Dave Higgins Photography

Looking at life through nano-coated lenses

Across the United States today there were hundreds of rallies opposing the Trump administration’s dreadful and unpopular immigration policies. The name of many of these rallies – “Families Belong Together” – drew particular attention to the egregious Trump policy of separating children from their parents. These photos are from the Albany, NY rally, in which hundreds braved the oppressive heat and humidity to voice their opposition to Donald Trump and his terrible policies. Beyond the creative signs and inspiring speeches, one message stood out: people need to register to vote, and then to vote in November.

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

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I was walking across the Joshua High School parking lot a year ago when I noticed paintings on some of the parking spaces.  They were something I’d never seen before; parking spaces as canvases for folk art.  Cool!  Judging by an Internet search they’re something of a novelty; the only locations I found information for were West Orange High School in Florida and James Bowie High School in Texas.  Looking at the Joshua artwork, I knew I’d want to photograph them sometime.

Joshua High School parking lot, from Google Maps satellite view. (At least a year old, as some of the art has changed.)

I finally got my chance a week ago, when I went over to the school early Saturday morning.  At first the novelty of the subject presented a challenge: how to photograph them?  What actually was the subject and what did I want to convey about it?  I started off taking photos that mainly featured the art work, but which offered a sliver of the surrounding environment to provide perspective and context.  However, as I became familiar with them I started to notice relationships between some spaces, involving subject matter, technique or simply colors.  And so I started to explore some of those relationships.

This wound up being a really fun project that I’ll have to revisit in the future.  I hope you have as much fun viewing these images as I had working with them.  And thanks to the creative students of Joshua High for creating such wonderful artwork!

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

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Albany’s West Capital Park hosted the second annual March For Science today. While the weather and wildly various forecasts may have put a dent in attendance numbers this year, at least we didn’t have any sleet or freezing rain. For those who did attend, there were many booths with fun science displays, creative and entertaining signs, and stirring speeches by some local scientists and officials. Here are some photos from the day.

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

 

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

 

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Stella at f/0.95

I bought my first “real” camera in the summer of 1973. It was a Minolta SRT-101 with a 50mm f/1.7 lens. When I brought it home I loaded it with 35mm black & white film, aimed it at one of the family cats, and snapped the shutter. When I got the prints off that first roll back from the drug store, I was amazed at how sharp and detailed the image was. It was a far cry from the Kodak Instamatic photos I was used to. With that shot, I was hooked on “real” photography.

Ever since I got back into serious photography in 2008, I have maintained a tradition. Whenever I acquire a new camera or lens, I always start off with some shots of my cat Stella. It’s not so much a superstition as a fun tradition. Besides, with her fur and range of colors, Stella makes a great test subject for a camera or lens.

This week I acquired a Mikaton Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 Mark II lens for my Fuji XT-2. Without getting into lots of photo jargon, I’ll just say the lens offers a field of view comparable to that old 50mm Minolta lens, but its considerably larger aperture lets in much more light and makes the depth of field (what’s in focus) much shallower. From the lens’ specifications, and from reviews I’d found online, I thought it might offer the chance to make some fun and unique images.

Naturally, as soon as I received the lens, I put it on my camera and started photographing Stella and random other things. Judging by this photo of Stella, I think this lens is going to be a lot of fun!

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

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The following photographs are from Albany’s “March For Our Lives,” which took place on March 24th. I’ve attended a variety of marches and demonstrations over the years, from the early 1970s to more recent events. This particular event felt different to me in a couple of ways.

For one thing, there was an emotional edge to this demonstration that I haven’t really felt in others. What created that edge was the recognition that school shootings and gun violence really are a life and death matter. While in many ways the crowd was cheerful like other demonstrations I’ve attended, hanging over this event was the awareness that people have died because of this issue, and there’s no guarantee more people won’t die in the future. In a way, it reminded me of a cancer fundraising event I’ve done for many years. In both cases, the sense of real and potential loss contributed a vivid poignancy to the occasion.

The other thing that struck me yet again during this event was the incredible articulateness and spirit of the young people leading and participating in this cause. With the sad state of many currently in our country’s political and pundit classes, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing one blithering idiot after another in the general media. But having seen and listened to the teenage members and leaders of this movement, I am in awe of their ability to present their point of view clearly, reasonably and passionately.   They deserve a lot of credit – as do their parents and their teachers.

Finally, a word about the cause of this demonstration. It seems whenever the subject of gun control comes up, things quickly break down into a division between the individual rights of gun owners versus the collective right of citizens to not live in fear of gun violence. I believe we won’t get beyond this division until we recognize its illusory nature. This is something I’ve written about elsewhere: “Getting Beyond Individualism Vs Collectivism.”

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

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