Friday, December 30, 2005

Wishing You Well

Hope your 2006 is as good as mine is going to be.
Be careful out there on 'amateur's night', when all the
people who don't know their limits will be driving drunk.
(Click on Santa, Win a Prize)
Reason #2 why digital cameras are great: I took this
photo 49 minutes ago and it's already being seen around
the world.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Pearl Brewery

Despite being bought by Pabst and LoneStar at different
points in it's long history, the Pearl Brewery is finally
closed for good.
The switching engine no longer runs down the city streets
delivering freightcars full of ingredients.
Weddings that took place in the former horse stables are
now distant memories.
Several fires have damaged it beyond repair so many of the
buildings are being demolished, and what remains will become
the local branch of the Culinary Arts Institute.
I'm surprised this sign on Broadway hasn't been torn down
already, as the future crushes the past under it's relentless
march forward.
(Please click on the sign for the full-sized image)
I shot this for the final weekly Scavenger Hunt of the year,
because the sign has X's on it.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Chain Of Events

It all started today.
Click on the picture for the version I want you to see, and a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Lights 2

The REAL Santa Claus

Let me tell you about Santa Claus.

He's not the stern old man looking over his 'naughty or nice'
list that feeble parents threaten their kids with.
And he's not the befuddled fool that's so stuffed full of
the cookies and milk left for him that he needs to be 'saved'
by Jaclyn Smith in some dumb TV Movie.

Keeping in mind that I'm related to the one true Santa and actually
paid my dues as one of his Shopping Mall helpers, you can trust me
that the REAL Santa Claus is just as I captured him here.

He is a spry and mischievious old elf who tip-toes silently around
your house and hides the car keys after drinking all of the whiskey.
He gives cheese to your dog knowing full-well that it makes
her fart because dogs love cheese and he's a prankster who
loves the gift that keeps on giving, especially when it backfires.
Santa winks at the girls because he knows all of their secrets,
since they sat on his lap and told him everything, year after year.
And if you can bring yourself to truly believe in him and his special brand of magic, you'll be much better off.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Lights

This week I'll be posting a series of photos shot in my neighborhood.
There are bigger and better displays in town, but I haven't
had a chance to see them so y'all get 2nd-rate stuff.
This one made me laugh because Snoopy replaced Santa in the sleigh.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Spider Migration

Since freezing weather still threatens South Texas,
I moved our potted plants into the garage.
This spider hitched a ride with them.
Click on the photo for a close-up.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Mary And Gloria's Sunset

As anyone who has gone after photos of a brilliant sunset
knows, if you aren't in-position before the show starts,
you're going to miss it.
The sun goes down fast and the colors change between every
On Wednesday afternoon I had already seen the incredible
yellow skies and the huge rainbow, but felt like it was
too late to drive somewhere and catch any of it.
Then the phone started to ring.
By the time I got to the only vantage point that hasn't
been ruined by new developments and climbed the big hill
in the rain the yellow skies and
rainbow were gone, but I managed to get this pretty scene.
For Mary and Gloria.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Big Candle

For this week's Scavenger Hunt.
(Please Click On The Picture For A Full-Sized Image)
To get the 6-pointed star effect seen on the lights and flames, use a small aperture like f8 as I used here.
Shutter speed was 1/4 second at iso100, and the candle's front was lit using a small LED flashlight. A tripod and timer-activated shutter are required for shots like this.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Black Vultures

There's a strange thing about me.
When I really want to find something, I usually do.
Ever since my early teens, when I state my desired result
with a clear mind and heart I manage to find it within
an hour or two. And I never get lost no matter how far
from home I may be.
These days I apply this gift to photography, by just
getting in my car and driving, taking unexpected turns
whenever I get 'the feeling'.
It doesn't work 100% of the time, but I get lucky this
way often enough to keep on doing it.
Yesterday it paid off again. After fifteen minutes of
listening to the voice in my head I came around a bend
in the road and was presented with this.

There were around thirty of these Black Vultures in a couple
of trees, so I grabbed my camera and bagged some shots.
I don't recall ever seeing any of this species before, so they
may have been migrating together but that's just a guess.
The Turkey Vulture is the common carrion-eater around here.

As a bonus, while shooting these photos an 8-point buck stepped
out into the road maybe 20 feet from me, but I see deer too
often to bother taking another random picture. I've spotted a dozen
on five occasions this weekend alone. It's the rutting season
so they're brave and stupid.
Just like frat boys.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Texas Theater

For decades a major downtown attraction in San Antonio,
the Texas Theater's facade is all that remains, but
that's enough for me because what's left is a fantastic
reminder of days gone by.
The contrast between it and the SBC corporate
building it's now attached to is striking.
(Click on these images for a closer look)
More detailed info: Cinema Treasures

Monday, December 05, 2005

Just A Reminder

Is your tree up yet?
Ours isn't but all I have to do is bring two
boxes in from the garage and quickly assemble a
7-foot tall artificial tree with 1000 lights and
sixteen microprocessor-controlled patterns.
The lights were already installed, and it only
cost twice as much as a pain-in-the-ass "Live"
tree that drops needles, needs watering, and is
a major fire hazard.
But in the interest of equal time for opposing views,
here's a plug for those forward-thinking tree
merchants who have embraced the most hightech
advertising available: The blimp-shaped balloon.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Neiman-Marcus Butterflies

On my first-ever visit to a Neiman-Marcus store,
at the Shops At La Cantera, I was mesmerized by
this sight.
Hanging from the high ceiling over the escalators
are thousands of butterflies interspersed with
little mirrors. The effect was grand.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Model Trains

If you have noticed all of the train photos that turn up
on this site, it's probably not a surprise that I have
some N-Scale model trains, too.
I shot this for the current Photoblog Scavenger Hunt.
Since I only have about a foot of track with full
scenery this wasn't easy to do, and in the photo
the model appears a bit larger than actual size.
(Please click on the thumbnail for a full-size image)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Chinese War Horse

Having never set foot inside PF Chang's China Bistro,
I can't comment on the food, service or decor.
However, I have spent a lot of time
hanging around their entrance because of the two huge
and intimidating concrete statues of Chinese War Horses.
My first visit resulted in a few keepers that looked nice and
placed their location in town, but convinced me to return when
the sky was more dramatic.
Two weeks later the storm clouds rolled into town
at the perfect time of day for me to go on a photo-safari.
This one tied for 2nd in the SonyCams November Challenge, the theme of which was "Black & White".
After bagging a series of shots including the middle photo,
I decided to try only one exposure towards the sun. This ended up being my favorite (after extensive work in PhotoShop) but might be a bit too wild for some people.
(PLEASE click on the thumbnails to see the bigger versions)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle

Went on the Army post today to visit the animals that live
in the Quadrangle.
Ducks, chickens, peacocks and deer--all tame and
well cared for.
Here's an odd couple which is also my entry for
this week's scavenger hunt, Topic: Game Bird.
(Click on the thumbnails for the full-size images)
Here's a photo of the famous clock tower.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Spotted this turkey lurking in my backyard.
Had to choose between getting my shotgun or
my camera.
Also worthy of note, a pair of the new generation
of LED flashlights made this shot possible, since
it was pitch-dark at the time and on-camera flash
creates unattractive shadows.
(clicking on the little picture gives you the big picture)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific

After receiving a facelift at JFS Railcar in
Independence Missouri and Trans-Texas Rail
in San Antonio, RS&P caboose #9 is seen here
loaded on a flatcar for transport.
It's headed to a Bed & Breakfast in Bentonsport, IA.

The Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway was a West Texas shortline
chartered in 1906 that operated through the mid 1980s.
Here, workers are seen securing the trucks to the flatcar.

(Click the thumbnails for fullsize images)

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Boerne Texas

(Please click on the thumbnails for full-sized images)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Globes Revisited

While searching for globes at The Shops At La Cantera
I also came across this worthy contender.
One of the kiosks had all kinds of crystals that feature
laser-etched internal 3D designs, on rotating bases.
They are lit from beneath which is helpful when you're
trying to photograph them but the rotating feature makes
things very difficult because one moment you have a good
shot, the next you see a bunch of reflected shoppers.

(Click on the thumbnail for the full-size image.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Global Warming

Yesterday I spotted this hanging lamp with a fanciful
globe design on the shade, and realized it would make a
nice entry for this week's Photoblog Scavenger Hunt.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day

This is part of the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial
in front of the Municipal Auditorium.
If you are a veteran, on active duty, or a family
member of someone who served or is currently serving,
I offer my humble thanks and prayers.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Went to EZ's tonight for a snack: fries & onion rings
and a shake on the patio. It was a beautiful evening
for sitting outside, eating, watching the cars go by...
And playing with the camera.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


This recent photo of mine just won the SonyCams Challenge
for October--Music was the theme.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Here's a look at our Jack-O-Lantern this year.
I cut them from commercial patterns and I'm fast--an hour from the first cut that opens it up to lighting the candle.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sunset Station

The Southern Pacific Railroad's Sunset Station was
San Antonio's portal to the outside world for many years.
It was (and still is) a beautiful, ornate jewel.
While I have posted a photo of this stained glass
window before, this time I used a different exposure
to preserve more details in the glass.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rosa Parks

I doubt anyone needs me to explain who she was, what
she did, or why it was so important.
If you don't know, find out!
And be ashamed.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Smart Blur

This photo of a Japanese statue on the grounds of the
McNay Art Museum is a reject from that photo session
because of the huge shadow.
Instead of fixing it in PhotoShop, I jacked-around with
some of the various effect filters available.
This is 'Smart Blur', and I configured it to leave the
subject alone while making the background look almost
like it was painted.
I have used the effect several times, and while it's no
substitute for good photographic technique there are
some situations when it can help you create the
exact 'look' you are going for.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Big White Flower

The title says it all. Just a big white flower.
Still, I like this photo because of the porch
in the background, and for how well my camera
can quickly be configured to make the most of
a shot like this, since I barely paused while
walking down the sidewalk.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I'm No Angel...

...but check out my wings!
Sylvia took this so I could get in the frame,
making it the only photo on the site that I
didn't take.
Also, I don't say 'cheese' and won't take pictures of
people who do.

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Guitar

(Just a couple of photos of my guitar that
turned out better than expected.)
I was given this 1977 Ibanez Artist for Christmas
of that year, and it was Axe #1 for my entire career.
I have replaced every single piece of hardware and
electronics between 3 and five times so only the wood
and frets are original, and they're all beat up.
It still sounds incredible, and plays like a dream.

Thanks, Mom. You Rocked.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The Monarch Butterflies are now passing through
South Texas on the way to their wintering grounds
in Mexico.

Too bad the "sky-rats" don't follow them.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Accordian Festival

Yeah, you read it right.
There was an International Accordian Festival here in
San Antonio this weekend.
Acts from Kerrville to Azerbaijan were there, and the
level of musicianship displayed on the various types of
squeezeboxes was well above the pass/fail line.

Here's a couple of good-old-boys.
It's a shame you can't see their boots.

These guys were jamming in a free-form jazz kind of way.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Chalk It Up

Linda Pace, the picante sauce heiress, started "ArtPace",
a foundation that funds art in San Antonio.
One of their projects was last weekend's "Chalk It Up"
which involved closing several blocks of Houston Street in
the heart of downtown, and allowing artists, kids and
spectators to make chalk art on the sidewalks and pavement.
There was music and food and perfect weather, so by all
accounts it was a success.
Here's some photos to give y'all an idea what it was like.