February 21, 2007

January 23, 2007

  • Get a Move on It!

    For all of you people wandering around with 512MB cards in your cameras, get in gear! Buy this card! I’ve used it since mid-2006 without a single problem. It writes like every other card and downloads much faster (with the right card reader). When I bought it, I paid $57, so it’s come down in price now at $49.99 plus shipping, but no rebate to hassle with this time. I just shake my head when I see gray-haired people paying twice as much at Best Buy for half the space!

    So if you have a camera that uses Secure Digital cards, get this! One caveat – be prepared to return it if your camera can’t handle it. You might be limited at 2GB if your card uses FAT formatting instead of FAT32. With my camera, I can use it, but I have to use my computer to format the card. For my next camera, I’ll get a 16GB card, but 4GB usually lasts me several hours or more before I run out of space. Unfortunately, I missed the International Shooting-All-The-Time Day on Sunday because I was plowing, but I’ll try to keep the holiday going for the rest of my life.

January 18, 2007

January 17, 2007

  • I’m sick of pictures!

    There are so many other things I want to talk about, but I want to show the last batch of pictures. I’ve been quiet on the photographing front for the last week, largely because of my granddad’s memorial service and a decent snow storm that we had.

    First off are the pictures from my friend’s surprise birthday party.

     I know Adam through Chi Alpha, and our whole gang of XA homies made it out to surprise him. Including Bobbo! It was fun. =)

    Pete and Amanda have a weekly appointment to watch The Office, so I joined them and brought over a poster of Pete’s band as his Christmas present. Then there was a pillow fight! Pete got pretty airborne, and I wished I had used some bounce on that flash to fix the shadow.

    Next up was actually a series of great evenings with my friends Chris and Matt who were both in town at the same time for the first time in ages. Chris, my brother, and I hung out together with them for the first time since he got married. Rochambo was the obvious choice!

    That shot of Mount Mary College reminded me that you don’t have to go to Europe to get some cool scenes. Gets me thinking about doing a series on “Wisconsin Beauty” or perhaps much more narrowly defined than that.

    Our work party. =)

    Good times! Lotsa people skipped out – their loss. Joe stole the show on the piano but was robbed repeatedly in arm wrestling.

    Len’s XA Party

    I’m gonna have to get a whole lot better at posed group pictures… It goes against my pj style (that’s photojournalism, yo). =) Oh, I wanna be resourceful so check out these pictures! That picture is my favorite, but there are tons of great ones in the contest – it gets me excited and motivated to do more.

    Alexis refused to let me take any pictures, but then she did so well! I love this picture!

    So tomorrow, I will hopefully have a change of pace for the blog. I need to reflect.

    Do you like my profile pic? Esther does good work!

January 15, 2007

  • Back to the US

    Some days, I wanna be a wedding photographer… I think I would do a pretty good job.

    Brent’s wedding. That’s Lars with him, so it’s pretty meaningful to me to have pictures and have spent time with two of the most influential people in my life. Brent is interning in Florida for the Chi Alpha at FSU and doing an awesome job too.

    Christmas with the fam. I picked up a monopod, 12 Angry Men, Johnny Cash’s autobiography, new boots (same as last year!), but I still need to give them their presents… Get ready for a few days of pictures of friends – I sorta had a frenzy.

January 13, 2007

  • Amsterdam

    From the Alps, we left at 5:30a and cruised into Paris’s airport by noon, making great time so that they’d charge us for 2 days instead of 3, saving over two hundred dollars. :::eek::: From there, we had a train through Belgium to The Netherlands. I wanted to go to Holland, but I thought Amsterdam would be a good compromise.

    The first thing I saw there was a guy hitching a ride on a car with his bike!

    Riding the tram. Enjoying shooting wide open.

    The Anne Frank House museum. Very sobering, very well done. Having visited Auschwitz and the the Holocaust Museum in DC, I felt as though it was coming full circle by seeing a much more personal side. Next door was Rene Descartes’s residence.

    It is a biking city like Copenhagen. Another lingering reminder of image to the rest of the world.

    We were digging into some excellent Indonesian food when we were treated to watching Amsterdam’s finest target bicyclists. They were riding on the sidewalk or something, but they took it seriously with a six-person team of cops! Then they waved down this clown who was just going loony at the cops who clearly couldn’t care less if they tried.

    More scenery. On the tram again with covert photography.


    Amsterdam’s famous flower market -painfully devoid of customers. Esther checks out the 0% Sale. Why not!?

    One of the many canals with the flower market on the right. I’m picturing which wall in my office this will occupy….

    More trams, no apologies. The central train station which looks a million times better than our Amtrak station!

    Headshop with mad bubble action. St. Josephs. You find this is the exact nature of Amsterdam – this rare beauty juxtaposed with dirt and garbage (quite literally!).

    We had a great time in Amsterdam. You could go to see the Van Gogh Museum (which was sweet!) and the Anne Frank Huis, or you could go for the best of the world’s carnal pleasures. They’re wedged together in this beautiful city.

    Speaking of which, most people say Prague is the most beautiful city in Europe, but….. I was turned off by Prague’s commercialism and streets lined with name-brand stores straight out of the States. Not that it’s devoid of McDonald’s, but Amsterdam had a great Old World charm and block after block of amazing homes and buildings.

    They were working overtime to keep it clean, though. My friends had described streets up to the ankles in garbage, but it wasn’t quite that bad. Still, I did see big piles of trash and street cleaning and pressure-washing gangs. I’m glad I went – I never would have if STA Travel hadn’t said it was cheaper to fly out of Amsterdam!

    Of course, it was all over too quickly. She had papers to write back in Durham, and I only have 9 weeks of vacation a year, so we said our goodbyes in Amsterdam for however long….

    I would hope on a plane next to a cute dog named Sasha with a veteran determined to teach this weeks-old puppy to sit and stay between his feet. I heard the word Sasha no less than 500 times before I fell asleep over Greenland. Waking up over Michigan, the rest of the pretty empty plane was snoozing, and I cracked up with Talladega Nights and a couple other movies. Thumbs up for United on international flights. Sure beat Air France…

    Oops, the windmills are from the next hop – my 41st of 42 flight segments for 2006! I’m seriously scrambling to catch up with entries! Next is Brent’s wedding and four parties once I got home! Okay, beddy-bye time for me. My cousin has a ceremony tomorrow marking the end of his drug and alcohol rehabilitation and a start of a new life. I hope it goes well. Sunday is the memorial service for my Granddad, and I have a lot of video and photo work to do before I’m ready for that…                

January 11, 2007

  • Alps Part Deux

    My favorite joke:

    What do you call someone who speaks two languages?

    Bilingual, right?

    What do you call someone who speaks three languages?

    Trilingual, perhaps?

    What do you call someone who speaks one language?

    (see below)

    Behind me is Mont Blanc – the highest point in Western Europe and the official dividing line between France and Italy. So, I guess I’ve seen Italy. But I’ve seen Greenland, so that doesn’t count for much. It was a gorgeous place at the top of the ski hill. We were at 2400m, Mont Blanc is 4800m (almost 16,000 ft). Not nearly Everest, but can you imagine the skiing there?!

    The mountain on the left is the peak in the distance in the picture below. ^^ 200mm and // 18mm. I’m on a waiting list for the lens that can go from 18 to 200mm instead of having to switch them out like I do now.

    Grooming the hill at night. The resort at night with its cranes overhead.


January 10, 2007

  • Alps Part One

    So many fancredible pictures from the French Alps!

    ^^Esther’s pics. An example of the roads that I was shooting down with the thunderous 1.2L engine. Once you got about the clouds, though, the view just took your breath away.

    For someone who has gone skiing every year for his entire life, this was a high point of high points, a worth it of worth its, a….a… most memorable moment for sure. Dear me, it was awesome.

    The fanciest Poma lift that I’ve ever seen. My first gondola! Wow!

    I would not pass up a career photographing skiers. What a great off-season job!

    Esther holding onto her edges! She was pushing her limits, but we both enjoyed it a lot.

January 9, 2007

  • Geneneve, Swisserland

    Passing road signs for Milan…Turino…Geneve…

    We decided to stop in Geneva, Switzerland. (before I forget, I love the bokeh in the first picture. That lens usually butchers out-of-focus items, but it did well in that picture.). We pulled up to the border and walked into the customs office only to get blank stares when we asked what we were supposed to do. Or if we could get stamps in our passports. They gave a “stupid tourists it’s the EU just drive in” response in a polite way, and we rolled into town. Keeping the stupid tourists theme rolling, Esther the vegetarian and I the no-beef eater settled on La Boucherie, ignoring the big cow logo on the sign. I got back from using the bathroom with an impressive automatic hand washing station when she broke the news to me that we were at a steakhouse.

    Ultra-thin models are a real problem in Europe.

    Next up is the Alps!

January 8, 2007

  • Driving Across France

    Renting a car in France:
    -A car is the only way you can get to a ski resort and taxi service is spotty outside cities (the French have great trains but no buses, and the closest train stop would’ve presented a nightmare getting around)
    -Hertz was the last car rental place with cars available Christmas Day
    -Hertz is expensive in the States and reeeaally expensive abroad
    -To the tune of $450 for a two day rental (underage driver, minimum insurance, etc…)

    Driving in France:
    -I thought Chicago was a little pricey for tolls
    -France thinks Chicago is too soft – price of tolls over two days? $100! Largest single toll payout: €37.50 -Jackpot!
    -’Slower traffic keep right’ is the law and is PRACTICED – the beauty of this cannot be fully appreciated until you’re driving I-5 in Oregon
    -Our car had a 1.2 liter engine
    -Cruise control was operated by putting your foot to the floor and keeping it there
    -The speed limit was usually 130 km/h but at 160km/h (99mph – under 100, mom!), I was only passed twice the whole trip and had no problems passing cops on the motorway
    -Gas is twice as expensive

    GPS in France:
    -Is critical. Save yourself the gas, the headaches, and the hours wasted on French back roads.
    -Not that you won’t wind up on French back roads, but at least you’ll have a pretty picture on the screen of the back road you’re on.
    -It may underestimate how long it will take to get to a castle ‘just off the highway’

    There wasn’t a bench! I wanted to call home for Christmas, but none of the calling cards worked until we got back to Paris.

    The scenery was truly inspiring. It was overcast all day and ridiculously foggy at higher altitudes, but the trees were just surreal with the frost covering every branch. Here it finally looked like winter while in London there were still annuals and perennials flowering.

    On the way, I suggested that we find an interesting stop along the way. Esther found a castle in the Lonely Planet guide which seemed to be reasonably close. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was pitch black, and you couldn’t even imagine where the castle would’ve been. On the way, I took some cool pictures just after sunset. The last in that series was from atop the little GM Kalos we were driving, and you can see the roof reflecting the scenery.