The end-cap of the CMS detector is detached from the barrel so upgrades can be made. Continue reading
For more photos go to my CERN gallery
Hidden beneath a region of fondue, mountains and chocolate is one of our most complex tools. A short tram ride northwest of Geneva takes you to CERN, the home of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. The Large Hadron Collider smashes particles together at unprecedented energies, which scientists study to answer questions about how the universe works. For a month I wandered down CERN’s streets named after legendary physicists of the past, such as Niels Bohr, Ernest Rutherford and Albert Einstein. I was in awe in the presence of the massive detectors that trace the smallest of particles. But what I enjoyed the most during my stay was the chance to listen to some of today’s brightest minds talk about why they do what they do. Continue reading
I recently made a substantial investment in silver. An instructor helped me realize that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours in the past months with the precious metal. It’s not the type of silver I can wear or use to pay a toll, but after a series of chemical baths my silver gives me a great return.
I recently learned to love the darkroom.
It seems the photography world is shrinking as accessibility expands. A local publication just eliminated its entire photo staff, and now relies on reporters and freelancers for pictures. In an age when anything from a phone to a set of Google eyewear can now capture images and instantly share them, it seems the Chicago Sun-Times no longer appreciates photography.
When I started taking photography classes I didn’t fully appreciate the craft. I didn’t understand why my first photography professor suggested every person take a darkroom class at least once. I came from an age where images were instant and storage was endless. I could set my exposure, get my composition, snap a few frames and repeat the process again and again. Within minutes I could have a hundred shots, one of which I assumed would be useable. I was happy with my progress, but I was ignorantly complacent.
Years after that first class I finally took my instructor’s advice and I now have a better understanding why he suggested it. It’s an intimate, tedious process — a stark contrast to the instant gratification of LCD screens and Photoshop. You sit in complete darkness to handle the canister that contains your vision of the world. You hope you rolled the film correctly and you seal it from light before you can emerge from the expansive shadow. You develop it, wash it, dry it and after all that’s done you can finally see if you captured the moment. I felt more accomplished when I looked at the 36 images on my first roll of film than any feeling I got from filling up an SD card.
My view changed behind the lens of a film camera. Maybe it was because every shot was a mystery so I had to trust my decisions and my skills. Maybe it was because I knew how much work it would take to make a print. Maybe it was because I felt like I was following the steps of the classic Life photographers, such as Robert Capa or Margaret Bourke-White. I saw my shot not as a set of ones and zeros, but as a process that translates my experience during a moment to a sharable, tangible item.
In this world where photography jobs are evaporating, it may seem irrational to step back from technological advancements. But, for me, this step was necessary. I’m still learning, and hope to never stop, and I know others are learning along with me. We are learning how to better appreciate the passion and artistry of professional photographers. This could help salvage the profession for these artists.
The first roll:
The first print:
And everything thereafter:
and here are some photos from this gray day.
At the end of a day full of interviews at the CTIO library, I still had the most important question to ask: Where is a good place to eat?
A few people suggested a Colombian restaurant down the street. By down the street, they meant down the mini mountain that is the compound of CTIO houses. I didn’t realize how steep the slope was going down, but my legs definitely felt the effects of the incline on the way back up.
After Chicago to Atlanta to Santiago to La Serena, I finally arrived on Cerro Tololo to get a close-up look at the Dark Energy Camera. I got to touch the 8-ton instrument, watch it take pictures at night and stargazed with some of the best astronomers in the world. Though all this excitement does not help with my jet lag, it doesn’t seem there are enough hours in the day to see everything. Here is a sample of what I’ve witnessed so far.
If I could talk to Einstein, I’d like to tell him he was right.
It seems the relativity of time is undeniable, for what other theory could more perfectly explain how time passed in the first quarter of graduate school?
While it feels like I moved to Chicago years ago, it also seems I started graduate school yesterday. Academic and social endeavors moved at the speed of light, as tests intertwined with alternating weeks of concerts and social hours on rooftop decks. So much happened so quickly that when the light-speed vessel came to a halt, those relatively stationary to me said I was only gone three months, but I felt I was traveling for years.
I’m cannot say for sure if I was absolutely productive in those three months, for I’m still trying to decelerate myself from the madness that was Methods. But, I think I was productive at least some of the time. So here are some photos to give the illusion of productivity in the first quarter of Medill’s graduate program.