Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Ghost
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Have a great Halloween, everyone! Hope you're getting more treats than tricks....

The kids are out trick or treating, so poor ole me is stuck at home, all alone, with nobody to talk to....and nobody bothering me as I watch the World Series game in peace and quiet!  Oops, did I say that?  Well, it's not all that quiet, there are actually a fair number of trick or treaters out and about this year!

BTW, so far the Giants are getting all the treats and the Rangers just the tricks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Already?

216/365 - Wingman
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I can't believe it's Friday...where did the week go? Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not complaining! The days have become incredibly short, with the sun rising around 7:30 AM and setting around 6:15 PM. It's been a challenge getting a decent photograph this week. To make things even more interesting, it's been overcast this week, with periods of rain.

I went to the arroyo after work yesterday to relax, walk, and take some pictures. Unfortunately, the afternoon sun never peeked out from behind the clouds.

I decided to practice my panning shots on the ducks. The auto-focus on my 55-200mm lens is pretty slow, but I was able to get a few halfway decent shots...nothing great, but good enough for government work....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Dandy

213/365 - Just Dandy
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Every day the Lord gives us is a great day, but Mondays are my least favorite. Too much work, too little time. But I count my could be too little work, too little money....

I grabbed a quick shot of this dandelion before the sun went down. When it comes to photography, some days I'm a lion...on the prowl for a good shot. Other days I'm a hyena....scavenging for anything I can get.

Today I was a hyena...and I ain't lying...or laughing!

Thanks Kevin

A few years ago, we had a little hole in our bedroom window screen. Then, we would hear tapping noises on the window. These little birds were picking pieces of window screen to build their nest in the neighbor's tree. Each morning, the birds would help themselves, until we had this huge hole in our screen. I "fixed" it with duct tape...and when that peeled off, I stapled two envelopes together to cover the hole. I used a Southwest Airlines credit card application...thank goodness for junk mail!

Well, we've had a lot of rain and gusting winds this past week....and the wind sucked the envelopes away....that sucks! My window screen patch just disappeared into the neighborhood.

Then, the door bell was our neighbor. Apparently, she found the soaking wet envelopes in her back yard. She handed the envelopes to Kevin, wondering why they were stapled together. Kevin so kindly explained the a big hole in the window screen and how his dad used the envelopes to cover the hole. So, now the neighbor probably thinks we're rednecks or something...thanks Kevin!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Prince Within

Beneath the frog in each of us lies a prince. Some just need to be kissed more often than others to bring out the inner-prince!

However, if you've been kissing your frog for more than ten years and still no prince charming....sorry, you're probably kissing a toad!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn Is Here

Autumn decided to arrive this week. It hasn't been freezing cold, but definitely cooler and wetter. I was hoping to take my new lens out hiking so I could give it some exercise while I got some myself, but the weather kept me closer to home.

For the dandelion shot, I used a Dutch angle, framing it with the flower in one corner and facing the opposite corner. I thought it would look more interesting this way. Also, with the shallow DOF, a level frame would have had a line of focused grass horizontally across the frame instead of a cool triangle (in the bottom, left corner).

The bird bath is in our back yard. I liked how the maple leaves filled the bird bath and how it looked like the bird was flying away, presumably south for the winter...

210/365 - Time for the Journey South

Friday, October 22, 2010

In Living Color

209/365 - Just a Leaf
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Just in case your eyes like other words, you're not a largemouth bass, white tailed deer, or any other animal that only sees in black and's a cropped version in living color.

I sort of like the black and white version better. Maybe I'm turning into a bass. Hmmmm, that could explain why I've been having the urge to swim around the bathtub, looking for bluegill.....

Nikon 55-200 f/4-5.6

Just a Leaf
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
My new (refurbished) lens just arrived today. It's a cheap, plastic lens, but a nice, compact, lightweight, zoom when stopped down...and perfect for hiking. I really wanted the 70-200 f/2.8 lens, but it's huge, weighs a ton, and costs a I decided to save myself $2000 and went with the low-cost option.....which should suffice for most of my telephoto needs.

Here's my first shot with it. I didn't have much time for photography today because I'm Mr. Mom right now. I went to pick up the boy at the gym today and while waiting for him, I snapped a few shots of the beautiful, yellow leaves in the tree on the side of the street. Not a great shot, but it had to do for my photo of the day. The refurbished lens has a 90 day warranty, so I need to run some shots through it to make sure it's good to go.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Personal Growth

Growth is an ongoing process. One thing that has helped accelerate my growth as a photographer is the sharing of ideas with other photographers. I'm a member of an informal, virtual "book club" with a couple other Flickr members. Through them, I've learned a lot and feel like I've had exponential growth in the last few months.

Today, we had a fun exercise. Each of us took one picture and sent the file to the other two. All three of us then processed the three photos using Adobe Lightroom 3 software and then posted it for review. It was interesting to see how three different people took three different approaches to processing the same photo.

Each of us has our own photographic style so it was pretty cool to be able to process another photographer's work. The differences in style also made it a challenge (and a great growth opportunity) because it made us process an image that was captured in a way that was different than we would normally capture it.

Here's my shot. It was a quick shot taken during lunch (in contrasty, noon-time light). It was intended for our fun post-processing activity...but I liked the result so much, I ended up using it as my shot for the day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


"I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars."
-- Walt Whitman

The theme for my photography project this week is "Journey." A journey could be the act of traveling from one place to another, or it could be the band from San Francisco formed in the 70's.

My approach for the theme this week is to take photographs pertaining to quotes related to journeys. I based today's shot on a quote by Walt Whitman. I looked out the window and saw the morning sun glistening off the dew on the grass. My vision was to highlight a taller blade of grass standing above the rest, so I searched the yard...and was thrilled to find one with dew on it! I used a wide open aperture to create a shallow depth of field and a low angle perspective to capture the subject grass standing tall.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Journey to a Cleaner Planet

Journey to a Cleaner Planet
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
"Journey with me to a true commitment to our environment. Journey with me to the serenity of leaving to our children a planet in equilibrium."
-- Paul Tsongas

When I first moved to California, I was shocked that people paid for water. Twenty some odd years later, bottled water is a gazillion dollar a year business. I still can't comprehend paying for water, but some lucky people out there are profiting handsomely....and the landfills are filling up with empty bottles.

Now, I'm not going to tell you how to spend your hard earned money, but if you choose to spend it on water, please recycle the bottles. Better yet, buy yourself a nice Nalgene, stainless steel, or similar reusable bottle and save your cash for more important beer! Oops, did I say that? I meant buy your significant other something a zoom lens....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Where Do you Want to Go?

Curve Ahead
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter.”
-- Lewis Carroll

Are you on the right road to achieve your goals and aspirations? What are your goals and aspirations? If you don't know, you're driving aimlessly on the highway to nowhere....and unfortunately the older you get, the higher the price of gasoline!

If you've established your goals but haven't done anything about it, it's time to turn on the GPS. Just remember...the road to hell is paved with good intentions...

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Girl's Treasure

203/365 - A Girl's Treasure
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Who is this mysterious person? Isn't her skin beautiful? Don't you think she has a cute, little ear? What is she doing lurking in the shadows? Is that a real diamond earring? Are those split ends? What is the meaning of life? Who's on first? Why am I asking so many questions?

IDK....okay, I admit, I have writer's I've resorted to ridiculous babble for today's blog....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Death by BlackBerry

Death by BlackBerry. The device kills your soul ever so slowly, you don't even realize it's happening...until it's too late. You don't say "hi" to the people in the elevator, because you're checking the stock prices. You don't talk to your colleagues over lunch, because you're uploading a photo to Facebook. You missed your son's game winning home run, because you were talking business with your boss. You don't even talk to your family at the dinner table, because you're checking your e-mails.

We live in a hyper-connected world because of this amazing technology...but does it enhance our lives or permanently kill our souls? I long for the day I can trade in my BlackBerry for a fishing rod. It's a beautiful morning on the lake, the water is calm, and the sun is rising quickly. There is a sense of urgency, we need to get our lures in the water quickly....the e-mail can wait!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another Priceless Treasure

Kevin's Father's Day letter to me - June 2009.

Kevin was headed off to a Boy Scout summer camp last year and was going to be gone for Father's Day. When I dropped him off, he gave me the most wonderful letter, saying he was sorry he would be missing Father's Day...and a whole bunch of nice things which I won't share here.

The envelope and paper costs mere pennies...but the love, thoughts, and feelings captured on the paper are priceless. I will treasure it forever!

Okay son, now finish your chores, shower, and get to bed!!! <3 U


200/365 - Treasure #2
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
The theme for my photography project this week is "Treasure." I bought a waterproof camera housing, slipped into my wetsuit, and dove into the depths of the Pacific Ocean, looking for the sunken ship containing a treasure chest. I found nothing.

Upon my return home, I realized my good fortunes...I treasure my beautiful wife and two great kids. No sum of money or quantity of gold is worth more than the time we spend together as a family.

Here is Kami holding her softball picture, a picture of her with her coach. I don't remember his name, but he was an awesome coach! Charming, handsome, intelligent, and incredible too....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seems Like Yesterday

Seems like yesterday, I was supposed to get my bass boat, but the wife decided to get prego. Seems like yesterday, this slimy, gooey, little baby squirted out...and we named him Kevin. Seems like yesterday, I was changing his diaper and he peed on my glasses. Seems like yesterday, I carried him up Mission Peak and turned around before the top because it was windy and cold, and he was crying endlessly. Seems like yesterday, we were at a Y-Indian Guides camp-out and he fell and cut his lip open. Seems like yesterday, he gingerly told me he didn't want to play baseball any more. Seems like yesterday, I taught him how to ride a bike on the road. Seems like yesterday, I took him fishing, but after 30 minutes he just wanted to throw rocks in the water with his sister. Seems like yesterday, he was heading off to kindergarten.

I treasure every moment and pray for many more yesterdays...

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Kevin is sporting some pink, breast cancer aware, shoe laces for his AAU basketball games this month....

The Sunday Paper

Sleeping In
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
There is something relaxing about reading the Sunday newspaper in the morning, drinking a nice cup of coffee, scanning the sports scores, and reviewing the local activities and events. I always enjoyed looking through the coupons and advertisements…for things I didn’t need but was interested in looking at anyway. We no longer get the newspaper….all the sports, news, weather, fishing report, and so on can be read on the Internet.

Although a number of newspaper publishers have closed their doors, there are people who apparently still enjoy the Sunday funnies. As I walked around the neighborhood on Sunday, I noticed quite a few newspapers on driveways. The Sunday newspaper readers are probably the same people who use a typewriter for business correspondence, mail letters to their friends, read hardcover books, shop at Sears and JC Penny, and feed their pet dinosaurs brontosaurus burgers.

The one thing I do miss about getting the newspaper is the large stacks of old papers that accumulated in the garage. It came in very handy, for drop cloths when painting, changing the oil in the car, and making cool pirate hats. Fortunately, I don’t do these things anymore either….

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Watching Over the Children

This fountain is in front of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Pleasanton, CA. I love the scene of the children in the sculpture and have been wanting to photograph it for a while (this was actually the fourth time I've photographed it this year).

The challenge with this sculpture is its cavernous shape, it always creates a contrasty scene with lots of shadows. I decided to take a close up shot of the children, eliminating the top portion of the sculpture. My objective was to focus the viewer's eyes to the children. The shadows in background section of the sculpture created contrast and helped direct the attention to the children. I liked how the girl (in the top left corner) was looking over the children and framed and processed the photo to capture her subtle presence. After multiple visits to photograph the sculpture this year, this is my favorite far.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Broadening One's Horizons

Since giving up my 18-200mm lens, I no longer have a long telephoto capability and have been shooting my 35mm f/1.8 lens the vast majority of the time. I love the creative control I have with the f/1.8 because I can get a really shallow depth of field. The downside of shooting my much loved 35mm lens all the time is I'm slowly becoming a one trick pony.

I've been focusing the last few weeks on broadening my horizons. I'm trying new techniques and shooting new subject matter. For example, I rarely do sports/action photography, but last week I had a blast shooting the skateboarders at the sports park. Additionally, I'm not a macro photographer, but I've been shooting a lot of close ups, including tree sap, grass, and flowers. I've actually been shooting quite a bit of much so, I feel my "man card" is dangerously close to being revoked!

For today's wide angle shot, I decided to take a picture of the tools in the garage. The garage is a man's domain and what's more manly than tools?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Open Office Environment Etiquette

193/365 - Fallen Brethren

The company I work for uses an “open office” layout, presumably to foster communication and collaboration between employees. The cubical walls are low and clear, so as not to become a physical barrier between co-workers. I think management read too many communication theory and organizational management textbooks before they came up with this idea. Quite honestly, they would have been better off reading “Dilbert” books instead.

The open layout fosters communication, but unfortunately the communication consists of large gatherings right outside my cubical. The open layout also fosters the effective propagation of sound waves, causing irreparable hearing loss for people trying to work while meetings are being conducted right outside their cubical. So as not to be entirely negative, I will mention a few positive aspects of this office configuration. The deafening noise from meetings prevent me from hearing the speakerphone discussions and obnoxious cell phone ring tones in the cubicals around me.

The company just issued its “open office environment etiquette” guidelines. Here are a few of my favorites.

To avoid allergic problems and to show respect for your colleagues, avoid strong perfumes: The consequence of this guideline is the dramatically reduced number of women and gay men in the office.

Do not bring hot food with pungent smells into the work area: This guideline has eliminated all Asian and Pacific Islander people from the workplace.

Cell Phones: Use vibrate mode or low and discreet ring signal: This guideline got rid of the “Generation X” crowd and everyone under the age of 25 (and a number of middle aged people who act like they are under the age of 25).

Please ensure that you practice good personal hygiene, including but not limited to: washing hands, controlling body odor and being accountable for maintaining a healthy work environment.: Now this has eliminated a number of “old school” telecom veterans, the coffee drinking, cigarette smoking, jeans wearing (with butt crack showing), old guys from the Ma Bell, pre-regulation days.

While I love the new office etiquette rules, I sure am lonely in the office. Seems like I’m the only one left!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Going Wide

192/365 - This Is My House!
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
It's basketball season again! Well, not quite, but Kevin's playing basketball year round with the AAU.

The theme for my photography project this week is "wide angle." My wide angle lens is by far my favorite backpacking lens. I wish it were a bit faster (larger max aperture) so I could have more creative control over the depth of field...but for landscapes, it can't be beat!

The key to using a wide angle lens is to find an interesting foreground object and an interesting background, then get really close to the interesting foreground object (literally inches to a foot away). This really gives depth to the shot. For example, a flower in the foreground and a mountain range in the background.

The vast majority of the images created with my wide angle lens are landscapes. For today's shot I decided to try something new...before my Nikon 12-24mm f/4 lens turned into a one trick pony. I interrupted Kevin's homework and dragged him to the park while there was still light outside. I had him palm the ball and stick it straight into the lens. This helped give the shot depth, with the ball in the foreground, Kevin in the middle ground (sort of) and the basketball hoop in the background (and the great sky).

I hope to try out a few more different "non-landscape" shots this week...

Sunday, October 3, 2010


191/365 - Rain's Coming
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I love summer! I love the warm weather, the sunshine, and the long daylight hours. I never cared much for the cold winter season. Before I continue, I know some of you don't consider California winters cold, but compared to Hawaii, it's freezing here!! Okay, now that I got that out of the way, where was I? Oh, yeah...Autumn brings cooler weather, beautiful colors (well, not so much around here), and fluffy other words, more interesting landscape pictures.

I woke up this morning and noticed the sky was filled with beautiful clouds. They even had a touch of red from the rising sun. I had planned on taking some photographs at the park today, but decided to head to the hills to capture the great clouds. I drove to the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, which is just north of Livermore, CA (about 25 minutes away).


For this shot, I used my wide-angle lens, got up close to the fence to fill the foreground with the first post, and used a small aperture for maximum DOF. A ND grad filter helped reduce the contrast difference between the sky and foreground and of course, the tripod allowed me to shoot with a slower shutter speed. I placed the bright umbrella against the fence to add a bit of interest and color....and because I thought it fit in nicely with the gray clouds in the background.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Slow Boat to China

190/365 - Charlotte's Leaf
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I'm a little over halfway done with my 365 photography project. I feel like I'm running around the globe and I'm only in China somewhere. It just occurred to me that I could have gotten there quicker if I'd dug a hole instead....well, at least it worked for Bugs Bunny.

Anyway, I'm now in China and it's been a slow boat ride to get there. Hopefully the second half of my 365 will pass quickly.

Friday, October 1, 2010

More Sk8r Boi

Air II
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Another shot of the skateboarder...getting air this time!

Sk8r Boi

Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
It's been a rough week at work and I was pretty tired when I got home today. After laying around for an hour or so, I decided I needed to get off my butt and get energized. I grabbed my camera and headed to the skateboard park at the Pleasanton Sports Park.

I dressed like a bum (well, my usual t-shirt and shorts) and wore my baseball cap backwards to blend in with the teenagers. I used my wide-angle lens and put the hood on it. I figured a lens with a hood looks like a pro photographer, because casual photographers rarely use the all-important hood. After observing the skateboarders for about fifteen minutes, I walked up and asked if they would mind me grabbing a few shots. I got up close in the middle of the action and fired away. I just made believe I knew what I was doing. One of the guys warned me the white box would come flying if they hit it. I told him to just come right at me and I'll shoot away. I had a ton of fun shooting the skateboarders today. They were really cool and kept doing their tricks, while I fired away.