Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fountain of Youth

125/365 - Fountain of Youth
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The "water in motion" theme for my photography project is proving a lot more challenging than I expected. With the local creeks moving at a trickle (or dry), I'm left to man-made water faucets, toilets, etc.

Here's a picture of the fountain at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. I isolated one of the water jets with my 35mm lens and used a slow shutter speed to make the splashing water appear totally calm and a circular polarizing filter to cut the reflection off the water. The image is pretty simple, but I liked the blue and white tones in the water.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Solitary Emotion

124/365 - Solitary Emotion
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.”

-- Washington Irving

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Slower than Molasses

After hiking three days in a row, I decided to take a break today so I could get some chores done. I weeded and mowed the lawn, and watered the plants. I also cleaned up the dirty stove top and started to tidy up the house (AKA, getting rid of the evidence before the wife gets home). Hopefully, the dishes will magically get washed by the Tooth Fairy....if not, I guess I'll have to do it.

For my photo of the day, I tried three different ideas that I had in my little pea brain....but they all stunk! I finally headed to the arroyo on Santa Rita Road, adjacent to the former Nob Hill supermarket. Bad news...the water was moving slower than molasses (in winter time, but it's July)! I figured I'd just get a snap of it and call it a day...throw in the towel for today and try something new for tomorrow's shot.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Water in Motion

Pleasanton Ridge
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The theme for my photography project this week is "Water in Motion." This is a great theme...although I wish it was in the spring, when all of the local, seasonal creeks are flowing. I love shooting moving water with a slow shutter speed, giving the water a beautiful, misty look....but unfortunately, by late July most of the creeks here are dry. But, I have a few ideas for the week. For today's shot, I took a quick snap of our bathroom basin...didn't have much time because I had to meet some friends for a hike after work.

We did a quick hike at the Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. I feel so lucky to have a hiking trail so close to home. We started at the Foothill staging area and did a quick loop before dark. Here's a picture of the grassy hills of Pleasanton. I liked the low sun angle and how part of the hill is in the shade, due to the ridge blocking the sun.

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) manages a number of parks in the area. I've been taking pictures in the local parks and have been posting them in an EBPRD Flickr group. Check out the district's website for some of my photos. A few are currently being shown on the Shadow Cliffs ( and Pleasanton Ridge ( pages.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Windy Hill

Maple Leaf
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I went hiking at the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve on the other side of the bay today. The weather was a bit toasty, but fortunately much of the trail was under a tall canopy of trees, which offered a lot of shade. Also, as the preserve's name implies, there was a fair amount of wind, once we hit the ridge.

In addition to some great exercise and fresh air, I also got to take a few pictures. The challenge with going hiking with non-photographers is being able to take the time necessary to compose and review shots, without feeling rushed by the rest of the group. Fortunately, there were a couple photogs on the hike, one being my brother and the other being this girl from SF. So, we hung back, grabbed some photos, and probably left the rest of the group wondering where the heck we were.

I was contemplating starting a photo-hiking group, with the emphasis on photography. It would be nice to have a group of like-minded individuals, having a great time in the outdoors, but also taking time to enjoy the journey and snapping a few photos. I'll have to think about it more.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shadow Cliffs

Purrrr-ty Cattails
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I feel like my photography has been in a rut lately. The 365, photo a day project takes so much time, I sometimes find myself grabbing a quick shot to get it done...rather than taking a photo with my heart and soul in it. The themes for the last two weeks have been "In the kitchen" and "What's in your refrigerator?".....and I've been lazy, staying mainly indoors, taking relatively quick, not very well thought out, snapshots.

I decided to break out of it today. I've been wanting to take some photos at Shadow Cliffs, a local lake managed by the East Bay Regional Park District....but have been too lazy and too cheap. I'm too cheap to pay the $6 parking fee...and too lazy to ride my bicycle over there. Well, laziness prevailed and I drove over there and paid my six bucks....and it was worth it. I had a great time walking around, taking pictures in the beautiful afternoon light, and relaxing in the warm, but comfortable, summer weather.

Happy Birthday Grant!

21/365 - Soccer Balls
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I hope you had a ball on your birthday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weight Loss Program

I weighed myself today and I've lost five pounds since the family left for the summer. If not for my weekend binge in San Mateo last weekend with my brother, it might have been six or seven pounds.

I've been eating only what's available in the fridge, freezer, and pantry for almost five weeks now and I must admit, it's getting old. I love to cook and I love to eat...and right now, MRE's are beginning to sound like a gourmet meal. BTW, do you know what MRE stands for? MRE is the US military's rations and it stands for Meals Rejected by Ethiopians....or maybe it was Meals Ready to Eat?

I've been on a reverse-Atkin's diet for the last couple of days....lots of carbs and little protein. There's a lot of pasta in the pantry, so I've been eating quite a bit of it. I made this lovely macaroni dish, with a sauce made of extra virgin olive oil, dried garlic granules, dried Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper. The garlic and red pepper gave the sauce the POW it needed!

I am defrosting some thick sliced bacon and some andouille sausage. I was thinking about using the bacon in an olive oil based pasta how I would normally use pancetta. I may use the andouille in a red a spicy, Cajun spaghetti sauce. I need to run to the store to buy some red wine....can't have all this pasta without red wine. I know you're thinking that's cheating, but I don't categorize wine as food. An FDA study showed that red wine is good for the it isn't's medication!

What's in your refrigerator?

115/365 - Keeping Cool
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The theme for my photography project this week is "What's in your refrigerator?"...which should be interesting, since there's not a whole heck of a lot in my refrigerator. You could say I picked a bad month to deplete the fridge, freezer, and pantry!

A few months ago, the theme was "toys" and I took a bunch of pictures with this cute rabbit. I started another project called "100 Possibilities," which consists of taking a photo of something 100 different ways. In my case, the silly wabbit was going to be the subject.

Unfortunately, I've been so busy with the 365 project, I haven't had time for the rabbit. Well, I decided to get my 100 possibilities project back on track this week....and I killed two birds with one stone with this photo. This is Mr. Rabbit keeping cool this the fridge with a nice, cool drink.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Free Ride on BART

I rode the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train home today and this little pigeon was on for the ride. I grabbed a quick shot of him before the guy in the background chased him out.

I was half asleep on the train and when we arrived at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, this guy asked where was Bernal Street. I shook the cobwebs out of my head and pointed in the general direction. Apparently his car broke down and he needed to get to his sister's house. He asked about the buses and I had no idea about the routes or schedules. I found it odd that his sister didn't pick him up at the BART station....maybe he teased her a lot when they were kids? Who knows...anyway, I offered him a ride to his sister's house. It's risky being a Good Samaritan nowadays because you never know who the psychopaths are, but I thought I'd do my good deed today and help the poor guy out. Besides, I could be the psychopath for all he knew.....

Obon Festival

Japanese Kimekomi Dolls
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I went to the Obon Festival today at the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. Obon is the period of praying for the repose of the souls of one's ancestors. People believe that their ancestors' spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during obon.

These are kimekomi dolls. The artists carve and sand a piece of wood into the doll's shape and then tuck the fabric into the grooves.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

So Much for the Chores

I was dead tired yesterday and took a nap after work. My brother called and twisted my arm to cruise over to his place to go out. So, I grabbed a quick shower, packed my backpack, hopped on the train (BART) and headed to San Mateo. I wasn't feeling very well on the train...probably since it was 9:30 PM and I hadn't eaten anything since lunch.

We went to dinner at this quaint Japanese place called Izakaya Mai. Thankfully the wait wasn't long because I was starvin' Marvin. The food was great and the service likewise. If you're ever in San Mateo, you definitely should have dinner here....five stars! After a nice meal and a couple of beers, we headed back to his place and finished the night with some sake....until 2:30 AM.

I woke up at 6:30 AM, nice and refreshed....NOT! I forced myself back to sleep and finally rolled off the couch at 8:30 AM. My brother made some Korean food for brunch...bulgogi, homemade kim chee, and even a noodle soup. I don't have a scale handy, but I suspect I lost a few pounds in sweat. The food was incredible, but I'm sure the real highlight will be once all this spice moves through my digestive system. All I can say is, "I hope he has Charmin...and not the cheap stuff!"

This is a picture of my brother' collection of magnets, from his travels over the years. Not a great shot....and I'm glad the week of "in the kitchen" shots is over!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Liver Two Ways

Cows' Number One Fan
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Today is the kids' lucky day! Why you ask? Well, because I cooked a ton of liver and they are ten thousand miles away...too far to have some!

I checked the freezer last night and there was a lot of frozen protein available. Unfortunately, most were in "family sized" packages and not "Wayne sized" packages. For example, there are three trout frozen in one Foodsaver pack and five flat iron steaks in another. I suppose I could cut the packages open, remove what I need, and repackage the rest of it. Nah, too much work...I figured I'd have liver instead.

I defrosted this little container of liver. I'm amazed at how much liver fits in a little plastic tub! I mixed flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and Cayenne pepper, then floured and fried the sliced liver. For tonight's dinner, I had fried liver (with lots of ketchup and Tabasco) and some instant mashed potatoes, left over from my backpacking trip. I gotta say, it was pretty tasty!

For tomorrow's dinner, I threw the leftover fried liver into a pot and braised it in some barbecue sauce. It'll share my plate tomorrow with some leftover tuna casserole.

Here's a picture of some cows at the county fair last week. I thought I'd post a picture of my dinner....well, one of their organs anyway. I had a great time taking pictures last week at the Pleasanton street fair, the county fair, and on the river. Unfortunately, I'm not feeling the inspiration this week. The theme for my photo project is "in the kitchen" and I've been taking some pretty lame pictures "in the kitchen"...but I still have two more days to put a cool shot together...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

House Plant Death Row

House Plant Death Row
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Just in case you were wondering what they looked like....


110/365 - OMG!
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I decided to watch TV downstairs tonight because it's hotter than a dog upstairs (and I'm too cheap to turn on the AC). The downstairs TV hasn't been turned on since the wife and kids left three and a half weeks ago. One thing I'll mention is our house is pretty dark downstairs. So, where am I going with this, you ask?

Well, I laid down on the couch, turned on the TV using the remote....and noticed a parched plant...and turned around and there was another, and another, and another. It was like a horror movie and I was the star character.....about to get slashed, stabbed, bashed, and smashed by....well, my wife!

I'd been watering the lawn and the plants outside, but forgot about the ones inside. We had plants hidden away on shelves, behind the couch, next to the lamp....every where! I didn't realize we had so many plants! I moved all of them, lining them up against the wall, so I can water all of them at once without playing hide and go seek trying to find those little buggers. I hope they can be revived....oops!

Baked Tuna Casserole

Tuna Casserole
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
As I mentioned previously, my wife and kids are out for the summer and I've challenged myself to survive off the contents of the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry for as long as possible, without going to the grocery store.

I finished the venison-laced beans and rice for lunch and decided to make a tuna casserole for supper. I used some of the previously frozen milk, the moldy cheddar cheese (with the green stuff scraped off), some pancake mix (as a thickener), squiggly dried pasta, canned corn, canned tuna, parsley flakes (for color), dried onion bits, and black pepper. I topped it off with crunched up, stale tortilla chips for texture and baked it for about 20 minutes.

I must say it wasn't bad, in a good way. It could have used more black pepper and onion bits, and the tortilla chips probably wasn't a great idea, but overall, I was pleased with the dish.

I'm running low on ideas, so I'll have to check the current status of the food supplies and dream up more recipes. Fortunately, I still have the red pasta sauce I froze a couple weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tennessee Squire

I took a million photos "in the kitchen" today for my photography project...the dish cloth, inside the fridge, the stove, various kitchen tools, the faucet, and even the kitchen sink. They all stunk! I finally decided to take a picture of my good friend, Jack. I'm actually a member of the Jack Daniels Tennessee Squire Association. They send me a calendar and letters every year. As a loyal Tennessee squire, I try to buy a bottle of Jack every so often.

I got tired of dry cereal for breakfast, so I defrosted some of that milk I stored away in the freezer. Milk turns a yellowish color when frozen and I expected it taste pretty disgusting when I defrosted it, but it turned back to white and actually tasted pretty good. Perhaps because I was eating corn flakes for breakfast. Corn flakes has got to be the nastiest cereal ever created....well, right after grape nuts. I guess they make wine out of the girl grapes and cereal out of the boy grapes?? Okay, never mind....

I had my venison beans for lunch and dinner today. The venison added a touch of gaminess to the beans, in a good way. For dinner, I spiced it up with some Tabasco, which was very nice. I have enough beans and rice for one more meal and need to come up with something new.

I found some moldy cheddar cheese in the fridge. I sliced off the green stuff, but I'll have to eat it soon before it grows back. Trying to decide if I should eat it with crackers.....or try to melt it into a macaroni and cheese....or a mac and cheese and tuna casserole? I'll have to see how I feel later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In the Kitchen

108/365 - Kitchen Flower
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The theme for my photo project this week is "In the Kitchen." Personally, I think my wife called the folks responsible for selecting the theme and paid them under the table to create this theme. You see, the wife and kids are out of town all summer and I'm sure she's wondering what the kitchen looks like...well, unless she installed a secret kitchen-cam. Honey, rest assured, the kitchen is much so, I need to wear my sunglasses in the house! The fact that I'll be shooting tightly cropped macros this week is purely a coincidence.

This is the wife's plant in the kitchen by the window. I shot it from down below to avoid the backlighting from the window and to get a nice dark background to contrast the white flower.

After a fun-filled weekend on the beautiful Sacramento River, I returned to and a barren refrigerator. I finished the last of the venison curry for lunch today. It wasn't in my list of top ten dishes, but I added peanuts to it to add some texture and variety.

I used the venison bones to make a stock today. There was about a quarter pound of dried black beans in the pantry, so I cooked it in stock, along with some shallots, garlic, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and the last dried New Mexico chile. That will be my nutrition for the next couple of days. To supplement the beans, I made some Minute Rice, leftover from my backpacking trip. Let me just say Minute Rice tastes a lot better in the wilderness....

In the Hammock

In the Hammock
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
This is my friends' son in the hammock this morning. He is such a character and very photogenic....I had a great time this weekend. Tomorrow, back to work.....

Feeding the Ducks

Feeding the Ducks
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I spent the weekend on with some friends at their trailer on the Sacramento River. We had a great time fishing off their boat, catching smallmouth bass (and Margie's catfish), cruising around the waterways, drinking beer, and relaxing by the fire at night.

This is their son feeding the ducks this morning. The duck in the front has some funky feathers growing on her head. The locals call her Don King, after the famous boxing promoter with a similar hair style.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

On the Delta

I'm hanging out this weekend with Cliff and Margie on the Delta. Went fishing today and caught a couple smallmouth bass. They were tiny, but it was a ton of fun!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Good Night

Napping Goats
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
These goats were napping at the fair, so it made it easy to compose the shot. Some of the other goats were climbing on the pen fence....probably to eat my shirt. One of them actually climbed out of the pen. I heard on the PA system, "If your goat is not in his pen, please come to the display area to get him...."

I need to get some rest now. It's been a long, fun filled day....well except for the work part. Okay, I guess work wasn't that baa'd.

Alameda County Fair

I went to the county fair today. The kids are away for the summer so I went alone, with the plan to relax, eat some fair food, enjoy the live music, and of course, take some pictures.

My desire all week was to get some shots of the Ferris wheel, but when I got there, I figured I'd take advantage of the great afternoon sunlight first....then get the Ferris wheel when it got darker. I was walking around when one of the booth workers asked if I was a for National Geographic. I told him I was taking pictures for the post office (ala, America's Most Wanted) and asked if I could take his picture. He was a nice guy....even gave me a free dart to throw at the balloons, with no obligation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pleasanton Street Fair

103/365 - Going Home
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
After work, I went to the Pleasanton Street Fair in downtown. The City blocks off Main Street on the first Wednesday of the month from 6-9 PM for the fair. Various vendors set up little booths in the middle of the street. Most of the booths were pretty lame, but I almost stopped by the American Legion booth. I played a few years of American Legion baseball a long time ago and seeing them revived some cool memories. The food smelled awesome. I would have bought something if the lines weren't so long and the prices so high.

While walking back to my car, I heard the laughter of the child on the bike. I happened to have my camera in my hand when I heard the laughter and I turned it on and fired off a shot using whatever the camera was set at. I panned with the bike as I took the shot and it came out acceptably sharp (to me), with a bit more blur in the background. I loved the way the balloons were flying behind the bike...and of course the girl's laughter made me smile.

Food Update: I made some curry today using the Japanese curry boxed mix. I used the remaining carrots and onion....the onion was actually going bad, so only half of it was good. For protein, I cubed some venison from the freezer. I recall this curry mix tasting a lot better....maybe it's because this particular box expired in 2006. I need to crawl back into our pantry...I'm guessing some of that stuff is older than Jesus....and I'm not talking about the Mexican one...


Kidd Creek III
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I had a great time backpacking this past weekend in the Trinity Alps. One of my backpacking friends is from the UK and mentioned it reminded him of the Alps in Europe.

We purposely planned the route with fewer miles per day. This allowed us to get a leisurely start each morning and get to our daily destination early. Personally, this made for an excellent photo-hike. I woke up at or before 5:30 AM each morning and was able to take lots of pictures in the beautiful morning light....all before the rest of the group awoke a few hours later. We arrived at our destination early enough to set up camp, brew some tea, take a nap, and for me to take more pictures in the beautiful afternoon light.

Before I left on the backpacking trip, I struggled with the tripod I carry my four pound tripod or do I leave it at home. Given the route plan, I decided to carry it....and I was very glad I did. The tripod allowed me to take slow-shutter speed shots that would not have been possible without a tripod. The tripod also allowed me to experiment with different shutter speed and aperture combinations, without changing the composition. I have a lot to learn about photography and I got a lot of practice in. One thing I've found is the more I learn, the more critical I become about my own work. At times I get frustrated and feel I've forgotten how to take pictures....but then I get home and realize the pictures weren't half bad. With more practice and continued effort, I hope to get better and better. My 365 photo project has definitely had a positive impact on my photography.

Here's a shot of Kidd Creek. The moving water in the foreground was much darker than the sunlit peaks in the background, so I used a neutral density, graduated filter to balance the exposure difference. I also shot it at an angle (Dutch angle) to add interest to the shot. This allowed me to capture more of the moving water, particularly the water moving around the nicely colored (and nicely lit) rock in the foreground. The sunlight was filtered through some trees and I liked how it hit the rock and the redwood log...bringing out the beautiful red colors in both.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On The Go

102/365 - Gotta Go
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The theme for my 365 photo project is "on the go." I have some ideas for it, but was too lazy/tired today. Instead, I modified the theme for today...and used "gotta go" for today's shot.

I woke up every morning on my backpacking trip at 5:15-5:30 AM to take pictures of the sun rising over the mountains. I carried my four pound tripod on the trip, so I sure as heck was gonna use it. Check out my flickr photostream for the backpacking photos.

Food update: At the end of our backpacking trip, we had a six hour drive home....and I had two BK Whopper Jr burgers last night ($1 each off the value menu). Today was a different story. I have no milk, except for the bit of milk I froze last week. For breakfast, I had stale Cheerios...which I tossed after a few bites and had leftover trail mix instead. For lunch, I was desperate and had some instant ramen. For supper, I was too lazy to make the pasta, so I nuked a couple frozen hot dogs in the microwave and ate it with sauerkraut and mustard. I only have a couple more slices of bread left....I might save it for the remaining two hot dogs.

Happy Birthday Harv!

End of the Trail
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
My three amigo friends here offer you some nice cold beers to help celebrate your birthday. Hope you're having a good one! I'll call you later when it's night-time cell phone rates in Hawaii....I know how much you hate burning your 300 minute, family plan minutes....

I Heart Backpacking

I went backpacking with some friends in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. There was a lot of snow and we got to use our ice axes to glissade down a snow-covered slope. Need to go to bed soon...more pictures and stories to come.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Mia!

50/365 - Rose
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The wife is in Guam and celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday. In North America, her birthday is today (since we're behind the international date line) that makes her 26 years old today!

Happy Birthday!! Hope you like these virtual flowers I gotcha!