Thursday, May 29, 2008


Last Sunday's Hitmen Reunion Show was a historic night on the San Antonio rock scene. We packed Oasis, watched The SPURS win their last game of the season, then enjoyed the band we've missed for so many years.

Who was this guy? I don't remember selling him that shirt back in the day.

Rikk of BLISS helps us go electric sooner by filling-in on bass. The band and audience both appreciated it.

The legendary Steve G.

Dave and Brian.

Portland resident David McCall"s visit to San Antonio made this reunion possible. I'm glad he brought the red PRS guitar instead of the other one--it has better tone.

Brian, with John on bass.

Special thanks to David Rey of The MAX and String Theory for providing a sound system for me to run.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Triathlon That Almost Killed Me

Sylvia entered her first triathlon, which was held last Sunday.
I worked the night before, getting home at 3am--we left the house at a little after 4am and arrived at the location just before 6, which is my normal bedtime.

A rare pre-sunrise photo. I don't do mornings even though the light is great (as seen in the follwing shots).

The temps were nice, and the man-made lake at the Texas Ski Ranch had some interesting things around it for me to shoot as the sun came up and people started to arrive.

The swimmers started to hit the water at 8am sharp for a 300 meter swim, followed by an 11 mile bike ride on the IH35 frontage and some farm to market roads, and then a 2 mile run.
I got most of the action shots Sylvia wanted for the group she trained with, so everyone is happy.

Except that by 10am it was already in the 90s and I was sleep-deprived and a little hungover.
Got to bed at noon but had to get up 4 hours later to prep for another show.
Made it to bed again at 6am Monday feeling like I had swam, biked and run the damn thing myself.

Or hit by a truck after falling down some stairs.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Arlington National Cemetery.

This stone wasn't placed until several months after the funeral in November 2004, and I haven't gone back since then to see it.
The recovery teams are still finding MIAs from the VietNam War and bringing them home.
With an entire AC47 aircrew lost in Laos way back in 1966 the press made a bigger deal over this one, but to me every Unknown Soldier is as important as the next.
Not knowing is a nightmare, and the families really appreciate all the hard work and dedication of the recovery teams, the people in Hawaii that try to ID remains, and the wonderful staff at Arlington and other National Cemeteries as well as the local liasons that arrange travel and accomodations.
My thanks to Hope for posting this photo on the web where I could find it.

Short YouTube Clip

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Walker Ranch Park: A Return Trip

My first visit to this park was last May after torrential spring rains gave us a wildflower explosion, although I was preoccupied by the windmill and unique footbridge.

This time I shot in infrared most of the time, trying to pull more data from the clouds which would be almost pure grey if photographed in color.

This field had some wildflowers but only one type, unlike last year.

Here is my personal favorite view.

This photo is everyone else's favorite although I only shot it for one of my friend Matthew's Assignments at a photography forum we both moderate.
It does have my trademark receding diagonal lines, and blends rigid man-made construction with the chaos of nature fairly well.
I was only trying to demonstrate that a lens which isn't considered wide-angle by most people can be used in a way to make it look wide.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The HITMEN Reunion--Coming Soon!

This Coming Sunday!!!
Tell your friends.
The lineup will be Brian Cheatham on vocals, David McCall on guitar, Steve Gonzalez on drums and Matt Brown and John Jarrett on bass. Special featured guests hopefully will include Mike Gallegos, Travis Cano, Jaime Flores and others.

Of course, I will be handling the sound and lights.

Since this will be on the Sunday before Memorial Day there's no reason you can't come out and see the old crowd we used to have so much fun with.

OASIS is right next to Wise Guys and Fast Eddie's at Embassy Oaks--West Ave and Bitters.
Never a cover charge.

This will be your last chance to see the best cover band in San Antonio history, so don't miss it!

Brian and David will play a short acoustic set during halftime of the Spurs/Lakers game--the Hitmen will start after this important Western Conference Finals matchup is decided.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


These are an example of re-visiting locations and ideas to try and improve on them.
The original photos were taken in early 2006: Presa Street Bridge and Presa Street Bridge 2.

The reason I chose to feature the rivets on these old steel bridges is simple: Since I take these while on break from club gigs where I already have to haul a carload of crap downtown, bringing a tripod isn't going to happen.

I use whatever flat surfaces I can find on the bridges themselves since the exposures are several seconds long. Getting the focus onto the rivets is simply a matter of pressing the macro button, moving the focus brackets to the bottom position and also using the 'focus/re-compose' method. So technique influences style and subject matter in this case, for better or worse. The versions where the background is in-focus just don't do it for me--the blurry rivets are a distraction.

It's another example of my tendency to choose something most people don't notice and try to make it look 'epic' or dramatic, much like the highway series.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Watched A Man Die Today

My band was playing downtown at MadDogs on the Riverwalk.
The equipment was unloaded onto the sidewalk and Rikk and I left to park our vehicles while Steve guarded the gear.
When I got back, everything changed.

A man in his 60s was crossing the street at College and Presa and Steve said he didn't look very good, like he was suddenly very ill. Luckily a Park Ranger was right there and the man started talking to him but wasn't making any sense.
Then he went down.

And then he was dead.
In seconds a man went from enjoying a beautiful evening in my city to lying dead on the hot concrete.

By this time the Park Ranger had already called for EMS, and the sirens were getting louder. (For my non-local visitors: San Antonio's Park Rangers are a branch of the police that specialize in working our parks and other tourist attractions, including the Riverwalk. Badges, guns, and thankfully radios.)

We kept moving our equipment to the elevator, knowing that it would either be in the way of the rescue personnel or they would be in our way very soon, since the poor guy was less than ten feet away. This ended up being the right call on both counts.
But as I picked up a few items, the man's companion looked me right in the eyes and with tears streaming down her cheeks begged me to "Please help him!"
That's when my heart broke wide open.

What the hell was I supposed to do?
The ambulance is almost here, I have no training, and I'm just trying to clear the area so that when help arrives there won't be any difficulties.
I'm just sorry I didn't tell her that it would be okay in a minute.
There's still just the six of us involved in this tragic scene but things start to happen fast.
20 seconds later a woman in a pink top is performing CPR.
The ambulance is pulling in and a firetruck is also trying to turn down Presa Street.
Suddenly there are maybe eight of our downtown bicycle cops rolling in from all directions, and what was once a private and lonely slice of hell is now the busiest corner in town.

By this time the EMTs are just getting on-scene while the mystery woman continues her very professional looking CPR.
Barely one minute later and there's a huge crowd of people and cops are directing traffic and the dead guy isn't dead anymore.
The Nix hospital is only a block away.
I hope he made it.

I had my camera with me but didn't feel comfortable pulling it out to shoot such a sad situation--but since I don't tell stories without photos around here my phone-cam seemed like an acceptible alternative at the time.
Just took this single photo, and am leaning towards being glad I did.

Monday, May 05, 2008

First Friday Report Card

The emergency exit of our gallery's building was open all evening so it was easy for me to slip out whenever I heard a train horn.
This led to me saving a clueless girl's car from certain destruction.
She was parking across the street behind LaTuna and I could see from 200 feet away that it was too close to the tracks. Braving traffic I caught her and explained the situation--3 times!
I don't think she truly understood that trains are indeed much wider than the tracks.
Would have made a great picture had I minded my own business, but my conscience wouldn't let me.

Lots of interest in the "Interchange" series as a concept and compliments on my execution. My favorite overheard comment was to the effect that "These highways were built to carry traffic and look decent but somehow this guy turned them into things of true beauty".
Very nice...I was afraid the whole idea of it would get a cold reception but it appears the general public understood.
Other photographers have always been supportive of this project but we're sometimes not the best judge of these things.

Sold three of my older prints including two infrareds, which makes me think I need to get back to shooting IR more often.
I have a lot of printing ahead, both to replenish my portfolio and for the next show.

Mainly I need to get out and shoot new things.