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.