Sunday, December 28, 2008

Guitar Music

Guitar Music

And with that, it's my turn to head out of town. Might post something later in the week, or possibly not until next weekend. Ahab, you're on your own until Tom comes back. If you decide to have a party, please clean up afterwards.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Crystal Dream

Crystal Dream

A gift my sister-in-law received for Christmas, set in her living room window.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Branching Out

Branching Out

A tree made of styrofoam, by artist Hector Dio Mendoza, on display in Building D at Fort Mason.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two Water Tanks

2 Water Tanks

Taken from the roof of the Sutter Street parking structure.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Travel Thursday

My Favorite Slogan
Granada, Nicaragua, 1985.

(And with that I'm off for some mostly domestic travel, and probably lots of photos. Enjoy your holidays, folks!)

Travel Thursday: Arbat Street, Moscow

Arbat Twilight Stroll

Arbat Street is the main tourist/shopping street in Moscow. It's not exactly Fisherman's Wharf tacky, but it comes close in some ways. It also has no small amount of charm and mystery, as most any street in any foreign country will to someone who is visiting for the first time.


Arbat T-shirts

Punch Me

Evil Empire

Arbat Matryoshka

Moscow Pickles

Arbat Fire Dancers

Desolation Row

Desolation Row
Near old Tucson

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Red Barn
Along the Bull River Road north of Bull Lake, Montana.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Was Looking at the Black and White World


Short-arm inspection at the annual St. Stupid's Day Parade, April 1st, 2007. All present and accounted for, sir.

The Ones That Got Away

Speaking of Xmas parties, Saturday night I had yet another painful lesson in why I should always bring my camera with me.

I was on my way to the company Christmas party, about a block from home, when I realized I hadn't brought my camera. I waffled for a minute and then decided not to go back for it--probably not much to shoot at the party, and I would feel kind of like a dork with my camera slung over my shoulder the whole evening.

I caught a 5 Fulton right away and got downtown with some time to kill, so I figured I'd wander around Westfield Mall. As I was walking in through the BART entrance, I passed a half-dozen people dressed as Santa Claus. Inside there were more of them. Santa in a rainbow clown wig. Santa in a bodice. Devil Santa. At one point a group took the escalator down a floor, an entire escalator-riser's worth of Santas. And outside, at the cable car turnaround, there were hundreds of them.

Yes, it was SantaCon. And me without my camera. Let that be a lesson to me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Xmas Party

Xmas Party

My company Christmas party was at the Giants' ballpark last Saturday night. It was pretty fun. For convenience's sake, I only took my little camera with me, and was not very happy with most of the pictures I took. This one turned out okay, though.


Lincoln Brigade 09
The new(ish) memorial to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Americans who went to fight for the loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. More shots below the fold.
Lincoln Brigade 06

Lincoln Brigade 10

Lincoln Brigade 05

Lincoln Brigade 08

Lincoln Brigade 12

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In My Neighborhood

Sidewalk Reconstruction

Sidewalk reconstruction on Polk between Sutter Street and Hemlock Alley.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Fair Entrance

I'm adding this mainly as an example to ahab of what can be done with various online imaging programs. I used Preview to desaturate this without turning it completely black and white; I considered going the other way, and really bringing the colors of the county fair way, way up, but eventually decided that I liked this very subtle, almost-black and white/almost-pastel image better than any other view of this shot I tried. To me, it looks sort of like an old hand-colored image that you might find in a vintage postcard shop.

This is also an example of how I post-process my pictures. This shot was taken in color, with lots of bright reds and yellows against a deep blue sky background. I often experiment with saturation levels, contrast, exposure, brightness, gamma, temperature, sharpness and other options before deciding on the final "face" I'm going to present to the world. On occasion, I'll create two or even three different versions of the same photograph to post at Flickr or wherever. Whatever the final outcome, though, the real fun is always in the experimenting, in seeing what the possibilities are, and where I can go in different directions with any given image. There are lots of photo manipulating programs out there, and my guess is that most of them are probably better than Preview, which is pretty basic. But even with a simple application like that, anyone can make a few manipulations with a just a couple keystrokes and turn a mediocre picture into a decent or even very good picture.

Of course, as I remember saying to Tom and his brother Steve about a year ago, all the manipulation in the world won't rescue a bad picture or put a good image in your camera. With all due humility, if you don't have an eye for framing and composition, if you don't bring something halfway decent to the table to begin with, no photo imaging program in the world will turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

(I'm trying desperately to resist the urge to use a "you can put all the lipstick you want on Sarah Palin, but she'll still never be a viable candidate" metaphor, but obviously my will is weak. Anyway, I think you get my drift.)

I Was Looking at the Black and White World


At the Metreon shopping/theater/entertainment complex, San Francisco.

Coffee Cracks

Cracked Porcelain
The interior of a beloved and much-used mug that I got from Peet's some ten years ago or so.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pink Glow

Pink Glow
Sometimes the photo you get isn't the photo you were trying to shoot; sometimes that's okay. This is on Balboa between 33rd & 34th.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Big Red Ornaments

Red Ornaments


Xmas Upskirt
Flying Spaghetti Monster Lives Up My Christmas Tree

There's a related shot below the fold.


Bagged My Limit
Trail of Trees
Trail of Trees

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Was Looking at the Black and White World

Silver Girl

At the Los Angeles County Fair, September, 2008.

Franks Famous

Franks Famous
That is, franks [that are] famous--not famous hot dogs that belong to Frank.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Travel Thursday: Managua, 1985

Downtown Managua
Managua was a donut city when I was there. The 1972 earthquake obliterated the downtown area, and it was never rebuilt--Wikipedia says "out of fear of earthquakes", but the story I heard was that Somoza's family owned a bunch of land on the outskirts and got a bill passed prohibiting rebuilding in the center.

Travel Thursday: Sacre Coeur, Paris

Sacre Coeur II


Sacre Coeur Steps

SC Detail

Sacre Carousel I C

Shade Indigo

Shade Indigo