Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 264 (First Impressions)

Day 264 (March 24th, 2011)
Title: First Impressions

I'm currently working on a few projects, one if which is a little online photo contest with a theme of "First Impressions".  I was sitting around, trying to brainstorm which photos to submit (and what might make for a neat new photo) when I started writing; "always make a good first impression."  Basically, it was my version of "doodling" while trying to think of something.  After I finished a whole page with this (mind you, its a small page - I write really tiny), I looked at it and thought: "Oh, great.  The 'first impression' someone is going to get from this is that I'm a complete psychopath ala 'The Shining'".  Not quite the first impression that I try and go with (course, I'm not saying that's the wrong impression - it's just not the one I want to give first!)


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 263 (Photo of a Portrait of a Gentleman)

Day 263 (March 23rd, 2011)
Title: Photo of a Portrait of a Gentleman

Continuing with a few of the artist that I spotted on our last trip to the Legion of Honor, today I am showing Tiziano Vecellio (more commonly known as Titian) painting "Portrait of a Gentleman".  I really like this painting, because it reminds me so much of a photograph.  Something that today, you might say to your friend, "Say Cheese!" and poof - you've got a portrait.  But, back in 1550 when this was done, it took Titian hundreds of hours to paint this. 

Again, as I mentioned yesterday, try and get to the Legion of Honor and enjoy all of their wonderful art.


Photo 365 - Day 262 (Saint Jerome)

Day 262 (March 22nd, 2011)
Title: Saint Jerome

We recently visited the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, which is a wonderful museum by the way, for Theresa's birthday and while walking around I found a few new "friends". 

This first one is Saint Jerome, by Diego de Siloe (c. 1560), carved out of walnut.   Here is a bit more info on him (ala Wikipedia), if you are interested.  

As a bonus, while we were visiting they had on exhibit an original 1217 copy of the Magna Carta. This document literally changed the world in ways that could never have been imagined.  If you have the chance to see it, do it!  It's worth the price of admission alone (as well as the Roman Mosaic in Gallery 4, right behind the Magna Carta). 

I could go on for a while about all the great things to see there, so I will instead just say: Take a day off and go there! 


(Ps: Yes, I do get the irony of following up yesterday's "Cheezeballs" photo with this one is a bit... well... me actually).  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 261 (Cheezeballs)

Day 261 (March 21st, 2011)
Title: Cheezeballs

I've had a bad flu/cold the last 10 days or so, and at one point I critically needed some OJ.  In attempting to acquire said OJ, a trip to Target was required.  What was learned on said trip is, while I'm drugged out on cold meds, I shouldn't be shopping. 

I saw these and though: Ooo, those look good. 

I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.  Perhaps I thought they had the same color as the OJ I was so craving. 


Photo 365 - Day 260 (Going Down)

Day 260 (March 20th, 2011)
Title: Going Down

And now, the conclusion of the "Adventures Of Flying"!

"The captain has turned on the 'Fasten Seat Belts' sign, so if everyone could please return to their seats, fasten those darn things and hold on, we are about to land this thing!  If anyone is in the lavatory, you really want to get back to you seat now, because its just not a fun ride in there when we head down. Thank you!"  

Two lines came to me when the attendants said we were getting prepared for the landing: "Any landing you can walk away from, is a good landing." and "A landing is just a controlled fall."  Neither of these helped my state of mind out much.  I fastened my belt, securely, checking the latch and it's mechanical bits.  My tray-table couldn't have been more 'upright' and all of my carry-on items were stowed (re: crushed) into the overhead bin.  So, other than the panic and constant looking out my window for either flames, or to watch the propeller fly off, I was in my happy place. 

I should mention, after we took off the attendants walked around and if they saw two people squished next to each other, they asked: "Sir, we have some vacant seats available, if you'd prefer to have a row by yourself?"  Now when I heard this, I got nearly as giddy as the attendants - only because I like having room to actually breath.  So, when I was asked, I quickly said "YES! I'D LOVE TO!" before the guy sitting next to me got the chance.  I smiled as I was escorted back a few rows to a lovely empty row of seats all for myself.  I sat down, thought to myself "Ahhh... if I pretend really hard, it's like being in first class."  I nearly asked for a second beverage, I was so happy. 

Then I looked out the window.  Happy little clouds?  No.  Panoramic view of the Earth below me zipping by?  No.  Giant, spinning propeller of death that looked like it was barely stuck on with Elmer's Glue?  Yep. 

So, we begin our plummet to the tarmac, and I ponder all those things that flash before my eyes (like why do I still have remotes for TV's that I gave away decades ago?!) and can't help but wonder if ducks or birds laugh when they see planes like this coming in for a landing.  After what seemed like 32 hours, we finally came down and bounced down the runway.  I'm told this is normal for smaller planes, to bounce.  Like a 3-year-old toy.  Wee.  We came to a stop, had a little assistance pealing my fingers out of the arm rest and disembarked from my exciting journey.  As I walked out, two things struck me:

First, the attendant: "Thanks for flying with us , we hope you had a great time .   We'll see you again real soon! "  

I of course was about to tell her, please never utter a single tone ever again - until I realized that she was right, I would have to see "them" again - because at some point, I had to fly home.  Sigh.

The second thing was:


Damn ducks. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 259 (Da Plane, Da Plane!)

Day 259 (March 19th, 2011)
Title: Da Plane, Da Plane

(Yes, I know this was the longest "to be continued" ever, but I came down with a nasty flu after posting the previous post and couldn't spell my name, let alone post anything.  But, I'm feeling better-ish now, so lets continue the fun!)

Phun On Da Plane, Part 2

So, after taking my seat and watching the maintenance folks hand-crank up the propellers, the pilot decided it was time to actually take off.  Now, as the plane taxis onto the runway, the flight attendants indicate all the lovely information about what to do if the is an emergency and where the exits are and that your seat could be used as a flotation device, but our "attendants" must have been a bit tired.  Now, the plane was so small that we only had two attendants on-board, which would have been okay, if they both hadn't snorted an entire canister of nitrous oxide (each) before boarding. 

Everything they said, be it: "Now, we have two exits , one up here at the front of the plane and one in the back .  If we lose air pressure in the cabin , masks will fall down from the compartment overhead and might bonk you in the head! "  And lets not forget the "Apollo-Comedy-Club-Level" funny that was:  "Also, this plane is equipped with only one restroom which is at the front of the plane, and be aware that it is very small, so if you really need to go, our suggestion is to just wait till we land! ."  

After the little remark about the restroom I believe they both fell unconscious from oxygen-deprivation from laughing so hard.  Looking back, I'm kind of glad they were drugged out their mind's, because it scarred us all so much that we never even noticed that we took off and that somehow we were actually airborne (and not plummeting to our death). 

Later in the flight, they were kind enough to wake back up and serve us our free beverage - a big ol' 1/10th ounce cup of any juice beverage we would like - as long as it was apple juice.  I enjoyed my thimble of beverage, read my book and began building the mental stress and fear that would be "The Landing".

... to be continued...

(soon too, no "I had to wait a week to read this?!" wait either!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 258 (Prop Plane)

Day 258 (March 18th, 2011)
Title: Prop Plane

We recently had to go visit some friends about their upcoming wedding.  It was decided that we would fly out to see them, and so tickets were purchased, bags were packed and general good times were had by all.  At least, until we were on the wait to the airport when I was then informed that we would in fact, not be flying in a happy, safe and comfy jet (like I assumed), but a tiny, Wright-brothers era, prop plane.  Now, "they" called it a "Turbo Prop" and they said it was extremely safe, would be just as comfortable as any jet, it was actually made in the 20th century, and many other lies.  Once we got to the airport and I was dragged from the car, I decided: Okay, it has props - no biggie.  Many military planes have props, and I'm SURE the government and military know what they are doing, so it won't be so bad.  Besides, having 4 or 6 propellers (like all good military planes you see in the movies) doesn't sound so bad.  Besides, perhaps I can bomb those darn Red Box machines that never have the movies I want it while we are taking off. 

Then I saw the plane, or more specifically, I saw the deathtrap with two blenders stuck on the wings.  Yep, only 2 props.  Not 4, or 6 or 20.  2.  They looked like Tonka toys.  I was expecting to see a "pull string" sticking out that the ground crew would yank just before takeoff.  

There was no ramp to the plane, just a few steps off the tarmac.  I half expected the plane to be made of wood.  I boarded the plane, took my seats, strapped myself in, pondered who would get my coin collection when they finally identified my remains, and waited for the "fun" to start. 

... to be continued...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 257 (Strawberry 2)

Day 257 (March 17th, 2011)
Title: Strawberry 2

Here's another fruit photo, Strawberry #2!  The main problem with taking these shots, is now I'm hungry. 


Photo 365 - Day 256 (Strawberry)

Day 256 (March 16th, 2011)
Title: Strawberry

Due to some "technical" issues with the Blogger site, they have been offline for about 24 hours and during that time they also had to go back and delete some posts - one of which was my Day 256 post, so here it is again in all of its strawberry glory!

This is the continuation of the Fruity Fun Time week of photos, this time we are enjoying Strawberries!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 255 (Alien Fruit)

Day 255 (March 15th, 2011)
Title: Alien Fruit

When I chopped open the cantaloupe and started taking close-up pictures of the "guts" of it, I immediately realized that they looked a lot like the "egg sacs" of the Alien Queen from the "Aliens" movie (and if you haven't seen Aliens - go watch it now, I'll wait.  Really.  Go.  Now.)  I wonder if James Cameron was just sitting around one day and had the following conversation:

"You know guys, I was thinking of doing a movie about a giant boat sinking.  Music, drama, guys hitting propeller blades, crazy old ladies throwing diamonds, but then I was eating this cantaloupe and I realized: We need an evil alien-tries-to-eat-your-face-off movie with marines, laser canons, space ships and no crazy old people throwing diamonds away!" 

James was way ahead of his one time.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 254 (Cantaloupe Skin)

Day 254 (March 14th, 2011)
Title: Cantaloupe Skin

Continuing our fruity adventures, we now come to the cantaloupe!  This is a close-up shot of the skin (outside) in all of it's 'loupey glory!  I'm not sure if it reminds me of the thorns on a rose bush or a street map of San Francisco.  Either way, its nifty!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 253 (FlowerMelon)

Day 253 (March 13th, 2011)
Title: FlowerMelon

This is the last of the watermelon shots.  At first, I put this one in the "reject" pile, because I just really wasn't happy with it, but when Theresa saw it, she said it looked like a "Watermelon Flower" - and thus was born; the FlowerMelon.  I admit, after giving it a second chance, it's not such a bad picture. 

I hope you like it!


Photo 365 - Day 252 (Juicy Magma)

Day 252 (March 12th, 2011)
Title: Juicy Magma

Watermelon, while quite tasty, isn't very photogenic.  I took about 200 photos of the melon before blending it into YumJuice (TM) (C), but many of the photos were just not that good - and because I'm a "professional" - I totally blame the watermelon.  The external texture/coloring is nice, but nothing amazing (I have one more watermelon photo for tomorrow of the exterior skin), and the inside is basically red.  Nothing really amazing about red.  It's red. Not much to play with when all you have is just red.  And I tried to get some photos with the seeds, thinking they would help with depth and contrast.  I was wrong.  Just red.

I finally got this photo of the "cross-section" of the melon and when I saw it, it reminded me of my old grade-school science books trying to describe the different layers of the Earth.  When I saw this, I though: "Hey, science class would have been more fun with tasty fruit examples!"... So, the next time I teach kids about the Earth's crust and layers, this will be my fruit of choice!


Photo 365 - Day 251 (Watermelon)

Day 251 (March 11th, 2011)
Title: Watermelon

It's fruit week!  True, it will probably be more than a weeks worth of pictures, but that's because we went crazy yesterday buying fruits and veggies so I thought it would be fun to shoot each fruit as we use it!  First up, watermelon!  This little guy got turned into crazy-good fresh watermelon juice! 


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Railroad Revival Tour - Best of Mumford and Sons Video

I worked on my first video of the year today, a little "Best Of..." moments from the Railroad Revival Tour that visited Oakland, CA on April 21st, 2011.  One of my favorite bands, Mumford and Sons, treated the ~10k fans to a great show!  If you ever get the chance to see them live, I highly recommend it!

As for my video skills, well I'm a bit rusty and it's my first non-Final Cut Pro project (I used Adobe Premiere Pro for this one) so don't be too harsh.  I hope you enjoy it!

Link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7ojXaIXc64

Or, embedded it you prefer:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

T-Minus 165 Photos - A little look back.

I just recently posted my 250th photo (although I know I should be near my 300th, but that's life - I'm catching up tho!), and I have to say, its been a pretty crazy 250 photos so far.  I'm heading into the "final stretch" of this project and I'm pretty confident that I'm going to be doing it again.  Just because I'm analytical-type personality and I love numbers, here are some neat little stat's since I've started. 

600+ Twitter posts
6,300+ Blog Views from all over the world
11,000+ AntTree.org website views
20,000+! Unique Flickr views

I'm pretty darn happy with those numbers.  It means there are at least a few folks out there who are actually looking at my photos and reading my internet blather!  Woo!  Go blather! 

Anyway, thanks everyone and I hope you enjoy the remainder of this project!

Photo 365 - Day 250 (Railroad Revival Tour)

Day 250 (March 10th, 2011)
Title: Railroad Revival Tour

When we heard that Mumford & Sons was going to be a part of the Railroad Revival Tour (as well as its first stop was going to be in Oakland!) we knew we just had to go.  The main idea behind the RRT was: get a few great bands together, put them on an old 1930's train together and have them ride from Oakland, CA to New Orleans, LA, stopping in many cities along the way sharing their music and magic that is trains!  (FYI: I love trains).  

We got lucky and were able to get tickets early, but the show sold out crazy-fast!  I think, in total, there were 11k-12k people at the show and it was a lot of fun.  The show was hosted at a park at the Oakland docks, so there really was no seating or specific area where you were assigned.  Again, we got lucky and showed up crazy-early and were able to claim a few "seats" on a concrete wall facing the stage.  Three great bands played (as mentioned, Mumford & Sons, as well as The Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), and they really got the crowd going crazy. 

If you have the opportunity to catch a future RRT (they did announce that there were certainly going to be more Railroad shows in the future - just nothing specific yet), I would highly recommend it. 

Here is a picture of the rear of the California Zephyr train.  The one tragic part of the show was they did not allow any "professional" cameras, so all I could bring was my little point-and-shoot and my iPhone.  I tried to get a good shot with the camera, but ironically, the best shot I got of the train was with the iPhone. 


Photo 365 - Day 249 (Meow)

Day 249 (March 9th, 2011)
Title: Meow

First, I just wanted to say how much I love technology (as if you couldn't tell from all the geek-related things I talk about).  I mention this, because many moons ago, if we were just walking around and I saw something amusing or neat that I wanted to take a picture of, I would have been really bummed out if I forgot to bring my camera.  With today's "mobile communications devices" (you can't really call them phones any longer, because lets be honest - how many people use their phone for just calls?) you have so many more tools at your fingertips, including quality digital cameras built-in. 

With that being said, we were walking around Albany (trying to find an old button store - don't ask) and I saw this cute image in the sidewalk.  Now, when my brother and I were kids, we always tried to do this kind of stuff in wet cement - but boy did we get in trouble if we got caught.  I'm sure there are some driveways or sidewalks in the Santa Cruz mountains that still have our initials on them.  All I know, if I ever have to pour cement for anything, I'm going to go crazy drawing in it. 


Photo 365 - Day 248 (Cloud Peak)

Day 248 (March 8th, 2011)
Title: Cloud Peak

Kind of a "bonus cloud" shot that I got in San Francisco, via my iPhone.  Sometimes the clouds in the city are just crazy-nice looking and this was one of those times.  On a somewhat related (but not really) note, if you ever have the chance to see the comedian Dan Gabriel, I would highly recommend it.  He is crazy funny.  We were lucky enough to see him and I can tell you, it was worth the two drink minimum and cover charge!  He really knows how to work the crowd and his humor is really smart and witty.  You can see some of his stuff on YouTube