Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fall Meets Spring

Local forecasters predict mid-upper 80s tomorrow, the
first day of March. I predict another freeze
within two weeks.
The trees are just as conflicted, as seen by these photos
from my yard.
Dead leaves stubbornly cling to branches that are starting
to bud. Is it still winter, or has spring arrived?
However things turn out this will be a year marked by bizarre
weather, but let's hope there won't be as many fatalities and
broken dreams as in 2005.

(click to enlarge)
I entered the first in the Brookston Scavenger Hunt, but the second
is growing on me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

There's No Place Like Home

These were shot for a contest who's theme was 'Home'.
Something happened on the day I was going to enter one
or the other, so y'all get to see them both early.
It doesn't bother me that I missed the deadline, because
someone entered a photo of a cute puppy in a blanket.
It's impossible to beat a dog or teen girl photo even with
a shot of the second coming of Christ shaking hands with
an Alien. "It's blurry and dark and crooked, but I give it
a '10' for being cute."
Anyway, my thoughts were to capture either a home of the future
or one from the past.
This 'future' home is remarkable because of the feature that some
San Antonians pretend they have: An outhouse in the front yard.

This home from the past is much more interesting.
Faced with native stonework on all four sides and graceful
cathedral-style doors, this modest home was probably the finest
little house on Huebner Road for fifty of the last seventy-five
years. As the city has expanded relentlessly northward the farms
and ranches in our area have turned into housing developments
and shopping centers.
I fear that this old house will be demolished within the year
if someone with a preservationist outlook and deep pockets
doesn't buy it soon.

Taken a half hour after sunset, I used a ten second
exposure and the on-camera flash supplemented by another flash
from the right side using a handheld unit.
(Click To Enlarge)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Views Of Texas 1st Anniversary (Carnival Photos)

Views Of Texas has been on the web for a year now.
242 photos in 154 posts, around three a week.
Since I didn't start counting until a few months later, there
have probably been over 10,000 hits. Wow!
I want to thank all my regular visitors, and especially
Matthew--who's own photoblog led me to Blogger.com--as well as
Laurie & Bruce. These three have left the most comments, which
means a lot to me. You can visit their sites by clicking on
the links to the right.

On Valentine's day we went to the San Antonio Stock Show
and Rodeo.
This yearly event forces the SPURS to take a long roadtrip.
In addition to concerts and rodeo events, the stock show and
auction put a lot of kids through college. Some of their
prize-winning animals sell for over $100,000.
We went for the exhibits, food and the carnival, and to let a goat
eat Sylvia's sweater.

These are just a few of the photos I brought home.
I hope you enjoy them.
(Click to Enlarge)
Giant Fiberglass Cow

Time To Weigh-In

Freeman Coliseum

Some Cowboys Are Still Straight

Carousel And Wild Sky

Three 'Hell No' Rides In Action

Before: Anticipation

After: Exhiliration

Midway At Dusk

Ride's Over, Little Cowboy

Friday, February 10, 2006

Planes and Trains

When the government decided to close Kelly AFB the city
of San Antonio teamed with Boeing and other contractors
to buy the facility and continue it's mission using civilians.
So the USAF's transports like the C5A and new C17, as well as
the KC135 and KC10 aerial tankers still undergo routine
maintenance and upgrades in the same giant hangars as before.
On a recent visit to that side of town I got this shot of
two KC10s behind a Union Pacific train waiting to leave the
Quintana Rd yard.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Burning Down The House

Every little boy plays with fire at some point.
When I was young I managed to scorch an acre of woods
but paid a hefty price trying to put it out.
The ER staff made sure I suffered a little more than
was necessary, and I'm OK with that.
Parents, please teach your children about the difference
between a 'safe' fire and the kind that will destroy all
of your belongings and ruin your neighbor's lives, too.
Four families were left homeless by this one, and since
the street was closed the guy who sells me beer lost a lot
of income, too.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Julie's Tree

On Friday night we had time to kill, waiting at Julie's house
for the bowling leagues to finish so we could get a lane.
Instead of drinking beer and watching her chihuahuas vibrate
I went outside to smoke a cigar, and naturally I had my camera with me.
(Putting my tripod in Sylvia's car was a lucky whim.)
Now that most of the leaves have finally fallen I got a chance
to see what this tree has to offer in the non-green season, and
I liked it. Her driveway light is one of those big mercury-vapor
jobs that operate at a half-wavelength so while the light they
throw appears white to the human eye, cameras see it as green.
To balance that effect somewhat I used the camera's flash at the
start of this 10-second exposure.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Raymond Russell Park

Last Sunday I decided to see if Sylvia had "The Gift".
So I had her drive randomly listening to any voices
in her head, to see if she could find an interesting place
that might have some photo-ops.
Naturally she scored.
We ended up at Raymond Russell park on IH10 northwest of
San Antonio, just past The Dominion which is where the
truly rich and famous people live, like Spurs star David
Robinson and Country Music Chart-Topper George Strait.
Anyway, it's a nice park with plenty of things to see and do.
Here are some highlights.
(I have more, but am saving them for my other sites.)

Stone Wall

Rock and Reflection

Butterfly Who Loved My Camera Bag

Roots: Around And Through A Wall Of Boulders

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day

Even IF a groundhog seeing his shadow can
somehow foretell the end of winter, I still have major problems
with the concept.
Punxatawny Phil has a high accuracy rate, and that's fine for
everyone in all the states of that particular geographic and
climatic zone, but Texas is so big it has five
distinct zones all it's own, and none of them even remotely
resemble Pennsylvania.
So today I decided to take the bull by the horns and do my own
predicting, using the local critters.
First I tried to find one of our local deer herds, figuring that
if one mammal can do it, so can another.
But the deer were nowhere to be found. Probably didn't want the
responsibility. Or perhaps they were hiding in the shade, since it
was over 80 degrees this afternoon.
Next I went to see if the semi-wild peacocks had an opinion.
But I was a minute too late and they crossed the street in front
of me, putting themselves between me and the sun which resulted in
this crappy photo.
There's a shadow, but the peahen never looked at it, and
even if she tried the sun in her eyes was blinding so results are still
Arriving home disappointed, I noticed this juvenile
Anolis Carolinensis on my house.
Well, if the mammals and birds won't cooperate with my
plan, maybe the reptiles will?
So I approached stealthily, and eventually got my lens within inches
of the lizard without alarming it. So far, so good.
Did it see it's shadow?
Actually, it too was hiding from the blazing sun, because
as I mentioned it was in the mid 80s today.
So who around here really cares when winter is going to end?
Today, man and beast were behaving the same way they do
in early June.
In San Antonio winter is a vague concept whose existance has never
been proven, anyway.

Downtown At Night 2

Every digital photographer who isn't a fate-tempting fool
knows that you have to back-up your image files to a safe
storage medium. Otherwise, when your computer crashes, explodes,
get's stolen or in some way ceases to serve you, all those photos
you took will be lost forever.
I burn mine to CDs every two weeks, because that's about how long
it takes me to fill one up. After a few months I have to delete
a bunch from my harddrive to make room for more, since my old
computer's two drives only add up to 9 gigabytes.
But that means that in order to search my archives I have to go
through a stack of CDs, and that's a pain. So I recently bought
(using a stack of BestBuy giftcards I got for Christmas--thanks
everyone!) a Maxtor external USB harddrive with 93 gigs of storage.
In the process of loading image files from the CDs onto the new
drive, I came across some overlooked photos that I thought I would
These were taken on April 26, 2005 from the 5th floor of a downtown
parking garage--a useful tip for my fellow photographers--because I
was able to shoot from all four sides and access only cost $1 an hour.
So give 'em a click and check 'em out.