Showing posts from April, 2010

Puppies and Babies

These are the two easy fallbacks for any amateur photographer:
This is our 4 month old Shih Tzu puppy named Luka. I'm sure I'll take many more pictures of him over the years, but this is our first "model shoot" together.

And then of course, if I make it to 6:30 or 7pm at night without taking my picture for the day, chances are pretty good I'll be posting something of one of my girls that night. Tonight was actually a rare indoor shot with a telephoto lens ... great for "semi-candid" expressions.

On a side note, as I expected might happen, I'm already starting to struggle a bit with keeping up my daily schedule. Obviously there's more here to take pictures of, than there was in Iraq. But finding the extra time to sit down here at write a post every evening isn't nearly so easy ... as you might well imagine.

I'll definitely stick with taking a picture every single day. But in all honesty, if I find that's it's after 11pm and…

Rent A Tire ?

Okay, I know times are tough in many place around the country, but seriously .. "rent a tire" ?

Every time Ana and I drive past this place, when just shake our heads. It seems like such and odd concept.

Then again, I suppose that if you have no money, and bad credit, but need your car to get to work, it's probably good that an option like this is available.

It just seems a shame that the reality in our country is that the less money you have, the more things tend to cost. (I would imagine that even people who end up owning their tires from a place like this ultimately pay 2-3 times what the tire would cost at normal retail).

This isn't the only example ...

This afternoon on the radio, I heard one of those ads for a computer, with no credit check ... just proof of a job. I didn't listen close, but I think you pay something like $75-$100 a month, for about 2 years! And I may just be cynical, but somehow I doubt you're getting a high end gaming computer for t…

First Baby Pictures of Joey Janae

I took Jaiden over to the hospital this morning to meet her new baby sister. These pictures were all taken when Joey was about 8 hours old. The one above is actually Jaiden touching her for the first time.

This one is kind of a softer image of just baby Joey by herself:

And finally, one of Mommy holding her new baby. (went for the "artsy" soft glow effect)

Don't really have a lot of time to write at the moment, heading back to the hospital here in a few minutes, but wanted to get a few pictures up first. (there are more on Ana's camera from last night when she was first born, we'll post those later when she gets home).


Baby Joey was Born at 12:31am on April 26th

You know what they say about the 4th baby coming quick? It's no joke. At 11pm I walked in the bedroom and Ana was watching one of her recorded shows on TV. At about 11:45pm she was at the bottom of the stairs having contractions just a couple of minutes apart.

We drove (quickly) to the hospital, and she had baby (girl) Joey at about 12:31am. 6lbs 5oz (for those who will ask).

Mom and baby are doing great. Dad needs to get a few hours sleep before the other kids wake up for school. Tomorrow's picture of the day will be an easy one :-)

Green Eggs and Ham for Jasmine

I've always been a fan of "breakfast for dinner". Tonight, we had my famous "better than Denny's" egg potato and cheese skillet meal.

Except for Jasmine ...

Every night since I've been home, we've been reading stories before bed. Her favorites so far have been the Dr Seuss books. So, with the help of a little food coloring left over from Easter, she had ...

Green Eggs & Ham

... and she liked it, liked it, sam I am !!! :-D

A Nature Walk At Sunset

I haven't gone on a nature walk in a while. So, when it got to be about 6pm and I still hadn't taken my picture of the day, and I noticed that the pre-sunset light was looking pretty good, of course I grabbed my camera and headed out into the woods behind my house. Now that I'm back home in Texas, I have access to my most versatile lens: my Bigma (Sigma 50-500mm). The sucker weighs a couple of pounds, but I've gotten some pretty good hand-held shots with it over the years.

I was only out for about 30-45 minutes, but I ended up getting a couple of pictures that I actually liked. The one above with the agave plant and the pink/orange flowers is probably my favorite. It's the type of shot I probably wouldn't have too much trouble convincing my wife to frame and put up in the bedroom or something.

I also enjoy shooting (with my camera), wildlife and insects. I didn't run into any interesting wildlife this evening, but I did get a few decent insect shots.…

A Spring Evening In Central Texas

I'm back in Texas, and it's spring time, so that means I expect to get some pretty decent thunderstorm pictures over the next month or two. Unfortunately, today wasn't one of those opportunities. Ok, maybe unfortunately isn't quite the right word. Severe weather is only "cool" when I'm taking pictures of it. If people get hurt, or their property gets damaged, it's very much not a good thing.

During the daylight hours yesterday, most of the more intense thunderstorms stayed pretty well off to our east; although, we were in the tornado watch box from about 6pm until after midnight. The picture above is of the park out behind my house just before the sun was going down. You can see some storms off in the distance, but for the most part the atmosphere over us was still somewhat "capped".

We did actually get a pretty intense line of thunderstorms move over us from the west latter on, right before I went to bed. The lightning show was pretty…

How To Get Artificial Motion In A Picture Using A Zoom Lens

Thought I'd take a day off from posting pictures of my kids. Today's picture is actually more of a "test/experiment" than anything else. I was sitting out front, and decide to take some pictures of this bush with red and green berries. After I few shots, I remembered a technique I'd read about, and have been wanting to try ...

Make sure you have a zoom lens mounted on the camera.

Pick a (distant) spot to focus on, then switch to manual focus.

Zoom all the way out to the widest focal length of the lens.

As you're pressing the shutter button, simultaneously turn the zoom ring from wide to telephoto.

This gives the picture a motion effect, that kind of reminds me of the x-wing fighters taking off in star wars.

This berry bush may not have been the ideal subject for this technique, but now if I do run into a situation where it really would create a cool picture, I've had some practice with it.

Benefits Of Being An Older Parent – I Now Love Swings

In some ways it's a little scary to say that I'm 41 years old and have a daughter who's only 19 months old, with another one on the way in just a couple of weeks. Maybe I'm already too old to be a "new" dad again. But on the other hand, there are things about being a parent now, in my 40s, that just seem so much easier/different than when I first experienced fatherhood as a 20 something guy.

Today was a perfect example. I took Jaiden to the park behind our house, where we played for over an hour. She went on the little bouncy frog thing, tried to climb up the monkey bars, and slid down the slide more times than I can count. And when we weren't doing that, we spent a long time, laughing as I pushed her on the swing (picture above).

Obviously Jaiden had a really good time ... but the best part is, so did I !!!!

And that's the biggest difference between "then" and "now".

There was a time when I used to "joke" (but it was…

Searching For An Inexpensive Used Car - Strike One

I almost bought this little Kia Rio. It's exactly the sort of car that I'm looking for. Inexpensive, and gets good gas mileage. I just need something to get me back and forth to work. I found it online, and went out to look at it yesterday. As the dealer was showing it to me, he noticed that it needed new tires. They replaced the tires today, and told me that I could come test drive it this afternoon ...

I got caught up in a meeting, so I didn't make it out to the dealership until about 15 minutes before they were due to close. Even so, a salesman was expecting me, and had the key to the Kia in his hand as I walked through the door. He told me to take it out for as long as I needed. Ana and the girls were with me, and we had to be to gymnastics in about 40 minutes, so I just too the car for a test drive down the street about 2 or 3 miles and back. The car ran really well, shifted fine, the radio and the air conditioner worked. I really wanted to like this car, so …

Natural Light Portrait Of Jaiden

Confession, I hate my camera flash. But I love shooting portraits, especially of my kids. So, as you might imagine, I'm a huge fan of natural light. By far my favorite time of day to take "people pictures" is in the late afternoon / early evening, when the sun is starting to get a little lower in the sky, and the shadows aren't nearly as harsh.

The picture above was taken as we were cruising down hwy 190 in Killeen at about 5:30 this evening. I was sitting in the passenger seat, with my camera in my lap, when I noticed the light coming in through the window and hitting Jaiden "just right". The fact that she was in the process of playing "I'm asleep ... no, I'm awake" and giving me a wry little half smile just made it all the better.

It's possibly just daddy's pride, but I really like the way this picture turned out.

Obviously we're not going to be able to hop in the van and take a ride down the road during the "magic …

A Bedtime Story For Jasmine

Another one of daddy's duties is to read the girls a story before bed each night. I like doing it, and hopefully I'll keep up with it. Although, it's not exactly the classic two little girls laying in bed while Todd reads the book to them ...

Jaiden usually lasts about 5 minutes, max, before she gets totally bored with the book, and wanders off to get into explore something else while we finish up reading.

And Jasmine, the little einstein that she's becoming doesn't actually want the book read to her. Oh no, she wants to read the book to me!

She's got a whole shelf full of books, but of course there are a few that are her favorites. The past 2 nights, we've read one called Pinkolicious, and another tonight called Purplicious. They're about a little girl who loves colors. I like the lesson behind them.

Tomorrow night, I think we'll try something a little different. I've got a story called "The Jungle in the Attic" that I just rec…

Potty Training 18 Month Old Jaiden

One of daddy's jobs during my two week recuperation period is to help my 18 month old daughter Jaiden with potty training. Tonight after dinner, she decided to show me where her potty is, and how much she enjoys sitting on it. lol, of course she didn't actually do anything tonight, but just knowing what "potty" means, and getting her to sit on it is half the battle won. And it's really even better than that, she already did a poop on her little potty about 2 weeks ago, while I was still in Iraq.

I have to run in to work for about 3 half days next week, but after that, I'm off for 14 days. This is when the intense potty training will begin ...

I think we'll definitely still let Jaiden wear her diaper at night, but during the day, I plan to bring her potty downstairs, and let her run around during the day without a diaper. I haven't decided yet whether I'm just going to ask her if she has to go, or whether we'll do the "sit on the pot …

All Four Of Justin's Wisdom Teeth Got Pulled

At 9am this morning, my 17 year old son Justin got an IV in his hand, went to sleep, and woke up about 30 minutes later, minus all four of his wisdom teeth. Needless to say, he's not having the greatest day of his life today. He's swollen, sore, and thanks to being able to read about all the things that could possibly go wrong (like dry socket) on the Internet, just a little bit worried. In a day or two, I'm sure everything is going to be just fine, but in the mean time, we're just taking care of him ... ice cream, yogurt and pudding will probably be his diet this weekend.

Even with insurance, dad's credit card took a bit of hit, but compared to what Justin is having to deal with, I can hardly complain about a silly little thing like money. :-)

I remember when I got my wisdom teeth out, I didn't have to pay anything. It was my very first dentist appointment after I came in the Air Force. The dentist got my x-rays back, and was rather excited to discover t…

Made It Home To Texas

As you can probably tell from the sign above, I made it back home to Fort Hood at about 1pm this afternoon. The turnout at the airport was really good, with probably about 20 people from work there to meet me. Ana and the kids made it in with just about perfect timing, about 30 seconds after I walked out of the gate.

Still getting settled in, but I did take some pictures today, so wanted to put up a quick blog post before I watch some tv with my wifey before bed.

In addition to the shot above, which was an easy choice for my picture of the day, I also really liked the shot below. It's on of the first pictures I took of the girls after I got home. The strong backlighting from the window gives it a kind of "hi key" effect. I expect this will be the first of many pictures here on the blog in the coming months, starring either one, or both of these beautiful young ladies.

Well, I'm off to try to get back on my sleep schedule. Catch up with you again tomorrow.

My Trip Home

I'm sitting here at 2:30 am, in a hotel in Baltimore Maryland. I catch my final flight home to Texas tomorrow morning. I've been taking my pictures of the day this week, but my access to this blog was blocked while I was in Al Udeid Qatar (not sure why). So, I thought I'd take a few minutes to catch up again, with pictures from the past 3 days, during my trip home.

12 April:

This picture was already posted on Facebook the other day, but I wanted to put it up here for people who only follow the blog. This shot was taken from inside the C-130, as they were loading the cargo pallet and getting ready for take-off. I like the looks on some of the guy's faces ... the dude nearest to me looks particularly happy to be going home.

13 April:

My next stop was Al Udeid AB in Qatar, where I spent about a day and a half. Just about every Air Force person who is going into or out of Iraq transits through Al Udeid. We fly back and forth on contracted commercial airliners. While …

Catching Up ... This Week's Pictures

Well, the last couple of days in Iraq have arrived. I'm getting ready to go home. I've still managed to take pictures every day, but getting them processed, uploaded to flickr, and put into a blog post has proven to be a bit more of a challenge. And honestly, I think the next week is going to be pretty similar. If I don't get a flight tomorrow, I'll try to do a regular blog post. And then I may have the opportunity to do one from Qatar as well. However, there is a chance you won't hear from me here again until after I get home next week.

In the mean time, here my pictures of the day from this past week:

Saturday April 10th:

This sign cracked me up. It just struck me as the ultimate worst case scenario. You mean there's only one way ... and it's wrong?

Friday April 9th:

Obviously I didn't take many pictures on Friday, so it was pretty slim pickins choosing one for the project365. In the end, this brown porta-potty was about the most interesting thi…

Dust Storm Of Biblical Proportions

The picture above is from last night. This was about the coolest dust storm I've ever seen. Way better than the ones I took pictures of last time I was here in 2007.

Unfortunately, these aren't pictures that I took. I was at the dining hall as this great wall of dust was approaching from the south, and among my least favorite rules here at COB Adder, is the one that says you can't bring cameras into the DFAC. I don't care about getting pictures of where I eat, but if I come out of the DFAC, and see a giant wall of dust, with lightning bolts coming out of it, I really would like to have my camera with me.

This desire to get to my camera, actually resulted in my getting to experience the "full effect" of this particular dust storm. When I first saw the wall of dust, it was probably still a mile or two to the south ... moving very rapidly in our direction.

I made the miscalculation that I might be able to beat it back to my CHU. It normally takes us about…

Happy Easter 2010

Well, I would have really liked to have been home to spend Easter with Ana and the kids, but looks like I missed it by a week or two. I'm sure they had a good enough time without me. And the dining hall here, as they do on holidays, hooked us up with a few goodies. I think I'm going to eat the head off of one of these chocolate rabbits before I go to bed tonight :-)

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter.

Tallil Weather Office

I'm just gonna come out and say it ... we scored a seriously nice office during this deployment. Normally, the weather guys are lucky if they get a little space over in the corner of the room, or maybe even a spot for a couple of computers on a table in the TOC. Somehow or another, we ended up with this nice double wide trailer, decent furniture, and even a storage room in the back.

I spent about the first week that I was here, just amazed about the office. I wish I had this office back home. The one down side to it though, is that everybody but me on our team was here for their very first deployment. I hope they don't end up having unrealistic expectations when it comes time for them to head down range next time. :-)