Friday, October 29, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 109 (Linked Together)

Day 109 (October 20th, 2010)
Title: Linked Together

This is from a small necklace of Theresa's, that I thought just looked cool.  It's not a very large or 'loud' piece of jewelery, but its got some great colors.  All of the gemstones are muted (re: they don't have that 'Bedazzled' look), and the enamel painting uses a lot of dark, rich colors (like the green in the photo).  The total non-chain portion is only a couple of inches long (perhaps 1/2 wide), but this close-up makes it look huge! 

I've also starting using some different methods of shooting these pictures, and I'm hoping it comes out well.  First, this is my first attempt at using RAW format (converted to JPG so I should share it here).  For those photo-novices (which still includes me), RAW format basically means, the camera does not do any compression on the file when you take a picture - it just takes all of the data that the sensor collects, dumps it into a huge file and lets you "develop" the shot later on the computer.  In theory, this is nice because it means you, as the photographer gets to select all the variables on how its compressed (compression is another way of saying: "make the picture file size smaller, but makes the quality of the picture worse").  Its more work, but you have much more control over what the final picture is going to look like as well as more options to fix "iffy" shots. 

Its also the first time that I've used a background to shoot against.  The "green" background I used because I thought it complimented the green color of the leaves, but at the same time gave it a nice "old" feel. 

I'm sure I'll get better with both using RAW format and backgrounds in the future, but for my first attempt, I'd give myself a B-. 


Crazy Day

Its been a crazy long day (its 1am, and I'm not even started with uploading photos yet!  Blargh!), so there will be a slight delay in my daily photo.  I'll make sure to post two tomorrow... err... today.  Have a good night and go Giants (they won game two of the World Series, 9-0!) 

Sleep well!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 108 (Credit Cards)

Day 108 (October 19th, 2010)
Title: Credit Cards

Today was an emotional day for me.  Today was the day that I paid off both my credit cards and then closed my accounts.  I've decided that credit cards are a major part of what gets people in financial trouble, and as I've worked in the financial industry for 5 years, I've seen the damage they can do to folks.  Now, its true (at least for me), I've lived on these cards for a long time.  Buying things I'm sure I didn't need, while using money that I didn't have.  It's taken quite a while to pay them down, month over month, year after year.  This year, all banks were required to including a little box on your credit card (and Line of Credit) statements saying how much in interest you'll be paying them if you paid only the minimum payment and how long it would take to pay the cards off.  For me, over 31 years and I would have basically bought them a new BMW.  I'm not real keen on getting them a new BMW.  Heck, I have to look for change to ride the darn bus!  They are NOT getting a BMW outta me!  So, I decided to forgo any toys for a while and I just devoted all funds to pay these cards off.  So, today when I finally made the last payments (of $7.00 and $14.00 respectively - damn those last finance charges!), I called the bank and had them cancel my cards. 

Getting them to cancel the cards was a job into itself, so if you ever decide to do it, give yourself a good 30 min and a shot of whiskey (ok, I'm not sure how helpful the whiskey was, but I figured why take the chance!)  So, I'm finally free of credit cards!  Wooo!  I think I'll go rent a movie!... oh.  wait.  Redbox.  Doh.  Flaw in plan.


Ps: The alternate name of this photo was going to be: "The correct way to prepare for Tahoe!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 107 (Stained Window)

Day 107 (October 18th, 2010)
Title: Stained Window

We stayed in this little, run down, hotel for one night and the room was basically as bland as you could get it.  Beige walls, white sheets and blankets, gray counters, white shower-curtain, etc.  Drab.  Blech.  But, I thought for one night, its no big deal.  Cheap rooms don't need art or any sort of expression.  I was pleasantly surprised when I went to take a shower - upon moving the curtain, there was this amazing stained-glass window staring at me.  The sun was shining through it, giving it a great "glowing" effect.  That one little thing changed the whole room, quashing the drabness!  (That's right, it was so neat that I actually used the word "quashed" to describe it!)

I hope the next time you are in a situation that seems, bland or gray, you take a moment to search for that one tiny thing that adds a spark of beauty and light.  And if you can't find one, perhaps you can add your own!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 106 (Old Train House)

Day 106 (October 17th, 2010)
Title: Old Train House

If anyone has visited Hercules, CA recently you would have seen a town that has really expanded lately - tons of condos, new buildings, more fast-food joints than is really necessary, basically a 'new' bustling town.  What a lot of folks don't know, is that Hercules has been around for a long time.  They used to have a dynamite factory and it was a key stop for many railroads.  But, as is the way of things, things changed and the old down was basically left to die (the dynamite factory closed and the trains no longer needed to make as many stops for water/sand as technology got better).  If you go out to the old train yard/stop you can find lots of neat buildings and structures that are closed and slowly falling apart.  This photo is of a house that was near the rail-yard, now fenced off, flowers growing wild and lost to the annals of time.


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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 105 (Steel Frog)

Day 105 (October 16th, 2010)
Title: Steel Frog

Score this one as another totally random thing I see that just screamed "take a picture of me!"  This is a strange, but darn nifty, old hanging steel "thing".  Perhaps it was a planter or wind chime at some point.  But now, its just thing old frog-looking thing hanging on a spring.  It makes little 'jumps' when the wind hits it and it seems like many generations of spiders have called it home (the cobwebs have cobwebs!).  It has these old glass marbles for eyes and the green paint is chipping and faded.  Even with all of those "character elements", it still called out to be photographed.  And who am I to say no to a steel frog. 


Photo 365 - Day 104 (Chalky)

Day 104 (October 15th, 2010)
Title: Chalky

First, let me go ahead and give you the answer to yesterdays last "Name That Thing" spice, it was: CINNAMON!  I hope that everyone enjoyed that little trivia fun, because I know I sure did!  I've already got the next contest lined up!

For today's picture, I wanted to do something simple and fun.  Recently, a friend's daughter had her 4th birthday and a HORDE of folks came.  Now, there were many, MANY games and contests to be had (both for the kids and the adults).  One of the games was an art-based game on decorating a kite (which was just a blank, white, plastic kite).  A table was covered in kite-making stuff, and a box of artsy stuff, including pens, more pens, bigger pens, small pens, and did I mention pens?  Also in the box was a small tub of colored chalk.  I, in my genius way, thought: "Heck, with all these pens I should totally use chalk because THAT would be cool and different.  'True' artist are different!  Yeah!"  So, I began my kite-beautification-ritual using the multi-hued goodness that was chalk.  I'll go ahead and skip the next hour and a half "fun" that was me attempting to write on, what was essentially a snazzy plastic bag, WITH CHALK!  Only later, our friend mentioned: "Oh, sorry about that chalk, that got put in the box by mistake.  That's for drawing on the sidewalk.  Here, try some pens, they work great!"

It seems 'True Artist' means 'complete moron'.  Still, at least the photo of the chalk (pre-me-trying-to-grind-it-into-plastic-mode) came out well.


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Ps: for what a COOL like looks like, here is what Theresa did:
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 103 (Spice #5)

Day 103 (October 14th, 2010)
Title: Spice #5

 Well, as this weeks "Name That Thing", Spices Edition comes to a close, I just want to thank everyone who guessed and commented on the pictures.  Yesterdays spice, which got a lot of feedback and guesses was: DRIED ONION FLAKES! 

Now, before you get sad and hide under the bed for weeks sobbing because Name That Thing is over, I've got two good bits of news for you.  First, I'm already planning out the next Name That Thing week!  It is related to the Spices Edition, but will be completely different materials!  Second, I got a lot of pictures from this weeks projects, a lot more than just 'one-a-day' and I'm planning on uploading a lot of the unused shots to Flickr in the few days, so that way you can see more of the Spicy Goodness! 

Again, thanks for making this week so much fun!  Have a great weekend (and yes, I will tell you which spice this is tomorrow, but I think this might be the easiest of the week!)


(Click picture for larger view)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 102 (Spice #4)

Day 102 (October 13th, 2010)
Title: Spice #4

Day 4 of Name That Thing is here!  Now the riots can cease and we can get back to guessing!  We actually had quite a few guesses yesterday, ranging from: All-Spice Seeds, Cardamom, Anise, Rutabaga (some people were clearly not on their meds), and the correct answer of:  FENNEL SEEDS! 

Nice job!  That was a tricky one!  Now, we are in the final stretch, the last lap, the 7th inning, the 2nd to last silly metaphor, the 'Fat Lady' is warming up! 

Here is today's exciting spice!


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Ps: For those of you who guessed Rutabaga on the last one, this one is NOT in fact, Pork Rinds.  Take your darn meds already!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 101 (Spice #3)

Day 101 (October 12th, 2010)
Title: Spice #3

Welcome to Day 3 of Name That Thing!  Yesterday we had an amazing turnout of 21 million guesses (+/- 20,999,996)!  After consulting with the judges, two small lemurs, the Norwegian Yak Huggers Associate (NYHA), and a small annoying moth that won't stop bugging me, I can finally reveal to you (and the millions of guessers), that yesterdays spice was:  RED CHILI FLAKES!

Now, on with today's Spice of Spiciness! 


(Click picture for larger view)

A look back at 100 days

100.  One Hundred.  C.  Cien.  Hundra.  Mia moja.  Hundre.  Šimtas.  Un centinaio.  Céad.  Εκατό.  Hundert.  Isang daang.  Yüz.  Njëqind.  1100100. 

Yep, no matter how I say is, 100 days of photos is a lot of days.  True, I still have 265 days to go, but I honestly think the first 100 were the “hardest” and I think these remaining 265 will, at least in theory, be easier.  Though-out these first 100 days, there have been many o’ times I have thought about stopping or just doing 1-2 pictures a week.  But, I made myself take a picture everyday – true some of them were pretty bad, but some of them turned out pretty good as well.
While posting these pictures, I kept asking myself: Why am I doing this!?  At first, I thought: Because I am a sick, sick person!  Now, while this is true, over the 100 days I’ve learned it’s more to it than that.  First, I learned that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did about taking pictures!  Now, this isn’t necessary a bad thing, quite the opposite, it just means that I still have a lot to learn.  But, I am enjoying learning it.  I’m still struggling with some technical aspects of photography, such as proper lighting and portraiture.  Hopefully, over the next 265 days I’ll be able to expand in my knowledge of those areas.  Included with this “learning” theory, is that I really wanted to learn how to use Photoshop with more confidence.  I think that any truly professional photographer needs to master Photoshop to be competitive in today’s “art” marketplace.  (Not that I’m saying I’m anywhere near professional – but every road has to start somewhere!) 

Secondly, I enjoy all of the projects and ideas that have come from this project.  Many of my shots were staged (aka: I purposely setup the environment of what I wanted to shoot and tried to control as many of the factors as I could), and I don’t think I ever would have taken some of those pictures if I wasn’t motive to work every day on something.  Some of the “theme” weeks included: Games, Science, Santa Cruz, and this weeks, Spices!  I have more theme-related ideas for the future that I think will be interesting as well.

Third, I wanted a place I could write a little bit.  I enjoy writing, but normally “blogs” are either a) political, b) religious or c) egotistical.  Now, I’m not really into having giant internet-based fights about politics or religion (I’m not going to say anything about the ego one), so I gave some thought to what I would like to writing little ‘blurbs’ about, and I thought – coins or art… I think coins would have scared folks too much (my geek level is high when it comes to coins).  So, art it was!  Now, true, so far all I’ve really done related to art is photography, but you never know what’s to come!  (Ok, more photos are what’s to come, but I could throw other things in too!)
Lastly, I just wanted a place to show my work, be it for friends, other artist, or just the random “internet viewer”.  Now, as of the 100th photo, I don’t exactly have a ‘cult following’, but I do have a nice group of folks who look at the site at least once or twice a week.  A few of you crazy folks actually read it daily!  Scary!  Honestly, I’m not really sure who is actually reading this thing.  I know a couple of folks are (because they are uber-cool and comment!  Woo!).  But, for all I know, everyone else is a random SpamBot looking to send me emails about my Uncle in Lithuania who just found 45 million dollars in un-recycled soda cans and all he needs from me is a rock and a bank account.  Still, for those few of you who are real (ish), thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the next 265 days. 

I also encourage any of you to start you own “Project 365”, be it photography, short stories, Haiku’s about Spam, or anything really.  I’d love to see it!



Ps: This was also a double-bonus nifty week, because not only is this my 100th photo, but my FLICKR site got its 10,000 view today.  Crazy. 

Some Interesting Facts about AntTree Blog (up to Day 100):

Total Viewers: 2462

Followers: 7

Daily Viewers: 24 (average)

Top Countries of Viewers: US, Canada, Germany, Russia, UK, Denmark, France, and… Latvia (woo!)

How Folks Find The Sight: Facebook (1st), Bogger Website (2nd), Home (3rd), and AntTree_Art Twitter (4th)

Most Viewed Photos:
Day 1 – Fireworks
Day 42 – Wave Crash
Day 28 – Kite Festival
Day 12 – Meeting Morimoto
Day 35 – Scrapbooker’s Dazzle

Prints Made – 2 (Thanks to those two folks – I’m still stunned someone would want to hang my work, but I very much appreciate it.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 100 (Spice #2)

Day 100 (October 11th, 2010)
Title: Spice #2

Ps: I will have a "Looking back at the first 100" post a bit later - either tonight or tomorrow morning. 

Welcome to day 2 of "Name That Thing!"  Yesterdays contest was an action-packed adventure filled with thrills, chills and perhaps, just one or two, squeals of terror.  I did receive some guesses, of which many of you were correct: it was... (DRUM ROLL) ... Dried Rosemary! 

Now on to today's Spice!  Beware, today's spice has 342% more action and thrills than yesterday!  You have been warned!  And as Ryan Seacrest says: "Don't forget, when you are calling in to vote, make sure to dial 866, not 800!  Otherwise will send Paula Abdul to steal your mustard!"  Well, I'm not quite sure that's what he says, but you get my point (Point: Guard your mustard!) 


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Monday, October 18, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 99 (Spice #1)

Day 99 (October 10th, 2010)
Title: Spice #1

Hey kids!  Ready for a little game!  I hope so, because its time to play: "Name That Thing!" 

This week, we are delving into the exciting world of your pantry!  Specifically, spices!  That's right, that which turns "bland" into "grand"!  All week I will be taking pictures of random spices commonly found in most kitchens, and all you have to do is guess which one it is! 

Are there prizes?  Of course!  Prizes include: Feeling you get when you accomplish something; mocking others who guess wrong; the overwhelming joy of knowing you are 'one' with your spices; and of course, looking at some very silly pictures! 

Lets start with our first spice, code named: "Spice #1"! 


(Click picture for larger view)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 98 (Firelines)

Day 98 (October 9th, 2010)
Title: Firelines

I got this picture on the way home from Santa Cruz, and I thought it reminded me a lot of yesterdays photo, but yet different enough that I would give some "prime-blog-time".  I really enjoy the abstract of this photo, which is a strange because normally I'm not a fan of abstract paintings (now and then an abstract sculpture will really catch my eye, but I generally prefer impressionism, realism, surrealism and even baroque art).  But, with abstract photography, its interesting to me because a) you know it came from a 'real' source of some kind, but that photographer is manipulating the medium (aka camera/film) to give an effect of a non-real (re: abstract) situation. 

In this photo, we were driving home and I decided to just stick the camera out the window and take shots of the cross traffic.  I knew I wouldn't be able to get a clear shot of a car, but I was hoping to get some sort of abstract effect like I did.  Many of the shots were just blurry without any form or function to them, where as some of the others had enough 'real' elements (a tire or other car part in focus enough to take the viewer out of the 'abstract' mindset) that I couldn't use them.  This one, to me, has enough form and is defined in a way to preserve the 'abstract' concept I was going for, but was still able to avoid any of the 'real' elements that helped create it. 


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Photo 365 - Day 97 (City of Smoke and Fire)

Day 97 (October 8th, 2010)
Title: City of Smoke and Fire

We were driving around Santa Cruz along the beach enjoying the night air, when I decided to pull out the Canon and take a few shots.  I wasn't really trying to shoot anything particular or even get a good shot, but sometimes when you get home and look at the photos you shoot, you are surprised at what you get.  This shot is of West Cliff Drive, at around 10pm without any lights.  I was using my fixed 50mm lens at f/1.4 to try and get as much light as possible, but it was still taking 1/2 a second or more to fire.

I called this shot "City of Smoke and Fire" because the blurred lights from the houses look kind of like fire and the "smoke" is actually the trees.  Its ironic to me, because when I look at the photo I imagine a scene out of a "Blade Runner" type movie (or something very Cyberpunk), but in reality its all of these nice houses surrounded by trees right near the ocean. 

Whoever said "Photographs capture reality" clearly didn't play around with their camera enough. 


(Click picture for larger view)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 96 (Lemon Flower)

Day 96 (October 7th, 2010)
Title: Lemon Flower

Clearly Mabel enjoyed having her picture taken, because when I went out to check on her today, many of the buds (from yesterday) had bloomed into cute and very fragrant flowers!  I would say nearly half of them bloomed and the other half are just about there!  Now, being that I'm not a "green-thumb" (I have in fact, killed a bamboo plant... and it was plastic), I am hoping that all the buds, and now flowers, are a good sign for future lemoniness! 

Course, knowing my luck, she is only growing all the flowers to attract the bees, whom she will then convince to all fly together and lift her up to freedom. She'll laugh: "You'll never see a lemon! Mu-hahaha!" as she flies off into the sunset.  I blame the bee Unions for all of this.


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Photo 365 - Day 95 (Lemon Bud)

Day 95 (October 6th, 2010)
Title: Lemon Bud

We have a little lemon tree named Mabel, and she sits out on our balcony enjoying the sun and generally just being a tree.  Now, Mabel is a pretty young tree and has so far only had one lemon.  This year, since we moved, Mabel has been a bit moody and decided not to give us our annual lemon.  I thought she was still mad at us for moving her away from her other tree friends, but when I walked out and watered her today, I noticed she was covered in little flower buds!  Woo!  Generally, flower buds mean more lemons!  These buds are pretty small (1/4 of an inch at most), but I am still excited to see them!  So excited in fact, that you get to see one too! 


Friday, October 15, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 94 (Vista Point)

Day 94 (October 5th, 2010)
Title: Vista Point

This is one of those random "scenic views stop ahead" areas that we found with the help of our friends.  It was an amazing view looking over a river, forest, mountains and even the clouds were being all photogenic!  This is one of those times that I really wish I had practiced how to do HDR photos better, unfortunately, I did not have my full Canon "kit" with me and had to make due with my Olympus. With HDR (High Dynamic Range), I could have gotten much more details in both the highlights of the lowlands and in the clouds.  If I was doing this picture using my Canon, I think I would have taken 6-10 frames, all at f/5.6 but with a shutter speed ranging from 1/60th for the shadows to 1/500th for the clouds (in half-stop increments).  All in all, I do think that the picture came out well and I really enjoyed the trip getting it. 


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 93 (Riffle Shuffle)

Day 93 (October 4th, 2010)
Title: Riffle Shuffle

I was lucky enough to be invited to a poker game last night and unlucky enough to be out 2nd.  Still, that gave me a lot of extra time to take photos!  I also had a great idea for next weeks photos (Ooo!  Foreboding!).  So, basically it was a $20.00 brainstorming night!  I did get lovely free "adult beverages", so I think that more than made up for it. 

This particular photo is of a "riffle" shuffle, which is when you basically split the deck, then use your thumbs to just lift up on corner of each pile the cards and "riffle" them together.  Its also known as a "dealer shuffle", because it is the standard (and preferred) method of shuffling in a casino.  It takes practice and a good deck of cards, but once you get the hang of it you look all kinds of cool when you do it! 

Techie bits:

100mm Macro lens
f/4.0 at 1/60th

I wish I could have gotten better lighting on it, but I tried with just the normal flash and it blew out all of the details, so I just went with the darker version so the feel of it would be better.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 92 (Remembrance)

Day 92 (October 3rd, 2010)
Title: Remembrance

I know we have days like "Veteran's Day" and "Memorial Day", which are great to help remember those who have fought in wars, but sometimes its nice to just remember folks (warrior or not) on just a random Tuesday (or any day really).  So, the next time you have a free moment, think about your history and who helped build it.  Think about those who came before you and what part they took in creating the legacy that you are now living in.  Perhaps you can also think about what part you will play for the next generation.  Think about how what actions you can do to help those tomorrow remember those from yesterday.

Ok, I admit, that last line was a bit "fortune-cookie", but still, its not a bad thought! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 91 (Blackbird)

Day 91 (October 2nd, 2010)
Title: Blackbird

With my birthday fast approaching (ahh!  35!), I am reminded of a gift I was given by my grandmother on my first birthday.  She gave me a large book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes.  It was a British edition and had crazy drawings and art, as well as some very confusing rhymes.  I remember a few of them (as I am sure many of you do), but one that always stuck in my head (both due to the lyrics and the art) was a poem called: "Sing a song of sixpence"

It goes:

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing
Was not a dainty dish
To set before the king?

The king was in his counting-house
Counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes,
When along came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

Clearly Ms. Goose was totally nuts.  Still, she lived in a shoe, so perhaps she just got high off the smell of the odor-eaters. 


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 90 (The Power of Dance)

Day 90 (October 1st, 2010)
Title: The Power of Dance

First of all, I'm finally in October!  I'm catching up, slowly but surely! 

We were visiting San Francisco, like we are wont to do, and we decided to go see a movie at the Metreon (best IMAX theater in San Fran!).  While I was waiting for Theresa to arrive, I decided to go for a walk around the building (they have a nice park behind the theater).  While I was waiting, playing with my camera (as I am also wont to do), I noticed a man... "dancing".  Now, normally strange things in SF are a dime a dozen, and I usually give them no notice, but this was different.  First of, this man was DANCING!  Not your normal, I have a little groove in the booty needing to get out ala Ellen, but we are talking full on, I'm having a dance seizure style dance. 

He would do pop dance, shift to some sort of "injured flamingo", to self-waltz, to the Mashed-Potato, to some sort of line dancing and back again.  Arms would flail, he would drop, but pop right back up, you never know which direction his legs were going to go.  It was like watching a car crash, into a train, while getting hit with a meteorite - you just couldn't look away!  The really strange (ha) part was that he wouldn't dance outside of a 3 foot circle.  As soon as his groove got to the 3' boundary, he would (sometimes violently), jump back and dance the other way. 

Perhaps he was just a normal man, minding his own business and one day hes walking in the park and BAM! He's possessed by a mime, Jimmy Durante, the cast of Breaking 2: Electric Boogaloo, and Bob Ross (because he constantly had this strange "I could eat you, but I won't because the Happy Trees are telling me not too" smile on).  I would have called for help or an exorcist, but unfortunately my movie was starting. 


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 89 (Peacock Peek)

Day 89 (September 31st, 2010)
Title: Peacock Peek

It was a dark and stormy night.  It was a bright and sunny morning. We decided to celebrate the lovely morning with waffles! (of course, how else would one celebrate!).  We enjoyed our lovely waffletastic breakfast and as we were walking back to the car, we saw something a tad bit strange.  A peacock was just walking down the road.  Wasn't running or acting scared, just walking down like he owned the street.  He walked up to the corner of this house that had a bowl out (I'm assuming for a cat or dog) and the peacock peeked around the corner, saw no one was coming and began to help himself.  We watched him for a good 5 min - peek, nibble, nibble, peek.  Finally, he was full and continued his walk down the street. 

So, recap: Waffles with a side of surreal for breakfast. 


Photo 365 - Day 88 (Ladybug Graveyard)

Day 88 (September 30th, 2010)
Title: Ladybug Graveyard

Clearly, some people need entirely different hobbies.  I saw this "lovely" exhibit at the San Francisco Academy of Science (kick booty level 9! - Go there!).  Now, while its creepy factor might be a tad high, the really amusing part was this was on the wall leading into a "Global Warming" exhibit for kids. Now, I should preface this by saying, the full sized exhibit of this "graveyard" is a triptych (3 framed boxes), with each box being 3 foot x 5 foot. 

I can just imagine little Suzy walking towards a giant room with lots of fun interactive exhibits and ready to learn all about global warming!  Then, just as she turns the corner to the happy times, she sees 45 feet of small, cute, ladybugs speared to the wall.  Each little ladybug lovingly spiked to the field with their own individual spear.

Yeah, good times for the kids...

Ticket to CalAcademy - $25.00
Kids ticket to CalAcademy - $18.00
Micro-small bottle of water - $15.00
Therapy for little Suzy - $4500.00
Years of mental trauma - Priceless.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 87 (de Young)

Day 87 (September 29th, 2010)
Title: de Young

I shot this on our trip to the de Young (a great museum in SF - highly recommended!), to see the Birth of Impressionism exhibit.  Firstly, it was a MAD HOUSE.  I had never been in a museum with so many people.  They made people queue up in groups of 50-60, then ushered them into small rooms to look at the pictures for approximately 12 nanoseconds.  After which, you would be ushered into the next small room to "experience the grandeur of Monet, Renoir, and Manet." 

Clearly basking in the glory of the art and beauty could have been hazardous, because by the time my eyes focused on a painting and I nearly was able to actually discern a shape of so, a person, house, or goat, we were shuffled into another room of beauty and amazement. 

Being tall, I was able to actually see some of the paintings well enough that I actually got to say "Wow, that Monet was really... OUCH, stop prodding me with that stick!  I'm moving!"

It was a lovely experience.


Ps: It actually WAS a lot of fun - the painting were amazing.  If you have a chance go to go the current Post-Impressionist Masterpieces exhibit, I would highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 86 (Duck Lips)

Day 86 (September 28th, 2010)
Title: Duck Lips

This photo goes with yesterdays duck picture.  After watching the duck looking all majestic and "duck-like", I saw him actually drinking!  I had never see a duck just drink before... Perhaps he was on a break from all his hard duck-work and was just parched. Either way, I thought it was cute and I just kept watching him till he did it again - then attack of the 7 fps (frame per second) camera! And in the end, I got it; evidence of duck lips! 


Photo 365 - Day 85 (Duck Reflection)

Day 85 (September 27th, 2010)
Title: Duck Reflection

When I saw this duck, looking at his reflection (course, I'm not really sure he is doing that), I was reminded by of the story, The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson.  Basically, the story goes: Duck, born looking like it fell out of the storks basket a few hundred feet up, gets picked on by other ducks.  He decides he's had enough, he learns Duck-Fu, and the next time the kids try and mess with him he was going to go all "medieval" on them.  But, through his training he learns that he does not need to beat them up because they are all superficial, materialistic, self-centered egotist ducks.  UD (as his friends call him now), learns to find inner-peace, gets a masters degree in both electrical engineering and architecture so he can build climate controlled DuckMansions(TM), so he and his friends don't have to fly South for the winter.  Now, he and his other "ugly" friends laugh and mock those other "pretty" ducks that have to fly south, while they drink Barcardi and play shuffleboard. 

And he lived happily ever after. 

Hans was a bit of a messed up writer. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 84 (Boat Race)

Day 84 (September 26th, 2010)
Title: Boat Race

I saw these boats just skimming along the water and I really loved the colors (is also turned out that the trees were sporting some nice colors as well, so double bonus!).  I'm not sure what kind of boats these are (I'm sure there is some cool nautical term for them, rather than - Small one-manned sail boat), but watching I was reminded of kids who build "wooden block racers" and spent so much time painting and customizing them before racing them (for what turned about to be like 30 seconds).  I'm picturing these guys doing the same thing: spending weekend tuning and tweaking the boats, getting the sail just right, finding the best widget to use, so in the end they can race for perhaps an hour.  Then, go home and start again. 

It kinda exemplifies the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Life is a journey, not a destination" (or perhaps finish line, in this case).


Photo 365 - Day 83 (Chillin' By The Pool - Otter Style)

Day 83 (September 25th, 2010)
Title: Chillin' By The Pool - Otter Style.

Cutest otter ever, just chillin' by the pool.  Sitting in, what can only be considered a otter-version of a Lazy-Boy (Lazy-Ott?), he gave me a look of: Yeah, you *wish* you were cool enough to do this job.

I shot this will a small digital camera, so the quality is a bit less than I would like, but sometimes its better to get a fuzzy shot than no shot at all! 


Monday, October 4, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 82 (Tall Tree)

Day 82 (September 24th, 2010)
Title: Tall Tree

I'm finally not sick anymore!  I know I was out of commission for awhile there, but I'm hoping to get back on track! 

This photo is from the Codornices Park in Berkeley CA (near the Berkeley Rose Garden).  I was a nice picnic day, and we decided to do a little walking.  These giant trees were kind enough to provide us some cool shade, so I promised them I'd get them on the Internet!