A Year in Photos

Photography, fiction, and personal essays form my three primary creative outlets. For this blog's first 18 months, I used it primarily for photography. As I've returned to creative writing, I'll use this blog for fiction, too. Sometimes, when reality needs to be discussed more than truth, I write personal essays.

This blog will continue to showcase as many above-average photos as I can muster. Hopefully my written work will be as good or better than the visual. Whichever drew you here -- photographs or fiction, I hope you enjoy both.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Giants Shutout the Dodgers (Part 2 of 2)

We started this week with photos from the June 27th Giants shutout of the Dodgers, so let's bookend the week with some more. We focused on pitching and fielding last time, so today we'll focus on sliding and batting. Did I have that planned? No, but it works. We'll end this set with the game's final out and the team's on-field celebration.


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I think that hit went foul.


In fairness to that guy, he did not swing that late. He did strike by totally whiffing the ball on that swing, so I don't feel to bad about photoshopping that ball in to add some drama. In the real pitch, the ball was off the frame. I copied that ball from another shot, gave it some motion blur to match the approximate motion blur on the bat, and that was that. So, yes, he missed, but he didn't swing super late.


Last strike of the game, and it was over.


It's time to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On Tuesday I promised bison later this week. Here he is!


I took that image from here. So I hope that's okay. Now back to serious photography. I promised bison, and I have bison. I also have fly fishing practice and an experiment in capturing time in photography. The last two are actually the same thing.



Mmmmmm bison. Not to be confused with M. Bison, Mmmmmm bison means they're tasty.


They're also pretty dusty.


All kidding aside, the bison paddock at Golden Gate Park is a vitally important part of why bison even still exist. After settlers slaughtered all but a few hundred of the hundreds of thousands of bison in North America, San Francisco purchased about 150 bison and moved them to Golden Gate Park. This led to a successful captive breeding program. In fact, all the bison in Yellowstone and anywhere else in the U.S. are, insofar as I know, descendants of the original bison in the Golden Gate Park paddock.

People's opinion about zoos are mixed, ranging from seeing them as valuable scientific and conservation-focused institutions to horrid eyesores that prevent wild animals from experiencing free-range life. Wherever one may stand on that spectrum, it's important to note that bison would absolutely be extinct if it weren't for this paddock and keeping the animals in captivity.

Today the bison are cared for by the San Francisco Zoo. So the question is, are zoos today protecting animals for future generations -- in fact some animals exist only in zoos any more -- or are they putting animals on display for show and profit? I am decidedly, very far in the camp of the first possibility. So I say go out and support your local zoo. Take your family there or go alone. Get photos of animals you'd never be able to see in the wild, and thank the zoo by buying a souvenir cup or one of those smelly molded-plastic elephants.


This is a Photoshop composite from about 30 images, each of a different cast. I began this by having Photoshop open each image and layer them in a stack. I then ran the auto-align function so they would be lined up neatly. On my first try I had Photoshop automatically merge the images. I was less than thrilled with the result.

For this image I deleted, one layer at a time, everything except the fly fishing cast line and splash, if there was one. I then set the eraser to a feathered setting and 80% opacity and began blending each layer on top of the ones below. That took about five hours. Longer than the automatic settings, but, for this image, much more effective. The next image was entirely automatic.


I did one manual thing for this image. The guy practicing his casting looked like an octopus ghost after the compositing process. So I copied a good capture and pasted it over the ghost, blending as described above.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Intramural Softball

Some friends of mine have a softball team. I'd have joined it except that I don't often get home from work until after the games have ended. But I did get the chance to see one game this season and I brought my camera, of course. So here, today, is some of the drama and emotion of amateur, intramural softball.


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A Ref. He's got that 'I mean business' look about him.


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Da Coach.


Oh my goodness she's about to run into the side of the picture!


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Monday, July 9, 2012

RC Boating at Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park has a lot to offer patrons. A few weeks ago I went to see the buffalo pen. That was neat. There were also a number of unexpected things to see, including an RC boat gathering on one of the park's many ponds. Here are some images of the many creative and beautifully crafted boats.


These were my favorite boats, so it was great to get them both in the same shot.


An RC harbor or tug boat, I'm not sure which. When I think of RC boats, I think of fast, speedboat-type things. To see a large, slow, realistic boat was fantastic. This was also superbly crafted and the smoke from the engine smelled great.


That wood boat was very attractive. I'm not sure if it was a kit or hand-made, but it was very nice to look at.


Paramedics, almost causing a crash.


More of the spiffy wood boat.


Oh my goodness! It's coming right at us!


Phew. It veered away before it hit us.


No wonder it was all over! It's being piloted by Gumby, Pokey, and that robot from Lost in Space!

So that's it for the RC boating. I did get on to see the actual bison. I admit, I had hoped to see a real-life M. Bison from Street Fighter, but that didn't happen. So we'll revisit Golden Gate park on Thursday and see the bison and some fly fishing practice.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Giants Shutout the Dodgers (Part 1 of 2)

Something odd happened this morning. Between last night when I wrote this entry and today, all the text and photos were erased. I blame myself. In order to get Google + to post a notice about the blog, I have to update it. So I might have updated it before all the content loaded. Oops. Here, now, are the photos but humanity will forever lose out on the fun quips that once accompanied them.





I caught it? I caught it!








"No, you got it wrong. THIS is the signal to the camera man to show hot chicks on the Jumbo-tron. You gave him the 'show OLD chicks' signal."

A Year in Photos -- Week Twenty-eight

So my industry's busy season is in full swing, which is going to make my after-work photo strolls more important for stress management. So, after a much-needed break the last couple of weeks, the blog will be returning this week. Next week it will be, hopefully, back to its former format of one roll each day. This week we'll be focusing on sports photos. Why? I just happened to get a number of sports photos in the last few weeks. So let's take a look at what's coming this week:










I was very fortunate to be at the historic San Francisco Giants versus L.A. Dodgers game on June 27th. I'l actually going to bookend the week with photos from that game. I had a number that are worth sharing. All week the images will be digital, so if you want to know anything about the exposures or lenses, just check the exif data.

As for this week, I know I want to use the Nikon FM and Tokina lens from a few weeks ago. Other than that, I'll decide each morning what gear to take.

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