A rare treat

•January 27, 2009 • 1 Comment

There are many things I want to see in my lifetime. Most of them are big – humpback whales, Alaska, Vatican City…well, you get the idea.  There are some small things, though, and recently I got to see one of them – the Florida scrub jay, an animal that may well be extinct in my lifetime.  Florida scrub jays seem to like living in prime potential real estate.  More human homes = less scrub jay homes. They’re limited to such a small range, and they also have the distinction of being the only bird endemic to Florida.  I took some friends to a place where I know the jays have been spotted before, the Helen and Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary in Rockledge.  We walked along the footpath, seeing nothing and getting more discouraged by the minute. “So, are there dinosaurs on this dinosaur tour?” joked one of my friends.  Haha.  After a few minutes though, we heard a raucous call and saw a shape flit up into a tall pine tree.  “A scrub jay!” I almost shouted, I was so excited to see one, even from a distance (I know, I know…I’m a big geek). Then we heard a rustling all around us, and we looked at the shrubs along the path and found ourselves surrounded by no less than half a dozen of them!  I think I almost fainted (like I said, I’m a geek!).

Testing the 70-300VR – Fun with Kitesurfers

•November 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Saturday, I was in Ormond Beach to help shoot a wedding (post forthcoming) and got there a bit early, so I drove along the beach and found these kitesurfers having a great time. The conditions were great for kitesurfing – strong winds and a high tide. Unfortunately, strong wind is not usually great for taking pictures. I was pleasantly surprised with the results from the 70-300VR.  The Vibration Reduction system definitely made a difference in the clarity of the pictures.  Here are a few samples. The 17-photo gallery can be found here.

Live and Let Live

•October 22, 2008 • 3 Comments

Everyone is guilty of having judged. Whether it’s one person or a group of people, we form notions and conceptions on them and create biases. When it came to the GLBT community, I was always in the “live and let live” category. I didn’t really care one way or the other. Through friendships I have learned a lot about GLBT, and I am still in the “live and let live” category, but I care. I care about their rights. I think a gay woman should have the right to visit her partner in the hospital. I believe that gay couples can give a child a loving and functional home (if gay parents = gay kid, then straight parents = straight kid, right? … um, not so much).

On October 12th, I had the opportunity to go to an Orlando event called “Coming Out With Pride.”  It is an event that educates people on many issues, including civil rights and hate crimes against GLBT.

The event took place around Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando.

I know a sense of humor is not exclusive to gay people, but I have never met a gay person that wasn’t funny – I’ve met plenty of unfunny straight people.

But they face a hatred that one would think should be reserved for heinous criminals. So many have fallen victim but in many places this is not considered a “hate crime.”

Despite the hatred they face, they still love.

Amendment 2 could take away their civil union rights, such as insurance…

…and hospital visitation. Can you imagine not being able to see the person you love if they were in critical condition at the hospital?

“C’mon, let me love whoever I want!”

People who believe homosexuality is a lifestyle choice are certainly entitled to their opinions.  But likewise homosexuals are entitled as human beings to love whomever they want to love, whether it is a choice or the way they are made.

Update: Wish List

•October 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Nothing too extremely expensive. /sarcasm

Wish List

Using Photoshop

•October 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Using Photoshop and Lightroom is something I do at a minimal level.  I don’t know if this is from laziness on my part or from a dated opinion that pictures should be perfect out of the camera “as is.”  (That was probably bad grammar there, but oh well).  I do believe that making photos look more dramatic or colorful in Photoshop is no different than what masters of the past have done in traditional darkrooms, only now there are no nasty fumes from environmentally unfriendly chemicals.  As I said before, I don’t use these programs much aside from minimal sharpening or adding a watermark. Occasionally I punch up pictures by playing with Curves. There are so many advanced tools to use in Photoshop that seem like a lot of fun that one of these days I may take the time to learn about.

Glen Heggstad's Amazing Photographic Journey

•October 7, 2008 • 1 Comment

The government and media love to shove fire and brimstone, doom and despair, fear and panic down our throats.

“The economy’s crashing!”

“The terrorists are coming!”

“The Middle East is evil!”

“Fear what’s different!”

Well I just read something that is no less than inspiring. A man named Glen Heggstad has taken it upon himself to see for himself if humanity was really as inherently evil as it seemed, and he’s made some interesting discoveries along the way. I very highly recommend reading this forum post at the Digital Grin photography community. It is somewhat lengthy but worth your time. At work, I’m always telling people that many of the environment’s problems come from lack of education. Mr. Heggstad illustrates vividly that this is true of our global community as well. Please take the time to check this guy out. You won’t regret it.

In the right light, at the right time…

•September 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Finding something interesting can be hard when you see the same thing every day. Sometimes, though, you happen to look at just the right spot, and the light is hitting that spot at just the right angle.

Click the image for a larger version.

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