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Archive for the ‘Rambling’ Category

Hello, Mr. Anderson…

Oct 21

In Rambling, Thoughts at 5:08am

You’ve certainly become a bit of a household name, and face, via your folksy thank you videos that all Delta passengers are familiar with by now. And kudos on trying to make the process of “inserting the metal flap into the belt buckle” more entertaining. Love the triplet scenario in the emergency exit row.

Videos aside, you’re doing a nice job running Delta, you and all your colleagues. I find Delta service to be generally excellent, upbeat, and folks from the counter to the cockpit strive to please. Some of the planes are pretty old, but you’re making strides. A bunch of the airports are much nicer of late. (The iPads at LaGuardia are fun.)

I’m just like all the other legions of folks who daily drag their fatigued buttocks down jetways and onto your planes. (I was going to say sorry asses, but that has a judgmental quality to it, and I shouldn’t extend that descriptor to others. Their posteriors might well be thankful, happy ones.) The only difference that might accrue to me is that I tend to do it more frequently than most. I’ve flown over 1.9 million miles on your airplanes 

I’m a freelance photographer, and have been sent many places on this earth where your planes happen to go. Even though I fly a lot, do a lot of business with Delta, I realize that as a tiny operation my studio matters not to a huge enterprise like yours. I am an economic flyspeck in the big picture of things. But, there are a lot of us flyspecks out there, on your planes. And it’s been this two way street of you running a good airline, and us coming back for more, that has gotten Delta to a very good and happy place, right? Near record profits. Gas prices are falling. (Though, somehow, airline ticket prices are rising.) Planes are constantly full. Reasonably priced tickets are generally non-refundable.

(How many businesses, outside of Uncle Stevie’s on Canal St. in NY, back in the day, can get away with basically an all sales are final motif?)

Most of us pound a certain airline (hence the loyalty factor) to accumulate miles. When my kids were young, I called my Delta miles “Mickey Miles” so I could get the kids down to Florida and wait with them on the line for Dumbo. And you do give back for the loyalty. I’m a non-stop coach flyer, only occasionally springing for the moola to do an up front seat. And the upgrades I get pretty frequently are very welcome. My arthritic knees would be happy to send you chocolates.

But those biz class seats are becoming like a mirage, fading in the distance, ever receding, certainly in terms of buying them. I just booked my wife and I for a NY to London, part work/part vacation trip later this year. Coach seats went for $960, roughly, which is fair enough. Just for giggles, I asked the agent to price biz class tix. $7700! Gouge! I mean ouch! Even the Delta person on the other end of the phone choked on that one. For the NY to London to NY route, that computes to more than $500 an hour in the air. That better be a pretty comfy seat! Honestly, if I paid that kind of hourly rate for a fancy, motorized chair, I’d expect it to be more than comfortable. I’d expect it to, you know, do something for me. I won’t go further.

And now the frequent flyer, mileage program is going to be pitched not on miles flown, but on price paid. Sigh. There will be new quotas to adhere to, and an increasingly high bar to gain any measure of decent treatment and comfort, none of it based on loyalty, frequency of travel, or miles flown. It’s all based on price. My bud and fellow long time traveler David Burnett, on his Facebook page, just quoted a letter Delta Platinum Flyers recently got that evidently said something to the effect of, if everyone’s elite, no one is.  Does Delta really mean to become an airborne country club?

Here’s what should have happened. It should have been offered, this new plan. Not required. Those at the beginning of their lifelong journeys, new to the ways of the traveler, well, okay, I can see why they might have to sign onto this new style of program. Virtually every company in America offers incoming, new employees a different deal than those who joined the enterprise thirty years ago, if there are any of those folks still around the hallways.

Those who have stuck with you, through the bad old days, through the mayhem of the Northwest merger, through the winds and weather of travel, should have been offered a choice. Stick with the program you know and love, or opt for the new one. Some folks, whose type of business might be able to afford higher fares, just might leap at the chance to capitalize on their expenditure, and go for the new gig. The rest of us, beleaguered and unattractive as we might be, have been quite a sizable spark plug of your currently revved up economic engine for quite a while. We should have been offered a tip of the hat.

We should be given a choice. Options. Acknowledgement. Fairness. We don’t deserve to be thrown under the bus, or in this instance, into the baggage hold.

I’m sure, sir, you’ve heard of the old expression, “Ya gotta dance with the one who brung ya!” And your long time loyal flyers would definitely be the ones who brought you to this current, festive party Delta is enjoying. Sticking with us would be the way, Mr. Anderson, of showing the frequent Delta customer that you do, as you say in your down home, aw shucks video, “always have your back.”

Friends of the blog, feel free to bat this blog around the internet, and by all means, if you fly the all of sudden very expensive Delta skies, give them a call, write them a note.

More tk…..




One Jersey Guy to Another….

Jul 17

In Friends, Rambling at 8:13am

K-Man and I go back aways. I’ve worked for him as he has organized a number of annual reports and portrait assignments over time. We got to know each well over the course of some occasionally arduous travel. I’m even acquainted with Flo, his non-stop roadie mate. He runs a blog, Jersey Style Photography, and has a passion for old style Hollywood noir. Hence it was a natural to include him, his fedora, and his formidable mohaska back when I was putting together the Hot Shoe Diaries.

He shoots good stuff, and we have always traded pics and chatted about shooting. He commented on Monday’s post when I discussed grain, Tri-x and the amazing advances in digital photography.

“I certainly haven’t done it nearly as long as you (you’ve forgotten more about photography than I’ll probably ever learn) but isn’t it something: You put those first photos online today, and you’d be flamed for “all that grain.” Yet, that baseball pic is, to me, one of your iconic images, one I think about often. Because you got the moment: the expressions, the dust, the dirt. All those old cool concert photos shooters did in dark clubs…the Tri-X is pushed and the grain is there. And the grain is good.

Yet today, we’re trying for those clean photos at hi ISO. It’s a wacky thing, this photography.

Thanks for introducing me to it.”

It is a wacky thing indeed, doing this, either for fun, or serious intent. Grain is good, and has character, and in a funny way, almost immediately locates the viewer of a photo in terms of the era it was made. It’s a totem, a harking back, a reminder of where we came from, long before the age of the highly polished pixel. I find myself experimenting with film again. And at the same time appreciating the unbelievable gifts digital photography has given all of us.

But given the fact he took the time to chime in this week, and mentioned shooting concerts back in the day, I thought I’d ease into the weekend and throw up a few ASA 1600, Tri-x snaps I made at a show with the ultimate Jersey Guy, the Boss, circa 1977-78, Madison Square Garden. Enjoy the weekend everybody! More tk….






The Polar Vortex

Jan 15

In Rambling, Thoughts at 10:33am

We tend to come up with new, slick names for stuff all the time now, given our buzzword laced world. The phrase “Polar Vortex” got a lot of play lately when a chunk of really cold air that should’ve behaved better and hovered nicely over the North Pole pushed south in unruly fashion over Canada and the US. I’ve encountered the polar vortex before on assignment, but wasn’t smart enough to call it by its proper name. I think I just used the term, “f*%#ing cold.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Off to a Rip Roaring Start!

Jan 6

In Rambling at 5:46am

A great way to start off the year! We got a check for the use of one of my pictures, evidently a photo of a “man using laptop computer.” Awesome! With funds like this coming almost every once in a while, we are set.  Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Normal, Sort of…..

Oct 29

In Rambling at 6:44am

Not that a life in photography often intersects with normal.

But after the photo industry’s annual gear-gasm at the Javit’s Center in New York City, the event known as Photo Plus Expo, well, being back home for even a day is blessedly normal. The tough thing about the three days was that it was matched with some of the most splendidly fall weather the Big Apple has seen of late. The light, the wind, and the weather was NYC at its best. Leaving the light and going inside Javits was a bit of an effort, truth be told.

Gotta thank my buds at Nikon and Adorama for including me in the proceedings at their respective booths. Spoke each day there, and always had some gracious, fun photo folks gathered round. In between, I got a chance to intersect with many, many friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while. That’s the saving grace of expositions like this. Photography has always been a lone wolf sort of thing, and digital has exacerbated the feeling of loneliness. I mean there’s the chattiness of the internet, but it’s not quite the same as giving your fellow staffers a bunch of shit over the hypo tray after a day in the field. Email lacks a certain immediacy, not to mention the capacity for winks and heartfelt hand gestures. But PPE presented some good catch up time.

In between hey, how are ya’s? I wandered. Some gear was interesting. Some of the stuff , as usual, made me wonder. Whaddaya gonna do? Photogs tend to be creatures of impulse, especially when confronted with gear. I’ve got a garage full of stuff accumulated over the years that I thought, at the time, I just hadda have.

Anyway, today, back to normal. Back on a plane. Bound for Orlando and a One Light Two Light seminar day, tomorrow. All best, and more tk….