Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dead Tree

This is the same tree seen here a few nights later.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Caliente Harley Davidson

A new Harley dealership recently opened in San Antonio.
I was working there on friday, and as usual was taking pictures every spare moment.

New buildings are a favorite of mine because the paint and details are crisp and clean, and this place had some unique architectural features like the metal shades with cutout designs and the tensioned canvas awnings that cover the cycle parking areas.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sunset Station Christmas Decor

Sunset Station was one of the finest passenger depots on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
It's privately owned now and houses several bars, restaurants and a concert pavillion, but as a condition of the sale the new owners had to restore the place to it's former glory.
This is what it looks like for the Christmas Season.
You can see what the stained glass window above the tree looks like here.

Here's a view of the outside featuring an old Texas & New Orleans/Southern Pacific steam engine on display.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Walking At Night

We have been walking a lot lately, so naturally I want to walk to weird places so I can add some photography to the mix.
Just down the closest main street from our neighborhood there's this bridge over a wide drainage ditch. I have a bunch of previous photos from here, but I kinda like these newest ones better.

This concrete drain pipe feeds into the ditch underneath the bridge. The bluish light is from my flashlight, trying to see as far as possible up the pipe.

If it's possible to have a favorite tree, this one is mine. I have watched it die, get big sections cut down by a firewood thief, and then come back with new growth over the last three years.
I like it so much I walked there by myself a few nights after the other two photos were taken just to do it justice with a better picture.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

That Time Of Year

Just so everyone knows where I stand:
It's not "The Holidays", it's Christmas and I love it.
But I do not approve of Christmas junk going on sale in September for crying out loud, and anyone who puts up their lights and decorations before Thanksgiving is a nut.

In this case, I'm making an exception.
The Christmas lights went up on the Tower Of The Americas sometime before I took this photo on Nov. 16, and that's okay with me for some reason.

To my American visitors, I hope your Thanksgiving went well.
Mine did.
Next year: Stuffin' Muffins, thanks to Rachel Ray.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Just A Bee

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Library At Night

This was an attempt to recreate a photo from February 2005 which just barely topped the popular voting in the very first contest I entered, only to lose after the judges made their picks.
Of course, this time I did it at night.
You can see the original here.

Another side of our main library. The big balls are dual-purpose.
Besides looking cool they also discourage people from climbing up the incline and falling off.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Waiting To Cross Over

While the shutter was open he walked into the shot to ask me the time, then stood waiting for the train to pass so he could cross the tracks and head for home after a long day's work.
But now I wonder if it happened at all...

Today marks the 2-year anniversary of getting my camera.
I have taken 17,226 photos with it in that time, posting well over a thousand on the internet in various places.
Hopefully I will keep getting better at bringing my visitors photos and stories worthy of their time.

Update 1: The photo above has just been selected for the Editor's Choice section of the Railroad Forums Photo Gallery. It shares this honor with 302 other photos out of 26,661 total pictures from over 2000 photographers.
That's quite an anniversary present, and very flattering.

Update 2: Another bit of recognition, as the Houston Photobloggers website has put this picture in their Spotlight on November 30.
I have entered it in two contests so far, one of which has a Samsung/Pentax DSLR with a Schneider-Kreuznach 50-200mm lens as first prize. Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Botanical Garden Part 2

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

SA Botanical Garden Part 1

Traffic due to highway construction cut a lot of time off our visit Sunday, so after paying the $6/each admission I kind of rushed through the sprawling complex of gardens, sculpture and historic buildings.
These are two of the cone-shaped greenhouses that can be seen above the trees from all over this part of town.

This is a scenic overlook in the middle of the property.

The roof of the main entrance building, the Daniel Sullivan Carriage House, which was built in 1896 and later moved stone by stone from it's original location downtown. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The next post will feature some of the plants etc found within the gardens and greenhouses.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Praying Mantis

This is a young mantis that was on the hunt for tasty bugs under our porch light one night. Little did he realize, there were six adult Turkish Geckos closing in from all sides.
The hunter had become the hunted.

When I came out to take his picture I busted up the raiding party, but they probably came back for him after I left.
A full-grown mantis could have put up a good fight, but this one was on the small side.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veteran's Day 2006

Saturday November 11, 2006
Today we honor those who have served their country in the armed forces.

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

Airshow 2

This one required a lot more processing time to get right, but I kept at it until reaching the 'acceptable' level I hope.

Lackland AFB Airshow

This was my first airshow since getting a digital camera and of course it was badly overcast the whole weekend.
Regular visitors know that I don't much care for cloudy days unless the sun is peeking through to light my subjects, but you can't change the weather.
And if the sun had been out it would have been shining right down the lens, so all in all I can't complain.

A simple mistake kept these from being more colorful but at least I learned an important lesson, and personal growth is all that really matters.
The smart things I did were to shoot in shutter-priority mode at 1/1000 and manually focus at infinity so every shot was sharp and the camera's response was much quicker, and to switch to the EVF instead of the LCD to track the planes with both eyes open.
Some +EV would have been helped.
Next time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Are You Alright?

It was very funny.
As I lay on the ground getting this shot (3am Amtrak Depot Downtown SA) a passenger heading for the train asked after my condition.
Must have thought I was drunk or injured.
When assured I was fine he complained about how late his train was running.
A minute later he was aboard and the train was on it's way, and I had my favorite railroad photo of the year.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Balcony Scene

I was working a frat party on the third floor over Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in St. Paul Square, and stepped out onto a tiny balcony over Commerce St.

Here's the view looking west towards the city.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Park And Ride

While I have spent a few hours here and there shooting night photos near Texas Highways the results were never really what I was after.
My thanks go out to "Seymore" (who is visiting Austin from Olympia Washington right now) for giving me the idea of getting down deep underneath a big interchange.
As soon as I saw his recent photos the perfect location popped into my head: the park and ride lot under IH10 and Loop 1604.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

Today is the start of the Day of the Dead, an important 3-day holiday in Mexico.
Mistakenly condemned by some fundamentalists as a celebration of death itself, with satanic overtones, it's really all about honoring the memory of your ancestors.

The skull in this photo from last year is a classic example of the imagery seen in much of the associated folk art, so I'm re-running it today.

Light some candles and think about your loved ones who have passed on.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween 2006

Another Halloween has come and gone. We had a record high 87 trick-or-treaters last night, and they were a fun bunch.
One little ninja suddenly busted out with a song about being a ninja for Halloween.
A large group started laughing and couldn't stop themselves.
And a young girl exclaimed "I remember your costumes!" when our two witches opened the door.
Mostly though, they were scared. The smoke, fire and strobelights make it very disorienting just getting to our door.

Visible in these photos are the dead branches I piled in front of the house and along our driveway.
City brush pickup is next week, so moving the deadfall from a recent major tree disaster out of the back yard will save me time later while contributing to the spooky and decrepit look I'm after.
It was a last minute idea that bumped our show up a notch.

As of 3pm today, the whole show was packed away without a trace.