Tuesday, January 31, 2006


The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

The picture's about a year old, but the sentiment is right on the money for today.

I'm awake, moving, dressed, functioning and at first glance look like I'm really here, ready to roll, but the stresses and nonsense of the last couple of weeks have really taken its toll on me today. I feel brain dead. It's gonna take a lot of caffeine to get through this one.

I'm just bone-deep exhausted, and it wouldn't have taken a lot of encouragement to convince me to pull the comforter up over my head this morning and go back to sleep. But, well.... "things to do, people to see."

PS: For those of you keeping score, yes I did just quote the Bible. Matthew 26:41, to be precise.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 30, 2006


Manatees Need Love, Too.

Meet Marvin and Marybeth the Manatees....OK, I actually have no idea what sex these 2 are, or what their real names are, but they are, indeed, Florida Manatees-- one of my favorite of all animals. I shot this picture a week or so ago.

They're a favorite because they're so frivolous. They probably serve no greater purpose than to just be manatees. Nothing feeds on them. They're herbivores. The chain of life could probably continue unbroken if there had never been a manatee. They're are a little like golden retreivers-- sweet, easygoing and really seem kind-of clueless.

They are, in some ways, animals who have become endangered because largely they belong to an earlier era when life was more leisurely, people were in less of a hurry, and power on the ocean was measured by how fast the current, the wind, or your own strength could propel you. They were never made for a time when cellphones, high speed internet access, and fast food were the icons of society.

They're too gentlehearted to be afraid of people. The law prohibits people from approaching them, but they've been known to approach small boats, divers and swimmers out of curiousity. They live in both salt and brackish waters, and tend to hang out in shipping lanes, and near power plants, warm springs, and other places where the water is shallow and warm.

What we do know is that they get hit by boats a lot --maybe not because they are so dumb but because recent research indicates that they may be deaf to many of the frequencies produced by boat motors. The also don't move very fast, don't have anything similar to dolphins echolocation, and may not see very well.

Can you spell sitting duck? This is like picking on the little kid because he can't run fast enough to catch you and kick your butt when you're being mean to him. So if you're a boater and you see speed limits and manatee watch indicators posted in coastal areas, pay attention, and keep an eye out for Marvin and Marybeth, and their friends. It may take you five minutes longer to get where you're going, but it will still be worth getting there when you arrive.

If you want to learn more about manateees, and what you can do to help protect them from humans and from themselves, you can go to http://www.savethemanatee.org And while you're there, take a look at their "Adopt a Manatee" for Valentine's Day program. It's a lot more creative and fun than chocolate. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006


Something Else Fishy

Rescuing colors from an infrafred shot via Photoshop curves and channel editing, plus a little noise reduction via PSPX.....

This was mostly an exercise in seeing how much of the original color I could enhance/restore using the software.

I actually have full-color images (shot using an external light source) of this species shot about a year ago at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay.

These images were shot at Sea World Orlando last week with my DSC F 828 in infrared mode without flash. The original (before enhancement) looked a lot like the smaller image shown below. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Bizarre-looking bird.....

I like this guy. He has style and attitude. Posted by Picasa


Something Fishy

Another one of those shots I just like. Posted by Picasa


Half a Six-Pack

of Bottlenoses Posted by Picasa


OK, it's a cliche....

but it's also a pretty good picture. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


For the umpteenth time.....

No, it does not make your butt look big!

I really didn't have a lot of hope for my penguin pictures, given the shooting conditions, but several of them are respectable-looking.

This one of these Emperors-- one of whom spent the better part of 20 minutes checking out his/her own butt-- makes me smile.

I"ve put together a gallery of birds from my Sunday shoot at....
. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006


It's been 10 days since my last floral macro post......

So here's one taken yesterday in Orlando.

I'm sure some gardener out there knows what these are called, I just know they were the most gorgeous shade of deep violet and looked like living velvet. Posted by Picasa


Yes, you buffoon, a Sony digital CAN.....

capture dolphins midair....with great color and precison, I might add!

What's this comment about? I happened to stroll into Sea World on a day when Nikon School was there. I truly did not plan it that way. I have a season pass and I happened to have a few spare hours in Orlando on Sunday, and the weather was good, so I popped the camera in the car and off I went.

The know-it-all digital photography buffoon with a Nikon D-70 sitting to my left during the Blue Horizon show insisted that I could not possibly get decent action shots with a Sony DSC- F828 because the shutter delay was too great. I replied that it was all in knowing your camera, and the larger issue with the Sony was not shutter delay, but the time it takes to record the data to the media, because you can shoot in burst mode (similar to using a motor drive on a conventional camera) but then you are locked out for a few seconds while the camera transfers the data to the card. I added that it helps if you record to Memory Stick Pro rather than Compact Flash--- and went back to my shooting.

(This is actually something I've learned by trial and error. It also matters WHOSE MSP you are using-- there are better transfer rates with some cards than others. There is a good reason for paying a little more for your media when you are shooting rapid motion-- wildlife, sports, etc. If battery life and data transfer are issues on your shoot, there are real arguments to be made for having a couple of high-end cards in your arsenal. You can use the slower MSP cards for portraiture and macros, and they're still faster than CF or a Microdrive.)

Of course, the fact that he kept referring to my camera as a "point and shoot" started to get on my nerves, but I was prepared to tune him out. I LIKE my Sony 99.99% of the time, and while I will probably eventually go to a DSLR one of these days, it is one hell of a camera for most of what I do. (And it doesn't hurt that my laptop is Sony as well, allowing for painless and seamless transfer while on the road.)

My new friend wanted to know what settings I was using, and I replied that I was presently experimenting with exposure bracketing (to create images with HDR via Photoshop) but that as a rule, I was slightly underexposing the images. The minute I said "Photoshop" he got a pained look on his face, and spouted off on the failure of photographers in the digital realm to actually learn how to take a photo, relying on PS to save their photographic posteriors.

I was having way too much fun taking pictures of dolphins and whales to pay any more attention to this particular Equus asinus (ummm...donkey, for those of you who skipped both Biology and Latin classes) but if you'd like to see more of the photos that I couldn't possibly get with my non-Nikon camera, there are a dozen and a half at http://www.jpkabala.com/SeaWorldBlueHorizon/index.htm
just to prove this one isn't a fluke Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 21, 2006


This one's for Kerry

. . . because he's the biggest weenie I know. LOL

Here's lookin' at you, kid..... Posted by Picasa


What you get for the money

Time was, you could buy a car for under $400-- and a pretty nice one, at that.

Today? The damage to my car from the accident is well over $5,000--- and it still operated. All the glass and the frame was intact....the rear end was gone, the trunk was in the back seat, and both rear quarter panels were history.

I've been waiting a month now for the repairs to be completed. The last estimate was Wed. of last week, but it is now Saturday and the garage hasn't called.... (and they don't work weekends) so I don't expect to see it before next Wed. at the earliest.

In the meantime, I've been driving a rental Jeep Liberty. I hated it at first (I'm so NOT an SUV person) but it's --- well, it's not growing on me, but I hate it a little less than I did in the beginning. It has some terrible blind spots, though, that become glaringly apparent not just in city driving but on the expressway, too. And no combination of mirror settings seems to compensate for them. And yesterday the weather was so incredible.... and I missed my sunroof and my zippy little red car as I hauled down from Tally to Tampa after work last night. Took a different route last night, thanks to the advice of one of the guys from the State....I'm not certain it was any faster or shorter, but at least it was different. There are only so many times you can drive I-10 and I-75 before you have the sucker memorized.

Yeah, on the road again--- this time a fast Tally-Tampa-Orlando-Tally weekend run. Need to do a little business, then will take a Sunday afternoon off to see some animals before I get back to work on Monday. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Stagecoach a'comin!

I didn't have quite as much time for amusing myself with my camera in Motown as I would have liked, (too many other responsibilities intervened) but I did manage to steal an afternoon at the Ford on MLK Day while everyone else in town was over at the auto show.
I'm still sorting through the photos. I'm never really sure why you can take 100 images in a couple of hours, but you spend days (and sometimes weeks) making sense of them afterward.

Of course, it would help if I wasn't spending half my life in meetings and the other half trying to resolve a million and one other time-consuming but important personal issues.... Today's roster included dealing with 2 different kinds of insurance companies, the clerk at traffic court, (some miscellaneous paperwork from the accident and a $7.50 fine for having an out-of-date insurance card in my wallet when it happened) phone calls to and from the music school to get Brendan registered and paid up, a couple of calls to and from the garage (no, my car's still not done) some banking and investment paperwork for EOY, a couple of calls from headhunters and a trip to Best Buy to replace the cordless notebook mouse I broke on Monday.

I think I need a personal assistant--- or something. Someone to get all that kind of crap done for me.... and things like groceries, post office, dry cleaning, laundry, etc. Wait, if I were a guy, that would be my .... Euwwww, never mind! I remember what a thankless job that was and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.... If the choice is being annoyed by the detritus of modern life or turning someone else into a handmaiden, I guess I'll pick up my own blazers and bagels. It won't kill me. Posted by Picasa


Nice Headlights!

I like this shot.... even though I probably have absolutely no use for it.

Sometimes even I don't know why certain images appeal to me, but I've been looking at my images from the Ford and I realized that almost all of the ones I like best are focused on individual details, rather than whole cars. (Headlights, hood ornaments, hubcaps, etc. )

Now, admittedly I do a lot of closeup and macro photography, but in this case I think the facility is partly at issue... the vehicles were all so tightly grouped together that getting clear shots of any one vehicle in its entirety was somewhat problematic. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Film Noir Chariot

And, while we're on the subject of film, I fell in love with this bad boy that looked like it belonged in something like "They Drive By Night" with Bogie and George Raft. Posted by Picasa


Fractured Ford Cupola

OK, blame the bad joke on the fact that the Ford Museum was showing clips of American Graffiti when I was there and the fact that my strange little mind makes oddball leaps from time to time...

(Frances Ford Coppola- producer of AG & the cupola on the roof of the Ford Museum broken up by the panes of glass of the skylights...in my head, these things actually make sense)

It was very windy and unpleasantly cold in Detroit yesterday but the sky in the afternoon was a brilliant blue.... and the company was exemplary. No matter how much garbage is going on in the rest of my life, there are certain friends who can help me put it into perspective. That was the larger purpose of my trip this weekend... to get out of town and hang with someone who understands who and what I am, doesn't ask me to be anything else, and manages to like me anyway. Posted by Picasa


Cars, cars and more cars

Spent the weekend in Motown, and Detroit is definitely the site for automobile arcana. There must be half a dozen different museums dedicated to "car culture"!

The largest, of course, was the Ford Museum-- which was chock full (a little too much so for appreciation, IMHO) of all sorts of transportation from bikes and trains and airplanes to-- you guessed it-cars.

Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?
Jack Kerouac Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Reflected Light

Another airport portrait

Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine,
but waiting, watching and waiting.

TS Eliot-- The Dry Salvages Posted by Picasa


Islands in a Chaotic Sea

I was in the Atlanta airport yesterday, waiting for my connection, and I was doing what I frequently do when I'm bored...snapping pictures of things and people and moments that speak to me. I've been doing this for years, and no one has ever stopped me or taken exception to the process....until yesterday.

The place was, as always, packed, yet there were dozens of examples of folks around me who had managed to carve out their own little "private islands" amid all the noise and bustle and chaos. I find that immensely intriguing, as it demonstrates both focus and will-- and reinforces something I was taught from childhood on: that we make our own experience of the world.

I'd only taken a few shots when an imperious elderly woman took strenuous objection to what I was doing. Since I was shooting with a long lens without flash, I'm not altogether sure how she could make any assumptions about my subject matter, but she felt that my use of a camera in a public place was a violation of the privacy of the people in that space.

I put my camera away without comment or argument. Not because I had any qualms whatsoever about what I was doing, (I was not capturing anything that would harm the subjects in any way) but because by her loud and public outburst, she had tainted the environment. People were now aware of my lens, and I was now a focal point, not a piece of the furniture. I make no pretense of being surreptitious-- it's not exatly a spycam-- I had a Sony DSC-F828. If I was trying to get the dirt on people, I'd use a camera phone or a tiny shirtpocket jobbie. But the moment she drew others attention to me, the mood of the environment changed. Technophiles wanted to talk about my equipment, kids wanted to pose, women rearranged their hair and clothing, guys sat up straighter....

But by being a complete PITA, the annoying grande dame sparked a couple of thoughts: Does she really believe mine was the only camera in Hartsfield that might have captured her image? (Dream on, you old bat. You were under surveillance the moment you entered the airport.) And what is it she is hiding? She looks like the type you see sitting on condominium residents' associations and church boards of elders everywhere... so what's the dirty secret that she was afraid I'd reveal (or capture) about her trip from Hotlanta to Motown?

Now, if I were a complete bitch, I'd publish the shot I took of her here. It was actually a rather flattering casual portrait and her white hair and dark sweater made for an intriguing composition... but instead I'll leave you with this testimony to students everywhere-- Yes, Mom and Dad, you really can study anywhere if you're motivated enough. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 13, 2006


On the Road Again this Weekend

Am heading to Motown to visit with a friend and take some pictures.... should have some cool new stuff to share next week.

Since I'm a "city kid" by nature and I can find a way to have a good time just about anywhere (hey, I've been in Tally for more than a year now and I haven't slashed my wrists yet!) I'm looking forward to the trip.

There are some tentative plans for specific events, but, as always on the road it's the stuff you **don't** anticipate and plan for plan that make it interesting.


Morgan Part 2

Photographed in infrared mode without flash-- this is one of my favorite techniques with kids indoors-- no flash keeps them from being so distracted by the camera that they start "posing"-- Sony's infrared mode produces really nice images... there's a little noise sometimes, but I like the effect. Posted by Picasa


Happy Birthday, Little Diva!

I have hundreds of pictures of this little Diva who turns 3 this weekend!

Morgan is the daughter of great and good friends, and an absolute hoot!

And, while I promise to post another image I've taken that is much "prettier" and better composed, I just love the "Oh, you do NOT want to go there, girlfriend!" look on her face in this shot. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Society vs. Celebrity

I participate in a discussion group in re IPTC coding of images (International Press Telecommunications Council. http://www.iptc.org/pages/index.php)

And a discussion among members of the group was recently centered on
the distinctions between "society" and "celebrity," specifically
SubjectMatter 08005000 society: Stories of well-known people
SubjectDetail 08003002 celebrity: News about celebrities

Here's my take on the whole thing:

Many Americans try to pretend we are a classless society, but most thinking people realize that that is utter rubbish. But without an equivalent of Debrett’s, it gets harder to tell who is a “celebrity” and who is a “socialite.”

“Society” is about class distinction. Family, social standing, connections, the right schools, the right education, the right interests, the right accomplishments, etc. It’s not always about money— some learned academics, clergy, musicians, artists, writers, etc. are “society” even if they have not amassed great fortunes.

“Celebrity” is about fame and/or infamy. Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame crowd" can be included in the list of "celebrities".

One can be a member of both groups, of either group, or of neither group.

--Jennifer Lopez is a celebrity, but she is not “society”
--Coretta Scott King and Maya Angelou are society, and one would also argue that they are both celebrities.
--The winner of the lottery or a reality TV show is probably a celebrity, and probably not society.
--Monica Lewinsky was a celebrity, but was not society.
--John Kennedy, in 1950, was not really “society”—he was a popular politician with money. Jacqueline Bouvier was “society.” But together, they and their offspring would be considered society even after the death of both parents.

But being elected to high office does not automatically make you “society.” (Though it gets you invited to all the parties with the people who are) Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt were “society.” Bess and Harry Truman were not.

--John Kerry is a politician, and would probably be considered a “celebrity” in his own right, but his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is probably closer to being “society” in her own right. If she were married to some generic corporate executive rather than a politician on the national stage, she would still attend charity balls and museum openings and get her picture in the style section of the Times now and again for doing good works or attending the right event wearing the right dress and donating the right amount of money to a politically-correct cause.

--Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney cross many boundaries--- By being knighted, they pass into society. But by virtue of being performers, they are also celebrities. Frankly “it’s still rock and roll to me.” LOL

--Paris Hilton is famous for being famous. She’s also incredibly tacky. She’s a celebrity. If she had a bit more class, she might have been society. She has the right friends, and was born into the right kind of family, wears the right clothes…Even does the requisite charity work…... But ummmm……no. Maybe in 40 years, if she lives that long.

--Martha Stewart never really was “society,” but she became a famous and wealthy by pretending to be “society.” Then she went to prison for investment irregularities. Going to prison does not automatically strip one of one’s “society” status. (Especially for a white collar crime) If it did, Dominick Dunne wouldn’t be making a living out of writing and talking about society crimes and misdemeanors.

A lot of people considered “society” attract very little attention whatsoever. They aren't celebrities, and almost no one would recognize their pictures if they appeared on page one of the New York Times. They run foundations, corporations, and relief efforts with more interest in the outcome than in the personal publicity it generates. Many have been born to families of historical wealth and prestige, others have not. Some have married into families of prestige. Some, like Bill and Melinda Gates, are just first-generation wealthy, brainy ex-nerds who try to do the right thing. You don’t really have to be wealthy to be considered society (though it helps) and money can’t really buy you society status for yourself… but it might be able to buy it for your children or grandchildren.

My rant for the day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Nikon Small World - 2005 Contest Winners

Click the link to see the Nikon Small World Gallery -

I saw prints of these in Rangefinder Magazine, but the online versions are tres cool…. Think macros on steroids.

Photomicrography isn’t to everyone’s taste, (though I love it) and a few of these had even me saying “eh” or even “ick!” but others will just blow you away.


What's With The Camera Again?

Since her dad just called me a couple of hours ago and the other photo published today was pink, I thought I'd publish one of my favorite portraits of the divine Miss Olivia.

This was taken in December (along with about a million others) but I didn't really "see" it until the other day when I was organizing and cleaning up the holiday images on my hard drive.

This one has had a little retouching, as our favorite girly-girl had a little "battle scar" that was detracting from her overall beauteousness.

This kid has such a wonderfully expressive face, and all of my favorite shots of her are not the "big grin for the camera" type but the ones that make you wonder what she was REALLY thinking when I snapped the shutter. I used one of her in a training presentation not long ago... the subject was "learning from your mistakes,"and the look on her face just screamed "Fugeddaboutdit-- it's no big deal, ya know!" It was priceless. Posted by Picasa


Straight from the camera

Every year on my birthday, one of the most important folks in my life sends me roses with the proviso that I photograph them....

This year, because of a problem with the delivery and a local weather issue, they were in less than wonderful condition when they arrived.... (and yes, the florist was nice about it) but, since I live in a place where flowers bloom year round, I found a few living roses to snap to commemmorate the day.

This one lives in the aptly named Eden State Gardens.
The image is completely unretouched, except for resizing and compression for the web. As always, to see a larger (though not full 8MP size) image, you can click the picture to enlarge.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Brendan & Co. Prepare to Devour Dino

OK, these photos are a little late getting to the web... this is from Brendan's Bumper Bowlilng Party on 12/3/05.

Not the world's best picture, but it was a learning experience for me. Photographing a room full of preschoolers is like trying to gather up spilled mercury-- doable only if you have the right technique and equipment, darned near impossible otherwise. Posted by Picasa


Olivia's First Birthday

December was a big month for us--- Brendan turned 5, Olivia turned 1, Stella turned 2 and I had the opportunity to visit with my family and friends on more than one occaision.

Unfortunately, in order to do so, I had to fly US Air. In the month of Dec. 2005, I took 8 different US Airways flights. None of them were on time. Three had mechanical delays, one had to return to TLH halfway to Charlotte because the ground crew neglected to shut an exterior hatch panel, my luggage was lost three times, the wheels were broken off 2 different suitcases, and I arrived 11 hours late on Christmas Eve and 24 hours late on New Year's Day.

Despite scheduling my flights well in advance with plenty of "slush" time, I missed Christmas Eve with my family, New Year's Eve with my friends, a going away party for a friend being sent to Iraq, 2 business meetings and the funeral of another family friend. The only people NOT surprised by the crappy service of US Air were my business associates. When I called to tell them that I was delayed (again) in the Charlotte airport, they laughed, "Useless Air Strikes Again" and we conducted the meeting via conference call while I sat in the BOA business lounge in the airport. Until my cell phone battery died.

Moral of the Story: Do Not Fly US Air if you want to arrive on time and with your luggage intact. Carry everything important on your person--- and that includes the WALL charger for your cellphone.

Oh, and when you are stuck in Charlotte in the airport, if you're not entitled to hang out in the frequent flyer lounges for an air carrier, the BOA business lounge is just about the best place to hang out-- wireless internet, decent chairs and desks with outlets, and just about the right balance of proximity to and distance from the shops and restaurants. There is no wireless internet connection at the departure gates in CLT that I could find.

Posted by Picasa

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