Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thanksmas 2012

We had the best time at Thanksgiving.  Since Jill and I will go to Florida this Christmas, we hosted a Thanksmas.  Chris, Amy, Ben & Helen ventured far from Columbia, Missouri, endured LAX to and fro, checked in on Aunt Dee, and paid us an unforgettable holiday visit.  They also invaded Disneyland for two days, cruised Laguna Beach, before beating the big storm out of California.  Matt, Rebecca, Lily & Sophie (don't forget Django, PWD) traveled south from the Bay Area and we all convened in Atascadero for a family celebration royale.  Jill, as usual, really did it up with her delicious cuisine, decorations, presents, and of course, love that is boundless and timeless.  Here are some of the stars...
Helen as Cinderella and Lily as Belle from Beauty and The Beast

Beautiful Helen
Sweet Lily


Ben and Django, Thanksmas 2012 
I'd say something about how handsome and smart Ben is, but I wouldn't want to embarrass him.
All the above EF 24-70mm L

Friday, November 2, 2012

McLean Jewelry Photoshoot, Cayucos, California, Summer 2012

Tim and I spent several hours in June taking photos of his beautiful jewelry for his new website.  If you are interested in his work, please feel free to scoot over to his site at: to view and purchase his wares. Tim is a very talented person and I'm happy to be friends with him.  Not only is his jewelry exquisite, but he's an incredible musician and songwriter too.  See The Noodles. I personally would listen to him sing and play his guitar all day long and prefer that side of his right brain.  But, my wife loves her black pearl ear rings and necklace too.  All of these shots were taken with the Canon 100mmL f/2.8 macro, one more time, my favorite lens, no matter what Ken Rockwell says!


And the maestro...I know, he probably won't "like" this photo, but it tells it all...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Summer Highlights and Central California Coast

It's been quite a while since I updated this blog and I'm sure it matters not. Since I was a freakin' lobbyist in DC last May, the poorest paid lobbyist in history since I'm a teacher with a Masters degree, I've managed to make it to the Lost Coast's Siskyone State Beach in Northern California, the redwood country in between and up to the Trinity River, the Grand Canyon (again and again), Durango, Colorado, and back home to the incredible Central Coast of California.  Jill flew out to Durango shortly after my arrival.  Then Kathleen and Ernest came out to visit and stay at the cabin.  Not only that, but Kathy, Martin, and Nick journeyed from Germany to visit us in August.  It was fantastic to see them after our rendezvous in Malta last year.  Thanks to Martin's advice, I invested in Nik software and some of the below are examples.  You'll have to guess which...
Not necessarily in any order, the La Plata River near Uncle John's cabin in the La Platas, the Magestros, and let's see what I manage to put in next... Oh yeah, the Grand Canyon.  So I visited the GC both on my way to (dry) and back from (wet) Durango this summer, and what an amazing contrast in light, visibility, and colors in 30 some days.  It rained every day I was in SW Colorado, from the day I arrived until I the day I left, and they should thank me after the terrible fires early in the summer. It went from serious to soaked.  All that water flowed southwest to the Colorado River and it was a big, muddy flow in the GC on my way home in August.  However, before that, Jill and I 4 Wheeled to this sweet spot above Hotel Draw in the San Juans after our visit to the Alta Lakes near Telluride.  Thanks Laura for the advice.  Nice view eh?


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Washington DC May 2012

Jill and I had the pleasure to go to Washington DC as education lobbyists early in May.  Being the only teacher, I was probably the poorest paid lobbyist in the history of DC lobbying!  Regardless, it was very interesting if not discouraging to witness the complete lack of cooperation by the Republican House and Senate.  We had meetings with the staff of many California House Representatives, mostly Democrats of course, as well as both Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein.  During a constituent's breakfast, Senator Feinstein accidentally introduced me as the Superintendent of our county schools.  It was a hoot and I had to correct her in front of about 500 people.  Quite a promotion!

Top Row: 15mm, f/6.3, 1/200th, ISO 200; 24mm, f/6.3, 1/800th, ISO 100, +0.7 step
Bottom Row: 24mm, f/11, 1/400th, ISO 125; 10mm, f/6.3, 1800th, ISO 200, -0.3 step

Monday, April 16, 2012

Camping in Hueso Wash, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, April 2012

Here is an example of one of our "campsites" in Anza Borrego last week.  From this site, we could see the ridge above Arroyo Tapiado.  This is the Badlands area where a missing hiker, Guillermo Pino, Jr's search and rescue was focused.  We could see a searcher on the ridge for a short amount of time before dusk. 
24mm, f/11, 1/100th second, ISO 400

Below is a shot of the ridge and searcher, as well as a wider view of the Hueso Wash area.

Above: 400mm, f/8.0, 1/1000th, ISO 400, -1.0 step

Below:  70mm, f/16, 1/20th, ISO 100

Ocotillo Flower, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, April 2012

Jill and I spent several days exploring Anza Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California in our
4-Wheel Camper and 4X4 Tundra.  It is our favorite recreational activity now that knee surgeries and foot aches prevent extended backpacking trips.  We've learned to loathe campgrounds, RV's, and crowds, but have the tools to do something about it and have for years now!
We arrived in the park on Friday the 6th and spent a couple nights near Dos Cabezas spring.  On Sunday, we took the popular 4-wheel drive road, Canyon sin Nombre, into the Carrizo Badlands area.  That night we noticed helicopters circling the rugged area over Arroyo Tapiado and the slot canyon country.  The next morning, while camping near the Diablo Dropoff, a park ranger gave us the information that there was a large search and rescue operation for a missing 26 year-old male hiker.  The missing man from San Diego went off on his own, apparently without shoes, water, food, or any other item a properly prepared hiker in the desert should have.  Unfortunately, as of this posting, he is still missing.
It has not been a good flower year in California, especially compared to last year, but the Ocotillos appeared to be very healthy and happy in the thirsty Southern California desert.  This was taken with my favorite lens, the 100mmL Macro.
100mm, f/10, 1/250 second, ISO 100

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hawk in Gummy Tree

Here's another one with the 100-400mmL.  This shot was taken on a tripod and it took several attempts to get a sharply focused image.  This is a nearly 100% crop also and the subject must have been 100 meters or more away.  It was also breezy.  I used live view, magnified the image 10x, and manually focused to get this one.  Luckily, there was lots of light.
400mm, f/10, 1/1000, ISO 400

Sea Otters Floating on Kelp in Morro Bay

This shot of several otters - it's hard to see them all - was taken hand-held with my new EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lens.  This is nearly a 100% crop and you can see that it is pretty sharp.  So, even though the IS system is not the most recent, it did a fine job.   I have to raise the ISO and shutter speeds more than I like to maintain sharp IQ, especially on small, long-distance subjects like birds and other wildlife.
400mm, f/10, 1/640, ISO 400

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lily Explores Morro Bay

Lily and family visited us recently and we were fortunate enough to spend time together in Morro Bay.  Otters, gulls, pelicans, boats, surfers, beautiful blue skies and white clouds, lapping surf all played in the bay.  Doesn't that sound great?!  It was, except that Jill, while watching over and coaching her careful, yet inquisitive granddaughter, forgot she wasn't wearing shoes.  As you can see above, there were rocks.  She managed to bust up a toe and has paid a price.  Life is great anyway and Jill is back.  How's Lily doing?
27mm, f7.1, 1/400 second, ISO 200

The Boys are Back in Town

The light was low and the boys were out showing off for each other and minding the olfactory messages.  Taken from my deck in Central California with my 100mmL macro, still the best.
100mm, f2.8, 160/second, ISO 800

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Day Plunge in Cayucos California

What a day it was!  The annual NY's Day plunge in the frigid Pacific has grown exponentially over the last few years.  Does that warm up the water?  Ah, Central California is truly a luxurious place to live and play.  I love the occupy sign...
24mm f/6.3 1/500 second ISO 100

Flatirons, Boulder Colorado Winter 2011

And here's a B&W perspective from south of Boulder near NCAR.  The light was much easier to deal with without my tripod, which I left at home.
50mm f/9 1/80 second ISO 200

Monday, January 2, 2012

Boulder Flatirons Winter 2011

We spent Christmas in Boulder and were welcomed by 15 inches of snow the night before our arrival.  Therefore, the reknown flatirons were lit up by the low sun in the south. 
50mm, f/18, 1/160 second, ISO 200