New Presidency, new website

photo courtesy of: ktylerconk

Change has the official website of the White House. If this stuff interests you at all, check out the new website. Of particular interest is the official "blog" - look under "Briefing Room." While there is no place to leave comments to specific postings (think: "hey, send me some bail out money") there is a form to send email messages. What I was really impressed with was the first post that described some of the uses for this site and blog. Under the third priority of "Participation" they state that the text of all non-emergency bills will be posted on the site for 5 days before being signed by the President. This is to allow for further public comment.

I have already put this site into my Netvibes account so I'll be instantly notified of any changes/additions to the website. If you haven't already done so, I suggest you find a nice "News Aggregator" so you can watch stuff like this (or, my blog for that matter). Some possibilities include: Netvibes, iGoogle, Google Reader, Yahoo!, Pageflakes, etc...

Feel free to share this info with any social studies teachers you know. I'm sure they too will find it facinating and a great addition to their classroom.

Still Life Practice

Since it was a long weekend I tried to get a bit of practice in. I was trying to get the new kitty to pose but she wouldn't cooperate so I moved to inanimate objects. Here is the best of the book shots.

Through the weekend, though I've been planning scallops for dinner. As I worked though it in my head I decided that this would be a good chance for me to cook something good and possibly get a couple of pictures too. This article includes only the best of my shots but if you click here, you can see a couple other pictures of the scallops, talipia, noodles and "pseudo" sauce.

The dinner turned out good and I'm reasonably pleased with the pictures I shot. As always, I need more practice, especially with the new flash setup. Specifically, I need to remember to use some sort of reflector on the opposite side of my flash to kill off a few of the harsh shadows. Given that, this picture of the scallops really pleases me.

Make sure and check out that link above and look for a new picture of Olivia! She's really a darling and is out to capture our hearts. As some of you heard, our older cat, "Moogie" was sick and passed away this weekend. She was a good cat and over the years since Ryan moved she had adopted me. Especially through her, I had grown to truly appreciate cats, their power to put someone into nap mode and their aloof love. She was a good cat and we were blessed to have her around for over 13 years. A few weeks ago I posted a picture of her so I'll not re-post it here. Know, however that we loved her dearly.

I hope you have a great week and spend some time watching the inauguration. I won't bore you with a long diatribe about the historical context of this swearing-in (just watch CNN or any network news and you'll get that). I will say that I am grateful we will now see some changes in how things are done on a national level.


Carrying my camera

Plane crash into Hudson River, originally uploaded by grego!.

I carry my camera and several pieces of gear in a backpack with me almost everywhere I go. People have laughed at me and at times people have questioned my compulsiveness. I usually shake it off and don't give it another thought. Seeing this, though, makes me more resolute in having my camera all the time. Whoever took this picture of the Airbus crash on the Hudson river yesterday had his/her camera with them and was ready to snap pictures and upload them to flickr on a moments notice. They were posting clear, usable pictures online before the media could even get to the scene. So far this picture has been viewed over 250,000 times and it's only been 28 hours since the accident.

Do I think I'll ever be first-hand on a news story and be able to photograph it? Actually, I hope not. But, you never know when a very pretty flower or sunset or building, etc. is going to appear out of the blue.

And then there's always my dinner at some restaurant. Sometimes, even that deserves a good picture! And Ryan so loves it when I take pictures of my meals.

Have a great MLK weekend!

Antiques Shopping

I got the newest version of Photoshop Elements tonight so I spent some time loading it on my computer and going through some of my shots from earlier in the year. Here are a couple of pictures I took while Diane and I shopped at the Warrenton Antique Market. I especially like the one above simply because it reminds me of my father. I didn't really go fishing with him much. My grandparents had a place on Lake LBJ when I was small and I vaguely remember him fishing up there. Otherwise, I went with him once or twice to the coast. But when he died, the one thing I asked for as a remembrance was his fishing tackle. Those coupled with some of the lures I found of my grandfather's really puts me into a wistful mood. Also, I just find old lures compelling. I threatened to start a collection at one time but found it to be very expensive. Almost like buying "antiques!"

While we were shopping, I just stumbled upon this shot and thought the mirror added something to it. Also, the donuts looked to be almost as old as the table they were sitting on. I hope you enjoy these. In the coming weeks, as I have time, I'll post more from the fall and last spring.

Meet Desmond!

So, "He, who has not been named" has been officially christened "Desmond." I mentioned somewhere that Diane was thinking of a name from one of the books she's read but, in fact, I was wrong - that seems to be happening more and more lately! The name is just something she came up with. On Tuesday night "Des" was sleeping for awhile and playing for awhile. During one of his wakeful periods he decided to climb all over Diane. At one point he was laying down on her and was "belly-up." I guess he was airing out his underwear! I got out my camera and after a couple of pictures with the "DMV" flash, switched over to using my good, new flash. This is one of the pictures I got.

Beau and Moogie have spent the past week ignoring the new guy. I'm guessing they think he'll go away. Beau, especially, has been very aloof to everyone around here. We're hoping he'll settle back into his regular routine of camping on Diane's lap, soon.

Apparently our finding this guy was a stroke of good luck for the entire litter. Of the six kittens, we took one, Colin took one and two of my school colleagues each took one. I'm already planning a "family reunion" in a couple of months! The last I heard (Wednesday) there are two more if you are interested.

I've got lots of things to do this weekend but I plan to spend time later today or tomorrow getting some good pictures of the new guy. Hopefully I'll get them posted soon. Have a great weekend!

A new year, a new flash, a new kitty

Notice a trend in the title? Diane not only decided to get me a "good" flash for Christmas but also a spectacular subject to practice on. The "unnamed" new addition just got into the house about 30 minutes ago. I thought I'd post up a couple of early shots.

The funny face Diane is making is because "he, who has not been named" has already stolen her heart. Since I am leaving town in 2 hours you probably won't see many more shots till later in the week. Rest assured, though, MANY are coming. Take for example this shot of "he, who has not been named" and Colin.

Speaking of whom...Colin and his mother just left the house to go to the Humane Society for a kitty for him. I'm guessing this will be a "cat" year for our family.

Finally a solo shot. Don't you just love how my new flash captures his colors? Fine, I had to ask because, after all, it is ALL about me and my camera!

Have a great weekend! Please send cat food!

San Antonio end-of-year walk-about

On Monday morning Colin and I decided to go downtown and take some pictures. He's just now looking at photography from an artistic perspective and suggested we go out shooting. I was excited to do so. I find I really enjoy going out and ambling around with someone else. And Colin seems to have a natural eye for some things.

After we stopped by Little Flower Basilica and got several pictures there, we headed downtown. Since I have covered most of the route that I took him on, I decided to look for lines and patterns. Both of the shots on this post are what I came up with. While the one below is kinda nice (I need to go back and take it head-on), I was really pleased with the top picture. I'm especially happy because the sun is in a perfect position to make shadows that nearly exactly match the lines of the fire escape. The stinking tree leaves in the top left are a bit of a distractor but otherwise I thought it worked well.

Now that the new years party is over I plan to spend some time today playing with my new flash. I did a little practice last night but none of the pictures are post-able (meaning the subjects will get mad at me for putting them on the internet!). Also, tomorrow, Colin is coming back for another walk-about.

I hope all three of you who read this (thanks mom!) have a wonderful new year! It's hard to believe we are already in 2009 and while I had a pretty darned good year, I know there are many others who struggled. I pray that this year will be better for all. Certainly bringing in a new president will help to get the ball rolling. Blessings to all!