Where I have been, what I have done, and why I did it


12/28/11 Taking a Moment to Reflect

It has been a while since my last post.  Since this blog is about “Where I have been, what I have done, and why I did it”, I felt I needed to post this one.  This was hard to do.

Back in April 2010 my Dad was getting ready to have carpal tunnel surgery.  When he visited the hospital for a preliminary review, they did some other tests and found that it was something much worse.  He was diagnosed with Glioblastoma grade 4 (Brain cancer).  We received a phone call from mom and we immediately packed our bags and made our way over to Knoxville.  The Doctor said he needed to have surgery asap to remove as much of the tumor as he could.  The picture below is Dad with our daughter the day before the surgery.

Right before the nurses took Dad back to the operating room, I told him that when we see him again to give us a “thumbs up” if he recognizes us.  Many hours pass and the doctor called us into a room.  He gave us the prognosis and what he was able to do.  The Doctor then said we could go see him.  As soon as we came through the doorway my Dad glanced over and raised his thumb.

The initial recovery was slow going for him.  We stayed until he was able to come home which I think was about a week.

Three months later Mom and Dad came to our home for our daughters 1st birthday.  It really meant a lot to him and us that he could make it.  Below is a picture of him arriving.

He had some highs and lows over the next 16 months and we spent as much time as we could with him.  In October this year, we got news that things were not going well.  We made another visit that was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through.  We said our goodbyes while he was still cognitive.  Below is a picture I took of him and Mom.  I did not notice the tear rolling down his cheek when I took this.  My Mom saw it when I prepared it for the funeral.  This was taken on 10/15/11.

My dad passed away 12 days later a little after 2:00 a.m.  Mom and I were sitting beside him.

Love you Dad


10/29/10 How Something Small Can Spark An Idea

A few months back while on a business trip to a conference, I took some time out in the evening to take some pictures.  While I was doing this I bumped into a couple of others doing the same thing.  And on an interesting note they were also attending the same conference.  We spoke for a bit and exchanged flickr information to keep in touch.  Their flickr sites can be seen here and here.

Jonathan (one of the persons I met on my trip) introduced me to a web video series on photography tips called DTown TV.  It is a nice series with a lot of good information.

One of the episodes had a simple tip that sparked an idea.(Episode 55)  The tip dealt with an easy way to display work by adding a fake mat to the photo in photoshop. This way your photo comes back from the lab ready to frame and hang for display.  Obviously this is not something you do to a print you sell, but rather a quick way to put up a catalog on a wall of prints for display without having to get mats made for each one.

After a couple of days of testing some sizes using the technique mention in the DTown tip, I kept thinking of how it would be neat to make a “Theme” advert poster.  So this small tip sparked the creation of my first poster.  I came up with several themes, and this one I called Dramatic – Sunrises Sunsets Clouds & Fog.

Selecting the pictures and arranging them was no small task.  I was working with a canvas size of 24 inches by 36 inches at 300dpi.   I knew I wanted to have different sizes and I wanted to have a mix of color and black and white.  I also knew I had to work text into the poster and I needed to come up with a way to not take way from the pictures.  Probably the most useful thing I used in photoshop was the grid tool to work on my aligning of the pictures and outer border.  Once I had all the pictures in place, I was able to visualize how I wanted to add text and my logo.

Below is the final-

10/15/10 Last Weekend’s Adventures

On Friday the 8th of October after work, I loaded up my gear and headed north. I wasn’t really going anywhere in particular but since the previous week I went south and west, I figured north was a good bet.

I took I24 and headed into Illinois. While driving up 24, I spot a few locations just off the road for future shots. (I have been saying this to myself every time I head up this way and some day I’m going to really take them.  🙂  ) I look at the clock and see that I have about a hour and a half before sunset so I start thinking about where I want to set up. I decide to go to Fern Cliff to see how the leaves were looking and take some shots of the lake. Plus there is a place I found during the winter where I took some pictures that had a good view and I wanted to see how it looks in the fall.

I arrived to see that the leaves have not really started to pop yet. Regardless, I headed down to the lake and took some shots to capture the reflection of the trees on the water and also to maybe get a ripple from a fish hitting the top of the water. Below is the best I got-

After walking around much of the lake looking at different angles, I was not real inspired by the colors or the way the lighting was changing. I decided it was time to move to my next location- the bluff.

Upon entering the forest on the trail to take me to the bluff, I noticed the way the sun was causing a nice glow to the leaves that had changed. I almost stopped to take some pictures, but decided to check the bluff out first since it was going to be my sunset picture and the sun was well… getting close to setting.

Once I reached the bluff, I walked around looking for the best spot to capture my sunset. As with the lake, the colors were just not there yet.  I decided the sky would be my color for this shot and I would do a silhouette shot.

Since I went with this idea, I had time to go back to the area in the woods were the sun was breaking through causing a nice glow to the leaves. I setup my tripod and began shooting. While I was doing this, I thought this would be a good example of making a picture into a pseudo 3d fly around movie to bring it to life. Below is what I made after I processed the shot and used Adobe After Effects CS5 to make the movie.-

After about 15 minutes I headed back to the bluff and was just in time to get the sun going down behind the trees. I took many shots here and even changed lenses at the end. Good thing I did, the best one I got was with the 50mm 1.8 at f8. Below is the silhouette shot I was looking for-

Now that it was dark, it was time to head back home.

On Saturday the 9th, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and packed up my gear and my 15 month old daughter for a trip up to and around Marion Ky. I kinda have been wanted to capture a combine working in a field with the sun rising or setting.  So this morning I thought I would head in a direction with lots of farms.

As soon as we start to head out of Paducah, I notice that there is quite a bit of fog.  Quickly I decided to stop at a location I have been to several times that I’m about to pass.  I pull into an area where they work on barges in Paducah Ky.  I wanted to see if the fog and the rising sun would make an interesting shot.  I scouted for a few minutes, and then picked my spot. Below is one of the pictures I made here-

I then got back on track and started heading to Smithland Ky.   Right before Smithland I spotted a hay bale and grabbed a shot of it-

Back on the road, I headed up to Marion where I wanted to go out to the Amish area by the ferry crossing to Illinois.   (I made a wrong turn and ended up in Sturgis Ky to which I received a “boy… you aint from around here” look ) I made a u-turn and once back in Marion I spotted the road I missed.  I was originally looking for a building I thought I remembered being on the road by the ferry.  I drove all the way to the ferry and I did not spot it.  I did however see a sign for a grocery down a gravel road.  I figured it was time to let my daughter out to run around some so I went there.

Turns out the grocery is Amish owned and is on a neat farm.  As soon as I let my daughter out, she spotted a 2 year old Amish girl playing in the yard.  Off my daughter went with me trailing behind.  The Amish girl’s mother came out to greet us and we had a nice conversation.   On a funny note, even though my daughter is only 15 months, she has this crazy fascination with shoes… she loves them, she plays with them, she puts on mismatched sets, matched sets, mommy’s and even mine.  Well the first thing she does when the Amish mother walks up is point to her shoes and then points to the Amish girl’s shoes- as if to say “can I try those on?”.  We had a good laugh and I turned to see what I thought would make a good picture-

I saw the time was around 10:15 a.m. and I wanted to get back to Paducah to watch Tennessee play Georgia.  I loaded up my daughter and off we went.

On my way back, I wanted to try to take a picture of the bridge I would pass over entering Smithland Ky.  Since I could not stop on this road, I held my camera through the sunroof and took several continuous shots in hopes one would be in focus.  Below is what I captured-

On Sunday October the 10th, it was shaping up to be a pretty day and I mentioned to my wife that it would be a great day to go exploring.  We decided to head from Metropolis to Anna Illinois on a road we had not been down before.

We stopped at several areas but nothing worth taking a picture.  Then my wife spotted Wineaux’s Winery.  I will admit I did not catch the name at first, then I laughed.  We toured it and order a glass of wine with some cheese and crackers.  We relaxed on the back deck overlooking the vineyard and enjoyed the wonderful Sunday afternoon. Below is a picture I took-

09/17/10 Getting Things Setup

Over the past week, I have been rolling out meshpointstudio.com and this blog.

For the website, I selected Zenfolio as my host.  Over the past several months I researched several hosting companies that cater to artist wanting a print lab to handle the processing and shipping of work to the customer.  I could not be happier with my selection.  Earlier in the week, I did a test order of a couple of prints and selected Metallic for the paper finish.  I selected a 10×15 of

And a 12×18 of

When they arrived I was thoroughly impressed.  The packaging was done well and the prints were protected nicely.  When I finally got all the wrapping off, I was blown away by the quality.

One thing my host does not currently offer is a good way to have a journal/blog.  I wanted a way to discuss particular compositions I have completed, processes used, and any tips I have picked up along the way.  I selected wordpress to fill this void.