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baby Anna’s hummingbirds

Close up of two baby Anna's hummingbirds, Calypte anna, in nest.

Close up of two baby Anna’s hummingbirds, Calypte anna, in nest.

These baby hummingbirds are in a nest about a foot outside my neighbor’s back patio door. She was kind enough to let me take photos! The nest is about 2 inches across.


Oaxacan people

Recently went on a photo tour/workshop to Oaxaca, Mexico led by Joseph Linaschke and Eric Mindling. We visited several small villages in addition to Oaxaca city and covered a range of photography styles including landscape, macro, architecture and street photography. Below are some of my people photographs. You can see the rest of my photos in my iStock portfolio.

Senior Zapotec woman with traditional braids in her hair selling dried seafood and peas at the Mercado Municipal in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Senior Zapotec woman with traditional braids in her hair selling dried seafood and peas at the Mercado Municipal in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Zapotec woman making champurrado (chocolate atole). She is using the traditional technique including making a frothy head with a molinillo. Santa Ana del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Zapotec woman making champurrado (chocolate atole). She is using the traditional technique including making a frothy head with a molinillo. Santa Ana del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Macaria Ruiz Hernandez holding wool skeins naturally dyed with cochineal and indigo while sitting among her dye pots. Teotitlan de Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Macaria Ruiz Hernandez holding wool skeins naturally dyed with cochineal and indigo while sitting among her dye pots. Teotitlan de Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Senior Mixtec woman drawing water from an outdoor well. San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Senior Zapotec woman drawing water from an outdoor well. San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Bridesmaids peeking through opening in organ cactus wall. Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Bridesmaids peeking through opening in organ cactus wall. Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico.


Guillermo del Toro – At Home with Monsters

Creation (of Frankenstein's Monster) 2009 by Mike Hill (England, b. 1969). It's Boris Karloff in the makeup chair and Jack Pierce the makeup artist for "Frankenstein". On wall - Boris Karloff as the Monster in Son of Frankenstein by Basil Gogos 1993, acrylic. Guillermo del Toro exhibit, LACMA.

Creation (of Frankenstein’s Monster), a sculpture by Mike Hill 2009. It’s Boris Karloff in the makeup chair and Jack Pierce the makeup artist. On wall – Boris Karloff as the Monster in Son of Frankenstein by Basil Gogos 1993.

 

Set of glass eyes of varying colors contained in a mahogany box. Made by Herman Snellen (1834-1908) c. 1860. Louise M Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA Library, Special Collections 1517263BX. Guillermo del Toro exhibit, LACMA.

Set of glass eyes of varying colors contained in a mahogany box c. 1860. Louise M Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA Library, Special Collections.

 

Detail of Ray 2014 a sculpture by Mike Hill (England, b. 1969). It's Ray Harryhausen playing with his stop motion skeletons. Guillermo del Toro exhibit, LACMA.

Detail of Ray, a sculpture by Mike Hill 2014. It’s Ray Harryhausen playing with his stop motion skeletons.

My son’s all time favorite movie is Pan’s Labyrinth written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. A museum exhibition of items from del Toro’s monster collection is currently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. As this is the closest confirmed venue to our house, we went to LA to see it. It was a great exhibition with lots to see. We spent nearly 3 hours there. So, with Halloween just around the corner, I thought I’d post a few pictures from the exhibition for you.


Hummingbirds in Costa Rica

We only have one hummingbird, Anna’s hummingbird, where I live and it’s a rather dull gray-green except for the throat patch. On my recent trip to Costa Rica, there were five different species of hummingbirds in one location. All more colorful than the little Anna’s I typically see. And they are use to people and cameras so you could get within inches of them!

Purple-throated mountain gem hummingbird, Lampornis calolaemus, on Stachytarpheta species. Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Purple-throated mountain gem hummingbird, Lampornis calolaemus, on Stachytarpheta species. Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

 

Front view of male coppery-headed emerald hummingbird, Elvira cupreiceps. Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Front view of male coppery-headed emerald hummingbird, Elvira cupreiceps. Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

 

Female green-crowned brilliant hummingbird, Heliodoxa jacula, feeding. Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Female green-crowned brilliant hummingbird, Heliodoxa jacula, feeding. Bajos del Toro, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Photos available at iStock.

 


black and white

Handmade round corn brooms.

Handmade round corn brooms.

My stock photography agency recently put out a request for black and white photos. I don’t usually work in black and white but took the opportunity to try it. This is one of my favorites.


Carsland neon at Disneyland

 

Radiator Springs Racer neon in Carsland at Disneyland

Radiator Springs Racers neon

 

Flo's V8 Cafe neon in Carsland in Disneyland.

Flo’s V8 Cafe neon

 

Luigis Casa Della Tires neon in Carsland at Disneyland

Luigis Casa Della Tires neon

 

Cosy Cone Motel neon in Carsland at Disneyland.

Cosy Cone Motel neon

One of my favorite things that I did on a recent trip to Disneyland was walk through Carsland at night and look at the neon signs. Many of the signs are sophisticated designs with lights that regularly vary in brightness or turn on or off. You have to watch each sign for a couple of minutes to decide when is the best time to take a photo.


Happy New Year

Party cat wiht star crown, red bead necklace and noise maker on blue background.

Happy New Year!


man grooming horse

Horse stable at night with man grooming horse.

Horse stable at night with man grooming horse.


color changing octopus

Day octopus, Octopus cyanea, camouflaged against colorful corals.

Day octopus, Octopus cyanea, camouflaged against colorful corals.

Here is an excellent example of how an octopus can change colors to match its surroundings. Not only did it match the neutral beige, brown and gray colors but it even matches the purples.


butterfly collection

Antique mounted tray of callippe fritillary, Speyeria callippe.

Antique mounted tray of callippe fritillary, Speyeria callippe.

With a background in chemistry, I’m always on the lookout for a good science photo. This is a photo of an old tray of mounted butterflies all of the same species. Collecting insects was more common 100 years ago than it is today. Collections of multiple individuals like this were used to study the variation within a species. These are all very similar making a wonderful repetitive pattern. Photo available at iStockphoto.


man repairing outrigger canoe

man repairing outrigger canoe

I recently returned from a trip to Indonesia. This is one of my favorite photos that I took. It is of a man repairing his outrigger canoe while his son plays in the surf. It was taken in the small village of Yenwaupnor on Gam Island, West Papua, Indonesia.


Star Wars Exhibition 2013

 

Darth Vader

Darth Vader in red

storm trooper

storm trooper

Tusken Raider

Tusken raider

Trade Federation Battle Droid

Trade Federation battle droid

2-1b Medical Droid

medical droid

I remember going to the first Star Wars movie with my brother in 1977. The movie theater isn’t there any more but the memories are. Since then, I’ve seen all of the Star Wars movies and been to three exhibitions. The most recent exhibition is the  current Star Wars exhibition at the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA, that is currently in progress. It is a good exhibition but I have to admit I was disappointed that none of Padme Amidala’s costumes from Episode 1 were on display.

Here are my favorite photos that I took at the exhibition. I’m still not sure if I like Darth Vader in red…


Runner Ready

Wilcox track

This has been a favorite photo of mine for a long time so I thought I’d share it. I love the concentration in his face and the tension in the muscles.


Nikon Small World 2013

Stentor coeruleus

It’s April again so it’s time for my submission to the Nikon Small World contest. This year I’m submitting a photo of a stentor. This is a classic pose captured in early micrograph drawings with the spiral mouth surrounded by cilia (looks like fur) and a long row of bead-shaped nuclei. This stentor is naturally a blue green color. I don’t actually expect to have my photo selected as a winner or honorable mention because I prefer to take micrographs of objects and with a microscope that beginning microscopy students would use. Modern microscopes and techniques produce much sharper and more detailed images than my microscope can produce. You can see past winner galleries here. The photos are amazing.


Terra Cotta Warrior

Chinese terra cotta cavalryman

Went to see the Terra Cotta Warriors yesterday at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. I was again reminded that much of what we consider modern art and technology is not new. Both the art and technology are impressive even by today’s standards.

Last time I went to a special exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, photography was not allowed. There was a new policy this time, photography was allowed but no flash photography. Nearly every person in the exhibit was shooting away with a camera phone. I think people taking photos with camera phones just became impossible for the museum to prevent. I didn’t see a single point and shoot or DSLR camera. I even opted to leave my DSLR home as I knew tripods would not be allowed and without one, I can get better low light photos with my iPhone.  The Asian Art Museum special exhibits are typically in a pitch black room with only spot lighting on the exhibits.


Top 50 Again

mountain lion  Puma concolor

I was fortunate enough to have one of my images in the top 50 at the California Photo Festival 2012. I’ve had a image in the top 50 two years in a row now. This is a photo of a mountain lion (aka cougar, puma) taken at Zoo To You in Paso Robles.


My First Digital Images

embryonic snail inside egg   100X transmitted light    ASA 100    1 sec

These three photos were the first photos that I ever had digitized and the first photos I ever had in a gallery show. I was learning to do photomicrographs with the aid of people at the San Francisco Microscopy Society and John Ewert of Ewert’s Photos (business closed about 1998). Ewert’s Photo was having a gallery show of micrographs in the store and I was invited to participate. I didn’t yet have prints of my slides and Ewert’s had just gotten in their first slide scanner so we digitized the slides, captioned them and made prints for the show.


iPhoneography

With a nice DSLR camera to use, I’ve been slow to embrace my iPhone as a camera. But my children have all happily moved to their iPhones as their primary camera (two of the three have given up their DSLRs entirely), iStockphoto is now accepting camera photos, and I got a new iPhone 5 so I decided it was time to get competent with my iPhone camera. One of the fun features of the iPhone is the ability to add filters quickly. There are a lot of apps for filters but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself so I chose Instagram and Snapseed for starters. This 1941 Chevrolet Deluxe Sedan was photographed with my iPhone  5 and processed with Snapseed.


Click! 2012 in time for Halloween

Just returned from Click! The California Photo Festival which I also attended last year. One class that I took used a technique of blending multiple photos where each individual photo illuminated a different part of a still life with a flashlight. You can use as much or as little of the illuminated portion of each individual photo as you like. This image is composed from six different individual photos.


Fanime 2012


 

I attended FanimeCon again this year over Memorial Day weekend (May 31st for my out of country friends). As usual, the costuming was amazing. You can see my favorite photos in the gallery at right under FanimeCon 2012 favorites. I have more images at iStockphoto under Cosplay Portraits.


Indian boy at night

This boy was hanging around a temple in Jaipur, India. When I started photographing, he insisted that I take his photo. Like many people in India, he was just happy to be able to say he had his photo taken even if he could only see it on the back of the camera as I had no way to give him a copy.


Amish Buggy

 

My daughter is learning to drive a team of horses from Tom Harris at Harris Stage Lines, Paso Robles, California. Last weekend I went along camera in hand and asked if I could take photos of Katie while she was driving. Tom was agreeable. He selected the Amish buggy for the day’s lesson saying it was the safest of the horse drawn vehicles at his disposal and asked if I’d like to ride along during the lesson! So here’s the view from the back seat of an Amish buggy.

I also got to see the carriage and coach collection. Tom trains the horse teams to pull the various vehicles and operates the ranch which also hosts parties and events. He partners with Stephen Robertson Yergers who actually has the carriage collection. The collection includes a 1906 hearse, chuck wagon, stage coach, Ben Hur chariot and several others used for events on the ranch, parades, movies, etc. You can view the collection and even ride in one of the coaches by appointment.


Top 50

My great horned owl image taken at Click! The California Photo Festival made it into the top 50 images taken at the event. You can see all of the images submitted  by the photographers here.


A Mode – What’s in Focus

I use A (aperture priority) mode when I want to control what’s in focus from front to back (depth of field).  In the photo above you can see that the first cookie is out of focus, the middle 6 cookies are in focus, and the back 5 cookies are out of focus again. My choice of aperture setting could make the photo have from 1 to all of the cookies in focus.

I mostly use A mode for subjects that are stationary and the closer I am to the subject the more likely I am to use A mode instead of P mode. It is my go to mode for close up food photography. The subject is stationary so I have plenty of time to fiddle with the settings on my camera.

Depth of focus can be used as a compositional tool. When you first looked at this photo did you notice that your eye is drawn to the part of the photo that is in focus? The depth of focus can be used to minimize busy background also.