Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

View From the 61st Floor of The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Woke Up in Vegas

On the weekend of November 20-21, 2010, I was invited to photograph the new Cosmopolitan Las Vegas prior to their opening December 15, 2010 in Las Vegas NV.

This set of images represents my efforts that weekend to showcase this newest resort property opening up on the Las Vegas Strip. Thanks to David Scherer from The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas for showing me around, to Miiko Mentz at Katalyst Films for helping to arrange the shoot, and to my wife for modeling for me.

To learn more about The Cosmpolitan Las Vegas, check out their website here or their Facebook page here.

I’ll be adding many more photos to this set in the next few days and following up with a more detailed blog post on shooting this property as well.

Adobe Releases Lightroom 3.3 and Camera Raw 6.3 Along With New Lens Profile Downloader

From Adobe:

Adobe today announced the Lightroom 3.3 and Camera Raw 6.3 updates are available for immediate download on Originally posted as release candidates on Adobe Labs, the final updates bring raw file support to 15 new popular camera models including Nikon D7000 and Canon Powershot S95, as well as lens profiles for over 60 new Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Sigma lenses. Available on Adobe Labs, the Lens Profile Downloader 1.0 – a free companion application to Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5 and Camera Raw 6 – allows customers to search, download, rate and comment on over 300 lens correction profiles provided by the community. Photographers can create custom profiles for their own lenses and share them with the user community.

A full list of the newly added raw camera support and the new and improved lens profiles can be found on the Lightroom Journal.

Lightroom is the essential digital photography workflow solution, helping serious amateur and professional photographers quickly import, manage, enhance and showcase all their images within one application. The Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in provides fast and easy access to raw image formats produced by many leading digital cameras.

Pricing and Availability
The Lightroom 3.3 update is available as a free download for Lightroom 3 customers, and the Photoshop Camera Raw 6.3 plug-in is available as a free download for Photoshop CS5 customers. For more information and to download these updates please visit Adobe updates. To download the Adobe Lens Profile Downloader 1.0 and Lens Profile Creator visit Adobe Labs.

*Users can connect with the Lightroom team directly on Facebook and Twitter.

Newly Supported Camera Models:
Canon PowerShot G12
Canon PowerShot S95
Nikon D3100
Nikon D7000
Nikon Coolpix P7000
Olympus E-5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
Pentax K-5
Pentax K-r
Ricoh GXR, GR LENS A12 28mm F2.5
Samsung NX100
Samsung TL350 (WB2000)
Sony A560
Sony A580

You Know How Sometimes Businesses Like to Go On Flickr Trying to Score Photos for Free?


Dear Thomas Hawk,

My name is xxxxxx xxxxxxx and I am an editor at xxxxxx. We are currently compiling a self-guided walking tour to Bakersfield, CA, USA that will be published on out site xxxxxxxx as well as in an iPhone application.

We hereby seek your permission to use one of your photos of Aldo’s on as part of the tour guide in question. The photo we need is:

Naturally, we intend to credit you fully for the authorship of this photograph.

I thank you in advance for your permission and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,
xxxxxx xxxxxx


Hello xxxxxxxx,

Would there be compensation associated with this request?




Dear Thomas Hawk,

If you give us your kind permission to use your photo we’ll provide a link back to your flickr page and credit you fully for the authorship of this photo.

Best regards,
xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx



This deal sounds very intriguing to me. So technically then I could tell people I was “published” then right? Do you also provide press passes for this sort of use? Would I officially become an employee of your organization?



Dear Thomas,

Unfortunately you can’t become an employee of our organization, but you will be able to tell people that you are published. When the tour is complete I will give you the link so you could see it in place. Will you give us your permission on these terms?

Best regards,
xxxxxx xxxxx



Would I be able to eat at Aldo’s for free or get some kind of free meal out of it?



Dear Thomas,

Unfortunately I don’t really know if they have such promotions for their visitors.

Best regards,


Dear xxxxxx

It would be cool to tell my friends that I’m now a published author.

Two additional quick questions.

1. How do I know this offer is for real? I know nothing about your company.

2. Would someone from Aldo’s be willing to actually sign the image in your book to authenticate it’s use? It could also make my own copy of the book more valuable if it was signed.




Would you guys still like to use this image?



Dear Thomas,

Yes, we still need your kind permission to use your photo of Aldo’s. Sorry for a late reply. I would also like to make one thing clear, we don’t publish a book, we make applications for iPhones. Please visit our web-site so you could better understand how we’re going to use your photo. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions and if you give us permission to use your photo of Aldo’s.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,
xxxxx xxxxxx


Dear xxxxxxxx,

ohhhh, I get so confused sometimes, I *totally* thought you were talking about a book.

I used to have an iPhone but I switched to Android after getting such crappy service from AT&T. So I’m not sure this would really apply to me. It’s iPhone only?

I can’t imagine a lot of people in Bakersfield have iPhones if you know what I mean.

Would I need to buy an iPhone prior to submitting a published photo?

Also are you also including Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace in your calendar app?


Dear Thomas,

Please confirm whether you give us your permission to use your photo of Also’s or not. You shouldn’t have an iPhone to give us your permission.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,
xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx


I was just kidding about the iPhone. It’s close to Christmas though and so I just thought maybe if you wanted to get me something (hint, hint).

Would this permission need to be permanent, or could I just give permission for a period of time, like say 6 months or 1 year, or something?


Dear Thomas,

This permission need to be permanent, but we’ll use your photo for our tour guide and iPhone application only. We use photos under Creative Commons license. You’ll remain the copyright owner.

Best regards,



I hate asking this a second time, but my friend (who technically took the photo while I was driving — but don’t worry it was on my camera) wanted me to ask again if we could get paid for this.

He told me that Aldo’s is a very popular restaurant with lines down the block half the time and assured me that they’d be good for $50 at minimum.

He told me sometimes restaurants will do an all you can eat for 2 weeks only sort of thing as well. He told me to warn you though that he can eat like a Sumo Wrestler and was kicked out of the all you can eat sushi place down the street last July.

I don’t mean to ask twice but I promised him I’d try one more time.

He told me also that I need to be careful because sometimes if you give permission your photos will be used in video games. He said this happened to a friend of his once with a very popular skateboarding game. I’m not saying which one but it’s a very popular game (hint, hint, my last name).


Dear Thomas,

Unfortunately we don’t pay for photos. We never steal them or use in video games as well. In general we need photos to help the travelers who have our applications to find the places they need and that’s all.

Best regards,


Dear xxxxxxx,

If you used the photo would there be a possibility of putting one of those sort of “donate now” paypal button things (in red) next to it so that people could donate directly to my paypal account if they wanted to? I’m not saying I’d charge for the app or that they’d be required to donate or anything, I’m just saying maybe a donate now button might send a bit of coinage my way if you know what i mean. cha-ching.

If the app got popular this could be a win-win for both of us.


Dear Thomas,

We can only provide a link back to your flickr page and credit you fully for the authorship of your photo.



Dear xxxxx,

How do I know this isn’t “stock photography?”


Dear Thomas,

Maybe you should visit our web-site to understand that we aren’t a stock photography agency?

Sorry, but I must leave now so I won’t be able to continue our discussion for a period of time.

Best regards,


my existing license does allow for non-profits to use the image. Just a thought but is your organization non-profit? Just trying to think creatively out of the box so to speak here.

Would this be for all languages or just English?







Extra Super Cutie, Too Young, Gone Too Soon

it's only too clear
it’s only too clear, by Extra Super Cutie

In 2008 I was approached by a reporter at the NY Times who was working on an article on the new art of Flickr. She asked me for the names of a few photographers who I thought best represented the emerging artistic talent that was coming out of the site. One of the names that I gave her and who was ultimately included in her article was Extra Super Cutie — a tremendously talented photographer who has over the past several years put out a strong consistent stream of emotionally fueled confessional imagery.

Earlier today I was informed by her best friend that Extra Super Cutie passed away while sleeping last night. This is such sad news. She was a young photographer who used color and focus to create so many different moods. She would take her work in so many different super creative directions, and always with such rich feeling. She had a love for music and cameras and the tangible things in life that you could touch and feel and taste. You could feel it in her photographs. Her photos always were personal and you’d feel her pour her heart and soul into each and every new image she’d create and publish.

Extra Super Cutie had a lot of online admirers. She was active on Flickr and Zooomr and especially most recently on FriendFeed. As much as she’d share her own work, she was also a wonderful curator who loved sharing not only her own life but the creative output of so many others she admired.

it’s so, so sad that she is gone. She was taken much too early. She was so young. She will be missed. I don’t know any other details about her passing but will post them here if/when I learn more.

Goodbye Carlotta Fancypants.

Update: Extra Super Cutie was very active on FriendFeed especially. Here is a thread started yesterday there by Michael May where many in that community are also expressing their condolences.

Top 10 Reasons Why Virgin America Is the Best Airline I’ve Ever Flown

Somewhere Over America

I’m sitting here at 30,577 feet right now flying over Florida headed back to SFO in San Francisco. How do I know my altitude? It says so right on the interactive map that’s on the display in the set in front of me (powered by Google Maps) which tracks my flight all the way home.

I was going to process some photos (and I’m sure I still will) but when I fly Virgin America I’m just so tickled at what a great experience it is, I thought I’d post a quick blog post about the experience.

By way of disclosure Virgin America is flying me for free to Toronto next month as part of a program where they are offering what they call “influencers” a free round trip ticket between SFO and Toronto to try and promote this new route for them. The free flight was with no strings attached other than I disclose the free flight if I blog about Virgin.

But I loved Virgin before they ever offered me the free trip. I flew them earlier this year from Florida to SFO and was equally impressed and blogged about them then.

Anyways. On to the list of the top 10 reasons why Virgin America kicks ass over every airline I’ve ever flown.

1. Every plane seems to be new and is equipped with AC power at every seat and optional wifi that you can purchase — In coach! AC power is *HUGE*. Having AC power means that I can work on my laptop even doing battery intensive tasks like photo processing. It is so nice not to have to worry about trying to conserve power on my Mac.

2. Short check in lines and easy to use self serve kiosks. This is the second time I’ve flown Virgin now and both times there was literally no line. I’m not sure how they do this. My flight is a full flight back to SFO and obviously they fly other routes. But I’ve never had a wait with them. Even better the self service kiosk was easy to use and quickly pumped out 6 compact boarding passes for me and my family.

3. Free satellite TV in the in seat entertainment system. This is great to stay up on top of the news on stations like CNN and CNBC, but it’s also great because it includes things like the Disney Channel. This trip I’m traveling with a family of 6 and being able to put some headphones on the kids and let them watch a few Disney shows means less arguing about who gets to sit by the window.

The satellite TV system also has a mixture of very hip TV. Boing Boing TV, Current TV. Interesting programming.

4. A great selection of music. They have tons of my favorite bands to listen to. I was listening to Band of Horses earlier and now I’ve got my favorite new artist of 2010 on right now B.o.B. aka Bobby Ray. Ironically the song that’s playing right now is Airplanes. Appropriate.

5. I LOVE ordering my beer from the screen. I order it. Pay with my credit card. And it just miraculously shows up in my seat. I think I’m going to have a few more after this one.

6. Everything about this airline seems brand spanking new. The planes are super clean. They don’t have shag carpet fabric from the 70s peeling off the side of the interior like recent flights I’ve taken on Delta, Southwest and United. The lighting is cool purple. It feels more like you’re visiting a spa than taking a flight. The seats are all leather even in coach. I’m not sure if I technically have more room in my seat than other airlines, but it sure feels like it.

Virgin America Over America

7. The flight attendants are super helpful. When we flew in to Fort Lauderdale we had a tight connection to Bahamas Air. Without even asking or requesting any information on this connection, one of the flight attendants came to my seat during the flight to let me know what Terminal my flight was out of and told me the best way to get there. He was a super friendly guy. It feels like the flight attendants on Virgin America are so much more positive than other airlines. It seems like they are having a good time even though they are working.

8. The cost of the flights are very reasonable. I paid $400 for roundtrip tickets to Fort Lauderdale from SFO. That was as cheap or cheaper than every other major airline I looked at.

9. In addition to the satellite TV they have a bunch of other great programming. TED talks? On an airline? That’s pretty cool. Believe it or not they even have instructional videos on things like how to use Twitter or Facebook. Haha. I don’t need those but someone else might. They also have a seriously good line up of pay per view movies and even better great TV. Entourage, Californication, United States of Tara, True Blood (Season 2 was great).

10. Seat to seat chatting. Of course you could always chat over Yahoo Messenger or AIM or something like that on your wifi connected device. But it’s fun to chat seat to seat too.

Oh two other cool things about Virgin America. It’s the first place I’ve ever seen a video commercial for Google’s Chrome browser. They showed the commercial right after the funny video on in flight safety (much better than the tired old routine I’ve seen a million times by flight attendants in person in the past). If you haven’t switched to Google Chrome from Firefox yet you’re months behind. 😉

And secondly, these pictures that accompany this blog post? I just took them maybe an hour ago. Took them, offloaded them to my Mac with my card reader, processed them, uploaded them to Flickr and posted them to my blog post. All while up here in the sky. The first one is of the wing out my window and the second one is of my wife operating the in seat entertainment system.

My Google Maps shows that we’re over Louisiana now. Time to finish this post and get back to processing more photos. I shot the Miss Teen USA Pageant contestants last night. More on that later. Coincidently B.o.B. is now playing “I’ll Be in the Sky.”

Water Falls

Water Falls

5733, by Eddie

fiftyseven-thirtythree store Grand opening from Fiftyseven-thirtythree on Vimeo.

4125 Piedmont Ave, 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA

We make all our gear in East Oakland using water based, solvent free inks. No art directors, consultants, or teleconferencing were used in the production process. We hope it makes you look good, feel good, get laid…whatever makes you happy. Cheers. – 5733 Facebook page.

On Saturday May 1, I had the opportunity to attend the Grand Opening party of 5733 on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA (that’s me in the moving pictures video above shooting SF sex blogger Violet Blue and Pal Ben Metcalfe).

5733, with the tagline “made in Oakland,” is the latest venture by local graffiti artist Eddie and features a number of his new stencil pieces on display as well as a store where some of his art and t-shirts can be purchased. The evening featured music by TBBS and Lankston and was a great event to support one on of the top local artists currently doing work in the Bay Area.

If You Want to Achieve Greatness Stop Asking for PermissionHow Did I Lose You

I first started noticing Eddie’s work on the street back during the campaign for the presidential election in 2008. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but the interesting Obamas in starter caps were actually his. Since then Eddie continues to put up fresh new innovative pieces around town combining political themes with his own artistic sensibility. Eddie told me that he’s also got a few up and coming new commissions going up around town as well, which is great.

If you missed the opening, it’s not too late to stop by 5733 and check out some of Eddie’s great new works (tip: definitely visit the dressing room, some of my favorites are in there) as well as pick up some up some great new threads supporting one of the Bay Area’s great local artists. 5733 is open Tuesday – Saturday noon-6pm.

Eddie Makes the World a More Beautiful Place to Live InThey Say I Lost My Way5733 Opening, 2010In Over My Head, Plate 2The Officer in Command

5733 Blog here.
5733 on Facebook here.
Eddie on Flickr
My Eddie set on Flickr here.

Four More San Francisco Banksy

No Trespassing Chief

Got up early this morning and went and got the four other Banksy’s that are out and about with Troy Holden.

So far there are six Banksy works that I know of. You can see them all in my Banksy set here.

The Computer is Your Friend

The Computer is Your Friend

I’ve decided to start a new project. This project is going to be called “The Computer is Your Friend.” The project will work like this. Everytime I get some sort of error message or find that I can’t do something on my computer that I want to, I’ll screenshot it and add it to a new set that I’ll host on Picasa.

Once I get 2,000 of these or 5,000 (I’m not sure yet), I’ll try to set up some sort of public installation that cycles the error messages and other screenshot warnings, etc. through an installation loop on Plasma displays. The image above is an example. It’s one of the more interesting error messages I’ve come across from the site Hype Machine (my favorite music site on the web). I’m not sure how long this project is going to take me. I’ll probably have a better idea in the weeks ahead. Of course how much time I spend on my PC vs. my Mac may have something to do with the time it takes to complete the project as well. 😉

I’ve got the first 11 screenshots up now. Many more error messages to come in the weeks ahead.

This project is inspired by watching all of the excellent screenshots that Chris Messina regularly posts to his Flickrstream.