Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No photo (don't look)

There are days where I feel a little like Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed King of All Media. I say this because there is now yet another outlet for my relentless babbling and rapier-like wit: Squidoo- because everybody's an expert on something.

I previously had a couple of lenses there but realized I wasn't as much of the expert as I thought, so I regrouped (by myself?) and have now found a topic that I feel I can speak to with some air of authority:

What to Do With a Ga-zillion Images

I had to assign it a rating but there wasn't a PG since some people feel the words "crap" and "poo" are liberally sprinkled through the posts but hey, I am what I am.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Red Lion pub at night

There was a very short break in the miserable weather we've been having (and I DO mean miserable) so I decided to do a little experimentation at night with the new Lensbaby 3G. A short drive down the A47 and I was in the middle of Swaffham which was sparsely populated at the hour of 8pm. After a few "orientation" images I finally got my exposure dialed in (no auto-exposure or auto-focus features, talk about old school) and I was off.

One image that lept out once I was back home was the one below. All pubs in the UK have a sign hanging out proudly displaying some sort of graphic designation of their name. Often times you can also tell if it is a "contract" pub with a specific brewery or if it is a "free" house meaning they pick and choose which beverages they offer their clientele. You'll notice that the pub sign is sharp (and I mean TACK sharp) but as you get away from it the colors quickly go to blurry and what I have heard other photographers describe as a "slurred" look. This is because of the bellow design of the Lensbaby, a construction technique gleaned from the larger and much more expensive large-format cameras.

I like it, expect more "visual slurs" to appear here in the future!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Baby in the house

And before you get all worked up it's not THAT kind of baby!!!! It's a new piece of equipment and the "baby" part will become apparent in a moment, but first we must have a story...

Most of you know Jill and I have been blessed with 5 wonderful children. First, there were three boys. Then, we realized we just had too much free time on our hands and over a three year period adopted two beautiful little girls from China. It's on this second trip to China to get Emmalea that I obtained one of my favorite souveniers: my beloved Chairman Mao windup alarm clock and desk calendar.

Remember that Jill and I both grew up in a culture where Russia and China were the "bad guys" and endured all the propaganda that went along with such a position. Now try to imagine being in that country and having the mental paradigm shift that, by golly, they're pretty much like you and me at the "normal joe" level of things. We had an incredible time on both trips but I was still looking for that special something that would bring back memories of my travels and possible stir up a conversation when guests saw it. Well, I found it in a little shop on Shamian Island in Guangzhou, Guangdong province and I knew I had found my souvenier the moment I set eyes on it.

On close inspection it has all the requisite "good party member" items: red color, utilitarian styling, a practical use as well as the likeness of Chairman Mao leading the masses. Then you look a little closer and notice the second hand is a Chinese fighter jet swooping through the skies. And finally, the piece de restance, when wound up and the seconds tick off one of the masses being led by Chainman Mao is waving their Little Red Book along to the rhythm of the jet swooping above! I can't tell you how old it is but there is a bit of age that came along with the purchase price, something in the neighborhood of $4-5USD. Oh, and it still works AND keeps very good time.

So, now you know the background to this interesting little piece of kitch I have a strange fondness for.

"How in the world are you going to make this come around to having a new baby in the house?"

Oh ye of little faith.

One of the nifty gadgets I recently acquired for my professional endeavours is a small lens that, by way of a flexible lens barrel, allows me to achive a very nice selective focus effect while making for some incredibly blurred and smeared parts of the image. As we photographers are always trying to make our work stand out and grab YOUR attention, I thought that this little guy would be a hoot to experiment with.

Thus, the Lensbaby 3G has now been added to my optical aersenal of image making equipment.

Let the fun begin, and how about we start with my buddy Chairman Mao...

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Arrival of D. Glen Elrod (esquire?)

My buddy and fellow photographer D. Glen Elrod finally sent me the link to his blog. I first met Glen when he was stationed in Alaska working in the hospital with my wife in the Women's Health Clinic. Both our families left at about the same time, Glen going to England and our family going to the Azores. He was able to visit us once on official business (ask him about playing bunko... then again, I doubt he remembers anything) and we were able to take a space-available flight up to see him for a week where we went to Caen, France and visited the beaches of the Normandy coast as well as Mont Ste Michel.

As fate would have it, we also moved to England and spent a year trying to meet up to do some work together with minimal success. I seemed to be perpetually busy here on the farm while he visited his second home of London as his family are great fans of the theatre. Now, Glen is out of the service and setting up a nice little practice in Alaska and teasing me relentlessly by asking questions like "What's that green glow in the sky?"

So if you get a moment, stroll on over to his blog and pay him a visit (he has a great Bruce Willis photo BTW) and welcome my buddy to the busy ecclectic world of blogging.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Quick Post... now updated!

Haven't a lot of time, the cow if finally calving but the calf is huge and presenting breech. The vet is on the way and hopefully she won't have to have a c-section in the barn (but then my nursing skills might come in handy, I've done quite a few human c-sections and as they say... parts is parts.

Until then, enjoy this fun Google Map of locations I've photographed with links to the images coming from those sites. Will be updated continually!


Great news, the calf is out and mamma and baby are doing well. The vet helped with the "calf jack" (yes, lots of parts familiar with a car jack) as the little guy was coming out rear-feet first (not good). Did I mention this was her first calf as well? I've since learned that until they have their first calf they're called a heifer and from that point on they're just a plain old cow. Never knew that, check off my "learn something new" item for the day!

So, enjoy the images of the new calf (which Graham was kind enough to point out was "big like James") and Mom!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008 gets off to a Great Start!

To be honest, I was hoping that by now I would be posting photos of a new member of the farm family, a calf from a big beautiful Charolais cow (whom I affectionately call the stroppy wench because of her disposition towards me). But alas, she has other plans so no news about that birth. The girls did get to see another lamb born this afternoon from one of the Texal sheep though, so that day wasn't a total loss. ;-)

Good news was that my postage stamps are flying off the shelves over at the Zazzle site. The best seller so far is the Incoming Eagle design. It's a really good feeling to know that people not only appreciate my photography but also what can be done with the images.

Well, off to do a little more work before the (ahem) snow storm hits. Don't hold your breath for photos of snow anytime soon.