Shooting Typography

This originally appeared as a guest post on Zach and Simon’s Westside Studio blog.

I’ve always loved taking pictures. I actually even won an award for my sports photography in high school for the Blue Valley Northwest yearbook (back before these fancy DSLRs, I shot on film and developed it myself). I’ve done my best to continue to shoot photographs throughout my adult life, but oftentimes the busy day can hinder the ability to get out there and shoot. I got out of the habit of having a camera with me, so even when I’d see stuff that I wanted to photograph, I wouldn’t have anything with me at all.

About a year ago I read about this photographer named Chase Jarvis who was somehow managing to get some crazy shots out of his simple 3-megapixel iPhone camera. I’m not sure if it was him who coined the phrase (Jarvis has since trademarked it and subsequently released a book, iPhone app and website), but he said:

The best camera is the one you have with you.

When I started working for AMC, I began spending the lunch hour walking around downtown Kansas City with my friend Justin and I began to notice some of the really interesting shots that I might be able to get if only I had my camera with me.

So I started bringing it with me everyday. I just got a new DSLR last year, the Canon Rebel T1i, and I have a nice compact sling bag that make it pretty easy for me to carry the camera, a flash and a couple lenses. I found that I was being drawn to the interesting typography and signage of Kansas City. One of the first shots I remember taking was this sign outside the parking garage at 1025 Main Street. First off, I’m a sucker for Clarendon and most slab serif typefaces. I always thought this was such and interesting choice for a parking garage.

1025 Main

Then behind my office, I found this fabulous Union Carbide Building.

Union Carbide Building

I began to realize that I was being really inspired by James Patrick Gibson‘s New Type York. I began to wonder if I’d be able to start a Kansas City-focused type photoblog. After a day or two and some encouragement on Twitter, I found there was enough audience and interest. Plus, there was definitely enough typography to shoot.

So armed with Tumblr and Twitter, I started I haven’t had a lot of time to spend on designing the template or worrying too much about the details, I’ve just been out there shooting in the places where I find myself on a day-to-day basis. I’ve had a couple guest posts from my brother and my friends Ramsey, Phil and Steve, but there is so much interesting typography and signage in this city to shoot that I rarely have trouble posting on a daily basis.

Usually, I’m shooting with one of two lenses: either my Canon fixed 50mm f/1.4 lens (which is freaking amazing) or a 75-300mm zoom lens that I’ve had for about 15 years. One reason I continue to stick with Canon is because I’ve got so much invested in lenses now that it would be silly for me to switch.

If there’s one piece of advice I could give to people wanting to get into photography (even though I’m grossly underqualified to give photography advice), it’s that you should always have a camera with you. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity for a great shot and there is amazing stuff all around us, even in something as simple as typography and signage.

See more of my pictures on Flickr. Also, be sure to check out my KC Type blog.

Giving Tumblr a Try

I’ve been an avid WordPress user for many moons. I really believe that there is not a better blogging software on the market, particularly for writers. It’s customizable, easy-to-install, and easy to understand.

I’ve even seen it used for full corporate sites and photoblogs elegantly.

But it almost does too much, is too powerful, requires too much attention.

I’ve had my eye on Tumblr for a really long time, but I could never pull the trigger on it. Frankly, I’ve got over 5 years and 900+ posts that I want to keep. But the concept of the community that Tumblr presents, combined with the fact that a lot of really funny and interesting people are on there has got me interested enough to give it a try.

I’m currently trying to figure out how to feed my Tumblr into my Feedburner account so those of you reading through Google Reader (or whatever other RSS reader flavor you might be using) don’t really notice, but as of yet, I haven’t figured that out (any help on this would be superb).

For now though, if you’re my friend on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see my Tumblr posts come through. Or, you can just go follow me on Tumblr:

I’m not abandoning WordPress just yet. But it’s on notice.

Next, on Shane Life

I’ve got a bunch of half-written drafts sitting in my dashboard, just waiting to be published. I think I am being too picky about what gets published and what doesn’t. I’m not ready to get one of those Tumblr/Posterous thingies yet, but I like the idea of quick, portable content.

But it’s not something that is impossible with WordPress…just something I’m not doing for whatever reason.

I also have a tendency to be long-winded. Maybe I need to try and focus on keeping my posts shorter.

What do you want to see?

5 Years of Shane Life

I’m still Brian Fellow!

Five years ago, I started this blog with a simple Blogspot account and an innocuous post titled “I’m Brian Fellow!” At the time, I was working at Perceptive Software and my buddy Kevin and I used to laugh constantly at this skit. It always makes me laugh.

In that post, I stated the following, in an attempt to introduce myself to the blogodome:

Things I like:

  • hanging with my wife and dog
  • movies
  • music (I really really like my iPod + iTunes)
  • Chipotle burritos
  • the TV show “Alias” – the best show EVER
  • Apple computers
  • most EA Sports video games for PS2
  • poker (only recently really, but I like it a lot)
  • reading (but only sometimes)
  • cheeseburgers
  • Mountain Dew (most forms, though I have yet to try the new black kind)
  • The Chiefs

Things I dislike:

  • ignorance
  • people who drive with their lights on during the day
  • temperatures over 85 degrees
  • people who don’t vote because “one vote doesn’t make a difference”
  • pants other than jeans
  • old navy t-shirts (they are too short for my long torso)
  • the general refusal of PC users to accept the Firewire interface, favoring USB (for some god-forsaken reason) over it

I’m a generally happy guy. But I’m opinionated and when I think a certain way…I’ll tell you. Just FYI.

Most of this is still true.

Sure, “Alias” isn’t on the air anymore. And it definitely went downhill in its later years. I rarely play my PS2 anymore (although I might play a Wii if I had one with Beatles Rock Band. I still dislike ignorance and temperatures above 85 degrees (which makes the glorious weather in KC all the more…um…glorious). And while I would prefer to wear jeans everyday, I don’t, since I can’t really. At least not currently. Old Navy did something to their T-shirts and they fit better now. And I’m totally over the Firewire/USB thing.

But not really.

So it’s been five years since I started blogging. Not much has changed about me. I’ve always treated this blog as an extension of my real life and I hope that it is reflected in my writing and when people meet me.

I can’t believe it. 863 posts in 38 categories with 1,164 tags and 2,182 comments. Thanks for reading. I will keep writing and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.