May 2007

Graveside Flowers

Graveside Flowers

You may find this a bit odd to use as a photo destination, but visiting a cemetery on a holiday will give you plenty of opportunity to find beautiful flowers to photograph.  I took several different bouquets, of which this is one.  I also took some that were naturally growing there that I may post here soon.  Nothing fancy, just some pretty flowers.  Enjoy!

Link to wallpaper sized version.

Canon 20D, 24-105L, 1/640 at 4.0 and 100ISO



Freedom Comes at a Price

I debated on posting this photo because I know the current war situation is a hot topic, with valid arguments behind many opposing viewpoints.  In the interest of recognizing the greater concept of freedom, I recognize all those that serve their country when called, regardless of the reasons and politics behind it.

Freedom is not free.  There is a price paid by so many, and we enjoy the benefits.  Not much brings a quicker tear to my eye than when I see a ceremony honoring a fallen soldier, or even a funeral for someone with military honors for having served.  I have seen this for others, and I have witnessed it personally for my father and others in my family.

No matter who you are, I will always give a place in line ahead of me, a word of thanks, and support you in any way I can.  For the price you pay, I owe you a debt of gratitude.  Thank you.

Link to desktop wallpaper sized versionLink to opinion article in WSJ from which the quote was taken.

Canon 20D, 24-105L, 1/400 at f4.0 and 100ISO

In Memory of Loves Ones

Caring for those past on

In Memory of

On this day where we remember loves ones past on, we especially pay tribute to those that gave their lives in defending our liberties. Though this may be a solemn occasion in most cases, I also choose to think of it as a celebration of those loved ones past on before us as well.

I have no graves nearby I can visit to remember my family. My father and his father both chose to be cremated and have their ashes spread over their favorite mountain. I pay tribute to them whenever I can visit that special place in Montana where we fulfilled their wishes. Personally, I would like to do something similar. My mother-in-law said it well; she would like to have a park bench installed and dedicated to her rather than take up space in a cemetery. It is a personal choice though, and no choice is right or wrong.

For those that do choose to be buried, it does provide a place that we can visit and remember fondly those we love. Today I went to the local cemetery near me with the thought of taking photographs of flowers, flags and the military memorial recently installed there. I did take these photos, though I became quickly more interested in seeing those that were not only visiting graves, but taking time to care for them.

The love and care these people were putting into the care of these simple memorials to their loved ones really struck me. The man in this photo was scraping weather build up from around the lettering with a razor blade, and carefully cleaning out each letter in the stone. What a testament to his love and respect for those buried there. I hope we can all have this same feelings for those we owe our lives to, both our ancestors and those that have fought for our freedoms.

I love you dad. I miss you too.

Link to desktop wallpaper sized version.

Canon 20D, 24-105L, 1/500 at f4.0 and 100ISO

Dolphin and Trainer

 Dolphin and Trainer

Let’s Play!

When we attended Sea World, a new baby dolphin had been born.  I was actually disappointed.  Though we enjoyed seeing the small dolphin, they didn’t have their normal show.  The high flying dolphins are actually one of my favorite shows to watch.  I’ll post a photo of this new baby soon.

Anyway, because of the new baby, the marine biology side of these shows kicks in.  There were multiple trainers taking copious notes on all the activities of the baby dolphin and mother.  Three other “companion” dolphins were in the same tank as part of the acclimation process for this new baby.  One of these dolphins came over to say hi to the note taker for this shot.  I thought it showed the kind of relationship these mammals have with their trainers as he hung around and interacted with the human on the other side of the glass  An interesting aside from the rest of what was going on.

Link to wallpaper-sized version.

Canon 20D, 70-200 2.8L, 1/200 at f/8.0 and 100ISO

Bat Ray

Bat Ray

Bat Ray

As promised, here is another photo from Sea World; this time we have a bat ray. If you can’t tell, I am fascinated by animals in general, but especially marine life. Perhaps it is because this underwater world is a place we have such difficulty visiting, and even more difficulty viewing and interacting with the underwater creatures. I have my scuba certification, but have yet to make an excursion into the deep blue with a camera. This is definitely on my list of things to do.

Our kids enjoyed the touch tanks where they were able to see and feel these creatures up close. Later, being able to see them in the large tanks added to the “wow” factor.

Incidentally I had the camera turned in portrait mode at the moment this ray “flew” by, so I only had a chance to capture it at this angle. Though I like the portrait look of many photos, some was lost cropping for the site and wallpaper versions. Good reminder why I always try to capture every moment in both photographic directions whenever possible.

Canon 20D, 24-105L, 1/160 at f4.0 and 800ISO

Photo: Fascination



My kids loved the trip we took, though they took a little warming up to Sea World. I wouldn’t have predicted it, but the lack of rides was a surprise to them. I guess we had built that aspect of our trip up too much. Nevertheless, after a bit they loved seeing all the different sea creatures, especially those they could touch.

This was my favorite photo of the day incorporating my kids with the animals (aren’t they one and the same?!). The walkway took us under the shark tank and then by some other tanks including these eels. He was fascinated by them. I think I particularly liked this one because he was taking a drink from the Camelback he was wearing, which gives it a pseudo scuba diver appearance. Anyway, hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

And of course, a link to a wallpaper sized version.

Canon 20D, 28-105L, 1/100 at f/4 and 800ISO

Photo: Sea Lion

Sea Lion

On our recent vacation we visited Sea World San Diego, and had a blast. Out of all the theme parks we were visiting, this was the one I was most looking forward to. I enjoy marine life, as I do wildlife in general. Granted, these are animals in captivity, but that still doesn’t keep me from shooting some photos of them. Call it cheating if you must, but they are much easier to capture than those in the wild.

I ended up not taking that many photos as I had promised my wife I would put the camera away more on this trip so we could focus on helping the kids have a great time. I’ll several other over the next couple of days out of what I did capture.

By request, I have started removing the borders from my photos so they make better wallpapers. Also, for the photogs out there I will start including the description of my photo settings and equipment used.

Here is the link for this one. Enjoy!

Canon 20D, 24-105L, 1/200 at f/4 and 100ISO

Flowing Water

Flowing Water

Taking photos of water can be challenging at times. During the middle of the day when it is reflective you have to use a polarizing filter for decent results, which most of us don’t have with us. One fun technique to do is to take water when dusk is approaching or in a lower light situation. Even point and shoot cameras can pull this off, particularly those that have even minimal manual mode options to allow you to turn off the flash and use a long shutter speed.

Though this shot isn’t one of my favorites, it is one I took at just such a low light moment. The effect of the flowing (blurred) water is simply because the shutter was open for a bit and the stationary items remain crisp while the moving water is blurry. Typically blurry = bad in photography, but not always.

To pull this off you need to be using a tripod or set your camera down on something to hold steady. Other than that, experiment until you get a shot that looks like you want. This is where digital is much handier than film because you can preview the photo to see if you nailed the settings just so.

Link to the wallpaper sized version.

Colorado Birding

No Photos!

Today I have another couple of photos from my Colorado vacation a couple of years ago. I took my camera with me everywhere to try and catch as many wildlife shots as possible while not taking away from my family time. I love taking photos, but family comes first! Besides, my family wouldn’t let me forget to put them first 🙂

Unfortunately I am terrible at remembering species and identifying birds, so I will have to leave this one nameless. This little one was found when we stopped for lunch on an alpine drive up to incredible altitudes. The scenery was beautiful, and I have plenty of those shots, but I love the close up photos of animals perhaps even more. He was very interested in what we were having for lunch and kept circling through the trees surrounding us.

My family all had a good laugh at watching me circling with my long lens trying to catch him sitting still. He wasn’t very obliging, so it took a little while to catch him. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to photographing birds, and any animal for that matter.

Here is another shot at a different angle. Which do you think is better?

Catching a Moment

As always, here is a link to both photos in wallpaper size.