Monday, September 25, 2006

Corvette Cockpit

At Old Town’s Saturday Night Cruise, you can look, but you can’t touch the beautiful automobiles that are on display there. I remember leaning over the side of a late 50’s model corvette, trying to capture the very cool gauge panel of this racing machine. As I was contorting, as to not “touch” the car, I felt the door to the convertible begin to open below me. I immediately thought that the owner wanted into his prize possession, and said to him, “Oh, I’m sorry”. He replied to me, “Why don’t you just get in, you look like your going to break your back trying to get that shot!”

So, feeling very privileged, I gladly stepped into the cockpit of this vintage racing machine and captured the image you see above.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Chieftain

The hood ornament of a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain gleams as the rays from a Saturday afternoon sun shines through it. I had arrived at Old Town a little earlier than normal that Saturday and was able to utilize the bright sun on this classic automobile.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Snake in My Apartment

About two years ago I was sitting in the apartment of my friends, Jonathan and Patricia. As I sat there on the floor just chilling, Jonathan brought out one of his pets and placed it on the floor between us. It was his young Ball Python named Kaa. I had never handled a snake before, but that night I would. Jonathan assured me that he was friendly, and Patricia suggested that I put it on my shoulders. So, I said ok. I remember it feeling almost like a massage as the snake moved just behind my neck. For the next hour as we all watched TV, I held Kaa as he moved through my hands. I couldn’t believe I was actually handling a snake and that this one was actually friendly!

A year later as Jonathan was preparing to go to Afghanistan, they wanted to know if I would keep Kaa for the 18 months that Jonathan would be gone. Patricia already had a dog, two cats, a gerbil and fish to take care of. One less animal would be fine with her, plus she’s not wild about having to feed Kaa mice every so often.

So, for over a year, I’ve had a room mate, a three foot long Ball Python. Because snakes metabolisms are very slow, he doesn’t need to eat that often. Two mice every two weeks or more seemed to be just right for him. As you can imagine, the people at the pet store got to know me a little. I always tried not to get attached to the mice when I brought them home. I like all animals, but for Kaa to live, he needed mice.

To quote, “Ball Pythons are commonly owned snakes due to their personalities.” Kaa has never bit me, his first reaction is to jerk away from what startles him or coil into a ball, thus the name “Ball” Python.

It’s been fun, but it’s time to give my little friend back to Jonathan this weekend. People have asked me if I would get a snake of my own. I wouldn’t mind having my own Ball Python, but the truth is, girls normally don’t like snakes and if I had to choose between a snake or a girl…sorry Kaa.

P.S. Since posting this, something happened that changed some of the facts stated in my story. Please see my second response comment posted on September 21.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Man and His Steed

Mark is one of the friends in my “inner circle”. I have a lot of people that I know and consider friends, but I have a smaller group of friends that really know who I am. These are the people that I can share my heart with. People that encourage me and are concerned about me. People that know were I’ve come from and can see where I’m headed.

This is off on a slight tangent, but still on my inner circle. I’ve been walking through life with most of this group for almost six years, but towards the end of last year, I came to know how good of friends I have. One week I was going through something that really had me distraught. That Wednesday night we had Bible study at David and Michele’s house. They could tell I wasn’t myself as I didn‘t want anything to munch on and more so than that, I‘m sure they could see it on my face. I did have some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had that night though! I mentioned that fact and Michele said she made it from scratch. When I was getting ready to leave, Michele asked me if I was ok and if I needed to talk. At first I nonchalantly said, “oh, I don’t even know if I want to talk about it”, trying to hide how I was really feeling and the fact that I really did need to talk about it. She said, “You can, we’re family”. So, I bared my soul with my close family of friends and they gave me Godly counsel that encouraged me and lifted my spirit.

That’s what I mean in my profile when I say “I've especially realized over the last year that they really are there for me when I need it.” And there has been a few more times this year when they have been there for me again and again. God has truly blessed me to have these people to walk through life with. Everything I believe deep down, they share with me. The things I’m hoping for, they hope with me. When I celebrate, they celebrate with me.

The image above is from a photo session I did with Mark and his horse Banner a few years ago. Mark was prepping Banner for some obedience training as I focused on them. I saw Mark give an interesting look over his shades at something and “click”, I had captured one of my favorite images of Mark and Banner together.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Remember

As I readied to pour milk into a cereal bowl a week ago, something within this simple action, triggered a memory. The expiration date on the milk jug read “Sep 11”. At that moment, I thought of how that particular date is now forever a reminder of the horror that took place in our nation that day as we were attacked.

I’ll never forget how my coworkers and I sat in disbelief as we heard news of a plane that flew into a building and then a second. We later heard news of “fires at the Pentagon”, news that wasn’t completely telling of what had actually happened there. America was under attack as we sat in our then windowless office. It almost took on a “Bomb Shelter” feel as we listened to the horrors that unfolded on the radio.

After hearing of death all morning, I remember telling my friend David of how I was just happy to be alive. I remember my girlfriend at the time, calling me up at work and asking me if I was alright. We’re in Florida, but with so much tragedy happening that morning, no one knew if they were completely safe!

I remember just sitting with the TV off that night, looking at photo albums with my girlfriend, just trying to take our minds off of the tragedies that had taken place that day. I had a worship CD that I had just bought, playing as well, it was a much needed listen and mental redirection.

I remember flying commercial airlines just four days after 9/11. I was scheduled to meet my family up north for vacation. My flight had already been moved ahead one day because of a hurricane that came through that Friday. A hurricane that probably got the least amount of attention that one has had in years before or since.

I remember the flight attendees being mostly male and paying close attention to everyone that boarded that plane. I also remember laying my head back against the head rest and thanking God for protecting us as we touched down at our destination.

I, like the rest of America will always remember the day that our freedom and every good thing we stand for was attacked.

I remember.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Come Fly with Me

Here’s one of my favorite images I’ve captured at Old Town‘s Saturday Night Cruise. I like getting shots that not many people think to get as they pass by these classic cars. Many just see the car as a whole, but for me, certain design characteristics jump out. Maybe it’s a fender, a head light, a hood ornament or an emblem. I love taking these design aspects and turning them into works of art. In this particular image, I wanted to give the feeling that this airplane was going to take to the skies and fly right off the hood of this classic Ford.

The “Cruise” is the largest “weekly” car show in America with an average turn out of 325 classic automobiles per Saturday night! The parking and admission is free and the inspiration is bountiful.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Off Duty but Still Shining

I was almost home last night when something caught my eye on the side of the road. There, glowing in the darkness, was a massive pile of construction barrels with their yellow lights still shining. Barrels that once took up residence on my street as it was being widened, now huddled together in abandonment, 30 feet from the road. I took a double take as I passed by on the opposite side of the street, it was such a unique site.

As I pulled into my apartment complex just a block down from the scads of glowing barrels, I knew I had to go back there and photograph this peculiar image. So, I ran to my apartment, grabbed my camera and tripod, then headed back to the site on foot. As I drew near to the pile, I stepped off the side walk onto bare ground. I noticed as I walked that it was really more sand than anything as is most of our “dirt” down here in Florida. It brought back memories of being a kid actually, because it smelled like a sand box in this area.

It was now just me and the mound of lighted barrels, off duty from the stretch of road that had just been completed! A few dogs that lived near by through some trees sensed my presence and began to bark occasionally. Once in a while, a car would go by, they were probably wondering what in the world I was doing, or maybe just thought I was with the construction company, who knows?

Since I was using a tripod for a long exposure, I set the ISO on my camera at 50 to prevent as much “digital noise” as possible. One thing that annoys me, is digital noise, the equivalent to “film grain”. For normal shooting, I usually use an ISO of 200. I then set the camera’s shooting settings to “aperture priority”, this would give me an automatic reading of how many seconds the camera wanted for proper exposure. It said “8” seconds first with a wide aperture. So, I tried 8, but ended up shooting most of the images at 4 seconds like the one above.

I guess the construction crew wanted the batteries of the lights drained by morning? Whatever the reason, it created a photo opportunity for me!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lake Mirror

One of the many lakes in the city I live in is Lake Mirror. It is accompanied by Hollis Garden which is home to many beautiful flowers and is a venue for many weddings. As I went down there tonight in hopes of finding some good subjects to photograph I noticed a lot of people gathering at Hollis. It wasn’t long until I saw a sign right in front of me that read “Wedding in Progress, Please be Courteous”.

Since I couldn’t explore Hollis because of the ceremony, I decided to walk around Lake Mirror to see what I would find. As I walked, nothing really seemed to present itself. I spotted a cool turtle in the water, but he was a little too far out, the lighting was a little too dim and he vanished beneath the surface before I could get any type of shot. As I headed back from whence I came, feeling a little disappointed and ready to give up for the evening, the sky began to look amazing. It was then my shot presented itself! I took advantage of the moment and began to shoot different compositions, making sure I captured this beautiful scene.