Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas

I really wanted to have a religious photo for our Christmas cards this year, but with my work and band schedules gone all crazy we just didn't have the time to go 'in search of' besides the one trip downtown mentioned in the previous post.
So I rooted around in my big external drive for stuff from years past, knowing that there are more than a few really good ones that have never been shown to anyone.

Lo and behold, the shot I intended to make this year was already in the bag--I had forgotten it. There are two versions from right after Christmas Eve Mass 2011--the other one had the forcus point shifted to the giant crucifix at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church, with the tree being blurry. I let Sylvia pick which to use and am very happy with the result.

It's been an amazing year for me.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be in a position to gift a 47" Vizio TV. (We had decided on 42" but they were all gone, and the bigger one was only $30 more...)
OMG it's HUGE and the most amazing picture anyone has ever seen!
All our friends and family went HD years ago, but since this TV is new and has all the best specs (like 120hz refresh rate) it's picture quality is insane.

When I enable 1080HD on the cable box, we were both stunned. "Look at the blades of grass! Look at the beads of sweat! It's so pretty!"

Sylvia loves it and was completely surprised (she said "What the crap?") but make no mistake--in this house the living room TV is ALL hers until late at night. I didn't buy it for me at all.
Sadly, it's so big that the giant lazy susan I built for our last set doesn't work cuz it can only be rotated a little before hitting a wall, meaning I can't turn it towards the kitchen during dinner or when I'm camped out at the counter fixing stuff or stringing a bass or tuning a trigger.
Looks like I need a smaller flat screen in the dinette running off the splitter I put in the cable (after our DVR so there's no time delay in the sound).
Oh darn! I think a 26" ought to be about right.

This Holiday Season has been such a joy, not stressing about money for gifts and supplies. Despite my hectic schedule I was (mostly) calm and relaxed.
The best part was all the pleasure I got from giving to charity and helping folks spontaneously.

I hope y'all have had a joyous holiday season, too.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

My "Snow Day"

After a wonderful burger (+ tater tots and the namesake "eggs") at Armadillo's on Mc Cullough, we hit the Museum Reach part of the Riverwalk tonight.
Started at the Brooklyn Street locks that raise our barges to the upstream water level, which were all decked out:
There are a pair of convenient restrooms located here plus free parking, so it's a great place to start and end a river visit.

Heading north a little, I found a spot that appealed to me and shot a few more:
A well-lit bike left trails in this long exposure leading to the young lovers.

On this one, a tourist barge left another set of light trails:
I started to wait for a break in the traffic but got frustrated and bailed, which I now regret because this was a good spot and an uncluttered picture would have been nice.
While there was a steady stream of bikes, pedestrians, and barges, it never felt crowded. It's just that when your shutter is open for such long periods of time it's always difficult to catch a break. Such is the nature of shooting at night. Once I get used to doing it again I'll regain my patience, and I can always go back for another shot.

The weather was as perfect as it ever gets, and we soon found ourselves at La Tuna Ice House with cold beers in our hands before closing-out the First Friday activities at the Blue Star Art Complex.

Getting to take the kinds of pictures that I like while spending quality time with Sylvia and enjoying our city's beauty was a real pleasure tonight.
It used to be that having a Friday night show get cancelled on short notice would absolutely ruin my week due to the lost income, but these days I don't need that money and I really don't enjoy staying up for 23 hours straight working two shifts.
I'll get to bed at a reasonable time and try my best to stay there for as long as possible--which is a true luxury. It's a lot like the feeling I used to get when it snowed too much overnight for the school buses to deal with, so when the alarm went off I would listen to the radio as they went down the list of school closings, hoping for the best news a kid could get.

Tonight was actually better than a snow day because I didn't have to spend it alone or trapped in the house.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Night Lights

The Riverwalk's new LED lights aren't all that great in my opinion.
We actually liked the trunk-wrapped look that debuted last year, only to be shot down with howls of outrage.

The new ones return to the draped canopy installation of the past, but aren't very bright and aren't nearly as big as the old tungsten bulbs, so to me it's all compromise and no improvement. I'm glad there's variety around downtown, at least.

After a quick walk around to scope things out, I only shot a few frames from the 6th level of that parking garage between Commerce and Market with the spirals.
Since I used a River shot on last year's Christmas card I plan to go in a different direction for 2012.

Just finished re-stringing a guitar I snagged at a pawnshop yesterday that's destined for a needy family.
Apparently the kids didn't want any presents this year, just a guitar for daddy so he can play and sing to them again.
(I get misty-eyed every single time I tell this story)

The one I picked has some cosmetic damage that looks worse than it is, but that enabled me to get a MUCH more expensive instrument and stay under budget.
Could have easily spent twice as much for a pretty piece of crap, while this one is a real player that just needs some love.
Hope they like it.