Sunday, October 11, 2009


Tree bark is always good for some texture in a photo, but the weird spot on this tree trunk was a neat contrast to the rest of the bark.

Texture becomes the subject.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dreams Die Hard

When we lived in the Atlanta area in the late 1980's/early 90's, I started back to college to earn an engineering degree.

While there, I fell in love with Georgia Tech, right downtown in Atlanta.

I didn't have the stellar academic background to get into Ga. Tech and it had been almost ten years since I'd had any school, so I started back to school, and did very well at Southern Tech in Marietta, northeast of Atlanta and close to where we lived at the time.

My desire was to do well at Southern Tech and then hopefully transfer to Ga. Tech to finish my degree.

But working full time and going to school as much as possible left me facing at least a 7-8 year grind.

I eventually decided to move the family back to Louisiana where I was from, and where both Lovely Wife and I had lots of family for support, and I finished my degree at Louisiana Tech in 1996.

I don't regret for a second the path that I took, and I'm proud to have earned my BSEE from Louisiana Tech, but that dream of going to Ga. Tech is still there inside, and burns strongly.

Whenever they play football on TV my heart races. When we are in Atlanta, a must for me is to go to the campus and walk around a bit, and drive all over the rest of the campus.

Who knows? I might finally get a graduate degree from there some day as a tottering old man.

This is a photo of the "Tech Tower," their oldest and most revered building.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Can't Be Helped, This is Florida

Every once in a while we get the kind of bad weather that lasts a day or even for a few days, but the rest of the year is like this.

Even on days where we get a pretty good rain shower or thunderstorm, the rest of the day is like this.

Point your camera in any direction at just about any time of day and you'll be looking at something like this.

It's just Florida.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


These interesting windows were on an amazingly designed and colored building in Melbourne, Florida.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Black and White #37

I don't know the names of hardly any flowers. Or plants in general.

I've been trying to figure out how to separate colors in black and white photos.

My new Elements 7 has a lot of neat new features when compared to my previous version (v4), and I've had the desire to sit and play more.

Simply removing the color from a color image will almost always result in an UGLY black and white shot, as will simply turning it from a color photo to a grayscale image.

I've finally found a couple of different processes in Elements that allow me to convert a color shot into a nice, contrasty black and white that I like.

When I first removed the color from this shot, the blossoms and the greenery were nearly the same shade of gray.

But I'm happy with this one, though I'm still learning.

You can see the original outrageous color of these flowers on my other blog today at Picture Post, Sunday, September 27, 2009.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Red Dragonfly

Saw this guy while out and about a week or so ago.

I had never seen a red one, much less the neon red this guy was sporting.

He was in almost constant motion, and I only got two shots of him.

Of the two shots, this was the only one that wasn't blurry from his movement.

The focus is a bit soft, but hey, sometimes you have to take what you can get. He flew way off within seconds of this photo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fleur de lis

The rusty fleur de lis on this flower pot holder we have out by our pool have lots of character.

One of those items that you don't notice, but when you take a minute to examine them in a photo, they look kinda neat like that.

I bought a new version of Photoshop Elements, version 7. My previous version was v4, and it didn't have the capability to deal with Nikon RAW images from my new D90.

Elements 7 does, and the difference in features between v4 and v7 is a major upgrade for me.

Elements 7 has many more capabilities of manipulating the Nikon RAW files than the old version, so I'm having a blast using it.

I tried the Nikon Capture NX software but I like the layout and ease of use of Elements more than I do the Nikon Capture software. Plus I tried adjusting the same RAW files in both Elements and in Capture NX and I couldn't tell one from another in the final resulting images. I did this with a number of RAW files and for several hours.

So I just deleted the trial version of Capture NX and bought Elements 7 and Scott Kelby's awesome Elements 7 book. I'm set up now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spanish Moss (plus little known fact)

The pharmacy we use is in a business complex where the builder left all the trees possible when building and laying out the parking areas.

Lots of old oaks all around the area and they all have drooping Spanish moss.

The sun was far enough over the other day to get some interesting light through the trees.

I just happened to have my camera with me.

Little Known Fact: Did you know that Spanish moss is in the pineapple family?

I'm not kidding. See for yourself...

That was one of about four or so tidbits of information I still remember from my college botany class. Use it or lose it, and I've lost most of that botany class. Botany facts just don't come up when working with electronics.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Manatee Crossing

Sorry for the non-posting of late. Life and work keeps intervening in my blog posting.

The creeks, streams, and rivers around here that flow into the Indian River Lagoon or Atlantic are wintering places for manatees.

With the incredible population boom comes a huge increase in people with powered boats.

With all of the boat propellers in the water, and the result is that the slow-moving, docile, and huge manatees pay an awful price for millions to enjoy their boats.

By far boats and the propellers are the biggest threat to the average manatee's life and health.

Many of the ones we've seen paddling around the areas waterways have hash mark scars on them from surviving an encounter with boat's motors.

The law is that you cannot go fast enough on these waterways to make a wake, mostly to help reduce manatee deaths by boats.

But I know people here who spend much time on the water that hate and ignore such rules.

The manatees are magnificent creatures and I always get a thrill out of seeing some in the local creeks.

I have some photos of our first-ever encounter with manatees after we moved to Florida in 1996 here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Black and White #36

This sea grape plant on the dunes here was almost killed in the hurricanes of 2004.

You can see a few leaves growing back, so it's trying hard to survive.

Now here's the color original. I wish I knew how to get different colors to stand out in black and white like they were in color.

See how the leaves are so different compared to the limbs? I'd like to figure out how to get that kind of tonal separation in the black and white versions in Photoshop Elements.

I tried the different color filters in Elements, because if I had actually shot black and white film, I could have used color filters to get the leaves to be tonally different than the limbs, but no success.

I just can't figure out how to do that "after the fact" with Elements.

I'll keep trying.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Seen At The Beach

Better thrown here than thrown down on the beach, right?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Looking West Down Our Street

We had just arrived home and after getting out of the car, I noticed the nice sunset.

You don't have to go to a special place to see great, colorful skies.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Under The Bridge

A bridge carrying US1 (highway) across Crane Creek in Melbourne, FL.

Decorated by local businesses.

A very photogenic marina in the background there too, which I was heading for when I snapped this.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another Great Sky Over Barnes and Noble's Parking Lot

This is the second time we've walked out of this Barnes and Noble in Melbourne to an amazing evening sky.

Well, sometimes you walk out of a store and there's a killer sunset.

Don't have time to move to a better location, the sun moves through it's own diameter in the sky in two minutes. No time.

So, you just do what you can where you are.

At least I had my camera with me.

I set a small aperture to try to keep the sun from "blooming" and stay round, so the ISO had to be cranked up. There's some noise here, but the noise on this camera is more like smooth film grain to me. Much more acceptable to have this type of noise than that on the ccd image sensor of my D70s at high ISO.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jungle Gym

Part of a metal trellis or whatever it might be called, that Lovely Wife has in one of her flower pots.

I reckon it's for droopy plants to use as an aid for climbing.

Kinda like a jungle gym for flowers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pleasing Jumble of Lines

As I walked around this marina, I stopped and admired this view with all sorts of lines and curves.

All going all over the place with no rhyme or reason, but pleasing nonetheless.

To me at least.

(The killer evening sunlight and the pleasant colors didn't hurt either.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rumble Bee

A neon yellow Dodge pickup truck was parked a the beach and I thought it looked pretty good.

The stripe and icon there reminded me of the Chryslers and Dodges of the 60s and 70s.

I was just a bit too young to have hit the muscle car era when I could have bought one, but then again, I would have been old enough and probably sent to Vietnam, so I guess it worked out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Black and White #35

At the beach, I thought this one would be a good B&W as I took it.

Now I just wish I had a little more of the ocean in it.

Oh well, there's always next time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stephanie and Jim

I had the honor of photographing a couple's wedding Saturday evening.

Photographing weddings is pretty awesome. I don't get very nervous, but in the end, I just realize that both they and I have one opportunity at getting good shots.

This one was caught on-the-fly, and he's a tiny bit blurry as he moves in for a kiss, but the look on her face made this informal shot one of my favorites. One of those shots that you get sometimes, not a technically perfect photograph, but the emotion of the subjects IS perfect.

I had a backup camera, which was nice, didn't have to use it, but it was nice knowing that if my new D90 went bonkers on me, I could just grab the other body and continue.

I've had enough work with the D90 in the past two weeks to have it's features be second nature to me. Though that wasn't really a big deal, the controls are so close to my D70s that using it is essentially the same.

The couple getting married and their families are a laid-back bunch of folks, so there was little pressure and the first look at the photos when I got home left me feeling they'll have a hard time deciding which ones to print. To print them all would cost a fortune.

It's a good problem to have, too many good ones to choose from.

Hope all the weddings I shoot are like that, laid-back and a multitude of good images to choose from.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Live Bait (After the makeover)

I posted a shot of this bait shop near the beach here a while back.

That previous shot showed the shop in yellow, but sometime recently it has received a makeover.

On this day, the evening sun made the new color of the bait shop stand out and demand to be part of the image.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shuttle Endeavour Finally Lifts Off (No Photos)

Lovely Wife and I went to the beach a couple of times to watch the latest attempt to launch the Space Shuttle, but it kept being cancelled.

Just a few minutes ago, at 6:03pm EDT, Endeavour finally was able to lift off successfully.

I'm working late, and went on top of one of the buildings and watched it.

Sadly, I cannot bring in a camera of any type where I work, so I just had to eyeball it. My camera is in my car, but I couldn't get off early enough to go to a better location and try to take photos.

I'm about 30-40 miles south of Kennedy Space Center, and it took the rumble (sound) of the boosters over 4 minutes to reach me as I watched. But that gives you an indication of the noise when I can hear it 30 - 40 miles away.

If Congress will fund it to the end, the US Space Shuttle program that is, there are only 7 shuttle missions left planned.

I would be totally surprised if they get to launch all 7 of them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Condos

This building was recently finished in Melbourne, Florida.

I was wandering around a marina with my camera and, at a certain point, I could see this above and between the buildings closest to me.

Just liked the green here in the warm evening light.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

After The Rain

Went out in our front yard after an evening rain the other day and ended up liking the rain drops on the leaves better than on Lovely Wife's flowers.

[FYI, I posted photos on my other blog today if y'all care to see them. Picture Post, Sunday, July 12, 2009]

Friday, July 10, 2009

Black and White #34: Beach House

Nice, frilly, Victorian accents on this recently remodeled old house out by the beach.

I'd like to have a nice chair there on the porch to watch and listen to the waves.

The sun came out for a bit, and the contrast made me think "black and white."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eastern Sky Over Melbourne Harbor Marina

I took this Sunday evening. It was hot and humid, but a beautiful day.

Bridge Art

Near a local park in Melbourne, Florida is a bridge that carries highway US1 over Crane Creek.

The park, Manatee Park, meanders along the north bank of Crane Creek. It's a great place to see, you guessed it, manatees, in the winter when the animals move inland.

If you follow the sidewalk underneath the bridge to get to a very photogenic marina, you are treated to the pillars holding up this bridge, in their painted glory.

A city beautification project.

As I walked under this bridge this past Sunday, this particular fish was catching some awesome sunlight from the late evening sun on one of the bridge's pillars.

The fish seemed to glow from within as if it were a neon light.

I'm glad to say that this "neon feel" carried through in the translation from the actual world to the digital world.

Monday, July 6, 2009


US1 is a highway that goes from Miami to somewhere up in Maine, all along the mainland of the eastern US.

But chains of barrier islands are also along much of the eastern seaboard, just off the mainland.

The highway that picks up travels along the length of many of these barrier islands going up to Maine, is designated A1A.

The parking lot to the Atlantic beach that I went to on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne Beach, Florida is along a piece of highway A1A.

I liked the quality of the evening sun on this A1A sign pointing south, with the colorful buildings in the distance.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

ISO 1600

I keep a guitar by my chair so that I can pick it up and practice at least a little bit every day.

We have two skylights in the den, and at a certain time each morning, about 10am right now, the sunlight comes through one of them to shine right beside me and has a lovely quality to it.

It shined right on the guitar and I snapped a shot at ISO 1600 with my new Nikon D90.

I have the camera set for "normal" noise reduction at high ISO within the camera, so this is a shot as it came off the camera.

Although my D70s still has a place in my heart, this kind of performance at such a high ISO leaves me breathless.

I keep thinking of how much grain is in a print made from ISO 800 film and then seeing this, I know I'm going to really be loving this camera once I learn all it's tricks.

As someone who shot thousands and thousands of 35mm slides on slow ISO (50, 64, or 100) film just to get the best quality, to see an image like this from ISO 1600 seems truly magical to me. I mean that.

I always longed for the versatility of being able to shoot at high ISO, but the grainy images turned me off completely.

If I'd had a slide or print film of ISO 1600 that had this kind of look, I'd have paid big money for each roll, and would have paid it gladly.

The viewfinder of the D90 is large and bright, a true pentaprism whereas the D70s is an electronic viewfinder.

The "eyepoint" (in Nikon-speak) of the D90 is 19.5mm, where the D70s is 18mm. This means that I can see the whole image inside the viewfinder while still wearing my eyeglasses with the new D90 and I just got in the habit of putting my glasses on top of my head when shooting with the D70s to see the viewfinder better. That will be easier, not having to pop my glasses up there to shoot photos, and pull them down for the rest of life.

I have two friends with the D300 and I envied their camera's low light performance, and now that same image sensor technology has trickled down to a lighter, easier to carry camera that I could afford.


Friday, July 3, 2009

What IS That Sound?

It sounds like, like, like, a choir of ANGELS!

But no, it's just the doorbell ringing.

Who could it be?

Why it's the United Parcel Service man bringing me a box!

Whatever could it be?

Oh my, it looks exactly like a brand-spankin'-new Nikon D90 camera body!

I guess that sound REALLY WAS a choir of Angels singing.

Angels always sing when John gets a new camera.

Angels are cool like that.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Clothes Pins

Sorry folks, just haven't been out photographing lately.

I haven't been scanning any of my old stuff either.

But here's one of a mundane object, but I like the photo anyway.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Find the Poodle In This Photo...

This is our 6 pound (2.7kg) monster, Angel. That's a whopping 0.003 ton doggy there.

If not for the big, black eyes, she'd be hard to find in the white sheets.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Black and White # 33: Bridge

The bridge area of a Stratocaster copy guitar than I own.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hole In The Earth

One of my slide scans of a waterfall taken in Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas in 1983.

We had hiked to the bottom of an fairly difficult trail to be at the water's edge, but I like the photos I took from above at an overlook.

I wish I had experimented more with the exposure, I should have everything in focus, but I do like how the out of focus tree tops forces you to look at the detail of mountain walls and the swimmers below.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

To The Beach

Still trying to scan my my many thousands of 35mm slides from over the years.

This was taken of a little boy, Cory, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

The exposure was a bit over, but I've always liked this shot. It's like he represents every young, or young at heart person, heading for the joys of sand and sunshine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I scanned a few slides from times past, mostly family stuff.

I really liked this one of my paternal grandmother from 1985.

We called her "Mamaw Eunice."

She and I were very close. But then, she loved all of her grandkids like crazy, and we were all close to her.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Whole Orange

Here's a shot of the whole orange from yesterday's post.

(Sorry about the technical difficulties if you happened to have come here earlier and saw that the photo was missing. Simple operator error on my part, and not double-checking my work.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What The Heck?

Give up?

It's the upper portion of a 10ft diameter (3m) orange on the side of a local highway.

That's the stem and a leaf in green, and a part of the orange body too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Storage Shed

This is a storage shed behind the local Disabled American Veterans building in Melbourne, Florida.

The shed is nothing special, but that late afternoon winter sun is.

The quality of the sunlight is really wintery, but it was about 75 F on Friday evening when I took this photo. Warm with a nice breeze. Darn near perfect.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Live Bait

I love this ramshackle looking old bait store in Melbourne Beach, Florida; hand written signs, American flag, and all. It's out close to a park on the beach, on what is becoming a more and more fancy area.

Places like this are disappearing very, very fast around here.

As this area of Florida gets more and more upscale, the property taxes usually get impossibly high for the small guys like this in the end and they sell their place, only to have the new owners bulldoze it and put up something else, with more glitz and glamor.

Fancy isn't necessarily an improvement.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fifty Dollar Guitar

Happy New Year to all of you. God bless you and give you a great 2009

This is a photo I took early one morning of a cheap guitar that I bought from a coworker. I still play it and on this morning it was sitting in the early morning light coming into our living room.

The grain of the mahogany guitar body and it's cherry sunburst finish were enhanced by the warm morning sunlight.

The whole story of why I bought this guitar is over at my other blog today.