Category Archives: Indiana

Morty’s Comedy Joint Open Mic Quarterfinals – 7/5/2017

Last night I headed back to Morty’s Comedy Joint after a fairly long hiatus.  There were lots of new faces but the basic crux of the place hadn’t changed a bit.

First up, as is typical, you have your regulars, your “house comics.” You can tell these guys are polished, smooth and in their element. Their expressions reveal confidence and their sets are well rehearsed.  They are your comics of tomorrow and a very amusing tomorrow it will be.  Facial reactions range from “happy welcome” to “I just swallowed a bug” to “God, it’s me, Luke.  Please help me, I’ve just swallowed a bug.”

Next you have your up and coming comics.  They’re here for the sheer thrill of competition as they duke it out in a winner-take-all fight for comedy supremacy.  Of course there is the fact that the winner is determined by vote of the audience and the comics bring all their friends to pack the house but that’s neither here nor there. Never once has that mechanic of the competition swayed the outcome of one of these immortal battles of fisticuffs!

Here the expressions rage hard from “I don’t think that’s a schmedium, honey” to “yeah, I’m 19 and I’m already cooler than all y’all” to “who?  me?”  The bottom row I leave as an exercise to the reader.

The closers are your old pros.  One thing I love about the comedy scene is the equality of it all.  Too fat for other jobs?  Don’t play nice with others?  Too ugly for contact with the general public?  Fuck it, come on down!  Comedy folks love everybody.

Ryan Niemiller is hilarious and I can’t stop thinking about him trying to unbutton his shirt…  I feel bad for thinking about it… but I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Last but not least we’ve got the legendary Chris Bowers.  As rumor would have it he’s one of the absolute nicest guys around but he seems so put together and with-it that he’s too intimidating to talk to.  I’ve exchanged a few words with him and I felt like I was going to shake myself apart like a rusted out 72 Pinto running down the interstate on four bad tires.  I’m 6’4 and 250 pounds and the dude makes me feel like a little kid.

And there you have it, one night of great comedy at the city’s best venue for comedy. Your comedians for the night were:


  • Ryan McMannis (host)
  • Ray Hensley
  • Luke Basile
  • Logan Baert
  • Deon Curry


  • Lissa Sears
  • Riley Dismore
  • Cale Forbes
  • George White
  • Mike Williams
  • Grant Weber


  • Ryan Niemiller
  • Chris Bowers

You can find full-size originals on our IndyLivePhotography website for this show and dozens of others.


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Filed under Indianapolis, Performance Photography

Photography Philosophy

It’s been my observation that photographers are an extremely varied bunch and that it’s difficult for any potential customer to know exactly what they’re getting when they look at partnering up with an artist.  Most people who go in search of photography services seem to think of the standard school pictures photographer who tells you to tilt your head in such and such a way and smile just -so- and only takes a picture once you’re positioned just how they want you.  I am not that sort of photographer.  In fact I might be more properly called a hunter than a photographer if that’s your standard of service.

Stoop Kids at Square Cat Records

As example I give you the shot to the right.  This photo of Stoop Kids in their Square Cat Vinyl show last November represents my hunter philosophy when it comes to shooting.  The entire show and their interaction with each other is summed up very neatly in this one photograph.  They are one of the most dynamic bands I’ve seen on stage and I was giddy to capture their souls.  Lead singer and bass player practically nose to nose while the saxophonist peaks out under the mic stand.

Philosophically, I truly believe that posed photography represents more of the photographer than of the subject.  When I shoot I want to capture the reality of what’s going on in a spontaneous and creative way.  Not cast my own thoughts and opinions on what should be onto the situation.  Your photos should be about you and who you are, not some aesthetic that some photographer prearranges for you.

Rev Peyton's Big Damn Band-Album Release Show at the HiFi 3-17-2Next we have Breezy Peyton of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band from the HiFi in March of this year.  For this show we were packed in like sardines and couldn’t move without getting in the way of a lot of other people so we dutifully stood our ground just to the left of center stage for the whole show.  When I’m shooting, my absolute #1 priority is to make sure I’m not disturbing anyone else at the show or distracting from the entertainment.  If you’re lucky enough to get into a show then you’re a guest and you should act like one.  I refuse to use flash or supplemental lighting of any kind because frankly, flashes are annoying as hell.  If I can’t get a shot without getting in someone’s way then I don’t get the shot.  Simple as that.

I’m also not a fan of fancy post-processing.  There are some amazing tools out there that will let you make your photos look like just about anything.  But that is, frankly, a fraud.  The world is more than nice enough just as it is without a lot of augmentation.  Get the shot that’s there and if the light’s blue then bloody well make the picture blue.  It’s the photographer’s job to capture the moment, not create it out of whole cloth.

2016 Indiana State Fair Parkour DemoThe last point I’ll make is about capturing pivotal moments.  As example I give you this shot from last year’s Parkour demonstrations at the State Fair.  I love the expression of the guy who’s not literally walking up a wall.  This whole show was filled with amazing moments and you almost couldn’t click your shutter fast enough.  For me, this is the essence of “hunter photography”. Grabbing that perfect moment out of the air at exactly the right time and bottling it up for all to see is, in my mind, the whole point.

So that hopefully gives you a bit of a sense of my own personal philosophy on photography.  If you’d like to see more of my work please visit my site at or on Facebook (IndyLivePhotography | Rob Slaven Photography).

Contact me for photo ops in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas at or in the comments section.

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Filed under Indiana, photography, Uncategorized

Misc Photos for 11-5-2012

A rather random assortment of shots from yesterday.


Mostly just enjoy the contrast here. Harsh metal versus soft rustling leaves.


The birds are busily cleaning up the fall… whatever those are.


Wandering in the forest we came upon an orange construction barrel. Mother nature has gone a bureaucratic.


One finds the oddest litter in the forest.


The find of the day was this compost bin full of jack-o-lanterns.


This whole situation strikes me as rather iconic of all holidays. We feast, we celebrate, then we discard.


Later in the day back in the apartment I had some items to photograph so there was a brief spate of random puttering.

And that ends thus ends the day. Now if only I’d written proper descriptions for all the photos I took and tagged them with proper keywords. So many layers of work here. Any volunteers?


Filed under abstract photography, Indianapolis, nature Photography

Monument City, Indiana

As some of you might have noticed, it’s been rather dry here in the Midwest.  As a consequence, our bodies of water are at record lows for the summer months.  Specifically, the Salamonie Lake in Indiana is so low that one of the cities that was flooded to build the Lake has come to the surface.  Because of this, crowds have flocked to the site of a city that hasn’t seen the surface (during the summer) for 50 years.

The lake is up and down during the year so the road between the parking and the water is non-trivial.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

Clearly a warning that’s more important when we’re NOT in record drought.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

So as a personal footnote, I couldn’t help but be THRILLED beyond reasonable measure that the kids were THIS excited. Sadly I think they were eventually disappointed but they were amused for long enough to charge ahead of us to see the mysterious sunken city.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

Lots of flatness.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

The lake is highly variable in depth it appears. I wonder how close these cliffs get to being under water.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

Much to the kids’ disappointment, only the foundations of the old buildings were visible. I think they expected a whole city to come to the surface.v

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

Ever the opportunist, the velvet leaf managed to invade the landscape.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

Bud-Wei-Ser. *sigh* Everywhere you go there’s litter.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

History abounds in red brick.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

Foundations of the old school reside at the new water’s edge.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

signs of civilization…

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

Yeah, expectations didn’t equal results so at least one of our party succumbed to boredom.

From 7-21-2012 Monument City, Indiana

But, so we close. As it turns out the day after we visited the DNR closed the site to visitors. Apparently too many people were stealing the rusty tin cans and other refuse to be found.


Filed under Indiana

Water Tower at Night

In 2010 my company had some sort of a dinner at the Country Club of Indianapolis. I arrived early and stayed late to take some photos as usual. My favorite from the set is this grainy 1950s shot of a water tower at night. I half expect the Doctor’s TARDIS to materialize in the corner. Where’s Susan Smith when you need her?

From Country Club of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana


Filed under Indiana

From the Yard – 6-17-2012

One of my recurring themes is the idea that you don’t have to go very far for good photography. This last batch was all shot within walking distance of the house.

It was Laura who spotted these tiny birds outside our window first. Emotionally, they seem to encapsulate the idea of helpless yearning to a “T”.

From 6-16-2012 From the Yard
From 6-16-2012 From the Yard

Later I wandered into the yard where I found a tiny green spider just waiting to have his photo taken.

From 6-16-2012 From the Yard
From 6-16-2012 From the Yard

Later in the day, I found these wildflowers just a few minutes from my own house in the Zionsville park.

From 6-17-2012 From the Park


Filed under Indiana, Lafayette, macro photography, nature Photography, Zionsville