2016 – The Year of Music (so far)

As I look back on the photos of 2016 I realize that I’ve picked up a theme.  In previous years I’ve chased a lot of birds around and taken thousands of photos of buildings but this year my work reflects the very real fact that there are other humans in the universe.  And, if you were to judge the human race based on my small sample just about every single one of us has a stringed instrument at hand at all times.  On one hand this shift can be attributed to a new-found appreciation for humans but more probably I’ve just learned to be slightly less afraid of them.

No survey of the the music of Central Indiana would be worth its salt if we didn’t start with this gentlemen.  He’s been hanging about Lafayette playing on street corners for as long as anyone (maybe even he) can remember.  When you think of local musical icons, this person defines the term.

2016-in-concerts-1

 

When the spring came, so came music to Eagle Creek.  This gentleman is a member of the Blackberry Jam Folk Band.  They play a fairly relaxed variety of music from cowboy to Cajun.  They’ve been playing around the area for 20 years.  Full coverage on Facebook.

6-27-2016 Blackberry Jam Folk Band at Eagle Creek Marina

 

Graciously Departed is a Grateful Dead tribute band out of Lafayette.  I had the pleasure of catching them three times this year in various venues.  They do their tribute great justice.  At this point in the year I was still struggling with how to handle the low-light conditions in after-dark concert venues.  Full coverage on Facebook.

2016-in-concerts-3

2016-in-concerts-4

 

Mosey Down Main Street is a monthly festival in Lafayette that occurs during the summer months.  They boast a huge variety of local and regional bands who, as demonstrated in the photo below of a band that I didn’t recall the name of, have great passion for their art. Full albums over on my more or less abandoned Lafayette Photography Facebook Page.

2016-in-concerts-5

 

Jessie James Decker made her way to Lafayette this summer.  Her show was great visually though I still can’t claim to be a fan of country.  Full Album.

Jessie James Decker in Concert

Jessie James Decker in Concert

 

What remains of Kansas followed Ms. Decker; despite the fact that what remains of Kansas is basically just the name Kansas, Laura and I both walked away from that of the opinion that it was the best $10 concert we’d ever been to.  Full Album, but even at 146 frames it doesn’t do the band justice.

2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

 

An Innocent Band is a Billy Joel tribute band out of Fishers.  At 350 frames this was obviously a concert I REALLY got into.  They played at the Nickel Plate Amphitheater in Fishers and if you’re a photographer this is a location you want to check out.  Great lighting, great bands, easy access and a pretty decent piece of pizza.  Exceptional locale.  I will also note that this is the first gig I ever shot that actually turned into a paying gig.  After seeing the photos on Facebook the band absolutely INSISTED on paying me for the photos despite my repeated statement that I wasn’t in it for the money.  Maybe they’re a little bit crazy.

An Innocent Band - Billy Joel Tribute Band

An Innocent Band - Billy Joel Tribute Band

An Innocent Band - Billy Joel Tribute Band

New Augusta Bluegrass Band is, as you might guess, a local bluegrass band.  I always tell people, quite repeatedly and quite emphatically that I’ll be happy to take pictures for them but New Augusta is the first group to actually invite me out to shoot them.  Full Album.

2016-in-concerts-13

 

Ah yes, now we move on to Creed Bratton.  Creed is that dude, you know, the one from The Office… named Creed Bratton?  We saw him in concert twice; the first time in Irvington (more on that place later) and the second time again in Lafayette.  I emailed his publicist about a ‘photo comp’ ticket and managed to get two for the Lafayette show (first time THAT’s ever happened; may never again) so I took myself forthwith with camera in hand.  The Lafayette theater is a converted movie theater so if you’ve got the moxy you can creep your way up the sides and down into “the pit” in front of the stage.  I could have reached up to untie the guys shoes if I’d wanted too.  Full Album here but this was a cool night.  And if you’ve ever wondered if the show changes much from one stop to the next?  Nope.  At least not in this case.  Just about verbatim.  But good nonetheless.

2016 Creed Bratton in Concert

 

OK, so moving along chronologically, we come, of course, to Irvington.  I won’t belabor this too much as I did JUST write another post about this place but suffice to say I like it.  I’ve wandered into… let’s see… onetwothreefourfive… (all links to the full albums) musical events of some sort there in the span of a couple weeks.  I expect at some point the locals just MIGHT start getting a bit creeped out.

2016 Irving Theater Open Mic

2016 Irving Theater Open Mic

Irvington Music 8/31/2016

 

This gentleman is worth some mention.  He was the opening act for The Icarus Account and seems to be the front man for a local band.  This night he was playing on his own for a very select crowd.  They knew his songs and could ask for them by name and they bantered back and forth for about 30 minutes or so.  The point of all this though is just how relaxed it was.  He was doing his thing, the crowd was asking for songs and it was just as casual as it could be.  In my little version of the world getting on stage is a tough thing to do but he felt supported enough by those around him that it just wasn’t a thing.  Sure there were mistakes and forgotten lyrics but the place just resonated with love and the spirit of togetherness and support.

Irvington Music 8/31/2016

 

So here’s The Icarus Account.  They played at Irving Theatre a couple weeks ago to an intimate crowd of maybe 30 people.  This is the venue in which I learned to really embrace the dark.  Photography is about light, right?  Can’t take a picture without light!  But during this hour or so of taking pictures it clicked with me that the dark is your friend too.  Lighting in here is pretty minimal, a couple of small spots and that’s it.  You have to crank your ISO up painfully high to get good exposure even on the lightest bits.  But as it turns out, that totally works.  The darkness allows you to drop the background completely to black and these two really POP.  Instead of fighting the darkness I allowed it to take over and the results are, I think, brilliant.  Full album (conflated with the Open Mic night immediately previous)

Irvington Music 8/31/2016

Irvington Music 8/31/2016

Irvington Music 8/31/2016

 

You go to a few open mic nights in a row and you start to see the same people over and over.  This gentleman in particular, however, I could listen to for hours.  His song selection is over the moon.  Laura and I both looked at each other a couple times and said, “I haven’t heard that song in years!”  Well chosen and well rendered.

9-7-2016 Acoustic Open Mic in Irvington

 

I didn’t make a personal connection with this gentleman at a recent open mic but he exemplifies well, I think, the individual spirit of Irvington.  He’s wacky, energetic and isn’t afraid to darn well show everyone else that side of himself in public with guitar in hand.

9-7-2016 Acoustic Open Mic in Irvington

 

This stylish-looking dude has organized the Irvington Acoustic Blues Festival this Sunday, September 18th, 2016 12-6 at Irving Theatre.  Be there or be square.

Coal Yard Coffee Music

 

Another example of the peaceful spirit of the place…

Coal Yard Coffee Music

 

What’s also encouraging is the youngsters who show up to events.  Though nervous and a little bit shy, they march up and do their thing.

Irvington Music 9/12/2016

 

And everyone just seems so giddy.  This artist writes all his own material (I believe) and if Dr. Demento was still alive his music would fit right in.

Irvington Music 9/12/2016

 

Turning a bit serious for a moment, some people come to the mic almost as an act of therapy.  But when the vibe starts to turn down the crowd responds to lift them back up and while they can’t solve the problem, they can show that they understand and support.  And, they don’t mind a little carnal yelling.  Everybody’s got to shout at a crowd from their deepest guts once in a while.

Irvington Music 9/12/2016

 

It was about this time in the evening that the local denizens carted out a light to blind the performers and help with the photography.  I didn’t ask for this; it’s just that I’d been there enough times that they decided it was a good idea.  I’ve never been to a venue in which people were more friendly or accommodating.  Such an amazing sense of community in this place.

Irvington Music 9/12/2016

 

 

And as this post (and the the daylight) draw to an end, we find ourselves back in the dark.

Irvington Music 9/12/2016

 

Taken to its extreme, embracing the darkness, we’re left with just a crescent moon of this artist.  I adore this shot despite the fact that really there’s so little to it.  Adding a bit to the story I’ll say that when this guy first spoke it thrilled me to the core.  He’s got a marvelously deep voice almost like he’s got gravel in his guts.  Reminded me strongly of John Lee Hooker and that smile is infectious.

Irvington Music 9/12/2016

 

So there you have it, the year 2016 in music so far.  I will admit that it’s been a really varied ride.  I started out in the pounding sun and ended up in the dark of night.  I’ve learned quite a bit and have a new attitude and approach to light and how it interacts with subjects and how sometimes it’s just not quite as necessary as you might think.

Frankly, I don’t really know where to go next.  Irvington has been very accommodating but I’m not sure how much more there is to glean here.  Continue the deep dive or find other fields to play in?  In many ways ending this thread here would be somewhat appropriate, especially given the last shot.  Likely I’ll just flip a coin when the next Open Mic night comes.  Which, unsurprisingly, just about every day of the week.  Go check these great venues:

 

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Putting Yourself Out there and Saturday Nights…

Firstly, a bit of the usual preamble. Lately I’ve determined to take this whole photography “thing” more seriously. For years I’ve wanted to get more involved and actively cultivate something to photograph but haven’t quite had the chutzpah. Now, for whatever reason, the chutzpah has been acquired and I’m prepared to make an effort. Now as the new Wednesday prepares to dawn I’ve spent the evening reaching out to musicians, sports teams, local celebrities and anyone else I can think of that has a physical presence in the world to see if they’d take on an enthusiastic and unpaid photographer. My calendar isn’t quite full yet but it’s got the seeds of something better than watching reruns of The Office on it. And let’s face it, that’s a pretty high standard.

So on to Saturday!

Saturday saw us in Downtown Lafayette for an even known as Dancing & Cruising in the Streets.  While the post-mortem on this from people around town was pretty negative (almost everyone I saw was complaining) Laura and I were giddy beyond all reasonable belief.  For $10 we saw two pretty good bands and countless classic vehicles.  Rarely have I dished out my lucre with such efficiency.  Anyway, enough preamble, let’s photo!

First person up was Jessie James Decker.  I’ll admit that I’d not heard of her before Saturday but she had a certain down-home something.

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Jessie James Decker Concert in Lafayette Indiana &emdash; Jessie James Decker in Concert

Think there might be something going on with this guitarist…

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Jessie James Decker Concert in Lafayette Indiana &emdash; Jessie James Decker in Concert

Well, and maybe the other guitarist too….

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Jessie James Decker Concert in Lafayette Indiana &emdash; Jessie James Decker in Concert

Or she’s just nice to everyone….

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Jessie James Decker Concert in Lafayette Indiana &emdash; Jessie James Decker in Concert

Any rate, check out the whole album here.

The main attraction was several dozen classic cars.

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Dancing and Cruising in the streets &emdash; 2016 Dancin and Cruisin in the Streets, Lafayette Indiana

The crowd seemed to find ways to enjoy itself.

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Dancing and Cruising in the streets &emdash; 2016 Dancin and Cruisin in the Streets, Lafayette Indiana

Check out that bit of the action in this album.

Lastly we had the band Kansas.  Well, what was left of the original band by that name, which is nothing at all.  Still, they played wonderfully and when their album comes out in September I’d definitely consider it.

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana &emdash; 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana &emdash; 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana &emdash; 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana &emdash; 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana &emdash; 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

Rob Slaven Photography: 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana &emdash; 2016 Kansas in Concert in Lafayette, Indiana

All in all, it rocked.  Get the full tour here.

Easily the best $10 concert I’ve ever been to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lafayette Indiana’s Mosey down Main Street – 2016 (so far)

As is often my habit this time of year, I’m about to say that I should do this much more often! I’m fairly in the habit of snapping photos and spending hours processing them but then don’t bother to tell the story. That’s a shame, really, because I far too easily forget the story. Any rate, let’s go!


“The Mosey” is a monthly street festival held in Lafayette Indiana during the summer months. You can visit it on Facebook in a couple of different places: The Page The Group.  I’m not honestly sure why there is both a page and a group but whatever the case, data abounds.

The festival has all the usual features of a street festival: vendors (which I pay no attention to), musicians and lots and lots of highly varied people (to whom I pay a lot of attention).  You can see (and buy) photos of all this shenaniganery on my zenfolio page for the Mosey but the tip of the iceberg of the highlights I’ll enumerate below.


Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; May Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

This gentleman is a true fixture of the community. He’s at every possible outdoor event playing and singing for the crowd. Sadly I don’t know his name or his story but he is a true icon of the area.


Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Speaking of fixtures, State Representative Sheila Klinker fits that designation as well. I love the expression of sincere concern on her face as she talks to a constituent.


Moving on from the celebrities who make regular appearances, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the music acts. Seeing them in these extremely close quarters you can feel their sincerity and nearly touch their souls.

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; May Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

And some of them just exude cool….

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

And the collision of cultures is always apparent


For those more in tune with the Terpsichorean Muse, every Mosey also seems to have belly dancing exhibition from Oasis Bellydance.

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; July Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; July Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; July Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana


Last and certainly not least, the people-watching is second to none. Kids love the idea of dancing in the middle of the street for one night only…

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Interacting with the Bellydancers…

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

or just listening to some music…

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; June Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

I love the expression of parental pride on this dad’s face. That’s true love if ever i saw it.

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; July Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana

And sometimes the perfect portrait is just waiting for you to capture it. The negative space and color contrast in this one make it my favorite of the season so far.

Rob Slaven: 2016 Mosey Down Main Street Highlights 2016 &emdash; July Mosey Down Main Street in Lafayette Indiana


So there you have it, the Mosey so far. There are two more in August and September if you have a mind to come see for yourself. As always you can find more of my random babblings on my Facebook page or robslaven.com

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Spring Planting Time-Lapse

Bit rough technically in the beginning but two weeks is a long time to keep something still….

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Eagle Creek Park in Winter

Today Laura and I traipsed out into the cold and sunshine to see what could be seen at the local park.  Armed only with a 100mm prime macro my results were fairly abstract…

Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN I can’t resist a good tree stump… Any plant is a wondrous thing drawing nourishment from the dirt and the sky to become a towering giant. Even after they’re cut down, their mark on the world remains for years until nature slowly reclaims them. Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN

The last winter hangers-on from the cattails pondside.
Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN At some point I’d like to sit down and learn enough about the various fungi of the forest to identify them on sight. I adore these quiet reclaimers of the forest. Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN
Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN

Not to mention lichen, nature’s truest collaborator.
Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN I like the contrast of metal and ice but it always surprises me to find such things in the middle of an urban forest. Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN
Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN

One can’t help but stop and look at the crispy sheets of ice.
Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN
Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN We close with a solitary hanger-on… perhaps he’ll last until the spring. Misc macro fun from Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, IN

It was good to be out. We bought the annual pass so we’ll be back.

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Well poo… it’s been six months

You know, every few months I pop on here and suddenly realize that it’s been far too long since I’ve made any update. You know it’s been too long when you have to scroll back 12 pages in Flickr to find the last picture you made commentary on. Oh well. No time like the present to catch up.

Alright… well, since June we’ve gone on vacation. We got in the car with three kids and said, “OK, oh children of ours, which direction?” After some discussion they said: “West!” so west we headed. A few more directional questions later we found ourselves in…

Madison Wisconsin for fireworks over water…
Madison Wisconsin 232

and a nice view of the capitol building…
Madison Wisconsin 124 Madison Wisconsin 146

Even the teenagers were happy and unafraid to show it for just this brief moment.
Madison Wisconsin 169

After another “Which way, kids?” we found ourselves in Milwaukee. This ultra-realistic statue of a security guard still haunts my dreams. Milwaukee WI 099

But the art museum is nice…
Milwaukee WI 037 And we even got to see the “wings” flap. Milwaukee WI 028

From there it was on to Green Bay where the youngest got eaten by a dinosaur…
Green Bay WI 001 … and there was this Lambeau field place on a cloudy day… Green Bay WI 022

Asking the kids again which way to go they voted to head over the top and loop the loop over Lake Michigan so we made our way up the long way to the Mackinac bridge and home through Michigan
Mackinac Bridge 011 Later, back in Indiana, the rain was record-breaking which made for great fungus Lake Mississinewa 041

but didn’t do a thing for the accommodations at the parks. You can just make out the top of the roof of the shelter house in the water.
Lake Mississinewa 005

But the bugs didn’t mind in Skiles Test Park.
Indianapolis Skiles Test Park 015 With August, as always in Indy, came GenCon 2015 GenCon_2015 Aug 01_0189134

And as the weather changed all manner of these little things were found laying about.
A poor dead house fly has come to dinner Immediately on the heels of GenCon, the state fair is always a wonderful place to see people… 2015 Indiana State Fair012
2015 Indiana State Fair038 With October, comes football and these guys rolled into town 2015 Colts vs Patriots027

Much to the disappointment of these guys
2015 Colts vs Patriots082 With the close of the year upon us, my muse was only awakened because of a realization that I was missing an opportunity. I get lots of products for review yet I wasn’t using them as photographic subjects. So over the past couple of days I’ve taken to exercising my macro lens. LED Bulb 024
faux necklace set 046 faux necklace set 049
Glass Crystal Glass Crystal
Glass Crystal

So it’s been a heck of year, in retrospect. Aside from those things pictured, there are a few events I should note. In October I moved out of my apartment and bought a house. In November we saw Elle King in concert and while she was profoundly foul mouthed she was deliciously entertaining. Best concert I’ve been to in years. And lastly, earlier in December my house was broken into and all my best camera equipment was stolen along with the majority of other electronics. So that’s been fun.

At any rate, it’s been a delightfully varied year. I promise I’ll write more often. But then, you’ve heard all THAT before I’m sure.

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