Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nine Ladies Dancing

Well, for lack of anything else, I thought another ornament shot was due. You can mouse over this one as well to see the difference straight from the camera and the final product if you take the cursor off the pic. I just wish there was a way to bring out the letter "ve" on the word "love". Otherwise I'm OK with this shot. Tell me what you think and thanks for dropping by!  Click here for a larger version of this shot.

Also, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Mouse

I was hoping to get more shots of Christmas this year, but for a few reasons, it hasn't quite worked out.  I did however try to get a few shots of some of the ornaments and packages around our tree.  This one here is about the only one that turned out fairly OK.  I tried using my 50mm 1.4 to get a really shallow depth of field, but I guess I went a little too shallow.  I wanted the lights to be blurry and I certainly achieved that, but some of the mouse turned out a little blurry as well.  At least his eyes are sharp!  That's what they say you should try to do when shooting animals or something resembling an animal, yes?  Lastly, this is a non-HDR.. Trying to expand a little you know.  Anyway, mouse-over it to see how it looked straight from the camera and let me know which one you like better.  Click here to see a bigger shot of the finished product.

Thanks for dropping by and if I don't post anything beforehand, Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winner of the Apple AirPort Express!

Congratulations goes out to Tod Grubs of Spicewood, Texas! Thanks for your comments and you should be receiving the AirPort Express in the mail very soon!  And thanks to the others who participated!

Zilker Swan

Here's a shot I took while out waiting for the light to get right while shooting Austin from Lou Neff Point at Zilker Park with Van Sutherland. We were shooting right by the water and there were lots of ducks and other waterfowl around. Right in front of us came this big ole swan. He kind of shooed some of the other ducks out of there for a bit. Kind of cool to see.

Also as an extra, I'm trying something that David Nightingale does on his blog...  David's blog shows the beautiful photos that he creates and at the bottom right of each, he has a link that states, "Show the original."  From there you can see the pre-processed shot straight from the camera. On this page, if you mouse-over the picture, you will see the original shot as it was straight from my camera. The shot that you see when not mousing over the shot is my final version after some tweaks in Photoshop CS5 with the Nik Software Package. I would love to hear your thoughts on which shot you like better!

You can also click here to see a larger version.

I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Announcing Apple AirPort Express Winner Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I will announce the winner of the Apple AirPort Express.  It's a $100 value!  If you are interested, comment on my previous post and you will be eligible.  You'll have to sign up with a profile so I can contact you if you are the winner.  Good luck

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Win An Apple Airport Express!

AirPort Express Contest

Comment on my shot below and I will randomly pick one of you to receive a free Apple AirPort Express.  Contest only pertains to those inside the continental United States.  Thanks for visiting and good luck!  I will announce the winner next week!

Iconic Austin Buildings

Here is another shot I took while out with Van Sutherland a couple of weeks ago.  As with my previous post, this shot was taken from Lou Neff Point at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas.  It shows three of the most iconic buildings in Austin.  They are from left to right, the Frost Bank Building, the W Hotel and the Austonian.  They are quite new.  The Austonian and and the W have only been around for a year or two whereas the Frost Bank building is creeping up around 6 - 8 years.  Maybe longer, I'm not too sure. 

The Frost Bank Building is mainly an office building, but it has a cool art deco look to it.  Some people, including myself, think it looks like a giant nose hair trimmer.  Other say it looks like an owl if you look at it directly from one corner.  The Frost Bank circular symbol is on every side and resemble eyes.  The portion on the top looks like an owl's comb and each corner has what can be seen as a beak just how it would look on an owl.  If you use your imagination on this shot, you might see it.  If not, go here.  So there you have it.

The W Hotel - or as we say in Texas, the "Dubya" - or as they say in the part of town where the W is located (while sounding like Thurston Howell III) "the Double-U, lovey" - is a high-end luxury hotel with apartments/condominiums.  It's also home to Austin City Limits.  During this past summer, the glass between the railings and the floor of some of the balconies began to mysteriously shatter and fall to the ground below.  It happened on three different occasions.  After the third time, management decided to evacuate the building and replace all of the glass panels on each balcony.  Apparently the glass was not tempered and the heating caused by the midday summer sun caused them to shatter.  Luckily no one was seriously hurt or killed, but it did cause quite a commotion.

Lastly, the Austonian is full of upscale condominiums.  From what I understand it is the tallest residential property building west of the Mississippi, or something like that.  Someday I would like to walk through one of the condos there to see how the other half lives.

That's about it for now.  I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping by!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Austin Skyline and Contest


In a few days I will be announcing details to give away an Apple Airport Express!  Anyone out there in need of one?

Austin Skyline

Last Tuesday, my good friend and co-worker Van Sutherland and I ventured out to one the of the better places in Austin to get a good shot of the skyline.  This was from a part of Zilker Park called "Lou Neff Point".  As you can see, one can get an awesome view.  As we were shooting, lots of other people with point and shoot cameras and smartphones were shooting from the same vantage.  I hope their shots didn't come out as good as ours because that would mean I don't really need this big-ass camera.  Actually, that might be a good thing! They can get pretty heavy after a while! ;-)  Anyway, Van and I shot here before a couple of years ago and we thought it was a good time to do it again.  Last time the skyline was still changing a bit.  Now, it's pretty much done for a little while.  There are more hotels slated to be built so it will change again soon.  When that happens, it will be time for new shots!  

That's about it.  Check out Van's site to see his shot as well!  I think it's better than this one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, my most recent posts have been from our latest trip to the east coast and the shots here are no exception.  The bonus is that they really coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday which is here!  It's a theme I've tried to stick with until the holiday passes.  When Christmas comes, I'm not sure what I'll do because I don't have anything for then.  But, I digress... Anyway, these three shots are from Plymouth, MA and they have to do with the Pilgrims.  The first shot below is of a recreation of the Mayflower called the "Mayflower II" and is an accurate representation of the original ship.  Hard to believe that a roughly 150 passengers or so sailed on this vessel for about 2 months to get here.  Can you imagine the smell?  And, the second shot is of the actual Plymouth Rock!  It's now about the size of an average desk that you would use today, maybe a little smaller.  However, our tour guide Leo (seen in the last shot overlooking "the Rock") told us that it's probably about half the size of what it was back in the day.  Leo was great by the way.  He's dressed in the almost typical Pilgrim attire there.  He said that the Pilgrims didn't wear the hats with the buckles on them and all that other stuff.  What he wore for this shot was typical back in the day, except for the shoes, I think. ;-)  I don't think they had bottled water either.

I guess that's about it.  I hope everyone that visits this blog, all one of you - hehe - have a great Thanksgiving holiday!  Be thankful for what you have and for the many blessings received.  That's what it's really all about.

Thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mayflower Gun

Plymouth MA has a museum where an almost exact replica of the Mayflower sits.  It's called the Mayflower II and it "was built in Devon, England and crossed the Atlantic in 1957." It's supposed to be a very accurate remake of the ship that brought the first settlers from Europe to America.  In the back of the ship rests this gun ready to fire on any pirates or other ne'erdowells while sailing the seas.

I tried to make it look a little old with a sort of bleach bypass look.  I hope it worked.

Enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping by!

Wampanoag Kitchen

At least that's what I'm calling it... a Wampanoag Kitchen.  The Wampanoag are the Indians that the first settlers met when they arrived at Plymouth, MA.  The Plimouth Plantation has a Wampanoag camp set up so you can see how they lived back at that time.  This is a shot of what I call their "kitchen".  I'm not sure that's what they called it, but this is the spot where the Wampanoag made and cooked food.  They skinned animals here, cooked over a fire and made other things.  For instance, in the foreground on the left you can see a wooden stick popping out of what looks like a tree trunk.  This is where they made cornmeal.  And, in the pot over the fire, they were cooking bean soup.  It actually looked pretty good when we were there.  I think everyone ate well back in the day and with Thanksgiving coming up, I'm sure all now will eat well!  At least that's what we hope!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

William Brewster

Now that Thanksgiving is only a week away, I thought I would post couple of shots in the next few days that pertained to the very first Thanksgiving feast.

This shot is from the Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, MA.  Yes, I did spell the first Plimouth correctly.  Not sure why the spelling is different, but that's the way it is.  Anyway, Plimouth Plantation - where I also took this shot - has a replica of the first settlement of the Pilgrims after they arrived at Plymouth Rock along with a replica of a Wampanoag Indian settlement - the Indians that the Pilgrims had the first Thanksgiving meal with.  It's a fascinating place if you ever get there.  The Pilgrim portion has people dressed in period costume and act and speak as they did back in the 1620s.  Some even play a few of the key figures from those that arrived on the Mayflower.

This particular person was playing the part of William Brewster who was a main figure of the Separatist Church back in Europe.  The Separatists were persecuted and so they left on the Mayflower to setup their own colony, basically, and escape the persecution.  He was one of the leaders of the group when they arrived at Plymouth.

Here is William basically sitting at his dining/kitchen table in his residence.  This gentleman played the part quite well with a good English accent, saying things like the year 1621 as "sixteen hundred one and twenty" instead of saying "sixteen hundred twenty one" or "sixteen twenty one".  Pretty fun!  The houses everyone stayed in here were basically one room shacks for the most part.  Some had two rooms, but those were for two families.  They had fireplaces, sometimes just on the floor as seen here. There was also a bed in the room to sleep on.  That was it.  Nothing else to it.  I can only imagine what it must've been like in the winters there, but at least this place gave you some idea.  Very interesting.

I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bok Tower

Here are a couple of shots I took on a trip to Florida back in April.  I think the story about the subject of the pictures is more interesting than the shots so I wanted to pass it along.  Bok Tower is a tower created by a man named Edward Bok who immigrated to the US with basically nothing and went on to become a well-known publisher starting the Ladies Home Journal.  He had many other successful endeavors, but I think that's his most famous.  He decided to build this tower as a thank you to the country that gave him such opportunity.  The tower is located on the highest point in Florida - which is not saying much since Fl is pretty flat - outside of the Orlando area at a place called Lake Wales.  It's a very picturesque place for those with better skills than me, hehe.  Hey, I was there in the middle of the day, what can I say?  Anyway, the following about Edward Bok is from

"Edward William Bok (1863-1930), American editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, was born in Den Helder, Netherlands, on October 9, 1863. He came to the United States at the age of six. Educated in the Brooklyn Public Schools, he became an office boy with the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1876.

Continuing his education at a night school, he began working for Henry Holt and Company, publishers, in 1882. Two years later he became associated with Charles Scribner’s Sons, publishers, eventually becoming advertising manager. He was the editor of The Brooklyn Magazine from 1884 to 1887. In 1886, he founded The Bok Syndicate Press, which led to the offer of the editorship of The Ladies’ Home Journal in 1889.

Under his management, The Ladies’ Home Journal became one of the most successful and influential publications in America and the first magazine in the world to have one million subscribers. Bok was a champion of social causes, a pioneer in the field of public sex education, prenatal education and childcare, and an environmental activist in public health and the saving of Niagara Falls.

Bok also had a great influence on American architecture. He was a leader of the Arts and Crafts movement at the turn of the century and was the first to call Victorian parlors “living rooms.” Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. was one of the new architects Bok promoted by making his house plans available to the public in the Journal.

After 30 years as editor he retired in 1919. A year later he published The Americanization of Edward Bok, which won the Gold Medal of the Academy of Political and Social Science and the Joseph Pulitzer Prize for best autobiography."

You can also read more about the tower here:

Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day

I thought this shot might be appropriate for Veterans Day this year.  This is the eternal flame that stands in front of the Tomb Of the Unknown Revolutionary Soldier in Washington Square Park in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.  The park is located just behind Independence Hall.  The tomb has a statue of George Washington and this flame.  Basically there are hundreds of unknown dead from the Revolutionary War buried there.  Very interesting place and a place I didn't even know existed until we visited Independence Hall.  If you ever get there, try to make a stop and check it out.

And, with Veterans Day, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our veterans make for our freedom, especially nowadays because the wars we are engaged in are the longest lasting ones the US has ever been in.  That has to take a toll on our vets and their families  If you see a veteran, say thanks for a job well done.  Plus, it doesn't have to be on Veterans Day, you can thank them anytime and I think they will appreciate it!

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the photo!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Another Nantucket Galleries Shot

This shot is sort of a companion to my other galleries post taken during our recent east coast trip.  I think I like this one a little bit better.  I like how this one turned out where you can actually see a little bit inside of the closest shop.  Too bad there isn't something more interesting going on in there. ;-)  If you click on the picture, you should get a bigger version.  Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I think I may have posted this one before... In honor of the upcoming Halloween festivities, I thought it might be appropriate to show off one of my previous carving attempts from a few years ago.  This is one of Gene Simmons from the band KISS that I took from his solo album cover.  I got the idea for this from those pumpkin carving kits you can buy in any grocery store.  The technique really works!  I just made my own template and this is the result!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tiffany Mosaic

Not too far from Independence Hall in Philadelphia lies the Curtis Publishing Building, just off of Washington Square.  It houses a huge atrium that I have shot in a previous post.  One portion of the building holds what is known as the Dream Garden produced by Tiffany Studios.  It's quite a site to see.  Here's more about it from

"Dream Garden is an enormous glass mosaic designed by artist Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), and executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios, for the lobby of the Curtis Publishing Building in Philadelphia — home of the successful magazines The Ladies' Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. The work was commissioned by Edward Bok, Senior Editor of the Curtis Publishing Company. Over a one-month period, prior to being installed in the Curtis Building, the work was exhibited at Tiffany Studios in New York City, attracting more than 7,000 admirers and garnering widespread critical acclaim. The Dream Garden took six months to install into its home in Philadelphia.

Multi-talented Maxfield Parrish was known as a "master of make-believe," charming readers with illustrations for children's books and magazine covers. Parrish's method of alternating transparent oil paints with varnish added the illusion of light to his landscapes.

Measuring 15 by 49 feet, Dream Garden was produced by the Tiffany Studios in 1916, using over 100,000 pieces of favrile glass, each hand-fired to achieve perfection in each of the 260 colors. The partnership of Tiffany and Parrish had been called "one of the major artistic collaborations in early 20th Century America."
In truth, the relationship between Maxfield Parrish and Louis Comfort Tiffany was tumultuous, based on a rueful assessment of each other's artistic merit. While Parrish complained that Tiffany's translation of his design lacked subtlety and "painterliness," Tiffany countered that the design sketches were technically vague.
In June of 1998, Dream Garden was sold to casino owner Steve Wynn, who planned to move it to Las Vegas. Philadelphia historians, artists, activitists (notably the Arts Defense League), and press protested the proposed move — and the Pew Charitable Trusts agreed to provide $3.5 million to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in order to purchase the important work. The work is now owned by the Pennsylvania Academy, and is permanently installed in its rightful home in the Curtis Center lobby."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another "Big Dig" Bridge Shot

This is another shot I took of the bridge made famous by Boston's "Big Dig" project.  I'm too lazy to find out what the actual name of it is, so if anyone knows, please let me know in the comments.  Anyway, the "Big Dig" is pretty infamous for it's massive size as well as the massive amount of money it went over-budget.  It is a project Boston took on to make a series of underground tunnels and above ground bridges to help ease traffic congestion in downtown Boston.  Apparently, according to one of our tour guides, the contractor used for the concrete on the project knowingly used bad concrete during the initial build.  Then, it was "discovered" that the contractor got bad concrete and tried to bring in proper concrete, thus making more money for the concrete company.  Well, the authorities got wind of this and apparently the head of that company as well as others associated with this plot are now in jail and the taxpayers are out millions.  I guess the mob is still alive and well.

Hope you like the picture and thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I took this shot on the way back to Hyannis on the ferry from Nantucket Island.  I like looking at sailboats and catamarans.  Maybe it's because my Uncle Bill used to sail them competitively and my Dad also liked them.  Plus, there a lot of them at Nantucket.  Unfortunately when we were there, the season was pretty much over.

I hope you enjoy this shot and thanks for dropping by. (click on the picture for a larger view)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Birth of a Government

While in Philadelphia, we visited Independence Hall.  It served as the US capitol for a few years when the US first formed and it's where our constitution was born.  One side of Independence Hall was the supreme courtroom.  On the other side sat the room where our founding fathers got together and hashed out the US Constitution.  The room you see here is the actual room, but almost everything in it is a replica of the furniture that was there.  There are a couple of things that are authentic and used during the time.  Two of those things were walking sticks that were used by a couple of the representatives and I wish I could remember who they were, but I'm not sure.  I think one of them was from Thomas Jefferson.  However, the thing that I DO remember is that the chair in the center of the room in the very back was the actual one used by George Washington during the Continental Congress and the drafting of the Constitution.  Pretty cool, eh?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wampanoag Long House

I wanted to save this shot for Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't wait.  In Plymouth, MA, there's a recreation of the Pilgrims initial settlement as well as a depiction of how the Native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe that the Pilgrims befriended back in the early 1620s.  This is all shown at the Plimouth Plantation.  Why the spelling is different from the town's name of "Plymouth" is beyond me, but that's a discussion for another day.  In both the Wampanoag and Pilgrim areas of the plantation, there are people actually depicting how they dressed and acted back then.  Of course it was little more pronounced on the Pilgrim side because the language was the King's English.  It would be a little hard for the Wampanoag to explain things in their native tongue to us.  So they spoke normally, but dressed in authentic attire.  Unfortunately, the man here in the wheelchair was unable to get too dressed up, but that did not diminish his explanations or his authenticity in my eyes.

This picture shows the inside of what the Wampanoags call a "long house". It was made exactly how the Wampanoags of the 1600s made them. It's made of cedar posts to hold the structure up and elm bark for the walls and siding.  It's sealed using a combination of pine tar and ash.  That would help keep the rain out.  These structures are so strong that they can withstand a small hurricane.  As a matter of fact, this very structure survived the recent Hurricane Irene with no damage.

The gentleman in the wheelchair in this shot told us all about that.  He also said that these long houses are basically the winter homes of the Wampanoag.  One set of families will build several of them, up to nine, that are approximately a football field long lining up next to each other.  Then families would occupy their own little portions of these.  It was very fun to listen to him speak.

The plantation is a fascinating place and if you ever get to visit, please do.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping in!

Moon Over Philadelphia

Whenever we travel somewhere, I like to get a shot of the view from where we are staying if there something interesting to see.  When we went to Philadelphia, we stayed at the Embassy Suites on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  It's a very nice hotel and the room was a good size.  Plus its location was good as we were only a few blocks from City Hall.  Unfortunately, the lobby was under renovation, so that wasn't so good.  Anyway, I thought the view was nice and luckily the night we stayed there, we had a full moon.  I guess I should've tried to get a tighter shot with the moon, but I don't have a good enough lens for that.  I took a few other shots from our balcony, but I think this was the best of the bunch.  Is that saying much?  I don't know, but It sems to be OK.

Also, the funny thing was when we got there, I had a deja vu moment.  I had stayed in this same exact hotel back in the late '80s when I was in the military while on business to the city.  I had no idea when we booked it.  So that made it even that much cooler!  Brought back some memories.

Anyway, I hope you like the shot and thanks for dropping by. (Click on the picture to see a larger version)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nantucket Galleries

Along the docks in one of the harbors in Nantucket, MA are all of these cool little art galleries.  I just love how they all flew these maritime flags as well as the US flags.  I also love that Cape Cod style architecture they have there.  According to one of the tour guides we had, you can't build a place on Nantucket that does not have this look with the cedar siding and the white trim.  Lots of hoops to jump through if you want to build and apparently it ain't cheap.  But it's a very pretty place, as you can see...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Curtis Publishing Building Atrium

While we were in Philadelphia, we were told about this building that held a mosaic by the Tiffany people.  I'm guessing that's the same Tiffany people as the jewelers, but I wouldn't swear to it.  Anyway, the mosaic is located in a building not too far from Washington Square Park and Independence Hall in a building named after the Curtis Publishing Company.  This is the atrium inside that building.  I thought it lent itself to a good HDR shot.  It's beautiful building and I am jealous of the people who get to work there everyday.  If every office building could be this nice, the world would be a better place.  The mosaic is a pretty nice thing to see as well and I will post a shot of that sometime soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reading Terminal Market Blooms

One of the places we went to during our recent trip out east was to Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market.  Basically it's a giant indoor warehouse-looking place that is filled with all sorts of little walk-up food stands where you can buy seafood, pastries and food-stuffs from other countries.  I'm not sure my description does it justice, but if you can imagine it, it's probably sold there.  They even sell flowers as you can see in the shot here.  I thought this made a nice shot and would be something a little bit different than what I normally post here.  I don't have too many flower pictures, I don't think.  OK, maybe it looks like everything else I post here, but it's still slightly different, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old North Church Interior Panorama

The last couple of days we spent in Boston were rather rainy so I decided to leave the monstrous D300s at the room and just wander with our little Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V. I didn't want to get that big ole Nikon wet.  Plus it can get pretty heavy lugging that DSLR around all day.

Anyway, one of our stops while sight-seeing was The Old North Church of the "One if by land, two if by sea" fame.  It's pretty cool to see the place where the signal was sent to Paul Revere when he made his famous ride!  This is the inside of the church here.  I think it is still pretty much the same as it was back in the revolutionary war days.   Plus, I think it is still a working church that has regular services.  Wouldn't be cool to say you attend that church if you are of that persuasion?

Anyway, this shot was a little tricky to put together.  It is six sets of 3 brackets set at -1, 0 and +1 EVs, merged and tonemapped in Photomatix and then merged as a panorama in Photoshop.  I did all of this hand-held as well because I didn't want to lug the tripod along this day either.  So there are flaws in this shot, but I still kind of like it.  It might have been better had we been there when the interior lights were on, but you can't have everything!

Also, I don't remember the chandeliers being so low! :-)

I hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nantucket Lighthouse

Another stop during our trip to the east coast was Nantucket Island just off Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It's a beautiful place with all of the Cape Cod-style architecture and little shops to visit. From what we understand, the Whaling Museum is definitely worth checking out. Unfortunately we didn't have time to see it. However, we did take a guided tour around the island which is how we ended up at this lighthouse. It's located just near the golf course on the island and very close to one of Jack Welch's homes. From what our tour guide said, he wanted to become a member of this particular golf club, but you had to own property near the course. So, he built what appeared to be a compound to us right on the course and naturally he's now a member. It's good to have money! Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the picture and thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TD Gahden, Big Dig Bridge and Locks

Another stop on trip to the East Coast was Boston. We saw lots of cool stuff and got to visit with friends Earl and Caroline Evans! It was great seeing them again. Earl and I were stationed together in England 24 years ago or so while serving in the Air Force. He and Caroline have not changed a bit!

We stayed in a condominium in Charlestown on the north side of town, just above the Charlestown River. And, from the Charlestown River bridge, you can see the river locks, the new bridge that's part of "The Big Dig" and TD Garden, home of the Bruins and the Celtics.

That's what you see here. I took this during a quick little self-imposed photowalk after we got back to the condo from a long day of sight-seeing. Lots of stuff to do there and I'll post more in the days to come. Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Plymouth Harbor

A few weeks ago, Eileen and I took a trip out east to see some places we've never been before and some friends we haven't seen in a long time. We also got to experience some weather we haven't experienced in a long time...such as highs in the 60s! It was wonderful! Our first stop on the trip was Plymouth, Massachusetts, home of Plymouth Rock! The rock wasn't too impressive, but it was fun to see. Plymouth is also home to a replica of the Mayflower ship called the "Mayflower II". Some day I'll post photos of it, which brings me to this shot... This is of Plymouth Harbor. There are mostly fishing boats here. I took this picture the first night we were there on our way to finding something to eat. That was an adventure in itself. The place we wanted to eat at had an hour and a half wait. So we ended up at a sports bar that was nice, but unfortunately we were seated next to some wild women who had a little too much to drink and thought they had to scream at the top of their lungs in order to have a conversation. Not the most pleasant experience, but an experience nonetheless. Anyway, hope you like the shot and thanks for dropping by.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Taming the "Mawnstah"

Eileen and I recently took a trip to the east coast and I'll talk more about that in subsequent posts. However, one of the things we did while out that way was see the last home game of the Red Sox at Fenway Park. I can see why Red Sox fans are Red Sox fans. That's a beautiful stadium. Also, two nights ago was a huge day in Major League Baseball history. The Tampa Bay Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Yankees 8-7 in 12 innings while the Red Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. The Sox were something like 9 games ahead of the Rays in the wild card race starting in September and they went 7 - 20 and lost their chance to make the playoffs. The Rays are in and the Sox are out. Analysts are saying it was the biggest collapse in Baseball history. And, since the Sox lost to the Orioles, that's who the Sox were playing the night we went to Fenway. That's an Oriole in front of "The Green Monster" wall in Fenway. BTW, the Orioles won that game 6-4. Hope you like the photo and thanks for visiting. Oh, and the next bunch of posts will be from our trip out that way, enough for you to get sick of, but I hope you keep dropping by anyway!

PS.. I'm a big Detroit Tigers fan so I'm glad they are in the playoffs!  Beat the Yankees!  It's on tonight at 7:30 CDT!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I would like to introduce you to my nephew Dylan! He's a great little guy! He's 8 years old and just started the third grade. It seems like just yesteday he was crawling and now he's almost grown up! Well, maybe not grown up, but he's definitely growing up fast!

Eileen and I met Dylan, his friend Connor and Dylan's Mom, Annette at a Round Rock Express baseball game out at the Dell Diamond a couple of weeks ago. We got to see the Express trounce the Albuquerque Isotopes 8-6! It was a great time and that's where I got this shot of Dylan. I tried to get a candid shot of him talking with Connor to get a natural look. Hopefully I succeeded.

Dylan is getting to that age where he knows some pro sports teams. And since he's from here, he's becoming a Texas sports fan. Nothing wrong with that, but... To his Mom's dismay, he's not a big Yankees fan, while Annette is! Back in May, we all went to see a Rangers - Yankees baseball game in Arlington and the Rangers won that one, I think by almost the same score as the Express game. Anyway, Dylan gave his Mom a hard time about that and I think he still does!

Eileen and I being his aunt and uncle are trying to get him to like some of the teams we like. Eileen is a big Dallas Cowboys fan and I like any team out of Detroit, yes, even the Lions. Speaking of which I am a big Michigan Wolverines fan, so I try to get him to go for the blue team whenever Wolverines football is on TV. Of course, he always asks me about "the blue team" which is funny, but he's getting there! Hopefully he'll start liking one of the teams we do, but I bet he will eventually like the Cowboys since they are a Texas team!

Anyway, that's a little bit about the guy you see here! I hope you enjoyed reading a little about him and I hope you enjoyed the shot. It's not a type of shot I normally post, but I had to put this one out there because it's Dylan! Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"The Land" Food Court

In keeping with my recent Epcot pictures, I thought, what the heck, I might as well put out one more.  This is of the food court inside a place called "The Land".  I'll be honest, I thought it was just a food court when I got there so I didn't spend a whole lot of time investigating the place.  But, after looking at the website, I guess there's more to do than just eat.  There are rides for kids that show agricultural-type stuff on how food is grown and what advances are being made in food production.  OK, boring for me, but maybe fascinating for someone else.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fake France

Here's one more shot from Epcot that I thought I'd post from the archives. It's similar to my previous shot in that it has hedges in the foreground and buildings in the back. Plus, it's representation of a France instead of England. It's processed a little differently as well, but you get the gist. Anyway, I hope you like it and thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

English Castle

OK, so it's a touristy replica of one that's really a gift shop and located at Epcot Center in Florida!  I've been going through some of my archival stuff and thought this might be blog-worthy.  The world showcases at Epcot  are a little kitschy, but are pretty fun at the same time.  At least they give you a little inkling of what it might be like in one of those countries, but really it's mostly shops and restaurants.  It's great for photography though!  If you're ever there, check it out!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Round Rock Express Pitcher

Last Saturday night was baseball night! Eileen and I caught a Round Rock Express baseball game with my sister-in-law Annette, her son Dylan and his friend Connor. It was a great time! Round Rock beat the Albuquerque Isotopes 8-6! And, Round Rock started in the playoffs tonight, I believe. For those of you who don't know who the Round Rock Express are, they are the AAA minor league farm team for the Texas Rangers! It's just like going to see a game in the majors except I have no idea who any of these guys are. Speaking of which, I don't know who this pitcher is, but I liked the shot. I hope you do too. Also, I hope to post another shot from the game as well a little later, but I'm trying to think of a way to make it pop! Stay tuned!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Leander Rail Station

Here's just a quick post... I was going through some of my archives looking for something to publish and I ran across this shot from my employer's rail station in Leander, Texas.  I took this shot one morning on my way to work last spring.  It looks a little better to me now because maybe I remember the weather being so much cooler then.  Which I must say, we finally have a little cooler weather down here for a change... It's only in the low 90's vs the low 100's!  However there are lot's of fires happening in the area.  Which leads me to another thought... Some friend of ours, Tricia and Doug, are in the middle of the fires out in Bastrop County.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and we ask that you keep them in yours as well!

Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the photo!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Long Time, No Post - Tower Life Building

For a multitude of reasons, I haven't posted anything to my little blog here in a long time.  Some of the reasons are lack of motivation, tired of the heat and a few others that I won't bore you with.  I hoping to get back into the swing of things soon.  I really enjoy shooting pictures, but I have reached a little burn-out point lately, but that might change soon.

Also, soon, Eileen and I are traveling to Boston and other parts of the east coast.  We will be staying in Plymouth and in Charlestown.  Any suggestions on what to shoot there?  This could help me get some motivation back and you could help me get inspired!  :-)

With that, last weekend my sister Elizabeth came to town for an excellent visit.  She had a symposium to attend in San Antonio. However, with the extreme drought we're having here, we had a hard time trying to think of things to do.  We tried Volente Beach, but that was a bust, food was not very good, and we also tried Rio Rio on the Riverwalk.  Again, food no good.  We still had a great time and it was great to see her!  She's lots of fun and we're lucky to have her in the family!  Anyway, Eileen and I joined her down at the Westin on the Riverwalk.  It's a very nice hotel, I must say.  While we were there, I grabbed a couple of shots from the balcony of our hotel room.  This particular one is of the Tower Life Building (I think). The following about the Tower Life Building is from Wikipedia:

The Tower Life Building is a landmark and historic building in San Antonio, Texas.
Construction of the tower began in 1927 and the building rises 403 feet (123 meters) and has 30 floors. The building, which opened in 1929 was originally named the Smith-Young Tower and is the central component of a partially completed development called the Bowen Island Skyscrapers. The eight sided, neo-gothic brick and terra-cotta tower (complete with gargoyles) was designed by noted local architectural firm Ayers & Ayers (Atlee & Robert B. Ayers). The building also housed San Antonio's first Sears, Roebuck and Company store in its lowest 6 levels.
The other completed building in the development is the former Plaza Hotel (also designed by Ayers & Ayers), which opened in 1927. The property became the local outlet of Hilton Hotels in 1956 and was converted into the Granada Apartments in 1966. Subsequent structures in the development were never built as a direct result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
In the 1940's the building was renamed the Transit Tower for the San Antonio Transit Company, which the Smith Brothers purchased in 1943. In 1953 a television transmission tower was added to the structure. Renovations in 2010 removed the obsolete television mast in favor of the tower's original design, a copper tophouse with a 100ft tall flagpole.
The building is now named for its current owner, Tower Life Insurance Company.
In 1991 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

King Krunch and Grave Digger

Last weekend was a new experience for us.  My wife and I took our nephew Dylan to the Monster Truck Jam at the Cedar Park Center in Cedar Park, Texas.   It's a nice little arena that seats about 6000 I think.  It was originally built for our local minor league hockey team, the Texas Stars.  But, they also have lots of other events there and it's only about 12 - 14 miles from our house.  Very convenient!  When the Monster Truck Jam came to town, we thought what a perfect thing to take our nephew to!  Plus, we had never been to one either!  Dylan thought it was "awesome!"  And, I must say, I thought it was pretty cool as well.  Seeing those trucks in person is a bit different than seeing them on TV or something.  I'm not sure Eileen was too impressed, but we all had fun anyway.

One thing that's difficult about one of these rallies is the noise!  Those things are LOUD!  You definitely have to bring hearing protection.  If it was outdoors, it would probably be a different thing, but in a closed arena where the noise reverberates all over the place, you definitely need hearing protection.  Luckily, we all had it and thank goodness we did!

So the picture below is of King Krunch and Grave Digger!  I don't know much about King Crunch, but I HAVE heard of Grave Digger.  That truck is probably the most famous of all the monster trucks.  And, according to the announcer, this is the 16th version of this truck that the driver made himself.  Pretty incredible.  He was awesome!  However, and I don't know if this was fate or what, but right and the end of the show, Grave Digger was going through the freestyle event, which is where the trucks basically jump and pound stuff for a timed 1 minute, and right at the end, Grave Digger lost his right rear wheel.  It just broke off.  He was the last contestant and it was what closed the show!  Pretty cool!  Love a little mayhem!

That's about it!  We all had a great time!  The only thing is that the center was a little small for something like this, so it made it a bit cumbersome for safety's sake, but it was still a blast.  If you have a chance, check it out sometime!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stress Relief Needed

Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted anything to the ol' blog.  I am in the middle of a rough road personally so I'm finding that working my photography hobby is a little difficult as of late.  I'm trying again to keep my mind off things, but not sure how that will go with this.  Hopefully things will get better soon.

To relieve some stress recently, my wife and I took a little weekend trip to Granbury, TX and stayed at a nice bed and breakfast called the Baker St Harbour Waterfront Bed and Breakfast.  It's a big old Victorian house sitting on some land right on Lake Granbury.  We stayed in the downstairs room called the "Dr Doyle Suite".. It was great!  We had our own private entrance off the porch as well as a door to the rest of the house.  The innkeepers, Perry and Terry were wonderful as well.  They really made us feel right at home.  As a matter of fact, Terry made our room extra cozy with some nice lace and rose pedals on the bed and candles at the foot.  Of course, the candles were electric... Don't want to have a chance of starting a fire in the place, totally understandable. Oh, did I mention that the reason Terry did that was because it was our 18th wedding anniversary that weekend?  18 awesome years!  Can't imagine spending those years and future years with anyone else! Anyway, like I said, they made us feel very welcome.  They are also great cooks and will do up a very generous breakfast for you in the morning and they will also do some great afternoon snacks.  If you ever go to Granbury, check them out!

The picture here is our view from the Dr Doyle Suite, just outside our door.  It has a nice cozy, country feel to it and it has the look of relaxation, doesn't it?  Eileen and I really enjoyed our stay.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Texas Capitol Extension and Photography Snobbery

Below is another shot from the inside of the Texas Capitol Extension. This is one of the views from just inside of the Underground Rotunda.  Luckily when I was there shooting, there were hardly any other people around.  That always makes it nice.  However, it seems sometimes when there's not many people around, the ones who are there tend to meander into your shot and then stand there for what seems an eternity!  One couple walked into my shot here and just kind of wanted to look around.  It's fine for them.  They can do what they want, it's a free country (as of right now anyway).  When this happens I just wait quietly and smile politely until they move along.  It's just funny that there are so many other places in there they could be, but that's the place they end up.  Maybe they think it's interesting because I'm getting ready to shoot something?  I don't know.  I guess it's called "photography snobbery" on my part. Dang tourists! ;-)

I hope you enjoy this shot and thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Underground Rotunda

This time of year trying to shoot outside in the middle of the afternoon is quite a chore.  Especially this year.  Right now in Central Texas, we are having record-breaking heat as well as a record-breaking drought.  It's brutal!  Shooting outdoors in this stuff is not fun.  However, one of the places for a nice reprieve is old faithful, the Texas Capitol.  It's very photographer friendly there and there's plenty to shoot.  Not to mention, it's air conditioned!  Sometimes I feel like I've shot too much there, but I usually can find a new angle on something to try or a new subject.  I did try a vertorama that Farbspiel does quite a bit on his HDR Cookbook site quite often.  I tried that in the main rotunda a couple of posts ago.  So, to go along with that, I decide to post a new angle of the underground rotunda, as it's called, which is located on the north side of the complex.  It's part of the Capitol Extension which has a nice atrium, gift shops and a cafeteria among other things.  It's very nice.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the picture.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More ROT Rally Photos

Here are a few more shots I took from the Republic of Texas Biker Rally.  They're all taken with my new 50mm lens and just a little bit of post processing for some effects.  However, the saddlebags of the Harleys and the couple on the bike with the woman taking a picture are straight from the camera with no post-processing.  I hope you enjoy them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Texas Capitol Rotunda Vertorama

Before I went downtown to shoot some pics of the ROT Rally (more of which I'll post soon), I decided to get some interior shots at the Capitol.  Ever since I discovered a blogger and excellent HDR photographer who goes by Farbspiel, I've been wanting to do a vertorama of the rotunda.  I did one previously of the Fez House at Epcot and I liked how it turned out.  This one turned out pretty good, but the portion of the second balcony on the right side didn't stitch up quite right in CS5.  I think Farbspiel does a much better job, but I'll keep trying.  Let me know what you think and thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ROT Rally and the 50mm

Last Friday, Van Sutherland and I took to the streets of Austin to see what we could find during the 2011 Republic of Texas Biker Rally right here in Austin, Texas.  For the occasion, I brought along my new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Autofocus Lens to play with. 

Yes, I took the advice of most of the guys from this post and pulled the trigger on this lens. Anyway, that was my main lens for our excursion and I must say, it is pretty fun to play with.  As you can see in the shot below, it has great bokeh and it's incredibly sharp.  I just have to get used to such a shallow depth of field, but it is fun to blur the background for a different look.  Getting pics during the rally was interesting since I was playing with the new lens.  Most of them are trash, and really this one isn't great, but I like it none the less.

Oh, and about the rally...  I've never seen so many bikes on one place before in my whole life!  Supposedly there were 45,000 - 50,000 at the rally!  As a former biker, I was in hog heaven!  It really makes me want to get another, but not sure I ever will. 

Well, thanks for dropping by and if you ever want a good prime for your Nikon, get the Nikkor 50mm f1.4D!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Book with Blurb

I recently decided to give a try at publishing a book through a company called Blurb. They were offering quite a special for photographers so I thought I'd give it a try. For the most part I'm happy with the book. The quality of the book from the cover to the pages is outstanding! However, I am a little disappointed with the quality of the prints. Some of the shots seem to a little dark to me, but maybe that's just me. Otherwise, I'm quite happy. The book that I made basically includes images from the Austin and Georgetown, Texas area and I also threw in a few from some of our recent travels. If you would like to preview it, check it out below. If you are really interested, you can even purchase it, but I don't expect anyone to. This was really just an experiment on my part. But, if you feel compelled to buy, by all means, do! I won't stop you!

As always, thanks for dropping by and let me know what you think!

Disqus for Evan's Expo