Saturday, June 30, 2007

Build a Bear...

First: Today was Desirae's Daisy Troop's Build-A-Bear trip to the mall. Unfortunately Denise's pictures are in the van right now so I can't pull them down. So tomorrow I will download those pictures and post them.

Denise took Desirae down with the Daisy Troop for the Build-A-Bear field trip. All the girls met up down at the mall and they had about an hour of going through the process of bringing to life their new teddy bear. Desirae made a cute little bear and I imagine it was a pretty fun thing to watch all the little girls going through the different stations.

About an hour into it - well actually an hour and a half - I loaded up Devin and Deanna and we drove down to Palmdale to meet up with Denise and Desirae. We met up for lunch in the mall and then went back to Build-A-Bear so that Devin could build his bear. (That's the picture at the top). I was really impressed with the place and it was a really neat idea. If any of you reading this have kids then I think this is pretty neat place to take them. Sometimes I really wonder where people come up with these ideas.

OBTW - the pictures above was taken with my iPhone - I was pretty happy with it. The lighting was horrible and it took better pictures than my other cell phone. I just didn't drag my Nikon gear out this time.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Okay, here's the deal, ever since Apple said they were officially coming out with an iPhone I have been wanting to get one. As the release date kept getting closer I kept reading more and more information about it. You all know I have been a Kool Aid drinker for a while - but I was still not sure they were going to be able to pull this one off. I decided to go for it because I needed a device that I could use while on the base to surf the net, check email, and basically do all my personal non-work related stuff. It really sounded like the iPhone was the device that would do it.

The next thing I figured is if I was able to get off work on Friday, drive down to an AT&T store and get one before they sold out then it was meant to be. Otherwise I would just wait and see what happened. So I finally left work at 1800 (as you know the stores opened at that time - and I still had about a 34 minute drive) and made my way from Edwards Air Force Base down to Lancaster Ca. When I finally did get to the store there was already a short line outside the store.

As me and the 15 or so people in front of me waited, ever so often someone would leave the store with a new bag of goods. I just assumed they were leaving with iPhones - but I am not sure. Every few minutes a store employee would come out and check the line and ever so often he would give a status on what was left. At one point he came out and said they had 4 8GB and 4 4GB units left. Then a few more minutes he said they were out of the 8s. Anyway bottom line is I got one of the 4GB units (which is kind of what I was going to get - unless they had the 8 or only the 8).

Okay - so heres the deal - all the hype - in my opinion Apple nailed it. The darn things does everything they said it would in the manner they said it would. Now I had read numerous reports about how bad the AT&T Edge (broadband) network is so I was probably prepared for it - but it is actually working better than I had expected. I can surf all the web sites I wanted to, which includes my stock photography sites, blog, bank, news, and just about everything else I could send to it. Now it won't do flash stuff so some things don't work - but for the sites I am going to hit on a daily basis it has it covered.

The only real thing I don't think and mainly it has to do with the fact that I can not plug my regular headphones, to include my Bose Quiet Comfort II, into the darn thing. I am not sure if there is an adapter or something - but they just don't work. Otherwise I am VERY happy and impressed with the new little Apple device. If my impression is common then Apple just hit gold (again) and EVERYTHING in the cellular telephone market is going to change. Now it is just a matter of waiting and seeing what comes next!

Monday, June 25, 2007


Denise has been working with her mom researching a new sweater they are both going to make. I came into the room at one point and it looked like a perfect set for a photo shoot. So after we (she, in all honesty) put the kids to bed I grabbed the boom, one strobe, and a medium softbox and went to town. Actually I was still feeling pretty sick so it probably wasn't one of my better ideas, but I think the shots have turned out pretty good. Shutterstock took all of them except one (7 out of 8) though I am still waiting on iStock to review them. Anyway I think they are just finishing up their selection of yarn so they should start soon.

OBTW - I am starting to feel better. Today was also the change of command for our commander - so I have a new boss today. Tomorrow will be his first full day. He seems like a pretty good guy so hopefully we will have couple of years!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Recovery... Still...

Well this flu has really kicked my behind. It is what, late Sunday night, and I still feel like crap. I do feel better than what I did earlier in the week but it is a real drag to be basically down and SLOWLY getting better. As a result nothing major was accomplish and no real blog work either. We did do a photo shoot that I think turned out well though it was hard to concentrate. Will have to see if the inspectors like the work...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Crashed out...

I think Deanna has the right idea here. She was playing with her toys dragging around that bus with those little people in there and she just sat down in the chair and fell asleep. It didn't last too long, her brother and sister made sure of that, but it was a nice idea. I say that because as a result (at least this is what I figure) of some crud that I got on the trip back that has just kicked my behind. I have had a fever (though I think that is starting to go away), throat and ear problems and just basically have felt bad. So I have been taking medication and trying to get some rest (hence the NBS "no blog syndrome"). Anyway Denise took the photo so since I had a blog worthy entry I thought I would go ahead and post...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Finally made it home!

After a two hour stay at the Meteor Crater near Winslow Az we finally made it home. It was a LONG trip and we arrived home a little before 8pm. So we are trying to get settled and get everyone off to bed. Now I have a full day of work waiting for me as well as a broken toilet and a forest of weeds growing where we used to have grass. It is SOOOOO great to be home!

OBTW - the pano is a 12 shot image and I didn't get both ends of the crater in the view. I kind of messed up the pano - shooting it hand held and did not use a manual exposure and white balance. Even with that it turned out okay.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Making good time... not...

Okay - so we HAD a good plan for today, but nothing really went down the way we thought it would. The idea was to hit the Dinosaur Museum when it opened, but we were told the wrong time that it opened. We thought it would open at 0900 but it wasn't until 1000. The only good thing about the morning is there was a parade that we got a chance to see. Since the museum wasn't open and we were up we went ahead and parked and watched them pass by. Well - my smugmug uploaded doesn't want to work right now so I will upload the album later with the parade pics. Okay - problem fixed, the images are located here!

Other than that everything went downhill from there. We should have hit the petrified forest early in the day and then the meteor crater after that. As it turned out we barely made it to Winslow for the night. So, the revised plan is that we spend the night in Winslow and then hit the meteor crater in the morning. Then drive the 8 remaining hours home. This SHOULD work out okay. Either way we will be home tomorrow.

On a side note - to further explain how wonderful today was - Denise lost her car keys. We have no idea where we lost them but it had to be along one of the stops. There was also a misunderstanding at one stop about a necklace that Denise wanted to get. She should have just bought it but I think I thought she wasn't that interested in it and she thought I didn't want her to get it. Oh well... Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Heading home - Cadillac Ranch...

We started our long journey home today leaving just about on schedule. The entire idea with this part of the trip was to take a bit more time and as such we stopped along the way any time something looked interesting. That included a couple of stops at some Indian places as well as the Cadillac Ranch located in Amarillo Texas. I haven't taken video in a long while so I decided to use Denise's camera to video our trip of it. It was kind of strange and we didn't really know what to think of the people painting the cars while we were there.

All in all our first day of the return trip was pretty nice. We made it in to Tucumcarri Arizon for our first stop. The folks at the Hampton Inn (yes I know - but we figured we would give them another chance and this one is pretty nice) told us of a place up the road that had awesome food. So tomorrow we hit the road again with a dinosaur museum, forest, and crater on the roster. We shall see how everything turns out though!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ridin' Horses

Today we FINALLY got the kids out to ride Pat and Cliff's horse. The kids really enjoyed being around the horses - especially Desirae. We first met up with them for lunch/breakfast at Cracker Barrel which I thought was really good. From there we went out to the pasture and saddled up the horse. We didn't have a lot of time there but all the kids got to ride for a few trips around the area and they all had a lot of fun doing it. Even Deanna got into it and was really throwing a fit until she got her chance to ride. The images are posted here!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Aquarium and more portraits...

Today we made our way to the aquarium. First, I have never been to an aquarium that isn't like near the ocean so I wasn't really sure what to expect. The place was pretty neat though and the kids really did have a great time there. One of the nice things is the weather was nice and the building was inside so the temperature was controlled in there. I ended up walking with Devin and everyone just kind of went about their way and we would meet up from time to time. For me I kind of really liked the jelly fish, they were really neat looking and it was interesting watching them move in the tanks.

Devin really only like the larger fish and he was starting to get a bit bored at first with the little fish (like the jelly fish) but once we moved on to the larger tanks he really got interested. His favorite spots were the petting tank and the shark tank. When we first arrived at the shark tank they didn't have anything out because they were giving the sharks their six month physical. After a while though they released all the sharks and it was pretty need to talk through a tunnel under the sharks.

I posted the other selects here! The lighting was really bad and I cranked up the ISO on my D70 so the images are not that great - but it still might be fun to check out the images.

Denise's cousin Samantha and her husband Joel came over with their 6 kids tonight and we did a quick photo shoot with them. I haven't had a chance to finish processing and editing the shots but I really thought this one was cute. They have a really large family and it was neat trying to capture everyone.

Here is one of the shots! From top left to right you have Jaron, Hunter, Nina, Joel, Maya, Sam, and the twins Isaac and Ian.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tulsa Zoo

Today we made the journey to the Tulsa Zoo. Denise has been telling me about this place for a while and we finally made it out there. I am not sure if it was just me but the weather was brutal today. Very humid and it started pouring when we finally left (which made it a bit better). It really was a nice zoo and was setup very nice. There were a few exhibits that were closed for renovation but it all in all it was pretty darn nice. Devin was dying so he ended up riding in a wagon for the first part of the day and then we checked out a wheel chair for the second part of the day. I think that helped a lot. With the weather he just couldn't hang. I think Denise and I were about to die so it was definitely understandable. I posted some of the pictures here!

After we left the zoo we headed over (in the pouring rain I might add) to a place that Denise used to like to eat when she used to live in Tulsa. It was pretty good although a bit stressful trying to find in conditions were the road seemed like it was going to wash away and visibility was pretty much nothing. OBTW - in California we have fake rain. Out here they have SERIOUS rain...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Family photoshoot...

I moved all the studio equipment out into Gene's shop for a photo shoot today. I tell you one thing though I REALLY wish he would have had the A/C installed into the shop because it was very hot and muggy out there! So I did everything in phases. I set up the strobes, and then took a break. Then I metered the power levels, and took a break. Then I have folks come out and we shot. We didn't shoot for too long, but we 65 keepers out of the session. I think everyone had fun, I know I sure did, and I was VERY HAPPY with the shots. I uploaded 5x7 cropped images here!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

More visting...

Well, I have been "off the net" for a few days because we went to see Denise's grandmother and other relatives in the Missouri and Arkansas area. We headed off to her house first and then met up with her brother and step-mother Cheryl. We ended up staying until Saturday and just kind of tooled around for a few days. We also met up with Denise's father's widow for dinner one evening so she could see the kids. The best part (for me) was when her brother Brad and I headed out around the country to photograph the area. The image to the right is one where Brad climbed his truck to get a better angle. If you click here you can see more of the images captured that day. I will post some of the visiting pictures later when I get a chance.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Getting there...

Well the medication is really starting to help. Today I was able to move around the best I have in the last couple of days. We even had a chance to to a studio shoot with Devin. He did really well and I think we got some good stuff out of it.

So tomorrow we are heading to Missouri and Arkansas to visit her other brothers, grandmother and step Cheryl. My back has put us a day behind schedule but I think it is going to work out okay. As it turned out Brad had something else he needed to do anyway - so this is going to work out better.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Made it!

First, last night was horrible. Just for the record Hampton Inns are different from Hampton Inn & Suites. This place just wasn't up to par. Anyway - first mistake we made was NOT bringing baby thing in for Deanne to sleep in. This hotel did not have cribs (like the other one) and we decided it was too much of a pain to go back down to the van and dig the thing out of the car. Boy was that stupid. For a few minutes of trouble it would have saved us an entire night of sleep. Needless to say Deanna was NOT a happy camper last night and beat the crud out of Denise and I.

Second, who really needs an elevator when you are on the third floor? I mean really what fun is ridding down in a elevator when you are trying to leave with 100 lbs of bags to carry down? For some reason the elevator decided to go tango uniform when we decided to leave. Desirae and I (meaning me) carried down the bags from the third floor to the van. The idea was that maybe the elevator would start working by the time we put the stuff again and we could hit breakfast. So after we saw the repairmen working on the elevator Desirae and I walked back up the stairs. So not we have to go back down. Devin assures us that he can walk down the stairs. I was a bit reluctant but Denise said "He says he can do it!". So I figured I would walk in front of him in case there was a problem. We hadn't made it down the first flight of stairs when Devin lost it. Canes everyone and him gripping the rail for dear life. So after I carried down down 2 1/2 flight of stairs we were back in business. Oh - their breakfast was horrible too. I mean why in the world would you really want milk to go with cereal??? Oh wait - you just have to ask for it. You may have 1 cut of milk - no more... Whatever...

Third, when we got to Gene's house the kids went out to play on the trampoline. Denise wanted them to stop because there is poison ivy underneight. So I picked them up off of it - and threw my back out... So now I am taking all the meds the doctor gave me and hoping for the best...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Still not there...

Well, we SHOULD have arrived at Gene's house today - but we are just not making good time. Last night, though the place was nice, was pretty tuff. Deanna wouldn't go to sleep so Denise didn't get to bed until midnight and she got up at 0500. Everyone was pretty much up by 0600 and after breakfast (at the hotel) we didn't hit the road until 0900 (at least I think this was the time). Anyway instead of pulling another all nighter we figured we should just shut down at a reasonable hour and HOPEFULLY get some sleep. We ended up stopping tonight in Clinton, Ok which means tomorrow we only have about 4 hours left to go. So tomorrow we WILL reach or destination!

OBTW - the cross was HUGE along the way, we took the shot while driving on the I-40.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Started trip...

Well we have started our trip! The morning started off good and we hit the road at 0745 just 15 minutes past what we had hoped. So all in all a good start! Except, everything from a time perspective since then. We ended up stopping quite a bit and it really put us behind schedule. Typically Denise is at Santa Rosa NM by the time we stop but we have another 120 miles to get there. So hopefully we can get an easrly start tomorrow and make up some lost time! Anyway, we made it as far as Albuquerque New Mexico and stopped at a Hampton Inn and Suites. It is a pretty nice place so hopefully we will have a good nice!

More to come tomorrow!...