Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finished the Pictures from Steve and Crystals Wedding

I just finished editing and organizing the images from Steve and Crystals wedding! I have found new respect for those wedding photographers! Some really nice images came out. Take a look at the two videos below or the photo gallery here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Quick Video for Crystal and Steve!

Animoto is fun! I might have to get the full access to the site instead of just the freebie 30 second clips! Steve and Crystal (and any of those crazy family members viewing here) hope you enjoy the vids! Your wedding photos are coming along and will be posted to any day now (half of them are up there!)


30 Second Video From Steve and Crystal's 30 Second Wedding!

Here is a quick video I created with Animoto with some images from Steve and Crystals wedding. It was an awesome quick Las Vegas wedding, so what is more appropriatte than a quick video to highlight it!

I took a few pics while at their awesome wedding in Las Vegas! More images/videos to come. Enjoy! John

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yosemite and Mono Lake Fall colors

Just wanted to share a few images from my recent trip to Mono Lake and Yosemite in early October. It was 90 degrees the first few days and then an early snow dropped 6 inches of snow! The fall colors together with a fresh snow was a nice surprise!

I am partial to water, sunsets, moons and reflections and will go out of my way to chase these.

The "Painterly Aspens in Snow" was a new technique that a friend of mine uses quite often and I thought I would try - free hand panning (one of those few times the camera is off of the tripod!). I have quite a few images that DIDN'T turn out - this will take some time to perfect. I am VERY eager to see this printed on canvas.

The "Storm over Mono Lake" image was captured on a day with 1-2 foot waves that created this salt-brine foam around the edge of the lake - the 20-30 mph winds and sub-30 degree weather presented some challenges for this shot. I opted for a long exposure (4 second) to smooth out the waves to give a really mystical and different look of Mono Lake.

Critique, Comments and feedback are appreciated. Let me know which images you like the best!


"Reflections in the Eastern Sierra"

"Sunset at Tenaya Lake", Yosemite National Park - Tioga Pass

"Early Snow and Fall Colors in Yosemite"

"Painterly Fall Aspens in Snow" Yosemite National Park

"Storm at Sunset over Mono Lake"


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Epson Printer Utility 2 for my Epson 3800 keeps crashing!!

Argh!! Frustration! The Epson Printer Utility 2 for my Epson 3800 keeps crashing!! I am running OS X 10.5.5 on my dual G4 1GHZ MDD Mac. It seems to occur when I am doing a head cleaning to try to unclog the heads (the Epson 3800 is fanastic for NOT having any clogs but after not using it for a few weeks it has a few dots that won't print). It looks like Epson hasn't updated the software in this century - so far, this has been the only frustrating part of owning the Epson! Otherwise it prints beautiful images!! Stepping off soapbox. If anyone happens to know of a fix or wants a crash log to look at, feel free to post here! Thanks! John

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Way off topic... Purchased some new Toto Toilets! Toto Toilet Review

Ok, this has NOTHING to do with photography, but it is one of those events that must be documented :-) Since the economy hasn't been the best, we decided to look at saving some money on our monthly bills. Our water will has been averaging $150 every two months. So to help save money and personally jump start the economy, we purchased a few new toilets and I am now officially a toilet expert! On top of this, the Santa Clara County district is offering $125 per potty installed, and California State also has another $100 rebate.

We had a 1.6 Gallon Kohler Rialto that just wouldn't flush anything down. Obviously one of those early models that hadn't been redesigned, just the amount of water decreased. Our other one was a original coral color 5 gallon American Standard. I did tons of research and checked out many sites. Almost every person and plumber recommended to go with Toto.

Within Toto, there are many bells and whistles. We opted to go with a Toto Eco Ultramax 1.28 Gallon, Standard Height (for the kids!), with elongated bowl. In our master little bathroom, we went with the Toto Gwyneth . It has SanaGloss (some magical surface that makes it sterile and easy to clean), "Comfort Height" which is a little taller than normal and the super cool "Double Cyclone" flush system. This is also a 1.28 Gallon toilet. We looked at the Aquia II, but didn't like having to reach behind you to push the buttons. The .9 gallon flush is a great idea. The Verdict?! Both are awesome toilets! The kids love the soft-close seats that close automatically without waking up the house. Both are super quiet and really flush great! I highly recommend either of these - you can't go wrong! Our water bill should be lower in the next few months (although I think the kids like flushing them TOO much!).

Feel free to post comments, ask questions or check out my landscape photography :-)
Enjoy! John

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Best Buy Black Friday ad and Prices Appear to Suck!

So much for bargain basement deals... looks like retailers still don't have a clue. Engadget is reporting that Best Buy's Black Friday ad doesn't really have anything breathtaking - or worth sitting out for hours to get a bargain. As normal, better deals can be found online or can't be found at all. Everytime I actually go in a Macy's, you never see any of the top tier name brand merchandise on sale. Oh well. Time to wait for the after Xmas sales.

HDR with Photomatix Pro - Now at version 3.1

I just noticed that Photomatix Pro is at version 3.1 (October 24). It looks like a nice list of features including a Lightroom Export Plugin as well. I generally will only use HDR to blend images that are too challenging to do manually. HDR has gotten a bad reputation from folks who just crank up the settings on an image and create an unnatural image. It is a great tool when used widely. Another tip is to take the final HDR image and then blend that back in with your initial starting images. Back to work and more editing.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New HIgh-End Camera Bag - Gura Gear

I just finished listening to the latest episode of "This Week in Photography" which had Andy Biggs talking about shooting on safaris and his new line of photography gear bags. This is a brand new photo backpack called the Kiboko by Gura Gear. It looks like an awesome bag and at $399 it better be! It uses sail cloth material to save weight, be durable and water resistant. I might have to try one out! The one thing it appears to NOT have is storage for a laptop which would mean I would need to have another backpack just for that and other loose gear. Maybe they have another version in the work! I currently use a Lowepro Rover Plus which is ok - it has a slot on the back for a computer but the main disappointment is the top compartment is one big area but everything you put in it can fall down into the lower compartment! My pens, keys, coins all keep falling down into the lower section behind the padded comparments for the lenses (meaning they are essentially lost!)

I will keep you posted if I try out the Gura Gear! Cheers, John

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Outing at the Park

We walked over to Serra park in Sunnyvale this past weekend with the kids and had a fun time! I took the Nikon beast (Nikkor AF-S 28-70 f/2.8 ED) lens with me and had some fun shooting the kids! Laura loves the monkey bars - so much that she has blisters on her hands! Henry was totally goofy and running around everywhere! We gathered up leaves to bring home and had fun with those as well. Always great to share a few nice pics! The whole gallery is located here. The sun was low and getting ready to set allowing me to capture their faces with only the natural sun glow and awesome bokeh with the 2.8 lens! Wow... they keep growing up! Enjoy! John

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween from Sunnyvale California

With the kids now 3 and 5, Halloween has been up and coming on the family calendar for weeks now! Laura had her Halloween carnival at the elementary school and then the countdown started until we were going TRICK OR TREATING!!! The threat of rain was on us for the entire day, but we lucked out and didn't have any. Here is a shot of the gang heading out for Halloween! Those are my three on the left! Laura is a kitty cat, Henry is a jumping rabbit and Mary is the sheriff! Now -- time for my cut of the candy!! Cheers, John