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Modern Rock Diaries Plays Oklahoma City on Friday!

My buddy Clinton Trench and the band he’s in, Modern Rock Diaries, is playing Oklahoma City on Friday!!  Check out this video, it’s pretty awesome.  I’m gonna be talking to Modern Rock Diaries drummer and light man pretty soon, as their entire lighting rig is MIDI.  Friday night at The Blue Note in OKC!

Check out the video, it is black and white and full of awesomeness.

Tickets are eight bucks in advance, ten at the door.  ROCK!

Oklahoma City National Memorial at Night – A Photo Tour

This has to be said – if you want to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the best time to get the best experience is after the Sun sets.

For almost 1.25 years now I have lived directly across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial – the site of the Murrah Building bombing by now dead bad guy Timothy McVeigh.  I have watched people go in and out of this site, at all times of day or night (I myself have been there at 3:45am and 1am, as I don’t sleep much), in all kinds of weather.  The memorial is incredible pretty much any time I set my eyes on it.

During the day, the sun plays on the shapes and structures made by the memorial chairs, and the trees take care of giving the entire site a nice textured light to soften the reality of why the site is there.  At night though, the Memorial grounds are transformed; there is no longer a need to see everything.  The soft light and the directional path on which your eye is taken leads to the most pertinent areas of the memorial, from the field of empty chairs at night, each with an illuminated lower section, to the Survivor Tree, where you are given yet another view of the field of chairs.  To me, I feel the most solemn when visiting the memorial at night.  Obviously though, I’m a lighting designer, and I could find the emotion in a stray beam of light that came from some intergalactic star burp.

Just as a quick spatial guide, as you are at the memorial, if you enter and are standing looking with the chairs on the left or right, you are looking down Fifth Street.  FIfth used to run continuously between Classen and I-235, but the Memorial now sits at the spot of the bombing.  The chairs you will see are located where the building used to sit, and the chairs represent people killed in the explosion.  To be quite honest, I don’t know if you’re supposed to go onto the grassy area where the chairs are, but I just had to be close enough to pay my respects to the victims.  I also went at night though, I didn’t want to cause a bother.

Here are the chairs and the grounds from the building directly across the street from where the Murrah Building once stood:

You’ll notice in the image above that there are two arches that stop Fifth Street – one that says 9:01, and the other that says 9:03.  These are the Gates of Time.  At the eastern most side of the Memorial is 9:01 – the minute before the bombing, where life as we knew it was one way.  The bombing occurred at 9:02am, which is represented by the large reflecting pool and I believe the Memorial itself.  9:03, at the western most end of the Memorial, is where we now know life to be – after the bombing, after the death, after the bomber’s death.

Here’s the same view from my apartment, but in the evening:

What a beautiful memorial – you must commend the designers of this memorial, Hans and Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg, for their wonderful use of the night and the light in their design.

Below is a Gallery View of the photos – if you click on any one thumbnail, it will open the series in Gallery format for your enjoyment!  I have given each titles and some descriptions to give you bearing as you navigate through the set.

Thank you so much to the Oklahoma City National Memorial website and Wikipedia.

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That’s A Light Shame: Oklahoma City’s United States District Court House Exterior Lighting FAIL

I’m starting a new segment here on JimOnLight.com called “That’s A Light Shame.”  What this segment will focus on is shameful lighting situations all over the world, from safety to aesthetic, from art fails to general all-around epic fails.

I have found something that needs some shame shame shame finger pointing, perhaps because of its grand significance in the economy right now, or perhaps just because I’m anal-retentive and it’s been like this for nearly a year, continually getting worse.  With the economy being how it is (as daintily as Christina Romer put it the other day on Real Time with Bill Maher, ‘we’re pretty darned f**ked) and the growing frustration of the American people with our governmental fails right now, you’d figure that something like the exterior lighting of a US District Court house would warrant even some symbolistic care, right?

Nope, fail.  Non lighting designers could probably give two shakes in the wind (?) about this subject, or the entire thing altogether.  But for those of us interested in urban panning and city image, this thing looks like a freshly swollen canker sore on the face of Oklahoma City.  See for yourself – here are some images of the US District Court house in Oklahoma City, right across the street from the site of one of the most horrific attacks in American history, the Murrah Building bombing.  Perhaps that’s yet another reason to change those lamps and perhaps replace some filters, being that the OKC Memorial is right across the street, and people visit it at all times of the day and night.  Check it out below.

Here’s the court house during the day, both from afar (my balcony) and a bit of a more zoomed-in shot:

Ha haa, look, it’s a toy court house!

Now here is the first bit of exterior lighting degradation, when apparently some color filters were removed from the fixtures in the little vertical coves on the center of the facade.  Notice the Court House over on the left of this city view shot:

Here is what the last several months have been like on the front of the building – some fixtures completely out, some without filters (which apparently are supposed to be that steel blue like in the others).  These pictures were taken when my bestie was in town back in early June, and the lamps had been out for months before that as well.

 

These last two shots are of the court house on the evening of August 10, 2011:

Call me anal (or don’t, as I really don’t appreciate it, funny enough), but this is an eyesore on Oklahoma City’s downtown image.  I spend a LOT of time looking at the image of downtown, listening to the sounds that the city makes when it wakes, lives, and sleeps.  Right now, downtown Oklahoma City is kind of a disaster with all of the Project 180 stuff that’s going on – perhaps this too will get fixed at some point in the future.  Hopefully someone who has some influence on this situation will read this post and take some action.  I think Oklahoma City is a pretty cool city, and having an attention to detail is something for which we should all strive, especially when so many other things are being done to “update” the image of the downtown area.

But hey – WHAT a great start to what I am SURE will become a pretty hilarious segment on JimOnLight.com!  If you have your own Light Shames, send me an email through the contact form, let’s get them published and corrected!  Together, we have a very loud and important voice.  Let’s do the world some Light Good!

A Storm Coming – A 22 Minute Storm Approach in 80 Seconds

I love deconstruction and hyper-construction – taking something like a video shot at a certain frame rate and speeding it up to a thousand times its intended watching speed, or slowing it down so much as to examine its individual frame images.  I *love* it.  It probably goes right along with my need to take things apart and see how they work on a component level.

Here’s a video I just finished – it’s a storm coming across the horizon in Oklahoma City.  It was initially a 22 minute video that I sped up to just under 80 seconds.  I love how the light in the video slowly diminishes in the sky in color, and then in intensity as the storm diffuses the light with particles of water when humidity increases.

The music used to have lyrics, but they’re meaningless now, so I decided to record the score without them.

Check out the video – very cool!

A Storm Coming – A Storm Invades Oklahoma City from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

RED Prime Steak in Oklahoma City – You Need to Train for This Much Awesome

I’m trying not to be a big fat ass this year.  I’ve been pretty successful so far, I’ve lost a few pounds a week.  The one thing I’ve tried hard to do is to stop eating fast food, and instead spend that money on the nicer restaurants around the world.  I’m a lighting nerd, OBVIOUSLY, so one of my favorite parts of this lifestyle change is enjoying the unbelievable lighting designs that the nicer restaurants offer.

I got a bit of a wild hair the other day while driving through downtown Oklahoma City – I saw this place called RED Prime Steak on Broadway, over by Bricktown.  Myself and local photographer Kristen Lee of the famous Stella Shot Me photography studios went to check out the scene.  I mean, after all the entire place is red inside from the street.  At first glance from the road, RED looks like a pretty upscale place.

Well, it is.  It’s pretty absolutely excellently awesomely upscale.  As a matter of fact, if you are into eating some unbelievably delicious bovine, enjoying some serious mixed drinks and wine (srsly) and being wow’ed by an outstanding lighting design, you need to check out this place.  From the moment you walk into the entrance, designer Rand Elliott’s vision of a “red wind” is ever present, leading you to the center of the venue.

The main bar – up front by the street level:

RED is full of all kinds of nooks and crannies, as well as open sections with tables and seating – Rand Elliott‘s initial design concept for RED was of that representing a “red wind.”  Elliott made this happen with strips of red neon on a grand aisle of the restaurant that shine onto the original brick walls of the restaurant.  It’s quite stunning, actually.  Below is a capture from the RED website with a rendering and a hand sketch:

Check out the “red wind” section of the restaurant – red neon tubes create the ambient light that filters throughout the venue:

Our server, Ross (who is also the head caterer for RED Prime Steak) gave us a tour of the entire facility (as well as providing some excellent choices and recommendations) – the restaurant has a ton of space above it that is used for parties, exquisite or otherwise; there are several very private booths and tables meant for romantic meals or parties of several people.  I’m a huge fan of steak AND light, so this is a place I’ll be revisiting very soon.

The best thing about the lighting design in my eyes is the attention to minute detail throughout the restaurant – a slice of neon hidden there, white accent lighting hidden in crannies to accentuate the soul of the room, and a sense of quality brought forth from the lighting to the food.

If you’re in Oklahoma City and you haven’t tried RED Prime Steak yet, I have no idea what you could possibly be waiting for to happen before you make your RED experience.

Check out a gallery of the images taken at RED Prime Steak that night – great photography by Kristen Lee of Stella Shot Me Photography Studios!  Click on a thumbnail and a magical land of full size images opens up for your enjoyment!

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SNOWPOCALYPSE 2011 (or Hey, It Snowed A Little in Oklahoma City)

Yeah, that’s right kids – we have some snow here in Oklahoma City!

(To be fair, I did think it was a great idea yesterday in the middle of the morning’s storm to get stuck between the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts and a big ass pile of snow.  Yeah.  It really was worth it.)

Here’s a non-sequitur – something I thought would be interesting to talk about today while Oklahoma City assumes it got some real snowfall is snow blindness.  Have you ever heard of this phenomenon?  Snow blindness is a slang term for a condition called photokeratitis – which is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light, typically from sunlight reflected off of the snow.  Have you ever had a snow suntan or snow sunburn?  Snow blindness is generally the same thing, except photokeratitis is basically like a sunburn of the cornea and conjunctiva (that outer membrane of the actual eyeball that contains blood vessels, etcetera).

The interesting thing about snow blindness is that it’s just a common ailment for people in the snow and in high elevations.  It also happens with welders (they call it “Arc Eye”).  From Wikipedia:

Any intense exposure to UV light can lead to photokeratitis.  Common causes include welders who have failed to use adequate eye protection such as an appropriate welding helmet or welding goggles.  This is termed arc eye, while photokeratitis caused by exposure to sunlight reflected from ice and snow, particularly at elevation, is commonly called snow blindness.  It can also occur due to using tanning beds without proper eyewear.  Natural sources include bright sunlight reflected from snow or ice or, less commonly, from sea or sand.  Fresh snow reflects about 80% of the UV radiation compared to a dry, sandy beach (15%) or sea foam (25%).  This is especially a problem in polar regions and at high altitudes, as with every thousand feet (approximately 305 meters) of elevation (above sea level), the intensity of UV rays increases by four percent.

Well, how do you like that?  My favorite scientific name for snow blindness (and it actually does have a lot of names) is keratoconjunctivitis photoelectrica.  HOT!

I like shadows.  Here’s a picture of a shadow of me in the snow fall:

A Downtown View of Oklahoma City, Lit for the Holidays

Living in a condo tower downtown has its privvies, I guess.   I’m not really much of a downtown dweller, at least lately, but I seem to leave home and return home these days when the sun is still a snooze slap away from waking up.

I certainly take a lot of pictures of the downtown nightscape – my apartment is right next to the Oklahoma City Murrah Building Memorial, and it faces the downtown skyline.  Parts of Oklahoma City are bustling with holiday-themed lighting, and I’m planning a series of photos of the city at night.

Here’s the first installment of architectural lighting from Oklahoma City, OK – this set from the 13th floor of my tower – for reference, here’s the city skyline in August:

…and here’s a detail of the Chase Bank building (and I don’t know the tower to the right yet):

Wider city shot – It’s true – apparently crosses cover the idea of “Holiday” in general here in Oklahoma…

Here’s looking the other way at Oklahoma City, looking southwest:

More shots – click on any one in this gallery, and a Gallery View will open up for your enjoyment!

Lightning in Oklahoma City – from the JimOnLight.com World HQ

For the first time in my life, I live in an apartment tower.  I’ve lived in apartments before, of course, but never anywhere that had floors above the second or third floor.  I’m on the thirteenth floor, with an amazing view of downtown Oklahoma City.

I have found a new kind of peace with this kind of view – when I make it home early enough that the sun is still up, it is amazing to watch the city get ready for the night time by turning on architectural illumination.  The city has a soul, and you see it at night when it is shining.

Another amazing sight at this vantage is storms.  Oh holy crap do I love storms and lightning – and Oklahoma City is right in that tornado-y, ass-kicking thunderstorms and hail alley of the country.  A few weeks ago we had a string of days that had afternoon thunderstorms – and I had my camera on the tripod!

Check these out – I hope it is a good start to your morning!

and I kid you not, when this wave was over, the freaking sun popped out, and BOOM – DOUBLE RAINBOW.

5 Hours of Light into 90 Seconds: Oklahoma City

I got bored and made a video of downtown Oklahoma City, from 5pm to 10pm.  I took all of this video and condensed it down into 90 seconds – it’s cool to watch the city flick itself awake as the sun goes down.

Enjoy the video!

Oklahoma City, from 5pm to 10pm, in 90 seconds. from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Editor’s note:
I like my Flip HD for most things video, but when it comes to really saturated light or low level light, it’s disappointing!  I need to save up for one of those little pro-sumer 3-chip digital video cameras.  Anyone got a suggestion on a model and make I should check out?