Solar Powered Art

IMG_0582.JPG IMG_0587.JPG While in New York a few weekends ago I visited the Solar Powered Arts Festival at the encouragement of a local techy and all around good guy Jacob. He and the ever smiling Diana met me at Stuyvesant Cove Park on Sunday afternoon, both of them having used pedal power to get up there from Brooklyn; I took the metro. There was a lot of really cool artisans and builders out. From the friendly woman who paints bicycle portraits to the kooky guy setting alight aluminum and lye (the combination creates hydrogen gas) and giving away plans for sterling engines. A stage was powered entirely by solar panels where local musicians were jamming. Also, the Children’s Zoo had a couple of snakes and monarch butterflies out for people to touch and their keepers, of course, who you couldn’t. I had a good time photographing the two “structures” the organizers had built: the first built out of cardboard tubing, the other a pile of tires. The tubing was a mish mash of concrete-piling-forms connected together with “a couple thousand bolts”; this from the guy further reinforcing it further with nails pounded in by the side of his wrench “to fill time”. It was throwing some crazy shadows. The tires were just a bunch of tires piled up with plants in them; it was a nice juxtaposition of green and black.

Youth Channel Blockparty

IMG_0496.JPG After my long walk on Saturday I ended up in Harlem for a Youth Channel blockparty hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), one of the largest (if not the largest) public access stations in the country. Youth Channel provides disadvantaged, low-income and minority youth with access to a quality media forum through which to express creativity, foster dialogue, and to encourage social and political participation. At the blockparty there were lots of food, music, fun and of course, cameras. IMG_0506.JPG IMG_0504.JPG IMG_0502.JPG IMG_0503.JPG

Node101 Weekend in New York City

Node101 Weekend @ MNN video link | fullsize image I go down to New York City to see my friend’s new apartment, and somehow get roped into teaching people how to videoblog. What a crazy weekend. Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) hosted a videoblogging meet-and-greet in their studio on Saturday night as part of Node101 Weekend. There were lots of food, people and of course cameras. Many attendees were cable access producers who had never vlogged before. I showed them how easy it was to shoot, edit, compress and upload. Click on the tableau above, or here to see what people were posting.

Central Park Pictures

I spent the weekend in New York City. Saturday, having a free afternoon, I walked from 59th Street all the way up to 148th Street in Harlem. It took about four hours, but was a beautiful day and an awesome walk.

Web 2.0 will save us

Web 2.0 will save us Community technology is great. It is incredibly refreshing to be reminded on a daily basis that, as a developer and technologist, I don’t know crap about how everyday people view and use technology. Two weeks ago I was in Washington, DC for the CTCnet Conference. While there I helped John Lorance of CompuMentor give a presentation on how Community Technology Centers and nonprofit orgaizations can use “Web 2.0” services and tools like Flickr,, wikis, mapping, et cetera, to improve their programs and better fulfill their missions. At the end we opened the floor to questions and comments. An attendee stood up and said that he had always been worried that with computers and machines growing ever smarter and more powerful, one day they would overthrow mankind. But, after seeing these new Web 2.0 tools, he is relieved that humans will always stay one step ahead of the machines. Hallelujah. I made this drawing using Inkscape, an awesome open source illustration program.

Night scenes

Harvard Square at Night My primary digital camera broke about two weeks ago. I pull my old one out of storage; it’s clunky as all heck, but the old camera has a lot more manual settings than my sleek, sexy and recently broken one did. To make lemonade out of a bitter situation, I’ve been taking a lot of more night scenes and abnormal exposures because, well, I can. Sullivan Square

Night and Day

Night Day I spent the weekend in the Connecticut suburbs with some friends, camping out in their parent’s backyard and playing Marco Polo at midnight. The tent we had was huge; we were only five but it easily could have fit 10. The ground was surprisingly flat and the grass soft; it wasn’t a spectacular night’s sleep, but I’ve definitely had worse. Backyard camping

Meta photography in Boston

Future fellow VISTA Leader Danielle and I were all about Boston yesterday: Josh Ritter rocked in Copley Square and Wikimania kicked off in Cambridge. Photography loves company and both of us happened to take pictures of each other in the act of aiming; neither of us feel they’re very flattering.

Taking a picture of the Hancock Building A picture of the Hancock Building

A picture of the Hancock Building Public Garden after Dark

Piecing together Cambrige

Last night was all barbeque and mapping in Somerville; Adam Holt was host. I met Adam through my Google Map hacking and work with community mapping; I just started joining his monthly meeting of maperati for more remote sensing talk than you can shake a RC30 at.

The evening’s purpose, besides eating, drinking and socializing, was to assemble a collage of local satellite photography for the upcoming Wikimania conference at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center; attendees will mark-up the map with observations and stories.

Cambridge Mapping

Matching all of the photos was a bit of a chore. Earlier in the day Adam had a friend print off about 50 sheets using Microsoft’s Live Local. These black and white prints were cut down to about 10”x10” and somewhere in the process got horribly mixed up. All the photos were obliques (thanks Lisa!), and there were a couple different scales and angles that we had to match up as best as possible. I was pretty surprised with my pattern recognition skills; all that time spent pulling aerial photos in my college library really paid off.

We got the pieces together by the end of the night and the resulting scene pretty impressive. I always like the birds-eye view.

Vote Ben

Vote Ben

My friend Danielle took this ridiculous photo of me aboard the Thomas Leighton (known locally as the “Tippy Tommy”) operating out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We were at the wedding of a friend taking place on the Piscataqua River, the third fastest-flowing navigable river in the world.

I feel I look very political-worthy in this picture; all I need is to airbrush the tie into an American flag.