Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How Was YOUR Christmas?

Ours was great, and is almost over.

I'm still trying to figure out why my prints come out exactly like they look on my monitor unless people are the subject, which results in too much red and much darker than they should be.
I got to use the IR remote my brother ordered from Hong Kong in July again.

Tried to buy another slave flash today using a gift card but it was sold-out everywhere due to a major price reduction because it's being discontinued.
Crap!! At the listed price I could have bought a bunch of them to sell for profit every time I taught someone how this clever flash stuff works.

As much as I want/need a specific lens for my camera system, getting a bass amp rig assembled is more important right now.
It's ironic that we'll be ordering a tube preamp/DI from B&H Photo in NYC, which is where I have gotten some essential camera stuff in the past during the holidays.

Hoping to find a decent used pickup truck this week while the sun is shining, and shooting next year's Christmas Card photo a few minutes later.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

This is our Christmas Card photo for 2009.
It was our first choice for last year until I went back to Main Plaza and got this one, which not only sold a lot of prints for me in '09 but is now impossible to obtain due to new trees and other stuff that's in the way.

This situation also confirms my goal of shooting our card photo a year ahead of time from now on.
I'll be out looking for 2010's picture next week when there's more spare time, yet all the lights and stuff are still up.

Those of us at Views Of Texas hope YOU have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

If you didn't get a card, we ran out of stamps or cards or time or lost your address. It's been very difficult to get things done with only one car, and I've been sick. We still love you.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Shopping

We went looking for a new car and found one that we really liked, but Google-ing the dashboard error lights killed the deal.
Damn--I might have been mistaken for Matt Bonner of the SA Spurs driving a white Grand Am!

Coming out of the dreaded WalMart I noticed that the clouds were high wispy cirrus and that they were drifting into a favorable position relative to a singularly striking orange-leaved tree doing it's best to survive amid the bedrock of Leon Creek.
This tree caught my eye a week or 2 ago due to it's awesome color and location and I had a feeling that today's sky would be perfect for shooting it, so I declared a shopping break for the photo-op.

Parked at Tio's on Bandera Road and hiked down to the creekbed with my camera bag and monopod. The rocky terrain was a bit of a challenge in my nice new shoes, but nothing I couldn't handle.
This is what passes for "Fall Colors" here in San Antonio.

I know you won't believe me, but while packing up my gear before leaving the house a little voice told me to take the Sony F828 that can shoot in infrared instead of my main DSLR camera, and then I took the whispered plan further and grabbed my monopod that gives me enough stability for shots in the 1/10 to 1/30 shutter speed range that IR requires.

Infrared was totally the best choice for this scene.
And within a few seconds of packing up my gear to head out, the sun dropped below the clouds on the horizon and confirmed my perfect timing--I turned around for a last look and saw a dark tree that would have been worthless.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Project Ornament

The fine-ass John Lennon Rickenbacker guitar ornament from my last post got me thinking, and there's lots of time for that since I've not been sleeping worth a damn this week.
Swine Flu? Allergies? Rock&Roll Fever? Food Poisoning?
Doesn't matter--my mutant healing powers are back so all is well again.

Anyway, I decided that it might be cool to make my own ornament to honor 2009 as the year when I not only got back on-stage again but also bought myself a new instrument for the first time in over 20 years.
So last night I took a suitable photo of my 8-string bass and got it printed a few hours ago.
Used Krylon photo spray adhesive to mount it to some quality cardboard then hand-cut the outline with an ExActo knife. Sandpapered to taste.

Almost looks like a real bass got hit with a shrink-ray.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feeling Foggy

My chills and fever seem to be over, but my brain is still a little foggy.
Much like a few nights ago:

While at the Quarry Shopping Center I got a new guitar ornament from Restoration Hardware--they are already 30% off.
RH is featuring the Beatles this year, so the only choices were a Ringo drumkit, a Hofner violin bass, a big Gretsch hollowbody electric, and John Lennon's Rickenbacker pictured above.
The quality and accuracy of these guitar ornaments gets better and better every year, and at under $10 before markdowns I find them hard to resist.

We got the Viewmaster at Hallmark last January when they were at 75%-off.
It really works (if your eyes are close enough together) and included a 2nd ornament with the extra discs.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Work = Play

I got called onstage to play with Bliss again tonight, and it's always a fun surprise.
Glad I have a friend who knew where my camera was hidden and also knew that I would like a shot of this.

I have great affection for Rikk's Ibanez bass.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A Quick Detour

The night before Loud Nine's last show I dropped a carload of equipment off at our practice facility so it could be loaded into the trailer, saving me from making 2 trips the next day.
Luckily, I realized before leaving home that this quick mission would leave plenty of time to shoot a new church on Loop 1604 that had caught my eye, so I packed my tripod but forgot my jacket.

My teeth were starting to chatter and it would have been a long walk to get close enough for some creative angles, so I settled for this basic view before turning around and heading back to the car:

As often happens, turning around changes more than your direction of travel:
This little tower pre-dates the church by several years, and has been on my list of subjects since it was brand-new.
But without it's own lighting, I always felt it would be too much trouble to shoot at night.

The new church's parking lot lights changed all that--unfortunately at the price of having to make much longer exposures and not being able to get reliable focus-lock 3/4ths of the time.
Even though it was probably in the mid-50s I froze my ass and quit after 1 keeper, although I really like it.

It's below freezing right now and I'm sure I won't go out un-prepared again.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

What's In My Alley?

I was standing in our back yard as the sun was going down.
(Nov 17th)
Heard some noises coming from the alley, then saw some movement through the gaps in our wood fence.
Went inside for a camera.

I spooked the deer as I rose up over the fence, and only got a picture of the buck's flag as they ran away.
But less than a minute later I heard them coming back, so I got into position again.
The doe jumped the chainlink fence across the alley from us, where the drummer who likes Black Sabbath lives.

The buck posed for a photo or four, and decided that the noises my camera was making were less important than what he had on his mind.

So over he went, after the doe.
He chased her around the yard, so she hopped the fence into the next yard up the hill.

He followed, chased her around a bit, then they both came back to the first yard.
Repeat again.
And again.

In all I got 14 photos of these two jumping fences in just four minutes, and I missed quite a few. I would guess I saw 30+ jumps.
It was wild!
I could hardly believe what I was seeing, and started laughing out loud halfway through, which is no way to take good photos. Had I known they were going to put on a show, I would have grabbed a camera that shoots video.

The 10-point buck wanted some, and the doe was having none of that.
I saw them together again last night, so maybe things worked out.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

It's Been A Long Time...

...Since I've had internet access.

And it's been quite awhile since the silos at Big Tex haven't been surrounded by hazmat crews.

These were taken Thanksgiving Night, and thanks to my brother for pulling down the top of a chain-link fence so I could shoot the 2nd photo.