Monday, November 24, 2008

Spurs Fan Photo Contest--Didn't Win

This young couple are admiring our 4 Championship Trophies--the photo I had in mind as soon as the contest was announced.

Two of The Spurs's "Baseline Bums". These are ultimate fans who will do anything and everything for their team. They are LOUD both sonically and visually.

See voting results here

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Autumnal Imagery

It was a long, hot and dry summer.
Despite the hurricanes and flooding on all sides of us, San Antonio went into year two of the latest drought.
And so "Fall" was late.

Our bougainvillea finally bloomed--most of the ones around here have purple or pink or orange flowers: we like the red just to be different.

Sycamore leaves turning.

Sex parts of the same tree.

Our lemon tree has a few little fruits with zero chance at maturity before a freeze kills them.

A neighbor's whatchacallit.

All photos were taken within a few minutes of each other two weeks ago when I got a sudden bug up my ass to record how odd the autumn here has turned out.
Absolutely nothing has changed since then, besides the odd pepper maturing enough to eat and the temperature dropping.
It's like we're stuck in the slow lane of life and everyone else is passing us by, getting snow and rain and life and death while we struggle to detect whether or not the grass is any browner than last month...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Rest Of The Marathon

Finish Line Action.

The coveted Media Pass means you get to sit on top of a ladder for 8 hours. I would have loved it but climbed down after 30 minutes.

Part of the centerpiece on our table in the VIP area.

Car dealer Rick Cavender's band plays on the main stage.

Makes me glad I cut my long hair in the '90s. Beyond a certain age it just looks dumb on most men.

A tear-stained face in the crowd.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

San Antonio's First Rock & Roll Marathon

The last marathon in SA only brought out around 5000 athletes.
Adding dozens of bands along the route (and more national and international advertising and organization) made our very first Rock and Roll Marathon a huge success with 30,000 entries purchased (Sold Out!) although realistically only 20-25,000 actually ran.

If you are going to an event like this, having a set of "gold" passes is worth every penny.
I got mine for free because I'm uber-cool and hang with some awesome people, although I'm sure they like Sylvia more than they like me. (Thanks, Rikk!!)
Free parking in the closest lot to all the action, free food and drinks served by a slick black-tie staff, private bleachers ON the finish line, free The CULT concert admission and backstage VIP access.
On top is the medal each finisher is awarded, and I've been witness to the fact that the one in the photo was earned with hours/days/weeks/months of hard work and discipline.

"The Gladiator" (as the crowd around me named him) was going back and forth in the finish area, urging others on and getting maximum camera time.

Less than 100 yards before the finish line a runner collapsed and died right in front of me.
They defribbed and got a pulse before wheeling him through the time-chipped finish line, which was a major concern in the crowd.
I assume he survived since there was no mention of deaths on the TV news.
It's the second time this year that someone has dropped dead in my presence.

The most important shot(s) of the day and I screwed the pooch with serious focus issues.
Not happy at all, but I think I know what went wrong.

Sylvia finished the 13.1 mile half-marathon in 2 hours 30 minutes, and it's very sweet that she and her friend/running partner Meredith stayed together from beginning to end.
It's the farthest Syl has ever run, and I'm very proud of her!

If you visit the marathon's website and find video of noisy fans with a guy pointing a black Sony back at the videographer, this is the opposite view.

UPS loaned the event a fleet of brown trucks and volunteers to carry everyone's personal effects from the park and ride at ATT Center to the race finish area. It was tortureously disorganized and slow at truck #4, but by cutting the line and doing some strategic winking we got Sylvia's stuff before going postal.

It was a lot of fun and very inspiring.
The many runners and fans from outside San Antonio were naturally charmed by our city and it's great people.
A nice side-effect is that all of the clothing the runners peeled-off and threw away while the temps quickly climbed from 34 to 60-ish will benefit homeless shelters and/or other worthy causes. (Un-Confirmed Assumption Alert!)

Operating on three hours of sleep after working my butt off the night before, I was stiff and sore and not as effective as I could have been. Still, it was a great experience that I wouldn't have missed for anything.

I got a sunburn and am pinker than I let myself get after 3 days at South Padre.

More photos soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Got Teased

On a whim, I just powered-up my dead Sony F717.
To my astonishment, it worked!
Knowing I was on borrowed time, I ran outside and shot one of our late-season serrano peppers.

And then my old camera died again.

It was a magic moment, and a bit strange.
Definitely have to get it fixed, since macros and IRs are styles that the new camera doesn't handle as well as the old.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rivets (And A Weld)

Rivets are a favorite subject of mine due to their ability to cast tiny shadows as well as display "primitive" technology from the first half of the 20th century. This is an extreme crop from a zoomed-in version of the AC-47 Spooky Gunship photo seen here recently.

Photographer Section:
This is the first time I've tried a crop that threw away the majority of a file, and am very impressed with the Sony Alpha300's detail and resolution.
With my old F717, an edit like this wouldn't have been as crisp and textured by a long shot.
This would be even more startling when you consider I was shooting handheld at just over 200mm-e, but then I received help from in-body IS and a fast 1/1250 shutter.
Iso 200 helped rather than hurt.

The new camera endears itself to me a little more every time I use it, even with the 2 budget lenses it came bundled with.
The widely extended range of apertures, shutter speeds and iso ratings are all positives with no apparent weaknesses in their ranges so far.
But I'll keep pushing the envelope until it disappoints, then back off and add light just like in the old days.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Airshow Favorites--Blue Angels

Flying very slowly directly right-to-left with their noses high in the air, this shot of two Blue Angels screamed for the silhouette treatment.

The one above is the most popular, but it reminds me of this Thunderbirds shot from 2006:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More Air Show Goodness

The Blue Angel's show is fairly long, so I have a ton of pictures do choose from.

The new camera generally kicked the old one's ass at this task, although my autofocus made more than a dozen huge errors.
At least it made the errors very quickly!
Time to read the manual again.
Last time I switched my old camera to manual focus and locked it at infinity which worked very well since the planes are so far away, but the longer focal length lens and faster frame rate of the Alpha300 were great as was the physically much larger sensor with twice the pixels.

Civil Air Patrol Cadets(?) put on some rifle drills using flashy but completely fake M1 Garands.

Makes you wonder where the nickname came from.
It was an F-5, the 3rd-world fighter version of our '50s-era T-38 supersonic trainer that still flies today.

I have my two favorites still to show you, and will look through the folder for any overlooked items of interest.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Air Fest 2008 At Lackland AFB

It was a great show, as always.
Two years ago The Thunderbirds performed, so having The Blue Angels this year was a nice change.

Back in the late '90s I partied with some Blue Angel pilots at a club in Corpus Christi--they even sent the band an autographed picture.

More to come...