Thursday, June 27, 2013

Low Earth Orbit

Video: Best of Web

I saw this on Facebook and I thought it was really cool, so why not share here...



Photo: Low Earth Orbit

While flying on our recent trip, I wanted to try and get a shot out of the window, but I wanted the window to also be part of the shot.  This was the best of those.  To me it sort of looks like a view from a spaceship instead of an airplane, but that's just my child-like imagination going off again. ;-)


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture -  f/18.0
Focal Length - 16 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Independence Mental Health Institute

Since we were delayed on our way home from Iowa for a day, I decided to take that opportunity to take a few shots of something.  One of the more interesting places in Independence, IA is the Independence Mental Health Institute.  Granted, it's only interesting if you don't have to go there, if you know what I mean. ;-) The building itself - to me, anyway - looks like some sort of lavish French hotel or something.  It's a great looking place.  Of course, I don't know what it looks like on the inside.  Hopefully never will!  Anyway, the sky was great as there were some nice clouds and the sun was setting in just the right place.

In addition, I took my nephew Dylan along and he acted as my assistant.  He was awesome!  I would line up the shot and he would fire off the brackets.  It was fun!  But, we couldn't stay too long because the mosquitoes were eating us alive.


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture - f/16.0
Focal Length -  26 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Clouds Over Minneapolis

We just got back from our trip to Iowa to celebrate my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.  What an adventure!  We had an awesome time, but the trip home wasn't so.  We were supposed to fly out on Monday, but our connection thru Dallas got canceled due to bad weather and all other flights were booked.  So we had to fly out the next day.  It was a bummer, but we did get to spend another day with family in Iowa, so it wasn't all bad. :-)  (Thanks again, Sam and Betty, for being such great hosts!)

When it was time to fly out, we had to connect through Minneapolis instead of Dallas.  Makes no sense to me, but that's the way it is.  Not to mention, we had to get up at 0-dark-30 because the first leg of our trip left at 6:00am and we had an hour drive to the airport.  Sucked!

Well, Minneapolis is a cool place to fly into!  Literally!  The plane was very cold when we flew and then the terminal was freezing when we got off the plane.  I guess it's remnants of winter!  Anyway, our approach into Minneapolis had some great clouds so I whipped out the old compact camera and took a couple shots out the window.  I think this was the best of the lot.  How do you like it?

I did learn a couple of things about taking photos on a plane.  They are:

1. Take shots during the approach to land versus taking off.  It's slower which gives you a little more time to see and compose something that may be interesting on the way in.  Take off on the other hand, is much faster and the ascent is so much steeper than descent and that can make it hard to shoot anything decently.

2.  Reserve your seats in advance so you can be on the side you want during landing.  That may be a little tricky to do, but if you know where the airport is at your destination geographically-speaking, you can probably figure out which way you are coming in and subsequently what side of the aircraft would make better photo ops during your landing.




Exif data:
Camera - Sony DSC-HX9V
Exposure - 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture - f/10.0
Focal Length - 10.8 mm
ISO Speed - 100
Exposure Bias -  0 EV
Flash Auto, Did not fire

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Paul and Barb's 50th Anniversary

My in-laws, Paul and Barb are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today!  That is quite an accomplishment!  Happy Anniversary guys, and here's to many more!  I must also say that they are the most awesome in-laws as well!  Couldn't ask for better!  Congrats!

I'm not one who takes many portraits, but this occasion screamed for one.  So, I did take a few shots from a couple different poses and this was the best of the lot.  I also did a few touch-ups in Adobe Lightroom 4 using Scott Kelby's Lightroom 4 book.  It helped tremendously.  One thing it didn't help with is that I noticed I cutoff just a tad of Barb's head in the final shot.  Sorry, Barb.  Hopefully I'll get it better in the next one!


Exif data:
Camera - Nikon D700 
Exposure - 0.004 sec (1/250) 
Aperture - f/5.6 
Focal Length - 210 mm 
ISO Speed - 200 
Exposure Bias -  0 EV 
Flash - On, Return detected 
Lens Model - 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Coke Pitches as Cabrera and Fielder Look On

Here's another shot from the Tigers - Rangers baseball game we went to back in May.  It shows Phil Coke of the Tigers pitching with Miguel Cabrera at third and Prince Fielder at first looking on.  We had really nice seats just beyond third base and I was able to get some nice shots.  The bad thing was that I got decent shots of everyone's back!  Oh well, at least you can see their names!  Also, this shot has Cabrera a little out of focus, but trying to get everyone in perfect focus over such distance can be kind of tough.  I still like how it turned out though...

Speaking of Coke...  Why do the Tigers still have him?  Man, he sucks...  As a matter of fact, their whole middle relief as well as their closers all suck..  I don't know what the answer is, but sheesh..  I think it's half the reason they lost the series last year...  Along with the fact that the Giants were really good, but that's beside the point!

As far as adjusting this shot goes, I let Adobe Camera Raw adjust the exposure, I cropped it a little, did a little darken/lighten with Nik Color Efex 4 and then some noise reduction and sharpening using Nik Dfine and Sharpener.  Wa-la.


Exif data:
Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture - f/5.6
Focal Length - 190 mm
ISO Speed - 3200
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Lens Model - 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Timmy Shoots Free Throw Against the Heat

I would love to see the Spurs in San Antonio during the finals!  I mean, we only live an hour and a half away.  The problem is, we don't have thousands of dollars to buy tickets for decent seats! OK, maybe hundreds of dollars, but still, it's expensive!  Oh well, it would still be awesome to see the Spurs thrash the Heat in person for their fifth title!  Of course, I will see it happen on TV, hopefully!

"Howev-uh", (as Steven A. Smith would say), we did get to see the Spurs play the Heat for the first time when Lebron (not one, not two, not three...) James joined the Heat and played the Spurs in San Antonio back in March of 2011.  It was Awesome (with a capital A) because the Spurs won by 30 points.  Matt Bonner, aka "The Red Rocket", aka "The Red Mamba", nailed eight 3-pointers that night!  What a game!

Now that the Spurs are playing the Heat in the finals, I thought it appropriate to post a shot I got from that game in 2011.  It's not a great shot, but it does have Tim Duncan shooting a free throw, with Chris Bosh and Lebron on the key at the top of the shot. I'm not sure who the Spur is between them though.  It also shows Erick Dampier of the Heat and Richard Jefferson of the Spurs, but they're no longer with their respective teams.  You can also see Mario Chalmers at the top right and I believe Dwyane Wade's head which is kind of covered by my watermark.  BTW, why does Wade spell his first name like that, but pronounce it "Dwayne"?  I guess that's a better question for his parents.

As far as this picture goes, I took it with my little Lumix DMC-TZ5 compact point and shoot that mysteriously broke a couple months later.  It had a great 10x zoom on it so you could get pretty tight shots of the floor from the nosebleeds.  That's where we were for this shot!  Although, we weren't so far up that we couldn't see Manu Ginobili's nose!  No seats are THAT far away!  :-)  Speaking of the camera, I just wish a point and shoot would come out from someone that had at least an APS-C size sensor in it.  I know Nikon did, but it's like $1100!  A little cheaper please!  I imagine one will someday that will be less expensive, but we need it now!

Well, I hope you enjoy the shot and "Go Spurs Go!"


Exif data:
Camera - Panasonic DMC-TZ5
Exposure - 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture - f/4.9
Focal Length - 45.4 mm
ISO Speed - 800
Exposure Bias - 0 EV
Flash - On, Fired


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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cloud Break Above the Austonian

I have taken many shots of the Austin skyline from this location and will probably take many more.  It's kind of like shooting the Capitol..  There's always something new about it.  This day it was the sky itself that was new.  There were some great clouds and when I took this shot, they just started breaking above the tallest building in town..  The Austonian.  Alas, it didn't last long, so I'm happy I got this when I did!



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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lakeside SRV Statue

Austin's Auditorium Shores has one of the most iconic statues from the music world.  It's the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue, a tribute to one of the world's greatest guitarists.  He was killed in a helicopter accident in 1990 while flying away from a music festival in Wisconsin.  He used to call Austin home.

I like the statue because it really captured his face as well as a statue could.  I also like how the shadow portion of it is different, showing him playing the guitar while the main part of it has him standing and sort of leaning on the guitar.  OK, maybe not leaning on it as much as holding it up.  Anyway, as cool as it is, I think I would like to see a statue of Stevie actually playing the guitar with a pipe in his mouth ala this video of him in Tokyo while playing Scuttle Buttin'.  I think that would be awesome!



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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Jambulance ERuption

This past Friday morning I went out looking for more opportunities on my way to work.  To my astonishment down on South Lakeshore Blvd, I saw this vehicle that had Eddie Van Halen's trademark red, white and black candy-striping just like his guitars from the the classic VH-era.  Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a HUGE Van Halen fan from waayyy back!  Well, when I saw this vehicle, I knew I had to shoot it!  I didn't have time in the morning as I had found other things, but I did go back at lunchtime to shoot it and find out what it is.  Turns out it is something called the "Jambulance ERuption."  For those of you who don't know, Eddie Van Halen's signature guitar solo is called Eruption and the owner capitalized the ER to make it fit with the ambulance theme.  Anyway, it's a DJ and limo service and I guess they were setting up for something to happen this weekend.  Unfortunately the guy who was there wasn't too talkative because he either didn't speak too much English or was just too busy.  He did let me take some photos, though.

This is an HDR of 7 brackets, tonemapped with details enhancer in Photomatix, and then processed in Photoshop CS6 using OnOne's Perfect Effects 4 with the grunge effect and Nik's Color Efex 4 lens vignette effect.

Speaking of vignettes, I noticed that I use them a lot in my photos recently and I'm wondering if I use them too much.  What do you think?  Do you like the look or should it only be used sparingly?  I guess I like the framing it does, but I don't know if I should use them as much as I do.  Let me know.

Oh and lastly, I hope Mr. Eddie himself doesn't find out about this vehicle.  He has trademarked his "candy stripe" and has cracked down on people using it.  Look here at a sneaker lawsuit he's filed against Nike...  I also remember a guy named Fernandez or something that made replica guitars and Ed stopped that.  Good luck, owner of Jambulance ERuption!  Hope you don't get in trouble! ;-)

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoyed the picture!



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