Saturday, April 30, 2011

Drake Relays, 120/365

Kim and Rachael ran the Drake Half Marathon in 2 hrs. 2 min. this morning.  It's a new personal record for both of them.  Rachael finished 4th in her category of women under 20 years old.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Storm, 119/365

I've been wanting to do something with this bush for the past few days, before the flowers go away and it turns green for the rest of the year.  I thought the pending storm might provide me an interesting backdrop.  I like the contrast of the delicate pink flowers getting blown around by the vicious storm clouds.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Light and shadows, 118/365

So, I'm going to try to make a philosophical point about photography today.  But, please, keep reading.  Don't let the word "philosophical" cause you to just go back to Facebook yet.  One of my biggest pet peeves in photography today is what I like to call the machine-gun approach.  When you see something you want a picture of, you just start snapping away, because, digital photos are free.  Right?  You can just delete the bad ones.  *sigh*  This practice makes teaching photography more challenging now, because people aren't motivated to stop and think about their images as much as they did back in the film days.  If you are limited to a 24 exposure roll of film, you are going to make sure that you really want to take a picture before using that frame of film that you bought and have to pay to have processed.  Don't get me wrong, the digital age has brought many wonderful benefits to photography as well, immediate results being the biggest one.  But, the general public has lost something in the process.

Imagine back in Ansel Adam's days, shooting with a large format camera.  It uses expensive sheet film, which can only be carried with you in small quantities on a photo shoot.  And his photo shoots were not walking around the neighborhood looking for cool shots.  They were Yosemite, the glaciers in Alaska, the desert.  Do you think he spent a long time fine-tuning his shots to make sure everything was perfect?  You better believe he did!  Even I don't have the patience to use it much anymore, but I do have a large format camera that uses sheet film.  I've only taken a handful of pictures with it.  Mainly, because I average about 45 minutes per picture just to take a shot with it. 

So, why do I bring this point up?  Well, I usually shoot several photos and then pick my favorite.  Today, I did a slight twist on the photo-a-day project.  I only took one photo.  That's right, this image is the only frame I shot today.  No deleting the bad ones or picking from the group, just one shot.  I liked the way the light was going through the glass walls, as well as how some was reflected back to make a cross pattern on the floor.  I picked the best spot and angle for the shot (not that it's perfect), and watched... and waited...  First, I waited until the pedestrians were out of the way, except for the lone person through the doorway.  I decided I wanted to use someone (unrecognizable) in that spot.  Then, I waited for the light.  When the people first got out of my shot, it clouded over a little bit, and I didn't like the light reflections as well.  Finally, the sun hit the glass nicely, I got someone walking through the doorway, and snapped one picture.  And then put the camera away.  Granted, there is plenty that I still don't like about this photo.  I couldn't wait for the truck parked along the street to move, and there is a pickup that is very distracting too.  But, for the scene I was given, this is what I was able to do with it.

The point is, people who do machine-gun photography occasionally get good shots, because of luck.  Careful, observant, patient photographers will get more good shots, deliberately.  I don't claim any of my shots to be great, but they are usually thought out and as I had envisioned them.  So, next time you are out shooting, try being more deliberate, and see what it does for your photography.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Braces, 117/365

Rachael got her lower braces put on this morning.  Here is a pic of her showing off the colors that she had them put on this time.

On an unrelated note, we are so far overdue to mow our lawn, that a rabbit has moved in to my front yard.  The grass is tall enough to provide him with adequate cover, I guess.  Now I can't mow all year, or I'll disrupt the wildlife habitat.  :-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Headstone, 116/365

I found this tombstone at the cemetery in Story City.  It seems like there are always one or two great stones in every old cemetery.  I'm not aware of anyone I knew in this cemetery, but Anna Johnson died on Dec. 17, 1878, and got a very nice stone.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bike, 115/365

I've been by this place a number of times before, but never seen the door open.  It looks like they opened it up to pull their plants out for some light today, although it's been overcast and at least sprinkling most of the day.    I liked the bicycle on the sidwalk, so I incorporated it into the picture.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, 114/365

We had a good Easter today, it turned out to be a beautiful day.  The Easter Bunny came and we had our home festivities this morning with the kids.  Then we drove over to Breda just in time for 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Bernards Church.  The morning light was shining in on the big Crucifix, side lighting Jesus so nicely that I had to sneak back into church later to capture an image of it.  That's the magic of photography, I've got this moment documented forever.  Hopefully, I was able to capture some of the atmosphere of the scene for those of you who were not there to experience it in person.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Bunny, 113/365

Here is the Easter Bunny posing with Noelle, Claire and Matt after the Easter egg hunt in Stanhope this morning.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tulips, 112/365

Now this is what tulips should look like, as opposed to our tulips.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bunnies, 111/365

I've been fighting a bad head cold or something the last couple days, so I didn't feel like going out to look for a picture today.  With Easter being this weekend, I thought I'd share a picture of a couple rabbit statues.  I don't quite recall, but I think they may have come from my mom.  We don't really have many Easter decorations, but this is one of the few.  Now, If I only had my Easter basket from when I was a kid.  It wasn't even a basket actually.  It was home made from a gallon milk jug cut in half.  So, the basket part was the bottom half and the handle was made from another strip of plastic from the milk jug.  Of course, it was decorated, I didn't have it that rough.  :-)  You know, I'll bet my dad has a picture of that basket somewhere in his many trays of slides that he used to shoot when we were kids.  If I had a picture, I'll bet we could re-create a replica of my Easter basket.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stream, 110/365

Here is a small stream we drive by on our way to Boone a couple times a week.  I've stopped and photographed it several times now.  But, today is the first day that I've felt like I got anything that I liked.  I wanted to do something with the spectacular clouds and was hoping that I could time our drive by there appropriately to catch the late afternoon sun reflecting off the water.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Snow on April 19, 109/365

Yes, I really took this picture today.  I think my tulips are wondering if this is some kind of sick joke.  It's supposed to be spring now.  I'm sure they are glad that they have not opened up yet.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Peace, 108/365

St. John's Lutheran Church in Des Moines is adorned by peace signs and doves made with sand on the sidewalk.  I'm not sure what their intent was, but I like the symbolism.  The symbols themselves are obvious, and appropriate during Holy Week, I believe.  But, the fact that they are made out of sand is what I find interesting.  It's not something that is permanent.  The rain, wind, and people walking by without noticing can destroy them.  Who knows, they could be gone by now.  Symbolically, we can have peace and find Jesus, but these are things that we have to be conscious of and constantly work toward.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stanhope Park, 107/365

After Palm Sunday Mass today, Kim and Rachael headed out for a run and the rest of us had a very light lunch.  Then we went over to Stanhope and played at the park for a bit, while we waited for the runners to make it that far.  I took over Gatorade refills, which they didn't really need that badly anyway.  But, here are couple shots at the park.

First, here is a shot of Matt, with his reflection on the bottom of the metal slide.  (It's one of those old slides designed to get up to about 350 degrees in the hot summer sun, and burn children's legs as they go down.)

Here are Noelle and Claire peeking through one of the tunnels in the playground.

This is what Rachael looked like half way through her 20 mile run, when I met them for refills.  (She's not acting or looking like she ran 20 miles today.)

Here is a downward view of a spiraling, climbing thing (we're not sure what to call it) at the playground.

Band Contest, 106/365

I did shoot some pictures yesterday, but didn't get anything posted, so now I have to get caught up.  But, I don't feel too guilty about it, there's certainly more to life than blogging.  It was a busy day starting with Band Contest at South Hamilton.  Rachael did a solo, a duet with Hannah, and a trio with Hannah and Noelle.  The judge was so impressed with that trio that he said it was the best he'd heard all day.  Anyway, she's got incredible potential, probably much more so than she realizes.  She came home with a 1+, 1, and another 1+ rating for her pieces.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The End Is Near, 105/365

I see some interesting people in downtown Des Moines from time to time.  I've seen this guy around before, and snapped a picture of him today.  There are apparently some religious groups who believe that the dates on his jacket will be the second coming of Christ (judgement day) and the end of the world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wine, flowering bush, 103/365

There are days when I don't have time to shoot or are so busy that I don't feel like doing a picture.  Don't worry, today is not one of those days.  But, I had a couple possibilities to use and had to decide which one should be my photo of the day.  One of them could be reshot on any day, and the other would at least be around for a little while longer.  

So what did I decide?  Well, a few years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico on business.  Yeah, pretty rough, huh?  Anyway, one of my favorite spots in Old San Juan was El Morro, a massive fort right on the shore.  There was a particular building with a door, which really jumped out at me as a photographer.  The sunlight was hitting it just right, it was a wonderful scene.  It wasn't until after the trip when I was back home that I realized that the picture was not very sharp, probably due to the wind that day.  As chance would have it, I got to go back to Puerto Rico a second time.  And I knew exactly where I wanted to go to take a picture.  But, when I got there, the light just wasn't the same, I didn't care for it anymore.  I tried going back again the next morning, same thing.  The opportunity was lost and I never got that shot which was so perfect the first time.  

The point is, don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.  Because, you may not get that "tomorrow" that you are planning for.  Do it and do it right today.  So, without further ado, here are both pictures (I'll have to take on tomorrow's picture, tomorrow.)  First, a simple glass of wine, but in a beautiful glass.  And finally, a flower opening up on the bush just outside the fence in our back yard.  I don't even know what kind of bush it is, but it blossoms first thing in the spring, when everything else is just starting to turn green.  A couple weeks from now, it'll be all green for the rest of the season, but it sure shines today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The red light, 102/365

We live across the street from the park and this red light is on a post, very visible from our front window.  It is the warning light for the sewer filling up.  If we get very heavy rain, several inches per hour, or lots of snow melting fast in the spring, the sewer fills up.  Basically, if this light comes on, we need to call the city to check it out right away before our drains start backing up and flooding our basement.  Well, not just us, but many people with low basements.  Now, any time there is a storm, we take responsibility to watch for the alarm.  So, if you look at the contacts in my cell phone and see "Red Light", don't worry, it only reaches Bernie, with the city.

As far as the photo itself, I just put the sun directly behind the light to illuminate it.  It's not exactly composed the way I had envisioned it.  I shot it a little more off center, but decided to crop off a wire on the left side.  So, I think this composition was the lesser of the two evils.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First blooming flowers, 100/365

The grass is turning green, there are buds on the trees, and we've got our first flowers blooming in the landscaping.  These are sure signs that spring is here.  Well, that, and it was 80 degrees today.

And, if I can throw one more picture in today, the girls and I got home from the 4-H meeting and found Claire sitting on top of a pile of books to get her up to a better eating height at the table.

We had a busy day yesterday, so I didn't have time to write much.  But, at County Communications, one of the other kids there did a presentation on camera controls.  She went over all the parts and using a manual camera (with a Canon AE-1).  She is a student at Webster City, and apparently, they still teach traditional black and white photography in the darkroom.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear this, I didn't think anyone around here was still souping film.  As it turns out, she is planning to attend 4-H Photo Camp this summer.  I'll be helping with the 3-day camp this year.  So, this is the first 4-H member that I know will be attending the camp.  But, hopefully there will be others that I'll recognize from our various photo workshops and photo shoots throughout the year.  Which reminds me, I need to get another shoot scheduled.  We've done a couple things in Webster City recently, I think I need to set something up on the south side of the county this time...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

County Communications 99/365

Rachael and Noelle both presented at County Communications this morning.  Noelle got a blue ribbon for her presentation on the violin.  Rachael got a purple and is going to the state fair for her presentation on marathon training.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Track meet, 98/365

Rachael had her first track meet this afternoon at Gilbert.  She ran the 4x800, 1500, and 4x400.  The longest distance races are her events.  Rachael and the other South Hamilton students did a great job.  I'm very proud of her.

Here, Claire is giving Rachael a hug of encouragement.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Noelle, 97/365

It's cold, windy, and starting to rain.  I hadn't even turned the camera on until after work today.  I walked up to the elementary to pick up Noelle from her first softball practice when I got home.  They practiced later than expected, so I had to stand outside for 1/2 hour waiting for her to be done.  I was wishing I had a stocking hat.  But, this weekend is supposed to be nicer out.  I took this quick shot of Noelle on the walk home after practice today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gate, 96/365

I found this vine covered gate, open to a vacant shed on my walk today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sunrise, 95/365

I got to thinking this morning, I've done a lot of grey, drab pictures lately.  So, my theme for the day is color.  I wanted something bright and colorful.  Yes, this is the same clock tower that I've photographed before.  But, now I'm using it as an element to compliment the beautiful sunrise, as seen from the top level of a parking ramp.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Circle windows, 94/365

It was extremely windy today, not good for walking around outside taking pictures.  In the skywalk, not far from Vets, there is a section with circular windows.  From the skywalk, they provide a great view of an ugly parking ramp.  I think they are more interesting from outside, where you get a peek at the busy passer-bys on the inside.  It's kind of like watching animals in their natural habitat in the zoo.  :-)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hamburgers, 93/365

Ok, it's been a low motivation day.  It got up to a miserably hot 77 degrees today.  I never thought I'd be wishing for cooler weather so soon this spring.  It was a good day to grill some hamburgers and beans though.  They sounded good, so I got some fresh hamburger buns from the grocery store bakery yesterday.  I knew it was going to be one of those kind of days, so I grabbed a quick picture of lunch on the grill.  I don't know if I'll be taking any more pictures today.  But, I'm entitled to a lazy day like this once in a while, right?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Violins, 92/365

I took Noelle to Hoshaw Fine Violins in Ames this morning.  We had to find a replacement 3/4 size bow to replace hers, which broke.  This is a row of the really good violins, which are out of our price range.  There are violins from Germany, Romania, Ukraine, etc.  We did get her a new bow, which is basically identical to the one that she has been borrowing from Abby since hers broke.  Once she grows a little bit and get up to full size instruments, I'd like to look at some nicer violins.  The girls are both so musically talented, I want to encourage it as much as possible.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Farm house, 91/365

It's been a busy day, first I went to Matt's and Claire's kindergarten classes for Doughnuts with Super Man. Then, I had lunch with Noelle and took Rachael to Webster City after school.  She is off on an overnight 4-H trip to the Omaha zoo.  It was very windy today, but the clouds were too great to miss out on.  So, on the way back from WC, I stopped and shot this abandoned farm house east of Stanhope.