Bright Moon

This is another photograph from the Joshua Tree Night Sky class I took last Saturday. When we first arrived at the Hidden Valley Picnic Area the moon was just rising over the rocks, then it just brightened up and lit up the sky.


Starry Night


I spent my Saturday afternoon and evening attending another photography class at Joshua Tree National Park.  I love to learn, which is a complete change from my high school years, so attending a class to improve my photography skills is a fun day for me. The particular class I attended this past Saturday was for Night Sky Photography. This is something that I have wanted to learn about for a long time and although the moon was a little too bright to get any stunning shots, the techniques I learned will make me go out and take more of them. The photograph above was taken looking towards the west at the Hidden Valley Picnic Area. 

I hope you enjoy it as I'll be finding some more subjects for night skies.


Farewell Chicago

You'll all be pleased to hear this is the last photograph I have to post of Chicago, well at least until the next time I head back there! I really enjoyed my time back there and had some fun times with work colleagues. The next time I go back though, I want it to be a fun visit, not a work one.

This is the view facing north from the Hancock Observatory on the 94th floor. If you knew where to look you'd be looking at Wrigley Field and Lincoln Park with the Chicago Zoo.

Farewell Chicago for now. It was fun!


Another Childhood Memory

 This is a photograph I took on Navy Pier in Chicago of their big wheel. I just loved big wheels as a kid, well at least when I got over the whole scared of heights issue. I was pretty bad on one big wheel on Clacton Pier, along with one of my childhood friends. We got stuck at the top while they loaded and unloaded some people at the bottom. Well us being bored 14 year olds we decided it would be smart to spit off the top and see what happened. I know what you are thinking "That's so disgusting" and yes looking back it was, but hey, I was 14. So there we were spitting off the top of a big wheel, half way along a pier that extends out into the North Sea. So every time we did our spit just caught the wind and headed out to sea, well except for one time, the last time. This one last time I gathered up the saliva in my mouth and launched it. The wind caught it and it was heading to sea, then the wind stopped and it started heading straight down. Straight down at the gentleman sitting on a bench. So imagine the horror as I watched my spit not only hit him, but hit him right in the eye. I was mortified, my friend burst out laughing and the other man on the bench pointed up towards the sky or was it us. We were never caught, but I still remember how bad I felt for doing that!


Trashy Shoes

When we came down from the 94th floor of the Hancock Tower we thought we'd walk along Michigan Avenue to take in the sites. Just along the sidewalk from the exit is this trash can full of old shoes. Now some of them look to be in pretty good condition, but search as I may I have not been able to find any information on how they got there and why? I have two thoughts on why and how they are there. One, that it is kind of shoe tree that appears all over California and I'm sure the country, where people just for fun hang their old shoes. Or two, that people leave their old shoes that aren't in such bad condition, so that homeless people can take them. Anyone got any other ideas, let me know.


A Monkey Flower

This is a photograph I took of a Bigelow Monkey Flower (Mimulus Bigelovii) in Joshua Tree National Park while attending a photography class. This flower was tiny, about 2-3 inches high and about the same width. This was another example of Dirty Shirt Photography and was taken while I was lying face down on the desert rocks. The macro lens I was using was just amazing and allowed me to get this close up of this tiny flower.

It was mentioned to me that a varient of this photograph should be tried. So here it is. Hope you like it.


Dirty Shirt Photography

So why "Dirty Shirt Photography" I hear you ask? Well the answer stems from a class I took in Joshua Tree National Park this weekend to learn about Macro Photography. I probably spend 75% of my time, photographing wild flowers, laying on my stomach straight on the ground. It wasn't the most comfortable way to take a photograph but we managed to get some pretty amazing photographs and videos too. Kurt, a friend and fellow photographer coined the phrase of Dirty Shirt Photography while we were crawling around looking for good photographic subjects. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday and I will share some of the photographs here with you. Hopefully I also learned some new things that will improve my photography as well.

This is a photograph of a small (3" long) lizard that we spotted while taking some closeups of a cactus flower. This little guy posed long enough for me to get so good HDR shots of him and yet I was probably less than 6" away from him. I hope you enjoy it.


My Coming Weekend

This weekend I will be back at a photography class in Joshua Tree National Park. This week it's all about macro photography, so next week I should have some up close and personal photographs of plants and bugs and stuff. Today though I will share with you the sunset of the last class I took in Joshua Tree. I hope you like it.


Navy Pier

In Chicago there is a place that reminds me of somewhere I grew up and had lots of fun. That place is Navy Pier, an amusement park located on Lake Michigan, right next to Downtown Chicago. The place I had fun at growing up was Clacton Pier, another amusement park, that I spent many hours as a kid riding the rides and playing the arcade games. I remember going there in the summertime by train with my grandmother. She used to buy the ride tickets for me and my sister and let us ride in the bumper cars or on the big wheel. I did not get to see much of Navy Pier as we were there late, but one day when I go back to Chicago (preferably when it's warmer) I will go and spend some time there and remember those childhood Sundays of fun. 



My Toy Fire Engine

What little boy didn't want to drive a fire truck? Well me, I wanted to drive trains, but I always had a fascination of fire trucks. I remember being 3 years old with my grandfather in the nearby town of Brightlingsea. We parked the car close to the fire station that was letting kids go and sit in the fire engine. So my grandfather asked me if I wanted to go and sit in it and I said, "No, but I would like a toy one." So my grandfather says, "Wait here in the car and don't get out!" (Imagine doing that in this day and age, crazy huh?) So off goes my grandfather to the toy store just across the street and leaves me in the car. Now to say that I was a brat as a kid would be an understatement and telling me not to get out the car, yeah right! So what do I do? I got out and lock the car doors. Oops! Then, my grandfather shows up and finds me standing next to the car. I was in trouble, eventually though he got the car open and we went home. I never did get to sit in a fire engine, but I got my toy one.

This photograph was taken in a field across the street from the fire station in Ranchita, which is somewhere between Borrego Springs and Warner Springs.