Thursday, February 21, 2008

V-day and Other Catching Up

Yeah, it's a week late, but, I guess better late than never!

Just after my last post, I started coming down with a cold / sinus thing. It's been almost two weeks, and I'm still fighting it! So, I've done my best to stay in and do as little as possible. Partially, just to stay out of the cold, and partially because I haven't felt like doing anything other than sit in front of the computer (in front of the space heater) or on the couch watching TV. I am feeling better than I did last week at this time. I didn't even consider going to the card game Toby was trying to put together. In fact, I took a sick day from work that day and didn't leave the house for 4 days except to get more cold meds and have dinner at Connie's on the evening of the 4th day (president's day).

Anyway, enough of the pity party, right???!!!

Valentine's day was fun and entertaining. Connie picked up a pizza and brought it over and we stayed in, which was perfect if you ask me!! :-) No crowds, no reservations, or waiting forever for a table. When I started thinking about celebrating V-day, gifts, and all that, the first thing that came to mind was chocolate (duh)! It may seem cliché, but, when someone loves chocolate as much as Connie, you can't go wrong!! Well, unless you end up with a chocolate O.D. on your hands!!
day 28 of 60
Photo by Connie

But, wait!!!!! There's more!! This requires a little background, so bear with me.

About a month ago, Lola Takes Pictures started a new group on flickr she called the 60-day project. Basically, it's a shortened version of a 365 project. The idea is to take a self portrait each day and post it to the group. You are the one that has to set up the shot (framing, zoom, light, etc...) and also press the button to take the picture (this is where long arms or the camera's self timer come in handy). Anyway, there was a post in the group about ideas for pictures and possibly even designating specific subjects/criteria for a given day. for example, sweatpants day, or red, or hat day. Just some sort of theme. Well, even though I am not participating in the project, I came up with a brilliant (in my opinion) suggestion of "topless day" :-) The initial reaction was the expected "you go first!". But, after that, they started do you define topless? Taking a picture while topless doesn't mean you have to actually show anything that would get higher than a 'G' rating (I could be topless and take a picture of my feet for example). So anyway, there were a couple pictures posted in the vein noted above followed by 'ok your turn!'.

Not to be outdone, I had to come up with an idea. So, I thought about it for a couple days and formulated a plan. After I had the plan worked out in my mind, it was time to execute and see if I could pull off what my mind envisioned. After many attempts, I finally was happy with the end results. By this time, it was a week before V-day...the timing was perfect!

For those of you still following along, a printed / framed copy of this was another V-day gift!
George Costanza Tribute
For those of you who may not be Seinfeld fans, this was my attempt at a tribute to George Costanza and his efforts to seduce a girl that worked at the film developing place he used.

Some of you may be wondering what I got for V-day (or maybe not). I got a remote control for the camera packaged with a nice 'bouquet' of heart-shaped suckers. :-) While that may seem a little untraditional, it was a great and thoughtful gift! Sure would have made the self portrait above easier!! As it was, I had to try to set focus (on nothing), press the button to start the timer, and run to the couch and get my pose before the timer ran out! A wireless remote rocks for those situations!!!

Moving along.....Sunday was the Daytona 500. I was supposed to go to Connie's brother's but, since I had been sick, I was left behind to watch the race by myself (which was fine by me...I was feeling pretty crappy still). With great anticipation, I waited for the start...and waited, and waited... Why can't they just tell you when it is really going to START rather than list it on the tv guide as starting at 2:00, but not really starting for another hour and a half or so???? They eventually got under way, and it was a rather uneventful race for the first 1/2 or so. Then as it got closer to the finish, there was more excitement and a few more cautions. It was during two of these back to back cautions that I dozed off. We're talking about 30 - 40 laps (out of 200) left. Yes, you guessed it....I slept through the last of the race, waking up for the very last corner. That sucked!!! haha! If I time things right, I usually can catch the beginning, nap through the middle of the race, and wake up for the last several laps when things start to heat up. Not this time, though.

Friday, February 8, 2008


So, how about this weather??? This weather sucks! This weather is crazy! Gotta love Illinois Weather! yeah yeah yeah..... Everyone's talking about the weather. I'm just as guilty as the next guy, I suppose.

But, how about that fog a couple of days ago???!!!!! heh :-)

No, really. That was some pretty damn stout fog! The forecast called for it to lift by noon, but, it seemed to pick up steam after noon and into the night. I went outside to "check the weather" (A.K.A. smoke break) about 2:00 or so, and from Adams St. could not see Old Chicago at all (two blocks away) and could just barely (after staring at it) make out an outline of the twin towers (1 block away). At that point I knew I had to play with the camera after work.

So, after work, I head down to the riverfront. Initially, I was thinking to go across to the other side of the river and shoot towards downtown. However, when I got to the riverfront, I knew that all I would get is a wall of fog. There's no way you would have seen the city...I couldn't even see the buildings / lights a block away. Ok, this side of the river it is!

I started walking around snapping pictures of this and that all the while being amazed that I couldn't even see the bridge from the docks near the Spirit of Peoria!!
Spirit In The Fog

I really like the way the fog obscures the never really see where the water ends and land (or sky for that matter) begins.

As I walked around, I really wanted to try to get a nice shot of the bridge disappearing into the fog. I tried several angles and decided that this was my favorite.
Bridge Into Fog

This was exactly what I envisioned! Relatively clear close in, and gradually fading into nothing! The fog was great for cleaning up messy backgrounds and other distractions. The isolation really allows you to focus on the subject.

As it got darker, I headed back towards The Tavern On Water (or Roxy's or Crooked Waters or whatever you know it by). I stopped off by the docks and grabbed this shot.
Docks In Fog

I was lazy and didn't carry around the tripod, as it really wasn't needed early on. But, as the light diminished, I had to bump the ISO for this one (which means more digital noise, especially in the shadows). So, this took a little extra work to clean up, but, I thought the end result was fairly nice.

As I walked on and it got darker, at one point I stopped and just looked out across the river. It was really pretty creepy. First off, you couldn't see anything across the hints of street / business lights, no buildings, nothing! All you got was a wall of fog. The water was like glass, and every now and then, a couple of chunks / sheets of ice would float by. Without any other anchor, it had somewhat of a disorienting affect. As I said, kind of eerie.

Anyway, it was well worth the hour or so I spent there! Though, driving home was a challenge! ;-)