Archive for May, 2007

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Four years in the life of Sparky

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

6/6/03 to 5/25/07

My old drivers license picture taken on 6/6/03 compared to the new one I got today in the mail that was taken last week on 5/25/07. Four years sure does make quite the difference – I’d like to think I’ve aged well and am wiser for their passing.

Four years in the life of Sparky” by sparktography

Fortress: Blue vs. Green

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Fortress

It a fortress of blue defending against a green encroachment. I may have been overly pessimistic about some of the photos I took today – the more I look at some of them the more I like them. Fortress took a bit of finessing in Photoshop to make the lines and colors speak with the proper voice, but I’m really happy with the outcome. Lensbabies really are fantastic lenses if used properly – I’m settling into a pattern where I really don’t use anything but a Lensbaby or my 50mm f1.4. The only other lens I really have any interest in getting at this point would be a fisheye lens, but time shall tell on that one.

Rob had a very different take on the same subject – it’s the stark compositional realism to my ethereal essence of a dream. Check it out!

Fortress” by sparktography

The Olympic Sculpture Park: now even less exciting

Monday, May 28th, 2007

This morning brought Brien and myself to the B&O for a nice Monday breakfast, and then the worlds quickest Costco experience (it failed to occur to either of us that they might be closed for Memorial Day) prior to heading home.

Later in the afternoon Rob and I went to the new Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle waterfront today to take photos of the sculptures. Unfortunately the park was not nearly as cool as we had hoped, but we did manage to find a few cool shots. The park itself is a nice adaptation of its prior incarnation of Myrtle Edwards park, but after the Seattle Art Museum hyped it up so much it was a but disappointing. None of the sculptures really jumped out at me and the collection was rather sparse.

Infinity point

The above shot was my favorite and was taken with a Lensbaby 3G. I waited around for quite a while waiting for nobody to be in the shot (execpt the people at the ‘point’ which I like) and eventually realized that it simple was not going to happen. Luckily I was able to lock it in with my tripod and take 4 photos to use as static background plates to mask out all the $%@# people.

I’m really going to be sad to see the Memorial Day weekend go. I’ve had fun relaxing and taking photos over the last couple of days and I feel much better for it. Now with my batteries recharged tackling work in the next few weeks should be much easier.

Infinity point” by sparktography

Finding Granada details on a rainy day

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Granada details

Since today the weather is shot I’ve spent most of the day editing photos from the last couple of months. This is an old shot I found of the Granada apartments on Capitol Hill. I think this was taken with a Lensbaby 3G, although based on the date it’s possible it was a 2G. I didn’t have to do much to this shot: cropped, curves tweaked and slight color adjustment.

Granada details” by sparktography

Memorial day weekend done right

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

I’m enjoying the heck out of myself this weekend. My group at work got a 4 day weekend for Memorial day and I’ve been making the most of it and doing a good job of relaxing myself and getting out to do fun things I don’t normally get to do.

On Thursday night I went out with Troy and Tommy to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End. It’s a fun little flick with great action sequences, and over the top special effects. The Davy Jones locker sequence is particularly well done both artistically as well as using a unique and brilliant storytelling method to help the audience experience Jack Sparrows stay in the locker. There are a good number of cheesy lines sprinkled throughout – no doubt a side effect of being a Disney production.

Aside from the Pirates of the Caribbean showing I’ve been doing quite a bit of photography the last few days and I plan to keep it up over the next two as well. I’d put down my camera for over a month being so busy at work and it’s really nice to pick it back up again and continue to build my skills and explore new ideas:

Water arc over man

Jesse, Nate, and Brenda joined me at Greenlake park in Seattle for some experimentations with water and high speed photography. A flash and a fast shutter speed (combined with a attempts and experimentation) resulted in some pretty cool results. This is an arc of water suspended over Jesse.

To see a moment about 1/10th of a second of this photo check out this photo. For a look at all the photos from our water tossing experiments that I posted check out my throwing water tag on Flickr.

In pursuit of more photography, and due to the increased number of forms I’ve had to print and sign of late I decided to finally bite the bullet and buy myself a printer. I planned on getting a cheap little thing for black and white document printing but once I got to the store I realized that for not much more money I could get a great Epson photo printer with a built in scanner thats a higher resolution (and color bit depth) than the one I have now. I ended up heading home with an Epson Stylus Photo RX580 and so far I’m pretty happy with it. The scanner seems very accurate (I’ll have to really put it through it’s paces tomorrow), and with 7 separate ink colors it seems to do a pretty decent job of printing on high quality photo paper.

Water arc over man” by sparktography

El Laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Yesterday brought me to Costco with Brien, and Costco brought me into ownership of El Laberinto del Fauno (Pans Labyrinth for those of us in the US), a simply stunning film. Prior to owning it I had heard a bit about it but had not had the pleasure of seeing it. In the last 24 hours I’ve not only rectified that problem, but watched it a second time for good measure.

Going in I knew it was by a Spanish Director (Guillermo Del Toro), but had no idea the audio was in Spanish as well. Normally I’m not a huge fan of subtitled films, but in this case it added a sense of charm and the fact that I couldn’t understand the vocals and thus was more able to let the poetic sounds of the script brought me deeper into Del Toro’s fantasy world.

Pans Labyrinth

It’s very much a dark fairy tale – it’s certainly not for kids with the amount of blood and violence, but it’s not gratuitous – used instead to show what horrors the ‘real world’ had to offer the heroine Ofelia. As dark and horrific as the real world is the fantasy world balances it out entirely with bright and visually mesmerizing visuals and a fanciful look and feel brought to life with the sublime art direction.

The hardship faced by Ofelia and the classic themes in fairy tales (three tasks, three bad guys, three good guys) work well with the style of directors style. In watching the movie for a second time I picked up on a number of subtle nods to both other fairy tables and common fables.

Between Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth and Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men I see what all the fuss was about over Spanish directors at the Oscars. They might not be “proper American filmmakers”, but their vivid and well thought out style mixed with their excellent storytelling leaves audiences world wide immersed in new worlds, sprung up from film and into reality. Both movies leave the audience with a series of thoughts spinning about in their heads, and with a need for more answers.

The movie is currently only available on DVD so no high-definition viewing yet, but the DVD transfer is decent and the audio is available in DTS EX 6.1 as well as Dolby Digital. The sound is well done, and the simple but catching music works well with the subject matter. Javier Navarrete pulls from subtle melodies that echo through the worlds ears, regardless of if performance by a full symphony, or hummed quietly by the heroine at several key points in the film.

If you haven’t seen it yet pick up a copy – you will be glad you did!

One of those mornings

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Between staying up late after dinner with Troy and sleeping poorly because of all the pollen in the air I sure got off to a bad start this morning. I barely managed to drag myself out of bed (after 20 minutes of snoozing) and then managed to leave both my phone and my wallet (which contains my keycard for work) at home. I’m not sure which is worse – being cut off from the outside world and feeling naked without my phone, or having to wear a stupid temporary name badge and get people to open doors for me without my cardkey. Hopefully today will be a quick and painless day so I can go home and relax.

The weather in Seattle

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

What strange weather we have had in Seattle: yesterday brought record highs (85F in downtown) for so early in may, yet today is cloudy, cold, and this morning it was even threatening to rain. The weather has been completely schizophrenic of late – hour to hour the weather manages to change from windy and rainy to beautiful and sunny in 15 minutes flat and then back again a couple of times a day.

Seattle: Don’t like the weather? Just wait 5 minutes!

Biking with the best of them for Mothers Day

Monday, May 14th, 2007

This last weekend brought me home to Walla Walla for Mothers day. It’s always nice to see her, and after the tragic death of a close friend of hers several years ago on Mothers day I try to be with her on that weekend to help support her. After gliding down in the A6 (sweltering in the heat of Eastern Washington as a result of my broken AC – I toyed with naming this post ‘Gliding through the heat’) on Friday night I got to spend the weekend with them and some old friends.

Back bikers line

Saturday morning the Wheatland Wheelers held their annual ride to memorialize Ann Weatherill up Mill Creek to Kooskooskie near Walla Walla to drink a toast to Anne’s memory. It’s good to see that my former teacher, and my moms best friend is remembered well by her community.

Mom rolling shot on bike

The above shot I got on the way back from the ride of my mom. I was pacing her in my car and ended up being not quite happy with the composition (the light upper left corner is the doorframe of my car – cropping it out fails to help the rest of the composition sadly), but while driving a car and trying desperately not to hit a tree, biker, or drive into a ditch while taking photos is surprisingly tricky. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone unless you are in a very remote location like we were – it could be quite dangerous. I took some other shots at the mid-point of the ride that can be viewed here.

I’m glad to be back from Walla Walla – I’m such a homebody that I really do appreciate being home no matter where I’ve gone, or how long I was gone. I was a bit stressed out last week with packing and keeping up with work, but now that it’s all behind me I’m ready for one heck of a week. The ride home had a few surprises as well which added to my relief at getting home, but I won’t go into those here and now.

Happy Mothers day Mom!

Back bikers line” by sparktography
Mom rolling shot on bike” by sparktography

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