Archive for August, 2009

Ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ

August 28th, 2009 2 comments

Thanks to a contest run by Data Junkies and StockTwits, I had the opportunity to be part of the NASDAQ Closing Bell Ceremony this past Tuesday (8/25/2009).  The employees and interns of Data Junkies and StockTwits were there, along with about 20 people (including myself) who won their Twitter contest to attend the ceremony.  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to travel far to get there since my office is only about a half hour away.

NASDAQ hasn’t posted the video of the event yet (it will eventually appear on the MarketSite Events page), but I recorded the webcast, so here it is for your viewing pleasure:

I also took some pictures while I was there, you can view the gallery here.  If you’re looking for me in the video above, I walk onto the stage around 5:56.

I was a little out-of-place at the ceremony, since it seemed like most people there were professional (or at least serious) investors, and I was just a guy who discovered StockTwits a while ago to read about various stocks that I was interested in (I do have some investments, many of them listed on NASDAQ, but I only invest a small amount).  Still, I enjoyed the opportunity and thank them for having me.  It was awesome to be there as the bell was rung (well, it’s not actually a bell so much as a glowing button that triggers a bell-like noise 🙂 ) and to see ourselves up on the giant screen in Times Square.

We were on TV! (at least for a few seconds)   Here’s a screen capture from CNBC:  Anyone know if we appeared on any other channels?


Photography practice in NYC

August 12th, 2009 No comments

I took the train up to NYC a few weekends ago with one of my friends for some photography practice (and it was an excuse to spend some time outdoors for once). We didn’t do anything specific, mostly just wandering around the city.

Got in to Penn Station in mid-afternoon and hopped on the subway down to the World Trade Center stop. There’s not much to see there at the moment, the site is still walled off and under construction. I took some pictures of the Balloon Flower statue, along with the fountain and a group of nearby pigeons.

I also used this location to experiment with exposure bracketing and successfully took a picture of a water tower on top of a nearby building while exposing the tower correctly (overexposing the sky in the process, but I could crop that out if I had really wanted a picture of the water tower).  I was also able to get a neat picture of the sky and clouds reflecting off the windows of a skyscraper.  After I clean it up a bit, I might try selling that one on some stock photography sites (been meaning to try doing that for a while), but I’ll have to see whether that’s allowed since there’s probably a copyright on the architecture of the building (although it looks like a basic building, so maybe not)

From the WTC, we walked over to City Hall Park.  This was another good photo spot, as there’s a neat fountain with City Hall in the background.  I found exposing this shot to be a challenge, as the picture would either be properly exposed for the building and the sky (making the fountain too dark) or vice versa.  I took three photos at -2, 0, and +2 EV and plan to attempt to make an HDR image of the fountain.  I had limited success here attempting to use my Gorillapod SLR-Zoom (was attempting to attach it to a light post sideways, but the camera kept creeping down, apparently I would need the more expensive Focus model to make this work, even though my camera is not very heavy.  Maybe I just wasn’t attaching it right, but I didn’t want to spend any more time fiddling with it).

Next was a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Tons of people were there since it was a nice day, complete with the usual bicyclists cursing at anyone who dared to cross into their lane to get around crowds of stopped pedestrians.   The bridge is a great place for photography, both of the unique architecture of the bridge itself as well as the views afforded of both Manhattan, Brooklyn, and beyond.  I took assorted photos of the traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian), boats, the bridge itself, and scenery in the distance.  I was a bit too far away from the Statue of Liberty to get a decent shot with only a 105mm lens.

Here’s a panorama from the Brooklyn side of the bridge:

We took the subway back from the Brooklyn side over to 14th st.  On our way over to Sammy’s Noodle Shop for dinner (mmm…Thai spicy cashew chicken and curry rolls) we saw an interesting combination of stores next door to each other, and then hopped back on the subway up to 52nd St. to head over to Central Park. I haven’t been there too many times before.  Walked around one of the small lakes (it was too dark to get a decent picture of any of the ducks without my tripod), up near the amusement park, past the large field, and then back out over by the Time Warner Center.  The stores had closed already, but the mall was still open.  I was surprised to find a full-sized Whole Foods Market in the basement;  I don’t think that was there the last time I went there.  It was packed even though it was close to 10pm on a Saturday, they must make a fortune.

The final stop before returning to Penn Station was Times Square.  Most of the streets there are closed to vehicular traffic for the rest of the year, so you can walk right in the middle of the roadway to take pictures (the city even put out chairs to sit on).  Sprint has a giant billboard with a simple video game on it that you can play by dialing an 800 number and then pressing keys on your phone to move the character around the screen.  Apparently it was being ignored by most people. since I was able to play three times despite the Square being packed with people.  (Lost all three times, but I don’t think anything interesting happens even if you do manage to win)

A map of where we walked/rode to:

Or you can view a map with all of the photos plotted on it.

Here’s a slideshow of the rest of the photos.  Click here to see them if the slideshow doesn’t work or if you want to view larger versions of the images:
Read more… (and show photo slideshow)