Friday, July 30, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 27 (Circuit Board)

Day 27 (July 30th, 2010)
Title: Circuit Board

A small inanimate electronic object decided to fail today.  Clearly, the only appropriate punishment for such a travesty was to hit it with a hammer... a few times.  After showing said object that I was in charge with said hammer (because inanimate object can SO be threatened to work!), I decided: "Hey, those little electrical bits look kinda neat!"  And away I shot! 

I *might* have done a bit of color editing using photoshop... but its really subtle, and I doubt you'll even notice. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 26 (De Plane!)

Day 26 (July 29th, 2010)
Title: De Plane

I saw this plane flying over the treetops in our "backyard" (not really a backyard, just a forest that's behind our house) and I thought it contrasted nicely with the tree branches.  More fun with forced Depth of Field (DoF)!  Notice some of the "front" branches and the plane are in focus and the "background" trees are out-of-focus.  No idea how I did that, but its neat! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 25 (Blue Golden Gate)

Day 25 (July 28th, 2010)
Title: Blue Golden Gate (Bridge)

I was watching CalTrans start putting the tower up today for the new Bay Bridge (sadly, none of those shots came out that well) and I saw the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance and thought; "What the heck!"  It was very "muddy", so I played around with the colors a little bit and I think I got it to look pretty good.  In full size, is looks much better (the full-size picture is about 4 times the size of the picture that I post here), and if fact, I might even print this one out for the wall (16x20 or so). 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 24 (Aces!)

Day 24 (July 27th, 2010)
Title: Aces!

For those that know me, they know I'm an avid gamer, including poker.  Sadly, more often than not, when I get aces I lose.  The Poker Gods are a fickle bunch!  This is another experiment in selective coloring. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 023 (Veins of Greens and Bonus!)

Day 23 (July 26th, 2010)
Title: Veins of Collards

This is an homage to my fellow photo 365 friend, Mike, who's frequent shots of nature and plants continuously impress me.  Tonight we decided to make a hugenormous pot of stew, including collard greens.  A few of the greens were, ironically, really green.  I took quite a few shots of the leaves, from 50mm to 100mm to macro.  As is my standard M.O., I chose one of the macro shots (100mm), but if you want to see some of the other shots I've posted them to Flickr.  Enjoy!

BONUS Photo!

We went to the movies and I saw this display in the entryway and just about wet myself!  I instantly transported back to 1982 and remembered how "high-tech" the movie was.  You can't tell me you wouldn't want to have a light-cycle... or, better yet, a light-tank!  Lets just say, I'm looking forward to Dec 2010!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekly Hindsight and Photo 365, Day 22 (Metric Rocks!)

Day 22 (July 25th, 2010)
Title: Metric System Rocks!

Largest centimeter ever!  I'm really enjoying the macro lens. 

Weekly Hindsight (Week 3)

I though I would also throw in my "Weekly Hindsight" comments with my Sunday photo, just to save having to create a new post!  Go me being all efficient (re: slacker)! 

This week, at least artistically speaking, has been a bit chaotic.  I started with a nice black and white scenery shot and was originally thinking, "Hey, not just macro's all week!", but or course that plan was quashed with the next few shots.  I did get a nice nighttime moon shot mid-week that I personally really enjoyed.  For my other project that I was working on this week, I fell a bit behind.  I was supposed to practice my photoshop skills a bit more, but other than the one selective coloring project I am behind in my weekly projects.  I did start working on my new video, and while its still in "rough draft" form, its nice to have something to work with.  Lastly, I did make some large format prints (13"x19") of two of my daily photos (Fireworks and Craps) and I think they came out well.  The Fireworks print will soon be hanging on my wall and the Craps print is going out as a gift. 

This week I really noticed that I've been focusing on macro-type photography.  I know I just recently got a new macro lens and I want to play with it, but I think it is more than that.  I really like showing how the small things in life have a lot more complexity and depth than we might give them credit.  It's probably also because without my glasses, that's how I see the world.  Anything past around 2 feet becomes just a blurry colored blob, but up-close I have very strong "macro" vision.  I'm not going to stop taking macro photos by any means (because as I mentioned, I do like them), but I am going to make a conscious effort to take at least 2 photos each week that are non-macro.  I think this is important, because one of the key elements for me with this project is trying to expand my photographic skills and stretch my comfort level in the types of things I shoot. 

For this coming week, I have a few things I am going to work on:

1) Try and complete 3 photoshop projects (including a collage using layers, getting a better upstanding of masks, and another selective color photo).  I'm doing another selective color photo, because its always important to practive what you just learned so you won't forget it (like I am very prone to do)!

2) Create and map-out the complete timeline for my video and try and get many of the materials (re: photos and sound effects) organized. 

3) Update the website with more photos and information! 

I think that should keep me busy this week and provide me a good jumping-board for some more long-term projects as well. 

Some interesting "tidbits" about the blog for the last 21 days, which I find quite fun:

  • Over 650 views during the first 21 days
  • My AntTree_Art twitter feed has gotten up to 7 followers, none of which I actually know!  Go random people!  
  • The most viewed photos are: Fireworks (Day 1), Meeting Morimoto (Day 12) and Painting 1 (Day 5).  
I hope to share some more facts as this project continues and I hope you all have enjoyed the last 21 days as much as I have!  Only 343 to go! 


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 21 (Disco Machine)

Day 21 (July 24th, 2010)
Title: Disco Machine

I have no idea why I called this "Disco Machine", but to me it just has a disco feel with all the lights, colors and if you squint really, really hard, you can see John Travolta hiding somewhere. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 20 (Moon and Leaves)

Day 20 (July 23rd, 2010)
Title: Moon and Leaves

To quote, "We like the moon!  Cuz it is close to us!" 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 19 (ONE dollar)

Day 19 (July 22nd, 2010)
Title: ONE Dollar

I had fun with the shot yesterday of the dollar bill, and so I thought I would take a few more today.  Its a shame that our currency today is so mono-toned, but with a little creativity and taking loads of macro shots, you're sure to find something intriguing about the "simple" dollar! 

Photo 365 - Day 18 (George of the Dollar)

Day 18 (July 21st, 2010)
Title: Dollar George #1

I love taking pictures of money.  Currency used to be a work of art, with some of the most amazing engravings, but now US currency is pretty "bland".  But, with a little nudging of the colors, you can make them have a bit more "pop"!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 17 (Craps)

Day 17 (July 20th, 2010)
Title: Craps Out

Craps is, without a doubt, my favorite game to play in Tahoe and Vegas.  Now, that doesn't mean that I'm good at it, its just my favorite.  I tried to over-saturate the colors just a bit to give it that "old Vegas" feel, like a 50's ad.  

Monday, July 19, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 16 (Old Fence with Flower)

Day 16 (July 19th, 2010)
Title: Old Fence with Purple Flower

This is my first attempt at a selective black and white photo.  I think the effect is "mild" enough not to be too distracting, but adds a nice touch to the photo.

Weekly Hindsight (Week 2)

This week was a bit hectic, but also quite a bit of fun in regards to my photos.  I started the week with the intention of focusing entirely on games, but, as with all good plans, things went "narky".  The first three days came out quite well (Domino #1, #2, and Card Trick), and I still have some great ideas for the other missing four days (including: Craps, Poker, Scrabble and one other random game).  Unfortunately, I was unable to "complete the plan", because we had some crazy events that happened that just HAD to be in the project. 

First, Thursday we got crazy-lucky when our friend invited us to go with them to the grand opening of the new Morimoto Napa Japanese restaurant.  I'm not going to call it a sushi restaurant, because it was soooo much more!  If you can afford it, I would *highly* recommend going at least once.  It was, hands down, the best Japanese food I've ever had (and that sentiment was echoed by the whole party we were with)!  And if you are lucky, you can meet an Iron Chef!  What more could you ask for!

This weekend was also very crazy (in a good way) and as such it altered my desired photos for the end of the week.  On Saturday, we visited two museum's, California Academy of Science and the de Young museum.  The CAS was a lot of fun, just to see all of the fish and animals, but WOW was it packed full of yelling, screaming, crying, children... I tell ya, at one point I was thinking; "I wonder how many kids I could fit in the octopus tank?"  I was able to get some good shots without using a flash using my f1.4 lens.  I really wish everyone else would read the signs that *clearly* state no flash photos because the flash scares the fish.  But, ever two seconds, "flash, flash, flash".  I wanted to walk up and shine one of those 1-million watt lanterns in their eyes and see how they felt about getting "flashed", but I just walked away shaking my head instead. 

After the CAS, we headed over to de Young for the "Birth of Impressionism" exhibit (May 22-Sept 6, if you are interested.  Web site is:  It was a nice exhibit, GO MONET, but way too many people.  I thought the kids at CAS was bad, this was much worse.  Hundreds of people being rushed through tiny rooms with large, intricate paintings that deserved more time and contemplation.  Still, since most of these works are housed in Paris, this might be your only chance to see them "in person".  I would recommend a weekday rather than a weekend to see them, if you can manage it.  Also, be aware if you aren't a member its $25.00 to see the exhibit (and there are no bathrooms in the exhibit hall itself, so use them before you get in line to see the works!).  Lastly, unlike the CAS, they will not allow you to take any pictures (flash or otherwise) in the exhibit... they are quite strict on this and they have many a guard in each room that will remind you of that fact.   
Saturday night, on our trek home from San Fran, we decided to stop at Best Buy to pick up some small things and as it goes with trips to BB, I decided to look in the camera section, only because I was sure there was something there I needed to drool on.  And by golly, there was!  They were selling a Canon 100mm USM Macro lens.  As soon as I saw it, I was nearly attacked and beaten to death by our Best Buy credit card in an attempt to purchase it.  To protect both Theresa and I, I had no choice but to but it and begin drooling. 

Sunday morning we made the trip to Santa Cruz (some family fun time!) and well... Macro lens + flowers = woo!  Ever since getting my first real macro lens in 2005, I have been in love with macro photography.  This lens is quite a bit more impressive than my older lens, but I think with a bit of practice I'll start getting some good pictures again. 

For next week, I do want to do at least one or two game shots, but I also want to explore the macro world a bit!  I'm also going to start investigating some lighting kits so I can work on both my staging and portraiture skills.  I found a few on Amazon, but the cost and quality varies quite a bit so some more research is in order. 

I hope everyone has a great week and finds something artistic everyday!  And advise or comments you have are welcomed and appreciated! 

Thanks again!


Photo 365 - Day 15 (Purple Flower)

Day 15 (July 18th, 2010)
Title: Purple Flower

I decided to test out my new Canon Macro lens and what a better way to do so than with close-ups of flowers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 14 (Fish Lips)

Day 14 (July 17th, 2010)
Title: Fish Lips

Spent the day at the California Museum of Science enjoying the fish.  This wasn't my "best" photo of the day, but it was the most interesting.  This fish is HUGE, we are talking like Winnebago-esq.  It swam around once and just stopped looking right at me, saying (in a fishy Italian accent of course): "You looking at me?  YOU looking at me?! I don't see any other fish here, so you MUST be looking at me!"

I'm thinking I'll post some more of the photos (not as part of the Photo 365, of course!  No cheating!), just to show everyone the amazing creatures you can see at CMS.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 13 (Old Machine #1)

Day 13 (July 16th, 2010)
Title: Wine Pressing Machine

I know I was supposed to get back to "game photos" today, but I shot this and I really loved it, so games will just have to wait!  This really tells us three things:  1) I enjoy simple shapes/designs, 2) black and white is just fricking cool, and 3) clearly I'm a complete liar (but I will get back to game photos at some point!  Really!). 

Photo 365 - Day 12 (Meeting Morimoto)

Day 12 (July 15th, 2010)
Title: Meeting Morimoto (Iron Chef!)

We were lucky enough to attend the grand opening of Morimoto Napa, and were honored to be able to meet the BEST Iron Chef ever!  The food was great too!  (Yes, I know this isn't game-related, but it's Iron Chef!  I mean, Iron Chef!!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 11 (Card Tricks)

Day 11 (July 14th, 2010)
Title: Card Tricks

I was trying to take photo's of card tricks, but sadly, tricks don't really have the same effect via photograph.  I did capture this one, and I thought it has some nice motion and I really liked the "motion halo" that was made. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 10 (Old Domino #2)

Day 10 (July 13th, 2010)
Title: Old Bone Domino's, Picture #2

I'm posting another domino picture because yesterday when I posted the first picture, I asked Theresa: "Do you know how to play dominoes?"  She replied: "Stack them up and knock them all down?"  This made me a bit sad, for that is not "playing" dominoes, that's "playing WITH dominoes".  To play dominoes, it a fun game of strategy, mathematics, and a smidgen of luck.

(Random Story Alert)

When I was a kid and I mean, KID (like 6-7), my dad used to play dominoes with my uncle and their friends in back of the house, in what was known as "dad's lair".  We kids weren't really allowed back there (lots of things we could have killed ourselves playing with), but there would be times when they were playing that my dad would let me back there just to watch... as long as I was quite and didn't touch anything.  I didn't.  I just watched them play for hours talking about sports, woodworking and whatnot.  Finally, one day my dad got up to go get more beer (ginger beer for me), he asked me to play his hand.  I was stunned and thrilled.  I took his seat with a sort of reverence.  Sort of like the captain of a ship giving the wheel to a lowly deck hand.  I gulped, shakily look at each 'bone' and waited my turn.  When it got to me, I carefully placed my bone and called out "fifteen".  The guys laughed and thought it was "cute" that I knew how to score.  About 5 min later, my dad returned, the hand was over and I had scored 50 points (which for a single round is pretty good).  After that, they would let me play (again, as long as I didn't talk and didn't touch anything... except the dominoes and to pass the bottle opener).  Dominoes was the first real "game" that I fell in love with, and although I've played many hundreds in the years since, it is also still my favorite. 

(End Random Story Alert)

Well, Theresa reminded me that many people play with dominoes rather than realize that are for an actual game.  So, I thought: "what the heck!" and I took a picture for those poor souls who are missing out on the TRUE fun of those little tiles.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 9 (Old Domino #1)

Day 9 (July 12th, 2010)
Title: Old Bone Domino's, Picture #1

These are an antique set of bone and ebony dominoes that a friend got for me years ago.  They have been very well loved, but they are still amazing to hold and play with.  Although they are small, they are heavy and when you spin one, it really spins with enthusiasm!  I tried to keep this picture pretty large, so you can try and see the details of the domino more clearly (click on picture to see a larger version). 

Weekly Hindsight (Week 1)

My first week of “Blogging” has come and gone and I have to say, so far so good!  I’ve started a few different photo projects (Photo 365 and Photo Games), which I don’t think I would have started without knowing that I *HAD* to post my daily update.  Some of the pictures were (trying to keep a positive outlook here), “weaker” than others, but all in all I was pleased with this week’s photo’s.  

My particular favorite was Fireworks (Day 1), only because I never could have planned to get that shot.  It was just total luck (“dumb” or otherwise!) that allowed me to capture that perfect moment of a firework exploding in focus while creating what I call “stunned light fish” with all the other lights.  I think I took about 500 photos that night, and only about 15-20 were salvageable, and only 2-3 were “keepers”.   I hope that every week I’ll get at least one shot that I feel as good about as I did with that first one.
A few other fun things that came out of this week (at least related to my blog/art work):
  1. After the first week, I had 300+ views on the blog, which means either a, people are actually looking at my work or b, spam-bots have already found me and I’ll soon have 2.1 million emails regarding the billions of dollars that I need to claim from my 4th cousin in Zambia. 
  2. With the start of my blogging I also started “tweeting” and within this first week, I got 4 followers and started stalking 30 people who I find interesting! 
  3. I feel very motivated to get out there and just shoot, shoot, shoot!  I’ve even dug out my smaller cameras just so I can make sure to always have one with me, in case the opportunity comes up that I need to shoot something.  In fact, two of this last week’s photos came from such opportunities (Day 3 – Black Cherry and Day 4 – Irony Sign). 
  4. I’ve enjoyed some lovely art-related conversation with my friends on Facebook.  It is nice to reconnect with them and talk art again. 
  5. Because of all the positive reaction in getting back into the world of art, I’ve decided to set a bit of a big goal for myself in the next few months (not to say that the Photo 365 project isn’t big, but it is very “open” and doesn’t really have any guidelines).  I am going to try and submit my work to at least two different photo competitions that are happening later this year.  I don’t expect to win anything, but I am more interested in the process and procedures that one much do to enter such a event.  

Well, that just about does it for me for this first week.  I want to thank everyone who’s had a chance to look at my work and a special thanks to those of you who have commented (both publically and privately) on what I’ve done so far.  I hope my future works will be just as fun, interesting and enjoyable!

I hope everyone has a great week!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 8 (Mah Jongg Tiles 1)

Day 8 (July 11th, 2010)
Title: Mah Jongg Tiles 1

I've started working on a project taking pictures of games and I thought I would begin with Mah Jongg, because its just cool!  I've posted a few other pictures of the Mah Jongg tiles to my flickr site, if you would like to view them (AntTree's Flickr Site).  Tomorrow I'll move to a new game!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 7 (Chinese Box)

Day 7 (July 10th, 2010)
Title: Chinese Game Box

The details are pretty nice, you might want to look at this one "full size" (just click on the pic to make it bigger).

Friday, July 9, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 6 (Painting 2)

Day 6 (July 9th, 2010)
Title: Acrylic Painting #2

Yeah, I know this is similar to the last photo, but I've been practicing my painting for a couple of day, and like all artist I get a little OCD, so you get two pictures of 1 square inch of my painting!  Don't worry, something new and different tomorrow! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 5 (Painting 01)

Day 5 (July 8th, 2010)
Title: Acrylic Painting

I'm only just learning to paint acrylic (or anything for that matter), and while the full-sized painting might look like what might happen if you microwaved a can of split-pea soup (with bacon, of course!) for 35 hours, a small close-up section isn't so bad.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 4 (Irony Sign)

Day 4 (July 7th, 2010)
Title: Sign of Irony

Ok, this one needs a little explaining.  I saw this sign posted on a large electrical box in Oakland, and I thought: "Wow, how ironic, a sign that says posting signs is prohibited, that will make a nice picture."  But, after taking the shot I noticed the sticker on the other side of the box didn't have the painted section and the complete warning is: SIGNS & GRAFFITI PROHIBITED.  Oh! Irony within irony! Someone painted over the word graffiti.  Even gangsta's have a sense of humor (and irony).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 2 (Highway 80)

Day 2 (July 5th, 2010)
Title: Highway 80

Nighttime shot of Highway 80 from balcony.  Damn California drivers need to slow down!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Photo 365 - Day 1 (Fireworks)

Day 1 (July 4th, 2010)
Title: Fireworks

Mission to Independence!

I’ve decided to take up a photographic challenge!  A friend of mine, Mike T, has been involved with a project called “Photo 365” (aka: Photo-A-Day Challenge), and I thought: “What a better way to celebrate independence and freedom then joining a challenge that will force me to work every single day for the next year!” Oh, irony, how I love thee

The basic premise is: Every day, for the next year, I will post one photo. The photo can be of just about any subject matter and format (B&W, Color, mixed media, photoshopped or not). The reason for this challenge, at least for me, is two-fold. 1) it will motivate me to take photos every day, even when I’m really keen on just hiding under blankets and watching movies on my iPod. 2) I’m hoping that by taking so many pictures on varied subjects that I will become a more skilled photographer.

I will be posting the pictures here, but linking them both to my Facebook and Twitter account, so that way I can infest the “Internets” with more random stuff and add my small piece to the chaos that is the “Information Highway”.

Lastly, I chose July 4th, not just because of the irony, but also because now when I finish in a year and the fireworks are all going off I can say: “That’s all for me! Damn right! Thank you! Thank you everyone!”

Any comments are appreciated and welcomed. Unless you are just going to be mean, in which case, you should just go play in traffic.

Ciao for now.