Random photo for 1/29/2012


This was taken in 2010 at Christmas time.  There was a string of lights going up the basketball pole and two of them were shining straight towards the ground and with the crack in the driveway, it really looks like a smiling face.


Random photo for 1/28/2012

I’d like to post more pictures, but I’m taking a break this year from the 365 challenge, but I’m hoping to post a picture a day, not necessarily when I took that day, just something I like and hopefully something new.

This was taken on our trip to Maui in 2004.  I shot this with our old Canon Powershot A70 and back then I knew nothing of resolution in regards to image quality in the future.  I just knew that smaller images let me take more pictures on the small memory cards we used to use back then (aah, the days when a 16 MB compact flash card was all you needed to a trip [in contrast on our last trip to Italy I took 40+GB worth of pictures and videos]).  This was one of the few photos I took that wasn’t at 1024×768.

2011 – A Year in Review

What a year!  I already summed up my feelings for my 365 challenge in the final posting of that, but I was inspired by a message board post to pick a favorite photo of the year.  After perusing the 7500+ photos I took in 2011 I came up with a giant list of pictures I liked.  I decided I’d pick four photos for each month and narrow it down from there.  In choosing the four I even “found” some pictures.  When I was still shooting themes for my project, sometimes I’d take a picture that didn’t fit it, but I really liked.  So these forty eight pictures aren’t necessarily the best of the 365 project, but some of my favorites and some of the alternatives, but mainly my own personal recap of all that I did and happened in 2011.  I warn you now, this will probably end up being pretty long as I plan to reflect a bit about each picture.

I really did a lot this year, two trips to Disneyland, a trip overseas, two conventions, some new experiences, a lot of wandering around, and I had my camera with me the whole time to drive me to broaden my horizons and try something new.


 – The first photo I took for the 365 challenge is one I call “The Equalizer” because to me it looks like a stereo equalizer with the differing lengths of light.  Being one of the first photos I took this year, when I came across it while trying to pick a favorite, I knew this was going to be a tough challenge.

 – Tragedy struck southern Arizona early this year when nineteen people were shot in a supermarket parking lot.  Six died.  We drove down to the medical center to pay our respects a few days later.  I think this message from a child sums it all up nicely.

 – I visited the Barrett-Jackson auto auction once again this year and this image is one I initially didn’t like, but as I’ve seen it a few times since then it’s really grown on me.  The Spyker C8 has an interior like an old plane so I figured a black & white approach would look good.

 – The Boxer is another one of my 365 favorites.  I call it that (in case you don’t remember the original post) because it looks like a busted up boxer.  The missing headlight could be a black eye, the missing bumper guard could be a missing tooth, the way the hood is popped reminds me of a broken nose.  I’ve seen this MG restoration shop before from the freeway and was driving home and in need of a photo and decided I’d search it out.  They had a couple cars outside and some stuff in their garage, but this broke down MG was my favorite.


 – I don’t quite remember how I heard about this little Italian themed car show in Scottsdale, but I knew I wanted to go and see some sportscars.  There weren’t many cars in attendance, but one of them was the new Ferrari, the 458 Italia.  It started to rain shortly after we got there so most of the people left.  I also love the attractive girl scratching her butt in the background while talking.

 – We were driving from the West side of the Valley and for some reason we were going through surface streets instead of the freeway.  I shot this photo of the Diamondback’s home, Chase Field, while we were making the turn.  I’ve just always liked it since it was the first time I understood and saw the picture depth that comes along with using wide-angle lenses.

 – The composition may not be the best, but I love the juxtaposition of the darkened wind chimes against the Sun setting in the background.

 – I’ve never heard of the Matsuri Festival before, but a friend of mine mentioned going to this on Saturday, so I decided to go on Sunday.  I just absolutely loved this shot.  This couple was just alone in their own world despite the crowd that was around them.


 – I shot this one night using my mini tripod in Tempe Town Lake.  The lightrail was coming and I used a slow shutter speed to blur the lights as the train passed.  I like the teal that lights up when the rail passes by.  I liked it so much I made it the banner on this blog.

 – Me and a friend went on a photo walk around the Buttes in Tempe.  My theme for the week was wide with the 16mm so this shot didn’t fit, but it was my favorite of the day.  It’s kind of chaotic with the background being a distraction, but it just speaks to me.

 – My first legacy lens was the Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7 lens and I went for a walk around downtown Gilbert to play with it.  I stopped in this little cafe and took this shot of the waitress as she was helping some other guests.  Being my fastest lens, I was loving playing with the shallow depth of field.

 – Some friends were going to the Renaissance Festival today and I’ve never been before.  I decided to go since I was sure I could get a photo from it.  The Minolta 50 was still my new toy at this time so I shot exclusively with it.  I took this shot of the lead singer of Tartanic as he came out to interact with the audience.


 – This was one of the first shots I think I took with the telephoto lens I bought from eBay, the Minolta MD mount 70-210 f/4.5.  I went for a walk around this man made lake between a shopping complex and some apartments and there were lots of ducks in the water.  I like the symmetry with the second ducks reflection behind the duck.

 – My nephew Elijah was born on April 18th and this is one of the photos I took of him just hours after he was born.

 – This is yet another shot from this month with a manual focus legacy lens, this one with the 50 mm.  The family got together for Easter to cook some meat and just hang out.  I took this photo of some of my cousins and uncle as they were just sitting.  There’s three generations represented there.

 – No special event or meaning to this shot, I just think it’s a really beautiful shot.  Taken with the camera on a tripod the sun was set, but still giving off a little bit of light at the horizon making for that gradient.  I wish I could have gotten this without the houses at the bottom, but then you lose that bit of light that’s there.


 – First trip of the year.  We went to California with my cousin and visited Disneyland for the first time this year.  We only had one day at the park and spent the next day doing some things we’ve never done in L.A. before.  We visited the Petersen Automotive Museum, went to this great farmer’s market in Hollywood, and visited Griffith Observatory.  I shot this as a panorama from there, but I don’t remember exactly how many shots it’s comprised of.  The pollution really adds a lot of haze to the horizon.

 – My brother graduated from College in May and that’s him with my sister and nephew holding the diploma.

 – This shows how small the sliver of focus can be with a 50 mm lens at f/1.7.  I shot this off the trunk of my  mom’s car after a rainfall one night.

 – I went to Phoenix Comic-Con again this year (my third time there) and they had a Star Wars section set up in the exhibit hall.  I don’t quite remember if the trooper was posing or I just caught him at an awkward moment, but I love this shot.  I think it’s what the sandtroopers felt after realizing those were in fact the droids they were looking for.


 – Graduation season was in full swing, but there’s not many people left to graduate in my family.  My cousin Jon graduated from Chandler High this evening and I took this shot of him and my aunt Brenda after the ceremony.

 – This is one of my favorites of the year.  Riding around on my bike, I saw these flowers and this is the shot that immediately came to my mind.  That’s one of the things that makes this mean something to me is that I was able to visualize this shot and actually make it happen.

 – I think I was out visiting a friend who lives very far away and that’s why I was out near the Superstition Mountains on this day.  Whatever the reason I like how this shot turned out.

 – Another sunset shot.  The colors were just so vibrant I had to stop and shoot.  I actually shot this at a red light while waiting to turn.


 – One word – haboob.  In July we got a very big dust storm, but the thing that came out of nowhere was the word haboob.  It’s like every single news outlet here in Phoenix got a word-a-day calendar and that was the word for the day since no one seems to remember hearing the word used to describe the dust storms before.  I became aware of the massive amount of dust blowing through the neighborhood, so I grabbed my camera and took a couple shots.  This one really captured the denseness of the storm.

 – At the end of July we went to San Diego for Comic-Con, but before going there we stopped in Anaheim and did some shopping in Downtown Disney.  I wanted to get some Star Wars Vinylmations, but they were sold out yet again.  The bakery there had some of the different candy apples on display in the window and I liked this shot of the Mickey and Minnie candy apple couple.

 – Here I am sitting like a boss in the Emperor’s throne at Hasbro’s booth during San Diego Comic-Con.  The show was really hectic to get tickets to this year, but I had a blast as usual, and will try again this year.

 – Shortly before this trip, Sony updated the firmware on the NEX-5 to include these photo effects.  I took this one the last day we were in San Diego before we headed home and it’s always been one I’ve liked.  I find I have to overexpose the shot to make the camera highlight the singular color, but I tend to like how they end up.


 – We had a job outside of the city saw signs for the Tonto Natural Bridge and decided to stop when we finished the job.  I took this photo of the surrounding mountains at the beginning of the trail.  Luckily the rains never came.  Some might say there’s too much sky, but I like the composition.

 – Another one from Tonto Natural Bridge.  The way we went down was very steep, so we figured going out the other side might not be as bad, unfortunately we missed the trail we wanted to take and ended up going around the long way.  We came across this bridge as we were nearing the exit and I knew when I shot it that I wanted it to be in black and white.

 – I was going out to visit my friend who lives so very far away again today and before I stopped over there I went off and shot this pano with my 50 mm lens.  I shot it much wider and had the Superstitions in it as well, but there was a bush in between this range and that, that was close to me when I shot and it basically broke the image up into two parts.  I think that cropping out those parts made it look better as a whole.

 – I shot a lot of photos this day, but this one wide shot was my favorite.  I just love the color as the sun was setting and still burning orange in the horizon, but the rest of the sky above and behind me was dark.


 – I shot this one evening while trying to find some thing to shoot.  I drove by this grassy area and noticed the sprinkler and the lone lamp in the middle of the field.  I stopped the car and grabbed the tripod and got myself set up.  It took a couple shots to figure out the best shutter speed and get the spray positioned right to make it noticeable.  A shot I tend to forget about, but one I really love.  Not just because it looks pleasing, but also because it’s one of those times that I visualized a shot and made it happen.

 – This is another photo done with the in camera effects.  I kept the focus on the rain drops on the car window to keep the clouds and sunlight spilling through more abstract.

 – I decided to go for a walk around downtown Phoenix to find something to shoot and maybe grab a bite to eat.  Nobody really lives in downtown so almost all the places to eat are closed on the weekends.  I also didn’t get any shots I found too compelling and since I took the lightrail there I decided to get off in Tempe and walk around the lake and see if I could get something.  This was a hard day to choose for my photo of the day, it was between this and a shot of the lightrail approaching with the sun setting behind it; in the end I ended up choosing the lightrail picture.  <a href=”https://gsrjedi.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/365-photo-challenge-for-2011-september-25th/“>(Click here to see that post)</a>  I like the simplicity of this shot and the orange against the blue looks good to me.

 – I went to a concert this year also.  First time in years and I felt like an old man at first, but it was fun.  I went to see mc chris for the first time and after the show he had a short meet and greet at his merch table.  He’s the white guy.


 – Back at Disneyland, I really do love it there.  This time we went with even more family members and stayed for a couple days.  This isn’t the sharpest and there’s some camera shake, but  I like the composition with the flood lights framing in the attractions of TomorrowLand.  I saw this as we were walking around and quickly snapped it and then had to run and catch up with everybody else.

 – Italia, the main driving force behind purchasing the NEX-5 and doing the 365 project.  We went at the end of October and the beginning of November.  This was shot in the Piazza della Signoria looking up at the Palazzo Vecchio in Firenze.  I like the statue’s hand reaching for the sky in the foreground.

 – I didn’t choose this shot from Venezia as this day’s photo since it’s been done so many times before, but I’m glad I copied everybody else and took this photo also.  The juxtaposition between the motion blur of the gondolas and the stillness of the building in the background is so dramatic.  The light trails of the passing boats add a nice element to the picture as well.

 – This is just a random restaurant sign somewhere in Venezia, but I think it’s beautiful.


 – We headed to Rome on November 1st and the Colosseum was the first thing we did on our first full day there.  It’s really amazing inside and while I took a couple panoramas of the interior, I really liked the vibrancy of the colors in this panorama of the exterior.

 – Another shot that’s been done by everybody and their mother (seriously, search “Vatican stairs” on Flickr and look at the sheer number of photos).  The Vatican staircase is something I defy you not to photograph on your first visit there.  This is actually the exit of the Vatican Museums, but I took a detour there before we started and shot this since it was still early in the morning.  There were a couple people going down at the time and rather than wait for them I took about seven shots and stacked them to get rid of the people.

 – The hand written menu of Casa Copelle in Rome a couple blocks from the Pantheon.  The people at our hotel recommended this place (thanks again Serena & Marco) and it was delicious.  The hand written board with the bottles of wine below just seemed so Roman to me and I knew I had to get a shot before we left.  I knew the entire time that it would be a black and white image in the end.

 – This is what I walked up to to find on Thanksgiving night (except the door was closed).  I knew immediately that the camera was gone.


 – I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to continue the 365 project after the loss of the Sony.  I mainly started it to get more comfortable with the camera and learn a thing or two for the trip to Italy.  Having returned from the trip and without the camera, my two biggest reasons for doing this were obsolete.  I decided to continue anyways.  It was only a months time, but I wanted to see if I could really make some compelling images without the aid of the Sony.  The Canon is still very much a different animal for me to use and I’m constantly missing things the Sony had, but I do feel I was able to make some things happen with the Canon.  This was shot a couple hours after it rained here and I noticed this reflection while going to check the mail.  I like the tone that the black and white portrays.

 – Going to check out the new pedestrian bridge across Tempe Town Lake and I took this shot from the other side.  I like the colors and their reflections in the water.

 – This is exactly how I wanted this to turn out.  Like the other two pictures from this month, this was shot with a tripod to help leverage the crappy high ISO performance of the Canon.  Zoomed all the way in, it’s even possible to get the background out of focus some, although not very much.

 – This was actually taken the last day of 2011.  While riding near Gold Canyon we stopped for a break and I snapped this photo of the mountains.  The haze in the sky makes it look like there’s a low-lying cloud cover and gives a dreamy affect to the whole image.

That’s it.  Forty-eight for 2011.  Like I said, I had a great time this year doing this project and getting to try some new things.  I’m working on saving up to get a new NEX and hopefully that Zeiss 24.  There’s already a lot of things I want to do in 2012, and I can’t wait to see what happens.

As for my personal favorite, I’d have to say it’s this one….

It’s one of the times during the trip that I was really enjoying myself going around and taking pictures, not just snapshots.

So that’s my favorite, did you have any from this post you would have chosen instead, or what about one of the 365 shots I didn’t include here.  Feel free to let me know in the comments section.

365 Photo Challenge for 2011 – January 4th


Finished!  Not quite 365 photos, I did miss a few days and a month’s worth of pictures were stolen, but I ended up with 341 images.  Not all of them are great and I lost a lot of steam for doing this after my NEX was lost, but I’m proud of all of them.  I don’t know if I learned as much as I would’ve hoped, but I enjoyed the journey and don’t regret doing it.  Sometimes the passion for this project wasn’t there and I think it showed, other times I took the time to enjoy taking photos and I feel I crafted some pictures I’m incredibly happy with.  I’m kind of sad to see it end, but relieved at the same time.

As for today’s picture, the final one I took, I took a panorama of the Four Peaks area from Fountain Hills.  I took it as I was finishing up with work and the sun was starting to set and giving that glow that is so great to the Arizona landscape.  I like how it turned out.  It’s a great representation of Arizona to me and I feel I finished strong; which was the only thing I wanted to do with today’s picture.