Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Power

I really appreciated the comments on the last post.
Here's another from the same series that might elicit some valuable feedback.

I have never been a fan of odd angles/twisted cameras unless they make a valid point. Keeping my horizons level also keeps my OCD at bay.
But I liked this one as I was shooting it, and I still like it.
Do crazy angles offend you in general or in this particular photo?

You also might notice that when you clicked on the thumbnail, it came up bigger on your screen.
I would like to hear what monitor sizes and pixel resolutions y'all are using these days.
My system is OLD (Win2K!) with a 17" Dell CRT monitor set to 1024x768 pixels, but I know a bunch of you must be using the latest and greatest so some data in the comments might help me re-think the way I'm running this blog.
Should my pictures be bigger?
(And for you LCD folks, are they bright enough? If not, calibrate your monitor. Just sayin'.)

I would appreciate your input, in the name of growth and staying modern.
Personally, I feel like the detail and texture of my photos just aren't coming across the intertubes the way they could.
Might be time to share the versions I'm already making for myself, web pirates be damned!

Please, will you let me know what your thoughts are?

Friday, January 29, 2010

No Wheels--No Problem

It's that time of year when the clouds in South Texas might be high and wind-blown, which to my eye makes them not only dramatic and unique but also perfect for shooting in infrared.

A few days ago I checked the sky and my first thought was to curse the boy who wrecked my car and robbed me of the chance to drive around looking for something to photograph, but after a few moments of consideration I realized that there must be a way to bring home a decent shot without a car.
Sounds like a no-brainer now, but at the time I was worried.

Because I live in a typical suburban neighborhood, when I want serious clouds in the frame the main thing is to get out someplace where there's visibility instead of just trees and houses.
I hit the streets on foot and headed to the nearest place that offered such views, knowing that I only had a drainage ditch's width of clear sky but hoping for the best.

Timing is almost everything.
The dramatic clouds I was watching were in a good place while I was out there, which sounds simple but they were moving very fast across the sky so a bit of luck was involved--I don't usually sit around in the sun for hours waiting for better conditions.

The deciding factor for these pictures, however, is that I was down in a concrete-lined drainage ditch a good 4-6 meters below street level and shooting up at trees and powerlines on the edge of it.
This eliminated a huge mess of suburban crap that would have blocked my view of the clouds or cluttered the space between, which would have ruined their value as a background.

I'm pretty sure the powerline shot is one of my best over the last year or so.


Monday, January 25, 2010

River South

On Saturday my camera club had a meet-and-shoot to check out another new section of the Riverwalk, from Blue Star to Roosevelt Park.
I brought both cameras but shot in infrared with the F828 almost exclusively.
Even using a monopod the high winds ruined many of my shots, since I'm restricted to 1/30th of a second shutter speed at the fast end.
I'll never understand why Sony didn't just stay with the 1/60 of my old F717 when they designed the F828--it's still too slow for lots of situations so it's not like they needed to piss me off any more than I was already.

The Pioneer Flour Mill's iconic tower makes a nice appearance here.

It's been quite some time since I last worked the Tower Of The Americas into a shot.

We were in the new section that runs behind the "Art Silos", which you might remember from a post in late November. This is an IR version of the night photo I took on Thanksgiving night.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Message From Our Sponsor:

Come out and play.
We usually start around 10-10:30pm.

Fellow bloggers get a beer or cocktail on me!

BTW--I was at the Spurs game tonight and tried to snap a cellphone pic of Tim Duncan's 20,000th point, but my LG EnV2 decided to "time out" at the decisive moment.
Pissed is the word.
Should have brought one of the ATT Center-Legal cameras...

Not too thrilled with the loss, either.
Manu scored some points but his 'tarded turnover passes sucked.
RM Jr, Matt Bonner, and RJ never really got into the game, and the chips that came with our nachos were stale.
Ate a bad hot dog because the only pretzel left was one of those no-salt abominations.

I'm still hungry for wins and food.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Red Helicopter

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pearl Brewery Decorations

Finishing off the post before last, I followed the river to the Pearl Complex because I had heard that there were Christmas decorations for the first time since the restoration/re-purposing of the old brewery.

The tallest of the remaining buildings holds promise, but without a cherry-picker or very tall ladder it will have to wait.
A construction office, fence, and storage container kinda ruin the scene.
I do like the idea of a brewery on my Christmas cards, so maybe next year.

These next two are from the breezeway in the big building that contains most of the new activity.
I really like the lights above, and the ceiling fan below is by far the biggest I've ever seen in my life.

The former stables are a favorite building of mine.
Re-named the Lily Langtry Saloon for years, after Judge Roy Bean's mistress, it's available for events of all kinds.
I worked here twice back when the brewery was still in operation, and found that the bartenders could pull a draft beer like nobody else. Probably because they had been doing it for 40 years.
Charming old fellows!

I remember that we had several electrical issues the first time, which I tried to remedy on our next visit.
Everything went well until the Bride/Father dance.
She requested a certain Shania Twain song (on a CD) but halfway through their dance my mixing board suddenly went nuts with blinking lights I had never seen before, then shut off.
After a very quick re-sourcing of AC power (I was ready, just in case) we tried it again. Halfway through, same result.

I went to the bride and suggested that since they had danced for the total length of the song, albeit the first half twice, perhaps we could try moving along.

After that, everything worked perfectly!

My own theory, for what it's worth, is that the ghosts of the stable didn't approve of ultra-modern country music that sounds like Def Leppard. Or they just hate Canadian singers.
All I know is that there was no logical explanation for what happened, and I have never seen the same behavior from a mixing board in almost 30 years. The same unit worked fine for years afterwards.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Air Canada

Sending us their cold air--How rude!

It's lower across most of the city--our sheltered little valley is always a few degrees milder than the norm.

Went for a walk in the cold on Friday afternoon and really enjoyed myself.
These pictures were taken at the drainage ditch under Wurzbach Road...

...with my phone.

Didn't want to carry the big guns, and my LG EnV2 is the only pocketable "camera" I own.
2 megapickles, 1600x1200 resolution, white balance and many other useful setting options--this would have amazed people back in 2000.
It's not too terrible provided you have a lot of light.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2010 Is Here--Nothing Changes

Just like 2009 we went to JIM'S for our 1st breakfast of the year.
I ordered the same exact thing.
It was good, of course.

On the 2nd I went downtown just before sunset to try for the next card picture.
Was hoping the new Museum Reach section would have decorations on par with the old part of the river, but aside from a subtle (to be kind) string of LED lights and a bow on random light poles, it was no different from September.
See if you can spot the Christmas decorations in the pic of SAMA above and the art fish below.

FISH! Since it was too late to abort Plan A, I decided to ride it out and try to have some fun.

This shot was only made because a large group of people had interfered with a previous one by walking into the frame and then milling around (moo-ing, actually) even after noticing that I was waiting on them to move. (Moooove?)
This time they came up the Riverwalk from behind me, so I held out my arm and said "A moment, please".
After chimping, instead of letting them pass I pretended to make adjustments and took this identical one just to have them wait 15 seconds more.
Christmas is over, so I'm back to only being nice to people who aren't rude or stupid.

Reaching the museum again at the end of my trip I found these trees lit with many green floodlights that I had never seen before. I don't know if this is Christmas-related or permanent, but I know it's pretty.
There's the edge of an observation area complete with benches visible on the left.
A nice place for kissing.

I had walked all the way to the Pearl Brewery complex, as you'll see next.