Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Setting Sun On 2008

2008...How to even begin to comment on this past year. My friend Shelly emailed me yesterday, saying that my blog is a great way to express words and show my images. I must admit that I enjoy the images; however, I haven't shared too many words from my heart. When I have I fear it made people uncomfortable. I won't start now so those reading this, do not get nervous. People who know me well know that I have a lot to say!! ha..about a lot of topics!Needless to say, 2008 was a tough one for me. I'm nothing though if I'm not strong and determined. 2009 will be a year that each one of us designs. Individually, each person has the power to make this next year whatever it is that is desired. I desire to be happy, social, healthy, charitable and strong. As the sun sets on this day I look forward to it rising tomorrow. Perhaps it is simply psychological; however, a new year can be much more than just a flip of a calendar page. May each one of us use 2009 to reach our potential in every way imaginable.

For those looking for inspiration, read The Shack. It is a best-selling novel and though I am not deeply religious, it was a story that impacted me greatly. Love life and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Adirondacks On A Winter Day

You wouldn't know it from the blue sky, but I took my life in my hands driving to Caroga Lake! Snow squalls, complete white outs and horrendous winds kept my Jeep, and its driver, very nervous. I did manage to capture these two images; however, most of the day was what I describe above. I have some white-out images, but they are very boring..well..because you don't see anything but ..well white! go figure, right? Ironically, I just got home from playing golf! (inside of course). My good friend Jim (and faithful viewer of this blog) finished third...sorry Jim, just had to say it. So, white-out conditions, snow squalls and golf all in one vacation day! ahhhhh...the life I lead.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Fix Upon Request....Well Suggestion

I noticed that my friend Trish took Linda's advice to crop a photo in order to eliminate distraction...and here I too take Linda's suggestion. Here is the improved lamp, with the base shown. Hey, it also gave Trish and I another day's picture! I should make more obvious mistakes!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Fun Self-Assignment- Silhouettes

I'm sure every photographer would agree that some "shoots" are more fun than others. I don't know why, but this one was fun for me. I saw the bright light coming through my window and knew exactly what I wanted to do. In the picture above, I keep the blinds down to cut out some of the blinding white color of the light. I also thought it helped add authenticity to the shot because you clearly see that the lamp is in front of a window.

Removing the blinds, exposing the water stained and wind whipped window, the lamp catches more color. The image above was intended to be a partial silhouette and I am pleased with the outcome.

Finally, I shot low to high with the idea of exposing as much color as possible. Maybe I enjoyed the shoot because the affects were exactly as I anticipated and wanted. These are straight shots, with no manipulation.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

River Rats 3, Rochester 2

9 seconds left to the game. The Rats giving up two goals within a few minutes, Rochester got back into the game. A time out called- one goal to send the game into overtime. The Rats held on though! I believe it is the first time that I witnessed the Albany team win a game.

My brother-in-law, Jamie and Jenna accompanied me to the game, sitting among 4,200 other hockey fans. During the evening's game Batman made an appearance too! Between periods we saw cheerleaders, ice skaters and a large blimp dropping tickets on the crowd. Jenna caught a ticket winning chili fries, with the purchase of a value meal of course. Regardless, it was a fun night out!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Sanford Farms- A Throw Back To Amsterdam's "Better" Days

I know this farm has been photographed a million times; however, I am always captivated as I drive past the old barns. Today, the doors below caught my attention first because they almost looked black and white, with rusty-gold hinges. After taking those images, I looked up to see broken windows.

Always a fan of "spooky" places, I was first intrigued by the windows' broken glass. I can always use my imagination to create a story of haunting. In fact, at this moment, I'm watching "Ghost Whisperer". Could farm hands be working inside the barn on a cold winter day, caring for the horses, pitching hay and filling troughs for hungry animals? In some other dimension could the Sanford farm be just as profitable and busy?

I like these doors. As I said, the light makes the doors appear somewhat colorless, leaving those rusty hinges to shine in the bright sun. Shut tight and locked, the barns house beautiful horses and men and women hard at work. If only I could reach the height of those windows I would peer inside to catch a glimpse of the magic.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Remember the 60's?

My niece Megan is redesigning here bedroom and I think this black-light poster will be a focal point! I shot the image above standing directly over the poster and turning the camera a little bit. The photo below is a slow shutter speed, zoom affect. I like these and it was fun to shoot something different today! Again, Merry Christmas!

Family Fun On Christmas Eve- J,M,L and J- sounds like a law firm!

For all the photographers out there..give the gift of your photography to others! I used my photos in several ways and they were a hit. I made a Monopoly game for two of my nieces, turned another image (my niece's soccer team) into a jig-saw puzzle, and created an inspirational poster for the runner in the family, using a picture I had taken of her running in a race. In addition I made photo-cards for the adults to use throughout the year. I didn't realize until we opened gifts just how useful my photos were in creating presents. My friend Linda sold desk calendars this year, utilizing her beautiful photos from Hawaii. The calendar is a perfect size for my desk at school, and at home, and so I will also enjoy the art of photography. What is next year going to bring? Will my family be overwhelmed with images on t-shirts, mugs, magnets, banners, bookmarks, mouse pads, etc... Ha!! Ok...I'm getting punchy..time to get going.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

I apologize for the lack of quality today; however, I left my camera at my sister's house leaving me with my point and shoot. And I'm always struggling with this camera! Anyway, I've shopped, wrapped and shopped some more and now I am heading out to my family's house for gift giving and eating! The gifts above are the ones I worry most about. See the "J", "M", "J", and "L"? Well my four nieces are getting more difficult to buy for and I always hope of giving the best gifts possible to them. Last night, the five of us went out to eat at Applebees and then headed to the park of lights in Albany. We sang carols, listened to Jamie count animals in the lights- she counted over 100!, and enjoyed good food. Though we were tired it helped get us all get into the X-Mas Spirit!

What is Christmas without Santa?? He came to my house yesterday and delivered a present that I was told was lost in the UPS system. I had given up on the present long ago, and then, suddenly it arrived at my doorstep just in time! There is a Santa! He wears brown and operates a large brown truck but he exists!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peace On Earth

The day before X-Mas Eve.....Thinking about today's image, I decided to return to a place that gives me comfort (oddly)- the cemetery. I took this photo a few months ago, before the snow had fallen and the seasons had changed. I returned to take the same image with some snow as the highlight of the picture. The snow adds interest to the pine trees and makes the image more cozy. I still believe the actual scene is more beautiful in person. Some scenes I just don't think translate as well in a photo.

The cemetery also houses this little chapel. It used to sit at the end of one of the beautiful rows of pine trees as seen above. For some inexcusable reason, the cemetery has cut down the entire row of trees and so now this chapel sits naked, exposed to the road and the hundreds of gravestones that sit ahead of it. The chapel is still quaint and I noticed the sun in the right position. I liked how it turned out, with the sun setting quickly just over the edge of the roof.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Images Galore!

Holiday images are difficult to pass up during this challenge of taking a photo EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE!!! Not that I am not enjoying this daily chore...I mean passion....but since I have Jan, Feb, March, April, May...on and on....I need to utilize these opportunities when they here is another set of holiday photos. The photo above was taken at school early in the morning (don't ask why I'm there so early..and yes I know it's vacation). The bottom photo was taken on a street in Amsterdam. Perhaps tomorrow will turn up something a bit more creative...I can only hope.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

An Angel "Working The Runway"

As you can see, I had some time today to learn more about my filters. Experimenting with different viewpoints of the angel, along with utilizing different filters, some interesting images were made.
Using my lightbox to eliminate background, I kept the images simple, concentrating more on the color and texture that each filter created. My "model" was easy to work with and took direction very well, so that was very helpful to me. Every model wants to be a star and I think this angel is now one...or is that she came from a star?
Anyway, she was a gift to me from a coworker who thought that I had a tough year and wanted me know that someone is looking after me all the time. People are special aren't they?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Holiday Picture and Then Another Picture Inside The Bulb

This wasn't going to be my post today; however, when I enlarged it and saw my mother in the doorway, I decided to show it. Why? Because my mother was instructing me on how to take the image. She told me how she took a few holiday photos herself, outside, using props. I was sort of focusing on my own image, but to have her suggestions made me smile broadly....well maybe just a bit later.

Not my post today- Just something I found interesting!

Browsing through my photos, I came across this one. I never posted this picture because I didn't like it at the time; however, for some reason I find it interesting today. I'll be back later with my "today" post!

Friday, December 19, 2008

X-Mas Spirit at School!

Here are two of my students enjoying a reward that they won! They won a Gingerbread House and were able to build it along with their Math teacher. I intruded to see their progress.

I think they did a great job! They certainly had better self-control that me. I don't think they stole any of the candies. My house would be rather bare, considering most of the decorations would be in my stomach!

The final product! I'm ready to move in!

My final image is capturing the many colors of the project!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who is gorgeous, talented, fun-loving and very tolerant of my camera??? Jenna!

Like Cher, Madonna and Oprah, "Jenna" is a name that stands least in our family! Jenna has a personality that can light up a room! Her enthusiasm and energy are contagious. Can you tell I'm a proud uncle? I would like to keep Jenna young and yet I'm so excited to see what she decides to do with her life as an adult. Will she go to college? Which one and to major in what? Will she have kids and a family? Remain single and travel the world? I am confident that she will achieve whatever she desires, using her heart and mind to its fullest extent. Thanks Jenna for allowing your uncle to take another photograph for his blog!
This wreath was my Christmas card last year...I think. I like the image and so it is my 2008 Blog's "Christmas Card" for anyone that visits my site. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dedication #2- Linda, Photographer, Friend (check her blog out..she is the one with camera in hand, to the right)

When Linda mentioned that she is a fan of "The King", I knew exactly the picture that I would take one day. Well, today was that day! As a history teacher I have the pleasure of exploring all different time periods in American History. The Roaring Twenties was a decade I would most enjoy traveling back in time to experience; however, the 1950s/60s is a very close second! What Elvis meant to a generation of young and old alike is unmeasurable. His energy, his moves, his lyrics and his lifestyle kept Americans buying records and glued to TV. They also went out in large numbers to see his movies! Did you know that Elvis flirted with Mary Tyler Moore and she turned him down? Now, she says, that is one regret from her past! Funny, but the point is that Elvis was larger than life to many. Linda, since you enjoy his music so much, here is your dedication!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Dedication To Trish- friend, photographer (check out her blog!) Trish is the lovely lady in the black and white box to the right of this title.

This 365 day challenge, to take and post a photo a day, has really stretched my creativity, photography skills and mental stability. Having said that, I decided that I will dedicate a picture to each member of the photography club which I belong. This first dedication is for my friend Trish, an Obama supporter. I know that she will smile seeing this picture and that is the reason for me taking it today. Obama, though not of my political leanings, is an example of America's greatness and a testament to the continued growth of our country. America has elected a black man to the presidency in 2008, wonderfully progressive considering the country has a long history of slavery and civil rights problems. I wish Obama well because I will benefit from him being a good president. I saw a statistic yesterday that nearly 70 percent of people polled have faith that Obama will govern the United States with the best of intentions. The country needs to feel positive and hopeful and I do hope that Obama delivers.
Trish, here it is....your dedication!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Childhood Memories

I loved my matchbox cars! I had the coolest collection (in my opinion) because I didn't just have the shiny sports cars, I had realistic matchbox cars. I set up all sorts of scenarios inside as well as outside on warm days.

My cars always did the appropriate things. My trucks didn't race, they loaded and unloaded construction equipment. My crane always worked and service vehicles were always operating at peak efficiency. When an accident occurred the response was swift by emergency personnel. I even had these small plastic road signs that I would place around "town" so that my cars had traffic rules to obey. I was so proud of these signs because they were from my family in Germany. Imagine the confusion in my American towns when the stop signs were oddly shaped and the speed limits were in kilometers!

Not all was well though! The occasional attack from dinosaurs and a spider-man, gone wrong, kept the townspeople on alert! These invaders were always fought off by well trained army men and a giant barbie, stolen from my sisters' room.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Holidays!

This morning, as I was typing up a quiz for Monday, I was struck by the morning sun which was reflecting off my table tree. As we all do, I quickly grabbed my camera and tripod and snapped away.
5 minutes later the clouds blocked the sun and the decoration was not nearly as attractive. "Snooze You Lose"...luckily I wasn't snoozing this morning! Have a great holiday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Ice Hangs On!

Schenectady and Glenville are still overwhelmingly iced over. I have never seen anything like it! I went to Photo Images, now open on Saturdays, and was blown away by the amount of ice that lingers on every tree, fence, wire, etc. Traffic lights are still out and many have no power. I felt rather guilty admiring the beauty of it all when so many homes and businesses are dealing with the damage of fallen trees and downed power lines. I suspect that the people in these areas are also awestruck by the beauty, despite all the hassles the ice has caused. I'm loving the outdoor shots- continually avoiding the inside, still-life photos that this 365 day challenge will force me to take.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Which Do You Prefer? Blk/Wht or Color

What a beautiful day! An ice storm leaves behind gorgeous scenery, as the tree branches glisten in the sunlight. I'm thinking tomorrow will be another picturesque one!

This next picture is one that I took in Target's parking lot. Beauty everywhere!