Monday, April 9, 2012

Short trip to the harbor today and saw these two tows passing in the ICW...normally the boats follow the same rules as highway drivers when it comes to which side of the "road" they "drive" on but these guys changed lanes! Maybe they thought they were in British waters!

Sigma 50/1.4

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Young Patty

This is Patty Richardson grandmother. This photo was sent to me by my sister, Linda, via e-mail some time ago and I've been trying to restore it with Photoshop. My sis is a much more capable historian and researcher than I am and when our mom passed away, Linda took the family's collection of photos home with her. I'm glad she did and I'm glad that she's interested in the family history.

I got to meet and know our grandmother but she passed away when I was very young so my memories are a little fuzzy. Linda and I think this photo of Patty shows her in her wedding seems to fit the styles of the time and, as you can see, Patty is quite young here. I can't recall how long my grandparents were married before they had their children but my dad (the oldest of three sons) was born in 1913 so this photo is over a hundred years old. As was the norm in those days, Patty had a lot of grit! Widowed at an early age and with three young boys to raise, Patty seems to have been up to the job. She worked as a station agent and telegrapher for the Texas and Pacific Railroad and lived through some wild times. She worked, mostly, on the western division of the T&P and often worked nights with only her dog and a Colt .32 automatic pistol for company...quite a gal, I'd say and I'm so glad I got to spend a little time with her!

I've been doing this blog about 3 years now and I think this is the first time I've posted a photo that I didn't take. I guess there are all kinds of ways to judge your success as a photographer...if 100 years from now, one of my photos can evoke the feelings that I have for this photo...I will have done a great job!

The mighty Cormorant...from Sunday's trip to the harbor.

The mighty Sunflower...also from Sunday's outing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Sunday Behind The Lens

Sunday, I got the chance to spend the afternoon with two friends. Grace, Jan and I went to Conn Brown Harbor and found a few things to shoot...had a great time and hope to do it again when we have the time.

Intrepid photographers, stalking their prey.

All shots with the Sony 70-200/2.8G

Monday, March 26, 2012


Who do you think invented camouflage? Was it the military, the hunters, the Realtree people? Nah, it was Mother Nature...and nobody does it better!

Sony 70-200G with 1.4x TC

I have to apologize for my long absence from the blog...I didn't run over my limit on data again, I've just been busy and I've been bummed out...I've been dealing with a camouflage issue of another kind. Did you ever have a long-time friend turn on you, shed his camouflage and show you his true self? I've been dealing with that this week. This guy has been camouflaged for years but he's out in the open now, in plain sight and I just have to put him and the situation behind me. Ah, never stop learning....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Hunt Continues

The neighbor's cat heard I was shooting birds so she came over to investigate.

If I can just get that lid off, I can roll in this stuff!
My flash was a little too strong in this one but I'll take it.

Half of the Rap group "Kid N Play"


It was another short session...windy and spitting rain so I decided that "tomorrow is another day"

Friday, March 16, 2012

15 Minutes On The Porch

I warned you that I was shifting into "bird" mode...I was only able to sit on the front porch for about 15 minutes this afternoon but the birds rewarded me. Here's a Red winged Blackbird...they'll empty a feeder in a heartbeat!

A young male cardinal

A female Cardinal...this girl wasn't shy at all, she flirted with me for several minutes.

Adult male at the feeder

The Black Crested Titmouse was back...or maybe (probably) another one. This one did seem a little larger than the one from yesterday.

Lucky shot of the day...I was about to shoot the male cardinal in the background when this female flew right into the could be a little sharper but "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."...right?

All these were with the Sony 70-200/2.8 with a 1.4x teleconverter.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fair Warning

I feel that it's only fair to give everyone warning that I put the feeders back out today. They spent the winter in the safety of the garage so it's time for them to get a little action. I give y'all warning because, for the next few days, I'll probably bore everyone to death with bird pictures! I put the feeders out fairly early today but didn't get the chance to watch them till the sun was almost down this evening...hope I have more time for it tomorrow!

Minolta 500/f8

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Still Negotiating...

Those of you that have been regular readers of my blog know that I come from a railroad family. My dad, paternal grandparents and various uncles, cousins...all railroaders. My dad started working for The Texas and Pacific Railroad when he was 18 years old and spent over 30 years with the company. He was killed on the job when he was 49. When I was discharged from the navy, my first real job was with the railroad. If I hadn't been laid off, I probably would have been a lifer too. When I was a kid, we never lived more than 100 feet from the, to say railroading is in my blood would be an understatement. I love trains, plain and simple. My parents gave me Lionel and American Flyer train sets and I was a happy camper. My dad and I had a modest train layout that we worked on up until the time of his death. I was in San Francisco in 1970 and saw this engine in a model railroad shop and it was love at first sight...I spent about 2 weeks worth of pay for it and vowed that I would build a layout when I got home and settled. I hit a few obstacles on the, a family to feed and house, time and money to spend on the project to build it in. Over the years, I built rail cars and accumulated various necessities (most of which I no longer possess) but somehow my railroad never got built. I'm still negotiating for Right Of Way!

This is a brass model of a Denver & Rio Grande Western C-19. It was a three foot narrow gauge engine built for mountain service. They used the narrow gauge equipment because it was better suited for the rough mountain terrain than full sized track...these trains were the industrial age equivalent of pack mules...they hauled mining equipment, timber, livestock and supplied the mountain towns and settlements with all the essentials...hauled the mail and passengers too!

I hope you'll forgive the grungy looking pencil I used for a size was in my shirt pocket at the time I was setting this up and, earlier in the day, I had rescued it from the bottom of one of my tool it looks a little worse for the wear!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Let There Be...


Spring isn't quite here but the roses are getting the jump on the situation. I'm looking forward to a good year, since we got a little rain this Winter.

I waited very patiently for my internet service to roll that it has, I've gotten so busy with work related stuff that I haven't been able to take advantage of it...patience, John, Patience!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Prize

As mentioned before, the pelicans keep a close eye on the fish cleaning tables at the harbor and when the scraps are thrown into the water, the race (or fight) is on. This guy has the prize...but the competition is closing in.

I'm finally back on the net after another self-imposed hiatus due to running over my data limit. Gotta find a better way!!!

I'll catch up on all the blogs and leave comments soon...thanks for your patience.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Abbey's Sunset

I love sunsets! you can find all kinds of interesting views as the sun is going the reflection of the sun on the visor of this boat, which was named Abbey!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

May 13, 2004

Wooden hulls and a drilling rig...and Gulf King was KING!

Friday, February 17, 2012


It's still pretty rainy and stormy down in my neck of the woods so I'm still digging through the archives. This is me, at one of my favorite places for sunsets...on the bay front. I'm sporting a big Texas hat, which I bought to wear while cutting the grass and working in the garden...can you say YEE-HAW?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Angel Of Redfish Bay

Came across this today as I was browsing through some old CD's. I must have done this 10 or 12 years ago.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Been a little under the weather but I'm back.
Sigma 70/2.8 macro

Friday, February 10, 2012


I've rattled on about the dynamic range of digital cameras before. Have you ever shot a beautiful landscape, especially in the bright hours of daylight, and found that no amount of exposure adjustment could keep you from either having the foreground so dark that you couldn't make out the details or the sky was so bright that you just had a blob of white or light gray? If you've had those results, it's not a product of your lack of skill as a photographer, it's simply a matter of conditions pushing the capabilities of the equipment past their limits. You can get around that problem in a couple of ways...the "new" way is to spend a little time at the computer and "rebuild" the image in software like Adobe's Photoshop. That works well if you spend the time to acquire the skills. The old fashioned way is to shoot with graduated neutral density filters (grads). Grads come in a bewildering assortment of sizes, shapes and grades. They're pretty simple to use but they do require a little thought to get the best performance. The idea is pretty simple...if it's too bright, put shades on it. Cover the bright area with the dark area of the filter and cover the darker area with the clear area of the filter...Voila!...balance! You can buy ND grads that are made in a circular format...just screw it into the filter threads on the end of your lens. I never cared for that approach 'cause it forces you to adjust your composition to suit the line of transition in the filter. A much better solution, for me, is the rectangular variety with a filter holder that allows the filter to slide up and down in a can also be rotated so that the line of transition, between light and dark, can be tilted to follow the horizon (or other bright area). With the larger rectangles, you have a lot of leeway in compose the image that you want, then adjust the filter to suit that composition. Some photographers don't use a holder, they just hold the filter by hand and move it as needed...that allows for quick adjustment but I always found that I didn't have enough hands to be very proficient with that technique. I wanted to post some shots of the results of using these filters but it's been raining for the last couple of outdoor photography is on the back burner!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Now and then, I miss the discipline of film've heard that before, right? Film and developing costs were a great incentive for getting the shot without a lot of trial and error type fooling around. Digital makes it easy...take the shot, check it out on the back of the camera, make an adjustment or two, shoot again and then check it again...repeat as necessary! With film, it was a pretty common practice to bracket (shoot the scene with different exposures) but you still never knew what you had till the film was developed. A good light meter made things much easier and saved a lot of expensive film and development costs...a good meter would pay for itself pretty quickly. My Sekonic 508 doesn't see nearly as much use as it did in times past but I still use it pretty often and it pays it's way in other ways saves time. It's great for figuring flash exposures, for determining dynamic range in a scene and for finding 18% neutral reflectance. Cameras have pretty good meters built into them these days but they won't do what a dedicated meter, like this one, will. It will spot meter down to 1 degree or meter incident light. Most high end cameras have spotmeters but they generally cover 10 degrees or more and all built in meters measure only reflected light, not incident (ambient) light. Most built in meters are very good but, you know, they have their limitations. Precision spot and ambient meters have a big limitation too...they'll give you the information you need, but they leave it up to you on how to use that information...I'm still learning.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I've always been a sucker for Callas. When I first discovered Ansel Adams, it was his Calla shots that really hooked me...even more than his famous landscapes. I was in HEB yesterday and they had some potted Callas in their flower section...I brought a pot home and when I'm sure they won't freeze, I'll put them in the ground...out by the front porch.

Sigma 105-2.8 macro

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another Blast From The Past

It was another of those days that didn't allow me the time to get out and here's another shot from the archives. This is from Mission San Jose in San Antonio...quite a few years ago.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is Spring Springing?

Is this a sign that Spring is around the corner? I'm not talking about the flowers, these little flowers have been around all winter...I'm talkin' about the bugs!

These little flowers are a different story...they're a pretty good indication of of an early Spring but, sometimes they get fooled!

I don't know what these have to do with Spring...I just like their look.

This shot has nothing to do with Spring. It's just a cormorant waving a greeting to a shrimp boat ; )! Really, he's just drying his feathers before he takes off to another location. The Bay shrimpers are the only ones working right now...Gulf season is closed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fading Away

Hey, I'm back from my recent exile from blogdom...One of the things I did while I was off the net was dig around in some of my old stuff. I'm a natural born pack rat and I amaze myself, sometimes, with the stuff I hang onto. This is my old PALM was a pretty cool item in it's day. You could store lots of information on it, plug it into your PC and transfer files...kind of the forerunner of the smartphone...'cept it didn't have a phone...or any internet connectivity or a camera or GPS or MP3 or any of the other things we take for granted was a glorified address book/notebook...but for it's time, it was just too cool!

I had time to do a little playing around in Photoshop...reworked some of my old images with different techniques.

I even got out and shot a few pictures!
It's good to be back!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is It Really?

Is it really January 22nd? I went to the harbor for a short while this afternoon and when I got back, I noticed this new rose in Anita's garden.

From the harbor.

Well, it seems that I exceeded my data limits again so I will be scarce until after the 28th. See ya' in 'bout a week!

Friday, January 20, 2012


I took a short drive to the harbor today...The 12/24 was still on my camera and I didn't really feel like carrying the camera bag so I figured I'd probably find another "big sky" wide angle shot. As I was heading for the door, I saw my 500/8 Minolta lens sitting on my desk and made a spur of the moment decision to take it along. Lenses are like most other mechanical things...they need to be used every now and then just to keep the grease from getting hard and funky...(yes, your lens depends on grease to keep it working smoothly, without excessive wear). I didn't figure I'd find anything to shoot with the 500 but I figured I'd take a couple of shots with it,,,just to keep things moving smoothly. I went up on the high side of the harbor and spotted this lantana and...had nothing to shoot it with...12/24...too short and wide...500...too long! Oh well, I went ahead and took a few shots with the 500. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow with a macro or a 35 or something. Moral of the story? I guess there are two...(1) be prepared and (2) Do the best you can with what you've got. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Beginning...

The beginning of what? The beginning of the end. This remote came out of one of the rent houses. The tenant left it there, along with a truckload of other assorted junk, when I had to evict him a little over a month ago. So, why does it symbolize the end? When I was a kid, out in west Texas, we didn't need a remote...we only got one station and it was far away...we all had an antenna mounted on a tall pole beside the house and if we'd had a little wind since we last watched our one channel, we had to go outside and turn the pole so the antenna would be in the right position to pull in the best signal. At our house, that was usually a three person to turn the pole, one to stand in front of the TV and carefully assess the quality of the signal and a third, crucial, member of the crew to stick their head out the window and relay instructions to the turner of the pole. It was a family group...working, in harmony, toward a common goal. Now, one person, with a remote control, can accomplish that task without even getting their butt out of their chair...remote control is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it!