Tag Archives: Photography

New year random photo dump

My 2014 New Year’s resolution is to blog more.  I was inspired by my cousin’s resolution to cancel her gym membership and my brother’s resolution to drink more.  Why should resolutions be designed to bum you out?  Start the year right with a resolution that will make you happy!  So I’m resolving to blog more, play with the dog(s)* more, and eat more pasta.  That first one may increase the down-scrolling and notification-deleting burden on you, my five loyal readers, but just think of it as additional exercise for your typing fingers!

In a move that is essentially burning through a month’s worth of good resolution-keeping material on the first day of 2014, herewith a photo dump from the back half of 2013, that is, random cellphone photos that entertain me without actually being worthy of an entire blog post.

From our favorite Denver deli, The Bagel Deli:  cheesy jalapeño knishes.  Just another reason I love the west!

{Image:  photo of handwritten sign advertising "Knishes!!! Cheesy Jalapeno."}

More Denver/Jewish humor:

{Image:  lighted sign on the side of a bar reading "Drink Gin & Tonikah/Happy Hanukkah."  Above that sign is a vertical sign showing that the bar is The Hornet.}

Behind the bar at Cholon which, besides having scary creatures in wine bottles, has amazing small plates like duck spring rolls.

{Image:  a wine bottle with yellow-colored roots and a snake inside.}

Green tea chai latte fail:

{Image:  overhead view of cup filled with slightly foamy green liquid.}

Saguaro explaining that it’s time to stop vegging in front of the computer and start throwing the tennis ball.

{Image:  photo of laptop keyboard.   In the upper right hand corner is a tennis ball and just to the right of that, a dog's nose.}

A little light reading on my way to my cousin’s bridal shower in Portland, Maine.

{Image:  photo of newspaper headline, "Shark off Boothbay likely a great white, B1."}

When shopping for yard clean-up, I had to admire the attention to detail in the browser tab icon for Pet Scoop:

{Image: long horizontal clip from the tabs that appear at the top of an internet browser indicating the open tabs. On the left, the tab contains the Google logo of a bright red M, and reads "Inbox - amyfrobertson." On the right, the tab contains an icon resembling a document and reads "Untitled document." In the middle, the tab reads, "Denver Pooper Scoop" and includes a logo resembling a pile of dog poop.}

I know on some level I should be offended by this, but I found myself more amused, and admiring the entrepreneurial spirit.

{Image:  signage from front of the Denver strip club called "Shotgun Willie's."  The sign reads, "Topless Gift Wrapping Thurs & Fri."  The Shotgun Willie's logo above the sign is an oversized shotgun, arcing downward.}

We were very sad to say goodbye to our favorite tapas joint, Ondo’s, where we had a typically amazing meal last night, its last night before closing.  Really hoping the owners will find a good space and reopen elsewhere.

{Image:  painted mural with a waiter carrying a tray with a bottle, viewed from the back, and a store front with the logo "Ondo's"}

Then we closed out the year in typical party-animal fashion:

{Image:  a few of a sofa, dog and television from the perspective of the person stretched out in the sofa.  So along the left side, legs in sweatpants ending in feet in striped socks.  Next to the legs a golden retriever; in the background, a tv showing a hockey game.}

Happy New Year to all and onward to 2014!


*New puppy coming later this month!  Will make the “more blogging” resolution really easy!

I love the West

I flew to Albuquerque this afternoon.  Now hanging at the airport to meet my stepfather and drive up to Santa Fe for my stepbro’s 50th birthday.   Quick flight, but I chose a window seat on the right side of the plane so I could play with the camera.  The views reminded me why I’m such a happy immigrant to the Mountain Time Zone.

This accidental shot that turned out to be a good bookend for the start of the trip.

{Image: photo of the photgrapher's feet taken looking straight down.  Feet are in hiking shoes; jeans and the end of a scarf are also visible, as are two pieces of luggage.}

Fly Frontier! Until They Go Bankrupt!

{Image: photo taken from the window of a plane. In the right foreground is the engine with the legend "FlyFrontier.com."  In the background, snow covered foothills.}

Couple of photos from the plane:

{Image:  photo taken from a plane of a river with snow-covered banks.}

{Image:  Photo of mesas taken from plane.}

{Image:  photo of mesas taken from plane.}

Little bit of a bumpy landing:

{Image: photograph of clouds taken from airplane.}

The Albuquerque airport.  The light and coloring in the west are so amazing, even the airport is beautiful.

{Image:  photo of airport taken from the runway.  The building is a light pink adobe and the jetways are all turquoise.  To the right of the jetways, the building contains large mirrored windows in the shape of New Mexico's  state symbol.}

Now ensconced in the Sunport’s faux western workspace, pretending to edit a brief (hi, co-counsel!) while in fact playing with photos and receiving regular Bronco updates from Tim.

More from the photo archive

This time, from my Dad’s experiences at the Sebago School and Camp Ironwood, run by Matt and Margaret Werner in St. Louis (school) and Harrison, ME (Ironwood).

From the camp — I just loved these first two:

{Image: black and white photo of a person diving off of a dock into a lake.  The diver's image is reflected in the lake.}

{Image: black and white photo of a person diving into the water, but all we see is the person's legs, perfectly straight, angled from their toes at the center of the photo to the bottom right where their torso disappears off the edge of the photo. To the left are several canoes, and in the background, a boat.}

{Image:  black and white photo, taken from above looking straight down on two people sitting by the side of a stone building.  The person on the right is wearing saddle shoes and has their feet extended in front of them, with a plate of food on their lap.  The person on the left is wearing a sleeveless undershirt and holding a drink  (coffee?) in his left hand.  The photographer's feet on the edge of the building above are visible in the foreground.}

The next few are from a driving trip the school/camp took through the western United States:

{Image:  1940s wood-paneled station wagon parked at the side of the road.  Five teen agers lean against it, one of whom is looking through a lens of some sort; the others facing the camera.}

{Image:  black & white photo of Garden of the Gods, which is a series of rock formations in a high-desert landscape.  A man is in the foreground looking at the scenery.}

{Image: black & white photo of a narrow alley with brick buildings on either side and passageways overhead.}

{Image:  Black & white photo of a small log church with a cross on top.}

{Image:  black and white photo of a rectangular window with a cross silhouetted against the middle.}

{Image: black & white photo of a large bear crossing a road.}

{Image: black & white photo of a large bear resting by the side of a wooded road.}

Photos from LA

I’m in LA for the Disability Rights Legal Center’s Disability Rights Summit.  Great event. Saw lots of old friends and put lots of faces to internet names.  Presented on fair housing with Fernando Gaytan, a wonderful attorney from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Couple of photos:

Photo of buildings. Most are beige. One low building in the center is bright red and yellow.


Photo of the side of a building with brick shaped windows, some of which are open and jutting out.


Photo of construction crane and building framework at dusk.


Had dinner at Hama Sushi, where they really really really only serve sushi.

Photo of hand-lettered sign that reads "please read. only sushi, sashimi. no tempura. no teriyaki. no noodles. no rice alone. minimum charge $12 per sperson without beverage."

And it was magnificent!!!


We have been lucky so far and have not been flooded.  Two worms have attempted to shelter in place by crawling in the back door, and our neighbor’s lawn generated this awesome shroom:


Close up of large white mushroom in the middle of a lawn with trees in the background.

Because what would you photograph if you just got your new Olympus EX-25 Extension Tube?


The EX-25 is a piece that goes between the camera body and the lens that permits you to take macro-like photos with an ordinary lens.  It has the advantage over a true macro lens of being way less expensive, so I can goof around with this style of photography without investing a lot of money.  Many of the reviews noted that you’ll probably want to use a tripod, and they appear to be correct.  But, having just taken the device out of the box and put it on my camera, attaching the camera to a tripod would have required far more patience than I have.  And a slightly greater depth of field would have brought more of the nostril into focus.  I have a lot to learn — but this is going to be fun!

Like renting a Ferrari to a teenager.

We’re headed to Vegas on vacation for the next few days.  While Tim is funding our next project at the poker tables, I’m going to take off for Red Rock Canyon with a camera.  Just for the heck of it, I rented a lens:


This is waaaaayyyyy too powerful a lens for my photographic abilities, not to mention that

  • It weighs one (1) ton;*
  • It costs $2,500.**

The autofocus makes a sound not unlike a concrete mixer and it arrived at our office in this:


which has had me humming the Get Smart*** theme song ever since.  Given the weight and the price, it’s pretty unlikely I’ll ever buy it, but it cost about $150 to rent for the weekend, and I’m hoping will generate some awesome photos.  At the very least, I’ll look like a badass photographer — or a seriously overcompensating dude.


* Approximate weight.

** OK, OK, $2,499.

*** If you’re over 45, you did not need to click the link to know what I’m talking about, and you may not be able to get the tune out of your head for the next few days.  You’re welcome.

My father’s photo archive, part one of many.

I have finally started on the project of archiving and (selectively) scanning my father’s photographs.  He was an avid photographer, if by “avid” you mean “relentless.”  In a pre-digital age, when developing photos was costly and time-consuming, he would take massive numbers of similar photos.  I can’t remotely imagine what his archive would look like had he lived to own a digital camera.

His photos span his own teenage years in the late 40s and 50s to the years just preceding his passing in 1997.  From skinny ties


to sideburns


to grandfatherhood


His equipment spanned the Minox to the Poloroid, but he really hit his stride in the disposable camera era.  I’m not sure he used a non-disposable camera after about 1990.

The organizing challenge is also more intense for more recent photos, that is, those taken after One Hour Photo began offering two-for-one prints.  Dad often got three- or even four-for-one, resulting in giant stacks of photos for each roll, or more frustrating, duplicate rolls scattered throughout the collection.

I should have taken a picture of the starting point:  three large (3’ x 3’ x 3’) boxes of unsorted photos — most stored in all of the variations on envelopes that developers used from the 40s to the 90s, but many loose photos and negatives as well.  I have now gone through all of the photos that remained in envelopes and more or less figured out their year or at least decade.  This process brought home the need for some sort of consistent way to organize them — and a search for what turns out to be a rare thing:  a no-frills way to store large numbers of photos.

Working hypothesis:  Damn you, scrapbookers!

A search for “photo envelopes” yielded sites willing to sell me heavy-duty envelopes just thick enough to mail one presumably very important photograph, but no envelopes sufficient to hold a roll of 36 (or 72 or 108) photos.  I moused around for a couple of days, and then hit our local Mike’s Camera to see if perhaps they sold in bulk the sort of envelopes you used to get your developed photos back in.*  They didn’t but the guy behind the counter recalled he’d purchased them in bulk back in the day when his store actually developed photos.  He had the name, no!, not the name, but he did have the 800 number.  And bless the internet, a search on the 800 number took me to the Mackay Mitchell Photopak company, which sells “print boxes,” 100 for $25.10, in two sizes.

Print box 1Print box 2

So, I figured, I had just been using the wrong term.  Clearly all I’d have to do would be to search on “print box” instead of “photo envelope” and I’d have a wide range of choices.  Not!  Here are typical results for “print box”:

Print box 3

print box 4

print box 5

And here’s where I blame scrapbookers:  it is apparently no longer acceptable to store photos in cheap, plain, buy-in-bulk envelopes or thin cardboard boxes.  They have to be archived — no, make that “curated”** — in something cute, expensive, and space-consuming.

I placed my bulk order with Mackay Mitchell.

This post took a sort of unexpected Andy Rooney turn, so I’ll wait til the next to start posting some of my Dad’s more remarkable photos.


* Yes, I did that grammar on purpose.  Grotesque but sorta cool, no?

** It will not surprise you to learn that I’m planning a post on the overuse of the word “curate,” which has escaped its home in the museum and wandered off to cover any set of two or more things that someone has chosen to put side by side for any reason in any medium.  For example, “I curated my eggs and toast this morning.”  See!  How awesome is that?!

Santa Fe photos, part deux

Happy New Year!

As promised, the photos from the Santa Fe part of the road trip.  Got up early Friday to try to catch good light in downtown Santa Fe . . . starting with the store next to my hotel:


Next to the gun shop and the hotel was a sculpture gallery.  (Welcome to Santa Fe!)  I liked this piece against the excruciatingly blue Santa Fe sky:


Then had some fun with it in Lightroom:


Then spent two hours walking around downtown Santa Fe, first with the 14-42mm:




Photoshopped an electrical wire out of this one!  Progress!


I just loved this statue of St. Francis of Assisi dancing on water.  He’s dancing so joyously his toes are curled!


Getting set up to sell jewelry to tourists:



Pause for hot coffee and cheese danish and a switch to the Nifty Fifty — at the Burro Alley Café.


The eye of the aforesaid burro:


The rare white buffalo:


Fun with HDR and Photomatix.

AR283041_2_3_tonemapped v2

Loved these ladies – in a store window (also HDR):


More adobe and blue sky:



And my favorite, though I’m not even Christian:


To be continued… with photos of my step-brother, his gorgeous office, and his cat.  Yes, this very very dog-oriented blog is about to host its first cat photo.  Be sure to tune in!

Photographing musicians

Went to the The Snug to listen to some Irish music and watch the Broncos.  (Tim might list the activities in a different order.)  One of the musicians had asked if I could take pictures and, with a warning that it would likely take me a few sessions to figure out what I was doing, I gave it a try.  Indeed, I have a lot to learn.  I didn’t want to use a flash because I thought it would be disruptive, so I ended up shooting at 1600 ISO, resulting a lot of noise.   But the combination of shooting indoors with the afternoon light coming through the windows made it hard for me to figure out a good exposure.  I took over a hundred photos and these were the only ones within shouting distance of good.

Still and all, it was enormous fun.  The music was awesome, and spontaneous Irish step dancing broke out.  A really great afternoon with some great friends.

(Updated to add photo of Cara and replace Kevin’s photo with one less pink.  I recalibrated the color temperature in Lightroom, though I did not attempt to calibrate it with the number of whiskeys consumed.)

Cara, woman of many talents:  fiddlin (above) and signin (below):

Cara at the Snug

Aaaaand, you’d never know this guy is a lawyer:

Kevin at the Snug