26 September, 2011

The Nightwatchman Rocks The Googleplex

Last Thursday, Tom Morello as The Nightwatchman played a set for the Music Beta by Google concert series. Morello is well-known for his role as guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, as well as for the since-disbanded group Audioslave. During the performance, Morello shared the stage with backing guitarist Carl Restivo.
An assistant helps Restivo to switch guitars between songs. The two played a variety of songs from The Nightwatchman's new album, "World Wide Rebel Songs," including one that Morello described as a "love song" to his new steel-stringed acoustic, "Black Spartacus."
A girl sits on her father's shoulders as the two listen to The Nightwatchman play This Land Is Your Land, originally by folk musician Woody Guthrie. In addition to the more-well-known lyrics of the song, Morello included a hidden verse from the original, which he introduced with a short list of instructions for the audience:
  1. Listen and learn
  2. Answer the question ("Is this land still made for you and me?")
  3. Sing along
  4. Jump the fuck up
Afterward, Morello invited everyone in the audience onstage to help sing "World Wide Rebel Songs," which he had written to celebrate a selfless act by Korean guitar makers. The guitar makers had been fired en masse after forming a union with the hope of improving their working conditions. Morello played a benefit concert for the group, but the group decided to donate the funds toward relief efforts in Haiti after the major earthquake there in January, 2010.

Above, Morello smiles and the audience applauds after the song comes to an end.
After the applause had subsided a bit, Morello asked if the audience wanted to sing it again, and the crowd shouted their assent. Above, Morello strains as he plays the last few harmonica notes near the end of the concert.

Click on any of the images above to jump to the full set of photos.

Correction: the original version of this article incorrectly said that the concert concluded with three singings of "This Land Is Your Land." It actually concluded with "This Land Is Your Land," followed by two singings of "World Wide Rebel Songs."

20 September, 2011

My Precious...

I think this is one of the most sinister-looking cats I've ever seen. The bookstore was closed, and that cat was mostly still, except to turn its head to look at me as I took a couple photos.

15 September, 2011

A Confluence of Sound, part 1

I've spent the last few weeks pondering how to dig myself out of what has become an inundation of concert photos. I've finally figured something out, so here we go, in some kind of weird reverse chronological order.

Correction: I had mistakenly called the second group "Hot Club of San Francisco." The quartet's actual name is "Le Jazz Hot", and they are a subset of the Hot Club of San Francisco.

Note: click on a photo below to get to that respective set of photos.
About two weeks ago, YouTube Presents brought Taylor Swift to the Googleplex for an interview. I was fortunate to be one of the two official photographers for the event.

The interviewer, Kevin Alloca, presented both written and video questions posed by Taylor's fans, along with a couple questions of his own. I think one of my favorites was a video question from a fan: "Taylor[…] what is your definition of beauty?" Her response was succinct and thoughtful: "I think for me, beauty is sincerity."
A week prior, Le Jazz Hot played at the Googleplex on August 26th. Patterned after jazz guitarist Django Rhinehardt's famous band, Quintette du Hot Club de France, Le Jazz Hot specializes in the same style of gypsy jazz and features a similar instrumentation.

Near the end of the concert, the group rotated instruments — everyone in the front row cycled right by one position, and the bassist brought out a trumpet to play.
Fresh off their reunion performance at the Outside Lands Festival, on August 20th Latyrx performed at Google on one stage with Jazz Mafia, Skins & Needles, Kat "O1O" Ouanu, and Joyo Velarde (left, in photo). Latyrx is the partnership of rappers Lyrics Born (center) and Lateef the Truthspeaker (right). Lateef, Lyrics Born, and Velarde were all members of the Solesides collective, which became Quannum Projects in the late nineties.

12 September, 2011

Maybee another?

After spending some time with the bees on Thursday, I stopped by again yesterday to have another try. Those suckers are fast :o)

Also, if you enjoy reading/watching my blog, please consider buying a print or making a small donation. Note that donations are not tax-deductible.

Not only do I spend hours on each and every blog post (yes, even the short ones), I'm also trying to make this whole photography thing pay for itself. And while domain names and hosting are relatively cheap, lens repairs and color calibration tools aren't.

Rest assured that any and all profits or donations will continue to land in the Doppler Photo slush fund, which I only use for expenses related to photography. So if you feel like The Doppler Effect is worth a couple bucks, I'd appreciate any support you might offer. If for whatever reason you don't feel like donating, that's cool too. I'll do my best to keep the photos coming.
—Omari, Doppler Photo

10 September, 2011

Just Beecause…

Was taking a photo walk with a coworker and we decided to stop by a flowering bush in some sunlight, at which point I noticed some bees on the bush on the other side of the sidewalk. Inspired in part by my bee photos from last year (see Why I Do Photography), I decided to give it another go. I ended up with the shot above; not quite what I had in mind, but I think it came out reasonably well.

05 September, 2011

Fear The Tree

After 3 years in the Bay Area, I finally made it to my first Stanford football game this past Saturday, during which The Cardinal dominated the San Jose State Spartans in a 57-3 rout.

I moved down to the side of the field during halftime, and managed to catch this photo of the costumed drum major leading the rest of the marching band back to the stands for the beginning of the second half.

Fake Tone Mapping in Hardware: why and how it works

To all the HDR haters out there, this is an image that you can still love! Of course, to all the HDR lovers out there, it's a forgery!

Why does the reflection look so much like a tone-mapped image? I suspect there are three main factors: 1) many tone-mapped images have little to no micro-contrast, and are soft to the point of seeming surreal; 2) they tend to be highly saturated; and 3) they tend to transition smoothly between highly-saturated colors of different hues

I basically discovered this physical effect by accident, though I imagine it's simply a combination of brightly-colored lenses and some well-documented optical phenomena. Note that what follows is a theory, which could easily be wrong and/or misguided.

So for one, when you stick certain plastics between partially- or fully-crossed linear polarizers, you end up being able to see stress patterns in the plastic. This is called stress-induced birefringence. It's important to mention that both the light source (a large LCD monitor) as well as the mirror itself (an LCD screen in a tablet) contain linear polarizers.

Beyond that, I also noticed that the colors changed as I moved my head/camera. So the stress dependence was only part of the story. The rest of it is probably related to the specific path the light would need to take to pass from the light source, through the glasses, off of the mirror, and into my eyes.

In particular, shorter wavelengths tend to scatter at steeper angles than longer wavelengths — this is why a clear sky appears blue, and a sunset appears reddish. Consistent with this theory, when I approached a steeper angle to the glasses, the reflection of the lenses became darker — the glasses weren't scattering much light at very steep angles because the lenses worked to filter short wavelengths (hence their yellow appearance).

So as the required scattering angle varies continuously across the surface of each lens, the apparent hue of the light changes among various hues that are close to yellow (namely, red and tiny bit of green). Score one for muggle science!