Sunday, July 30, 2006

More pictures

I ironed the backdrop today and decided to practice taking pictures of Desirae again. I tried to get Devin involved but he didn’t want to have his picture taken today. Desirae, as usual, was willing and ready to go. She wanted to “model” a few different things and we did two sessions to try some different things. The biggest problem we have right now is posing and “fake” smiling. I figure that practicing will make the difference in that area. At one point I put the camera on the tripod and shot with the cable release to try to relax Desirae a bit. I think it worked though it was hard to know what was going on in the camera. The new backdrop stand seems to work pretty good and is VERY sturdy!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Good plans...

bad execution... The idea today was to drive down below and check out a Whole Foods Market and have a nice lunch. The first problem we ran into was the fact that our directions were WRONG!!! I downloaded them through Google Maps and it sent us down the wrong road. So we spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out where we were and were we needed to be going. Once we finally found where the market was we needed to eat first and we had talked about going to Claim Jumpers for lunch. We couldn't find the darn place and we finally called information for their number and received directions. When we finally made it there the kids where HORRIBLE, the food was not great, and the service was bad. So all around a pretty bad experience. From there we went back to the Whole Foods Market and Desirae just flipped out. She wouldn't put her shoes on, then she wouldn't walk. At one point I thought I calmed her down enough to enter the store but as soon as we got in there she went off again and I had to talk her back to the car. The ENTIRE time we (Desirae and I) were in the car she yelled and screamed saying she didn't want to walk but that she wanted to see mommy. I was bout ready to unglued... The ONLY saving grace is that they had free internet so I surfed the net from the car while she was screaming...

After that I figured I needed to do something different so we drove down to Canoga Park, to Canoga Camera, so I could buy some ink for my printer (they have the best price around). Anyway Denise was able to talk me down on the way there, because I was going to go buy one of those Nikon 12-24 DX lenses from the stress of the day. Instead I bought the ink and a real background stand. The stand is REALLY NICE and a bit more sturdy than my other kit. The pole on the other one is good but my lightstands are very cheap. So this is going to work out VERY well. In the picture the stands are NOT all the way up and the pole is NOT extended all the way out - it will go 13 feet.

Anyway, it was a LONG day that just didn't go the way I intended...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Devin in the tube...

Denise took the kids to Tehachapi to go to the grocery store and stopped off at McDonnalds that had one of those playground thing. She decided to let the kids play for a while and took some pictures of them in the tubes. Denise said that the kids were pretty good and didn't whine much about where they were going to eat so went ahead and took them there. It sounded like it turned out really well though.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

High Key

When I got home from work the kids were trying to think of different things to do. Devin wanted to play video games, imagine that, and Desirae wanted to take pictures. I was thinking of working on my high-key (white) photographs and tried to play around with that a bit. It is kind of hard to do with a single light but I tried to make it work. I need some more practice though. We also need to work on Desirae's posing - I tried to provide some direction, but the poses ended up being one of two.

I still haven't heard anything on my istock submissions (I added another today). So I am not sure if they are going to reject them or not. I did find a good article on what is stock and what are snapshots - I think my shots will make it - but we shall see...

Apple release the wireless might mouse this week. I missed the announcement and didn't realize it. Considering how much I like the regular one the wireless one should be pretty good too!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Stock started...

I am not sure if it is going to be a good idea or not but I finally uploaded my first image for stock use. It was actually it was the image of Desirae from yesterday. I just wanted to pick something I could upload quickly without having to edit much or anything like that. I think I will also use the image of Devin but I need to un-blog it before it is ready for stock. The process was a bit more cumbersome than I would have expected, and really to get it to work I ended up downloading an iPhoto plug-in that interfaced with their service. I still have to go through the approval process and it will be interesting to see what happens and if the image is approved for us. Then I can just sit back and wait for the pennies to come rolling in! This is either going to be a complete waste of time or something that I wish I would have done years ago... Now we just wait and see.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Snaggletooth Devin...

Devin will just not pull teeth and as a result he has this single snaggletooth that just won't come out. I tried to talk him into pulling it last night but he just won't do it. So in the next few days we (Denise) is going to have to put on her dentist hat (again) and do something about it. I guess the one good thing about it is that I was able to photograph it. Denise said last night that I needed to take a picture of it before it came out.

In setting up for the shot Desirae wanted to have her picture taken and I needed to adjust the light and reflector so she jumped in front of the camera. She gets bored pretty quickly and of the series of images that I captured (a lot of them were out of focus, she moves pretty quickly) I liked this one the best.

We did decide to drive into town today to just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. So we did the lunch thing and then hit Circuit City and Barnes and Nobel. Considering how expensive gas is we probably should have just stayed home. Though sometimes it seems like the only time Denise and I get to talk without being interrupted too much is when we are in the car.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wierd Weather...

I think it was about a year ago when we had the same type of odd weather. I guess since it happened last year it isn't that weird. Anyway we had a lightening storm and a pretty good rain too. Being the goobers that we are we sat in the garage and watched the rain and light show. It was pretty neat and we did it for a while before we came back into the house. The really neat part is it was so hot that shortly after the rain stopped the ground started to dry out.

Oh, the other thing that happened today was a little accident with the utility trailer and the Bronco. I moved the trailer and I didn't connect the hitch correctly so when I pulled out of the driveway the trailer popped off the hitch, slammed against the chain, and then when I put on the breaks slammed into the back of the Bronco and got wedged in there. I had to pull out the jack and raise the back of the Bronco to get the trailer out from underneath. It was a royal pain and the only thing that saved a bunch of damage was the spare tire on the back of the Bronco - the trailer was crammed into that so it protected the back. So it could have been A LOT worse!

Denise took a short break in the office and played with her little handheld game for a bit. The kids were being, well kids, and we both we looking for a place to hind from them. We finally sent them to their rooms to clean up and change for bed. I took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures of her. It took me a little while to find the darn menu command on my D200 to remotely control my SB800. The D200 just has WAY TOO MANY menu options. I need to go through them and get family with them.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I am not sure why but this has been kind of a weird week. It isn't like anything really odd has happened it has just been one of those long weeks. Denise took this picture yesterday morning of Devin sleeping and I thought it illustrated the way I feel about this week so far. All I know is I am starting to count the days until our vacation. I am REALLY looking forward to the break. We haven't had any luck getting any additional days - but I think we will.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

iTunes visualizations...

Deanna was getting a bit cranky tonight so I sat down with her in front of the iMac and we were listening to music and I turned on the visualizations in iTunes. She seemed to enjoy that. Generally she calms down when we start listening to music. I am trying to program the kids young, I will have to wait and see just how that turns out...

Denise was able to book us for a couple of days on the coast during my vacation. We still may be able to more days but as it stands right now we are firmed up for 2 nights. I hope we can get some more but I don't really care anymore. At least we have something and it will get us over there to do some exploring. From there we can really search out what we want to do. Next year we will just have to make sure that we book our spot WAY in advance!

The rabbits are getting much more aware of what is going on around them. Now when I try to sneak up on them they hear me and run off. In the past they would just ignore me, not anymore. So I have to really work for my targets now. I did take another one out tonight, in the dark with a flashlight, but the little !@#$%^&%$ lost...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just too much work...

Deanna was in the at the end of the hallway trying to get into our room. Devin called Desirae to have her pick up Deanna and move her out of the door so he could close it. A bit later Denise sent Desirae back to get something and she came back saying she couldn't down the hallway. As it turned the she was pretty tired and just decided to crash! After about thirty minutes Deanna woke up and after a few moments of being upset everything went back to normal.

This morning was a bit weird because the power went out a bit after 0620 and was out for a little over an hour. It really messed me up and I ended up getting to work late. The only good thing is that I called in saying I was running behind so when the power did finally come back on I made a pop of coffee and had a nice, slow morning.

I know I haven't talked about it for a while but the rabbit battle is in full swing. I take out at least a rabbit a day and I think the average is more like two. I don't know where they keep coming from. I was thinking I should dig a mass grave, for the Dark Monday Rabbit Massacre but I am not sure if it will be a deterrent. Besides when I mentioned it to Denise she just turned and walked away for some reason...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

That tooth finally came out!

Okay, so it was only because of "mommy" dentist, but at least it is out. Devin was NOT happy about it either. We had tried to coax him into pulling it himself, but it wasn't meant to be! Anyway, Denise is becoming a real natural at pulling teeth, but considering what it is like to get the kids to clean their rooms she has a lot of practice.

I did FINALLY dig out the table saw and started, and completed, a project. The keyboard drawer on the desk is basically useless and I have been using it as a drawer. However, without anything on the back things tend to fall out the back. So I added a lip on the rear and sides to enclose the shelf. I HOPE this will keep things in their place, and off my feet!

I have been performing a backup marathon trying to make sure everything is appropriately archived and backed up. Unfortunately I have 210 GB worth of data (pictures, music, videos) that I need to protect and it takes FOREVER to move things around. I started about four hours ago the 2nd move of this data onto that USB SATA drive that I have, and man is it SLOW SLOW SLOW. I don't think it could be much slower!!! The problem is I need to archive everything before I run my older libraries under new version of iPhoto because it will migrate the libraries. My 2005 library is over 70GB and that is going to take a while too. The only bad thing about digital photography is the damn storage!!! Shooting JPG this year has helped out by my 2006 library is 19GB.

Speaking of photography I just can't help but comment on Brads work. I say work because he has an excellent eye and as I was going through the images he took on his trip out here I was thoroughly impressed! I really couldn't believe what I was seeing, and I don't mean that in a negative way. As the images loaded it seemed like one well composed (and exposed) shot after another! I am not sure what he was using before, he just bought a new digital camera. These shots aren't taken with some mighty megapixel wonder but a consumer grade Sony. So keep up the GREAT work there Brad!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bakersfield & Lake Ming

We decided to head into Bakersfield today for some shopping and to get out of the house. On the way back we made a detour toward Lake Ming and hung out there for a little bit. It gave us an opportunity to get the kids out of the car and to run around for a bit. Desirae, as usual, really wanted to run around and play at the park area. Devin didn't want to do much, and Deanna was well Deanna. Although when Denise put Deanna into the swing Devin was VERY interested in watching her.

When we first arrived in town we stopped at the Macaroni Grill for lunch. Denise really likes the place and wanted to go there, it was kind of one of the main reasons for heading to Bakersfield in the first place. They had these really cool plans in the front of the place and on the way out I tried to make a capture of them. I am not sure what they are but I thought it was a pretty sight.

At one point we stopped at Costco, I needed a new (another) external hard drive to store all my pictures and music on. Anyway, at one point we told Devin he needed to be careful walking behind the shopping cart because if he wasn't paying attention he would walk right into it and smash his teeth on it. Well, about a minute after we said that he did just that! So he smashed his loose teeth on the shopping cart and started bleeding all over the place and freaking out. He finally calmed down but it was a bit stressful. He didn't knock his tooth out (because that would be toooo easy) but they are definitely looser. Tomorrow I think we are going to pull the main one.

We also made a stop at Toy-R-Us which is right next to an internet cafe. So while I was waiting in the van with the kids I fired up my MacBook to see what I could see. My system quickly found the cafe and connected to their wireless network. When I ran a speed test on the line I couldn't believe just how fast it was. The download speed was a bit over 6000 and the upload speed was around 1400. That was INCREDIBLE!!! I sure wish I could get those speeds at home!

DSL and more...

After a long battle with various internet companies I THINK I have my internet woes fixed. As it turned out, during our 4th of July "Party" the phone guys really gave me a hard time about my telephone wiring. So last week I ran a new (well old really) CAT5 cable from the network interface box to my DSL modem. As soon as I did that the reliability went up and I called Verizon and had them bump the speed back up. So right now my connection seems to be on all the time and the speed is good! It may go down by so far we haven't noticed.

I also uploaded the fireworks pictures to Smugmug. I tried a few different techniques this year and I think they turned out pretty good. I didn't take as many as last year though. I have this series setup as a rotation backdrop on my desktop that changes every 10 minutes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Water day...

Today the kids (mom's) met for a water play date. Devin, Desirae, and even Deanna got played in the sprinklers over at Angela's house. When I finally got home the kids were excited to talk about their water play date. It probably would have been a bit more fun for everyone (Denise) if it wasn't so hot out. I think it would have been really cool if they had the use of that water slide thing that Randy has. That was pretty cool and I wish I could have seen it more in use on the 4th.

On another note, we received word that Brad made it home okay. I am sure that was a VERY LONG trip but at least it is over.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On the road...

Well Brad hit the road today, although Denise and Brad lost track of time and he left later than he had originally planned. He should be home sometime tomorrow, at least that is what I remember. I didn't realize this, but yesterday Denise snapped a picture when I was walking Brad through setting up his blog (Brad Yells). I guess I am not really great at switching family over to the light (Apple) but I have had some luck with the blog thing. Denise and I really hope that he continues the blog thing.

Anyway we wish Brad a safe trip home and hope that we can work something like this again in the future.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tomorrow is it!

Well, tomorrow is the day, the day that Brad hits the road and starts heading home. It has been REALLY GREAT to have him here for the last week and we are both really happy that he decided to make the long trip out here to spend it with his little (bigger, she's older) sister. I really wish that we lived closer to Denise's family (or any family for that matter) but the fact that he took the time to come out here really meant a lot, especially to Denise. I had been planning to do a LRS since he got here and tonight was the final opportunity to make it happen. So I finally had the chance to try out the background stand that Max and I made (it worked great) and the "backdrops" that I bought (at Wal-Mart). I truly hope he enjoyed his time out here as much as we enjoyed having him!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Made our way home...

We made the trek home today. For the most part tearing everything down went pretty good, though I did get a bit stressed throughout the pack-up phase of the trip. On the way back we decided to take a detour through Ridgecrest to hit the Texas Cattle Company for lunch. Once we finish lunch we mentioned that there was also a Cold Stone in town - so we made our way over there, which is a bit tricky with the trailer, and Brad treated us to some ice cream.

We did have to stop at home point on the way home because Devin REALLY need to use the restroom. It was very fortunate that we had the trailer otherwise there would have been no place to stop and it would have been VERY bad! While we were stopped Desirae decided that she needed to go to - so we did our own little pit stop.

From there the trip was pretty good, albeit long, trip home. The weather was odd at different stages of the trip, but when we finally arrived home the clouds just really opened up. When I went to get gas and eggs Devin and Desirae made a trip outside to play in the rain.

We do get to keep Brad for one more day. Right now the plan is for him to leave early Tuesday - so tomorrow should be a good down-time day.

OBTW - In talking with Brad about blogs I helped him setup a new Blogger blog at Brad yells... So if you get a chance take a look! Denise and I are really looking forward to reading his updates!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Denise started the morning off with her "breakfast stuff" (as Desirae likes to call it). She made everything on the stove on the outside of the trailer and that worked out pretty good. Though the campsites were pretty close together we lucked out this morning (today) without having anyone next to us. This worked out really well and made it nice when we were hanging out at the campsite.

I would like to say that today involved a lot of exploring, but right after we started walking Devin decided his feet hurt and would not stop complaining about it. So I volunteered to go back and get the truck and drive him back to the camp. Once I picked him up I decided to go and get gas for the truck.

Denise, Brad, Desirae, and Deanna continued to explore the river and the different campsites around Rivernook. They seemed to have a good time and I would have liked to see the different areas.

After the walk/drive/exploring we took and break and the kids watched a movie. So in all it was a pretty good morning.

For dinner we de-boned all the ribs from the 4th, poured in the rest of the BBQ sauce and stewed everything together and put it onto of some buns. It was REALLY good! We still have some left and I image that it won’t last too much longer. Either way it worked out pretty good.

Toward the end of the day and after dinner I decided to try and get some scenic river type shots. The sun was going down pretty quick and I wasn’t really sure where to head, but I jumped into the trunk and started driving up the river. I came across a spot that had a easy access to the river and the angle was pretty good. When I get home I will have to see how well these shots turned out and if I will be able to really do anything with them.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Arrived at Rivernook...

Though we were running a little behind we did make it out to our camping destination of Rivernook near Kernville. It was a pretty good trip without any problems or difficulties. I was a bit worried about the trip up the mountain to get over here and it wasn’t too bad. We did try to get a different spot once we arrived, but everything was booked and there were not any cancellations.

After getting set up we did take a little walk around the river and tent camping area, but Devin got pretty tired rather quickly and it was getting late so we headed back to the camp site so we could figure out what do to for dinner.

Ultimately we decided to head back into Kernville to go to one of the local restaurants. We found a really good Mexican food place and had an awesome meal. I have been really jonesing for Mexican food so it worked out really well. Everyone enjoyed what they ordered and the waitress was really wonderful and even cut up Devin's food for him without being asked. I was so impressed that I even thanked the cooks for the wonderful food.

When we arrived back at camp the kids really wanted to make smores so Brad and I made a fire and we went to work on making desert. The weather was a bit warm to really have a fire, but if you shoot far enough back, to not feel any of the heat, it was pretty nice. It was a pretty long day and we finally shut down pretty late! So more to come with tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A day of recovery...

Wow - I really think that the holiday needs to be the day AFTER the 4th of July! Denise and Brad did A LOT of work around the house today and made a tremendous amount of progress. I, unfortunately, had to go to work and it was a LONG day. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to stay awake through the whole thing. I did connect up with Rob and Randy (Willson) and all of us were pretty much dragging.

I was able to get a few hours off for Friday so we should be able to hit the road early so hopefully that will turn out well. We are really looking forward to this upcoming camping trip!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July!

Another successful 4th of July! It was a bit of a mad house and in all we had 25 people show up Brad; Randy, Melissa, Alicia Amsler; Randy, Gina, Isabella, and Sammy Willson; Tony, Jaquie, and Nathen Atallah; Kris and Gail Wohlcke; David Purcell; Rob, Kim, Matt, Daniel, Alex, and Danny Mendoza. Needless to say it was a full house.

We made a TON of ribs and we have WAY more food left over than we thought we would have had. That also included four racks that I complete burned on the baking phase in the grill. We still had ribs cooking in the house and in the trailer so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Denise also made her signature dessert dish that was WONDERFUL as usual.

Randy brought over an inflatable water slide thing that the kids really enjoyed. I didn’t really get a chance to see much of it because I was fighting with the ribs. But it looked like it was going to be a lot of fun and the kids kept going on it the entire time I was cooking and only stopped when the food was done. Since I was cooking I didn’t get a picture of that. All of the kids did play pretty good with each other and I think they all had a pretty good time.

Randy Willson decided to do the paparazzi thing and took my camera for a while. He seemed to be having fun with the camera thing and took a ton of shots. The best part is he did get a couple of Denise and I which generally doesn’t happen. Oh, in this picture Rob had just pulled down Randy's hat over his face and decided to make this goofy look. It was pretty funny and I had to figure a way to work it into the blog.

The Wohlckes', Atallahs, and Mendozas didn't stay for the fireworks but they all helped us put a dent (if not very large) in the food. It was pretty funny, and Kim called it, when Rob was locking the door and driving off. Again it was great that everyone made it out here and I hope they enjoyed everything.

It was a VERY tiring day but a lot of fun. I really appreciated all the help that Brad was in doing everything today. I think it would have been difficult to pull off had he not been here and was such a good help! So THANK YOU Brad!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Uncle Brad is here!

Shortly after 0700 hours this morning Uncle Brad drove up in front of the house. Since I had gotten up to get ready for work in event that I was not able to take it off both Denise and I were up and saw him drive up. It was a bit unexpected, but very cool that he was able to get here so early. We expected him to arrive sometime around 1200 hours.

Mixed in with visiting we spent most of the day getting ready for tomorrow. Denise had A LOT of things to do, including making her homemade BBQ sauce, cooking the eggs, boiling potatoes, and the generally cleaning associate with folks coming over. We also enlarge our dining room table, which is always a fun thing to (be able to) do.

So Brad is going to be with us for a week! It should be a lot of fun and like I said yesterday, Denise did get us a spot at near the Kern River for this weekend - we will leave on Friday and come back on Sunday.

Denise and Deanna were playing footsie in the office today. It was really cute and Deanna was REALLY having fun and laughing hysterically.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I wish I was doing that...

Deanna fell asleep on Denise's lap today and did this cute little thing with her finder in her mouth. I was able to get the camera and take a couple of pictures and she didn't wake up.

We are still going through the process of getting everything ready for our get-together on the 4th. Right now it seems like there is going to be anywhere from 16 to 25 people depending on if certain people cancel. Denise's brother Brad is coming into town and should be here tomorrow - so I think for Denise if everyone cancels she will be happy that Brad is here.

I did finish up the backyard this morning and was greeted with a snake that scared everyone - since everyone was out there with me. Needless to say we quite our outdoor work shortly after that..