Thursday, August 31, 2006

Medical Center

(Click to enlarge)

We live about a mile from San Antonio's Medical Center area.
Hospitals, clinics, rehab facilities and a university campus are all clustered withing a few square miles.
Many of the buildings, especially the new ones, have certain photogenic qualities.

This is the only bit of public art around, and I felt the headlight streaks added some life to the scene.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Quarry Stacks

(Click for a 1024x768 image)

Here's something brand new, from yesterday.
We were at The Quarry Shopping Center, and the smokestacks from it's former life are a favorite of mine.

Fallen Flags

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A 'Fallen Flag' is a railroad that is no longer in business.
Either through bad management or mergers and aquisitions, many famous names of the past are gone now.
But railfans have long memories and fond hearts, so they never disappear completely from our consciousness.
And because repainting equipment is expensive (UP has over 8000 engines the size of a small house, and many times that in freightcars) the old names are still riding the rails.
This Chicago & NorthWestern boxcar is a good example.
Sure, it's faded and rusty.
But when it rolls into the view of the right person, floods of memories can be triggered.

Sorry there's nothing that's actually new here again. But I have a good excuse.
33 hours ago we finally joined the rest of the world.
A High-Speed Internet Connection has opened up the web to all sorts of possibilities, and of course I haven't had a spare moment to leave the house and shoot new photos.
Dialup? Never again!

I'm wondering about the popularity of video blog entries, too.
None of the blogs I visit ever have videos, and I wonder why?
My camera makes fair quality mpgs, and finding a hosting service isn't a problem.
Anyone have advice or opinions regarding this?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Jefferson Memorial

(Click to enlarge)

The gecko shot in the previous post was a brand new photo, with the replacement CCD Sensor.
This one is all the way in the other direction, having been shot with an F717 that wasn't even mine.

Back in Nov. 2004 I had important business at Arlington National Cemetery. I borrowed a camera to document the event, and the results were much better than I could have reasonably expected since I was only a "parttime, borrowed-camera rank amateur".
Taking a chance, I uploaded this picture to for critiques and rating, and managed to score some rather high numbers.
"Hmmm...maybe photography is something I should get involved in more seriously" I thought.
A few weeks later that camera was sent away forever, and in a surprising turn of events I became physically ill because of it. I was constantly nauseous, and couldn't sleep or eat.
Yes, I had been bitten badly by the shutterbug.
In only a few days my wonderful lady found me another F717, and within 3 months Views Of Texas was born.

So this shot is one of those that got me started on this amazing journey.
I treasure the friends I have made online because of photography, and I hope I have entertained you all while passing along a few useful tips to those who are interested.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Turkish Gecko

(Click to enlarge)

This is a baby Turkish Gecko, also called the Mediterranean Gecko.
They arrived in America in the mid 1800s on cargo ships, and are fully established across the southern states with seaports. As the years pass, the population is migrating northward, not yet having reached a point where the climate will prove inhospitable.

To those of us who know them well, they are a shy nighttime friend who hangs on the wall near our porch lights eating insects.
The patio light at our house kept burning out it's expensive halogen bulbs, so I hung a shoplight near the glass door and now we can watch a half dozen of them hunting and fighting from our couch every night.

Full-grown specimens run about 3 inches from nose to base of tail.
This one was born a month or two ago, and to get an idea of it's size just remember that it's in the mortar groove between standard bricks.
Even the thumbnail image above is 2 1/2 times actual size.

This is their daytime coloration, although you have to be tricky to get one to come out before sundown. At night they are a pale and ghostly grey/beige color.
You can see through their skin, they don't have eyelids so have to lick their sensors clean, and can climb almost any surface.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Have A Drink On Me

(Click to enlarge)

Whiskey and Seven, stirred.
A strobe is underneath the glass, with black paper that has a 1" hole controlling the light.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Nothing New

(Click to enlarge)

Despite having the F717 back and working perfectly, there's nothing new worth posting here at VofTx.
The reason is the weather.
The temperature has gone over 100 degrees every day for almost three weeks.
It's been hazy as heck, meaning that everything is lit in a bland way and if it's further than 50 feet away, the subject is also blandified.

So here's an older photo from my now-defunct Scavenger Hunt blog.
A flute in a music store, with air conditioning.
Therefore it's a cool picture.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Depot At Night

(Click on the photos to enlarge)

These are over a year old, but I recently found them again and realized that they were never shown here.
Just a couple of similar shots at Sunset Station, at night.
It's a nice place to hang out, so long as you have someone with you to watch your back.

Anyone notice how Blogger has petrified?
There hasn't been any meaningful upgrades or fixes since sometime in 2005.
The 'bug' that prevents Opera users from being able to post pictures has never been solved, for example.
But now we know why Google's techs in Austin have abandoned us.
There's a New Blogger in town, promised to be better and cooler, so they went to work on that and decided to put the 'Old' Blogger out to pasture.
You can try the beta version now, but I'm not about to take the chance.
It seems that once you move your blog to the new system, you can't change back if it doesn't cut it for you.
No undo.
That's bad.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Baffin Bay

(Click on the photos to enlarge)

Baffin Bay is just southeast of Kingsville Texas.
Seeing it on the map, we took a detour on our trip home from South Padre to check it out.
It was a strange place, disturbing and lonely yet I wanted to stay longer than we had time for.

(I was very surprised today by a visit from the UPS guy. A mere six days after shipping my F717 to the repair facility it's already back and appears to be in perfect working order once again. I feel like I just woke up from a nightmare. Sony is to be commended for their excellent service.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Storm Front

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

It's always a treat to be able to clearly see a change in the weather coming, and have a nearby place from which to capture it. Too bad we didn't get any rain from this one.

(My camera is now in the shop, waiting for it's turn on the bench. It feels good to be almost through with this ordeal.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Night Train

(Click on the photo to enlarge)
I never realized how important night photography was to my happiness until I became unable to do it.

Goodbye, My Love

My camera (Sony F717) is in this box.
I shipped her out today.
It's only a single short UPS truck ride down to Laredo, no planes or transfers.
Probably be in the shop waiting it's turn by Friday afternoon.

I have a tracking #, but am going to resist the urge to use it.
And I'm not really worried about any part of this operation.

But there's a tiny voice, barely audible, that says things to me--tries to scare me.

Luckily others have gone through this before me, and they have offered nothing but positive feedback on the CCD-Sensor Replacement Program.
So we wait and see how my luck holds.
I did photograph a real 4-Leaf Clover with her this year.
Maybe that will help.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stereo/3D Photography

Did you own a GAF Viewmaster™ as a child?
Weren't the 3-Dimensional images mind-blowing?

I've been doing something similar lately, and have started a new blog to keep track of my efforts in this exciting new direction. (New for me, anyway. Stereo photography is oldschool.)

If you want to get in on the ground floor with me, please take a moment to visit Views Of Texas 3D to see what I'm talking about.

I hope some of you become regulars over there, but it all depends on your ability to cross your eyes, or willingness to learn how.
(You may get a headache after awhile, but Drs of Optometry insist that crossing your eyes will not cause them to stay that way, and in fact strengthen your eye's muscles.)

Hope to see some of you over there, with crossed-eyes and comments.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Island Favorites

(Click on the photos to enlarge)
These are the two photos (from my recent beach trip) that are getting the best reaction from those who've seen them all. And that's not the only thing they have in common.
I spent a halfhour at this location, and as the sun set the colors of the sky and water changed constantly.
But not as much as these pix might lead you to believe.

Both of these photos were purposely underexposed, with the water brought back up using levels. Without any other color adjustment, this is what came out.
Looks gaudy and artificial to me, but who am I to argue with success?
If the people like them best, prints shall be made.

I like them, too.
Just felt they were too wild.