I got started in photography in sixth grade (1966) when the principal went around to all the home rooms asking for volunteers. When she said that volunteers got free access to all school events, including football, basketball, baseball, and tennis, well, I was an easy sell.
The school had Nikon equipment. By the time I got ready to buy my own equipment, Paul Simon had ruined Nikon with his top hit “Kodachrome.” Ever since then, all other things being equal, Nikon always has been more expensive than Canon. Thusly, I have been using Canon equipment since then, with my first being the incomparable Canon A1.
My current crop of cameras comprise three Canon Rebel EOS cameras:
XSi, T2i, and 760D (T6s in the U.S.). However, with my 54 years of photography experience, I rarely explore all the new stuff being included in cameras, specialty modes like Portrait, Close-up/Flowers, Landscape. Courtesy of a Facebook friend and her new Canon T6i camera, today I explored the Close-up/Flowers mode. Wow. Saved a lot of time.
Here’s one of my favorites today since today is its first day in bloom. It was labeled “Aloe ‘Grassy Lassie’ ” but I’m fairly certain it’s not an aloe. Nonetheless, the flowers are tiny but beautiful.
I like to get action pictures of wildlife. That was difficult until recently. I bought a Tamron 150-600 mm lens and replaced my 9-year-old Tamron 28-300 mm lens with a Tamron 18-300 mm. The 18-300 is my daily walkaround lens although the 150-600 is always in the trunk of the car. The 18-300 is best for outdoor spontaneous action because it is lighter and focuses faster. The 150-600 is best for getting through wire fences such as those which surround many enclosures at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, Lions Tigers & Bears, Discovery Nature Center, and others.
Following is one of my best action pictures ever, taken at the San Diego Jetty while I was visiting the Jetty Cats feral colony.
Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!
Many decades ago I was reading an interview with a photographer from National Geographic magazine. One of the questions concerned how he got such great shots of wildlife. His answer was that he always focused on the eyes. If he did that, everything else would fall into place.
I focused on the eyes of that first seagull, but by the time I pushed the shutter button, the birds had moved so that it looks like I focused on the eye of the second seagull because it’s just ever so slightly more in focus. I was about 50 feet from these birds and the picture metadata shows a shutter speed of 1/250, which is why I got such good motion in the wings and legs. It was taken with the 150-600 lens but the focal length was 150 and the f/stop was 5.0.
I will have more pictures in the next few days of wildlife from the San Diego Jetty, including, of course, the Jetty Cats.
Many decades ago I bought a brick. Not just any brick, though. The durn thing cost me $1,000. It was to support the construction of the new center for the Former Students Association at Texas A&M University.
So whenever I see named bricks, I tend to spend some time reading the names. Quite often the names will have an explanatory note below them. With my $1,000 brick, it had my class year below my name. Class year is a vital statistic at Texas A&M University. Many explanatory notes often say something like, “In Memory of.”
In the picture below you can see two bricks,
one in loving memory of John Mason, who died at the age of 45,
and one for Susan Schartzwald, who apparently had an affair in 1984.
I thought Schwartzwald might be sufficiently unique that a Google search would uncover something. Nope.
Then I thought maybe “Affair” was a movie that came out in 1984 and Susan Schwartzwald was in it. Nope.
Perhaps a big but local political or teacher/student scandal? Not that I could find.
Maybe the person with whom Susan had the affair wanted to memorialize it for all time? Maybe Susan wanted to memorialize her affair and this spot is where she met her paramour?
I’m at a loss here. Leave a comment if you think of something.
Although I have a lot of books and online resources concerning everything in Southern California, last week I discovered an online resource that lists places of which I was not aware, and which aren’t in my books.
I suspect it’s because my books are ca. 1989-1998, and some of the places I discovered at this new online resource were built or created later than 1998.
After browsing online, I picked a site that’s not too far from me to check it out last weekend.
On my leisurely drive, leisurely because I’m always on the lookout for things to photograph, I saw this huge sign on a residential fence:
That reminded me of my time at Texas A&M University when I was looking for a Greek organization to pledge. One of the organizations I was considering was Sigma Chi.
Fraternities at Texas A&M University in the mid-1970s were a new thing because previously they were prohibited as recognized student organizations. As fraternities and sororities started establishing chapters at A&M, they had to do so off campus without all the benefits that recognized student organizations got. Thus there are some huge fraternity and sorority houses in College Station, off campus. One of the largest was the Sigma Chi house. If I remember correctly, a rich Sigma Chi alumnus had lent the money to build the house on several acres of land.
Shortly after I had decided to pledge Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity instead of Sigma Chi, they discovered oil under the Sigma Chi land. Rumors at the time were that the oil company which obtained the drilling rights had paid the Sigma Chi chapter $1.2 million, as well as 10% ongoing royalties. Oil companies probably still pay a large sum initially for drilling rights, so the people who own this house are hoping for that initial large sum.
I wonder if drilling rights include fracking rights….