Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not So Random Images

Last Saturday, my better half and I went to Pasadena for the Pro Photo Show. We looked around, asked some questions and bought some CF Cards (great deal on them at Samys.com and a huge rebate, too).

When we left it was raining and she was driving, so I busted out the D300 and started playing around. Here are a few of my shots from the truck. I love the graffiti and "Most Reliable Network" billboard. It cracks me up when I think about it.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Some People Can Be So Ridiculous

Today was one of those days where we didn't have to do much of anything. The one thing we needed to do was to photograph two people on our board at the shelter. For anyone who does not know, Kymberli and I volunteer at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center. It is our way of helping out our community and the animals who need lots of love and TLC.

I went on down there today to photograph these two wonderful ladies this afternoon and got to also spend some time with the dogs. I love seeing these dogs and some of them jump around, bark and want to play each time they see me. It could be that they get that way around anyone, but for the sake of argument we will say it's because I spend time with them. :)

I also got to encounter some people that just drove me nuts and made me shake my head. Some people act so idiotic and just irritate the crap out of me. I hope when my friends at the shelter read this they nod their heads and say "Yepper, exactly."

While I was setting up my equipment, two people came in and wanted to look at the cats. They wanted to adopt a cat. Ok, so everyone knows - they were a military couple and I support our military 100%. As I type this I am shaking my head in disgust because this couple wanted to adopt a cat, but they came out and said they had already given up cats on other occasions. Why? Well, because of this guy being in the military and being stationed in different places they had to travel around a lot. Strike 1 - if you are that selfish that you need an animal around when it's convenient then you don't need that animal. Period. They had a couple of other things going on with her being pregnant and the other cats not getting along. What? So what makes you think that getting another animal now is going to be any better? You have a CHILD on the way. Take care of him/her FIRST! People like this scare me for the animals sake and in their case the child as well.

On to the other guys who came in looking for a dog. Nice guys and they wanted to look at dogs. They took out one of our dogs who is a sweetheart, but needs attention, loves to play and has an adventurous side. I see them with him and they walk towards me as I stand by the front door. They start bringing him inside the office. I ask them what they are thinking and one of the guys tells me with a straight face, "I am kinda worried about his adventurousness. We like to keep our gate open and I am afraid he would get out. We kept it open for our other dog and she stayed inside and that's what we want." Are you a complete moron? You want the dog to stay? I realize we live near Hollywood, but this is no movie. You have to WORK with the animals, it's not a storybook fairy tale. STRIKE ONE.

Here's where I get absolutely ticked off. There is a large sign in plain sight that says "Please Do Not Bring Dogs Inside The Office" and I make sure to point this out to them. The guy looks me in the eye and nods. I repeat myself and get direct and tell him he can't bring the dog in. Now, I see that the dog does NOT want to go in there because we have three dogs that are the office dogs and it is THEIR territory. The guy looks at me and says he'll be fine as he needs to go in there. Are you that dense and self-centered that you have to do everything your own way? There are a few choice words going through my mind, but I refuse to put them here. STRIKE 2. Shame on me for not being more aggressive and telling him he needed to wait outside with him.

One of our board member tells him inside about the sign and the idiot brings the dog back out. Oh wait - it gets much better. These two take the cake for Sunday Afternoon Buffoons/Idiots.

They walk around and another volunteer is walking one of our other dogs. The dog they are walking starts to bark and jumps up and when he come down his paws are spread out and he is kneeling on his elbows. This is a sign of a playful dog, but what does this guy says? "I am worried about how aggressive he is." WHAAAAAAATTTTT!? I feel like my head is going to spin off at how stupid this guy sounds. He is extememly uneducated when it comes to dog behavior. THEN he starts yanking the leash and saying "No, no!" Ok, first rule - the dog doesn't speak human and yanking isn't going to accomplish anything except irritate you when the dog doesn't respond. STRIKE 3 <-- You're Out! BUT, it gets BETTER!

THEN the guy says they are unsure of adopting today because they are both going out of town that night and they would have to have him boarded. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You want to adopt a dog, bring him home, bring him back to another kennel and go away? Ok, I've had it - you selfish pricks! Grow up and realize that the world does NOT revolve around you!! You guys need serious help and I sure hope no shelter allows you to adopt an animal. We love our animals and I would rather see him stay with us and be loved and cared for than neglected and used to fulfill some inadequacy in your life.

Sorry this is so long, but there is one more Award Winner from today. I am taking down my lighting equipment and I watch this cute family walk inside. I go in to pack up my gear and the guy is explaining that he and his family are thinking of adopting. No, not right now. He wants to look at the kittens now and pick one out and come back when their youngest is 2 years old. The boy is just about 18 months old. The volunteer helping with the cats is the nicest person and she explains that the kittens will likely be gone in before the 6 months to a year. The guy comes out and says, and I do not exaggerate, "Really? They won't be here then? Then what can we look at?" Ridiculous people!! Another winner of the stupidity award. How about coming back when you are READY to adopt and pick one out. Moron.

Now that you know how I really feel - :) - I have to say that my hat is off to the board at the shelter. Not just the board, but all of those people who make it work. They have to deal with this day in and day out and I only got a taste of it. I am not sure if I would ever make a good board member because I tell people like it is. I don't pull punches and I think people are better off because of it. If you sugarcoat something I feel it's a disservice to the animals, that person and yourself. Great job to the SBACC Board and everyone who has to sort through the applications, talk to the potential adopters and for dealing with everything like you do. I know it isn't easy.

This was just one of those days I needed to share this with you all in hopes that you will take the time to consider how precious life is and that you need to consider all things before making a rash decision. I love life, animals and the friends I have at the shelter and I sincerely stand by my thoughts and beliefs.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I am happy that I got to spend some time with the dogs today. As little as it was, it was worth it to me to see the dogs playful and just wanting to be loved. I love them all. Even the ones that may not love me.

The Last Lecture

Ever complain because of traffic or having to be patient with someone? Ever wonder if you are living your life the way you should?

One way or another, you should take the time to watch this short video clip from the Oprah Winfrey show and listen to what Dr. Randy Pausch has to say. You may or may not agree, but it is only 11 and a half minutes short.

Last Lecture given by Dr. Randy Pausch

I look at life much differently now that I have seen this and heard his words.

The full 76 minute version is here. Full Length Video.

It is a worth while view. Trust me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Texturize Me

I decided to play around with some textures tonight on Michelle and Gabriel's photos. Kymberli raves about her textures, so I wanted to try them out. For anyone who doesn't know my style of photography - I like sharp, colorful images that show in-camera technique. I usually don't like to mess with them too much because I want our clients to see the real deal. BUT... many of our clients are leaning toward the new, funkier, edgier types of style and I need to cater to that, too. So here are two of mine from tonight.

Photoshop has come a long way since the late 80s and it is a wonderful tool. I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on these, good or bad. I am a sponge for learning how to do things better!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Terry & Cynthia Engagement Session

Today was such a nice day. Thank goodness that we live in SoCal and have nice weather most of the time. As my wife said tonight, 'We are truly blessed.'

We had the pleasure of photographing Terry & Cynthia today for their engagement photos. What a fun couple! Not only we they fun, but they also were great sports. They are truly in love and have a great outlook on life. Terry kept cracking me up and Cynthia was working the trail like a catwalk. Thanks to the both of you for allowing us to photograph you. You two made our day and it was truly a pleasure!

We shot their session over at the El Dorado Nature Center and it was a busy day. Lots of families and kids, but we were still able to make the session fun and create some beautiful shots. Here are my favorites from today.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Michelle & Gabriel Maternity Session - Part 2

I am so happy with how yesterday turned out. Some of these images just make me smile at how in love these two are. Here are a few more from yesterdays session.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Michelle & Gabriel Maternity Session

Today was one of the moments in my life when I am thankful for having great friends and a wonderful wife. We had the good fortune of being able to photograph our friends, Michelle and Gabriel, and soon-to-be baby boy at Huntington Beach's Central Park. First off, let me thank the wonderful couple for allowing us to photograph you two. We had such a great time with you guys. Learning about the baby, hearing you two laugh and just the way you interact with one another. It was something you don't see everyday and for that I am thankful.

I also want to thank my partner-in-crime, my better half for putting up with me, too. For getting in her shots, helping me out and hearing her laugh with M&G. When you hear a woman laugh it just makes you feel good. Thanks for helping me today, babe. For the rest of you, you must check out her images on HER BLOG. She got some great ones today, too!!

Now, today was interesting, too. I usually shoot with available light and that's it, but today I had other plans. I have been playing around with having my SB-600 flash set as a strobe to help me light up those areas that are tough. Let me explain in as few words as I can. Sometime you want to shoot in that perfect location, but the light won't work with you the way you want. That's where the flash comes in. I had it set on my tripod a few feet away from them to see what I could gain and wow, I was impressed. I have much to learn about perfecting it, but I was happy with the results. I hope you guys are too.

Anyway, here are a few of the images from today. I am so psyched to have been able to work with you guys today!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

I am in love!

Yes, of course with my wife, but also with Catalina Island. I love the island. There is much I can say, but I also want you to see how beautiful it is. My pictures do not do it justice.


This was a Mexican Army General's saddle that is stitched with sliver thread. It was incredibly beautiful and almost unreal.


Of course, it wouldn't be a vacation or outing if I, The Quackmeister, did not take a photo of a bird. For those who do not know me, I love birds. I am fascinated with them. The beauty, the way they fly, eat, sing and just how amazing they live. I took these while sitting next to Kymberli reading her magazine. We were waiting for the boat to come pick us up and I couldn't resist.



So, there you have it. I will have more images up after this weekend as we have 4 sessions. It's going to be a busy weekend, but I am so looking forward to it. We are going to have a blast!!

Only From The Mind Of A Quackenbush

I was inspired today by a fellow photographer, Michelle Black, to share a bit more about myself.

We all have days where we feel in a slump or not-so-creative. Heck, I have been there a few times. The way I look at it now is far different than 15 years ago when I picked up my Konica T3 SLR for the first time. It was hard back then and it is now, too. No one wants to admit they wonder if they can create a fresh look or amazing photograph, but we all think it. We need to inspire each other. My wife inspires me. To see how nervous she can get about a session only to create some of the best images I have seen makes me happy and gets me excited. Not that she is nervous, but that she is growing. We all are. She has come a long way in less than a year and to her my hat is off.

I try to learn something new every day. If I don't, well, then I tend to feel blah.

Here's a little insight into the mind of Quacky. I used to think at times that I was a great photographer and that I couldn't get better. Yeah, the days of my early 20s were in fantasy land, but I will freely admit it. I have to say that I have come a long way, but I love the friendship and sharing between other photographers. I used to feel threatened, but now I use that knowledge to strengthen my abilities.

I encourage all of my fellow photographers or aspiring photographers or just any person to ask me if you have a question about my photos or my technique. I can't guarantee that my answer will be helpful or insightful, but I can say that it will be truthful. In the past I have shared my settings, set-up techniques and even things that challenge me and I will gladly do it all again.

My next post will have some of my latest images of Catalina Island. I need to get a bit more into some other techniques with some images (actions, textures, colors), but for some I just need what comes out of the camera.

Happy Valentines Day to all!

The Beauty Of What Lies Right In Front Of Us

February 10, 2007. The day I married the love of my life. It was a great day with family and friends. The weird part is that it really seems like yesterday that it happened. I mean, last Sunday, Kymberli and I celebrated our first year of marriage together. A whole year! Insane to fathom, but so happy, too. Happy Anniversary, babe.

We celebrated by making a trip to the place where I proposed - Santa Catalina Island. We opted for the overnight trip so that we could enjoy the island a bit more than usual. We took the Inland Motor Tour and it was awesome. You would be amazed at the beauty of the other side of the island. Here are a few photos from day one.


Everyone was looking for the ghostly Bison that roam the island. Our guide was yammering on loudly and was talking non-stop - so he didn't give me time to tell him that I spotted some. By the time I was able to get a picture they were far behind us. We knew there would be more at some point, but what happened was almost shocking.

As we came around a corner, I saw horns sticking up and then all of us yelled "Bison on the left!" The guide almost drove past! We stopped and there were three young bulls not 50 feet away. Within moments they were 30 feet and eyeballing the bus. Here are two shots that made me question my choice in seat.


As we made our way around the island, the views became even more spectacular. I love landscapes. Nature and landscapes are what make me smile and we were introduced to a private beach that the locals use to get away from us tourists and then I was able to see the mountains over the channel. What a sight.


One of the best parts of the tour was the Arabian horse demonstration. This horse was as smart as he was beautiful. He chased the cat, taunted the dog, glanced at the crowd with a cockiness in his eye and he galloped around with flair. The part I loved was when he stopped. He stopped because HE wanted to, not the trainer. Then he smiled like Mr. Ed and stuck his tongue out like he was a school kid behind the teachers back. You be the judge!


That's enough for tonight. I do have more to share tomorrow. Some, of course, are bird photos, but I couldn't resist. They were calling to me. Beckoning me to take their glamor shot. For now, enjoy these and remember that beauty is all around us.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Taking Myself Too Seriously

My wonderful wife forwarded me a link to a blog that she frequents and told me to check it out last week. I did and I was amazed at what I saw and how I thought of myself. The blog belong to photographer Gabriel Ryan and the blog was about how he takes life too seriously and it struck a nerve with me. In a good way of course. You see, his fiancé saw his blog and made the comment that he takes life too seriously and that maybe he should have some more fun with things. Funny thing is, I have heard Kymberli tell me the very same thing.

I try to succeed and better myself everyday, but I rarely show the world that I am a goofball and I love to have fun. So, where better to start than last weekend when my wife and I celebrated our 1st anniversary together. We went to Catalina and for the first time in as long as I can remember I was truly open-minded. We went and relaxed, had some amazing bloody-marys, went on a 4 hour tour and had a blast. We even met some of the locals and had a few cocktails and heard so many stories. The best part is that we just had fun.

So, in honor of Gabriel's post, and my love for my wife and my faithful readers, here is one of my goofy photos from last years St. Patrick's Day. The only thing is you can't see the teeny-weeny derby I had on my head.

We all have our moments of glory. :) Happy Anniversary, babydoll. I had a wonderful time with you.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

UCR vs LMU Rugby Photos Are Online!

Thanks go out to all of you ruggers who have been patiently waiting for me to get the photos of the UCR/LMU rugby game posted. The reason it took so long is that there are 648 images! I think you will all be happy with them. Enough talk... on to the photos!

The Code for viewing is 'rugger'.

Go Here To View Them.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Rugby Photos - Round #1

Ever go a bit overboard? Yeah, well I did yesterday. I wound up shooting about 600 photos of the LMU/OCR Rugby match. Despite the final score, the game was entertaining and offered up some nice photo opportunities. I shot at ISO 1600 and f/4 for most of the game to keep my shutter speed high. It worked, but I would really love to get my hands on that 400mm f/2.8.

For you ruggers, I'll be posting up a link in the next few days with all of the images I shot from yesterdays game. I will narrow it down to about 200 of the best photos and you'll be able to buy as many as you want. No worries, I know college students, so I won't charge an arm and a leg. Besides, when I was playing at 19 or 20, I wished someone would have snapped a few of me to have. Now you will. If you like them, leave me a comment. If you know the person/people in the photo, leave me a comment.

There will be more to come over the next few days!


UCR vs. LMU Rugby Photos To Come

I was out in Riverside, CA today photographing a rugby match between the University of California Riverside vs. Loyola Marymount University. I snapped about 400 photos and to the guys who got my business cards - I will have photos up today (Sunday). I will post a few to my blog and then post all of them to an online gallery.

If you guys see your photos up here or know the guy in the photo, shoot me a message or an email. I like making sure a person's name is given if I know it. To me it brings meaning to the photo.

A few of you guys mentioned you do most of your networking on Facebook. I, too am on Facebook, so here is the link if you want to add me. My Facebook Profile.

Check my blog tomorrow night, after the Super Bowl and I'll have a few photos up.