Friday, November 30, 2007

A Quick Sunset

After several days of complete overcast skies with rain, it was time for a change.
On the way home from running errands, we could see some interesting cloud shapes on the western horizon that might be worth a picture or two. Getting closer revealed a thin strip of clear sky signalling an end to our current weather.

Stopping at a place I know that has a rare clear view to the west (lots of hills around here) we saw that the sun was no longer high enough above the interesting clouds, so they weren't back-lit the way they were before.
Instead I concentrated on the tall grasses, using flash as shown above.

That's when this happened.
This is Sylvia's very first published photo using her new camera, a Sony T-70
Two other people driving by stopped to take pictures at this time--the light was that amazing.
And short-lived.

At one point I turned around and got this example of just how red the sunlight was for the two or three minutes it was visible that day.

Since we were on the edge of a field there really wasn't anything worth shooting besides the grass, so here's some lit by the setting sun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Zoo Two

This grizzly bear was hidden from view on our first pass, so I insisted we try again later.
After a few frames he decided to mess with me--always walking away so I only had a shot of his butt.
I would anticipate and run ahead but he would turn around and walk the other way, over and over.
Grizzly bears are big (up to 1500 pounds and 8 feet tall) and fast (35 mph) and very smart.
I had a sudden moment of fear that turned to respect when I realized that this huge and dangerous animal was playing with me--and winning.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The SA Zoo

It's been almost three years since we went to the excellent San Antonio Zoo. The upgrades since then are nice, and the works-in-progress are better still.
Sleepy kangaroo--kind of redundant or something since all I ever see them do is lay around snoozing and scratching.

Desert Iguanas, from the desert southwest USA.

A pair of juvenile Komodo Dragons. We're lucky to have bred Komodos in captivity--a testament to our fine zoo staff.

A misconception I keep hearing is that it's impossible to get the kind of selective-focus I got in the last two pictures using cameras with small sensors.
Not only doesn't this claim make any sense, it's an outright lie.
And these were perfect situations for using iso200 and my new monopod, as the shutter speeds were in the danger zone--from 1/60 to 1/5 in the reptile house is to be expected.
Also, shooting through glass meant (to me, anyway) using a rubber lens hood that I could mash againt the window to eliminate reflections and help steady my camera. I went to the zoo prepared and all of my theories were proven correct. This is one of those gratifying times that makes up for all those other occasions when I was dead wrong about how to handle a difficult situation.

More to come.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

For Lisa

Lisa's dog Caesar visited again recently and sat still for some portraits.

He's my buddy.

The palm at the end of her driveway, at night.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Ramp Photo

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Three Freaking Years

It's been three years since we bought my Sony F717 digital camera.
I set some goals 365 days ago and most of them have been met.
Tonight I decided to shoot something with a new/old feel--similar to previous photos but with more crustiness that's due to being too new and unfinished instead of old.

Web browser version

It took freaking forever to get here!
The last mile consumed an hour--which equals 1 mph on a major highway due to an accident (thanks a lot, dumbass!).

1024x768 Wallpaper version

This was literally the first frame I exposed on-location, and there isn't any rotation or cropping, either.
I guess I had my usual Anniversary PhotoMojo™ working overtime.

This picture is already one of my all-time favorites, much like "Waiting To Cross Over" from last November 17th.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Waiting For A Train To Pass

Two lucky snapshots.
I wasn't even going to shoot this train, but at the last second changed my mind.
Then this guy shows up on his bike, and acts all impatient for the train to get out of his way.
Almost midnight--I would want to get home, too.

It's also lucky that he didn't move much during these 8-second exposures.
In fact, they were the only times he wasn't riding around in circles or standing/sitting/standing/ then riding forward and back.

A few more of these and I'll have enough for a photo-essay I've been planning about the strange behaviors of people at RR crossings.
(I'll post a link when it's published).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Halloween 2007

At the second Halloween party on a hectic Saturday night I was surprised by this scene. More and more people own prints of my work, but this was the first time I have ever walked into someone's home and seen one of mine framed on the wall.
I like everything about this display.
Thanks, Holly--you made my day!

As you may have guessed, there was a Halloween party at Holly's house.
Here's a view towards the rear of the property.

Graveyard out front.

Her most excellent firepit that makes mine look like a joke, although I enjoy portablility.

Hope you enjoy this one, H.

Some of the action at our house. Smoke and strobes of course.
Two flashing strobelights serve to disorient the trick-or-treaters, as does the bubblewrap under a rug on the sidewalk that pops and makes some of them scream--parents included.

This half-dummy I made is a new addition to the team.
Many kids of all ages never made it to the door this year. We cracked a front window and listened to their sobbing and screaming.
Their loss, since we give a good selection of treats.

I never got around to carving these fake pumpkins. My plans for them include internal strobes, possibly smoke, and animated movement. I should have them ready for next year.

A handful of kids--those without costumes or the ones who won't say "trick or treat" but are old enough to know better--got tricked instead of treated again this year.
It's our standard practice to drop packets of TacoBell sauce into their bags instead of candy.
They are colorful, the right shape and size, and make the correct 'plop' when they hit the bottom of the bag. (Ketchup packets aren't funny--it has to be TacoBell sauce).
Our porch is dark and my witches are skilled so they never know what we've done until it's time to inventory the loot at home. We love to imagine the look on their faces.

Halloween has rules.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For The Veterans

Thank You

Friday, November 09, 2007

Falling Water 3 (x2): My Favorite(s)

Buz and I had a blast shooting at Hemisfair last Sunday night. Despite multiple trips it never gets old to me and I always seem to find a new favorite photo here.
Like this one.
It combines many of my favorite aspects of both the place and my photographic techniques.
The smooth water is among the best I've ever captured, if I do say so myself.

On the other hand, some rare birds aren't enchanted by smooth long-exposure water.
They've told me so, and are 100% entitled to feel that way.
For them, I have added a little handheld flash mid-way through the exposure to freeze enough of the waterfall and spray to make things look more realistic.

I don't dislike this version at all.
In fact, it's far superior to using flash alone on water at night because the long-exposure part of the equation adds color and density that simply don't exist in flash-only photos.
Trust me, I've tried many times in many places using many methods and the results are just too thin and weak looking, and don't do a credible good job of conveying what the eye/brain/heart actually see at night.

Both of these are uploaded for you at 1024x768 resolution so you can really dig into the details.
(Hit F11 on your keyboard's top row to take your browser into full-screen mode. F11 again will return to normal.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Falling Water 2

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Falling Water

Am teaching Buz how to shoot at night with an F717, so I might as well take him where I take other 'night virgins'--HemisFair Park and it's many fountains and little falls.
The abundance of possible targets can easily overwhelm but that keeps it interesting for me, having shot here many times.

It was great getting out into the world and shooting for pleasure again after weeks of obligations and other tasks sidelined me.

More to come...