Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soon to be Published

Bear Bag by Wayne-K
Bear Bag, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Here's a photo from my backpacking trip in the Trinity Alps in July 2010. It's Ruben hanging our food in a tree. It's not a great shot, but I liked the perspective and how the wide-angle lens exaggerated the height of the tree.

Anyway, I was contacted via Flickr by a cookbook author who is writing a backpacking cookbook for the Boy Scouts. She wanted permission to use this photo in the book. I mentioned I used to be an Assistant Scoutmaster for my son's troop and led troop backpacking I would be happy to contribute to a book for the Boy Scouts!

I was actually surprised because I didn't consider it to be one of my better images, but I guess there aren't a whole lot of bear bag photos available.

The best part about this is she was thrilled to use my image and I was thrilled to be getting a few free copies of the cookbook. I may need to try a few recipes next year.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back to School

Homework by Wayne-K
Homework, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Where did the summer go? A week after the school year ended, we traveled to Italy for a great two week vacation. A week later, I went backpacking on the Lost Coast Trail. A couple of basketball tournaments, a nice visit from family, a new dog, and several business trips later, the summer is gone and the kids are back to school!

Time flies when you're having fun! Kevin's a sophomore and Kami's in the seventh grade. Seems like yesterday, the were little babies. Now Kevin will be driving soon....then off to college! Then Kami...well I'd better stop here...don't want mama getting too teary eyed!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Dream Cameras and Misc Ramblings

Simplicity by Wayne-K
Simplicity, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

As I noted previously, I believe one should pursue a career that pays well. The purpose of work is to support oneself and one's family. Having said that, when assessing new job opportunities, I didn't necessarily pursue the positions that paid the most money. I factored in job satisfaction, commute distance, and work hour flexibility. For me, the last two are priceless because they allow me to attend my kids' school functions and sporting events. The bottom line is, the size of the paycheck is important, but it's not the only thing that's important.

I view my photography in much the same way. The final image is important, but for me, photography is not only about the image. I enjoy the process of capturing the image.

It's about hiking to 10,000 feet in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains and enjoying the crisp morning air, the cool, clear creeks, and the majestic granite peaks (watch this video and you'll know what I'm talking about). It's about finding an interesting subject and understanding what I liked about it. It's about evaluating the possible camera settings and determining how best to capture the final image.

It's also about the camera. While the camera is just a tool, it's an integral part of the overall experience. People don't drive '67 Corvettes because it's the fastest or best handling car on the road, they drive it for the experience. When I want to enjoy the photography experience, I shoot a Nikon FM2 film camera. The manual exposure, manual focus, and manual film advance help create a zen-like experience. It slows down my body and mind, and makes me think about every shot.

Now, when the focus is on "getting the shot," I grab my digital SLR. Shooting a high school basketball game with a manual focus camera is like trying to catch flies with chopsticks...well, unless you're Daniel-san. In cases like this, the goal is the shot, not the experience, and the better tool is my more automated DSLR.

Speaking of basketball games, my Nikon D80 doesn't do high-ISO very well, something that's important while shooting games in poorly lit gymnasiums. I have no plans on buying a new camera, but I have spent some time daydreaming about it. So, hypothetically speaking, if money grew on trees, what camera would I get? What would be my "ideal" camera? My conclusion is I don't have one ideal camera, I have two ideal cameras.

For sports and other times when I just want to get the shot, I would use a Nikon D700. It's big and heavy (as are the lenses), carrying it around all day wouldn’t be fun, and processing all those photos on my much hated computer would be torture. But, it does extremely well in low light and focuses fast. If I had a Sherpa to carry it around for me and a graphic artist to do all the post-processing on the computer, it wouldn't be half bad.

For times when I want to enjoy the experience, I think I would use a Leica M3 rangefinder, film camera (circa 1950's) and a 35mm or 50mm prime lens. Alternatively, I would just stick with my Nikon FM2. Both cameras are beautiful in its simplicity. Load the film and set the ISO, shutter speed, and f-stop, then compose the shot and press the shutter release. Simple as that, just three settings. Once the roll is done, rewind it and send it to Wolf Camera for processing and scanning. No need to spend hours on a computer processing the images, neglecting the family, and developing eye strain.

Well, since I'm just dreaming, my digital "experience" camera would be a Leica M9 digital rangefinder, paired with either a 35mm or 50mm prime lens. That would set me back $10K, but hey, I'm just dreaming, right? It would also come with a graphic artist to handle all the post-processing, freeing my time to take more pictures, play with the kids, go for a hike, and anything else that doesn't involve a computer.

Okay, enough rambling for a night. I'm a bit under the weather at the moment, but I'm looking forward to some photography tomorrow on the Pleasanton Ridge. I bet you can't guess which camera I'll be taking with me....


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Portrait of a Dog by Wayne-K
Portrait of a Dog, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Whomever coined the term "dog days of summer" must have lived in Texas. It's hotter than a dog out here! Since returning home from Italy at the end of June, I've spent approximately three full weeks in the Dallas area. During this time, the temperature has ranged from a low of hot to a high of hotter. Once in a while the weather changed and it was hottest.

I'm not sure what was worse, spending the month of December 2003 in Anchorage, Alaska or spending three weeks in Dallas, Texas during the heat wave of 2011. What am I talking about? This isn't a heat wave, it's always sweltering hot here in Texas during the summer! Ninety eight hundred degrees...tomato....tomma-toe.... it's doggone hot every summer!

Okay, enough dog references. Here's a picture of Paisley. She's a pretty good dog, reminding me a lot of Rusty. Like Rusty, she loves to counter surf, sneaking a free meal from the unsuspecting.

Paisley is pretty hard-headed at times. When it's time to go into her kennel for bed, she sits at the door of the kennel and makes herself really heavy. When one tries to push her into the kennel, she raises her head, preventing it from going into the kennel. Paisley is also pretty smart. Throw a dog biscuit into her kennel at bedtime and she doesn't go for it.

Despite her stubborn nature, we all love Paisley. I, for one, am used to stubborn, having lived with three stubborn people for so long. But, I love them too...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Family Fun

It sure takes a long time to finish a roll of film! At 52 cents a frame, I take my time and shoot in moderation. The manual exposure, manual focus, and manual film advance on the Nikon FM2 all help slow down the capture process as well.

Here are a few photos from my latest roll, capturing more of the recent family fun.

Relaxing on the Water

27 July 2011 - A Day in the Life

28 July 2011 - A Day in the Life

2 August 2011 - A Day in the Life

Welcome Paisley!

Please welcome the latest addition to our household, Paisley! They say a dog is a man's best friend, but Paisley sure is getting a lot of love from a woman, a girl, and a boy...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Life's Been Busy

Work's been busy lately, I've been traveling a lot, and haven't been home much. In the last few weeks, I've been in Alaska, Texas, Utah, and Idaho, and I will be in Texas for the better part of the next two weeks. But, I've managed to find some time to tend to the important things in and friends.

I got in a few hikes during the week after work and on the weekends. We also had a chance to go kayaking at Shadow Cliffs, enjoying the warm, beautiful weather. The East Bay Regional Parks are wonderful places to spend quality time in nature.

We were even blessed to have family visit from Hawaii. The boys had a blast playing basketball (uncles against the nephews), grilling beef, drinking beer, grilling more beef, doing a walking tour of San Francisco, and grilling even more beef.

Kevin had a couple of basketball tournaments, one in Reno and another in Rocklin (near Sacramento). It was a great excuse to get out of town on mini family vacations. On the way home from Rocklin, we picked up a new addition to our family, Paisley, a cool Golden Retriever. I just finished my roll of film today, so pictures of Paisley are forthcoming.

Life's been busy. I need to win the lottery soon because I'm too busy to work 40 hours per week. Too much fun, not enough time...

15 July 2011 - A Day in the Life

San Francisco Tour Guide


Alcatraz from Pier 39

Riding with Daddy