Earth Shaker – Monster Jam freestyle competition.
Few things are as quintessentially American as Monster Trucks. While I have always seen video, photos and all manner of media featuring Monster Trucks, up until this past weekend, I had never witnessed a Monster Truck show in person. I got to see the Monster Jam show at the Golden1 Center downtown. It did not disappoint. Photos cannot convey the powerful sensory experience – even more-so as an Engineer and Artist, I found every last detail of the performance extremely impressive from a technical, engineering, artistic and athletic perspective all at once.
Earth Shaker in his penultimate freestyle act.
The forces at play in these Monster vehicles are tremendous, yet they make the most outlandish of feats look effortless. The stresses on both vehicle and driver are constantly riding a fine line between complete self destruction and a well choreographed ballet. The more skilled the driver, the tighter they ride that line. One driver/athlete in particular stood out or a field of very talented, young and capable individuals – Earth Shaker. I watched him clutch, power and brake his way through wheelies, jumps, and stoppies one demand. No one else came close to his level of mastery of these machine. It was a real treat. Earth Shaker in his penultimate freestyle act, drove his Monster Truck on both front wheels. It was amazing, terrifying, and hilarious all at once. What a treat.
What camera did I use. Well, since this was my first time experiencing it, I thought I should just kick back, focus on the show, take it all in and perhaps get a better sense for the subjects from a photography perspective so I may return next time around and give it a proper photographic treatment. My compromise this time was my advanced point-and-shoot – the Canon G15. I had not taken it out in over a year. Surprisingly the battery still had a full charge which was impressive in itself. The wide aperture f/1.8 zoom lens really helped keep a fast shutter under the artificial low light situations. Shutter lag and AF were of course a problem as would be the case with any point-and-shoot. I did however manage to compensate for the lag most of the time. The OVF was a huge help while tracking fast moving subjects. Being able to shoot RAW was also a huge bonus. The resulting images came out much better than I expected. I shot Manual Mode at 1/100s to preserve some wheel spin motion but still freeze the vehicles as I tracked them. ISO ranged from 400-800. What a little gem of a camera. I definitely look forward to covering the next Monster Jam with my 7D Mark II and 5DsR.
Below are some highlights from the show. I hope you enjoy them. Have you ever been to a Monster Truck show. Share your thoughts.
Regina Pizzeria – Canon G15
After a few days in Boston asking random people I happened to talk to about which restaurant they felt I absolutely must eat at while in Boston, the consensus seemed to be on Regina Pizzeria in Little Italy. This is a seemingly nondescript corner location, very easy to miss were it not for the constant line of people outside waiting for a table, often stretching around the block. I highly recommend stopping by off-hours. I chose to stop by right after a heavy rain storm. I figured there would be nobody outside waiting in the rain. It was also a late Sunday afternoon. Even then all the tables were occupied, so I made a beeline for the very small bar in the corner. It was Perfect.
The staff were quick, friendly, short and often times entertaining. In an establishment such as this, there are no pretenses. You would do well to know what you want. There is little hand-holding. The menu is simple and if you still can’t make up your mind just order that day’s special. The atmosphere is very relaxed and un-apologetically unpretentious. I ordered a glass of red wine with my pizza and the bartender immediately informed me the wine was freshly squeezed from the mop that morning…LOL!!! My kind of joint! The selection was mostly from the California North Coast so I figured it was it can’t be that bad. I could be biased though. 🙂
I had some great conversation with the staff and other traveling patrons who stopped by for a slice of Boston’s finest. The pizza here is some of the best tasting I have had. It is that good. It has a certain warmth that comforts and makes you feel like everything will be okay. I can now see why Bostonians recommend this joint. Here are a few highlights:
Whenever you’re done enjoying your pizza, I highly recommend going for an endless walk and getting lost in all the streets and alleyways of Little Italy. For a moment I felt as though I was somewhere in Europe like Paris or Madrid. The architecture is so old and well preserved. It amazed me that all these buildings were still fully occupied by everyday folks. A true testament to the men who built them and their craft. Below are some random shots. Another highly recommended eatery was Mike’s Pastries. It is a true landmark establishment. As far away as 5 blocks, I began noticing people with Mike’s Pastry boxes. As suggested, I merely walked in the opposite direction of those people and eventually ended up at Mike’s Pastry, however the traffic/crowd there was insurmountable. I shall make it a point to visit them next time I’m in Boston.
After hauling my camera gear with me all week I needed a break. I only took my Canon Powershot G15 out with me this time. It performed spectacularly for any point and shoot and gave me lots of creative options. The RAW files aren’t much different than those from my DSLRs and allowed me to recover some of the highlights and shadows. I’m impressed. I’ve posted before about that camera here: Sweet Deal: Canon Powershot G15