Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gettin' outta Dodge

Hurricane Alex is supposed to come ashore tomorrow! Looks like the worst of it will be to the south of us but you never know for sure till it's all over. These guys look like they're headed for safe harbor...a wise and prudent move. Hope we all fare well the next couple of days. This was my last day with the 28-75 so I guess I'll have a different lens tomorrow...hope I'm not housebound!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Photography is all about contrasts; black and white, light and shadow, the contrast of color and the contrasts presented in the gradations of the tonal scale. Life is full of contrasts too...I was struck by the contrast in these boats. All of them were tied up at Mile 33 Shipyard in Aransas Pass but look at the differences; the yacht is beautiful...sweeping lines, immaculate paint and brightwork. It speaks of luxury and...lots and lots of money. The tugs, on the other hand give no such impression. They are built for work and everything on them or about them is about function. The yacht is stunning but I find the tugs much more interesting...they have character...they're blue collar right down to their keels. But then, I'm just an old school working guy...never had much use for rich boys!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hot Afternoon at the Harbor

It was a very hot afternoon at the harbor for day 5 with the 28-75. I didn't stick around very long this afternoon because I could hear my air conditioner faintly calling my name. Hope you had a great Saturday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Barnacles and Rust

Sometimes I feel like this propeller and shaft...all covered with barnacles and rust. Barnacles are like the things in life that we let under our skin, they just slow you down and are a real drag. Rust is like the things in our lives that we neglect...if you don't keep up with them, soon they are rusted away...past the point of any use. Barnacles and rust are enemies all salt water mariners have to deal with...the smart ones don't let them get out of hand!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bait Boat

There are still a few bait stands in Aransas Pass and boats like this one deliver the goods. While the city council explores never-ending pie in the sky, little guys like this keep on bringing in the tourists. I hope that when the city does finally get something going for the harbor, small independent business people like these don't get the boot. I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week 2-Day 2

Day two with the 28-75 let me explore a few more options with wider angle and more depth of field than I could get with the macro. The little tug and the sunflowers seemed to compliment each other well and were shot at f22 to bring both subjects into focus. The view from the bottom of the memorial tower seemed like it needed to be presented in black and white to bring out the starkness of the image. Many years ago, I started out in black and white photography and in many ways, very basic ways, I still feel that it can be a more effective medium of expression than color. If only our lives could be lived in black and white occasionally, what a simpler experience life would be.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Week Two

It's week two of my "same lens for a week" challenge. For this seven day stretch, I've chosen the Konica-Minolta 28-75/2.8. It's a very good lens for general photography...sharp when you coax sharpness out of it...relatively fast with a constant 2.8 capability...and it has a pretty handy zoom range. I took it to the harbor this afternoon and as I was meticulously avoiding the ants, I got this shot of a tug pushing a barge toward the bridge. It was a beautiful afternoon of sunshine, partly cloudy skies and an offshore breeze that made the heat bearable. It had been a stressful day but my time at the harbor, with camera in hand, seems to go a long way towards melting that stress away. It's almost like having a sympathetic ear to hear all your problems and give you some balance!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Holy Snarkies, Batman

What is it that draws me back to the harbor? Is it because it's the only place I can go in the afternoon and be in touch with the things I love? Is it the peace and quiet, the song of the birds and the smell of the fresh salty air? Or could it be the sense of adventure I feel on these photo safaris...like today when I noticed...Holy Snarkies Batman, I'm standing in a red ant bed again? Nah, it's probably just the weeds, wildflowers and rusty old junk!
Last day with the 105 macro...now...decisions, decisions, decisions...what to shoot with for the next seven days?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blue Skies

Day six with the 105 macro. Sometimes when the sun gets low in the west, the sky gets very blue in the east. Hope YOU got to enjoy some blue skies and fresh air today too!

Rose Center

Day 5 with the macro. What can I say?...I loved the colors. Had a glorious day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day Four

For day four with the macro I was back on the wild side...wildflowers that is and a wild critter to boot. Who knows, tomorrow I may get even wilder! The last image is a crop of the first.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Note to Self

Note to self: John, you have GOT to quit going out in the brutal South Texas late afternoon light. Out and about for day three with the macro, I made the rounds but got most of my shots in the Rockport area...man, that afternoon sun makes it soooo hard to get a balanced exposure, especially when trying to shoot anything white against a dark background. Pretty darned hot out there too. Oh well, maybe I'll learn to get off my lazy backside and get out a little earlier...yeah, right. The lily is called a milk and wine lily and they are gorgeous!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Olives and Roses

Day two with the 105 macro. I took a little tour through our fair city this afternoon...looking for suitable subjects for the macro. I found the rose in the Dairy Queen parking lot and the olive blossoms were in the middle of Harrison Blvd. just across from the APISD Administration Building. The beauty is out there, ya just gotta look for it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Challenge

I started this blog in December of 2008 as a challenge to myself to shoot and post at least one picture a day throughout the year 2009. Well, life got in the way of that project and I didn't even come close. Dealing with trying to make a living, trying to live up to my obligations, dealing with life, loss and crazy people while trying to maintain my own health and sanity just became too much for me and I failed, miserably, in my attempt at a picture a day. Today I set out on a new challenge...one that might be a little easier to keep the faith with. It's very simple...so simple that some of you might not even consider it a challenge. I'm going minimalist, so to speak. I have a lot of lenses and when I go out to shoot I always carry four to six...I'll see the opportunities for photos, then pick the lens I want to use. My challenge to myself is to carry and shoot with just one lens for a week...new week, new lens! That should stimulate a little creativity and make me, hopefully, a better, more thoughtful photographer. This week, I chose one of my most used and faithful companions...the Sigma 105/2.8 DG/EX macro. These oleanders were at Community Park in Aransas Pass...shot at f16 to give a little depth of field. Anyone care to join my challenge? Should be fun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Well Excuuuse Me!

I was out today acting like a real nature photographer, creeping through the brush, trying to be quiet and keeping my tired old eyes peeled for the birds. I stuck my head up over the bay bush and this Reddish Egret showed me just what he thought about being sneaked up on and, I suppose, photographers in general...sheesh, how rude. Then he puffed up and showed me what a proud bird he was. I couldn't match his display so I guess he got the best of that encounter. He then settled down and gave me a good pose. The White Egret and the Tri Colored Heron were much more gracious and posed without any displays of bad behavior. You know, you never hear bird shooters complain about being too close but I was a little too close today, had a hard time getting some of my shots into the frame. I love getting close to a good thing but I guess there's always an exception to every rule.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tall Tales- High Times

I was down at Conn Brown Harbor this afternoon (what's new, right?) and I noticed a change in a couple of the familiar sights. There've been a couple of old cruisers out behind the old Seahorse diesel shop for several years, sitting on blocks and taking in the sun. I don't know if they were here just to be stripped of their engines and running gear or, as I like to hope, were originally blocked up for restoration. These old mahogany plank boats represented real luxury in their time. Wednesday's storm tipped them off their blocks and put them on the ground. They'll probably stay there till someone demolishes them or they rot away to nothing...doesn't take long when a wooden hull is in contact with the ground. That's a pity. If these old girls could talk, I bet they'd have some tall tales about high times.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where's Jane

This picture, essentially shot from ground level, makes me think of the old Tarzan movies...you know, our intrepid hero hacking his way through the jungle. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a movie jungle too, hacking my way through to the other side, to my reward, to save the beautiful maiden and make her my own...no, wait, this is John's Picture-a-Day, not John's Fantasy a day. Darn, I was really getting into it too.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I think this is about what I can expect for the remainder of my wildflower season. The beauties were glorious but they're just about gone...well, there's always next year. I hope to be able to catch them in the Austin/hill country area next year...that's where my beauties like to hang out the mostest!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Had a really bad case of the blahs today...watch out, it's contagious! This little guy doesn't seem to be similarly affected.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Little Things

Wow, sometimes I forget how important the little things are. To tell someone that you love them, share a smile or to do some small kindness can make all the difference...I know it does for me. The flowers in today's post are litle things too...none of the blooms were any bigger than a pencil eraser, so easy to overlook completely or to trample underfoot without notice but they are beautiful if you take the time and care to seek them out and enjoy their delicate beauty. Of course it helps if you have a good macro lens in your bag. These were shot with the Sigma 105/2.8 at f16.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Harbor

No editorializing today, just a couple of shots from my beloved old harbor.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Pretty Good Day

It was a pretty good day for the birds. I spent most of my afternoon on the causeway, looking for birds in the backwaters of The Aransas Channel. I was very much in touch with a subject that I love and I felt real satisfation as I left to head back home, satisfaction in a good day, satisfaction in the bond I feel for that subject and a great satisfaction in the promise of good things to come. Anticipation is a wonderful thing.