Tuesday, January 29, 2013

South Walk-up at Texas Capitol

Superbowl Weekend Coming Up

Super Bowl Weekend! Woohoo!  It's always exciting to watch the two best teams in the NFL play for the ultimate prize. There's nothing like American football, no?  It's the best!  However, this year, I'm not really too enamored with either team vying for the bragging rights of "Super Bowl Champions!"  The Niners are OK because they have a good coach and their young quarterback is fun to watch.  Other than that, meh.  The Ravens on the other hand are aging, have a good coach as well as a good defense led by someone who was accused of being involved in a double-murder a few years ago.  Again, meh.  When all is said and done, I will probably root for the Ravens because their head coach - John Harbaugh - is the older brother of the Niners head coach - Jim Harbaugh - and has been in the league a few years longer.  Therefore, the older brother must win!  Otherwise, I hope it's a good game like the last few Super Bowls have been! Are you rooting for a particular team?  If so, who and why?

Restaurants Banning Food Photography in New York

Did you know that food photography by restaurant patrons was a phenomenon?  I know some people who like to take pictures of their meals, especially if it's really good, but apparently some restaurants in NYC don't like it.  Maybe it makes the chefs work harder to present their meals or something?  Whatever.  Another reason why New York City is a great place to visit, but not a great place to live...

South Walk-Up at the Texas Capitol

I took this shot during the same visit as the shot in my previous post.  This one was a bit more tricky to process and has a bit more noise in it, but I like how it turned out anyway.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Texas Capitol Dome Thru Trees

Now that I have my camera back from the shop, I decided that I should not let the repairs go to waste.  But, where would I go to get some shots?  Well the old faithful Texas Capitol, of course!  That's always a good place to go when you want to practice shooting!  I decided to go on my way to work last Friday morning.  I have shot so many photos of the place, but I wanted to get a new angle.  I thought a shot through the trees might suffice and this is what I came up with.  I didn't have a lot of time to try many different angles, but I kind of liked this one.  However, I'm not sure if I got too many trees in this one and not enough capitol or if it turned out OK.  Let me know what you think..

Also, I  have one more shot that I may put out soon from a more traditional angle, but it needs quite a bit of work.  Hopefully it will turn out nice.  So, stay tuned!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Siamese Twins #2

Got My Camera Back!

Woohoo!  I finally got my camera back from the shop and can't wait to get out there and get some new shots!  I'll still be posting stuff from the archives, but I should have some great new content in the next few weeks!

Siamese Twins #2

Speaking of stuff from the archives, this is another shot I took of the "Siamese Twins" from the "Garden of the Gods" in Manitou Springs, CO.  It's an HDR that I converted to black and white.  The color HDR turned out nice and I may post it some day, but I really like the textures and the sky in the black and white conversion.  Click here to see my other Siamese Twins shot.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Camera Rumors

If you are a Canon or Nikon owner and want to know what your camera maker has in mind for product releases in the near future, try taking a look a the Nikon Rumors or Canon Rumors blogs.  I visit the Nikon one just about every day.  I don't know how they do it, but they produce "bleeding edge" speculation about Nikons and Canons.  Somehow they get information before anyone else has a clue!  A lot of times, the speculation reported becomes reality.  Sometimes not.  But that's why it's a rumors site!  Even if the info they provide isn't always true, I have found that more than just the majority of the time what they say is on the money!  It helps me get my savings together to prepare for the next big purchase!  Just remember that what you read out there may or may not become reality..

RCAF T-6 Trainer

Here's a shot of a Royal Canadian Air Force T-6 Trainer aircraft I took a few years ago out at the Georgetown Airport.  I really like the yellow color they gave it, but I always thought Canadian aircraft would be red, wouldn't you?

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Waikiki Sailboats

Buzzword Bingo Buzzkill

Well, in my last post, I put out something I thought was rather clever and fun.  Since then - out of curiosity - I decided to Google the words, "buzzword bingo" and all kinds of stuff popped up.  There is this one link that will do all of the work for you as far as juggling the words and putting out nice cards.  Check it out...It kind of put my little bingo idea to shame.  What a buzzkill!  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted...  Maybe I should've checked Google before I posted?

Waikiki Sailboats

It's cold in almost every part of the country this time if year, except for maybe parts of California, Florida and all of Hawaii.  It can even get quite cold here in Texas.  Most of the winter it's quite mild, but we do get the occasional ice storm as well as a few freezes.  So, when weather changes like this take place, I like to post something taken from a different climate.  So, that's where this picture comes in.

A few years ago, we took a trip to Hawaii and stayed at a great hotel on Waikiki Beach.  As soon as we got to that hotel, we ran out to the beach to take in the view.  Way out in the water were all of these sailboats and stand-up paddle boarders (if that's what they are called).  I thought it was just so cool and awesome!  Nothing like being on the beach in Waikiki watching sailboats!

One thing about this shot though... I took this before I got super serious with photography and got my DSLR.  I just took it with my little Lumix DMC-TZ5 and I cropped it a little and converted it to black and white. I still like it, though and I hope you do, too!

Oh, and lastly, we plan on taking another trip to Hawaii sometime this year and I will have my super serious DSLR with me to get some great shots!  I can't wait!  Even if I wasn't into photography, I still couldn't wait!  It's Hawaii!!!  Hang loose!!!

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

3 Levels Under the Rotunda

Buzzword Bingo

Ever been bored out of your skull in sales meetings or any other kind of meeting?  Well, for your own amusement and possibly for your use as a listening aid, I have come up with the following buzzword bingo card:

B due diligence granular 30,000 ft view leverage turn-key
I 360 degree view deep dive deliverables robust efficiencies
N low hanging fruit drill down going forward tool set single pane of glass
G synergy best practices holistic decompress hybrid
O capture high level governance bandwidth optimize
X comprehensive snapshot seamless autonomy level-set

This is a card (with a few extras) of some of the most useless terms used in business meetings all across our fruited plain. I'm not sure why they are in the lexicon now, but (oooh, lexicon... should add that one as well) I guess it makes people sound smarter and makes their product/project sound more important than it really is. So, copy and paste the above into a spreadsheet, make a few different versions by moving some of the terms around to different cells and then print and them out to meeting participants. It will make the meeting a little more enjoyable and you may even listen closer instead of being bored out of your mind. However, even if you are listening, you may not get the gist of the meeting due to the fact that you want to win the bingo game! (The X line at the bottom of the table are extras to shake up the different cards you may want to print.)  If anyone knows of other words or terms that are just as useless, I'd love the hear them!

3 Levels Under the Rotunda

There are so many angles in Texas capitol building.  If only there were more time... Plus, this is a year for the Legislative Session.  In other words, in Texas, Congress convenes every other year and for only about 5-6 months or if the governor mandates a special session.  I guess this way they don't have as much time to screw stuff up!  I wish the US government would take a page from Texas' constitution in regards to this.  Anyway, since the session starts next week, it would be a little more difficult to shoot there.  Heck, my camera's in the shop anyway so I guess it doesn't really matter!

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Cafe Du Monde in Black and White

Cool Robot

Check out this robot that catches a ball...  Man, they are getting smarter and smarter!  Apparently Microsoft has been somewhat instrumental in the development of this.  I used to think Google was Skynet, but maybe it's Microsoft?  (For all of you non-nerds out there, Skynet was the corporation in the "Terminator" movies that built the machines that became self-aware and tried to wipe out the human race. It's beginning to seem more plausible, eh? ;-))

Cafe Du Monde in Black and White

This picture was taken about two and a half years ago and I posted it as a color shot.  But, I think black and white images have a certain timelessness to them and I thought this shot would work great as a black and white.  I especially like the server leaning up against the pole on the left.  The uniform he's wearing is timeless and it works great here. I mean, if you didn't know any better, could you tell when this shot was taken?  Could be yesterday, could be 1965, no?

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Texas Capitol From SoCo #2

Lightroom 4 Quirks

I got Lightroom for Christmas!  Woohoo!  It looks like a pretty powerful tool to say the least!  Luckily, I also got Scott Kelby's Lightroom 4 book to help figure this behemoth out!  So far so good!  However, there's one thing in his book that he does not really address and that's TIFF + JPGs.  You see, when I edit a photo, I like to save it as a TIFF, then watermark it and save it again as a JPG to put out on the web.  I keep the same file-name, but a new file gets created with the .jpg extension.  However, Lightroom wants to organize it so both the TIFF and JPG files are just one, meaning the JPG is a "sidecar" file or a TIFF + JPG.  I don't like this at all and I can't seem to find a way to turn this off, unless you do this during your import settings.  So, what I had to do was create a whole new folder just for jpgs and move the file in there with Windows Explorer and then import that.  There's got to be a better way than this?  Anyone out there have any ideas?

Texas Capitol From SoCo #2

Here's a picture I took back in April of last year..  It's a shot of the Texas Capitol from the hill up on South Congress Ave.  I took it early in the morning so there wouldn't be much traffic, especially since I decided to take this in the middle of the road!  This is a companion to another shot I took where I had zoomed out a bit further...

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy (Belated) New Year... maybe!

No More Photos?

Well, I finally went and did it.  I decided to stop taking pictures.  That's right.  I'm done!  Most of you out there are probably thinking, "Thank goodness!  His stuff sucks, anyway!"  Well, hold on.  I'm not through yet...  I've only stopped taking pictures... temporarily!  Ha!  Gotcha!  It's gonna be a slow New Year starting off as far as picture-taking goes...

So here's the story.  Back in October when I was taking pictures of the balloons at the Georgetown Airfest, I accidentally dropped my camera!  Ouch!  Luckily all that was damaged was the control panel LCD on the top and my pride.  Everything else worked fine.  As a matter of fact the LCD worked pretty well, but it had a large black spot in it on the lower right side.  Well, it started getting worse so I finally took it to Precision Camera to see what they could do.  Sounds like they can replace it quite reasonably.  I just hope it's reasonably soon because I have some plans coming up where I'll really need it! They said a "few weeks", but I'll need it in a "few weeks"!  Fingers are crossed! Of course, if I make a few more sales from my gallery, I'll be sitting pretty for a new full-framer!  I'm close now, but just not quite ready to pull the trigger.  Anyway, I'm not totally done taking photos yet, only temporarily. So, if any of you out there are just dying for some excellent prints to dress up your walls, stop by my gallery and order to your heart's content!  Help a brutha out! ;-)

In the meantime, I'll try and post some photos I've taken over the years that haven't made it to the blog yet and I'll also try to post some other interesting little tidbits about this and that.  Hope you don't mind.

First Interesting Tidbit, Me!

I always feel a little funny about promoting my work because it seems so arrogant or self-centered, like I'm bragging or something.  But in order to make money and get my name out there, that's what I have to do.  Or that's what anyone with their own hobby/business has to do, right?  So, here's a little something that was written about my work...  Sebastian St. Troy, a colleague of Austin real estate agent Shannon Schmitz, posted a very nice write-up about my work on their blogs, "Shannon Knows Austin Real Estate and Fine Living" and Austin Fine Living Magazine.  Not sure everything they say in there about me or my work is true, but I'll take it! ;-)  Thanks so much, Sebastian and Shannon!  And, if you need some real estate help in the Austin area, I'm sure they will be a great help!  Check 'em out!

OK, Finally a Picture! Peyton Manning Handing-Off

So this is a shot I took back in September/October when we went to Denver.  Yes, another Denver shot!  Sorry, but I have quite a few of those left. :-)  This is when we went to the Raiders v Broncos game on Sept 30th.  It was awesome!  We had great seats and Denver kicked the Raiders collective butt!  This shot is a tad bit out of focus, but I like it nonetheless!  I thought I'd add this one since the Broncos not only made the playoffs with Peyton's help, but they're the number one seed in the AFC!  That means home-field throughout!  I think Peyton should be the MVP this year!  A lot of people think Adrian Peterson of the Vikings should be which is a valid argument, but Peyton makes everyone on his team better!  I don't think Adrian does that! Oh, and Peyton is handing-off to Willis McGahee in this shot....

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