Sunday, January 31, 2010

Soccer is finished...

Well, today ended the soccer season for Desirae.  Today was the last 2 games of the all stars.  It sounded like it was another brutal day but the girls stuck through it and finished out both games.  From what Denise said at the end of the second game the other team did this "mercy" rule where they stopped trying to score but it just turned it into a game of keep away.  On one of the games someone kicked the soccer ball into Desirae's face on the side she cremated earlier in the week.  Denise said that pretty much after that it was over and everyone on the team was apprehensive about being aggressive with the other team.  Denise did take Desirae out for Cold Stone afterward so that was something anyway!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


First, the soccer games...  As I mentioned before being sick I decided to stay home with Deanna (who is getting over being sick) and Devin.  Denise took Desirae to her two games today in Palmdale.  The report on the first game is that they got cremated.  It was really bad with one girl in tears at half time.  I'm not sure what the final score but we didn't score anything.  The 2nd game was still lost zero to something but I guess it wasn't as bad as the first.  Denise said tomorrow they are playing the "really good" team so that should be interesting...

Oh, the shot above was a self portrait and test of having the camera just take photographs with the built in intervalometer.  It was interesting and worked out okay.  

What a week...

Well, it has been an interesting week...  Actually I think it has been a bit longer than a week.  As luck would have it, I ended up getting another sinus infection that took me out pretty much the entire week.  I thought I was getting ahead of it but in the end, I didn't.  This isn't as bad as the one I had a few years ago, but it still hasn't been fun.  Deanna has also been coming down with something although I don't think it was the same thing.

The worst part has been blowing a week without nothing to show for it...  No work, no photos, no blogs pretty much nothing except a reduction in my sick leave balance...  Oh well.

Tomorrow they are finally doing the All Star soccer game.  I'm going to stay home with Deanna and Devin while Denise takes Desirae to the game.  It would be fun to go and see, but considering the circumstances it really isn't a good idea.

Denise is also starting to get sick so hopefully being outside all day tomorrow doesn't make her situation worse...

I don't think I mentioned this before, but earlier in the week Desirae tripped and did a face plant on the concert.  Denise received a call from the school to come pick her up.  The really impressive part is that after she did it she and her friend went into the bath room to clean up and then got into line to go to class.  It was an adult that saw her condition and sent her to the office to see the nurse.  She really did a number on her face and it looks quite painful.  It almost looks like someone hit her in the face.  I was really worried it was going to be a lot worse than it was but Desirae has tufted it out really well.  Then also sent home the safety report, I suppose they were worried we would think that someone beat her.

Oh, the coffee doesn't really have much to do with anything on this post.  I just happened to get it on my way back home after my doctors appointment...  I've been missing coffee this week...  Plus I thought it would be bad form to post Desirae's picture that Denise took...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Let them eat... Pie???

Well, first I think I might be getting over the black plague of death that has been brought upon me...  I still can't hear out of my left ear, but really, I never could hear that well out of that ear anyway!  During Denise's sister's visit they brought a box of fresh lemons so now we have pie.  Well, I don't have pie but the kids and Denise enjoyed it.

For those of you wondering, the "All Star" soccer game didn't happen last weekend because of the rain.  So they have moved it to THIS weekend!  I guess they decided having the girls play in a giant mud pit wasn't a good idea...  Go figure...

Oh, I not sure if I mentioned this before, but Denise made boeuf bourguignon and it was freaking AWESOME!  I was REALLY impressed and it was absolutely fabulous!  Here's to hoping Denise keeps up with the gourmet cooking!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Erharts & Fred's birthday...

Well, it was kind of an interesting day on Friday.  First "someone" brought the black plague of death to work with him and infected everyone at work.  So it finally hit me late Thursday and visited all weekend! So on Friday I called off and as luck would have it the Erhart clan came over.  The weather has been so bad in Bakersfield that they haven't been able to pick many oranges.  Anyway it also happened to be Fred's birthday (46th) and Denise baked him a chocolate cake.  I actually had a very small piece of that and it was GOOD!!!

Other than that it was pretty much sleep, drugs, more sleep mixed...  Hopefully things will be better tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spaghetti and the rain...

Denise and I were talking about doing this type of shot the other day.  I still had all the lighting equipment out so I swapped in a medium soft box swung (it was still on the boom), lit over the noodles, put a black scrim behind and shot it.  The shots turned out exactly like I envisioned it.  I honestly thought the backlight look was going to be harder to get and require more light but the box is about 7 inches above with just the corning lighting the top of the pasta.  I used a small reflector to bunch just a touch of light back on the front side.  I figure if I can't eat it I might as well photograph it...

The inclement weather canceled soccer practice and I am not really sure what this is going to do the All Star games this weekend...

Monday, January 18, 2010


So here is the thing...  The doctor is beating me up about diets and now I have all this new medication to take but you know what, dieting sucks...  It isn't so bad when you get on the scale and the numbers head in the right direction but when they don't change or go the wrong way it can be frustrating and then that chocolate donut with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles sounds oh so good.

Fortunately though Denise makes pretty good stuff, even when you can consider it "healthy".

On another note, I thought it would be a good idea to head down over the hill into the Los Angeles area.  Never mind that all the weather reports said there would be rain.  I figured, heck, it's California it never REALLY rains here.  You know how you always hear those "emergency broadcast system" tests on the radio and television???  Well I heard my very first REAL alert today.  As we (luckily I wasn't stupid enough to take the family with me) dropped into area and we passed four accidents I heard my first alert staying that there was severe flash flood warning with an expected 4 to 6 inches of rain in 3 to 4 hours....  The best part...  As they were rattling off the roads to stay away from we were passing them on the freeway!  Now how smart it that.

The best part is on the way back when we passed an armored van that I flipped over on its side...  So be safe and don't do anything stupid...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Soccer trophy...

Today was Desirae's award ceremony where they presented the girls medals with their names on them for their effort this year in soccer.  We still are not done and we have "All Stars" next weekend (both days) so we have another week of practice and a full weekend of games (4 games).  All the girls are excited about it so I that makes it worth while.

They had the gathering at one of the local pizza places here in town which allowed the kids to spend some time playing in the game room for a little while.  The place has been remodeled since we have been there and it made the entire area a little undersized for the amount of people that we had there.  But the kids, including Deanna, had the opportunity to play some games and they all seemed to enjoy that.

In the end though the best part of a pizza place is the pizza and the kids scarfed down a bunch of pizza before the official proceedings commenced.  Since we weren't really sure how the whole thing was going to go down Denise and I just let the kid do their thing and decided we would eat later.  That actually worked out better, and probably made for healthier choices!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Devin's Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Today was Devin's Individual Education Plan meeting at the school.  I had to work and couldn't get off today (late notice) so Denise took everyone there.  The bottom line is that he is doing good.  There are some specific things they want to have him work on like math flash cards and they actually recommended that he play more with Legos for coordination exercises.  It is always nice to get a report that Devin is doing pretty good and with the same news coming out of Children Hospital it has ultimately been a good "Devin" week this week!

Devin was even up to a little photo shoot so we made the picture above.  It was pretty cool and we made some pretty nice, simple images.  You'll probably notice the same type of shot that I did with Desirae a few days ago.  If it wasn't for the fact that it is a PAIN to setup with all the lights, reflectors and moving stuff around I would do that ALL the time! :D

Monday, January 11, 2010

Me, Desirae and Children's Hospital for Devin...

Today is the day that Denise, Devin and Deanna headed down to Children's Hospital Los Angeles to have his follow-up doctor's appointment and get his new braces.  To save on leave I only too a few hours off so that I could meet Desirae after school.  Desirae and I hung out a little bit but she did spend a bit of time talk to her friend on the telephone.  Desirae also had Girl Scouts today but she was picked up for that...

Denise said that Dr. Kay was very pleased with Devin's progress and told her that the first year is basically just healing but that generally more improvements happen after the 2nd year.  So that means Devin still has an opportunity to get even better.  Devin told him about his trip around the soccer field with out his cane and he was very impressed with that.  Hopefully that kind of feedback will keep Devin motivated for improvement!

I'll find out more when they finally make it home.  Going down to Children's Hospital is a really long day and by the time you do the appointment, eat, do any shopping along the way (it isn't like you make that trip every day) you generally do not get home at a very good time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Game 3...

Today was the 3rd game of the playoffs and our team did play hard but ultimately lost the game. It would have been nice if we would have scored at least one point but in the end that didn't happen either. The girls were in good spirits even with the loss and it was nice to have the playoffs come to an end. There is another practice on Tuesday and I there was mention of "All Stars" but I am not really sure what that really means.

Now this was really kind of cool. Devin and I were sitting down while the team was practicing talking about just generally stuff when he decided that he wanted to walk around without his cane. I was like COOL! He really wanted to go on his own so I put his fold up cane in his back pocket and he headed off around the field. He walked the entire way without a problem and without falling. It was really cool to see him do it. Luckily I was able to get Denise's attention while she was talking with the other moms so that she could see what he was doing. Everyone was really proud of him and he did a great job. He was pretty tired afterward but it was VERY neat!

On the way home, and really near our house, we saw a fire truck, ambulance and a bunch of police cars blocking off an area. We were not really sure what was going on and with the police cars it kind of made me nervous so we just drove to the house. As we were getting out of the van Denise noticed a helicopter coming our way toward the scene we realized it was a medivac. So we quickly loaded everyone back up in the van, I grabbed my D300 and 80-400 and we drove back over there. I got out and walked up to the area and photographed the entire scene as it unfolded. I did as one of our Cal City Police officers what was going on and he basically send it was medical and their officers were blocking the area so the helicopter could land. The patient looked okay(ish) but I imagine when you are transporting via helicopter it can't be great. Maybe the paper will have more information...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

1st day down...

Well, the first day is down. Desirae's team had two games today and although they played hard they lost both games. There is one more game tomorrow and I am not sure what would happen if they win that one but we'll find out tomorrow!

After the first game Desirae decided she wanted to play goalie so she did that for the entire game. On the first game she played a bunch of different positions and it was really cool seeing her play in different spots.

One cool part about today is that my brother Daren and his wife Aleen did make the two-hour trip over to watch the game. They made it for the 4th quarter of the first game and were able to watch the entire second game. All the kids were really excited about seeing them and Desirae was really happy that they came to see her play.

I also took today as an opportunity to ops check that "new" Nikon 80-400 4.5~5.6 lens I trade Bobby for. It worked great and I was surprised at how well it did tracking the action. I ended up taking over 1,300 pictures so I have A LOT of images to go through but from what I have seen from a quick browse of the files I'm pretty happy with the results.

Friday, January 08, 2010


Tomorrow is the big day, the start of the Soccer playoffs. Denise volunteered to bring oranges for both games (because we have a huge box of oranges) so she was preparing them this evening. She commented on how cool they looked (and I agreed) so I grabbed her bowl of oranges and took some photographs of it. It's not a great food photo shot but it was kind of cool and I actually made a picture so that always make me happy.

So for the "unhappy" part about this... We have to be up before 0600 and on the road no later than 0700. I think the first games starts at 0930 so we'll be there nice and early to find a nice place to watch the game! (Ya, sure hope there is a Starbucks along the way)...

The really cool part about it is that my brother Daren and his wife are going to come over to watch the games. I mentioned it to him earlier in the week, more of a joke than anything else, and he called up tonight to get directions and such and said they were going to come over. That will be WAY cool and the kids are all really excited about it!

OBTW - don't you just think that weird wall color (from our dinning room) just makes that picture "pop"??? Ya, me either... I'm thinking if I am going to continue making photographs in there I need to re-paint the room to a more neutral color that doesn't throw that "beautiful" color cast on to all my images!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

What day is it???

I think I must of eaten something that didn't agree with me because I spent the day home taking care of THAT little problem. After a day though I'm feeling better so that is a nice thing.

This shot above is from a couple of days ago. Deanna has really taken up climbing on top of her play house. She was looking pretty cute so I couldn't help but make a few images of it. I tell you though, she is one bundle of energy!

This weekend is all about the soccer playoffs so we will spend pretty much our entire weekend watching games. Desirae is playing forward so I should get a good opportunity to see that. The last time she played that position I came in about 3 minutes before the pulled her out of the game. Kind of a drag but I got to see a couple minutes of it.

For those who hadn't heard I received my repaired Nikon 17-55 2.8 DX AF-S lens from Nikon yesterday! It is as good as new and in perfect working order. I was VERY happy about that and to get it back. I also ended up trading my Nikon 80-200 2.8D AF lens to Boddy Deal for his Nikon 80-400 4.5~5.6D AF. I'm really looking forward to getting a chance to put that lens to work. It is not really fast enough (it isn't an AF-S lens) to shoot sports, but I might try it this weekend.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

End of the adventure...

Well, today is the end of the adventure that was our Christmas holiday vacation! Tomorrow Devin and Desirae head back to school after two weeks off and I back to a full week of work! The day before a long break is always kind of difficult and today was nothing different. We all enjoyed our last day but we also accomplished a few things as well!

First Denise did some catch-up around the house and everything tried to clean up a bit. I tried to "dump" the trailer, but that turned out to be a greek tragedy and involved a really long hot shower after I returned (worst part is that it didn't empty right and I have to do it again...).

At one point Denise and Desirae headed to Ace to pick some stuff up and Devin was kind of mopping in the living room. So we decided to do something and he got his shoes back on and I went out front and setup a photo shoot. It was pretty cool and although the light was going quickly we made some pretty fun images. Devin actually had fun doing it too so that was cool too.

Anyway, I need to shut down and prepare for tomorrow! I hope everyone had a great holiday and hopefully a nice little break from the daily grind!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Orange Groves...

We drove into Bakersfield today to do some running around with the intention of meeting up with Denise’s sister Michelle and her family, meeting my brother and his wife and going out to a nice dinner. As it turned out we were only able to do two of those things which was connecting with Michelle and going to dinner. My brother was out and about and we couldn’t make it happen.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this previously but Michelle and her family came out to California to pick oranges. When we met them they were actually working at the orange orchard doing their thing. So we had the opportunity to check out that process and it was pretty neat to see. It is really amazing though how much hard work that really is. When they said before that they were paid by the bushel I thought it was something small... Nope, it is pretty darn large and it takes about 18-20 very large harness bags to fill one up. So about an hour to two and a half to fill one up. WOW, kind of makes me appreciate my day job. The kids really enjoyed running around the place with their cousins though and no one wanted to leave when it was time to go.

For dinner we went to the Macaroni Grill and it was pretty nice. We always like their food there and they put on a pretty good spread! I ended up having a salad that was really good and everyone else had the normal thing (which means I can’t remember right now what everyone had).

Oh, on a side note. I was reading one of the stock-photography forums where someone had posted a thread about “what didn’t you use in 2009”. It was an interesting thread and one person (Bobby from that seminar I took a while back) posted that he had a Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF VR ED lens that he hadn’t used and said that he would actually trade someone a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-D ED for it straight across... Since I happen to have one of those in my gun safe that I haven’t used in like 2-3 years (since I bought my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS VR ED) I was like, “hmmm, seriously???” So as it turns out we traded lenses! We’re cross shipping and we both should have our “new” lenses next week. It was really amazing, especially considering I’m not really active on the forums and I just happened to read the thread because I was bored surfing... So hopefully it will be good too go and we both will be happy with our trade!