Happy Easter everyone!
Little kids are great. They find large amounts of joy in the simplest of things. No iPad, iPod, iTouch, iMac, iBrow, X-Box, etc. is needed....just a cheap plastic egg filled with some goodies.
I think we can all learn something from little kids. Do we really need all those expensive material goods? Do we really need an expensive kitchen make-over, with new cabinets, granite counter tops, etc.? Well, my parents do, but that's another story.
Something to ponder....perhaps we shouldn't think so much about the fancy things we don't have and should start looking at the blessing we do have.
I feel really blessed. God's given me a great family, a warm, dry, and comfortable home, and food on the table. I don't need much more than that. I'll take a great son over a bass boat any day!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Happy Easter everyone!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
After photographing the high school Freshman basketball season earlier in the school year, I have moved onto high school track and girl's softball. I've never really considered myself a sports photographer, but I am slowing evolving into one.
I helped coach my daughter's softball team the last two years, so I really hadn't had an opportunity to photograph the games. The team manager this year already had a pair of assistant coaches, so I volunteered to be the team photographer instead (although I still help out at the practices and games). The girls are getting used to me sticking my camera in their noses. They are even pretty patient as I fiddle with the manual focus on my FM2 camera. I hope to get more proficient at manually focusing the lens as the season progresses.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Debbie arranged a surprise 50th birthday party for her husband, Patrick.
On Sunday, we took Patrick on a hike to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, in San Ramon, California. This gave Debbie an opportunity to get their house ready for the party.
The weather was wonderful for a hike. The fog kept the temperatures moderate, although the wind was howling once we reached the top of the ridge. The East Bay hills are pretty in the spring because the grassland is green, instead of the yellowish, brown tones in the summer months.
I dropped off Patrick at his house after the hike and when he opened the front door.....SURPRISE! He was definitely caught off-guard by the roomful of friends and was truly surprised.
Happy Birthday Patrick!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Thunder pulled out another big win on Saturday!
After trailing 3-0, they scored five runs to take the lead. The other team then scored two runs to tie the game. The Thunder scored two runs in the top of the last inning to take the lead. In the bottom of the inning, the other team scored a run and was threatening to win, with one out and the bases loaded. However, the Thunder would not quit and executed a game-ending double play.
Wow, what an exciting game!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
About ten years ago, I was in Fruitland, Idaho, managing the deployment of a CDMA wireless network for the local telephone company. I took the customer out to lunch at the local mom and pop restaurant, and I decided to have the salmon.
Big mistake! Never order seafood (from the ocean) in the middle of the country, especially outside of major metropolitan areas. I bet the steak, chicken, pork chops, or rainbow trout in Fruitland was incredible, but definitely not the salmon. Lesson learned, when in Rome, eat pasta.
I'm in Dallas, Texas this week and there's a Barnes and Noble bookseller at the mall across the street from the hotel, with a semi-decent photography section.
I decided to grab a quick bite at the food court before heading to the bookstore. I noticed a Panda Express and a Japanese place named Sarku opened up since the last time I was here. Panda Express is a chain, so it's a known quantity....I'd get greasy, 2000 calorie, Americanized Chinese food there, like every other Panda Express in the world (but the orange chicken is so good!). The Japanese place intrigued me. I remembered the salmon in Fruitland, Idaho, but I decided to give it a try anyway. Well, let me just say I should have gone to Chick-Fil-A.
So, why am I blogging about this? Well, if my poisoned, rigor mortised, dead body is found by the hotel maid tomorrow morning, I want all three of you loyal blog readers to have the coroner test me for toxic teriyaki chicken, tepid tempura, and hazardous California roll.
About the picture:
I had to dig into the archives for a photo today. This is a photo from a Boy Scout trip, hiking up Mount Dana in Yosemite (2009).
I have about 50 digital pictures from yesterday's softball game and a roll of B&W film to develop. I'm looking forward to processing both when I return home at the end of the week.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Only three things in life are certain; death, taxes, and Moore’s Law. Technology improves at an incredible rate. Entry level digital SLR cameras today produce better image quality than the top digital cameras from 5-7 years ago. It’s easy to get drawn into an endless upgrade cycle. Photographers often rationalize new equipment purchases, frequently blaming their existing equipment for poor photos.
“I photographed my son’s baseball game at noon at ISO 1600 and the photos came out terrible….I need the high ISO performance of the Nikon D3s.”
“My handheld photos of the full moon shot at ISO 100 weren’t sharp….I need Canon L-series glass.”
Truth is, we don’t need new anything…our existing gear works great! In fact, every digital SLR camera introduced in the last few years, by any manufacturer, is capable of incredible images. Most just need an adjustment to the nut on the back of the camera. If you need help finding it, check the manual or drop me a note.
As some of you know, I recently purchased a Nikon FM2 (manual focus, manual exposure, film camera) This is an amazingly simple camera. The photographer loads the film, sets the ISO dial, sets the f-stop, sets the shutter speed, focuses the lens, and snaps the picture. The only thing the camera does is meter, the rest is up to the photographer. Isn’t that beautiful? No more blaming the camera. Every bad image is 99.99% the fault of the photographer.
The best thing about the FM2 is it forces me to slow down. It literally takes me 30 seconds to capture a single frame. Part of it is the manual nature of the camera. The other part is the price. It costs me 52 cents every time I snap a picture, so I spend a lot more time ensuring my exposure is correct and more importantly, ensuring my composition is the way I want it. I can’t afford to shoot twenty frames from a dozen different perspectives, so I do all of my thinking before I snap the picture.
I strongly believe each of us can benefit from slowing down. Look at your scene. What do you like about it? What mood do you want to convey? What’s the best perspective to capture it? Once you’ve thought through all of this, set-up the camera to achieve your vision, carefully compose the image, and snap the picture. Slowing down and thinking about each image before you press the shutter release will give you more quality photos than any new camera or lens.
Don’t worry about the equipment, whatever you have is perfect…..just adjust the nut on the back of the camera.
Now dear, about that D700 I saw for sale….
Here are a few shots from the film archives.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
My Nikon FM2 arrived today. It is no longer in production, so I bought it used from Adorama. For a camera in E- condition, it sure looked pretty dinged up.
I saw an FM2 in really nice condition at the local camera shop for $275, but decided to get the less than perfect condition unit for $75 less. Part of me wishes I paid the premium for the cleaner camera. On the other hand, my camera came pre-dinged, so I won't be too upset should I add another ding or two in the future.
I haven't purchased a lens yet. I can't decide between the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI or the 50mm f/1.8 AI. For now, I plan on using my 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens.
Stay tuned for the first set of photos from the FM2....coming soon.
Monday, April 4, 2011
I shot my first roll of film in years. I trialed Ilford XP2 Super 400 B&W film for the first time....and loved it! The beauty of this film is it can be processed on standard color equipment (C-41 processing). I took it to the local Wolf Camera today and they developed and scanned it in only 30 minutes. It's much more practical than "real" B&W film.
With this roll of film begins a new photographic journey, which I'm calling the "Day in the Life" project. My intent is to capture everyday life in black and white. I anticipate capturing these images on film, using a Nikon FM2 camera and 50mm lens. My plans are to keep it simple and shoot for the joy of photography. My tools will be simple (manual focus, manual exposure film camera), the subjects will be simple (everyday life), and the process will be simple (minimal post-processing). The photos will be stored in this photo set.
Some people think I'm crazy for shooting film again or for spending $200 on an "ancient" manual focus, manual exposure camera. But the goal here is not just the destination (the final print), but the journey itself. I want to manually set the exposure, I want to manually wind the film after each frame, I want to hear and feel the distinctive "click" of a mechanical shutter, and I want to experience the anticipation of waiting for the film to be developed....
Sunday, April 3, 2011
We spent the day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk today. The weather was beautiful, not too cold and not too hot. Goldilocks would have loved it because it was just right!
The girls had a great time on the rides. The adults spent more time eating funnel cakes....the diet starts tomorrow! I did, however, burn a few calories exercising my shutter finger...mostly seagulls.
The seagulls were happy to have the people visitors. Unattended picnic lunches and bags of snacks were devoured quickly by flocks of seagulls.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The weather today was nice, but the Thunder was deafening!
It's Easter Break here and a significant number of girls were out of town, leaving only six girls available to play today. The minimum number of players required to play is eight, so the team forfeited. They did, however, play the game for fun....and killed the other team 18-10! The bats were hot today!
Kami played another solid game on offense and defense.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Kevin set a new PR today, clearing eight feet in the pole vault, placing him second in the Freshman competition. This is his first year pole vaulting and I was proud of him. I loved watching his intensity and competitiveness. He, on the other hand, wasn't happy at all....apparently, second place is the first loser. Hmmm, who taught him that?!
Since this was only my second time photographing a track meet, I practiced shooting the varsity boys pole vaulting. This gave me an opportunity to get some experience, find more interesting compositions, and work on my timing. Unfortunately, the Freshmen boys vaulted last, so I had to shoot Kevin's vaults in poor light. But, it was fun shooting anyway!
The only thing I was really disappointed about was missing Kami's softball game, which was occurring at the same time. She played an incredible game, especially her defense at shortstop and pitching. The opposing coach called her the "secret weapon." Kami's coach awarded her the MVP of the game. Although I didn't get to watch her game (or take pictures), I heard all about it and I am equally proud of her performance. It must have been the practice she had with her incredible father on the road earlier in the week. =)