Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ladies' Man

Never let it be said that Mr. Larry Patrick misses an opportunity to dive headfirst into his photography pursuits. The photo above was taken at Galveston's Fat Tuesday celebration this week. I'll be posting some images over the next several days from Sunday's pet parade and kid's parade along with Tuesday's blow out that closed Mardi Gras on the island. I thought this photo was a good one to lead off with. Mardi Gras brings together all types of people - bikers, cowboys, girl scouts, professionals, working class locals --- all just trying to have a little fun before lent. Mr. Patrick, here, looks like he's having a little more fun than I expected him to have. Be sure to click the photo for a larger view to see the sheer joy in his face.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

another bird

Sorry about the steady stream of bird photos lately. Galveston's Featherfest is going on in April, and that organization along with the Galveston Daily News are sponsoring their annual photo contest, so I've been going through my year's worth of bird images to submit. This brown pelican was calmly sitting on a light post and I was happily shooting him at 1/400 of a second, and then he decided to fly away. With no time to switch to a higher shutter speed, I got what I could. Still, you can see a little blur in the wings. I tried to sharpen the head as much as possible, but still I was really disappointed because I felt it was an opportunity lost - being at the right place at the right time, but not fast enough to catch the optimum shot.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Here's another in the series ... photographing a bird and being in the right place at the right time. This was taken last spring in Galveston. I had packed up my gear and leaving when this scene just jumped right out at you - one of those times when you just had to unpack, set up again, and shoot for another 30 minutes as the sun set.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

...not antsy

The photo above was taken at the Rookery in High Island, Texas last spring. This egret did some of the most amazing poses I'd ever seen, dropping his (or her) wings, neck twists, head positions -- it was pretty incredible to watch. The post of the white pelican earlier in the week got me thinking of how lucky we are as photographers to be in positions to record these things -- how placing a nice camera around your neck will get you into places and allow you to meet people who you never would otherwise...and in the case of this photo allow me to be standing on a wooden platform and watch a great egret during nesting season. Come April, I'll be at High Island again. Not sure what I'll find post-Ike. But spring is surely going to be especially important to the upper Texas coast this year - recovery, rebirth, and hopefully not many mosquitoes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago down in Galveston. The white pelicans are right in the middle of their migration through the area over the winter, and most can be seen hunched down along the shoreline as the cold north winds blow. This one particular pelican put on a great show jumping from one rock to another. It must have taken him (or her) a good 5 minutes to make the leap - stretching, preening, and wing flapping. As a photographer, you appreciate those moments -- when you catch nature in its unfiltered form.

Thursday, February 12, 2009 any other name

This image is part of my ongoing macro flower project with off-camera lighting. It was taken with two Nikon speedlights from either side. Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

from the cutting room floor

Here's another image that honestly I never thought would see the light of day. It was taken last spring at the annual San Jacinto Day and battle reenactment. For those who never sat in a Texas history class in grade school, this 1836 battle was the decisive Texas victory for independence from Mexico. Every year, the 18-minute battle is reenacted, including the surrender of Santa Ana, near the San Jacinto Monument and the site of the original battle, just east of Houston. I have mixed emotions about reenactments - like the Pearl Harbor reenactment at air shows. In some ways hokey, and other ways deeply emotional, I guess if you go into it with the mindset that it is a tribute it's OK. But you gotta admit it's a little weird. Makes you wonder what they'll be reenacting 100 years from now. But I digress. Bay Area Photo Club friends Cindi Barker, Paul Kiessling and I went to the event last year in search of "action" photos for a monthly assignment. As it turned out I got much better bird photos for the assignment, so these images went basically untouched until now. Inspired by Brian Bastinelli's great work texturing and adding edges to rodeo images that he's been posting recently on his blog, here's my attempt.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Texas Renaissance Festival revisited

A few days ago, Larry Patrick posted in his blog about his photo editing process - how he keeps only a few of the best shots from a photo shoot and throws away the others, reasoning that if they aren't that good on a first lookover they will never be used and only take up valuable space on a hard drive or cause you to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to make an average image into something that it's not. Hence the saying, "you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear" comes to mind. He and I have a friendly disagreement over this issue. I, on the other hand, keep about 75% of my images - mentally filing away the knowledge that there are good photos from a shoot that with a little work can become printable images. I feel that with current camera's abilities to focus and expose, unless I just flat out blow an exposure or focus the image is salvagable. So the image above is one like that - one that I knew with some work could be a pretty good image. I didn't want to invest the time back then, but I did last week and entered it into OnOne Software's January Photo Contest. It was taken at the Texas Renaissance Festival in October with Larry as my VAL. So, Larry --- here's to sow's ears. :-)