This is the blog page for Detroit photographer Juan N. Only. Click the link at the top of the page to go to the home page.

Larry Smith and Friends Boppin' At Bert's

Friday, October 1, 2010:
Larry Smith
I decided to get out to Bert's Marketplace Jazz Club for the first time in a very long time. Prior to going, I checked some internet listings to see what was going on there. However, when I got there, it was a different band than the one listed. I was pleasantly surprised to see Larry Smith and Friends on the stage. Bebop alto saxophonist Larry Smith had been a mainstay at Bert's throughout the 80s and 90s.

There was a stool available at the bar conveniently located across from the bandstand. I took up position there and after listening a little, I broke out the camera and began snapping shots.

I spoke to Larry briefly between sets. He said that he had suffered a couple of strokes a few years back and that he had to relearn how to play the sax. From how he sounded on this night, he is doing quite well with that.

Click here to view my set of photos from that night at
Or click here to browse the set of photos on a black background here at

Introduction - Who I am, why I have such a silly name and what is this KAP crap?

Way back when I was in undergraduate college, I bought my first SLR camera--a Ricoh XR7. It was also while in college that I went to my first Jazz festival: the Montreux/Detroit International Jazz Festival (as it was called back then). I took my fine new camera and photographed the musicians. Thus began my pursuit of live music photography and my love of Jazz (and of Detroit Jazz in particular).

It was also in college that I picked up the nickname of Juan and it stuck. When I decided I needed a business card for my photography, I added the 'N. Only' onto my nickname just to be cute or clever and to make an easily remembered name. For now, I plan on continuing to use this name, but there may come a time when I feel I need to use my legal name.

Most of my music photography has focused (so to speak) on the Detroit Jazz scene--both local musicians and those visiting from out of town. However, because my musical tastes are a bit eclectic, I also have photographed musical performances in other genres, including Indie Rock, Hardcore Punk, Folk, African pop and traditional music (I don't like the term 'World Music', so am intentionally avoiding it), etc. You can browse my sets of live music photography by clicking here.

In the summer of 2007, while on vacation travels, I picked up a small, dual-line, stunt kite (also known as a sport kite) from a shop in a tourist town on the Western side of the state (Michigan, that is) and started playing around with it. I got hooked, then obsessed and started pursuing kiting information on the internet. Through this research, I first learned of Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) and decided to combine two hobbies.

In Kite Aerial Photography, a camera is mounted in a rig which hangs from the kite line. The kite is then used to lift the rig into the air for some low-level aerial photographs. The rig can be very simple, in which the camera is in a fixed position within it, or more complicated with servos that change the pan and/or tilt orientations of the camera. The servos may be controlled automatically by electronics on the rig or through radio control (RC) from the ground. The triggering of the camera shutter can be through automatic circuitry internal or external to the camera (such as an intervalometer) or by a servo that presses the shutter button. Again the servo can be controlled automatically or by RC.

In the fall of 2008, I purchased a KAP kit over the internet, assembled it and, after a little learning curve, succeded in taking my first kite aerial photographs. I also managed to destroy two cameras--one slipped out of my hand and dropped onto pavement while putting it into the KAP rig and the other was destroyed when, through foolishness on my part, the kite line reel got away from me and the KAP rig, with camera in it, went bouncing across the roof of a building as it was dragged along by the kite.

I've now been pursuing this hobby for two years, however, I don't get out doing it nearly as often as I would like. You can browse my sets of KAP photos by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate any feedback, including constructive criticism.