Flames, Eco-Matting, and Sexy Scaffolding Surfers

Yes, it’s been a long time – I am in Spain – and like all good Spaniards, things always seem to get done tomorrow.  I am about to return state-side, but wanted to post a virgin attempt of a little stop motion project for Prospect.

I posted this video on Vimeo. Just over a thousand frames.  People, torches, and eco-matting – all good stuff.

Take a look and enjoy.

See you in a few…down the road.


Does a Mustache Make You Run Faster?

Funny story.  I was out on an errand – driving in my car – and as I looked to the sidewalk, I saw this mop of hair swishing around, back and forth.  Now this was hair:  Full, voluptuous, boundless in its energy.  Motoring closer, I could see the runner was shirtless and was pacing at a pretty good clip.  About to pass, I took a look once again and noticed a supremely thick mustache, and that’s when I knew I had to photograph this guy.  I gunned the gas, missed my errand stop, and pulled ahead to give me time to try and capture a few images.

Full mane flowing, Todd paces out a trail up on a mountain ridge

Time has a funny way of speeding up when you’re in a hurry, and as I fumbled with my gear, he flew by.  Now this was a month or so back, and I had a cold, felt achy, was sporting jeans and flip flops.  Not the best of circumstances to catch up to a very in-shape runner, skirting construction workers building the new greenway downtown.


Leaving the car windows down, I fled after my subject.  Dodging pissed-off pedestrians (must have been someone else who bumped them), yelling, “Cuidado!” to the workers ambling around, and a few winded blocks later, I stood at the corner with nothing to show for it.  I couldn’t believe I lost him!  I stared off down to the right, and something caught my eye. A pair of legs. Ah ha!  He was adjusting his shoes on a window sill, and hidden from view.

Five Fingers

With a lump in my stomach, I approached.  “What’s up man?  How you doing?” I asked.  I swear, without looking up, he just raised his fist for first contact. Fist Bump.  “Oh yeah…this is gonna be sweet,” I thought to myself.  “I couldn’t help notice you running.  You’ve got an amazing presence.  The hair, the mustache, and these – What are these?” I belted out.

“Oh, these are five-fingers.”  By now I felt a little serendipity going on.  I had wanted to photograph a runner for a while now.  The night before I had just watched a program demonstrating the benefits of running barefoot (Less injuries, less jarring, and stronger legs)  And the icing on the cake?  “What’s your name?” I asked hesitantly.  He replied, “Todd.”

The rest is history

Dammit - I gotta get in shape...

I have to give a big shout out to Todd for being so patient, and making this happen.  He’s a busy guy, helping build the architecture for Nutshell, a management system for social networking.  Along with weather delays and scheduling conflicts, it seemed like it would never happen, but we finally got it done.  And the funny thing is, I didn’t even get half the photos I was thinking about!  Sigh…  Of all the resources, it seems time is always the limiting factor.

See you down the road.


Made in America – Forging Ahead – Part 2

It’s all about the rivet.  It takes a beating,  holds structures together, and stands up to enormous amounts of tension.

Holding Strong.

As lovely as the metal is that has been pounded and formed via Augustine and Nick’s skilled craftsmanship, it’s nothing without the rivet.  And I think one of the coolest facts about the guys and their approach to making these chandeliers has been the use of traditional techniques.

Nick adjusts the cutting blade as he makes the raw rivets.

Oil keeps the metal and saw blade from overheating and seizing up.

Obviously modern tools are used for many steps, but much of the hard work is still finished via ‘big old hammer’ and lots of muscle.

Starting out, Nick cut down a bunch of pieces of steel slugs that would become our rivets.  Using the metal saw, a light touch and five minutes later, we had our first round of soldiers.

A few last-minute measurements.

Augustine took a few last-minute measurements to verify all the holes lined up, and then he took over the frame to be drilled.  When metal meets metal, an enormous amount of friction is created, and the surfaces get very very hot. To prevent overheating, you need to cool the surfaces somehow.  Water isn’t good enough to cool the metal, nor is it a material you want to inject into raw metal either.  Thus, a combination of a few oils are used.

Drill baby drill. You can see the steam coming from the drill. The bottle is the oil.

Water + Metal = Rust. So an oil is used to lubricate and insulate from that poison of poisons, O2.

Firing up the torch.

Once the holes were drilled, we were ready to pound out the first set.  Firing up the torch, Augustine would heat the rivet up to the point where it became red-hot and malleable.  A quick, “Ready?” was shouted, Nick answered, Augustine backed away, and Nick began the pound down with his hammer.

Ready? Hammer away!

The hammer strikes don’t just land perfectly over the rivet head – nor do you want them to.  To make the rivet, you have to upset the head and flare it out so it will hold.  The same thing goes for the tail as well.

A good strike captured. You can see the red-hot slag falling to the floor.

As the rivet is beat, the metal inside the bored hole will expand, and thus, hold it in place.  So as you can see in some of the photos, the hammer comes down at different angles to produce this effect.

Augustine, working on a rivet.

Pretty amazing.  Rivets have been around since the bronze age, and they are still used today to hold together items from buildings to the airplanes that make travel so convenient for you and I.

I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by on this project.  The chandeliers are approaching completion, as is Prospect.  Summer is almost here, and I tell you, I can’t wait to get a few bites when the doors open.

Next up are the finishing touches.  A screen will wrap the perimeter of the chandelier, radiating a nice, soft, warm light once it’s all said and done.

See you down the road.