Sunday, November 18, 2007

Japanese Friendship Garden

My friend Chase, and I, went over to the Japanese Friendship Garden here in central Phoenix today. It is a surprisingly well laid out and maintained space that is part of the city park system. It is an oasis in the midst of all the development going on downtown, in fact you can see the central library building poking over the trees showing how close the garden is to central avenue. Anyway, I first visited a few years back when I went to a commitment ceremony there. Everyday after work I pass it on my way home, although it isn't open during the week this part of the year. Starting in January they plan on opening from 10-3pm.

I took a couple of photos of some of the various sculpture that they have in the garden, one in particular had some very interesting Japanese writing on it, and I got some photos with my 50MM prime lens. Earlier in the weekend I was checking out some information that I had download from a photographer name Joey Lawrence. I probably will have another post on him at a later date since his stuff is interesting, but in any event, I used some techniques of his on one of the sculpture photos just for fun. Basically it is the combination of two photos into one using Photoshop. I'm not sure I am satisfied with the result but since I spent time on it I thought that I would post it anyway.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Caden Revisited

My friend Crystal wanted a "butt" shot of her baby, I'm not sure why, perhaps as fodder for his therapy sessions as an adult or perhaps just to embarrass the hell out of him at some future office holiday party. Anyway, she came over and we shot these under a soft box while balancing him on a table covered in black cloth. Full disclosure, I usually don't make it a practice to put picture of friends and family on my blog, but given the low readership of this blog (frankly just me); and the fact that Crystal already posted these on her Flickr site, I thought it would be ok. The photos make me jealous of baby photographers, how can you miss when you have such a great subject? Caden is particularly cute - I think because he is so content and has a pretty happy disposition.

Go ahead and click on the photo to get blasted by some huge eyes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Nature of Money

I was looking through some photos that I took from Argentina and notice this one of a peso. Every time I travel I inspect the currency to see if there is anything that I can learn from the country that I am visiting. There is usually some stately picture of a historic figure (usually in profile); and if you ask the locals about the person the response is usually a blank stare. People are too busy with their daily lives to be experts on areas that don't affect them. We Americans aren't any better, in fact, if you told Americans that they could get a tax break if we allowed the McDonald's Golden Arches on the back of a dollar bill, I'm sure a large percentage would give their approval. The nature and progress of technology has also increased the separation of money from its place of governmental authority, visibility and pride. For most of my transactions, even when traveling in a foreign country I use my debit card which certainly makes the transactions feel much more commercial than about national institutions or identity. It can also impact us on a more psychological level as it divorces the physical nature of money from our lives and creates a system where a plastic card and a receipt govern our reality of the worth of a product or service. Perhaps historians will look back someday and point to this transitional period from currency to technology as the reason for our higher consumption and lower savings. Anyway, I have to go now and fill up my gas tank, pick up some dry cleaning and buy some groceries and of course I won't forget my debit card.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Phoenix Mountain Hike

I went for a hike with my friend Greg today, although he didn't want to be mentioned in my blog so I will just refer to him as "Ice-G". Anyway, Ice told me that the best form of exercise was a moderate hike that included slight elevation changes with periods of flat terrain for heart rate recovery. Apparently, walking only helps circulation and digestion (even though I think anything that gets me off the couch has to be good for me), jogging is horrible on the joints (ankle, knees, hips) and strenuous hiking of the uphill variety isn't much better than jogging. So we went for a moderate hike of three miles and I have to admit it felt pretty good.

The photo above was taken while on the hike and shows that the weather this time of year is perfect. It is a panoramic of several shots stitched together. Click on it to see the larger size.

Veteran's Day 2007

Happy Veteran's Day to all my friends and family that are and have served our country providing the freedom and protection that we all enjoy. I would send out a special recognition to my old boss from FINOVA, who was in the Coast Guard, but I realized the other day that the Coast Guard is no longer under the Defense Department (now under Homeland Security). I will thank him anyway given the tough and dangerous nature of border protection and, search and rescue operations.

Photograph is from a flag that hung over the Phoenix Art Museum that I took earlier this year. Actually in the dead of summer, temperature of 114 degrees with a steady hot wind.