Last year I shot 26 galleries for Wired.com. Although we're well into the new year and past the usual top-ten retrospective period, I've put together a collection of my ten favorite shoots from 2008.
I really enjoy shooting for Wired, mostly due to the fact that I'm a huge nerd and love technology and science. I'm looking forward to shooting many more cool locations, labs and lairs this year.
So without further ado, here they are, my top ten favorite Wired.com galleries from 2008:
- #10: New Purification Plant Answers California's Water Crisis - This tour took me through an amazing new waste treatment plant that basically turns sewage to drinking water.
- #9: Homemade Bombs, From Richard Reid's Shoe to Kaczynski's Envelope - I wasn't sure to expect when I attended this Homeland Security trade show, but when I saw the simulated bombs I knew it would be interesting and controversial. When DHS gave me permission to shoot them I was really excited. Don't miss the comments on this gallery. Priceless.
- #8: Journey Into the Science of the Sun - High-vacuum equipment has always interested me. When I saw the giant vacuum chamber used in this experiment I was enthraled.
- #7: Einstein's Legacy: Inside the Quest for Gravity Waves - Another tour that involved giant vacuum chambers. These were chock-full-o-lasers.
- #6: Gallery: Take an X-Ray With Your Office Sticky Tape - When I read the paper about this experiment I loved the whole premise, especially how easy it was to understand by the general public. I really like the glowing tape photo in this gallery.
- #5: Microscope-On-a-Chip Is One Step Closer to the Tricorder - This little chip will someday change the world. Very cool technology.
- #4: How to Make Superstrong, Superflexible Metals - The way the metal looks when it's molten is beautiful. I love these shots.
- #3: Gallery: Inside the Navy's Armed-Robot Labs - This was the only gallery I shot that actually frightened me. Autonomous robots are not awesome when they're armed.
- #2: A Lesson in Internet Anatomy: The World's Densest Meet-Me Room - When I first toured One Wilshire 9 years ago I snuck in a camera and took some photos of the crazy cables in the Meet-Me-Room. This time around I was on assignment and took photos of the crazy cables in the Meet-Me-Room. One Wilshire is awesome.
- #1: Inside NASA's Mars Mission - This is my all time favorite gallery that I've shot for Wired. My editor ranked it as one of the year's best. Here is what he said about it: "Our best science photographer, Dave Bullock, toured the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex shortly before the Phoenix lander touched down on Mars. His photos show the calm before the storm, and his coverage of the landing and the lander's first images was excellent as well."
As I mentioned yesterday, I am going through all my Wired.com assignment archives and uploading my favorite shots, including never-before-published out-takes, in full resolution on flickr and my gallery. Here are a few shots from my tour of Paul Bellan's Plasma Lab at Caltech:
A high-speed camera peers into the vacuum chamber, awaiting plasma to form.
A lens magnifies the view inside the vacuum chamber at the Bellan Plasma lab at Caltech.
Caltech graduate student fires a charge of electricity into the vacuum chamber, creating plasma in the process.
I got my first internet access account in 1992 when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Believe it or not, the internet has changed somewhat in the past 17 years.
These days everyone and their grandmother, literally, has internet access. Getting online is as easy as turning on your smartphone or plugging your computer into your cable modem. In 1992 it wasn't quite so easy.
My first account was from a company called Studio X. It was a SLIP account and gave me access to all kinds of great search engines running on university servers. These search engines weren't quite like gooogle. WAIS, Archie and Veronica used Gopher to search FTP sites, mailing lists, and more all over the world.
My SLIP account was text based and required me to set up a painful little application called Winsock. Back then, Windows (which I no longer use as a Desktop platform) did not have a TCP/IP stack. In other words, Windows didn't know how to get onto the internet like it does now. Installing the cumbersome and buggy Winsock fixed this problem.
Once I was on the internet (back then it was capitalized: Internet) I found tons of interesting documents to read. I began to learn about various subjects the knowledge of which would later provide me the income I depend on to survive. The Internet was amazing. The internet is amazing.
One Wilshire Meet-Me-Room
Last year I took a tour of One Wilshire for a Wired.com gallery I shot. One Wilshire is an amazing place that has always fascinated me. Here is how I described it:
In the bowels of the world's most densely populated Meet-Me room -- a room where over 260 ISPs connect their networks to each other -- a phalanx of cabling spills out of its containers and silently pumps the world's information to your computer screen. One tends to think of the internet as a redundant system of remote carriers peppered throughout the world, but in order for the net to function the carriers have to physically connect somewhere. For the Pacific Rim, the main connection point is the One Wilshire building in downtown Los Angeles.
If this facility went down, most of California and parts of the rest of the world would not be able to connect to the internet. Tour one of the web's largest nerve centers, hidden in an otherwise nondescript office building.
I'm slowly going through my archives of Wired.com shoots and posting them on my blog/flickr in full resolution for your viewing pleasure. Here are a few selections from the shoot:
A giant twisting mass of cables spills out of an over-stuffed cable tray in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire.
The roof of One Wilshire is covered with antennas of various sizes and shapes.
A technician works to untangle the mess in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire in this shot from 2008.
Click here to view the other 21 photos from my One Wilshire Tour. Stay tuned for more cool photos from my Wired adventures.
The turnout was amazing. Hundreds of people took time to look at our club member's amazing photos. Everyone was enthralled by the quality of the work and excited to learn about the concept behind the club.
I felt like a carnival barker luring marks to the table, but it was for a cause more noble than a ring-toss. My hard-sell helped to bring people to the table who otherwise would have just passed by. This in turn helped to sell a dozen prints.
The deal we have worked out with the club members is that half of any print sales goes to the club and the other half goes to that member. Yesterday at our meeting I handed out envelopes to all of our members who have given me photos. It was great for them to see a monetary response to their work.
Bert Green kindly sponsored our entry fee for the Bazaar and made sure our paperwork was pushed through. The table was a great idea and I really enjoyed talking to so many people about the project. We also earned enough money to buy another camera!
The next step is to update the website so that each member has their own blog, bio and gallery. Their galleries will also allow people to purchase prints online. I am going to try and have this done by year's end.
I am looking forward to seeing more amazing work from our participants. Our next show coming up will open during the January Downtown Art Walk at Raw Materials. Come down and see the work if you get a chance!
A folding table is covered with prints for sale from members of the Skid Row Photography Club.
What once was an empty cylinder filled with dirt and trash is now a thriving garden filled with drought-resitant, sustainable plants.
In their quest to bring more greenery to our mostly paved neighborhood, they go to the garden every few days to water. Every few weeks they plant new seedlings, cacti and succulents.
The Skid Row residents who live in SROs nearby thank Quietearth and my wife every time they see them. I think the garden really cheers up both the local residents and the guerilla gardeners.
I've watered the plants a few times, but my wife and Quietearth have done all the hard work. It's really inspiring to see the green, sustainable plants when I drive or walk by their garden.
A few weeks I tagged along with them when they went to dig in the dirt and install some plants. Here are a few of the photos I shot:
Penelope bends over to plant a succulent in the planter.
Nearby SRO residents stand around the planter while Queitearth packs dirt around a freshly planted shrub.
Penelope scoops dirt around a plant she just placed in the planter.
The Downtown Guerilla Gardeners stand proudly on the rim of their planter.
Blaze and I were featured on BoingBoing TV today talking about the Skid Row Photo Club:
I just picked up the Canon 5D MK II which I've been drooling over since it was announced a few months ago. I really want to shoot some photos now, but I have to charge the battery first! In the interim, here are some unboxing photos:
I shot this gallery for Wired.com and it just went live on their website. Check it out:
On Saturday Penelope and I took a short hike to Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon. After a few weeks off following our Cactus to Clouds trek and we were eager to get back to it.
We weren't sure which hike to do, we had originally talked about hiking Mt. Baldy again, but we opted for something closer to home. When Penelope said Eagle Rock, I thought she meant the Eagle Rock suburb near Glendale. Apparently the Eagle Rock she was talking about was an actual rock in Topanga Canyon.
We drove up PCH to Topanga Canyon road, paid our $8 state park fee and started out hike. We laughed at the easy specs of the hike, 7 miles and 800 feet of elevation gain, nothing compared to the 24 miles and 10,000 feet of gain we hiked a few weeks back.
Once we were getting close to Eagle Rock, about 2 miles in, we weren't laughing anymore. Penelope was feeling under the weather and the simple hike became highly unpleasant for her. We were also running short on time due to a meeting I had scheduled.
We opted to turn around at Eagle Rock and head back to the car. We ended up doing a little over four miles, but it was still great to get out into the hills and away from the city.
This time around I brought a good camera and tripod and took some photos of the beautiful views and the beautiful wife.
I'm sure at some point we'll do this hike again and complete it. In the interim we're looking forward to some snow so we can break out the snowshoes. Now that will be fun!
The view from Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon is beautiful as seen in this composite HDR photo taken on Saturday.
The illustrious and beautiful Penelope Bullock shades her eyes from the sun after a short hike to Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon.
That's me, Dave Bullock, sitting atop Eagle Rock after a short hike on Saturday.
Click here to see the rest of the Eagle Rock photos.
The Skid Row Photography Club's first show, The Beauty of the Street, premiered last Thursday during the Downtown Art Walk. The participants were ecstatic to see their beautiful work on the walls and the hundreds of people who came into the gallery loved what they saw.
The SRPC started as an idea I "borrowed" from the movie Born Into Brothels. I wrote a proposal to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council to buy digital cameras which we then gave to people living in Skid Row. I gave the participants brief lessons in composition and turned them loose. For the last six months we've met every Tuesday at UCEPP in Skid Row.
During that time they shot over 20,000 photos between them. An amazing body of work ranging from flowers to architecture to a man defecating in the middle of the street.
I pared the photos down to 11 selections for the show. Conor Colvin-Hunter designed a flyer, posters, banners and the website for free. My employer AmericasPrinter.com donated the flyer printing. I then printed the 13"x19" photos with my Epson 3800 on Ultra-smooth Fine Art Matte paper and had them framed at the Downtown Framing Outlet. DLANC paid for the framing.
Stella Dottir hosted the show in her gallery at no charge and took no cut of the sales. The SRPC members helped me hang the work a few days before Art Walk at the gallery.
The show was a hit, the turnout was amazing. Click here to watch a video of the opening put together by the SRPC founder Michael Blaze. I estimate we had over 500 people come through the doors during the evening. The response to the work was wonderful and the artists were all so proud of their accomplishments. It was quite moving.
Prints are available in a limited edition run of 5 each for $100 per print unframed and $290 framed. Half the proceeds goes to buy more cameras and the other half goes to the artist. I will update the website with the available photos along with more of the club member's work soon.
I am looking forward to our next show and seeing more amazing work from these talented photographers.
If you are interested in participating in the club we meet every Tuesday at 3pm in the UCEPP room on the corner of 6th and Stanford. If you would like to donate digital cameras please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Skid Row Photography Club stand together in front of their first show at Stella Dottir's gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. From left to right: Lawrence Landry, Lance, Sandra Y. Kornegay, Manuel "OG Man" Compito, Dave Bullock, Michael Blaze, Queen RA, Conor Colvin-Hunter, Don Garza and General Jeff.
Photographer Sandra Y. Kornegay stands proudly in front of her photo (upper left) which she shot on a cell phone.
Skid Row Photography Club member Manuel "OG Man" Compito interviews Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry at the Beauty of the Streets show during last week's Downtown Art Walk.
Recently I picked up the clarinet again and have been practicing various Klezmer songs, including one of my wife's favorites: Papirosen. A sad song about a boy selling cigarettes on the streets during WW II in order to stave off hunger and avoid the fate of his sister who died from exposure.
I was shocked and saddened to read in the comments that the violinist Michael Kahan was stabbed earlier this year by a 'discharged schizophrenic' in Macnhester.
This song will now be twice as sorrowful when I play it. Rest in peace Michael Kahan.