Wednesday, December 22, 2010
When I was a kid, my father bought our family’s first new car, a white 1966 Dodge Dart. The Dart was the Cadillac for the working class. However, never to indulge, my father purchased a model with only basic standard equipment, manual transmission, with no AC or radio. The only extra was a cigarette lighter, which my mother did her best to wear out. However, the car was plenty roomy for the four of us, and the smooth nap-inducing ride made it possible to tolerate our marathon vacation road trips. During those trips my father would drive with Zen like focus, while my mother sat next to him, simultaneously reading and conversing. In the back seat, my brother and I played games and waged endless sibling battles, often ending with my father’s backhand slashing over the front seat like a catapult. Thirteen years later, I took possession and the keys from my father and drove from St. Louis to college in Carbondale Illinois. Despite rust along the fenders, an oil burning engine, and mandatory weekly spark plug cleaning, the Dart was a reliable old friend. One Friday afternoon, during my senior year, I left town for spring break. Just after sunset, I passed through Nashville Illinois heading north. I was tired and anxious to get home. At the far end of town, I came up behind a van as we approached a railroad crossing. The warning lights were flashing at the intersection, but the van continued over the tracks, casually, without hesitation. In this life altering moment of weakness, I was just tired and distracted enough to believe it was safe to follow. From my perspective, the crossing gates had not lowered and there was no train was in sight. In reality, there were no crossing gates at all. There was also an unseen second set of tracks. On those tracks, just out of view, was an oncoming freight train. As my car reached the end of the intersection, with open road just a few feet away, I looked up to my left. Out of the darkness, the engine rolled up like the Titanic. I remember reacting, but nothing more. The train slammed into the back door of my Dodge Dart, kicking us, like a tin can, to the other side of the tracks. Several minutes later I woke up to the conductor yelling at me through a shattered window. The next day, my classmates Jean Kracher and Barbara Lang drove 50 miles from Carbondale to pick me up at the hospital. Dressed in my finest blood soaked sweater and jeans, we drove to the local tow yard where I collected my scattered belongings. Barbara took photos as I stood beside the remains of the family car. Rather than crumple beneath the locomotive, the Dart’s steel body had taken the hit, like a champ, staying in one piece as we spun around. That morning, I stood there, feeling like a crash test dummy on his luckiest day. Smiling through my stitches, I thought at least I’ll get some good pictures. I never saw the photos, but I’ve been blessed to see 30 years since the family car saved my life.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
When I was shooting Super 8 film as a teenager, I experimented with time-lapse photography. At summer camp, I thought it would be a good idea to film a sunrise. That morning, while the rest of the camp slept in their bunks, I stood on a hillside, in the morning mist, shivering and clicking off frame after frame, and wishing the sun would hurry the #%^! up. Back home that winter, I set up my camera, aiming it through a window to our back yard and my parents’ garden. Faithfully I clicked off two frames every day until the next summer. Then, for some reason, I never developed the roll. I had become distracted. My parents were in the process of a divorce, and I was about to graduate high school and go off to college. Time was moving too fast.
Recently, I’ve been inspired me to give timelapse another try. Stock media services have become big business online, and are a great source of ideas and inspiration. In the stock media world, timelapse is king. HD video is common now, (with automatic cameras, yea!) and videographers are capturing amazing cityscapes and natural vistas like never before. I’ve begun building my own portfolio of stock footage and images to use in music videos. Here’s a recent clip. From my friends’ office overlooking downtown Oakland, the camera faces west toward San Francisco for a busy 24 hours.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Carl Weingarten – slide guitar, looping
Live at The Lucky 13, Alameda, California
GUITAROSPHERES Video Series – “New music in unusual spaces.”
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
When going on a date, it’s always important to notice what your companion is wearing. If you don’t, you’ll miss out, and she will notice that you’re missing out. If she happens to introduce you to several of her close friends, it’s important to notice what they are wearing as well. This is a lot of noticing for me to keep up with, which is one of the reasons I became a photographer, and thus carry a camera with me to all events where I might notice things, and would like to remember them later. On this occasion the closest of my date’s close friends was wearing a ring. This ring was hard, if not impossible, not to notice. It was large, even at a polite distance. After my polite noticing, our friend brought her ring up to my camera lens at kung fu speed, though thankfully coming to a safe stop at a close viewing distance, where my camera took notice.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Jeff Oster - trumpet, flugelhorn, looping
Carl Weingarten - slide guitar, looping
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I recently dreamed up a trio music project, and invited two of my favorite musicians to record - bass guitar maestro Michael Manring and Brazilian percussionist Celso Alberti. The two very busy working musicians, graciously accepted my invitation upon hearing several demos I’d produced.
After the usual cat herding, our schedules came together and we all arrived at Noah Perry’s Merritt Sound Studio on April 19.
The full day session went even better than expected, with the live bass, drums and looping guitar, shaping into an exciting new recording. Release is a few months away, but we'll be posting tracks in progress. --Carl
Download/Play this 3 minute MP3 excerpt of "BlueScapes"
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Check out the following video I just produced, a concert performance by singer percussionist David Dilullo and singer Nadine Risha.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
During the last weekend of February 2010, The Frank Bette Center hosted the annual Alameda On Camera photography event. 48 bay area photographers, me included, were given 48 hours to take pictures within an assigned 48th slice of the Alameda map. I was given the north eastern tip of the island, which includes Lincoln Park and the High Street Bridge.
There are few better motivators than a deadline. The advantage of photographing where I live is knowing the territory. This is also the disadvantage. How to make fresh the commonplace?
I approached this challenge in the following ways:
1. Find the most unfamiliar (to me) locations in subject area
2. Be there during the most dramatic light – morning, evening
3. Don’t plan the shoot other than what gear to bring
4. Shoot with multiple cameras – digital, film and pinhole
5. Stay for a while and take in the scene, like a movie
6. Give chance a chance
The above helped me to capture several great images in different styles. However, the final inspiration came from a familiar subject – the weather. It rained that weekend. The alternating sun and rolling storm clouds gave me ever changing views, filling the frame and broadening the perspective of each subject.
The Alameda Camera show opening was Friday April 2. The house was packed and of the awards given, my black and white photo Steel Cathedral won Best Classic Photo. Three additional photos I submitted are also on display through the end of April - Bike Night, Lightning Survivor and the panoramic pinhole, The Guardian.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I don’t know what it is about low-tech, but I’m there. It’s often the beginnings of an artists work, or trend in technology and culture that are more interesting to me than the periods that followed. There’s beauty in the basics. Case in point - Pinhole Photography. It’s just a hole in a box, but add camera and film technology, and a creative world opens up.
Pinhole photography is more versatile than ever. An array of cameras have been produced over the years, but recently a new generation of artists have emerged, pushing the genre forward with their own vision and new custom built designs. - see Flickr. Still, the art centers on its essential and beautiful concept - forever mysterious, Nature’s Eye shapes untamed light into renderings of the physical world.
The attached photos are the first in a new series of pinhole images I’ve been working on for several months. “Alameda Under Rain” is a one minute exposure made with a Holga 120 Panoramic Pinhole, as were “Cathedral, Oakland” and "Three Ships".
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
After college, I began producing music, which had opened as the next independent frontier. By that time, my films had gone into storage, and I kept them as anyone keeps their family pictures. They were part of another life.
Recently, after 30 years, I retrieved these films out of storage. I wanted to see if that unfinished life had anything to tell me now. Like a box of old love letters, I hesitated with mixed emotions at looking back. So why was I holding on to them? As I made my way through the stacks of reels, I remembered most of the films, but some were surprising. One such relic was a 10 minute movie called “The Fair”. I had shot the footage one day during my summer break in 1978. My home town of University City held a street festival, and in true experimental film-school mode, I captured the event with a micro lens, filming faces and objects in tight close-up, with blurry waves of people, double exposures, and crowds moving in slow motion. All the effects were done in the camera, a Fuji Single 8mm that allowed me to rewind the film, make fades, overlap, shoot high speed, etc. There was no soundtrack, but I had apparently spent time editing the film, and probably stopped when school started that fall.
Nothing plagues the artist quite like unfinished work. However, 30 years is plenty of time to make a fresh start. This look back gave me some inspiration. I transferred the footage to video and began a new round of editing. The more I studied the film, the more it clicked what I was attempting. Most of the original cuts were fine, and I didn’t want to remake the entire project. Instead it was really about finishing what had been started. I added a soundtrack, a loop-guitar piece called “Panomorphia” recorded this last year, and it all came together. Whatever meaning I was originally trying to convey, the old film and new music bridged two unfinished lives.