Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Manitou Incline

Samantha, Kyle (co-worker of mine), and myself climbed the Manitou Incline today. It was mine and Samantha's first time, Kyle's second. For anyone who does not know what that is, its an old abandoned cable car path that runs straight up the side of a mountain. All that is left now is thousands of rail ties leading from the base of the mountain to the summit. The trail is just over a mile long, with an elevation change of over 2,000 ft. It was intense, I can't believe we made it to the top. I only have one picture, and its from my cell phone, but enjoy it anyways. The next time I go, I will have my new point-and-shoot, and will have better pictures. I'm not dragging my camera up there, way to much work.

You can see the tiny little parking lot at the bottom. That is where we started. It's a long way to the top...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tanner's Deployment

So I finally got around to working on these pictures... I'm sure plenty of people are waiting. Not much else to say... enjoy.


Pam and Jacob...

Jacob, ready to follow in his daddies footsteps...

Lets hope that if Tanner actually ever has to point this thing at someone... he will get out of his chair.

A picture for Meghan and Derrick.

Tanner, making a rather disturbing face...

Last few, Pam, Tanner, and Jacob

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jacob's first zoo trip

Two weeks(ish) ago, Jacob got to take his first trip to the zoo. Everyone marvel at the splendor of animals too cool to be found in your back yard, and the small child who doesn't seem to notice they exist. As you can see here, Jacob is far more interested in his own hand than the giant slobbery monster a foot from his face. It's OK Jacob... they are pretty nice hands.

This picture is actually from a song in The Lion King. No joke...

This is a baby giraffe. It is also named Jacob.

This bird and the giraffe are star-crossed lovers, tragically separated by a huge fence. Their passion for each other burns like the force of a thousand suns... if only it weren't for the fence. The giraffe could probably totally flip out and kill the fence, but he is way to cool for that.

These are all just animals, and not Jacob, so I'm not going to bother writing stuff about each one. It will get you back to the Jacob faster. (FYI - there are a lot of baby animals in these pictures. They have all been named Jacob.)

Back to Jacob... here he is riding a calf. Since the calf is a baby, in a similar fashion to every other baby animal, it has been named Jacob. Also, does anyone else see how straight gangsta the human Jacob looks here?

Day over, and Jacob totally hit the jackpot. I'm a sucker for being awesome, and bought him a souvenir for his first zoo trip. He started to eat its face, and I couldn't say no. Oddly enough, despite it being a baby tiger, it was not named Jacob. It was named Alfonzo. I don't care what Pam says - I bought it, so it's Alfonzo, and Jacob will just have to learn.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

People: Not at all unlike the moon.

For the longest time, I never took pictures of people. I never thought myself good at it. I'm working on that, and getting better I think. I have two portraits to share that I like. One much older than the other. We'll start with the old one first.

In retrospect, the shadows here are far more exaggerated that they should be, but for my first real attempt at taking a picture of a person, I think it is OK. Probably a case of too much post-processing more than anything, I was sort of Photoshop crazy at this point. I probably still have the original somewhere, I may take a look at it again. This was taken May 3rd, 2009, so we are still a year out at this point. I didn't do much again with people again until very recently.

This is my nephew, Jacob James Ray. Taken November 7th, 2009, I believe at about a month old (I honestly don't remember his birthday, ask Pam.) I like it. PP aside, I think it's a great picture. D70 + 50mm f/1.8, it was a great combination for what I wanted to accomplish with these pictures. I took a lot more really good pictures this day, but this is my favorite. A lot of people asked Pam 'where she got her pictures done' which was overwhelmingly exciting for me. I've never really considered my pictures to be "Professional", so when people saw them and assumed they were commercial portraits, it was very touching and I was that much more proud of the pictures I had taken. I often will assume people are telling me my pictures are good just to be nice. When I see people who don't know me or know they are my pictures giving compliments, I don't get that feeling.

Also, this was the last set of pictures I took with my D70. A month later I made a big jump to a Nikon D200. This camera is superior in every way, I don't think I could go back. Instant control over ISO and WB alone make it worth having. Getting that camera also pretty well puts us current on this blog. I don't yet have anything to share, as it's been a busy couple of months for me. When I have the time to take something worth showing, it will be here.

Rocks, Lizards, and HDR

Just a few random pictures, all taken April 26th, 2009. This was Photoshop day. All of these pictures are HDR compositions. It was a new experiment for me, but I'm happy with how they turned out. I very badly wanted to avoid the blown-out and over-saturated look that often comes with HDR images. I think I did all right for my first attempt.

This is where the bomb drops...

This picture is absolutely and unquestionably my favorite picture I have ever taken. It probably always will be. It is the sun rising over Lake Michigan at Cudahey, Wisconsin. It was taken on September 27th, 2008. I waited up for hours just for this picture. I drove to Cudahey at probably midnight, and just waited on the beach for the sun to come up. This day was special to me for a lot of reasons, which I shall not share, but also won't ever forget.

This picture... to me, is perfect, simply because it makes me happy. I don't know that it will have that effect on anyone else, and I don't care. It's my crowning achievement in a hobby that I do purely for my own personal enjoyment.

Panda Madness Minute!

By the time March 2008 rolled around, I had decided I was just too good for the D40 (psssssh, if only...). I'm not quite sure when I got my second camera, but it was right around early March. I found a good deal on a Nikon D70, and was excited to have it. It came with a decent lens, bringing my total stock to three. The camera was older than the D40, and many of its functions were inferior (ISO performance was a big decline), but on the up side it allowed me much more control over what I was doing. Things like metering through the viewfinder were a godsend, as having to look at an LCD screen every time I was trying to meter properly was a huge pain in my ass. I sacrificed a newer, superior image sensor for a more technically advanced camera that I felt would better help me branch out and take the pictures I wanted to. I'm pleased with the results, I loved this camera, and to date have taken most of my favorite pictures on it.

The first picture I took with this camera that I really liked was this guy:

This was the first picture I ever gave a "name", in which I called it "Not all roses are red." I like it. I know it's not a rose, and I don't care. I think it's a neat picture, which is what this is all about anyway. I do this for myself because I like taking pictures and I like feeling good about pictures I've taken at the end of the day. Taken some time in mid-March, at the same place where the previous epic butte climbing adventure took place.

Another picture I really liked:

May 16th, 2008 - Bijou St. bridge over I-25. This picture isn't by any means original. I just think it looks neat. It was my first long-exposure, more of an experiment than anything else, but I liked how it turned out.

Reckless adventures with a camera? Yes please.

I'm trying to figure out why my pictures are being formatted stupidly, and how to fix it. Hopefully this looks better...

I took this February 8th, 2008, about 3 months after I purchased my camera. I think it was, to that date, my favorite picture taken. I don't even know why, I just like it. I think it shows improvement on my end both in technically and composition, and I actually think it holds up 2 years later as a good picture. It's also a crazy memory for me. It was taken while climbing this:

The part that made the adventure a bit stupid was that it was just me and my camera bag... climbing a big rock... in the snow. I didn't tell anyone where I was, and I didn't bring a cell phone. No so bright, but it was fun, and it was one hell of a view when I got to the top. I took a lot of pictures on this day that I really liked. I will remember it well.

Like something out of a fairy tale?

I took this November 25th, 2007. Still warming up with a new camera, still learning all the technical aspects of photography, as well as composition. I nominate this picture for my biggest failure with the most potential. This picture could have been amazing, particularly if I knew what I was doing.

It looks like something out of a Disney movie. I love the idea behind it. I hate the branches in the way, and the lens flair, and the blown out lighting. If I had the opportunity to take this picture again, it would look a lot better now that I know how to compensate for these things. I know I was still learning, I can't fault myself for that, I just wish I hadn't taken THIS picture while learning, cause now it's to late for it to be better.

Don't hold it against us!

I'm going to start from the beginning. The picture I'm going to post here is not good. I don't like it, I think it is boring and unoriginal. However, I am posting it because I think it's the first picture I've ever taken that I was proud of.

This was taken the morning of November 24th, 2007. It was the day after I got my first "real" camera, a Nikon D40. I got up very early, in the freezing cold, and went to visit Garden of the Gods, just because I wanted to try to get comfortable with my new camera. This was my favorite picture taken that day. The problem with it is that I imagine just about everyone in Colorado Springs with a camera has taken the same picture. I bet they have also all felt the same way after taking it... it's a good picture. I think I've done a lot better since this was taken, but it's still important as the first picture I took that I liked.

Look what I can do, ma!

Photo blogs seem like the cool thing to do these days... so I might as well jump on the bandwagon. I have no interest at advertising myself, making money, or anything of that sort. I just want to post pictures that people may be interested in seeing. I'll probably start this off by posting old favorites, but I can then update it as we go.

Initial reports suggest this page will be boring as hell and probably not updated frequently enough for anyone to read (except for my mom, because she's obligated).

Something old....

I was going through old photos of mine and came across this, and really liked it. I took this ages ago, a camping trip back in July 2009. O...