Saturday, June 23, 2007

Live From Berkeley

Hello gang! Sorry I haven't had any time to post anything for you from California. I've had a bit of bad luck out here, but things are getting better. I spent all day today at Yosemite and, with a little luck, I'll throw up a picture with this post. Stay tuned for lots and lots more shots, but they may not come until I get home.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Teddy Bear's Picnic

If all goes as planned, you'll be reading this while I'm on vacation in California. But I posted this back before I left Florida, after I picked this little guy up from my mom. My gracious hosts in California didn't ask for anything in exchange for putting me up for the week, but I wanted to give them a little something. The lady of the house recently found out about my tie quilt, and mentioned a bear she used to have made out of ties. I thought about it a little, and going out on a limb, I commissioned this guy from my mom. Hopefully, she falls in love with him. He's bigger than I imagined when I made the request. He's about two feet tall, and his limbs fold in and out. You can see he's adorned with lots of lace and little flowers in addition to the silk ties that make up most of his body.

He blends in quite well with my silk tie quilt and pillow. Shame he's going to live in California... Wait a minute. Is this a guy bear? I'm not sure... Maybe it's a girl. That might explain the flowers...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ten Hours To Go

It seems like months ago that I bought my plane ticket to Berkeley, but the big day is almost here. Hmmm, actually, it was months ago that I bought my tickets. Plan ahead, that's what I say. For those few months, I've posted pictures here and there showing you the last time I was in Berkeley and San Francisco. Of all the pictures I took during that trip, this is the most important one. I was out there for a wedding and this is the shot I took that I was the most proud of. The ceremony took place at a small bed and breakfast right in the heart of Berkeley. Most of us stayed at the same place, so for a couple of days it became a sort of college reunion or even a family thing. And you couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting. I climbed up on the fire escape of one of the rooms to get this shot. I hated to miss the ceremony, but I loved getting this great shot.

Next time you hear from me, I should be in California. Open up that Golden Gate...

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Memorials

Here are a couple of shots I meant to share earlier, but didn't for whatever reason (lazy). These are a couple of small memorials to some of the NASA astronauts that I found while wandering around Titusville during my recent trip to see the shuttle launch. The monument above (with the VAB in the background) is meant to honor the astronauts that took part in the Gemini program, thus the big Roman numeral 2. And below is a monument meant to honor those guys with the right stuff, the seven astronauts of the original Mercury program. Both memorials are located in a small waterfront park with a great view of the launch sites at Cape Kennedy across the Banana River. Lots and lots of people thought it was a great site, in fact, thus making it too crowded to even be able to get into once the launch time got close.

New Use For Old Pics

Some months ago, I pointed you towards something new that the folks from Microsoft were working on. Someone (Hi, Keith!) pointed out to me that they have now updated that website with a demo you can actually play with. It's a program called Photosynth that lets you insert all of your pictures of a location into a sort of 3D world, then roam around in it, moving from spot to spot and connecting the shots together to form a sometimes cohesive whole. They've got a long way to go with it yet, but it's got some promise. I tried it on two different computers, and I gotta tell you that it's a resource hog. One PC, a brand new one with lots of memory and Vista did real well with it, but my older desktop struggled a bit, I think because it has a smaller video card. So download and play at your own risk. If you get it to work, play with it for a while and you'll start to see the possibilities.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Next Week In June

Here's this week's calendar page for you. It's the ceiling of the Bellagio check-in area in Las Vegas. After I saw it in person last summer, I went back and watched Ocean's Eleven, and you can see it in there, too. (The newer Ocean's Eleven, with George Clooney, not the old one with Frank Sinatra.) These giant glass flowers are designed and created by none other than Dale Chihuly.

Go Fly A Kite

What could possibly be cooler than shooting my first woodpecker? How about shooting my first Swallowtail Kite? Before today, I'd only seen these guys in rehab centers, where they always moped around in the back of the cage, mostly on the ground, never really looking like anything I'd want to photograph. And then today, while I was shooting something else, my dad points up and asks why I'm not shooting the kite. Because I'd not spotted it! And after I did spot it, I only got a couple frames off before it glided on out of sight. How about that forked tail?

Woody Woodpecker

I got really lucky today. For the first time, I managed to get some decent pictures of a woodpecker. And not a small one, either, a big red-headed pileated woodpecker. This fellow was probably a foot high. I followed him from tree to tree, hoping to get a clear shot, and I finally got some good pics once he lighted on an old dead pine in the back of the pasture. Cool, eh?

A Horse Of Course

Quite a while back, somebody asked me for a picture of a horse. Well, today I spotted a horse I could get a picture of, so here you go. She had pretty blue eyes.