the lens back on her during a photo shoot in Lackawanna's abandoned Bethlehem Steel North Office. Her stunning eyes remind me of the infamous Afgan Girl photo that was on the cover of National Geographic in 1984.  


Christina Laing in the Bethlehem Steel North Office

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Dixie Square Mall

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In recent years, there has been a lot of news coming out of Harvey, Illinois about the infamous Dixie Square Mall. The mall, only open from 1966 until 1978, was made famous in the Blues Brothers movie as the backdrop for a car chase scene.

Leading up to the filming of that scene, Dixie Square Mall had been in steady decline. The mall opened to great fanfare and 64 stores, including a Woolworth, Walgreens, Montgomery Ward and JCPenny, in November 1966. By the mid-1970s, crime and poverty in Harvey had a residual effect; the mall was down to 20 stores. The mall underwent renovations in 1976 to try and bring back shoppers, but these efforts failed to be effective.

After the movie sequences were filmed (in the summer of 1979), the mall was completely abandoned and fell into heavy disrepair.


10mm, 1/25 second, f/8.0, ISO 100, HDR

By the early 1990s, Dixie Square Mall began to look more and more like the above photo. I shot this photo on day 34 of my road trip across Canada and the United States.

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Exit Full Frame Left

Monday, August 22, 2011

As many of you know, I've been a co-host of Full Frame, a photography podcast on Perpetual Radio Networks, since its inception in May 2010. I've recently decided to leave the show to focus[1] on some projects of my own, photography related and otherwise, which should see the light of day soon.

I'd like to thank my co-hosts Nile Livesey, Ren Bostelaar and Mark Shannon for a fantastic time over the past year and a half! Also, thanks to the great guests we've been fortunate to have on the show. Full Frame recently cracked the 1,000 subscriber milestone and should continue on to great things in the near future. I've really enjoyed helping to build up the social media presence of the show and contributing to the shows themes and ideas each week.

A special thank you to all of the listeners that have tuned in each week to specifically listen to my own thoughts and perspectives on photography. I'm fortunate to have met a few of you and really appreciate the support! I hope you'll stay tuned for what I've got in store next.


Behind the scenes of episode 32 on February 8th, 2011.

1. Pun intended. ;)

Grace Okeny

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I was doing some street photography in downtown Calgary (during my road trip across Canada and the United States) when I came across Grace Okeny and some of her friends. I noticed Grace was doing some poses for her friend, so I walked up and mentioned I was a Toronto photographer and do some model photography. She immediately jumped up and asked me to do a session with her. I showed Grace some shots from my model photography portfolio and away we went.


85mm, 1/1600 second, f/1.8, ISO 100

Grace said she had never really done any modeling before, but she had a natural ability to pose and work like a professional model.


85mm, 1/400 second, f/1.8, ISO 100

A complete set of photos from the session can be viewed on Flickr.

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