Friday, July 24, 2009

Photography, and Phamily-sitting

I had a nice walk in the neighborhood this morning, and brought the camera along in case something caught my eye. I'm very leery of photographing people's plants and houses without their permission, and even more leery of waking them up at 6:30am to ask for that permission. So, I altered my route and headed into a local park.

Near the entrance, the path dips down toward a narrow canyon. The walls are water-washed, exposing sedimentary layers, and cutting vertical channels into the canyon walls.

The photo isn't great. The morning light, with the sunlight diffused by the thick cloud layer, was dim. Contrast was minimal, and the wall looks washed out. The interesting ways in which the water has eroded the hillside are hard to make out, as a result. Think I'll go back some other time(s) when the light is different and try for a better shot.

This next one is a little better. The cliff is higher here, and more exposed to the light. I'm not totally happy with the composition of this shot. The palm tree is distracting, I think. Also, the balance is pretty lopsided. Big cliff on the left, little palm tree on the right, uniform gray sky above. This might look better with clearer skies and angled light, but this is the best composition I could find. What you don't see are the chain-link fence just above the cliff, the house hidden behind the swell of the hill, and the drainage culvert JUST off-camera in the foreground.

I played around with this one a bit in an editor, too, making a black-and-white version and adjusting the contrast and white levels to make it a bit more dramatic. Interesting.

A bit frustrated with finding interesting vistas, I turned my attention to closeup shots of interesting textures and colors. The bark of this tree is just amazing. The blues are so vivid. From this perspective, it almost looks like a Google Maps view of some alien landscape.

Notice the slighty-off framing on this shot. The dark patch at the bottom of the frame is the greenery behind the tree (and yes, I rotated this shot because it looked better).

I do like this shot. This bark is full of interest and character, to my eye.

And those, my friends, are the four shots that I thought weren't totally terrible. Photography is much, much harder than I'd thought. Not the technical stuff so much (though I did have any number of blurry shots in the lot...still learning a LOT about depth of field, aperature, exposure, etc.). It's developing a "photographer's eye" that really tough. Finding well composed, well lit, interesting scenes out in the chaos of nature. The upside? It's an interesting challenge, and you get pretty pictures out the other end :-)

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + -

Not a great day for my waistline today, I'm afraid.

My work team and I went to a local restaurant for lunch today. One that specializes in local, organic foods, including pasture-fed beef and sausages made on site. These folks know their sausage! All of the food I've tried at this restaurant is delicious. Fatty, but delicious.

We watched our friends' four children this evening. The kids had a great time, despite a couple of mishaps.

The two little boys (one of ours, and one of theirs) "fed" our younger daughter's beta fish. By dumping most of a cannister of food into the tank. The poor little thing was swimming through a multi-colored rain. My wife's quick work with a siphon seems to have cleaned the tank out nicely. Hopefully Moonlight (the fish) will be fine.

For a little added excitement, their little boy had apparently found his way into a box of prunes earlier today. The effect was...let's just say voluminous. And fragrant.

But, peace was found tonight. In the form of cheese pizza, and a good movie for the horde of children. My wife and I even had time to do a little work on some household projects. All in all, a good night really.

Food log:

Breakfast: granola with blueberries (again...need to get out of my comfort zone sometimes :-) )

Lunch: two sausages, purple potatoes, apple slaw and a little slice of Gouda cheese.

Snacks: one Hershey's single, small handful of salted cashews (too salty (again)...apparently I never learn).

Dinner: two pieces of pepperoni pizza


  1. So, you forgot to mention that Thor the kitten ate (as in swallowed) a pompom off the end of the wand/cat toy! It was a full afternoon and evening!

  2. Ah! You're right!

    But then, in the interests of full disclosure, I should mentioned that my wife here dealt with all three of these episodes. I was a bystander. Thank you honey!

  3. I hear your sentiments on the photography. By adjusting the contrast on the computer you can really change the look of a shot and make something just OK turn into much better. It's tough no matter what though and subject matter that looks great with the eye does not always turn out so great with the camera. I will keep on keeping on though... you too!!!

  4. I'm enjoying the education, even if it's taking a long time and gets frustrating occasionally. I'm throwing away WAY more pictures than I'm keeping, but that's probably true even of the pros.

    Got a couple of nice shots this evening.