Sunday, August 31, 2008

California Sunset

A setting sun, a low tide, and kids playing in the water. Three simple elements, but if you put them together, you've got the elements for a compelling image.

The fading sunlight will give you a pallet of golden color. Throw in a few clouds, even better.

The low tide will turn the beach into a reflective surface that amplifies the glowing sky.

And the kids playing in the water give you subject matter and/or a point of interest. With the sun behind them, you can create interesting silhouettes to draw the viewer in.

That all there is to it. Well, to using the elements described above. You'll still need to select the camera settings that work best for you and dodge a few waves.

It's a fun way to enjoy the sunset too!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Last Days of the Season

Just summing up the Summer. Beaches and Sunsets.

Star Lounge

The post film world has an upside that many didn't plan on. And that's the creativity provided by simple curve adjustments in the digital darkroom.

Not to mention bringing the joy of photography to the masses (no more expensive film to develop).

Friday, August 29, 2008

All's not well in the Republic

Well, the latest California Budget "compromise" (money grab) went up in flames. It's sad that even though it's the law to get a budget passed before the Fiscal Year begins, we never do. No one really liked today's deal, so I'm glad we didn't have to hold our noses and "live with it".

California has some real daunting fiscal issues that are going to take years to sort out. In the meantime many of us are seriously considering heading for the border (no pun intended).

And the question still remains: will the falling house of cards in California drag down the rest of the Nation's economy?

What does the State do? It's painted itself into a fiscal corner that it can't borrow, tax, or cut its way out of. The years of accounting gimmicks have caught up with the State.

It's times like these that leadership is truly needed, and it has become painfully obvious that this is something the State lacks!

Behind the Wheel

Some of the craziness that goes along with being snuffled about is passing. Which is a good thing. Feels like I'm behind the wheel again. Meaning I'm steering the vehicle and not circumstances I've got to control over. Nothing like a bit of sanity.

That being said, here's a link to a great resource I found called the Microstock Photographer's Guide.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ventura Mission

Sometimes just playing around with an image will surprise you. I had no intention of creating something like this. It was a so so shot of a California Mission, but when I got to playing around with it, all of a sudden it took on a life of its own.

I like how it turned out, and I guess that's all that counts.

Nikon GP-1 GPS

Yeah! The wait will soon be over! Not only did Nikon announce a new camera (D90) - they are also coming out with their own GPS very soon, called the GP-1 GPS. Exactly when and how much are still unknown (at least I couldn't find out any info). This unit should definitely be available before the end of the year.

This will make geotagging so much easier.

Dodging Trains

After the Photowalk in Ventura, I had a lot of photos that were nothing to write home about. This was fine. I often have photos that for whatever reason I can't use for stock.

When I have time, I use these shots to play around with in Photoshop. Sometimes I even like the results.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Governance seems to be something taken lightly these days, mostly by the folks in office. Elected Officials seem to have a general disdain for the people who elected them and a complete disregard for the duties of their office. Just look at the mess California is in.

Of course voters are partly responsible. They want their Elected Officials to take care of them from the cradle to the grave.

I'm from the school of thought that believes that the least government is the best.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watch your toes

The Photowalk I went on was just what I needed, something to get me out of my element. Just being around other photographers, taking in the sights and sounds is refreshing and good for the soul.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting Useful Podcasts

Here's some how to.... this goes over how to get digital content for the photographer.

Look Out

I've love all the little details you find hidden in great architecture. It makes buildings much more interesting and fun to look at.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dexter's Camera

I worked up the motivation to go on one of the many "Scott Kelby's World Wide Photowalks". It was a blast!

Not only do you get to spend time doing what you love to do, take photographs, you get to meet a great group of like minded people.

The Photowalk that I attended was in Ventura California. I don't think I could have picked a better one to go on.

For those of you not familiar with the area, Ventura has a lot of historical and interesting sites just waiting to be photographed packed into a relatively small area, perfect for a Photowalk.

Our group was organized by Chris Pettit, and let me tell you that he did an outstanding job.

The Photowalk was well organized and orderly. He did an phenomenal job of planning and even had maps with locations and an itinerary should we wander off a get lost.

Everything went flawlessly, and my impression is that everyone had a great time.

Thank you Chris!

P.S. Here's the link to the Ventura Photowalk Images.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gotta Love 'Em

Cats can bring tremendous joy to the lives of people. They are unique critters with quirky personalities.

This little cat used to come by my house all the time. That is until this week. She seems to have been left behind by her previous owner, so she was skittish, but friendly enough.

I really don't know where she went or what happened to her, and hope she's okay. All in all, for the last five years her visits brought me joy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thru the windshield

Sometimes you just can't pull over. I've been known to snap a pic or two through the windshield so that I'll have a visual reference for places that I want to go back to.

It also helps to geotag images for others, which I try to do as time permits. I keep a little portable GPS unit with me when I'm out to make locations.

It won't be too long before GPS comes built into digital SLR's... making it a snap to upload your images with mapping data included with all the other EXIF information.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The wait is over! Photosynth is now available to the masses. I've been looking forward to this for some time. I'll report back with more info later. In the meantime, check it out for yourself.

Let me just add: The world changed today!

Update: Looks like I'm going to have to get used to this, but I like it so far.

A Bumpy Ride

It's been a bumpy ride the last few days, but I'm back in my digs. Now I've got to make up for the lost time. I've got tons of images to process and a few things to get caught up on.

Anyone know if the Thomas Hawk - SFMOMA issue has died down? Did it resolve itself?

Like they say, there's no place like home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Southern Pacific

If this doesn't say something about the times... Well, I guess I could be more explicit, show a photo of a corpse or something. The point is, we often forget that photography documents the times we live in.

The moment we push the shutter, we've frozen whatever was in front of the lens in time. I often take grab shots like this to remind me of things, places, situations, etc.

It's not until I go back and look at my images years later that any sense of nostalgia, history, whatever you want to call it, start to resonate.

And that's one of the subtle powers of photography... It's ability to speak from the past.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life's a Beach

I've been living out of a suitcase for a couple of days while my house gets fumigated for termites. Let me tell you, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Even though I've had very limited internet access, I was able to plan ahead and schedule some things to post automatically on my blog.

I really wanted to try out some of the blogging tools Google has provided and this was my chance. So far, they've worked flawlessly.

Just Give Me a Moment

A quite moment to collect our thoughts and reflect on things can make a world of difference in our lives and our perspective of things.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Brother Ray

It was an incredible weekend. I was able to get out and practice my photography, which is always a great way to unwind. But, the real treat was walking into a music store on a whim (since I've gone digital I rarely, if ever, go into a brick and mortar music store) and was blown away with the blues offerings.

I walked out with a stack of stunning and hard to find music at prices the online stores can't match (that is if I could even find the songs). Even with tax, I ended up paying less than thirty cents a song.

They even had some lesser know Ray Charles Blues. People forget the breadth of this man's musical genius.

It did feel funny carrying around a stack of discs, but I quickly loaded them onto my computer and transferred them over to my Creative Zen.

What about the iPod? Well, I've got a whole different catalog on that musical gadget.

You can never have too much music.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Chrome Portrait

I made it to the car show. It was good to be behind the lens and focused. There were lots of beautiful automobiles, and lots to shoot. More to come later...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fun in the Sun

Well, just a couple of weeks left of Summer. Did you get lots of Summer images to reflect the season? I had intended to, but took far less than I had planned. It seemed that I worked straight threw the whole season (that would be the day job) and Summer's come and gone faster than the blink of an eye.

I do have a couple of weeks to make up for the lost images (as in taken), so all is not lost. Good thing there's a car show today!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Helping Out

Word Up.... when people find out that you like to take photographs, you'll get asked to do all kinds of photography related stuff.

It's up to you whether or not to do these "favors"... My advice, don't do weddings for free. But something simple like snapping a shot of a building with a solar panel on top? I don't see the harm in it.

This image is to be used by my employer for a PowerPoint presentation. It's not for commercial purposes, I still retain all the rights, and had it been the right type of photo, I'd probably sell it as stock. I also get photo credit... which isn't such a big thing, but it's gotten me paying gigs in the past, so some of these little things are like advertising. Just one way to get your name and work out there.

Just pick and choose your "favors" wisely, and remember in the end your time is the most valuable thing you have.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Got My Mojo Workin'

I think this subdued version of "Got my Mojo Working" is just brilliant. So, I just had to share.... and, Oh... Check out Willie Dixon on bass.

Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)

I just love the way light dances around in Sand Dunes. They are a photographer's dream. Always changing, never the same. They showcase the magic and mystery of nature. If you ever get a chance...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Public Domain Music - Revisited

I want to get back to a topic I mentioned earlier, Public Domain Music, and the reason for this is slide shows. I decided to make my own music. Problem solved.

Time Passages

Timeless images seem to really work for me. They may represent an era, but aren't tied anything too specific.

I guess you could say they create a mood or speak to the emotions. This is what seems to make them work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Misty Morning Shores

The mist glowed with the warmth of the arriving sun, spreading the news of the arriving day along the coast.

Such are the captured moments behind a lens. And all of this would have been a fading memory had I not gotten in the habit to taking a camera with me everywhere I go.

I'm not even sure if I would have pulled over for the few minutes it took to enjoy and photograph this moment. I can think of many times wishing I had a camera with me.

These days, it's so easy to carry a small digital camera with you, they're even in cellphones, that there's more opportunity than ever to take a moment to capture the magic and beauty in the world around us.

I encourage people I know to try it. When they do, they're glad they did.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Done that before.... me too. I feel like that all the time. I guess the point is to learn something each time. Not that easy, but worth a try.

I've been going back through a lot of my old photos and uploading a few to flickr and just thinking about what I've learned about photography, and what I still need to improve on.

I cringe at some of the shots and think about what I did wrong, and how I could improve the shot, etc. I'm sure the same will happen with the things that I'm doing today.

I doubt I'd change a thing if I could.

We're born knowing only life, everything else we learn.

This can't be today

A Summer Beach with next to no one on it, and yet that's what you have.

A perfect environment for someone with a camera.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Village Green

You don't have to go far to practice your photography.

A local park will do just fine, or even the backyard. The point is to practice.

I chose a Summer day at the park....

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dancing Queen

I love the things that the digital darkroom allows you to do. I know a lot of this could be done before computers, but at considerable time and expense.

That's not to say that time isn't involved, but in this image it wasn't too time consuming or difficult for me to to combine three images of a single dancer all over the stage with the goal of giving the viewer a sense movement.

Did it work? I don't know.... but it was a fun project.

Take Your Time

I'm getting caught up on my backlog of images from last week, which is nice. It gives me a chance to see how I did, where I need to improve, catalog things, and get ready for my next project.

It's funny, but when you're buried in images it's hard to step back and be objective, but when you do, you'll get a better sense of the things you need to work on.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Little Sailor

Color, Color, Color.... Yep, it speaks a language all its own, and like good blues music can evoke a range of emotions.

Sure, it can be eye candy, but it's also so much more. Include it in your photography. Work in ranges, blue images, red, yellow, orange, and so forth.

Soon, you'll see the real power of color.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No Trespassing

These days, it seems there are more obstacles than ever keeping people from achieving their goals.

Given the economics of the times, it's understandable.

I guess the trick is to stay focused, and to make sure that one of the things holding you back is not yourself.

There's always a way....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Uncharted Waters

I strive for simplicity, not just in photography, but in most things. Why make things more complicated then they have to be, or really are?

Time is best spent on things we want to do....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Coastal Silhouettes

Dusk is a great time to make some images. My subject at this time of day is usually a silhouette, so I'm always on the lookout for locations that make for compelling stories.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk

For those of you into photowalks, check out Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk taking place on Saturday, August 23, 2008.

Fiesta Magic

I just had to throw together a quick slide show of some of the pictures I've been processing. I hope you enjoy. I've got tons more (images that is) that probably won't seen the light of day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Raise Your Hands

flickr has become a great venue for me. Not for selling photographs, but for sharing them, and for inspiration. There are so many great photos to look at, and so little time.

Raise your Hands photography enthusiasts.

Lightning Storm

For those of you who would like a little inspiration, check out my friend Cathy's Lightning Storm Photographs.

She put them to music and made a stunning slide show, and the rest is history.

She's a great photographer and an inspiration. She took a dream, and made it a reality.

The Painted Veil

I've got a lot of images to go through (close to 2,000) that I took this week. Most of them will end up on the other side of the delete key, and not many (if any) will be usable as Stock Photography (Model Releases, Mate). So, I'm having some fun with them in Photoshop.

Creativity is good for the soul.

Street Performer

Well parade season is coming to a close. I've got hundreds of photos to process and have done my fair share of shooting in mid-day, uncontrolled, full sunlight.

Time for me to sort trough the lot, see what I've learned from the experience, and again revisit which techniques worked and which ones didn't.

My goal is to work with what I've got, learn as much as possible, try to improve, and last but not least, make some good images.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You Spin Me Round

Dance is about motion. Dragging the shutter a bit is a good way to capture it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Toss Up

If you ever want to challenge yourself, try photographing people in colorful costumes dancing at night with no flash.

It can be done but your results are going to depend on a lot of factors, such as: How close can you get to the subject, type of lens you use, and how much you can bump up the ISO before you start to get noise.

A couple of other things: you will need a tripod and some patience.

The patience will come in handy if you're working in a crowd, as you WILL no doubt have people in front of you walking through your shot, or just standing up in front of the lens.

Remember it's dark, so be careful. And most of all, enjoy yourself.