Rain Forest Mushrooms

Another shot from some of my work on the Washington Coast – more info in the Ruby Beach Sunset post.

Posted in PhotoBlog

Ruby Sunset

Sunset from Ruby Beach

Sunset from Ruby Beach

We spent a few days last week shooting in Washington’s Temperate Rainforests and as you can see, spent time on the beach. We had been planning this trip for a couple months, hadn’t been to the Washington coast in many years and I wanted to get out of the mountains and spend some time in a place that knows what rain is. Since we spent time in my old home, the Smoky Mountains, earlier this year – we opted for the west coast.

We only had a few days and couldn’t come close to spending time everywhere on my shoot list – rather it was a quick whirlwind trip to reacquaint myself with the area and ultimately so we can make notes and plan an extended trip next spring. It really was a whirlwind tour though – we visited Neah Bay, Cape Flattery (most NW point in the 48 states), Ruby and Rialto Beaches (my two favs), Hoh and Quinault Rainforest and stayed on the beach at Kalaloch Lodge. We almost spent a night at the Quinault Lodge in the rainforest, but I’m glad we didn’t, they were hosting a photography workshop – that would have been annoying. The trip was 99% work and I was so amazingly tired after getting back – but it was nice to be in the land of humidity and more importantly, fresh  clam chowder. We’ve got our notes and an extended trip to Washington Coast will absolutely be on the calendar next year.

I will be posting a few photos from the trip here on my photoblog, and in the near future there will be section from this trip on my print gallery.

Posted in PhotoBlog, Photography

KTVB.com needs an editor

KTVB is the only local news station I’ll watch – I like their anchors and I think KTVB is a great part of our community. But their website is horrid. If you follow me on twitter you know I occasionally post the KTVB.com quote of the day, stuff they have written in an article that just doesn’t make sense or lacked basic proof reading. I don’t do as often now because their online stories have become so horrid I don’t spend much time on the site any longer. I’m a bit of a writer and my wife is an English prof, so it would be easy to nitpick… but no, I’m talking blatant mistakes that if the reporter had bothered to read the story or had their 5 year old read it, it would have been caught. Every time I visit I’m amazed they don’t even read their articles before they post it. Friends on FB and twitter have confirmed noticing the same thing.

I especially liked this article today…

The fire started near the Eagle exit just around 5:20am Tuesday.

Idaho State Police says the driver of the truck was no hurt.

ISP says the driver of the truck was no hurt.

“He looked back in the mirror and saw that the truck was on fire…

http://www.ktvb.com/news/Semi-truck-fire-closes-lanes-on-I-84-103923944.html

UPDATE – I recieved the following response from KTVB via twitter. I appreciate them taking the time to respond and I really hope that we start seeing improvement in their online editing. As I said above, I love KTVB, they are the only live TV news I watch and even with the bad editing they still have the best news site in the valley. (sorry statesman)

Posted in Random Thoughts

Colbert goes to Congress

I was rather fascinated by Steven Colbert’s testimony in front of a House committee today – talking about migrant workers.

Lets step aside from the politics for a second…  I’ve never watched Colbert for more than a minute or two a few times a year on Youtube – I think he’s funny, but I don’t know much about him, his politics or anything else for that matter. He’s undoubtedly a very intelligent person, to be that satirical you have to be (take it from me, I know).

Obviously a lot of today was an attempt to bring publicity to an otherwise dull, boring and generally pointless hearing. He was invited by the chairwoman of the committee, together they apparently spent a day in the life of a immigrant field worker some time ago. I haven’t seen it but it was apparently featured on his show. Based on this, I think his knowledge of the subject was at least valid enough that this wasn’t 100% publicity (for congress). I also think the case can easily be made that he was the most intelligent and thoughtful mind in the room. (though will all the Congress members in the room, I realize the bar was set pretty low)

So again, I don’t know anything about him, but I was interested to see his testimony and the response, especially knowing that he was going to be ‘in character’.

Per usual, he submitted a written statement (which I have not read) I assume this was serious, he was given 5 minutes to verbally summarize his position. This 5 minute statement was all comedy. Well, all comedy if you weren’t paying attention. Much like any great satirical comedian, there was a lot of thought and intelligence to his statement.  I’m sure you’ll see the talking points and soundbites from his visit but I want to look at one particular aspect of his comments.

He gave his testimony and answered questions all in basic character, he only broke form once. He was asked why he choose this, of all things, to be vocal about. He immediately dropped the act.

“I like talking about people that don’t have any power and it seems like one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave.”  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/24/stephen-colbert-appears-capitol-hill-hearing-illegal-immigrants/

Dropping the act, the look on his face and his response proved to me that he was serious about the issue and about being involved. I may or may not agree with all of his opinions about what needs to be done, but I respect him and the time and thought he has devoted to the issue.

Posted in Random Thoughts Tagged , , , , |

Priority Inbox Notifications on Gmail for Android

Gmail on Android is now it’s own app, separate from an andoid release – largly so that gmail can have a faster release cycle. I love the updates, better lables, more sync options, shortcuts to specific lables on your inbox, early (basic) support for priority labels and such…  But there is one thing missing, I hope that Google will add this setting when Priority Inbox is fully supported by the mobile app — Notifications only for new priority messages.

Lets face it, I don’t need notifications every time my hulu queue has new stuff in it, newegg posts a new deal or someone sends me a message on some social site I haven’t visited in years. When a notification plays letting me know that I have a new email, I *have* to check it. But 90% of the time it’s something that I don’t care about or it will wait till I’m at my desktop – turning off notifications for any non-priority email would be awesome! Please Google? Pleeeaaseeee?

Posted in Random Thoughts

YOURLS – URL Shortener

I really don’t remember how I found this program, but after using it for 24 hours, I love it. YOURLS is a very lightweight URL shortener platform that you can run on your own LAMP based web server. Install took about 3 minutes and consists of unzipping, entering server/db setting in a config and running the web based install script. Once setup you can create random or custom short urls based on your domain (may I suggest a short domain) I chose a short domain that I haven’t used in years aside from an old email server: hznet.us.

I’m always worried that a url shortener will shutdown and invalidate a bunch of links I’ve posted on forums and social media – I worry more about this since it’s happened before. No, I don’t expect bit.ly to die tomorrow, but if they do – I won’t notice.  This program lets you define multiple users and even allows you to open the service to the public (don’t). You can also install a wordpress plugin to have wordpress automaticly generate a short url and tweet it.

After getting things setup last night I posted this link ( http://hznet.us/z ) which is a custom short url, to twitter asking for a quick test. The admin interface of YOURS gives you stats (number of clicks, locations, referrers) very similar to bit.ly and other popular services.

Only been using it for 24 hours, but so far, I love it.

Posted in Random Thoughts Tagged , , , , |

Mackie Mixer

I spent last weekend in a sound room/studio that I designed and put together years ago. I used to do sound work all the time, but not so much anymore — Still love it and get asked for help or answer questions on occasion, but I haven’t spent more than a few minutes behind a mixer in several years. Last Friday and Saturday I did and quickly remembered how much fun it is. During a lunch break though, I had a few minutes to take this shot, one I’ve had on my list for almost a year. This shot is of a Mackie sound mixer, one of my favorite boards. I’m not sure when I fell in love with Mackie products, but at some point I did and since then it’s the only brand I’ll happily recommend. Sure, there are other good brands, but there is just something about these boards I really, really like. I recommend them, cause if I ever end up at your venue or studio to help you, I want to run a Mackie. The brand doesn’t matter so much for this shot, in fact, their logo is in about the worst place (photographically speaking) you could put it.

For Photogs out there
I only had my camera backpack with me which just has a few essentials (7D, XSI, 35mm Body, 70-200mm/f4, 50m/f1.8, 10-24mm, 17-55mm, 430exII) — my lighting kit was a few miles across town and my tripod was out in my truck – I only had five minutes. I took a couple test shots at 50mm/f2.8 to get the angle and at a way to high iso I got a warm area in the shot from the goose-neck lamp. I pulled out the one flash I did have, the 430exII, and held it camera left. This blew away what little ambient & warmth I had so I had chose to gel the flash. Actually I needed warmth on the back of the board where the goose-neck lamp is, while maintaining natural color on the foreground faders. With one flash and zero ambient, I had little options. So I pulled out the gels, turned the flash head vertical and put a red gel on top to cover the background. Wasn’t quite the color mix I was going for so I added a CTB gel on the bottom, with a bit of overlap. With this I was able to get the deep color I was looking for and after a couple shots got the flash in the right spot (everything was handheld btw). I had about three minutes in this from start to finish before the folks started coming back for the afternoon session.

Posted in PhotoBlog

Halo: Reach — Combat Refined?

HALO Reach - the latest (and last) HALO title from Bungie is a prequel to all other HALO titles

Some of you may have noticed that Bungie just released a new HALO title —  HALO Reach.   (video and pics at the bottom)

Reach is a prequel to all the other titles, if you know anything about HALO and the story arc, then you know, we lose this one. Very ambitious of bungee to give us a game in which we lose. So did they do the story arc justice? Blah. …Thankfully the game is great.

The character development and story within a story was pretty good.Where Bungie failed, I think, is in pulling these subplots together and plugging them into the over all story of HALO. You’ll recognize characters and ships from future titles, but they rewrite a few pieces of HALO history — not cool. In some ways it seems like they had the character stories, gameplay and everything else done and realized they needed something to make it feel like it wasn’t a total loss. I expected to feel heartbroken at the loss of human life, they totally missed the ball on this. Sure, we saw a few civilians die throughout the levels – but they totally missed the whole “hey, we’re the covenant, we’re here to kill everyone on your planet and soon, the rest of your planets.” It should have been more emotionally involving. With 1 through 3, the whole game you feel like you’re fighting for something. You have great moments of victory and defeat. At the end of the game you let out a big sigh and sit back a bit amazed at what you’ve just experienced, the story, the characters and oh yeah, the game play — you don’t want to move, you can’t believe it’s over.

Reach missed it. The game was great, the story could have been. Continue reading »

Posted in Misc Tagged , , , , |

Missed Opportunities

I hate it when a print order comes through for a photo I almost didn’t take. No, don’t get me wrong, I love my customers and appreciate every sale. But imagine for a minute. You’re backpacking, 10 miles into a 14 mile day… you see something kinda cool, but don’t take the time to stop, pull out the camera and take the shot. Some stuff you see and you have to take the shot, but in this case, it’s borderline. You’re in ‘go’ mode and just want to get to camp, get the pack off and eat something warm. For the next 300 yards you wish you had stopped, but soon it’s out of mind.

Imagine you’re driving on a dirt road hours from anywhere trying to get to a location for sunset and see something kinda cool. You don’t stop. For the next half mile you play a round robin in your head on whether or not you should have stopped. Sometimes you turn around and get it, sometimes you keep moving.

I live in Idaho – I’m outdoors or traveling in really cool places literally all the time, there’s no way I can shoot every shot I see. This happens to me almost daily. There are so many images in my head that I thought “cool” and kept walking, driving, biking… Thankfully I also have a bunch where I did stop, turn around and get it. What really messes with my head is when, like this week, a print order comes through for a photo I almost didn’t take. I’m happy to sell it, but then my mind flashes back to all the photos that I could have taken in the last few weeks, months or even years. I think about those photos and the walls they could have been displayed on, and yes, a part of me thinks about the sales… sigh.

This one? I wasn’t even driving for it, had to debate whether it was worth asking the driver to turn around. I do love it though and know that it’ll look great on your wall, but I almost didn’t take it. almost.

Posted in Photography, Random Thoughts

Project: Thus Untitled…

I have a new project that I’m about to start. I’m not going to title it yet – as with many of my photo projects, the scope is evolving as I start scheduling and putting plans on paper.

Over the next couple months I need to assemble quite a cast for a photo project in Boise, about Boise. The project focuses on artists, it makes an attempt to showcase them and their work in an interesting perspective. I won’t go into all the details until I have a few of the shots completed and have a better vision of where this road leads, but I’m sure it’s going to be great. We’ll starting shooting the second week of October with people I’ve already contacted and scheduled- I’m starting with the easier locations and saving really tough ones for late in the project, once me and the project has some momentum. If you’re at least mildly interested in being a part of this project, send me an email, I’ll give you more of the details about the theme and the locations.

Here is list of a few of the folks I’m still looking to work with for this project.

  • Musicians
    I already have a several signed up, but could use a few more, so regardless of the instrument(s) you play – send me a note.  Especially looking for violinist, bassist and a small band. Near the end of the project I’ll be looking for a pianist but that will be the culminating piece of the project — And, quite a challenge – not sure I can pull off the location I want – need to work the phones and cash in a few favors 🙂
  • Painter
    Have a couple on the maybe list – wouldn’t mind talking with one or two more.
  • Potter/sculptor
    One of the more difficult shots.
  • Dancer
    Really looking for a ballet or otherwise classically trained dancer. But if you’re a modern/contemporary dancer, feel free to contact me.
  • B-Boy
    Need a master of handstands
  • Shakespearean Actor
    This will be one of the later shots in the project.
  • Mime(s)
    Should have this one covered already.
  • Martial Arts
    May have this one covered already – but feel free to contact me
  • Any creative/artistic person/small group
    I’m open to ideas. If you or your group is of the creative/artistic type and do something that isn’t in this list, let me know, I may already have enough interest in that area that I didn’t list it or I may have totally missed it. Speak up, we’ll see if you fit with the scope of the project.

As you can see, this isn’t a small project. I’ll post more details here in the future but in the mean time — if you fit in one of these categories, please contact me. If you know someone who does, pass this along.

Posted in Photography Tagged , , , , , , |