My Favorite 2014 Storm Chasing/Landscape and Show Photos

I chase and shoot two types of storms--those produced by nature, and those produced in shows by performers on a stage.  I kept about 14,000 of the photos I shot this year, and gave myself the nearly impossible task of whittling them down to my top 10 favorite show and storm chasing/landscape photos.

It was another near-record low year for tornadoes, so I didn't see any, but here's my top 10 favorite storm chasing/landscape photos:  (Click on any photo for a larger version and a caption.) 

Here's my favorite show photos:

Here's a video slideshow featuring all 600+ of my favorites and some commentary by me:

And here's a gallery of all 600+ of my favorites (Click here for a link to the gallery if the embedded slide show below isn't working:

Of course, I have all my favorites on my portfolio site

Sony's Cowardice

I took this photo of Rudy Giuliani projected onto the Metropolitan Opera September 22, 2001, just days after the horrible attacks of 9/11. I had worked at the Met for several years before 2001, and after 9/11, I volunteered with friends to work sound for this special benefit show. The show sold out fast and the Met decided to offer this special audio/video relay to the public in the Lincoln Center plaza (if I recall correctly, this was the first "Plazacast", now a regular feature). It was a remarkable night because several thousand people met together, in public, and collectively defied the terrorists, showing them that we would not cower in fear, even after they successfully attacked us only a couple miles from where we were sitting. For me, that inspirational night was a great example of the role art and performance can play in our culture, and the leadership it can offer in difficult times. (More here).

I would never have gone out to see a stupid comedy featuring two actors I find insufferable, but I was planning to go to see The Interview exactly because threats had been made against it.  Now that's not possible, because Sony, who brought this whole mess on themselves through their inept network security, has caved to some vague and (as far as I can tell) empty threats, and cancelled the release of the movie. Unless there is some credible, meaningful threat of which we have not yet been made aware, then I say to the executives at Sony and all the associated exhibitor chains: You are cowards. 

On The Occasion of Normalized Relations: My Visit to Cuba in January

I think today I may have won a bottle of wine.  While on my trip to Cuba in January, I bet one of the other Americans on the trip a bottle of wine if Obama ended the embargo before the end of his term.  With the great news out of Washington today, I link here back to my writeup of my trip to the island back in January, where I shot this photo of sunrise in Havana.

IAAPA 2014 Orlando Highlights and Geekout

The annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) show is sort of a wonderland for those like me who spend their lives at the intersection of art and technology.  And one of the great things about the IAAPA show is that it is unabashedly commercial and unpretentious, serving a market that exists only for the purposes of entertaining people.  Here, you will find sophisticated, multi million dollar, high tech systems being sold in the same hall as light up cotton candy makers.  This year's IAAPA was a pretty good show, here's some photo and video highlights (at the end) of stuff I found interesting.

Tommy Bridges at the very fun TEA party:


Virtual mini golf at the TEA party:

The always cool Flogos, which make logos out of bubbles and helium:

A light post that also shoots out "snow":

Bouncy houses are getting more and more detailed every year:

I couldn't get a good photo of it, but these guys had a very cool interactive game which made good use of projection mapping:

I really liked this usage of LED's on the edge of a clear circle:

Conduct-able fountain:

This "Hurricane Tunnel" showed nothing but videos of...tornadoes:

Pretty cool translucent tubes for water slides:

Animax and Weigl showed a very cool new control system for animatronics, which allows standard puppet motions to control a character's movements:

LED's were everywhere:

What about the voltage?

Zamperla was selling the Thunderbolt roller coaster first built for Coney Island (my before and after shots here):

Spin art is back!  Now for T-Shirts:

There was lots of high tech control stuff too, and highest of the high tech was my friends at Smart Monkeys and their virtualized systems for control.  

Only at IAAPA:

In the video I have one clip of the new Harry Potter train, and I didn't take many photos there because I was too busy looking at the place.  The combined Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions at Universal--and especially Diagon Alley--take integration of theme, story, and technology to a place I've never seen at any park.  Universal has now raised the bar for everyone else.

Jim Janninck and I also hosted our geekout, this time at a mini-golf course at Universal.  We had a good turn out of a lot of industry people, including a couple I had only known virtually and never met in person. Here's the group that survived the cold (a few people had to leave early for various reasons):

We'll be back in Orlando with another case study geekout at Infocomm in June!

Photos I'm Selling at Coney Island November 29

As I mentioned, I'm selling photo prints at Coney Island USA's Holiday Gift fair on November 29. Here's some of my favorites that I sent out to be printed, let me know if there's any others you'd like to have available!  (Click on any thumbnail for a larger version).