Archive for May, 2009

If you believed they put a man on the moon…

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I’ve been trying to get a halfway decsent picture of the moon and I finally kinda got one.
Moon

For the photo curious only: I tried for about an hour to get a shot and was just getting big orange fuzzy blobs.   My mistake was in thinking that the camera knew the exposure better than I would.  (This is one of the few times this has happened)  I was using every auto priority thingy that it had.  Aperture, shutter speed, full auto, etc.  I had looked at exposure settings of other pictures of the moon and they weren’t even close to what the camera was telling me, so I finally set it to full manual and dialed in what I wanted and it worked!  For reference, it’s shot at ISO 1600, shutter speed was 1/160 and the aperture is f11.

The Riverwalk Expansion Tour – part 2

Friday, May 29th, 2009

After leaving the VFW, we meandered around to the Jones Street bridge.
Approaching Jones Ave

The art exhibit here was auditory. There were speakers placed under the bridge and these guys were working on the setup. The guy with white hair in all black is the artist. We actually got to hear it being tested on the walk back. Pretty neat stuff.
Jones Ave Audio

After Jones St. Bridge, we headed up the walk toward the San Antonio Museum of Art.
After Jones Ave

With the Museum of Art on our left, this beautiful water feature was on our right.
Water Feature

We were told that, not only were all the water features we were seeing put there for beauty, the also help put oxygen back in the water to help sustain the wild life.

Just past the water feature was the Gloria Galt River Landing of the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Museum of Art Landing

As we moved past the Museum of Art, we passed under Interstate 35, and, of course, another art exhibit. This time it was a school of large panfish suspended over the river.
Fish

When the wind blows, the fish will look like they are swimming. Whether John Navarrete here will swim when the wind blows also, has yet to be determined.
John and the Fish

We were also told about a colony of bats that lives just past the fish under the bridge. As dusk approaches, they emerge and fly out for food. It is said to be quite the sight.

The final show piece of our tour was the grotto.
The Grotto

Part of the ‘grotto complex’ is this huge, beautiful bench with the sea shell in wall behind.
Seashell Bench

We wound around and up to the street level and got a pretty good view from above.
Grotto close to entrance

And if you were brave enough to enter…
Old man at the top of the stairs

…you could follow the stairs into the grotto. Although it wasn’t turned on while we were there, there is going to be a waterfall that drops from the roof to the pool in the lower part of the picture.
Inside the grotto

Just a couple more. Here’s a picture of the spire at the top of the grotto,
Grotto spire

I have been trying to shoot moving water lately so when we arrived back at the lock station and I saw the spill way was lit, I couldn’t resist giving it a shot.
Water at the lock

All in all, I had a complete blast. I think San Antonio is really putting it’s best foot forward with this project. A couple of things to note, there won’t be any restaurants or hotels on this part of the Riverwalk making it a much more peaceful, quiet walk than the main walk. Also, the grand opening of the Expansion Project will be on Saturday morning with dedications, speeches and free barge rides. Should be a great, great experience.

The Riverwalk Expansion Tour – Part 1

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of getting an early tour of the new Riverwalk expansion project.  As of this morning,  I have only had time to edit a few photos, but there will be even more forthcoming.

We started the tour with out tourguide, Steve Shower at the Brooklyn Ave Bridge.  While we only walked about a mile, the new expansion project covers 1.33 miles and stretches from Lexington Ave to Josephine.

Brooklyn Ave Sign

At Brooklyn, is the lock and dam where the barges can change heights. They also had a really cool pavillion. The floor of the pavillion has a great mosaic of a compass which they removed the cardboard from for just a sec. Unfortunately, by the time I got in position and could see through the crowd, they had recovered it. Consequently, since I couldn’t shoot down at the mosiac, I looked up and took this through the roof.
Up through the roof

Each underpass on the walk had a different art project. This one has glow in the dark paint in the ceiling, along with mirrors (The mirrors are where the orange is.
Glow in the dark

I’m not sure the red life saver was part of the exhibit, but it kinda fit in.
Lifesaver

Next, we passed the Sam Houston VFW post where we were greeted with bottle clinking by all.
VFW Green Table

VFW

VFW Folks

Close to the VFW post, was this neat little pond right in the middle of the Riverwalk.
Center Pond

That’s all I have for now, but I will be editing and posting some more tonight. Stay tuned!

Roadrunner photos with the new lens

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

My new lens (70-300 zoom) came today and so I naturally started shooting. As I wandered around the property, I saw one of the roadrunners out running around and I began to try to follow him to get a shot. I had tried before with the kit lens, but roadrunners are great at making sure you don’t get close. I took shot after shot but between the zoom being maxed, me shaking a bit and the roadrunner moving, I came up with zilch that was usable. He hopped over a fence into some brush so I just decided to take a look at everything I took and see if anything was salvageable. After a few minutes, I heard rustling in the trees and look up and there he was, in the top of a tree. It’s not that unusual, but we never really see them up there. I slowly eased off the lens cap, zoomed in, took a deep breath and snapped the following:

RoadRunner3

RoadRunner1

RoadRunner2

My cheap little lens worked like a champ when I can use a steady hand. The tree was about 35-40 feet away and he was 25-30 feet up it. Not bad for day one!

I’m one of a small group to see the early unveiling!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

A small number of us San Antonio Social Media types have been invited to come have a look at the new Riverwalk Expansion Project ahead of the grand unveiling on 30 May! It’s gonna be a blast! I’ve got the camera all ready to go to shoot and can hardly wait. Watch for the pictures here!

Perrier Blues

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

I had a blast at the Podcamp San Antonio 3.0 un-conference today.  I learned quite a bit and got to see a lot of old friends.  I took some photos of the event which have been posted to the San Antonio Pocasting and New Media Meetup site, but I did take a photo on the more ‘artistic’ side.

I have to say I have NEVER had Perrier until today, and probably won’t have it again.  But it does come in a neat looking bottle and the bubbles make a cool picture.

‘I just can’t lose…those Perrier blues…’ – Jimmy Buffet
Perrier Blues

Some more photos from around the ranch

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Barb Black and White

Black and Yellow Warrior

Keyboard Black and White

Purple Ribbon

More Colored Smoke Photography

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Still working at learning to do these.

Red Smoke

Purple Smoke

My Irritating Wal Mart Adventure

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Our old car had it’s battery replaced with one from *gulp* Wal Mart about a year ago.  I know, I know, I avoid shopping their too, but it was at a good price, had a three year warranty and was conveinient, so I bought it.  It officially crapped out last week, at less than a year old, so I took it back to the Wal Mart I bought it at, which is approx 35 miles from my house.  I was told there was a line to check the batteries and it would be about an hour or so before they could look at it.  They took my name and cell phone number and said that they would call me as soon as they had a chance to check it.  Consequently, I set out to kill some time.

After about 2 and a half hours, I decided to go back and see what the hold up was.  Turns out they had checked it and hour and 45 minutes ago, and sure enough, it was dead.  (duh)  They went and got me a new battery and then had to call a Customer Service rep to handle the actual swap out because the folks in the auto place aren’t about to do it.

After a 15 minute wait the customer service person showed up and asked me if I had a reciept.  I said no but that the battery clearly had the purchase date on it, along with the Wal Mart warranty and instructions.  She sighed and rolled her eyes and began punching stuff in on the register and eventually several pieces of paper spewed forth, one of which I had to sign and the other, I was told, was my new warranty.  I smiled, thanked them, took my leave of Wally World and drove the 35 miles back home.

I arrived home, rested for about an hour after my urban adventures and then decided to go install the new battery.  I popped the hood on the car, hefted the battery onto its new home, grabbed the cables and then…immediately noticed that the posts on this battery were on the opposite sides of the battery than the others.  I tried crossing them, but the cables weren’t long enough.  I tried turning the battery around 180 degrees but alas, the leads would not reach in this configuration either.  After a few carefully chosen explitives, I knew that my urban adventures were far from over.  I grabbed the battery and the warranty (they had not given me a reciept) and jumped in my car and eaded the 35 miles back to town.

I arrived at Wally World, grabbed a cart and hauled the battery back to the automotive dept.  I explained my plight to the man who was at the counter who seemed very confused.  I explained again about the posts being backwards and I needed the model with the opposite configuration.  He scratched his head and asked what kind of car I was putting it in.  “What does that matter!”, I wondered.  But, I told him the type of car and he looked it up in his little, yellow book.

“You tried to put that one into your car?” he said pointing to the battery.  “That’s not the one it says you should use.  See, that’s the FS…you want the S.”

“Because the terminals are reversed, right?” I asked.  He acted as if I hadn’t said anything.

“So why did you buy this one?”

I felt my blood pressure begin to rise.  “Well, like I said, I didn’t.  I brought back an ‘S’ and your tech grabbed me an ‘FS’ accidentally for the exchange.  I need the exchanged for an ‘S’ please.”  He looked confused so I decided to try to help him out (big mistake)  Since the Customer Service person who had actually done the exchange hand an unusual name that I remembered AND I had seen her manning that silly podium thing they have in front of the check outs at all Wal Marts, I thought maybe she could short this out.

“M***** was the lady who exchanged it for me,” I offered.  He picked up the phone and paged a Customer Service Rep to Automotive.”  Hmmm…this guy is not the brightest bulb in the pack.  “Umm…M***** was working at that podium in front of the check out stands when I walked in.”

“I’m not sure if she is still here,” he responded.  “She was just a few minutes ago when I walked by.”

He sighed and seemed to try to look up the number for the stand where M***** was perched but failed.  Instead, he paged her and asked her to call automotive.  Soon the phone rang and he attempted to tell M***** who I was and what was wrong, a task he failed at miserably, but she said she was on the way.

As M***** rounded the corner, I felt some relief and my blood pressure begin to slowly drop.  Finally someone who knew what was going on.  I tried to explain yet again what had happened.  She sighed and rolled her eyes in that way that says ‘Why are you wasting my time you pimple on the rear end of progress?”  I began to feel my blood pressure rise again.  She put a key in the machine and started tapping the keys.  I handed her the warranty she had just given me 2 hours before and she also asked for my ID.  She began tapping the keys again.  About halfway through this process, she paused and turned to look at me.

“Now sir, Wal Mart policy is you can only do 3 exchanges without a reciept.  This is your second.”

“Umm…no, this is my first.  I admit to bringing back the battery earlier today without a reciept, and that’s 1.  But you guys gave me the wrong battery and you didn’t give me a reciept, just a warranty slip, which I brought back.”

She just looked at me with a blank stare.  I thought maybe a little clarification of my position was called for.  “You can’t expect me to be responsible for the fact that YOU GUYS got me the wrong replacement and YOU GUYS didn’t give me a reciept.”  Again blank stare.  Then she turns and goes back to tapping the keys.  Again, the machine vomits a ton of paperwork of which I have to sign one and then she hands me a warranty.

“Excuse me, but where is my reciept?” I asked.

“You didn’t return it with a reciept so we don’t give you one for the exchange,” she replied.

“But you just tried to count it against me when I had to bring it back without a reciept.  I have no reciept if I need to bring it back again.”

“Sir, Wal Mart policy is that if you don’t return it with a reciept, then we don’t give you a new one.”  I shot her the same blank stare she had shot me earlier, picked up my battery, walked out of the store and drove the 35 miles AGAIN back to my house.  So much for living green.

The only good part of the story is, when I got home, I dropped the battery in, connected the cables and it started right up.  That being said, I am renewing my efforts to avoid Wal Mart at all costs.

Colored Smoke

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Something I have been facinated with for a long time is the colored smoke photography of myla kent on flickr and Graham Jeffrey at sensitivelight.com.  I have really wanted to try it but wasn’t sure I could pull it off.  Last night I just gritted my teeth, found some stuff to use and did it.  My results are nowhere near as good as theirs, or the other people in the artsmoke group on filcr, but I think they turned out decent for a first try.  Here are the results:

Blue smoke on white

Tourquoise smoke on black

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