Monday, September 27, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 81 (Howling Moon)

Day 81 (September 23rd, 2010)
Title: Howling Moon

I know I'm a few days behind, but I am currently hacking up vital organs (aka: I have a nasty cold), so I will try and get back on schedule as quickly as I can.

I got this just as the Harvest Moon was cresting over the tree-line behind our house.  I was just playing with the camera settings (f/stop and shutter speed) while watching the moon rise.  I didn't really think that I would get any particularity good shots, but this one I really liked.  It reminds me of the old B-Grade horror movies, just before the man turns into a wolf the scene cuts to a shot of the moon looking extremely spooky, before jumping back to the guy (who now really needs a shave). Or perhaps some sort of "Lovecraft-ian" moon just before some unnamed monster (or lawyer) grabs you from another dimension to eat your brains (or sue you - both are equally scary).

From a technical view, I have no idea how I got that cool "green-moon" effect to happen.  I'm guessing it something reflecting off on of the internal lens elements, due to the brightness of the moon.  But, I'm just guessing here. 

Or its Cthulhu's lawyer!  Ahhh!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 80 (The Moon)

Day 80 (September 22nd, 2010)
Title: The Moon

On September 22nd, there was an amazing Super Harvest Moon; basically when the moon rises within a very short time of the sun setting, giving it a) the illusion of being larger and b) more dramatic colors (red, amber, yellow).  Now, while all of those thing are really neat - and they are, it was basically moot because I didn't have my camera when it happened (after the sun completely sets, the effects of the Super Harvest Moon are greatly reduced).  But, rather than let the moon mock me like that ("Hey!  Look at me being all photographic and artsy!  Oh, you don't have your camera?  Ha, ha!") I decided I would just shoot it anyways! 

Technical bits: f/10 at 1/640th (using spot meter to get the correct light reading), using 70-300mm lens at 300mm. 

Moral of the story:  The moon is a punk. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 79 (Bus 7040)

Day 79 (September 21th, 2010)
Title: Bus 7040

San Francisco Muni buses scare me.  First of all, the concept of actual driving rules or laws to a Muni driver is laughable. Stop lights, pedestrians, other cars, land mines, and sidewalks are more of targets than obstacles.  Sometimes they are nice enough to actually slow down near the stop you requested so that way you can jump out and "tuck and roll".  I got this picture from an interesting angle (on the 9th floor of an office building), and that's when I noticed the number on top.  At first, I thought normal, friendly thoughts like: Oh, perhaps that's an identification number that is used to help track the bus and assist riders in knowing when the bus might be arriving at a stop.  Or perhaps its so helicopters can locate a bus, in case of an emergency.  Sadly, it is neither of those things.  Instead, I realized that's the bus's "hit" score for the day.  Perhaps 1000 points per person, 250 for a biker, 100 for a parked car, 10 points for a pet... Who knows.  Did I mention I didn't like Muni buses? 

That and I'm annoyed that they keep raising the rates! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 78 (Far East)

Day 78 (September 20th, 2010)
Title: Far East

This is the last of my Chinatown photos (at least, until we go back), and it is of a curio shop called Far East.  This is a store that could have possibly made my mother have an brain embolism, due to the sheer volume of junk, nick-knacks, trinkets, thingys, and do-dads.  I was worried about even walking in there, and getting lost of the void of colored pens, painted glass Easter eggs and wind-up crickets. 

I almost felt like picking up one of the fake plastic pirate swords and attacking all of the trinkets.  Swoosh - there goes the "good luck" cats! Swish - there goes the paper fish!  Slash - the origami swans are no more!  The ironic part is, if I had done that, it would have only cost me like $3.60... and I would have kept the sword.  Oh well; darn social etiquette. 


Photo 365 - Day 77 (Ribbit)

Day 77 (September 19th, 2010)
Title: Ribbit

I know there's been a bit of a delay with these last few photos, I've been feeling a bit... I believe the medical term is "bleach".  But, starting to feel better now, so time to get back to the photo goodness!  And trust me when I say, its for the best that I have not been taking any pictures of anything these last few days. Unless I was doing some sort of "Exorcist" retrospective, it wouldn't have been a good thing. 

This is another photo from Chinatown (in San Francisco).  I love frogs (almost as much as chickens and ducks!), and when I see them I just have to photo them.  These guys were sitting on a giant table with all many other plastic, neon-colored, animals that would generally give any child nightmares until their mid-30s.  The plastic butterflies from the underworld were too spooky to shoot ("HI!  I'm a HAPPY butterfly!  LOOK AT ME BEING HAPPY! Else I EAT YOUR SOUL!!!") These frogs were a god-awful neon green, so I thought I'd do them some justice and make them black and white.

I love the look they have on their faces.  I'm not exactly sure what the look is trying to say, perhaps: Please, just hit me with a brick so the pain will stop. Or perhaps: We are all praying to be resurrected as Tupperware someday, then we shall be truly loved.  But, its more likely they were thinking: HEY!  I'm a frickin' plastic frog that looks like a green highlighter exploded all over it!  I cost $2.00, so what the heck do you expect!?!"

And always remember to have your plastic pets spayed and neutered. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 76 (Cable Car)

Day 76 (September 18th, 2010)
Title: Cable Car

I think, by law, anyone who lives in/near San Francisco is required to get at least one picture with a cable car.  I got this one while crossing the street near Chinatown.  I thought it was interesting because there really aren't many people in the photo (couple on the left side), but there were hordes of of people crossing the street with us when we got to the corner.  I, of course, was waiting for the green light, whereas everyone else just kept walking and basically ignoring traffic lights like they were some colorful art form.  By the time the green "Walk" sign lit up, everyone was already crossed and the street was clear!  So, thank you law-breaking, jay-walking, San Franciscans!  Without your evil ways I never would have gotten a good shot! 


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 75 (10553A)

Day 75 (September 17th, 2010)
Title: 10553A

I do love me some records!  A while back, my grandmother was nice enough to give me a great collection of old 78-rpm records (these were the vinyl records that shattered if you just looked at them the wrong way and only had one song per side).  This was would be considered the "UPC Bar Code" in today's world, but back then the production number was just stamped on each record.

I just like this one because of the colors, short depth-of-field and near-surrealism.  Without the numbers, it would difficult to identify what the object was, with the numbers you know its at least a "made" object - perhaps you could ID as a record, but at least you know it was an actual "thing" not some blurred mess from photoshop. 

Like yesterday, this was taken with 100mm macro lens (f/4.0 @ 1/60th, no flash).  I also used a 1:1 converter to magnify the effect even more. 


Photo 365 - Day 74 (Groovy)

Day 74 (September 16th, 2010)
Title: Groovy

I was lucky enough to brought up listening to records (vinyl is the best!), and even to this day I still get a certain satisfaction listing to them.  While its true, digital music may be more "perfect" in its clarity and tonal range, but I don't believe its as pure as vinyl.  Besides, all the hisses and pops make oldies sound better darn it!

I was originally trying to get a close-up shot of the record spinning, but it just wouldn't come out well.  Second choice: the record grooves!  I think this came our pretty well, although in the full-sized photo you are able to see the specific grooves a lot more clearly and can actually see the angles and cuts. 

For this shot, I used my 100mm macro lens with a 1:1 macro adapter.  The settings were f/3.5 at 1/60th. 


Ps: Sorry for the delay in getting the last few days posted - I took a few days off to celebrate our 9th anniversary!  But, I'll be catching up again soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 73 (Hanger One)

Day 73 (September 15th, 2010)
Title: Hanger One

Here is a photo of either a) the coolest distillery ever (and not just because they let me take pictures - although that's certainly not a bad thing) or b) the largest and most complicated flute in the world!  Honestly, the first thing I thought of when I saw this jumble of copper, glass and pipes was: Wow, that's a big flute.

I have to say, this thing is a complicated, but amazing mess of thingies!  Valves, pipes, gaskets, knobs, dials, buttons... Lets just say I was using a lot of self-control not to just go running around and screaming "ooo!  What's THIS do!?!" while fiddling with everything.  I do believe that, given more time (and the proper flash-kit and lens) I could get better pictures of the machinery and "bits".  Hopefully next time I'll remember!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 72 (Barrels of Fun)

Day 72 (September 14th, 2010)
Title: Barrels of Fun

This photo was taken during a lovely event at Hanger One distillery.  I was lucky enough to have the chance to walk around and take photos for a little while and during that time I feel I got some nice shots (see the next few days for the other photos).

This particular photo is of a GIANT cask/fermentation thingy.  It stands about ~20 feet high and it is mighty!  I'm not exactly sure what its used for, but based on its age and patina, its certainly been used for its task quite a bit! 

For this shot, I used my 28-135mm lens (at 30mm), at f/4.0 for 1/60.  I set the camera on the equator of the barrel and slowly tilted the camera upwards till I got a shot that had a nice depth-of-field.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 71 (Dak)

Day 71 (September 13th, 2010)
Title: Dak

Its a cat.  A cool cat.  A Dak cat.  This is one of the many "Extreme Pet-o-matic" cats of Rachael and Eric.  Now, as much as I enjoy breathing and being able to see (re: allergies), I still love petting their cats.  Their cats have an cool ability to have all of their bones turn into jell-o when they are being pet (and basically become a giant purring hairball). 

I took this with one of my smaller "carry-along" digital cameras, but I feel it came out really well.  I did do some photoshopping (as you can tell), including: layering (to get the selective coloring of the eyes), altering the saturation and colorizing to get a nice black and white feel, and lastly an Inner Glow layer style to give it that vignetting-like border.


Bonus Pic!
While I was playing around with the layers, I decided to make something just a bit creepy. I made an Eric/Dak collage.  Normally I don't post pictures of people, just because I'm never use they will appreicate/approve of it, but I think in this case its ok.  Besides, if you don't know Eric, I doubt this picture will help you recognize him on the street.  I mean, his collar doesn't even say Dak on it!  Sheesh.  

Photo 365 - Day 70 (Senior Puppet)

Day 70 (September 12th, 2010)
Title: Senior Puppet

In honor of this years uber-party (La Fiesta Johansenero), I present to you: El Senior Puppet, Guardian of the Tamales of Goodness, Defender of the Sauces, Knight of the Sangria Bowl, PhD (He has a doctorate in Bueno!)  This picture is also in honor of the great and powerful puppeteer, Mr. Jesse, who's puppet-mastery skills are the greatest of all the Jesse's that I know. 

For the "tech" bit: f/3.5 @ 1/125.  I believe the ISO was really low, like 80 or 100.  It was a very bright and sunny day out without any clouds.  As for post-production, I did some general contrast balancing and increased the vibrance a bit.  I'm learning I like those high-contrast, high-saturation photos. 

Enjoy!  (And thanks again Rachael and Eric!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 69 (Crepe Helix)

Day 69 (September 11th, 2010)
Title: Crepe Helix

Sometimes you can see the most mundane/boring thing, but for some reason you are intrigued by it.  I saw these two lengths of crepe paper twisting around each other in the wind with a perfectly blue sky as a background and I thought it was a great example of both simple, pure colors and of textures. The separation and then mixing of the red and yellow to create a nice green tone at the point where they overlap was something that I didn't even notice until I was looking at the picture.  I imagine since the paper was constantly moving in the wind my mind didn't have the chance to see the subtle hues of green. 

For this picture, I kept the photoshopping to a minimum.  I increased the contrast and saturation slightly, but mostly left it alone.  I know its a simple picture, but sometimes there is nothing wrong with simple.

Ps: I was going to name it "DNA of Colors", but I thought that might have been a bit too geeky. 


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 68 (City By The Bay (Bridge))

Day 68 (September 10th, 2010)
Title: City By The Bay (Bridge)

Another night shot of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco.   I did nearly kill a security guard to get this picture, to whom I would like to apologize.  Sorry for taking 5 years off, but, at least they were the last 5, so you'll never miss them!  To get this shot, I went out to the fire escape with tripod and gear.  I was out there for a bit, shooting away, not worried about anyone else coming out there because its the fire escape!  What I didn't know it the security guards in the building have to check the escape as part of their hourly sweep.  She opened the door, expected to see nothing but a nice view and continue on with her nightly tasks.  Instead, she opens the door, sees me in the darkness, with a tripod, light meter, camera bag, lenses, and other things laying around.  At that point, she decided that either a) I was a sniper about to take someone out or b) crazy stalker. 

Either way, she decided the best way to react was to scream like a 5-year-old who just watched "The Best of Animal Vivisections!"... in High-Def. She was slightly upset. After convincing her that I was neither a killer or stalker, but instead a crazy photographer (which, I not sure was much higher on her list than stalker) she decided not to beat me with her "Officially Issued Security Beating Baton".  I thanked her, confirmed with her that, yes, a nice bottle or two of wine would be good when she gets home, and finally got a nice shot of the Bay Bridge heading into San Francisco.

As for the technical parts of this photo, here you go:
f/5.6 @ 2.5 seconds (via tripod) - 300mm (ISO 800)

Its a bit of a fuzzier picture than I had intentional wanted, but after looking at it for a while I kind of like that "haze" effect.  That's basically how SF looks most of the time anyways. 


Friday, September 10, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 67 (Drunk Stop)

Day 67 (September 9th, 2010)
Title: Drunk Stop

"Of course I saw the stop sign Mr. Oppicer!  I saw all 7 of them!  I just didn' know which one you realllly wanted me to stop at!"

Just had some fun taking night shots from the balcony.  I was trying to hard to get a "good" shot of the sign (in focus, good lighting) that at the time I never thought of how fun it might be with the "mistake" shots. 


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Photo 365 - Delay

My Photo 365 project is paused for today, due to the events in San Bruno, CA (a major fire has broken out).  If you have any friends/family in that area, please call and check in on them!


Photo 365 - Day 66 (Wong Photo)

Day 66 (September 8th, 2010)
Title: Wong Photo

Sometimes a pun is just so bad, that it has a life of it's own.  This is a Wong number.  Many Wong numbers.  Have you ever called the Wong number?  If so, did you hang up and dial someone else instead?  Did someone ever call you, and you realized they called the Wong number.  And you told them, it's not Wong, and they said: "So, it's the right number then?"  You of course, said: "No, its the wrong number."  "Exactly, the Wong number, that's who I'm calling!" 

I'll stop now.  Enjoy the Wong photo.  Tomorrow I'll put up the right one.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 65 (Best Hat Ever)

Day 65 (September 7th, 2010)
Title: Best Hat Ever

Top Hat - 1930
Bowler - 1940
Fedora - 1950
Beanies - 1960
Cowboy Hat - Never
Baseball Cap - 1980
Baseball Cap (Backwards) - 1990
Baseball Cap (Sideways, 90 degrees) - 2000
And now - The Board Cap - Forever!

And while carrying a coffee and cell phone. 


Photo 365 - Day 64 (Sailing)

Day 64 (September 6th, 2010)
Title: Sailing

This Labor Day weekend was jam-packed with beach fun in Santa Cruz.  One of the things I love about a perfect summer day is all the sailboats!  There were an armada of sailboats out playing on the sea, from large 6-8 crewmen boats to little 2-man boats, but everyone was having a good time.  The water was really calm and the weather was perfect (78-82) for sailing.  So perfect in fact, I avoided even getting near a boat and just hung out at the beach taking pictures of them!  I figured, the last thing I'd want on a perfect day would seasickness and throwing-up all over the dolphins.

[Squeak] [Squeak] - That's dolphin for "Thank you!" 


Monday, September 6, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 63 (Last Days of Summer Slack)

Day 63 (September 5th, 2010)
Title: Last Days of Summer Slack

We were in Santa Cruz for this Memorial Day weekend and it was a nice chance of pace from the "hustle and bustle" of the city.  The weather was perfect and so was the company.  We went and hung out a the beach for a bit, watched the boats and generally got some good End of The Summer slacking in! 

I got this particular photo with my 28-135 lens (f/14 at 1/400th).  I really liked the clear blue sky, all the boats (there are tons of them - just look at the horizon!), and the folks just relaxing.  There were also dolphins playing in the water, but I was unable to shoot them (they are fast and too small to get with this lens).  I thought about cropping the left side a bit, to remove that other group of people (as well as that one sailboat), but then I kind of isolated the main group as well as removing a nice anchor-point of the photo. 


Photo 365 - Day 62 (Fog Bank)

Day 62 (September 4th, 2010)
Title: Fog Bank

To paraphrase the great Crocodile Dundee: 

That's not a fog bank
Now THAT'S a fog bank!

A few days ago, the heat in the Bay Area was really hot (at least for us - high 80's to mid 90's).  And, then the heat just went away and our lovely fog finally came back!  And it came back with a vengeance!  Within 20-30 minutes, it went from clear and toasty to nearly impossible to see more than a few hundred feet in-front of you because of the fog!  The temperature dropped 20-30 degrees (I know at our house, it went from 88 to 65) in an hour.  It was strange watching it, because it looked like it had a life of its own.  I remembered the story, The Fog, by Stephen King and suddenly thought "damn, all those monsters are really going to mess up highway 80!"  Still, it was fun to watch the city disappear! 

If you look closely, you can still see the electric tower in the top-left section and just to the left of it, a top of one of the skyscrapers! 


Friday, September 3, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 61 (Half Inch)

Day 61 (September 3rd, 2010)
Title: Half Inch

After I looked at this pictured, I envisioned the old TV show, Get Smart with Agent 86 (Don Adams) always saying: Missed it by *that* much!  I also enjoyed that it really shows precisely how "macro" my macro lens is.   I'm hoping to get some extension tubes for the lens soon, so that way I can get even closer! 

As for theme, I'm kind of continuing yesterday "tool" focus, with another "critical tool", the tape measure! 


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 60 (Hammer Claw)

Day 60 (September 2nd, 2010)
Title: Hammer Claw

First of all, I'm caught up again!  I'm back on track now!  Woo!

I recently read one of the random "weird news" stories on Yahoo, and it was about the "20 more important tools".  Most of them I agreed with (things like hammer, screwdrivers, wrench, clamps, etc), but they had on there miter saw.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy using a miter saw (compared to just a hand-saw), but I don't think its critical.  Why do I bring this up?  No reason really.  I didn't even take a picture of a saw. 

I did take some pictures of some other tools (more tomorrow), and I really enjoyed this one of the hammer (technically, the back of the hammer, known as the "claw").  I like taking pictures of things from different and/or interesting views.  I mean, how often do you think: "I wonder what the claw-end of a hammer REALLY looks like?"  I mean, I *hope* you don't ask questions like that, because you'd never get anything productive done with questions like that!  But don't worry, because that's why I'm here! 


Photo 365 - Day 59 (Jhoira's Fate)

Day 59 (September 1st, 2010)
Title: Jhoira's Fate

This is another abstract photo using a Magic: The Gathering card.  I was thinking, in 1000 years, some random archeologist might dig up an old magic card and wonder: "What was this? What was it used for? How much could I sell this for on CosmicEbay?" 

As a second way of looking at it, at least for me, was in the context of the game itself.  An old artifact rusts and fades away after some random long-fought battle decades ago.  Nothing but some scrap and lots of dust.  No one will remember what part it played in an epic battle.  Perhaps, no one will even remember the epic battle at all.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 58 (Magic Abstract)

Day 58 (August 31st, 2010)
Title: Magic Abstract

This is my attempt at making a fun little abstract photo.  This is a Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game card (bonus points if you can tell me which one) that I altered for no reason whatsoever.  I just thought a floating, flaming head on a white card looked kind of neat.  I did alter the contract and vibrance of the photo to really get the flaming head to stand out, as well as subdue the background a bit.  By dropping the contrast down, I got the scratch lines to really show up a lot more than they do on the actual card, which is a nice touch in my opinion. 


Photo 365 - Day 57 (IKEA Fun)

Day 57 (August 30th, 2010)
Title: IKEA Fun

First of all, I appoligize for not posting this on the actual day it was supposed to be posted.  Comcast is having some drama in our building and as such our Internet has been off-and-on for the last few days.  Mostly off since Sunday night.  But, everything seems to be running again now, so I'm going to post all the missing photos!  Now on with the show!

I think I need to preface this photo with the following:  I love IKEA!  Really, I do.  (to somewhat paraphrase the Blue Brothers) "This store's got everything!"  From cheap couches, to desks, tables, cabinets, you name it, they have it!  Plus, you can't forget the "bonus" stuff!  Meatballs, free little pencils and tape measures, photo frames, spatulas, candles as far as the eye can see!  Its like a Toy's-R-Us for adults.  Actually, I believe that IKEA means "Lego's For Adults" in Swedish. 

When I build something from IKEA, I act just like I did when I was 12, opening a new box of Lego's.  First I take all the parts out and sort them, then verify the instructions that I am not missing anything, and finally give the instructions a once-over before starting!  Did I mention I love IKEA?...