Thursday, April 30, 2009

San Jacinto Day Portrait 3

This reenactor at the San Jacinto Day Festival this past weekend delivered an entertaining pitch for his product "Dandelion." His act reflected back to the days win traveling "medicine men" would hitch their wagons to their team of horses and move from town to town selling magic in a bottle. They would mix a little cheap whiskey with colored water, apply an important looking label, and be ready to go. Their success was dependent on their skill as pitchmen and their ability to put on a show. They would promise that their elixir would cure anything from gout to consumption for a mere dollar. Unsuspecting, mostly uneducated, crowds would be enthralled with his "style over substance" performance and line up to buy whatever he was selling.

Flash forward 125 years or so, substitute a jet for the wagon and add "hope and change" to the mix of false promises, and it's still strangely familiar today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

San Jacinto Day Portrait 2

We were fortunate to have as many reenactors in period dress around to photograph as we did considering that the main event, the full reenactment of the capture of Santa Anna, was cancelled due to soggy conditions. I particularly thought this fellow on horseback had the authentic look down pat.

Monday, April 27, 2009

San Jacinto Day Portrait 1

This gentlemen found the best shady spot on the San Jacinto Battleground to sit and take a load off for a moment. I guess it's reasonable to assume anyone who would be interested in dressing up in a period costume to recreate and event like this historic battle would not be camera shy, and this man was no exception. He was very gracious in allowing my brother and I take as many photos as we liked.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Battleship Texas 5

This is my last post from recent tript to the Battleship Texas. Is looking down and aft from one of the lower levels of the conning tower onto a restoration in progress of an original lifeboat.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Battlehsip Texas 4

Every available inch of the interior decks of the Battleship Texas not dedicated to other vital functions of the ship was used for bunks for the ships crew. If there wasn't room to cram in a stack of bunks then fittings would be installed to hang hammocks from. In this nook 16 sailors would have shared accomodations. [Those "matresses" are made of webbing stretched around a pipe frame and the 4-high stack of bunks are spaced no more than 24" apart.]
I would imagine that these sailors would have been thrilled to have accomodations as luxurious as the muderers at Club Gitmo enjoy today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Battleship Texas 3

This view of some of the aft guns in particular made me think of a couple of things. For one, if I were the enemy [even now in modern times] I would not want to see this ship from any angle! And two, like modern war ships, it's hard to imagine the organized chaos that occurs on warship in a fire-fight. One display at the ship said that the Texas engaged in one fire mission for 50 non-stop 24 hour days delivering over two ship loads of munitions on the enemy in Okinawa!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Battleship Texas 2

Another POV shot from the Battleship Texas this past weekend.

If you not already planning on attending the Armand Bayou event this weekend there will also be a great photo op here at the San Jacinto Day Festival this Saturday. The event is from 10:00 to 6:00 with the battle recreation scheduled for 3:00 PM. I went last year for the first time and there are certainly plenty of photo ops.

Of course I think it will also be "Earth Day." During the "International Lights Out Event" a couple of weeks ago, I took advantage of the extra power available, from my nieghbors voluntary blackout, to really light my place up! I'm thinking that, in honor of "Earth Day", I may stay home and burn a stack of old tires I've been collecting - kind of a redneck fireworks display! Of course I'll be wearing a life jacket - in case the polar ice caps melt. Good times.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Battleship Texas

My wife and I toured the 34,000 ton New York Class battleship the "USS Texas" this past Sunday. The Texas is permanently moored at the San Jacinto State Park about 25 miles east of downtown Houston. It was our first trip back to the ship in sometime and we both agreed to go back more often. This ship, which was built in 1912, is a recognized National Landmark and a floating museum honoring the long and distingquished service of the ship and it's crews. There is such a fantastic ammount of history associated with the ship that I would like to see it as a required field trip for local Texas students. If you haven't been in a while I would remind you thats it's probably time for another enjoyable trip.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This shot will conclude my images and comments from the Baytown TEA Party. In this shot a young girl and her mom [I presume] are trying to figure out how to work a megaphone. To me this is a good example of how the whole rally went. Not that the organization was bad, but I’m convinced most of the protesters on hand were first-timers, like my wife and I. It took some effort on a lot of people’s part, including mine, to temporarily merge into this group and learn what it’s like to participate in this type of an activist event. One could imagine that if the protest would have been organized by the other side, pro socialism vs. this pro capitalism, that the crowd that showed up would have be much the opposite – more like the rent-a-mob mostly college age rabble rousers you’re accustomed to seeing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


By now it’s pretty obvious how the mainstream media under-covered and underreported the tax revolt TEA Parties on April 15. I’d expected as much in terms of national coverage but was surprised to see these liberal biases at the local level. I didn’t see much on the event on local TV and the hometown Baytown Sun gave about as much coverage on Friday to a gun law protest by 300 UT students in Austin as they did to the 500 citizens in there own city. While I would say that the students protest was newsworthy, the Baytown TEA Party was part of an historic national effort with terrific local participation by the most unlikely, motivated, and non-typical protesters you’re ever likely to come across. One would have expected much more coverage on the event from unbiased reporting.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Another shot from April 15th’s Baytown “TEA Party”, this one happens to be of my wife Dianne. As mentioned in my last post, it was her first protest as well. There were people at the protest from as young as 3 to as experienced as 80. I’m sure in any group of 500 you could find a trouble maker, but it he/she was there on this day I couldn’t find them. This was such a well behaved group of people [no inappropriate chant’s, no foul language, no unbridled hatred, even very few signs with anyone’s name on them –yesterday’s post was the only one I saw] that it’s a little strange to even refer to these TEA Parties as “protest.” People even took any trash they brought with them away when they left leaving the parking lot clean. Very good behavior from our side – as you would expect from a mostly conservative group.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Well my wife and I took a little trip yesterday to a place called "outside our comfort zone." At the age of 50 [me anyway, I'm not saying how old my wife is] we participated in our first protest! The protest was a TEA [Taxed Enough Already] Party in our hometown of Baytown, Texas. The main idea was to protest the excessive, uncontrolled, and wasteful spending of our elected officials in Washington and about 500 citizens of Baytown showed up to have their voices heard. I don't know whether these TEA Parties, which were held around the country, will be the catalyst that quells the desire of many on the left to follow our new President into full-blown Socialism or not. But my wife and I left the event uplifted and feeling that we had participated in something that was at best an historic event, or at least a message to other conservatives that they are not alone. God bless the United States of America!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

High Sign

Another shot at texturing, the base image was a traffic light grab shot of two men hanging a new billboard sign at Red Bluff and Hwy 225.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Family Portrait

We decided to head back to the local Bluebonnet patch, pictured on this blog a few days ago, for an informal family portrait session. I had the idea of using the unconventional POV from the start and I am happy with how the composition came out. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Tech: Oly E-3, 12-60 Zuiko @ 14MM, f6.3, 1/100, ISO 125 & +1EV, Flashpoint Tripod, Aperture Priority, Raw Post Processing: Clarity, Saturation, and Exposure in Camera Raw>Open in CS3>Duplicate Background>High Pass Sharpening>Merge Visible>Levels Adjustment Layer>Merge Visible in “Soft Light” Mode>Created Frame Vignette by Copying Outer Edge and Pasting to New Layer in “Overlay” Mode

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Shrimp Boat Shot?

Another stab at texturing - I pulled this ordinary shot of a shrimper in Kemah from the archives and tried to kick it up a notch using texture.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

High Lineman

Here's a shot I took from my parked car at work on my lunch break the other day. [Whataburger, Rush on the radio, and a photo op! Life doesn't get any better, right?] I decided to take some inspiration from last nights Textures demo by BAPC "Photog of the Year" Steve Schuenke to kick it up a notch. Hope ya'll like it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Big Bend National Park

A scenic shot from last years trip to Big Bend National Park. This was taken while hiking the parks "Lost Mine Trail" in June of '08. It's a 4.8 mile round trip hike, with an elevation change of several thousand feet, rated as "medium difficulty." For a fifty year desk worker, I would have rated it as "YIKES!"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Photography Brings Families Together

My wife and I stopped at a location in Baytown yesterday to take some shots in a local bluebonnet patch. It’s a nice spot, across from the Exxon Mobil office tower on Rollingbrook, where the caretakers have left the bluebonnets, buttercups and other wildflowers intact. As I was finishing up with some macros, this family (mom, dad, daughter, and grandmother) showed up to take a few pictures of the granddaughter. I grabbed this hot as an afterthought while we were leaving but, after I got it home to process it, I liked it so much I wish I would have taken a little more time to compose. It kind of reminds you of how large a role photography plays in bringing families together and preserving the past.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Backyard Baby Bird

Well the chicks of the birds I been featuring here have hatched and this is one of the two I believe occupy the nest. I'll keep you posted if the count turns out to be higher!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Backyard Flower 3

Last of the backyard floral macro trilogy....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Backyard Flower 2

Another floral macro from the backyard.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Backyard Floral

I suppose it would make these post easier if I learned the names of a few plants! It should me a minor thing to learn, especially the few in ones own backyard. Anyway, here's one I like and hope you do as well.