Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cold? I Don't Got No Stinking Cold!

It started with the tired.
I was so tired.
I thought it was the change in weather.
I then had sore eyes.
I thought I was getting old and needed glasses.
I mentioned it to panda, and panda say "you sick, doo".
I say..daaaaaam.

froggy enjoying the fall

I love froggy and froggy always makes me feel happy.
I took this picture on my lunch.
I want to sleep now and fight off cold!

froggy pumpkin shoppin

I take froggy to pumpkin patch at Albertsons.

albie's crow

I think the crow lost his way.

Bored now. sleeeep.

Does beer cure colds?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Assignment: Autumn

I'm going to give a warning for this post.

I wanted to take some pictures of the fall colors and with the help of my new lens I was able to grab the pictures that I'd always seen in my head but hadn't been able to grab with my kit lens. The colors are so prevalent around my home that I literally went to one street, in front of one block, and took the following shots. There is no story to this assignment.

I was not going to watch the Obama infomercial tonight but I tuned in...and I was moved to post the quotes that really stood out to me. I can only hope that if he gets elected that he follows what he has said, what has moved the nation and so many people around me to campaign for him.

In any case, if you are tired of the election and all the rhetoric surrounding it please...just look at the pictures 'cause they're pretty!  I apologize to my wonderful and amazing friends who are on the complete opposite side of the isle from me or are undecided or could care less about voting.

froggy in the fall

I am reminded every day that I am not a perfect man
I will not be a perfect president but I can promise you this; I will always tell you what I think and where I stand.
I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face.
I will listen to you when we disagree and most importantly, I will open the doors of government and ask you to be apart of your own democracy again.

oh canada

In 6 days we can choose to invest in health care for our families and education for our kids and renewable energy for our future.


In 6 days we can choose hope over fear, and unity over division.

mess o fall

In 6 days we can come together as one nation, and one people and once more choose our better history.

orange crush

And together, we will change this country and change the world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lost Lake / Mirror Lake / Cottonwood Lake / lakena

I attempted Sunday, but with no flash card. I took half a day on Monday and with flash card the Lost Lakes have been with proof!

New lens in new camera bag I embarked on a journey with a panda and ended up with some pretty interesting pictures and a lesson in photography that I had been craving since I started up this little thank you.

Lesson #1: Macro at will must be at least 3 feet from subject.


I gave up and switched lenses to grab this little mushroom. On Sunday there was a family at the trailhead taking pictures of the gigantic mushrooms they had found on the trail so the adventure on Monday was almost a search for said mushrooms.

alice's mushroom

Lesson #2: Take multiple shots when at 300 mm as the camera is wobbly...or use a tripod. 

Didn't see any of the gigantic mushrooms, but I did use my new lens for this one. The focal point ended up being the leaves so the mushroom looked a bit out of focus. I played with the black and white and tried to darken the leaves so the mushroom really stood out. I'm hoping my hiking partner will post his picture of this little guy so I can see the different perspective.

fall hairy trees

The one good thing about clear cutting is the massive amounts of huckleberry bushes that grow in the meadows between the new growth trees. I added the border to this picture to add to the film look that I think this shot took on. It reminds me of a print I would by at an antique store with the heads of dead animals hanging from the walls.

grave of the dead dear

I made it a point not to shoot the lakes. There were so many, but the great thing about this trail was that there was more than just the lakes to look at. The hike started a bit later in the day so the sun was cutting through the trees making everything glow. I took quite a few pictures of shadows and the fall leaves being lit up by the late afternoon sun.

yellow leaf

Lesson #3: It's all about perspective.

I took many shots of these trees that dotted the trail, but in the end the one I liked was this inverted picture.

me and my shadow

I heart shadows.

mirror lake falls

Lesson #4: When shooting waterfalls, don't be afraid of direct sunlight. Filters are your friend.

I didn't want to shoot this because I thought it would end up over exposed, but with a ND and a polarizing filter on I was able to shoot a 1.6 second exposure leading to a nice fogging of the water. I actually had to lighten up the background.

three coins in the fountain

A walk down Windy Pass led to Twilight Lake and random abandoned logging roads. The lake was all flagged off and there was a for sale sign on the border. These trees take on a shine when the sun hits them and then the color of the shine changes with the rising and setting sun making the whole valley glow with whatever color the sun happens to be.

cottonwood lake peak

Touristy shot, but this was the first I took with my new lens so it's a nostalgic one for me.

Good day off, I think. I want to go back when it snows.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Weekend and FTSK

Let's see if I can sum up my weekend for you, my dear readers:

Friday night: Dave Attell from the segregated balcony, Bill's pizza, then drunken scrabble at an art bar next to Barca with a side of Dick's and ending with a long conversation over Stella.

mid bird

Saturday: Sleeping in till 12:30, interview with Forever The Sickest Kids on their tour bus, wondering if Hot Topic threw up on the kids in line to see them (when did neon come back?), an awkward girl moment followed by 3 hours of Robot Chicken enhanced by Monarch and then the inevitable Nachos Bell Grande with a black and white bear.

ftsk paying attention

Since when did kids start using "the sex" as an adjective?

the sex

am I getting to old for this shite?

forever the sickest kids

Sunday: IHOP, a new lens, an opportunity to use said lens coupled with a missing flash card turned out to be a lovely hike with no pictures. Guess those lakes will stay lost. Chinese food with family and a beer to end off the night.

It was a damn fine weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Border Work

Just wanted to see what this would look like on the black background of my blog. I didn't use an ND filter for this shot, but I'd like to go back and try with one to see the difference.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Found A Daisy...

dirty daisy


In my last post I mentioned a challenge that was offered to me for an assignment. It's been extended to a long term assignment lasting until November 4th...I'm sure you can guess what it is. 

I'm off to eat a sandwich and watch The Grudge. Will I laugh? Will I be scared? Will I die a little inside? Check back tomorrow to find out.

Updated: No need to wait until tomorrow. Scared the crap out of me. No laughing at fact, still a little scared, even after being talked down by a panda. However, in thanks to the fluffy black and white bear I present a window to bamboo:

panda food

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Night Shooting

Had the urge, and since it's getting dark so early I didn't have to wait that long after I got home. Funny thing is lately that I've had shots in my head, but when I go to take them I can't get what I was picturing. I get frustrated, I come home, I sit on my couch grumpy. I say things like hmpf, and grrr, and argh, and pssssht and ugh. I drink my gin and fall asleep watching How I Met Your Mother, aka: the Neil Patrick Harris show.

night fall

This is a perfect example. I had an idea of capturing the fall colors but at night, and I lucked out with a clear sky so there were stars out, but it's all wrong. The building in the middle is washing out the center and the sharpness is just not there, and I don't know why or how to make it better. I know I'm learning but sometimes I feel really lost and don't understand what I'm doing.


This I went back to take after an attempt that didn't turn out the way I had hoped. I literally took this picture next to a pile of poop which I was pretty sure was not from an animal. I think the picture turned out like poop so it's fitting.

Ok, enough self deprecating BS (edited because apparently my little cousins read my blog so it's nothing by abbreviations,Oh Golly's and poop from here on out).


Opening up my mailbox I discovered my absentee ballot. I raced upstairs with it and proceeded to lay on my floor and pour over the voter pamphlet so I knew I was making an informed decision with each little dot I filled in with my light up Nokia pen. I like this way of voting and it feels more personal and protected doing it at home, although I do wish it included the "I Voted" sticker. Maybe I'll steal one on election day, just like the election was stolen from the people in 2004! OH! ZING! ...sigh.

This post may not be any indication, but I am actually in a happier mood. The depression is lifting and I'm smiling a lot more now a days. There's hope for me yet, I tell ya!

Speaking of elections, an assignment was suggested to me and I'm taking on the challenge. I hope to have a full post tomorrow. Hopefully I won't get so fed up in post processing that I throw my camera out the window.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Chartreuse Elixir

The sun was setting and I was on a race to get what I thought might be the last blue sky of the season. An assignment was upon me and it was named Buildings. I had a destination in mind and while taking shots I discovered myself to be quite thirsty. Proficient in the art of finding a good happy hour, I wandered into Vessel, lured by the $5 Manhattan.


I was entranced by a bartender named Zane. A fedora on his head and an air of the roaring 20's in his dress, he mixed drinks like a man obsessed with the art of the cocktail. His friends surrounded him, sitting at the green bar throwing questions at him like they had never seen a drink being made. He crushed the ice with a hammer, he concocted each drink like it was a masterpiece worthy to be shown at a gallery with some obscene price listed on a placard next to it.


He spoke of an alcohol named for a color that wasn't quite yellow...wasn't quite green. Made by Munks, as all good alcohol is, there is a particular type of Chartreuse that is only available in the country of France and it was his dream to one day taste the elixir of life. I found it odd that on this day I decided to walk into this bar, that there was talk of France, that I had spent the day planning a trip for a Brian to travel to the City of Lights, and that I had a unique opportunity to give a stranger a gift that was not asked for.

dans une tisane

I did not have high hopes, but a drunken call at 1:00 am CEST asking if the wooden bottle was correct made me giddy with delight. It was given to me on a monday morning and the wait all day to deliver this gift was agony. I parked in a loading zone and walked up to the bar. There were to gentlemen in front of me saying "It's called Vessel, it was right here!". They were on the wrong block, but I kept my mouth shut.

elixir vegetal

The bar was full; the chef out sick. I told my story to the man behind the bar, hoping it was the same gentleman, and as I delivered the red wrapped wooden bottle the shocked smile on his face told me I had found the right stranger. He didn't know what to say, and the customers kept coming in. He showed me how to appreciate the aroma with a drop on my hand and the emulsion between my palms. A perfect martini of gin, rosewater, lemon twist, sweet vermouth and the elixir of life.

I didn't ask for anything, but the drink was on the house with the promise that I would return with my own bottle for more lessons. I don't know if I'll ever go back, and perhaps that's the way it's supposed to end.

Damn, It's Monday Already

I miss the weekend already. I slept most of it away, but it was nice being kobna again. I had planned to hike but had an unfortunate date with Monarch that did not end well. Still, it was all comfortingly random and I think my pictures reflected that. They are not good, and I'm not sure why the longer I do this the more I feel my technique is amateurish and silly.

 childhood dizziness

Speaking of maturity... This made me really dizzy. Still does just looking at it but I want to go back and do it again.


I found a series of strange parks below the old Amazon building. I'm going to go back over there tonight after I get off work to reshoot a couple frames that I ended up not liking when I got home and saw them big on my computer screen.

where'd everyone go

I heard earlier that day that the viaduct was closed to traffic and they were allowing people to walk on it. I headed over there, but did not see anyone on the road except workers. After having wussed out in Port Gamble, I wasn't going to let an opportunity pass me by again so I started walking up one of the off-ramps. I made it on to the highway and saw another couple up there. I sat down in the middle of the road and dropped a couple frames before hearing a car pull up behind me and a man, who obviously had authority issues, said "What do you think you are doing?". I said "Taking pictures, what does it look like I'm doing?". I argued with him for a moment before the couple I had originally saw came over and told him to let me take a few shots. Apparently it was the speaker of the house, who is an advid photographer.

we are not alone

Stay tuned for more tonight...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have heat!

I can't even begin to explain how happy I am. Now, I can hike again! Thank you dear friend and you know...maybe I'm not exactly ready, but it was nice to see you.

rainy day blues

Casey's birthday is tomorrow...he's depressed. I was too when I hit that birthday. I wish I could take him somewhere, like France!

wide eyed

Watched the debate tonight and yelled at my TV all Monday Night Football style. I'm very glad this is the last and that it's almost over. I wanted to do an assignment tonight, but after the debate the rain started. I stayed in and took pictures of my froggy. He makes me happy. I mean really, look into his eyes!

Tomorrow I look forward to warm toes, All Things Considered, and a birthday drink with my favorite 30 year old.

Monday, October 13, 2008

oh's my birthday

I thought all day about what I would write today, and in the end I have no words, no pictures and no smart ass comment. It's just another year gone by. Had you told me one year ago today where I would be, what would have happened to me over the last year and where I ended up...I probably would have laughed in your face.

Would I have changed anything? Probably not. I learned, maybe, and I've grown, maybe, and I'd like to move on. I miss my panda, I miss my Jolie, I miss my Jen's, I miss my town, and I'd like to stop crying. Saturn's Return kicked my ass, but now I'm in the home stretch and I can't wait for it to be over. I hope I've learned and grown. I'm grateful for my friends and I love each and every one of them. They are my family.

Jen, who texted me at 12:01 to tell me happy birthday.
Casey, who made a point to spend his small amount of money to take me to breakfast.
Bill, who made me the most beautiful and heartfelt gift that I will treasure until the day I die.
Keith, who risked girlfriend hell to have breakfast with me.
Justin, who told me like it is. Who knows WAY to much about me, but I'm grateful that he does.
Bach, Gena, My little Lisa, Travis, Jeff, Mandi, Motzo, Dupe and Dane who gave me lots of bday wishes.
Del, who sat on his couch for a whole night saying my birthday out loud just to remember it. Thank you.

I thought there was only one person in the world who knew more about me than anyone, but the older I get the more I realize that I have a lot of people in my life...and damn do they know me. I have always treasured family, and in the end I have created a family who I love more than anything and who know me and love me as well. 

I guess I did have words.

thanks everyone, and good night.

The Peninsula - Bainbridge Island / Port Gamble / Port Townsend / Port Whatever

I had meant to go to Eastern Washington this weekend, but bailed out on the idea when faced with a cold car and the beer guzzling frat boy party that is Oktoberfest in Leavenworth. I opted to stayed in bed until I was lured out by a double tall dry cappuccino, brought to my door by my good friend Casey who refused to let me be in my pj's all day.

ferry boat

After brunch I was posed with the question "what are you going to do today". It was suggested that I take a ferry ride, I said "um, OK!" and I headed down to the docks only to find myself, and for some strange reason my car, on the boat.

ferry visions

I think I enjoyed the ferry ride more than the entire trip. I ended up taking most of my pictures on the boat...well, the ones that came out anyway.

reflected smith

I had never driven on Bainbridge so I wandered around a little bit and with the help of my GPS I found a nature preserve, that was closed. Damn. I kept driving and found myself in Port Gamble, which I was only going to take a few pictures of a sign that said "Gamble Road' for my friend Amy Gamble, but the town was stupidly quaint, so I stayed around for a bit.

Port Gamble

There was an old logging wharf below the museum in town and there was the old ferry dock and other old piers that were blocked off with "hard hat only" signs everywhere. The gate was open but I just couldn't bring myself to walk down to take some pictures. Am I really losing my adventurous spirit?

I didn't plan on going all the way to Port Townsend, but there was a sign saying it was only 20 miles away so I said fuck it and drove towards it. It was just like I remembered it. I had a dinner of salmon and penne in cream sauce that hit me on the way home (and didn't help that there was bridge traffic), but it was really good going down.

he pooped

The sun was setting and I took some long exposure pictures of the docks, but when I got home I noticed the number one reason that I will never become a professional photographer; I always forget to clean my lens. Oh well. This little guy sat there for a while, pooping all over the railing. I had a homeless lady in pink following me out to the pier but one sharp look at her over my shoulder made her shrink back to land. I waked into the local wine shop where the girl behind the counter had pink dreads and looked down on me because I wanted a local wine under $10. I was kinda glad to leave. Weird town, but I guess I would be strange to on the off season. Strangely enough, as much as I wanted to leave I also want to go back and stay for a little while. Don't know why.

Trying for a hike tomorrow. Let's see if I can make it after breakfast and mimosas.

no more days left, it's upon me...ugh.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I found a fruit fly...

Isn't it too cold for them now? And really, I don't have any fruit in my house so I don't know where the little bugger came from .

in case you were wondering

so that's what all that clicking on the other end was! I was wondering...

only two more days. sigh.

i wish...oh, never mind.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Nose Is Cold

I had a Bridget Jones moment earlier today. Instead of turning to vodka and Chaka Kahn, I have turned to Jack Daniels and Anthony Bourdain.

follow me

I'm happy with my decision.

i don't know why i like it but i do

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I ran...

and I don't mean the country. I almost broke my t.v. throwing something at it while watching the debate tonight. I can't wait until November so I can finally stop obsessing!

care to sit

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mowich Lake / Eunice Lake

Every weekend I'm checking off hikes on my "to do" list and Mowich Lake was no exception. The day before I had spend in my old neighborhood so I thought I would continue the trend the next day by heading up to a lake that I had been wanting to see all summer. I have many stories tied to this lake from my childhood, but it had been decades since I had seen it. The weather man said there would be sunny skies but that it was going to be a bit chilly so I dressed accordingly...or so I thought.


I took the route that would lead me through Orting specifically to take this picture for Casey. If you are not aware, Orting is in the direct route of Mt. Rainer and when it finally decides to blow Orting will be taken along with it, as will every place I knew growing up. It's a strange little town, filled with McCain/Palin signs and bumper stickers that say "Choose Life, Your Mom Did". It's a wonder I turned out the way that I did; while all my family is strictly Right Leaning racist conservatives, I'm as Left as they come.

falls off a road

The drive to the lake is a dirt road that is very bumpy. My car was not very happy about this fact and fought me the entire way up. On all sides you see the clear cutting that has ravaged the area. It reminded me of the oil fields on the La Cienega Pass that I would drive passed every day on my way to work. Large steel pumps sucking the blood out of the earth. I can only hope that we make the right decision in a month and don't elect someone into office that will litter our beautiful lands with such sad sculptures of destruction.

My mind is very involved in the current election...please forgive my digression.

end of summer

I become a little confused at the trail head. Maps, signs, ranger stations, meadows all around and I have no idea where to begin. There is snow on the peaks and I am delighted to see that there are still some left over remnants from the night before at my elevation.

Snow Aster

Instantly I become very muddy and wet from the brush around the meadows and the trails. There is a trail that leads around the lake and in the end it is the one I choose. Heading up towards Eunice Lake I am assured that it's only a 500 foot elevation gain by the sign at the trail head.

island in the sun

I walk into the land of hairy trees and continue on through the misty hillsides. At first the trail reminds me of Kachess Lake as it winds around the lake with little peak-a-boo views of the surrounding mountains. Soon, though, I am engulfed by a wet forest dripping down on me as if it was pouring rain yet there is nothing coming from the clouds.

ipsut pass

I come to a fork in the road with a sign telling me which way to go. Ipsut Pass is only 200 feet away so I take a quick detour to see the view, and what a view it was! High cliffs, deep valleys and peaks as far as the eye could see. I made quick friends with the mosquitoes who had called the hillside their home.

eunice lake pano

Either 500 feet was a lot steeper than I thought it was going to be or I was very out of shape because as soon as I started up to the lake I was overwhelmed by the steep climb that was made very slippery by the roots, leaves and rain that was all around me. Finally I broke through the trees and the path leveled out. Coming up over a large boulder I was presented with Eunice Lake.

look out tolmie peak!

Immediately I thought of a church pipe organ. The rocks looked like pipes all along the ridgeline and I swear I could hear someone tickling the keys in the distance. To top it all off, it started to snow. My first snow of the season and it was breathtakingly beautiful. I made the gasp sound. My pictures don't do it justice, but honestly I kind of like it that way. It's such a journey to explore these places and sometimes I'd rather keep the memory of it's beauty to myself as a reward for having actually made it.

The clouds were moving quickly and sometimes you could see the look out, and other times it was completely covered. It was only another mile to the top, but I was very cold. It was snowing hard and I was soaking wet from the hike up through the rain. I was wearing gloves, a scarf, a sweatshirt, two shirts and jeans and I was shaking so bad that I couldn't hold my camera.

The hike down was quick and before I knew it I was back in my car. I still have yet to fix the heater so I was freezing as I had to keep the windows open so they would not fog up. By the time I reached Orting I couldn't feel three of my right fingers. I pulled into a Starbucks drive through and shuddered through an order of hot chocolate. The barista's were concerned so they made it extra hot. I told them stories of my hike in return while sipping the warm liquid and slowly I started to feel the warmth spread through me and I was able to drive home.

Every Sunday I have woken up early, no matter how late I'd stayed up the night before, and headed to my church of choice. I've made the long walk to the pulpit, I've asked for forgiveness and repented for my sins. My hikes are cathartic ways for me to be closer to God, with each step is another rosary bead through my fingers. I've broken down on the top of a 4000 foot mountain. I've laughed out loud while traversing a 75 degree cliff. When I come home I wash away the sins down the drain of my shower and I rest with the knowledge that I have done all I can for the day. As I lay my head down on my pillow I feel assured that I have come one step closer to the realization that we are all God and in my own way I feel blessed.