Sunday, October 31, 2010
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
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
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!
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 rang...it 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
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
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...
Friday, October 22, 2010
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.....
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
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
-- 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
-- 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 things....like beer! Oops, did I say that? I meant buy your significant other something nice....like a zoom lens....
Saturday, October 16, 2010
-- 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
IDK....okay, I admit, I have writer's block...so I've resorted to ridiculous babble for today's blog....
Thursday, October 14, 2010
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
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
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
I treasure every moment and pray for many more yesterdays...
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
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 shot....so far.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
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 flowers...so 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
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
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
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
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
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.