Saturday, March 22, 2008

My First Video Blog

A few weeks back my friend Shane and I decided to buy a kayak off Craigs List. We have been anxious to go out and try it ever since. Today we took it up to Canyon Lake to test our abilities on the water. I decided that I would try to record some of the adventure with video. I have posted videos to the blog in the past, but this is my first effort to make one coherent video to document an event. As you can see in the video we had a wonderful day with great weather. What you won't see in the video is how Shane and I capsized the kayak twice. Near by I have posted a screen shot for the specifications for our kayak, the Dagger Bayou II. According to these specs the weight rating is 450lbs - let's just say that Shane and I tip the scales a wee bit higher than that. That might explain the double dunk in the lake today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Baby Portfolio Grows

Well, maybe I should clarify the title, my portfolio of baby pictures grows. Being divorced twelve years now, I need to keep things straight. I will admit to a certain sheepishnesses to answering the door on Father's Day though.

In any event, I had the honor of photographing the babies of two friends during the last few weeks. As I have noted in past post (here and here), babies are wonderful models because they have perfect everything: skin, eyes, honest disposition. There is not nearly the effort after the shoot in editing the photos that one has with adults. It makes the "right out of the camera" experience a lot of fun.

I still have a lot to learn about posing and coming up with creative shots while in the moment, but these little people were so beautiful it is not hard to get a great photo. I want to thank Dana and Shane for sharing their supermodels for the shoot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Brush with Intellectual Property Law

Last July I posted some short videos that I had taken while delayed at the Phoenix Airport. The videos were of the Southwest Airlines gate agent singing on his ukulele. The videos were fun and short and I thought perfect to demonstrate a quirky event in my life. In other words perfect for a blog. I posted three videos on YouTube and then linked to the only video that had a full length song in it for my blog post. The first one started too late and the last video was interrupted when the aircraft finally arrived and our gate agent had to get back to work.

There is a small but intense army of ukulele players out in the world and a few of them stopped by to watch the videos and enjoy them. I had about 50 hits on the video after a few weeks and was quite happy with myself, as I felt as I had moved into the twenty first century of technology. Just trying to keep up with the kids, you know.

Anywho, I'm minding my own business when I decide to check in with the videos a few weeks later and was floored when over 6,000 hits had occurred for the full length video I had featured in my blog. For a while I couldn't believe it and then I couldn't figure out why it had become so popular. A very helpful feature of YouTube though, will tell you where your videos have been linked. My video had been linked to an apparently very popular site related to customer service called the I was quite pleased with my new, albeit limited fame as a a film-maker and watched the hits grow to over 10,000.

Then in January of this year I received an email from YouTube. There was a compliant regarding my video, saying I had violated the copyright of the songwriter. The song that was in the video was "Brown-eyed Girl" by the Irish singer songwriter Van Morrison. I'm a big fan and I guess I just assumed that if he wasn't singing it, the song itself wasn't protected. My bad. I suppose the one conciliation I can offer is that he might of gotten a few more sales of the original once people were reminded of it after watching my shaky production. I've attached a printout of the email and it clearly indicates that Van Morrison is one of the complaining parties, along with his record label.

So Van, if you are reading this, I apologize, I never intended to infringe on your rights from the great music that you have written. And now I am off to study up on intellectual property law, this twenty first century technology stuff is going to raise a lot of questions. For example, if I take a picture of my kitchen with the refrigerator in it, is Amana going to send me an email?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day, an occasion celebrated around the world by the Irish. Unfortunately, like Cinco de Mayo, the beer companies have pushed the commercialization of this day, minimizing the original religious and cultural significance. I have even seen how Guinness, the Irish brewer, is attempting to make St. Patrick's Day, a national holiday. I think everyone would be better off, if they simply picked up a copy of Dubliners by James Joyce and read it.

I will do a few things today. First, I will wish my brother Patrick, a happy feast day, since this is the day of the saint that he is named after. To be named Patrick in an Irish family is a pretty big responsibility and he has lived up to that honor.

Second, I thought that I would post some photos that I took when I was in Ireland in August 2006. From top to bottom, they are a photo of a statue of St. Patrick from a church in Central Dublin, some farmland in Western Ireland and a night shot of the Bank of Ireland located in Dublin. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


So coming back from the San Diego trip that I discussed in my previous post, I passed through some weather. It gave me a great opportunity to shoot some interesting clouds. As I learn about photography, I learn more about the differences between the way our eyes and brain interpret the world and the way a camera captures the world. Let's just say our eyes and brain kick ass. Cameras can only "see" a portion of the tonal range that our eyes can see within a particular scene. Ansel Adams developed an approach called the "zone system" to explain the 5 or 6 tonal ranges or zones that a camera can capture depending on the settings. Our eyes and brains can see 10 to 12 tonal ranges.

Clouds can sometimes create great challenges to the photographer, for what the eyes sees can sometimes never be captured by a digital sensor. I was pleased that I caught some of the essence of the weather that I passed through on that ride back. It was really fun to see.