March 21, 2012
I wanted to give Lex’s dedication a proper life here on my pages as the post you land on when visiting Carmichael’s Position. It is hard to believe we were all struck with the news of our friend’s passing two weeks ago now.
In that two weeks, the rest of my world blurred a bit. Not because of accumulated tears, though there were those… but more because life’s obligations did not let up in his passing for the rest of us.
Me, after hoisting numerous Guinness's – for strength – I had to get my act together, get all my shit in one sock and then “Move On”.
Moving on for me involved my work obligations, which required my presence back in New York City, the “Center of the Universe” (their opinion… not necessarily mine!). Work was good. Fifteen meetings in 4 days is not an effort to be made by the weak or meek… Although being 10 pounds lighter and possibly five laps less around the sun might not have hurt none… I was beat by the end of the week. It’s good to be exhausted once in awhile. All of the meetings went well and were productive. I like our clients, they are good, hard working people.
In the course of my daily rounds I occasionally have opportunity to work on my passion of photography. Unfortunately, I was mostly disappointed in my efforts this time around… be it poor subject matter choice, poor composition or the occasional poor technical settings, I was not excelling at my hobby. I did however, manage to capture a couple of images I rather like, and after posting these on my Facebook pages, others have liked them as well… I am flattered and humbled by their appreciation.
The first one I took while waiting for my train’s departure from Grand Central Station. I had to have a long exposure due to the low light conditions in GST. What I captured was all of the motion of the busy transportation hub, all better exemplified by the still, motionless photographer in the middle of the bustle, trying to secure a photo of his own…
And the second image from the trip, was taken on the way home after the long week. From seat 7F of a Frontier Airlines Airbus 319, meandering along at 34,000 feet and 486kts, I looked out my window and was captivated by my view. Through an arch created by two spent thunderheads, in the setting sunlight, a cumulus cloud was highlighted in all its grandeur. It was fascinating and I had to take a crack at capturing it through the double plated window. Here’s my result.
This week following has been busy as well, always is after a trip back to NY. Plenty of life’s daily’s to keep me busy and focused. That’s a good thing… sure beats the alternative.
February 20, 2012
President’s Day Photo Safari and the Bird–Dogfight!
I had the day off today… Ginger, did not… So I had to entertain myself. And since the local fairways still have anywhere between 2-6” of the white still on them, golf was pretty much out of the equation.
So, I picked up the Nikon, a couple of lenses, and out I went.
It was the tale of two subjects today, Birds and Trains. Don’t ask… I have no idea how those relate in any way shape or form except to say, they both ended up at the business end on my focus. This post will be dedicated to the birds part.
I first started my day at the south end of the “Mary Carter Greenway Trail” along the South Platte River. Much to my dismay there was not too much there that I found captivating. After strolling along the river’s edge for about an hour will little to show for my efforts except muddy shoes, I headed back toward the car along the bike path. I spied a small pond (Red Tail Lake I think it was) where a few odd ducks were paddling along. Not your typical Mallards, so I set up and took a couple of images.
Pretty cool looking little fella if you ask me… any Anatidae Ornitholigists out there want to enlighten us on the species… please do.
And that was all for the Nature Hike… Next, off to find me some industrial might! Trains! But… as this is the Bird post… allow me to fast forward in my day.
While I was along the Union Pacific’s Engine Maintenance Yards snapping images of trains, I looked up and noticed a bit of a Dog Fight developing… or Bird Fight if you will…
Appears that a Bid of Prey (possibly an Osprey) strayed into a certain Raven’s territory.
“Jester” begins at the Osprey’s 6 O’clock high… things aren’t looking good for our hero, “Do some of that Pilot Sh!t Mav”!
Mav sweeps the wings and selects max blower!
But just as “Jester” shoves the throttles forward, “Mav” pulls the Throttles to Idle, and pops the boards! (That’s speedbreaks you friggn’ leg!) Jester overshoots!
“Mav” sweeps the wings forward, and despite a KO’d Left Aileron takes charge of the fight! Reversal! Commin’ Right!
Now with Mav on Jester’s Six, Jester starts squawking about the “Hard Deck” or something like that!
Mav tries desperately not to overshoot his prey, but is finding he has too much grunt on…
Flaps and Slats! Try a rolling scissors!
Shoot! Too Late!!! Jester pulls in the vertical plane for a High Yo Yo!
Crap! Damn TF-30s! and their spool time!!!
When in doubt, maneuver! Crap forgot about that aileron!
Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now!
You’re dead kid! “The defense department regrets to inform you your kids are dead cuz they were stoopid!”… “Great Balls of Fire!”
Knock it off! Let’s go home… Maverick has the lead!
After this last shot the two birds actually split up the the raven breaking right… What you cannot see in these images (and because he was directly in the sun, was Maverick's wingman getting ready to roll-in for the assist. Cool stuff in the skies over Denver today.
October 15, 2011
I travel quite a bit for my work… less than many, more than most. Most of my commute is between Denver and New York. The majority of our clients are in the New York, New Jersey, Hudson Valley area so that’s where my travels take me. A couple of times a year we are invited to Washington DC to give a performance briefing to one of our largest accounts… Think Federal Government…
I really dig Washington DC! (Not necessarily the Carbon Dioxide Factories that work there…) the city itself is captivating in it’s history and architecture. One just feels pride as an American when strolling the Mall.
I didn’t have much time for photography as our work schedule was packed with presentations and client and potential client visits. But I managed a few right around sunset on Monday while I was waiting for my Boss’s flight to arrive at DCA later that evening. All around the Lincoln Memorial (one of my favorites).
So as always here are some of the fruits of my labors… I hope you enjoy.
Then once again it was back up to New York for the remainder of the week.
I was hoping to capture the Northeast’s famous fall colors, but to my surprise and disappointment the foliage was only in it’s early stages of transition, and not very vibrant. Probably had a lot to due with all of the moisture the east has experienced this year, and the fairly mild fall thus far… That and the persistent gray overcast each day I was in town. So… no leaves for you!
I joined my sister and brother-in-law in Brooklyn on Thursday evening for our usual sushi dinner and then took a stroll to the East River overlook of Manhattan to see if I could capture some compelling images of Lower Manhattan in the mist.
Eh… had better, had worse.
Then Friday… after multiple meetings in the city it was off to LaGuardia to catch my flight home. I hate LaGuardia… (JFK and Newark for that matter too!) I would say I get out of that airport on time about 17% of the time. This time was no exception… Due to leave at 5:30… Left at 7:30! (Had better, had worse!) Things were looking ok until a cold front came through bringing a line of storms with it. Knocking the NYC TRACON on it’s ass!
LaGuardia went into a ground stop, suspending all departures and arrivals for about 40 minutes… wrench, meet gears! At one point I counted no fewer than 27 aircraft on taxiway “Bravo” in line for departure on Runway 13. At 3 and a half minutes between departures… you do the math!
Yep… supposed to be home around 8:00pm last night… opened the garage door at 10:30pm. I’ve had worse.
And there you have it. This week in Denver… next? Jacksonville FL, Vienna GA, Tampa FL, then back in Denver. Boy are my arms tired!
September 17, 2011
Now that’s a Week of Variety
Finally back at home after 10 days of serious “Jet Setting”.
Started last Thursday with a trip to Reno for the annual Tailhook Symposium and Reunion. That whirlwind trip included a trip up to Lake Tahoe, a Winery Tour, a 4 hour Mixer with 3,000 of my closest flight suit clad friends, an awards luncheon where two very close friends of mine – Hans and Kathy Schmoldt- won “Honorary Tailhookers of the Year”, various symposiums, a couple of trips to In and Out Burger, more than a couple of trips to the “At your leisure Beer Taps”, and finally a banquet with 1,800 in attendance where Senator John McCain was the Keynote. All in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Naval Aviation! Trust me… a great time was had by all!
Then, back home to unpack and re-pack for my trip to New York for work…
Monday I was up with the dawn patrol, wheels in the well at 0700 for my monthly visits with clients and co-workers. Non-stop from the moment I touched down until I was once again wheels in the wells headed back to the Mile High City.
In New York I visited Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, White Plains and then in New Jersey I saw the lovely towns of Phillipsburg, Elizabeth and Newark (tongue firmly in cheek for those last two… those two towns couldn’t find lovely if it bit them!)
One break from the usual fare of client visits came in the form of a company outing to Citi-Field to take in a Mets Game! Despite being a bit of an on-again off-again rainy day we had a blast! I had not been to Citi-Field and was pleasantly impressed. Still can’t get over the air traffic passing in close proximity as they shoot the Expressway 34 approach into LaGuardia.
It was all fun and productive, but lemme tell you, I’m glad to be home…
August 28, 2011
Rocky Mountain Airshow 2011
Went to the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (formerly Jeffco) open house and airshow today. It afforded me the opportunity to exercise the new Nikon D7000 for a few 100 rounds.
Still plowing through the images to identify the best of the litter but here’s a taste:
And then, so far my only HDR to turn out well (again no tripod and holding the camera perfectly aligned for three exposures is a bit of a booger)… I give you the Surreal Super Hornet!
More to come…
August 07, 2011
Annual Camping Trip!
My friends and I have a bit of an annual ritual… Every summer we all give up many of our daily trappings and retreat to the near wilds of Colorado for a few days of R&R, fly-fishing, steak eating, beer swilling and fire poking!
This year we spent 3 glorious days at the base of the fourteen thousand feet Colorado Collegiate Peaks along the Arkansas River.
As I’ve gained in age, wisdom, and waist size… I’ve migrated away from the more rugged style of camping, sleeping in the tent on the ground in a 1972 psychedelic sleeping bag, to mooching off of a friend of mine, ‘Scooter’- and occupying one of his two double beds in his pop-up trailer- complete with heater! (Yeah I know it’s August, but I’ll have you know that the ambient at 3:30am was indeed registering 38 degrees!) Odd I know coming from a guy who does not wear waders when fly-fishing in 52 degree river water!
And speaking of wading, there was indeed opportunity to do that as well in Colorado’s Arkansas River… Note I specifically did not say fishing! Because even though I had my fly rod in hand, casting any number of feathered bug-avatars into said flowing torrent… I’m convinced there were no fish to be wrangled this year! (My wife and Clay, who both claim to have caught something, beg to differ -- I never witnessed either acquisition so I’m still convinced it was the river and not my angling skills!) The rest of our herd is inclined to agree with me! Lest their angling skills be impugned as well!
But the views more than made up for my shut out!
Alas, the closing day of the long weekend was upon us all too soon, and the campsite required we yuppie nomads to vacate the wilderness… with electric hookups, flush toilets… and coin op showers… no later than 11:00am. We departed at 10:55 for our 2 hour journey back to civilization, all of us proud in the fact that not one of us deposited a single quarter in their Shower Racket!
Besides there is something immensely satisfying to arriving home, unloading the SUV and proceeding to spend 20 minutes in the master bath shower, rinsing off the smoke smell of 200+ store bought pine logs sacrificed to the meditation god known as the “campfire”!
I bid you all a good evening, as I hope to dream of star-filled skies, gentle breezes, and the trickle of a nearby tributary…
Thanks again to Scooter for setting this whole decompress up! You’re a GIANT among men in my book!
July 01, 2011
Indoor Polo and Photography Challenges
Last week when I was back in the rain and humidity of New York I had the opportunity to watch my boss play polo… indoors! Nope, not water polo! Real Horse-involved-and-all… polo!
Ya see, his polo club has options, either they play on one of two 300 yard by 160 yard pitches, or if it is raining… like it was on that particular Wednesday evening… they move it indoors, in a quite sizable barn.
I had joined up with Kevin in hopes of photographically capturing something different. Man was I in for a challenge!
Initially I captured a couple of decent outdoor (in the mist) shots as best as I could lighting conditions permitting. The horses were beautiful, strong peaceful animals and quite tolerant of this camera tote’n, Bostonian wearing interloper mingling amongst the riders, the keepers and the other steeds.
The challenge came in when the action started… again not on the field, but in the dimly lit barn. Camera setting had to be greatly modified to even begin to capture the action. ISO jacked to 1600 – Check!… Fastest Lens @ 3.5 – Check! shutter speed as slow as I dare go @ 60 – Check!
Ha! Who am I kidding these are going to be grainy as 1930’s ‘Talkie’! and blurrier than Rosie O’Donnell’s figure!
Doesn’t mean I didn’t try! And yep sure enough upon my opening the images on a full resolution screen, about 90% of the images were indeed crap! Discernable yes… but still crap when it comes to quality! My kingdom for a Nikon D3s! and a super fast lens!
I did however have an idea. In a tip learned in one of my many Photoshop instructive publications it counseled to not get rid of grainy, out of focus images that have pretty good content. Rather, alter them using any of the many image filters available in Photoshop!
And voila’ creativity in action!
More efforts can be seen here [Link]
June 07, 2011
In New York again, in preparation for a major presentation we have on Thursday. At the end of another long day, I took about an hour and headed down to Tarrytown, along the Hudson River to exercise the Nikon… (I’ve been remiss).
I was playing a bit more with some HDR imagery. Once again without a tripod… And about the best I could come up with was this image. Not sure what to do about the horizon angle… played with that a bunch and still can’t settle on any particular rendering over another…
Ah well… Call it Artistic Expression.
April 21, 2011
I grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC (West Springfield VA to be specific) and I always enjoy any opportunity to return to the Nation’s Capitol whenever I can. Of late that opportunity has been a smidge rare. However this past week our company was invited to present at a gathering of facility managers for the US Government (all our clients). Of course we accepted, and off I was, winging my way to the greatest swamp ever!
On top of all of our meetings and obligations I was on a mission to meet face to face with my fellow blogger and photo-hound “Pinch” Paisley. We’ve been exchanging stories, sharing photo tips, and commenting on each other’s thoughts for years now and I thought “Hell, he works at the Navy Yard! I should be able to swing by.” Turns out I had a meeting scheduled there and wouldn’t you know it? It was in the building right next door to his!… By fate of my and Pinch’s schedule we really didn’t have too much time to spare for a meet an greet, but we managed to carve out 10 minutes to insure we had the opportunity to finally shake hands, put a voice with a face, and snap a picture… which he’s still supposed to post!
It was great to finally meet the retired CDR! I look forward to a bit more time available next time I’m in DC where we might be able to belly up to the bar to swap a few lies whilst imbibing the local tavern’s finer ale… or two.
Back to the rest of DC… Of course you know I had my Nikon with me to snap a few images… Here’s a taste:
These first couple, were taken immediately after I landed at Reagan National and had retrieved my rental car. As I headed out of the airport there is an access to the park that lies immediately under the approach path of Runway 19. For those of you who have landed at Regan that’s the approach that makes all the twists and turns following the Potomac River, past the monuments of the National Mall all the way to the numbers. I pulled into the park and grabbed the camera to snap a few.
Later that evening, after my boss landed we headed off to dinner, but first a brief stop at the Roof-top lounge of the “W” right next to the Treasury Building. WOW what a view!
That’s the Treasury Building in the immediate foreground on the right with the White House just beyond it. Then panning to the left is obviously the Washington Monument with the Jefferson Memorial in the distance.
After dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill Kevin and I walked off our meals by touring the sites, including the White House, the WWII memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Memorial.
These first two images were created using HDR (High Dynamic Resolution) to balance all of the light vs Dark areas of the well lit White House while still illustrating the color and richness of the grounds. I especially wanted to try to capture the red tulips surrounding the fountain.
After a good walk we ended up at my favorite site in DC… The Lincoln Memorial. A place where people have taken literally Millions of pictures. I wanted to try to capture that elegant Daniel Chester French sculpture of our greatest President in a creative light (exposure). I think I like how I managed… what do you think?
And there you have it… After DC we winged our way on the Delta Shuttle up to NYC where I have been the past coupla… to return tomorrow to Denver!
January 26, 2011
NYC–High Dynamic Range
For your viewing pleasure… or Dis-pleasure (as a number of people are not fans of his artistic manipulation of photography—too surrealistic). But I wanted to play around with Photoshop CS5’s HDR Pro capabilities.
Here’s two HDR images of Times Square this evening. In the snow… and slush… and rush. I would like to know your thoughts, opinions etc… First one is looking south…
This one is looking north…
Very surrealistic, I know but I wanted to have some fun with some of the extremes initially.