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Can't we all just get along?

Entries in Boston (8)



I was in Boston in June 2012 for the HOW Design Conference. My coworkers and I had the opportunity of touring several local design studios. It was interesting to see the work each developed, their clients and design aesthetic. While touring Stoltze Design I saw this cool paper cutout for what seemed to be a promotional piece for a celebration called “Drinko De Mayo”. Pretty cool and funny.


Enlightenment in Bean Town

I was in Boston in June of 2012 for the HOW Design Conference. One evening I was walking around looking for things to shoot when I saw this closed Apple Store. It looked different and interesting to me, probably because the lighting was subdued and the glass spiral staircase was illuminated so beautifully. I decided to take a few images but I was getting a lot of reflection shooting thru the glass doors. To partially solve this issue, I pressed my lens right up against the glass which prompted the guard standing outside to walk over and inquire what the hell I was doing. I slowly explained the issue while I took 10 bracketed shots. I’ve found that when dealing with security or the police, it’s a good idea to stall. You might buy enough time to get the shots you want. It worked in this case.
While I buy most of my electronics and computer equipment online, I've learned to appreciate the excellent customer service I've experienced at Apple retail stores. The items I buy there tend to be fairly expensive Apple hardware that I can’t get elsewhere for a significant discount. When I buy, I’ve already done my research. I know exactly what I want. I might have a few technical questions I want answered before I purchase, so going to the Apple store makes sense to me. Apple retail store employees seem to be very well trained. They listen carefully to my questions, restate them to me to confirm they understand what I am asking for, and then usually ask a few good questions themselves, apparently to better understand my needs and enhance their ability provide a comprehensive answer. The first time I encountered this I was stunned and very pleased. I discussed it with my family and friends and frankly I wondered if I had just been fortunate and had met a particularly effective employee. But this was not the case. Every time I visited an Apple store and engaged the sales staff, my initial impression was reinforced. Apple has managed to inculcate a culture of retail excellence. With retailers struggling to survive in highly competitive markets, it makes me wonder why this is so rare. Why do most sales people not know their products? Why to retailers try to push unsuitable products on ill-informed customers, alienating them in the process? Why not provide solutions and earn customer loyalty?
It's sad and reflects poorly on other brick and mortar retailers that I find sales people who are helpful and knowledgeable about their products to be exceptional. I’ve never had an Apple employee try to hard sell me on something I didn't come into the store for, nor have they ever tried to jam an extended warranty down my throat. I have to go to Best Buy for that type of treatment which is one reason I avoid shopping there.
I heard recently that both Best Buy and Fry’s have implemented policies to match internet pricing if the customer provides proof that the item is in stock and if the online vendor is an authorized reseller. Given that both stores seem to sell everything at list price, this is a big change but probably won’t be enough to save them from extinction.


Fenway Park Sunset

Fenway Park Sunset, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

I was in Boston for the How Conference and had the opportunity to go a Red Sox game at Fenway park. I really like going to baseball games because I like the vibe, the excitement and the stadiums. I actually like all that much more than the actual game being played which I rarely pay attention to.

In this case, I was just amazed at Fenway Park itself. As my coworkers and I approached the stadium I was thinking if not for the lighting and banners, it would have been tough to identify it as a ballpark. From the outside, Fenway looks just like another brick factory in a neighborhood full of them.

Once we were inside the park, there was quite a bit of confusion regarding where we were sitting. I didn't care. I had decided I was going to spend every minute I could exploring the place and seeing if I could sneak into a few places not necessarily open to the public.

I found I could walk into an area that required another type of ticket, quickly fire off a few HDR sequences before a staff member came by and asked to see my ticket. I usually just apoligized for my confusion and stalled for time if my camera was still exposing frames.

This image was taken from a nice viewpoint over looking center field. The sunset and clouds that day were spectacular. It was a hot and humid day so the departure of the sun was a welcome event.

I took over 600 photos at Fenway that day so I'll be posting more sooner or later.


Gotham City Blues

Gotham City Blues, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

This is the First Church of Christ - Scientist in Boston again. This shot was taken during the blue hour just before darkness fell. Rain was falling intermittently, the security guards were keeping a close eye on me. They were just out of the shot on the left during this sequence. Two different guards asked me what I was doing there. I told them I was enjoying the fine Boston weather and waiting for the bat signal to appear in the forboding clouds above.


Reign On Me

Reign On Me, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

I had just bailed out of a session at the "HOW Design Live" conference because the instructor began spouting his liberal political views. Not just the odd comment either. He started preaching his particular view of how things should be and seemingly forgot the topic of the class. This actually happened to me twice during HOW.

Anyway, upon entering the hallway at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, I immediately noticed that the lighting outside looked baleful. As I approached the floor to ceiling windows in front of me, I could see more and more of a huge storm cloud that was advancing on the building I was in. I could clearly see it was dumping rain in the area of Fenway Park about 3/4 of a mile away. I saw several bolts of lightning flash from somewhere within this towering and churning mass. I began shooting hand held HDR sequences when a brilliant flash momentarily blinded me followed just a second later with the loudest thunderclap I had ever heard. A split-second later It seemed that every car alarm in the area was wailing in unison. The streets were suddenly flooded with water and convention center security began moving everyone away from the windows. Less than 10 minutes later, the worst of this storm had moved on leaving the buildings, trees, and streets completely drenched and full of reflections. It was time for dinner and I was ready to walk around and make a few more images.


Will you call my name?

Will you call my name?, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

This is Boston again. I was told this is the largest Apple store in the U.S. I guess Apple has found it neccessary to post a night guard because the store was already closed. I wonder if he stands out there all night?

A couple of funny things happened while I was trying to make this image. First, the girl you see standing with the night guard kept asking him "Why don't you ever call me?" and he kept saying "I've been pretty busy." Then she said "Let me give you my phone number again, we should go out and do something, give me a call." He took her number and said in a very non-committal manner that he would try. For any women who read this, here's some advice. If a man doesn't call you after you've given him your number several times and made it clear you're interested, he's never going to call. Furthermore, you probably don't want this guy in your life. Move on to someone else.

Second funny thing: I was about half way through a 30 second exposure when this strange guy walks up to my camera which was mounted on my tripod, and put his head directly in front of the lens, looked into it from about 6" away and asked "Whatcha doin', taking pictures?"



Don't you forget about me

I had spotted this cool old fire house from the windows of the Hynes Convention Center during my first day in Boston. Later that evening my work colleague Mike and I walked over so I could make a few HDR sequences of it. It turned out we were just in time for the end of the blue hour. Fifteen minutes later I was taking photographs of the Apple Store down the street and all color had left the sky. The firehouse was massive and once housed a police station. It was opened on February 20, 1888. If this had been built in Los Angeles, the city council would have long since declared it an eye sore, had it torn down and replaced with a parking lot.


Think of the tender things that we were working on

I was in Boston last week for the HOW Design conference. The weather was often humid, stormy and rainy. In other words perfect for HDR photography. Boston is in no way lacking in wonderful architecture, so when I could, I tried to make some images. This is the first church of Christ - Scientist which was built in 1894 and expanded in 1906. I really loved this huge reflecting pond located in the Plaza. I wish it had been more glassy but the wind was blowing and rain was intermittently falling. The clouds were very dramatic and in fact not long after taking this sequence it rained really hard. The church asks that photographs taken from the plaza (as this image was) not be sold or used commercially. So no sales of this image. Sorry.