Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011, Day 272 - Bath time

This photo was taken at the Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai.  It is primarily a rehabilitation center for elephants that have been injured, abused or neglected although there are some foundling elephants as well as those that are surrendered when their keeper can no longer afford to meet their expenses.  The park a permanent staff whose efforts are supplemented by volunteers and it really is a sanctuary in every sense of the word.  After lunch the elephants are led to the river where the eagerly cool off in the swift-moving currents after which they apply a health protective layer of dirt.  I always knew I was right about the virtues of dirt when I was a kid...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24-70/f2.8L
54mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec @ 400 ISO

2011, Day 271 - Circling the drain

This is a regular occurrence during the month of September in northwest Portland.  The swifts stop off on their migration south and every year their favorite roost is the old disused chimney at Chapman Elementary School.  At their peak there may be more than ten thousand birds but as the cold weather becomes a fixture the numbers quickly dwindle down to hundreds and then to none as they move further south.  It is an amazing sight as the birds move in a synchronistic mass, moving as one large entity rather than the thousands of individuals that comprise the flock.  It is simply mesmerizing...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
168mm, f3.2, 1/200 sec @ 1000 ISO

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011, Day 270 - Cheap thrills

In honor of "My Town Tuesday" I stopped off on Belmont Street as I was making my way home from an errand this evening.  Who doesn't love vintage neon signage and cheap movies?  The Avalon has it all!  Unfortunately I constantly forget that it exists until it is dark and the sun doesn't set until really late in the summers so I've never actually seen one of their bargain-priced second run movies.  Maybe this winter I will catch up on all the movies I never saw this summer, I may never see those films since I cancelled my subscription to the sinking ship that is Netflix...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f22, 60 sec @ 100 ISO

Monday, September 26, 2011

2011, Day 269 - Bright and shiny

You know that feeling you get when you put on new fresh pajamas and they're comfortable and clean and you're so happy?  I wonder if that is how spiders feel after the molt.  As they grow and their exoskeleton gets tight do they feel like we do when we try to get back into our summer wardrobe after a slumberous winter?  No matter how they feel their colors are so much more vibrant after a molt.

This guy is my friend, he built a web by a lamp next to my sofa.  I generally don't bother the spiders in the house, if they build a web in an out-of-the-way location I leave them be.  Unfortunately I think I will have to relocate this one soon.  His web building is getting out of hand, he doesn't have a home so much as an estate and the leavings of meals past are getting out of control.  Oh well, when I feel more motivated I will find him a more suitable place to live.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100mm/f2.8L IS
100mm, f11, 1/160 sec @ 320 ISO

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011, Day 268 - Sleeping leviathan

Commissioned in 1957 the USS Blueback is armed with six torpedo tubes and can carry twenty-two torpedos along with a crew of seventy-seven.  A Barbel class submarine, she is the last series that is diesel driven all since have been nuclear and is considered as fast-attack craft.  In 1990 the Blueback as decommissioned and four years later she went on permanent public display docked in the Willamette River as part of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.  It is rather awing to think that this ship was awarded two battle stars for service during the Vietnam War and, although decommissioned, this predatory machine calls Portland its home.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, 37 sec @ 200 ISO

2011, Day 267 - Silk skies

You Google+ people are keeping me on my toes.  I hope you will forgive my shoddy memory but it seems like everyone was posting sunsets today and while I have quite a few I wanted to share something new and Portland delivered!  Although there weren't the dramatic colors that we sometimes get the clouds tonight were exceptional and I decided to take a long exposure to smooth out the water.  I suppose I could have used clouds from a shorter exposure but I like their movement, it gives the city a different look.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f11, 120 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2011, Day 266 - Crane

It was another one of those days where you work really hard to stay in the same place.  The first frustration was Facebook.  There have be a lot of changes and people don't like change, for my part I don't mind the cosmetic changes, the updates to the user interface or the introduction of new features at the expense of the old familiar ones.  What I take issue with is the constant and repeated attempts to invade my privacy in the name of profit.  Facebook keeps changing how you can restrict access to your personal information; not the stuff that strangers see when they look you up but the information that Facebook collects when you use their service to sell to third parties.  It seems that there is some new loophole that they have opened for you to surrender your privacy and the only way to close it is to dig through menu after menu and opt out.  This doesn't happen once or twice a year but almost constantly.  This morning's privacy warnings were the last straw for me, I am deactivating my Facebook account because I can't trust them not to sell my personal information, I cannot stand their passive consent practices.

That was the big issue and the one that still bothers me, everything else has been addressed, taken care of or fixed in some way.  Yes, it is work to keep things moving along on the same trajectory but that is the best you can expect some days.  With all that craziness and my ranting diversions I didn't make a much-needed trip to the grocery store at a decent hour so after I walked the dogs this evening I went and on the way home I took an hour-long detour along the Willamette to take a few pictures.  This is a view of the Markham Bridge that moves traffic on Interstate 5 from the west side to the east side with the city and the west hills in the background.

These mild comfortable evenings are a perfect reminder why I love Portland and that helps to make the insanity of the day a distant memory.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
21mm, f8, 159 sec @ 200 ISO

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2011, Day 265 - Dopey

This is my dope, Johan.  He was born with almost no brain at all but the near-empty cavity in his head was filled with more heart.  Johan is a sweet boy who loves everyone and whose goal in life is to cuddle.  If you come over to my house and sit down he will try to crawl into your lap and, failing that, he will curl up next to you as close as possible.  There are days when his simple-mindedness drives me crazy but moments later he professes his love again and all is forgiven.  Unfortunately his rather lackluster intellect isn't helped by his inability to keep his tongue in his mouth...

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f2, 1/50 sec @ 640 ISO

2011, Day 264 - Grilled bananas

On my second full day in Chiang Mai I decided to go into the old city and just walk.  No set agenda, I just wanted to see what there was to see and as I wound through the streets I stopped at temples, paused to drink in the traffic, explored shops and stalls and had a couple snacks.  As the afternoon was waning and I was making my way to the walking street bazaar I came upon this old woman.  Her face reminded me of my grandmother who is sadly no longer with us.  It isn't as though there was a strong resemblance but when she looked up from her grill and smiled I saw that familiar warm look in her face.  She spoke no English and I speak no Thai but I gave her a big smile and paid too much for a skewer of bananas.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24-70/f2.8L
70mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2011, Day 263 - Candy

There is something about the colors of the flower the bee is feeding on that reminds me of peppermints.  I think the flower is a dahlia variety called "Christmas Star" which might account for some of my interpretation.  It is nice to see my hymenoptera dry again so that he can be on his merry way.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/400 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011, Day 262 - Soaked

Another photo from Old House Dahlias, I fell in love with this bumble bee.  In grand Oregon style it was raining on and off and I managed to make it to the dahlia farm right after the showers stopped.  As I was exploring the amazing blooms I happened upon this sweet little bee.  He was obviously soaked by the rain and was busily grooming himself, fluttering his waterlogged wings and trying to find a high vantage point.  What I found so endearing is that he was reacting the same way to getting wet that my dogs do and looking just as miserable.  I wanted to give him a cookie but I didn't have any bee snacks so I made him into a supermodel instead.  To you I present Alastair, the happy bumble bee!

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/800 sec @ 320 ISO

2011, Day 261 - Bustle

Back to my sister's wedding.  This is one of my favorite photos, I think because it reflects my sister as I remember her; waiting imperiously while her friends bustle her train.  That is a pose I remember well, one that was particularly common when she was quite young so to see it again on her wedding day seems only fitting.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/1600 sec @ 640 ISO

Saturday, September 17, 2011

2011, Day 260 - Old House Dahlias

I awoke to a cold wet Portland day.  It is nice to see the weather returning to the NW norm and as the morning wore on all I could think about was a hot bowl of vegetarian pho.  Unfortunately I couldn't find any pho-friends so I opted to slurp solo with a book.  The nice thing about my favorite Vietnamese place is that it is table service but cafeteria style payment so you are never rushed; that allowed me time to eat and read a chapter but a raindrop-covered window.

On my way home I recalled my friend and client Andrew Stanbridge telling me about a house near his that has an amazing dahlia garden.  Being a sucker for dahlias but cursed with no good place to plant them I couldn't resist stopping to take a few photos.  Old House Dahlias is as impressive as I was lead to believe and I picked out many for my non-existant dahlia garden while taking my pictures.  The flower pictured is called "Snowflake" and it doesn't have the typical pom-pom shape characteristic of dahlias but is rather more open than most.  I am sure that there will more dahlia pictures to come...

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/3200 sec @ 320 ISO

Friday, September 16, 2011

2011, Day 259 - Scaffolding

Moving from Bangkok to Chiang Mai today's photo depicts the restoration of a chedi.  A worker clambers through the bamboo scaffolding with a brush that he is using to fastidiously scrub the entire structure.  Chiang Mai is peppered with temples and their associated chedis, you can walk down the street and pick out their spire between and above trees and buildings.  At night some are illuminated and it is hard to resist their call; wandering narrow alleys and side streets past stray dogs and dimly lit doorways until you find the entrance to an obscure temple compound hidden away off the beaten tourist path.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
27mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 400 ISO

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2011, Day 258 - Harvest time

Not technically a spider harvestmen are arachnids who may be more closely related to mites that other members of the order.  They're generally omnivores, unlike spiders, with some being complete scavengers.  This guy was hanging out in a rose right at eye level and seemed completed unperturbed by my presence.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec @ 320 ISO

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2011, Day 257 - CO2

When trying to leave Chinatown we had preferred to take a taxi through the hustle and bustle of Bangkok's crowded streets but none of the drivers would take us back to our hotel, too much traffic I guess.  With taxis eliminated we took a tuk tuk instead.  It wasn't our preferred mode of transportation because they don't seem too safe and the speed at which they weave in and out of traffic is rather frightening.  However they do move through traffic more effectively than cars so the trip the taxi drivers were unwilling to make took about fifteen minutes albiet we were gasping on the vehicle emissions every time we came to a stop.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/100 sec @ 800 ISO

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011, Day 256 - Burst of contrast

Some days things just work out the way you hope.  On my way home from an appointment this morning I decided to take a less direct route than usual hoping that something would catch my eye and I was not disappointed.  I don't know what kind of flowers these are, they look something like a poppy but maybe someone else can help identify them.

Anywho, I took a number of photos and there are a few that I am pleased with but this is my favorite.  There is no cropping at all, just resized for the web, and I adjusted the white balance slightly and increased the blacks just a tad to play up the contrast.  The composition works for me, I like that the petals of the top flower acted as a natural light filter darkening the lower flower and keeping the subject front and center in the image.  The only other thing I thought to do was edit out the lightness in the bottom right corner but it doesn't bother me so I opted to leave it how it was.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/320 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011, Day 255 - Incandescent

I often wonder why night markets are so rare in the United States.  When the days get hot and the afternoon heat is unbearable a siesta makes sense and then, when you get up refreshed and revitalized, a market is ideal.  You can pick up an inexpensive meal and the shopping for tomorrow all at the same time while being social.

As the sun sets purple over Bangkok's Chinatown all the incandescent and florescent bulbs flicker on to bathe the narrow alleys in their yellow-green light.  Despite the sun's retreat the bustle of Thailand's largest city continues unabated and everything seems just a little bit magical, like the mushrooms that pop up out of nowhere, peddlers set up their wares in their cramped booths and vie for attention.  It is fun and exciting and, for me, a grand adventure!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1/4, 1/400 sec @ 800 ISO

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2011, Day 254 - Reflection

On the anniversary of the most devastating attack on American soil in decades I think that all Americans need to take a few moments to reflect on our good fortune.  While we may be in the midst of the worse recession in eighty years we need to focus on how lucky we are to live in a country of stability and peace.  I wish we could set aside our difference for a few days and focus on our shared values of freedom, of peace, of tolerance, of love and let all our petty squabbles fall by the wayside.  You can take up your causes later, lets just think about all we have and how amazing it is that a country as young as ours has managed to achieve so much in our brief history.  So much of what we've gained has been on the backs of men and women who think beyond themselves and serve our country.  You don't have to be a soldier or a fireman or a doctor or a politician to make a difference; all you need to do is stand up for what you believe in, for the things that you think are right and just.  We are the sum of our parts and everyone is important in shaping our country's future.  If we can stop bickering and rebuild our relationships based on our common ground we have an amazing future ahead of us.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24-70/f2.8L
70mm, f4, 1/3200 sec @ 320 ISO

2011, Day 253 - Simple

The rumor on Google+ is that this week is all about dogs so even though I've shared photos of my hounds before I don't need much of an excuse to post more.  This is Johan, the sweetest and dumbest greyhound I've ever met.  He is all cuddles and affection but after a year with me he still gets confused by our daily routine.  Somehow he manages to be surprised when it is time to walk or eat or go to bed.  Don't misunderstand, he loves all of those things but he never tries to initiate any of it.  Despite an average of five walks a day he still forgets which side is his (always the left) and if Hubert gets in his way when he wants to go to the bathroom he simply gives up and opts to hold it.  Despite the occasional frustration he is a wonderful gentle boy whose dopey good nature is totally endearing.

Oh, and if you're not a part of Google+ just click on this link for an invitation.  It is a different kind of social networking but if you give it a little time it becomes addictive!

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f5.6, 1/50 sec @ 320 ISO

Friday, September 9, 2011

2011, Day 252 - Learning

Part of the joy in traveling is not only seeing new places and having new experiences but learning about the people and their culture.  I despise those people who travel and make a concerted effort to avoid contact with the people even if the reality of daily life of the locals is sometimes rather grim.  Compassion is part of what makes us human and our capacity for good is born of that trait.

Anywho, while is Thailand last year I took the opportunity to enroll in some cooking courses.  Being vegetarian there are some Asian cuisines that offer little that I can eat but Thailand's culinary tradition is one that accommodates vegetarianism with open arms.  Before is a photograph of my instructor Noi and her assistant Golf in the background.  I think at this point she was teaching us how to make duck egg custards; not my favorite dessert but one that reminds me of my childhood and evokes fond memories of my grandparents.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24-70/f2.8L
24mm, f2.8, 1/100 sec @ 400 ISO

Thursday, September 8, 2011

2011, Day 251 - Blush

The dahlias are in their full glory now and this specimen caught my eye while walking through Portland's historic Laurelhurst neighborhood.  I love the blush of fuchsia at the edged of the petals and the warm pure yellow inside as contrast to the pure white that dominates.

When processing this file I purposefully overexposed the image.  It is true that there is some loss of details in the highlight and if I had wanted to they almost certainly could have been preserved but they were unimportant, I wanted the yellow to be rich and bright.  The bright clean colors remind me of the best parts of summer in Portland.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/1250 sec @ 320 ISO

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011, Day 250 - A little nosh

With such warm weather that abates only slightly in the evening my thoughts are still on Bangkok.  This is one of the street food courts that I mentioned in yesterday's post.  People congregating around small tables eating, chatting and laughing by the glow of a bare incandescent bulb somehow manages to make me feel at home.  While the setting is different the noise and bustle puts me in mind of some of the large family gatherings we used to have when I was a kid.  I am certain that they seemed big, crowded and noisy then because I was a child and the world seemed a much bigger place then but the chatting and laughing over good food puts me in mind of my family and at times like this I wish we all lived a little closer to each other.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/640 sec @ 800 ISO

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011, Day 249 - Back streets

This is one of my favorite parts of traveling, exploring areas that are less frequented by tourists.  This is Bangkok's Chinatown, a bustling and congested network of streets and allies all lined with shops and awash with people.  Traffic is so bad that you often can't get cabs to take you into the area because it takes so long to get through traffic.  If you just follow people some of the allies open into squares filled with street food vendors and makeshift eating areas.

Even though the alley was wet and dirty I was so excited I didn't pay much attention to the puddles or debris.  Wearing flipflops means that I ended up with rather filthy feet but it was so interesting.  Unfortunately we had spent all day on our feet so we didn't stay in Chinatown for very long, I could have spent all evening there watching people and exploring.  If I had more time maybe I could have found a Thai David Lo Pan.  One can dream, right?

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/80 sec @ 800 ISO

Monday, September 5, 2011

2011, Day 248 - Bagdad

This evening  I went for a walk with a friend and, thinking ahead (a rare thing), I brought a tripod with me.  Perception at night differs greatly from what the camera sees, the limitations of machines makes for an interesting interpretation of the world.  It seems like summer is just arriving in the Pacific Northwest, it is supposed to be in the 90s this week, but fall is rapidly approaching and the sunny summer evenings have gotten shorter and there is a promise of cool evenings in the near future so night photography will become even easier.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
25mm, f22, 30 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011, Day 247 - Mending

I often wonder at the patience people exhibit in performing what seems like a mindless task such as mending nets.  There is so much else to do that is more interesting and I suspect that fixing a net requires skill and undivided attention.  While I can appreciate the importance and that it may mean the difference between eating and going hungry that kind of patience eludes me.  But then, while in Thailand, I see the scene below; the fisherman is sitting on his deck above the canal with his feet dangling over the end, listening to the water lap against the supports and the distant buzz of insects in the background.  It seems like an ideal task to while away a warm afternoon because it requires focus but not a lot of exertion.

In some ways people probably think about spending hours working on a single image and think that is a tedious task.  Maybe it is, I often wish my images were ready to display straight out of the camera, but there is great satisfaction in the final image when your expectations are met and the scene you envisioned is what you're sharing with people.  There is a lot of pride in a job well done.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 24-70/f2.8L
70mm, f4, 1/400 sec @ 400 ISO

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2011, Day 246 - Happy Heather

Today I had the opportunity to visit my good friend Heather.  I've always thought of her as Marilyn Monroe; she's spunky, curvaceous and flirty with a heart of gold.  A few months ago she had a growth removed from her rump and it came back larger than before in just a few weeks so it was removed again and biopsied.  The bad news is that the lump was cancerous but we're cautiously hopeful because this type of cancer, a Schwannoma, tends to stay localized.  The vet took wide margins when he removed it for the second time and Heather has an eight inch incision to prove it.  Despite all that she's been through I still get demure little kisses when I visit and her dignity flies out the window when it is time to nap her in favorite sunbeam.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/40 sec @ 400 ISO

Friday, September 2, 2011

2011, Day 245 - Hiphop

While rooting through some ivy this little buggar jumped, hit me in the face and caused me to fall on my ass in surprise.  Fortunately I recover quickly and I unslung my camera to shoot him in retaliation before he beat a hasty retreat.  The cobwebs slowed him down momentarily as he rebounded from trying to pluck my eye out.  The colors in the photo were fine but the vibrant green of the ivy he is nestled in was a distraction and selective color is really not my thing so I decided that a little time with Nik's Silver Efex Pro I have my result!

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/80 sec @ 400 ISO

2011, Day 244 - Sepia star

With all the summer flowers it is easy to get distracted by color.  I feel that sometimes vibrant color can distract from technical faults in a photograph whereas black and whites demand a greater attention to detail.  I went for the over-exposed look to allow the shadows to define the picture, a philosophy which is the heart of photography.

Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/1250 sec @ 200 ISO