at the park

At Town Square, a shopping center, there is a small park. It late morning and was still quite warm, but still bearable.

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I almost timed this one right but her foot is cut off…even so I’m quite happy with the exposure. Lucky for me, cause she was running loops and this turned out to be the last loop of the day. When chasing a toddler around, you never know when they decide to move onto something else.

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birthday party

Last week, we were invited to a birthday party. The host’s grandpa took some great photos, but here are a few of my favorites. I have grown to really like my current standard of having a telephoto lens on the SLR and utilizing the wide angle on the smartphone. I’m not getting a dual lens replacement phone this time around, but I’ll be curious how it plays out in a couple years when I suspect it will be ubiquitous in the premier phones.

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One thing I did recently was to remove the gridlines from the iphone camera screen. I had turned it on a while ago because I thought it would help me line things up, but I feel like the grid ended up being a unhelpful constraint, constantly drawing me to put things on the intersection of the thirds.

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The main thing with these cell phone shots is to grab the moment when they appear and to learn to play with the exposure (possibly using the HDR function) to get something workable. Neither of these were ideal light conditions, but being fluent with apple’s exposure compensation system makes a big difference.

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on the job (otp114)

I’m still going through zion images! But yeah, this was a fairly self apparent one, since a mother is always on the job.

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Along with the more straightforward images, I also played with some shots tight in (as I always do) and even went to blur.

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crushing blacks

While waiting for Jing and the baby to meet me at the library for a free jazz concert, I’m not sure which one came out stronger after my post processing. One I pushed the blacks to be a pure silhouette, the other I tried to keep a little data showing the sidewalk leading towards the street.

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typography (round 2)

Having just a few minutes of downtime was relatively rich in terms of photo gathering….I was trying to force remembrance and typography together, but I’ll just go with typography. These I think came out stronger in black and white, which is a move I often test, but rarely actually publish. Maybe one day I should actually set out to make a BW series.

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a view from above

The back yard of the mechanic that I go to is quite a bit higher than the adjacent shopping center property. And since the dividing wall is only 4′ high (on my side), this opens up opportunities for some interesting perspectives.

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remembrance (otp229)

Bill Wadman, one of the hosts of OTP, often mentions a desire to leave a mark in this world. I ended up going with the most sparse composition for the upload.

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But I also liked the idea of having one’s ephemeral shadow in the frame

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And for a wider context Jeffery Saddoris, the other host, has a thing for dumpsters. So I took this shot cause it was also there behind the mechanics yard while I waited for the oil change.

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typography (otp113)

This turned out to be one of the most popular assignments out there, and while I didn’t spend a ton of time trying to get a great shot for this, I did come across more than a few instances. I think the best ones on the OTP group were either really in tight or way out. Unfortunately most of mine are all in the messy middle. However I wanted to ship…but maybe I’ll come back to this one.

First we start with some old signs.

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And then one where the baby got her hand in front of the lens right as I was shooting an old xeroxed instruction sheet at an old hotel

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A hand written example from my watering hole

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And a completely hand made one from Mount Charleston.

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symmetry (otp112)

I looked around for symmetry at Zion National Park and we found it (surprise!) with the help of a reflecting pool.

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The wider angle shot with the iphone played better BW.

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And a couple previous attempts that basically got relegated to the b-side as soon as we hiked up to this pool.

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Goodbye to Mr. Poops

Yesterday I got a text that my old dutch friend passed away in Philadelphia. He came with the wife of one of my grad school mates when we first arrived in Texas and he hung around long enough for even us long term Houston holdouts to all head back out of the South. At 14 years old I’m certain he was one of the oldest bunnies out there. His mate, Elsie had passed years ago. They were quite a pair, she was a very opinionated woman and he was the sweetest little guy (I know such adjectives are overused for cute little wabbits, but it was completely true for someone with his disposition).

It hit me hard, it reminded me of the passage of time, the movement of life, the joy of good friends, and the inevitability of change. It made me think of how much and how little I have changed in the past dozen years. Caught up in the flurry of daily chores and activities, it was a reminder that we should savor the impermanence of our mundane surroundings. A reminder particularly important as I continue to spend too much of my time in the digital sphere.

But of course, back to the digital sphere – I remembered I had some nice photos of him and his partner so I went digging into the archives. It turns out I took these photos six years ago when I had just received my Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 – its considered a legendary lens and over the past six years it has lived up to the reputation. While it is a little bit too telephoto on a crop sensor for daily use, its perfect for traveling when paired with a smartphone for wide angle shots.

Mr. Poops and Elsie was staying at our house at that time, so naturally I trained my camera upon them. Some of the first photos didn’t come out too good, but I think this series of four in a row came out pretty nicely.

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I can’t believe its been twelve years since we first met. Here’s to you Mr. Poops, have fun in the great beyond!