Month: July 2016

Running with the Virtual Bulls

On ninth day of the fiesta I found myself, despite fervently refusing the four years prior, inside the fences of the encierro. I’d already seen gorings from the press barriers and knew what could come, but to complete my fiesta experience from what I was clearly missing, I ran the Ayutamiento.

It wasn’t much of run of course, I barely got anywhere before the bulls were past me and the crowd had shoved me aside, but it was exhilarating nonetheless. I finally seem to see where the camaraderie of the runners comes from. What the veterans talk about when praising the run itself. By no means am I a runner now, but I see it, what wishing someone luck before then run means.

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The very same day I had the pleasure of running again–this time the length of the course. An impossible feat if it weren’t for the Virtual Reality (VR) software presented by the folks at the Encierro Exhibition.

Donning the HTC Vive headgear and stepping into braced platform that would allow one to run freely in any direction while keeping the runner in place, the Omni by Virtuix , I was placed in a virtual encierro.

The studio behind the work has clearly kept attention to detail a top priority, as with every excited head turn, one could see the photorealistically accurate buildings that make up the course. And, to my delight, one could look down alleyways and streets beyond the course, too.

Inclines, bends and buildings are all there already. One might even see more in the VR simulation of the actual buildings surrounding the run than during the fiesta, as the crowds of San Fermin cover what the encierro experience aims to reproduce.

The Toro del Fuego (or Firebull) is a plastic bull likeness with real bull horns made for children, and it gets its name from the fireworks it shoots as it chases the younger generation of the fiesta.

Naturally, the beta is a beta and there is a pronounced lack of runners, and there aren’t any steers, photographers, policemen and attendants to the run of all sorts to see. And yet, the miracle-run from just before the bullpen to the triumphant exit of the callejon into the plaza is a marvelous experience, one I’d like to see again, and recommend to anyone looking for a very futuristic take on this age-old tradition.

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Roca’s Council

Roca Rey salutes the crowd after his near-goring

Roca Rey salutes the crowd and the bull, after his near-goring in Pamplona’s bullring during the 2016 San Fermin Fiesta. Critics predicted this kind of action with Roca’s daring record in the ring.

New Site, New Rythm

Screenshot of original mikemingway.com landing page

Hello World,

So to the few that paid attention, gone is the old site. Gone is the mikemingway that we knew, the first site I ever built.

That site came at the tail-end of my fervent curiosity with cameras, and we could say the infancy of my photographic career. I was exploring all sorts of stuff then. From 3D design, digital arts and game design, to mead-making, writing and other evils. A lot of those interests crystallized and I’m still at them today.

With that first iteration, I learned my way around web design, and really paved the way for the web business I’m running now. Of course, it was all static HTML and very hard to update without a CMS. That kinda let me stagnate with uploading, and in turn killed a lot of the momentum I had with my photography. This site is then the answer to that. A fully custom theme I can be involved in with my web design and the WordPress back-end to manage frequent updates should keep me going strong with my photos.

Screenshot of the categories from my site

On top of all that, this new site lets me add way more diverse content, as I’m no longer bound by my original site’s three categories. This was a design decision I learned in school, that of scope, and one I was wisely advised by other designers while considering the redesign. This new site may not be as focused, but hey.

To infinity, and beyond.

-Mike

Shapes

My favorite images from a boudoir shoot I did with some other photographers and a few models.

A Dance

I noticed some time ago that I’ve been unknowingly following the budding career of this young matador.

Chase

Feeling out the bull with a chase. The bull is unhindered, focused, and fast.

The Creation of Adam

The Rejoneador leans into the bull, like God to Man.

To this day, this remains my favorite image, and my favorite fight. It’s the first image I show to people wondering about the beauty of the culture, at least of my own.

And to those that think one needs big gear to get good sports images, the little buffer of the consumer camera I had ran out, so I couldn’t take any more than one image every few seconds. I paced myself as I saw the lean, and turned to the folks behind me when I got it. I new I got it before the camera told me.

Kid with the ear

Kid waives a cloth to signal that the bullfighter should receive an ear

The boy turned to his parents, sitting further back, showing them that he thinks this bullfighter deserves an ear for the fight. He waves something white as the judges make their decision.

Portra 400, July 2013

Padilla

Padilla Awaits his bull

Entering the ring to a cheer as the day nears an end, Padilla waits for his bull.

Valencia, 2015