Amaryllis Grows

March 29, 2010 by ·  


The Christmas Amaryllis Grows

        Back on March 13, 2010, I posted about the planting of an amaryllis bulb I received for Christmas from my parents. If you would like to read that post and see the photo of the planting, click here.
        It’s been just over two weeks, and the bulb is really starting to take off, as you can see from the photo above. That’s it. Yes, I am basically watching grass grow, but at least I’m having fun doing it!

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Living Waters $1 Trillion Bill

March 29, 2010 by ·  

$1 Trillion Dollar Bill

A Pedophile Christian Tried To Lure Me Into His Church Van With $1 Trillion

    I don’t have a problem with religion, cults or secret societies. What I DO have a problem with are followers of these groups that assume I know less than them. I’m actually really smart, and I have some theological study under my belt, so that is why I KNOW (not believe) that religion is just a fairy tale, with a moral to the story.

    Some douchebag bible thumper actually tried to entice me into a conversation with this $1 trillion bill. Later, I checked the website printed on the fake money, and saw that Living Waters sells these fake bills in tracts of 100 for 5 real dollars. Mixing religion with capitalism seems by printing fake money and selling it for REAL money seems kind of sketchy to me. They don’t have Obama on the bills anymore, they have Abraham Lincoln instead, probably to play off the “Honest Abe” thing because the first question on the back of the bill is, “Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything or used God’s name in vain”?Where in the bible is that activity condoned? I don’t think it is.

    This guy approached me and asked if I had received my stimulus money yet? I just looked at him, so he said that he got his, at which point he handed me the $1 trillion Obama bill you see above. HE said the trillion dollar question is: Will I would go to heaven when I die. I said I didn’t know. His body language instantly became nothing short of rubbing his hands together while doing the happy dance. Once he composed himself he tried to ask me so typical, railroading questions so I shooed him away. My message to people like this and the organizations that spawn them is simple: Stop doing what you are doing because you are the telemarketers of the analog world; your questions force answers and you try to make it seem like we have a rapport. Your gimmicks like the $1 trillion bill only work on stupid people, and stupid people are what you need to be a part a group like yours. Next time don’t ruin the afterglow of my Bob’s Big Boy meal, just move along. Cheers!

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Reflecting On Beautiful Things

March 29, 2010 by ·  

Imperial Reflection at 12th Imperial transit station

Photography Helps Us To Reflect

        After all, we are human beings and not vampires. With or without a mirror in front of us, we should be able to reflect with impunity. I believe that photography enables us mere mortals to do just that. Ever since 1826, we have been able to reflect on events that took place before our birth and reflect on places we have never been… All thanks to photography.

Iceplant Flowers

Iceplant Flowers

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La Mesa Police Station

March 28, 2010 by ·  

La Mesa Police Station Under Construction

La Mesa Police Station Construction Nears Completion – March 2010

        It’s been over two months since my last post with photos of the new La Mesa police station being constructed. During that interim, proper walls have been fabricated and windows have been installed. For this post I will be recycling photos I have taken during construction.

La Mesa Police Station In January 2010

La Mesa Police Station – January 2010

La Mesa Police Station

La Mesa Police Station – October 2009

La Mesa Police Station

La Mesa Police Station – July 2009

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Let’s Go Fly A Kite

March 27, 2010 by ·  

Flying A Stunt Kite

Let’s Go Fly A Kite Up To The Highest Height…

        …Oh, let’s go, fly a kite. For those of you that don’t follow me on Twitter, I have a very minimalist work schedule for the next 9 days. Today is the first of those 9 days, so I chose to spend it down by the San Diego Convention Center, Seaport Village and the Embarcadero. After de-boarding the trolley at Park & Market and having brunch at Azteca, my favorite (most convenient) taco shop, I wandered to the bay and saw some people flying kites.

Flying A Stunt Kite

A Couple That Plays Together Stays Together

        These two really knew how to throw their stunt kites around. They were all over the sky and with 4 strings per kite, they were definitely in charge. The structures in the background are the San Diego convention center and WAY in the background are PETCO Park’s lights.

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Night Time With My D5000

March 27, 2010 by ·  

Beards In The Chinese Buffet

Men With Beards Have To Eat Too

        This particular location, where these men are, is a restaurant, and they were somewhere in the middle of their meal when I took this photo. This stats of this shot are: 1/50th, f/1.8, 1400 ISO.

D5000, 1/50th, f/1.8, 2500 ISO

D5000, 1/50th, f/1.8, 2500 ISO

        Here we have a self portrait of my Nikon D5000. A friend of mine recently rented a wide angle lens, so after playing with it for a little while, I want one of my own. I have no idea when or where I would actually use it, but that doesn’t matter… If you use it, the photos will come.

d5000 5 second exposure at 200 ISO

D5000, 5 Seconds, f/8, 200 ISO

        This was an accidental shot. I have no idea how or why I tried to take a hand-held photo with a five second exposure, but apparently I did. There is nothing redeeming about this photo, but I thought it looked cool, so it made it into the post.

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SDKA Go-Kart Race At Qualcomm Stadium March 21, 2010

March 24, 2010 by ·  

SDKA Go-Kart Loose Tire, Qualcomm Stadium, March 21, 2010

SDKA Go-Kart Race At Qualcomm Stadium, March 21, 2010

        There is never a dull moment when SDKA (San Diego Karting Association) rolls into Qualcomm Stadium for a race. Incredibly enough, it seems that full fledged adults are the main demographic for racing go-karts, because I saw exactly 2 kids on this particular day. Grown-ups, some with salt & pepper hair were the ones tearing it up around the stadium, and I really do mean, TEARING IT UP!!! In the photo above, a tire flies dangerously through the air after being thrown from a go-kart at 40mph.

SDKA Qualcomm Stadium Go Kart Race

Push The Envelope

        There are two things that I personally like about SDKA go-kart races: The speed, and the photo-finishes. These races are really tight. The difference between first and last place is measured in seconds, not laps like NASCAR. These guys are warriors, and go-karts are their weapon.

SDKA Go-Kart Race At Qualcomm Stadium

Orange Cone Impact

        The driver on the left, in the photo above had the bad luck of having an orange cone thrown in front of him. I happened to snap a shot at the moment of impact, capturing his front fairing shatter.

SDKA Go-Kart Group Qualcomm Stadium

SDKA Races Are Always A Thrill

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The Customer Is Always Right

March 24, 2010 by ·  

Customer Is Wrong

Stupid Stupid Stupid

        Pop quiz hotshot. You have a Ford Focus with folding seats, and you want to cram a 60 inch DLP projection TV into it. What do you do? You open the hatchback and try to prove logic and reason wrong. Just look at the photo above. The TV is bigger than the car, yet this customer “made the decision” that it would fit INSIDE her car. To be fair, it was the boyfriend of this woman (barely visible inside the car, wearing a plaid shirt) that was just too fucking stupid to realize to a square peg won’t fit into a round hole, but that is really neither here nor there because they both made the idiot’s decision to try. This situation is repeated many times a day at the place where I work. I suppose we should be able to slap some sense into people like this, but not today.

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Technomania Circus: Invasion of the Oojaians

March 21, 2010 by ·  

Technomania Circus Blacklight Invasion of the Oojaians

Technomania Circus Presents The Blacklight & Fire Show

        Here we go! Fire, black-light theater, aliens, music & comedy crash onto the scene at Technomania Circus. The full title of the show is, “Invasion of the Oojaians: A Blacklight and Fire Intergalactic Adventure.” With a title like that, you know you’ll be in for a good time. On my way into the venue, two young ladies stood just outside, the entrance, and asked me for a light. I obliged, and from the conversation that ensues while a cigarette is lit I found out that one them is the girlfriend of a cast member and the other was attending her very first Technomania Circus Show. Perfect! That is what I like to see. A veteran of the circus bringing a virgin to the altar.

Alien Fire Girl At Technomania Circus

Aliens – Oojaians Produce Fire

        The first thing we see as we walk inside the circus is an alien tending to some sort of fire producing retail enterprise. Fire! Yes, fire. Preshow entertainment was well underway, and the fires were already burning when I met Dr. Techno at the entrance of Technomania Circus. After chatting with him and Valerie, another cast member for a few minutes, I found a seat, pulled out my D5000 and got ready for the show.

Technomania Circus Fire Surfer

Defensive Surfing

        Just is case you never thought you’ve see a surfboard on fire, Technomania Circus arranges it for you, in person, no more than ten feet from where you sit. This particular surfer then proceeded to balance this surfboard on his chin. Where else in the world are you going to see something like that?!? This show was a very well told story of aliens and trying to overcome very simple communication barriers. There was a full on alien orchestra, which played throughout the show, in the shadow of a pimped out flying saucer. We spectators learned Morse code and eventually learned to communicate with the aliens. The show was very interactive, and the more the audience cheers, the better the show!

Senior Portrait at Technomania Circus

Say Fire For The Camera!

        This photo is exactly what it looks like. There are some people that can command fire like a dog, and this man is one of them. Fire is still my favorite part of Technomania Circus, and real fire adds so much to a live theater performance.

The Weldermen At Technomania Circus

The Weldermen

        The Weldermen appeared with their fire laden instruments, and they helped to sort things out with the aliens. There is something to be said for a group of people that create their own fiery instruments to compliment a live blacklight performance. All of a sudden, a group of people wearing welding masks and carrying instruments of fire appear and light up the stage with fire. Absolutely incredible!

Blacklight Balance At Technomania Circus

Blacklight Balance

        This show had performance after performance of hilarious and amazing blacklight illusions. Invisible minions dressed in black lend unseen hands to the acts, and the acts are amazing. Spaceships, aliens, shooting stars, levitation and a bit of fire are all on the menu, and they are all gourmet.

Technomania Circus The Weldermen Attack

Technomania Circus’s Fire & Blacklight Show

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Balboa Park And The Loch Ness Monster

March 17, 2010 by ·  

Honey Bee In Balboa Park, San Diego

Honey Bee In Balboa Park

        Balboa Park is a 1200 acre park, between downtown San Diego and the San Diego Zoo, and it is just awesome. There are 15 museums 13 places to eat and 20 gardens so you need several visits to properly explore the park. For me it’s all about the outside things like the trees, plants, shrubs, flowers, trails, gardens bugs and people. They don’t allow cameras in the museums, so… Yeah, I usually stick to the outside stuff. Balboa Park really is grand, and the very mature trees are huge, the gardens are all different, vibrant, colorful and attract lots of docile bees and butterflies. People perform, sing and play music on the main thoroughfare, and there are helpful maps to guide you and there is even a live theater venue called, The Old Globe Theater.
        The problem I have is that I haven’t been able to capture any of that grandness with my camera. 4 years I’ve been taken pictures in Balboa Park, yet I don’t have any show-stopping shots. Come to think of it, I don’t have enough decent shots to even HAVE a show that would feature Balboa Park. So, this post will be me critiquing shots I took inside the park on March 16th, 2010. They are images that had potential in the viewfinder, but have mistakes made at the moment of capture, so they are not great shots. I’m going to explain what went wrong and how it can be fixed the next time. My D5000 was not to blame, I had setting wrong or composed improperly, and I’ll explain with my photos.

Cello Playing In Balboa Park, San Diego

Playing The Cello

        Musicians playing in Balboa Park are the pleasant, ever-changing chorus of sound that gives you one more reason to stop and listen while you are in the park.
        The shot above is blurry and the background is distracting. Also, the shot would look better from a more frontal point of view so the classic and powerful cello shape can be seen. The composition and background can be fixed by moving to a different location. The blurriness of the pic is not because of a bad focus, it’s from camera shake. I was all the way at 450mm, but my shutter was 1/80th, and I was hand-holding the camera. When you are not using a tripod, you shutter speed should not be any slower than your lens mm focal length. In my case at 450mm I should have used a shutter speed of 1/450 or faster.

Park Bench Dedication, Terry Lee Stone

Park Bench Dedication, Terry Lee Stone

        There are many concrete benches in Balboa Park and all or most of them have these brass plates with tombstone style inscriptions.
        This shot just does not tell a story. If you know the inscribed person then this might be nice to have but it does not invoke emotion because there is no context. You can’t tell that the plate is on a bench in a beautiful park overlooking a wooden bridge and staircase that descends to the Palm Canyon Trail. It’s just an inscription on some mildly interesting texture and color. A better position that shows off the bench AND it’s location would be a much better choice next time.

Raven In Balboa Park, San Diego

Blackbird On The Bowling Green

        The crows and ravens in San Diego are definitely at the top of the food chain, right below people.
        This shot had potential because I did some things right. I was almost at eye level with the bird, which is good and the exposure (1/250, f/11, 200 ISO) is about spot on too. What I’m not liking about the image (besides the color of the grass) is that there is no scale at all. You can’t tell that this bird happened to be HUGE! A better shot would be with the bird in the frame with something else, preferably smaller than the bird, like flowers or another animal. This blackbird was abnormally large, but the photo lacks anything to convey a message about the size.

Alcazar Garden In Balboa Park, San Diego

Alcazar Garden

        Situated between the Art Institute and Mingei Museum and modeled after the Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain, there are 7000 annuals planted every year in this garden.
        I like the composition and depth of field in this shot, and the exposure is about right. The subject is just too busy. It’s such a mass of green stems and since the flowers are not fully in bloom, there is not enough purple to break up the green. Do you know what I mean, jellybean?

Balboa Park Fountain, San Diego

Balboa Park’s Fountain

        This shot just has too many distracting things in it. The light bulbs that run through the center, light poles and signs break up and distract from the people and the fountain.
        So, I am still searching for that great Balboa Park shot. There has to be a single, great shot that anyone who looks at it would know they are looking at Balboa Park, and want to go there. *sigh* Someday.

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Don’t Use A Flash, Crank Up The ISO On Your D5000 Instead

March 14, 2010 by ·  

Catching Another Flash, ISO 3200 D5000

The Dangers Of Using A Flash

        The two photos in this post were taken a split second apart at identical camera settings: Nikon D5000, 76mm, 3200, f/1.8, 1/40th. The top photo looks scary because I happened to take the shot at the same time that another photographer in the audience fired off his flash. The bottom photo was taken with nothing more than the ambient light of the theater. I think the photos speak for themselves. If you mouse over the photo above, you can see the effect very clearly. A flash will destroy the ambient light and throw shadows all over the place. It’s hard to say why this other photographer chose to use his on camera flash instead of going the route that I did. As you can see with my photo below, the mood that was created by the artists of the theater is preserved and displayed forever in my photograph forever.
        A flash, in the wrong environment is like a bolt of lightning, scaring everyone around and freezing a moment in time like a sledgehammer crashing down on a slab of steel. Do yourself a favor in low light conditions… With your camera in aperture priority mode, turn off the flash, turn up the ISO to the max, and open up your f-stop to the max. You will be amazed! Just look at the differences between these two photos! Don’t be scared to force your camera to take good pictures… Candlelight, night time & low light in general calls for a high ISO and a wide open f-stop, NOT A FLASH!

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Christmas Amaryllis Finally Gets Planted

March 13, 2010 by ·  

Amaryllis Bulb Planted in March, 2010

Amaryllis Planted March 13th, 2010

        My awesome parents gave me an amaryllis bulb for Christmas 2009 that I have just now, in March 2010 gotten around to planting. By late April the amaryllis will have multiple flowers and be over a foot tall.

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Take The Trolley To Shamrock 2010, San Diego!

March 9, 2010 by ·  

The San Diego Trolley Speeds By

The Trolley Operator Waves

        It’s a bright, sunny day as the San Diego trolley rails past me with the driver politely waving to me. This pic was taken just outside the 12th & Imperial transit station, and this trolley headed out to East County, all the way to Gillespie Field.

Orange Line Trolley Passengers

Passengers Framed By The New Trolley Wrap

        Riding the trolley is actually fun, when you’re not commuting because it goes to some neat places. It gets crowded during rush hour and sometimes late at night, heading out of downtown, but if you are a career public commuter, it’s no big deal.
        By the way, you can take the trolley home to East County after partying in The Gaslamp District for Shamrock 2010 as long as you are at the Fifth Ave. station to catch the last trolley at 12:26am. To see the SDMTS breakdown of trolley times to get home in all directions on the trolley from Shamrock 2010, click here.

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San Diego Trolley And Constructing The Bridge To Nowhere

March 6, 2010 by ·  

Grossmont Transit Station

Grossmont Transit Center – Where A Trolley Guard Was Shot In 2009

        This is where I transfer to take the green line to Old Town, and ultimately into downtown San Diego. Today, was a very strange day. I made it halfway to work and all the way around the San Diego trolley line.

Sleeping On The San Diego Trolley

Catching some Z’s On The Green Line

        I had my camera at the ready for most of the day today, which made it remarkably east to snap photos of fellow commuters.

On The San Diego Trolley

Scanning My iPod

        My camera, a Nikon D5000 has an articulated LCD, so I don’t have to bring the camera to my eye to composed photos. This makes for some shots that can be composed lower than you normally would. This pic of a fellow commuter somehow ended up sharp photo despite my accidental .4 second shutter speed. The lower than normal vantage point meant I wouldn’t have to worry about his face being partially blocked by the brim of his hat.

Homeless Digs At 12th and Imperial Trolley Station

Homeless Penthouse At 12th & Imperial

        When you are homeless, it is very hard to eek out a living, and that is why the homeless congregate in busy city centers. The densest area of people that can offer money and assistance to vagrants are in the middle of the city, so that’s where the bums go. Homeless people go where people with homes work (not live) so that’s why the downtown area of any city will have homeless, trying to improve their lot in life.

Homeless People At 12th and Imperial Trolley Station

The Homeless At 12th & Imperial

        Homelessness is a very sad thing. They form their own communities and social structure, but they have nowhere to live. I don’t know what the particular plight of this group of people is, but I hope I never have to experience it myself.

Warehouse In San Diego

A Warehouse Near 12th & Imperial Transit Station

        The textures and colors of this warehouse wall caught my eye. The ultra dark interior seems to add an air of mystery as well.

Pedestrian Bridge To Nowhere Across Harbor Drive San Diego

Build The Stairs

        These men are building stairs that will lead to a bridge that cost San Diego $26 million. I first wrote about this bridge in October of 2009, then again in December 2009. I captured a great sunset photo behind the bridge to nowhere in late January of 2010

Working On The Bridge To Nowhere In San Diego

The Bridge Over The Harbor Drive

        These guys are hard working people, and that is for sure. This image was taken a little over an hour after lunch, so these guys attacked their workload like ants attack everything.

Pedestrian Bridge To Nowhere In San Diego

Pedestrian Bridge Over Harbor Drive

        Summer of 2010 is the projected completion date for this bridge. There have been delays and cost increases, but this bridge to nowhere perseveres. This summer, guests of the Hilton Hotel will have very easy access to PETCO Park.

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Nikon D5000, RAW, CS4

March 3, 2010 by ·  

Close Quarters Pipe Repair

76mm, 1/80th, f/11, 200 ISO

        The trusty D5000 produced the shot above. Now, I admit this image is not terribly interesting, but photographically, I think it shows some advantages you have as a photographer if you shoot in RAW with a DSLR. The two shots in this post were shot at the exact same camera settings, under full 8AM sunlight, but the one on the top was worked over in Camera Raw and CS4. The bottom photo has not been worked at all in post. (Except for resizing and crop, of course.) So much highlight detail is recovered in the walls. The exposure for the shadows, blacks and machinery itself is about right, but the walls are blown out. Had I been shooting jpegs, the shot below is what I would be stuck with, but RAW… RAW files just have so much more data and exposure latitude, that you should really shoot exclusively in RAW, if your camera is capable of it.

Shot in RAW, this image has hidden detail.

Camera Raw Will Rescue Those Highlights

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Compass Cards For The San Diego Trolley

March 2, 2010 by ·  

San Diego Trolley at 12th & Imperial Station

The San Diego Trolley Goes By

        You may recall a post of mine from the end of January that told my tale of woe while trying to reload my Compass Card at a ticket vending machine.
        This time around it went off without a hitch. It makes me very happy to say that! It was very easy and took exactly 45 seconds, so it’s a bit more time than buying a day pass, but WAY less time then buying a monthly pass at Vons.

                With all actions done by pressing buttons and tapping your card, you start by pressing any button to wake up the TVM, select the pass you want to add to your Compass Card, tap your Compass Card on the validator, pay $72 via cash or credit, tap your Compass Card again, take your receipt and go.

                Very important notes: For those that pay with cash, the TVM’s give a maximum of $5 change, dished out as Sacagawea or Presidential dollar coins. Also, paying with coins to buy a $5 day pass or $2 one way ticket is fine, but won’t work for a monthly pass because there is a 20 coin deposit limit, so that means you can’t pay with coins, Einstein. You’ll just have to find somewhere else to spend your $72 in change.

Airplane Vapor Trail Above San Diego

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