Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Luis Jimenez' "Progress II"

One of the cooler things I saw at the Blanton Museum of Art last week was a sculpture by a man named Luis Jimenez.  The name of the work here is "Progress II".  The Blanton acquired this piece as well as one other sometime towards the end of 2012.  Luis Jimenez was a University of Texas alum.

I shot this piece from several different angles and I narrowed it down to two that I liked most.  However, I had a hard time figuring out which angle I liked better so, since this is named "Progress II" I thought, "Why not post both?"  So here you go...

The following is a description of what this sculpture represents from a December 31st, 2012 glasstire.com article:

Progress II, a massive sculpture cast in fiberglass and finished with car paint, belongs to the artist’s 1976 series that critically examines mythologies of the West. Rectifying traditional cowboy imagery, the work features a Mexican vaquero – the original cowboy – closing in on his prey: a snarling, red-eyed longhorn hopelessly attempting to evade defeat. Beneath the larger components of the sculpture, an owl stalks a mouse, while other small living creatures fight for their survival. An overarching theme of pursuit is revealed as JimĂ©nez uses relationships between predator and prey to allude to the concept of Manifest Destiny, America’s road to “progress.”




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Monday, July 29, 2013

Chairs Observing Art

If you read my last post, you'll realize that I don't get some art.  But, I think I know what "traditional" art is and here's a shot of some that I took in another exhibit not called "Lifelike". :-)

This is a 5-bracket handheld HDR merged with exposure fusion in Photomatix.  It's a bit noisy, but that's what happens when it's a little dark.  Nik's Dfine really helped get some of that out.


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure -  0.077 sec (1/13)
Aperture - f/5.6
Focal Length - 18 mm
ISO Speed - 3200
Flash -  No Flash
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0


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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lifelike "Art"

The Blanton Museum of Art at the The University of Texas here in Austin is currently running an exhibit called "Lifelike".  This intrigued me as I have read about some of the artists whose works are on display.  One of those artists is Evan Penny.  He has this great knack for recreating human likenesses that are uncanny. So, my friend and fellow photographer Van Sutherland and I went down there during one of our lunch hours to check it out.

The work here is one Evan Penny calls, "No One - In Particular #6, Series 2 (Old)".  Very lifelike, indeed!  The lady observing the work in the photo is real, though (hehe!) and I don't know her.  However, I thought she added some interest to the shot and left her in.  Anyway, I was hoping to see more of this kind of stuff in the exhibit, but that wasn't the case.  You see, "the contemporary artists in Lifelike investigate often overlooked items and moments as subject matter: a paper bag, an eraser, an apple core, a waiting room, an afternoon nap. Favoring a handmade, labor-intensive practice rather than technological enhancements, the works in the exhibition—including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, and video—transform the seemingly ordinary into something beguiling, loaded with narrative and metaphor." In other words, most of the stuff are recreations of everyday objects such as pencil erasers, legal notepads, etc.  They may be of a different scale, but that's what's there.

OK, since I like to take pictures I guess I could be considered an artist.  I guess that doesn't necessarily mean I know art.  I think the sculpture in this picture is great art, but there were things there that I just didn't understand.  For instance, there was a cardboard box hanging on the wall.  It looked like something that one would use to ship something in.  Just a regular, everyday box. It had packing tape on it and all that stuff.  Just hanging on the wall.  That's it.  I guess it was a recreation of a box made out of masonite or something, but I think I would've been more impressed by a real box hanging there.  Oh, and that wasn't the only one..  There was a similar box on its own pedestal under plexiglass!  Seriously?  This is art?  Some other things on display there were a suitcase in the middle of the floor with one side cut out, a car door on the wall, a recreation of a paperbag as mentioned in the paragraph above, etc.  This is where the artist in me fails to see the art in these things.  To me, it's not art, but just things.  I guess it can be considered art because of the old "eye of the beholder" saying, but I still don't get it.  To each his own, I suppose.  Maybe on some level it is art because of the work it takes a manufacturer and designer to make these real everyday items, but I don't think these things are the kind of art that deserves their own exhibit.  Except Evan Penny, of course!

This is a regular shot that I tweaked out and cropped in Photoshop CS6.  It's not an HDR, just a handheld shot.  However, I did take a few other shots that are HDR and I will be posting those in the coming days, so stay tuned!  I hope you enjoy the photo and thanks for dropping by!

Oh, and one other thing (as Columbo used to say), Thursdays at the Blanton are free.  That's when Van and I went and if you want to see this exhibit as well, I highly recommend going on a Thursday!  ;-)


Exif data:

Camera -  Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture -  f/8.0
Focal Length - 35 mm
ISO Speed - 3200
Exposure Bias -  0 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program -  Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Nikkor 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.


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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fire and Ice

These are the dog days of summer, especially in Texas.  It gets hotter than a fox in a forest fire down here as they say.  It's this time of year that I like to shake it up a little and find something that looks very nice this time of year...  And that's usually something with snow in it!  So, I found this shot in the old archives and thought it might work.  Of course it has both heat and cold!  I took this one at the Jackson Hole ski resort last February.  It's right at the base of the mountain in between all of the shops, hotels and restaurants and it was probably 15 - 20 degrees Fahrenheit out at the time!  I could use a little of that right now!  OK, maybe not THAT cold, but I'd almost take it!

This shot was a little more complicated than most.  After the merge process in Photomatix, the sky turned out really awful and the snow looked like something you would see on the side of city road versus nice clean white stuff.  So, I had to mask in portions of some of the original brackets.  Looks much better now.  That's one of the bad side effects of HDR... snow turns out really bad.  It just gets a dirty look to it.  But, you can fix it by masking in snow from a bracket and then life is much better!

Hope you enjoy the shot and thanks for dropping by!


Exif data:

Camera Nikon - D300S
Exposure -  0.8
Aperture - f/11.0
Focal Length - 14 mm
ISO Speed -  800
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program -  Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - Sigma 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6


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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Texas Capitol Dome

Another shot of the capitol that I took a few months back... This is a shot of the capitol's dome as seen sandwiched between two of Austin's iconic buildings..  The Frost Bank Building on the left and the Austonian on the right....

This is a 7-bracket HDR processed via Photomatix and post-processed in Photoshop CS6 with various filters in Nik's Color Efex 4 plugin.  You know, I bought OnOne's Perfect Photo Suite 7 a while back because they were giving a deal to owners of the Nik suite and after having used both, I still prefer Nik's suite.  You just can't beat the U-point technology!  I love it!  There are some things in OnOne's stuff that I do like, but overall, I like Nik better.  Do you use any of these and if so, which software do you prefer?


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 1
Aperture - f/8.0
Focal Length - 250 mm
ISO Speed - 400
Lens - 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Church Near Riverwalk

When I was taking my pictures for my little TOT poster, I found this church near the Riverwalk in San Antonio.  I don't know which one it is, but it has an old Catholic/mission look to it.  So, I thought I would give it the old "antique" look in Nik's Silver Efex 2.

Anyone out there know what church this is?  Any help in that regard would be great!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture - f/9.0
Focal Length - 38 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias - +2/3 EV
Flash - No Flash
Exposure Program - Program AE
Lens Model - 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Rangers Ball Park Nighttime Panorama

This weekend, the Texas Rangers play the Detroit Tigers in Detroit.  As a matter of fact, I'm watching them play on TV as I write this.  Right now, the Tigers are up 7-2 in the middle of the 7th.  Plus, the Major league Baseball All-Star Game and break is coming up.  So, I thought it would be a good time to post the second pano I took on the night of May 18th up in Arlington.  This is the second pano I took from the same vantage point in the stadium.  The first one was just before sunset and this was after sundown.

Compared to my other pano, this one isn't quite as wide.  I'm not too consistent when it comes to where I should start and stop taking the shots that make-up a pano.  The more I do it however, the better I get.  To get a good periphery, I think you almost have to go beyond 180 degrees from left-to-right or right-to-left and then crop out from there.  If I would've done that here, I could've gotten almost identical shots of the stadium at different times of the day.  I guess I could crop the other, but I really like how I captured the words "Rangers" and "Arlington" from the wall on either side of the daylight shot and am sorry I didn't get that here.  Oh well, live and learn I always say!

Oh, lastly in this shot you can see Victor Martinez of the Tigers getting at least a base hit and rounding first base as the ball is getting fielded in right.  Sorry if the shot is a little too small to see that, but if you click on the picture, you might be able too see it a little better on the larger version.


Exif data:

Camera -  Nikon D700
Exposure -  0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture - f/6.3
Focal Length - 28 mm
ISO Speed - 800
Exposure Bias -  -1/3 EV
Flash -  No Flash
Exposure Program - Manual
Lens Model - 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6


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Thursday, July 11, 2013

20 Years Ago Today....

... I married the most wonderful woman in the world! We got married at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas on July 11th, 1993 and have been having a great time ever since!

I just want to say that marrying Eileen was the best decision of my life and I can't imagine my life without her!  Thanks for putting up with me for the past 20 years!  You are a saint and I am so grateful!  Happy anniversary, honey and I can't wait for the next 20!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Independence Mental Health Institute #2

I just love the architecture of this place.  Yes, it is an active mental health facility, but from what I understand, patients aren't housed in this particular portion of the institute anymore. (Am I right about that Cookie? ;-)) But, I do think this a great-looking place and that if it ever shuts down as far as a institute goes, this could become a great hotel or something.  Maybe a resort with a spa or golf course!  That would really put Independence on the map! :-) Am I crazy thinking that?

Also, I love how the light from the sunset shines off the tall portion of the building at the top!  That golden-orange glow is incredible! (As always, you can click on the picture to see a larger version if you wish.)


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Exposure - 0.1 sec (1/10)
Aperture - f/16.0
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


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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone!  I hope you have a great day and hope you have a chance to reflect on what happened on this day some 237 year ago.  What our forefathers did to break away from England and start this grand experiment known as the USA is truly incredible and worth everything!  Not to mention the fireworks that we get to see every year!  Ha!  Just kidding about the fireworks..  Maybe. ;-)  Anyway, whatever your politics, this is still the greatest country on the face of the planet!  Let's just hope it stays that way!

This is a shot I took while we visited Philadelphia two years ago.  This was taken just outside the museum across the street from Independence Hall.  I'm not sure if these guys were getting ready for some sort of show or if they were just showing off the garb from back in the day, but I was happy that they would pose for a shot.  I just kind of wish I would've gotten a better background, such as Independence Hall for instance!  In my defense, Independence Hall was under renovation at the time and covered in scaffolding, so maybe this was the best I could do!


Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D300S
Exposure - 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture -  f/11.0
Focal Length - 20 mm
ISO Speed - 200
Exposure Bias -  0 EV
Flash - On, Return detected
Exposure Program - Aperture-priority AE
Lens Model - 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6

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