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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blue "Light Channels" on Commerce Street

This is the first, in what is sure to be several shots, of the Public Art San Antonio display "Light Channels" (created by Bil FitzGibbons) on the IH-37 underpass on Commerce Street. The underpass is lit with many multi-colored LED lights, creating a very surreal experience as you drive or walk by the underpass. This shot was taken when the lights were blue and I managed to capture some tail light streaks of a passing car to help accentuate the color scheme. I took about 20 shots of various colors, but I liked how this one came out the best, thus I processed this shot first. In the distance you can see the base of the Marriott Hotel tower.

Approximately two blocks to the right of this shot is the new haunted house in San Antonio "13th Floor Haunted House". I tried to get some interesting shots of that, but couldn't find any angles and lighting that I liked, so I instead tried to capture as many different appearances of the overpass that I could.

Blue "Light Channels" on Commerce Street

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Komodo Dragon

This shot was taken at the San Antonio Zoo of the Komodo Dragon that is on display there. The Komodo Dragon is the largest living species of lizard in the world, with the average size being between 6 and 8 feet. The Komodo Dragon can be quite vicious and although they are very large, there have not been many cases of human attacks (however, a fisherman was killed by two Komodo Dragons in 2009 and a small child was killed by one in 2007).

It is a very interesting animal to see (and the picture really doesn't do the Komodo Dragon justice for how large it really is). I included the National Geographic website in the photo description if you would like to read more about this impressive creature!

Komodo Dragon at the San Antonio Zoo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mars Pathfinder Lander and Sojourner Rover

This shot is of the full-size Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner Rover model, built by JPL, that is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (Since they are on Mars, it would be pretty difficult to get a shot of the real one!)

I recently had the chance to watch the film "Roving Mars" which discusses in great detail the complexity of landing rovers on Mars and how they performed much better than anticipated. The film covered the two subsequent rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, although they were very similar to Sojourner.

Sojourner made a successful landing on Mars on 4 July 1997, marking the first landing on Mars since the Viking landers in 1976. Unfortunately, communication with Sojourner was lost on 27 September 1997 and was never regained. It is pretty amazing to look at everything that had to be done for these missions and how well the Mars rover missions have performed to date. I hope you enjoy the photo!

Mars Rover

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Overlooking San Antonio (with a wide angle lens)

As I mentioned in my posts from my trip to DC, I purchased a wide angle lens that allows me to capture much more of everything in photos compared to what I was using at the time, the stock 18-55mm lens that came with my T1i. This shot has all three hotel towers, plus part of the Hilton, as well as the Alamodome and Tower of Americas, whereas in the previous shot the Marriott was the only tower that was fully visible.

This is another shot, from the same perspective, as what is currently my most popular photo, which I included for comparison purposes. This was taken early on a Saturday morning just before a thunderstorm came through, I am planning on revisiting this weekend to get some shots with more traffic, pedestrians, and tourists (and maybe manage to get a few other shots that I've been hoping for).

I also have had another month or so to get used to refining the process, and I think this photo overall came out much better (it doesn't have the overwhelming colors that my previous effort contained)(I don't think it makes the original look bad, I just like the more realistic look much more). I hope you enjoy this shot!

San Antonio in the early morning

Original San Antonio downtown shot

Monday, October 25, 2010

James S. McDonnell Space Hangar

I took this shot within the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center just before I was informed by security of the "no tripod" stance at the Smithsonian. I asked one of the tour guides the day before this photo if we were indeed allowed to have tripods, and I was informed while that was the policy, as long as I visited on a weekday with a small tripod and paid extra attention so I did not hamper the experience of any of the other guests, they wouldn't say anything to me. The security guards apparently sometimes enforce the no tripods rule and sometimes they do not, I believe it is based purely on the amount of visitors and being courteous (I think the security guard that told me no tripods was just having a bad day, as there were about 50 other people total in the center while I was taking photos). The information below is from the write-up in the picture itself, but I think it captures the highlights of the Hangar.

The Steven S. McDonnell Space Hangar the the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, near Dulles International Airport. The Hangar is home to more than 500 artifacts, including the Space Shuttle Enterprise, Mars Rover, the model from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well as the following items:

- the manned maneuvering unit used for the first-ever untethered spacewalk
- a film return capsule from the last Corona satellite spy mission over the U.S.S.R.
- the flotation collar and bags used for the Apollo 11 splashdown
- a Gemini paraglider research vehicle used to train for potential ground landings
- Pegasus, the first aircraft-launched rocket booster to carry satellites into space
- a form-fitting centrifuge seat made exclusively for Mercury astronaut John Glenn
- a full-scale engineering prototype of the Mars Pathfinder Lander
- a human-sized, NASA-built android used for 1960s spacesuit testing
- the Spartan 201 satellite, deployed for solar research during five shuttle missions
- "Anita," a spider carried on Skylab for web formation experiments
- advanced spacesuit prototypes
- research crystals formed in orbit
- space-themed toys from the 1950s and 1960s
- borscht in tubes, prepared for Soviet cosmonauts

You can read more about the hangar and items on display at:

James S. McDonnell Space Hangar

Sunday, October 24, 2010

St. Joseph Parish in downtown San Antonio

I finally had a chance to take this shot yesterday after having my plans of some sunrise pictures foiled by a thunderstorm. It is a very small church that is surrounded by the Rivercenter Mall. I have wanted to visit for awhile (and always wondered what it looked like inside) and am very happy that I stopped in. I think the interior is the most stunning out of any church in San Antonio (that I have been to yet).

The cornerstone for the church was laid in 1868, but the most impressive feature of the church, the stained glass windows, were purchase in 1902 for $3,000. The reason the church is surrounded by the Mall is in 1945 Joske's Department Store tried to purchase the church and land so it could be utilized for store expansion. The parishioners at the time voted unanimously against selling, resulting in the unique location today.

I took several shots of the interior which I will be processing over the coming days. I also have to go back and capture the stained glass windows on a bright sunny day. You can see the stained glass in the shot, but to be fair without very bright sunlight I don't feel any photo would do them justice. I highly recommend stopping by the church to see it in person if you ever visit San Antonio.

St. Joseph Parish

Saturday, October 23, 2010

San Fernando and lightning

For some reason I was awake early this morning (the dogs woke me up wanting food at about 5:30 and I was instantly wide awake, not exactly sure why!) and I decided to go downtown to try to get some sunrise shots. We have had some really beautiful sunrises over the past few days. So much so that I wished that I wasn't going in to work and could get some shots of them. As my luck would have it, there wasn't much of a sunrise today because a thunderstorm popped up out of nowhere, so my plans to capture a sunrise over the city went away. But I decided to try use the opportunity to hopefully get in to San Fernando Cathedral and take some wide angle shots but it wasn't open yet. I decided to take some exterior shots instead, and on my 4th take, I was able to capture a lightning strike in the background. I was also able to capture the giant raindrops splattering on the ground as well.

I admittedly got very lucky in to capture the lightning, most of it beforehand were just flashes in the sky, but capturing a series of bolts is one of the shots I have been striving for, and I finally got lucky and caught one. Although now I am greedy and want more of them! I hope you enjoy the photo!

San Fernando and lightning

Two night shots from DC

Today is another two photo bonus! The first shot is of the carousel on the National Mall, taken at night after it (and almost everything else around the Mall) was shut down. It was illuminated by one light and looked kind of eerie, so I decided to stop to take a shot of it. I think it looks kind of creepy, but it was pretty neat to take the shot.

Carousel at night

The second photo is of the Washington Monument, taken from the reflecting pool near Congress. I like this shot because it captured some of the traffic going by, a portion of the reflection in the pool, and some of the tourists that were also out late at night. The spire and flag in the left portion of the photo are of the "castle" of the primary building of the Smithsonian Museum complex.

Washington Monument at night

Friday, October 22, 2010

Northrop N-1M

This aircraft is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The aircraft was very heavy and extremely underpowered, leading to being unstable in flight. However, the general idea of a "flying wing" proved out to be a viable concept, and was used as the basis for such aircraft as N-M9 and XB-35 and XB-49 flying wings. The same concept is also used in the B-2 stealth bomber. You can tell from the photo it looks a bit awkward to see such a large aircraft and such tiny propellers. Nonetheless, I think it would be quite interesting to see the aircraft actually fly!

Northrop N-1M

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boeing FB-5 and a Bonus

Today's post covers two photos, the first is the Boeing FB-5 and the second is a shot from my flight from Dulles to Atlanta of some interesting cloud formations.

The Boeing FB-5 is one of the first planes you encounter in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center if you choose to walk down the first platform on the left after you enter the building. I can't say exactly what it is, but there is something about this plane that I really like (it is probably the way it is displayed, I cannot put a finger on exactly what it is that jumped out at me). The FB series of aircraft were produced originally for the Navy in 1923, and through trial, error, and testing the FB-5 series finally fixed most of the flaws with the previous models. According to the display, the FB-5 in the photo served on the USS Langley and the USS Saratoga.

Boeing FB-5

The bonus shot for today isn't anything terribly spectacular, it is just of the cloud formations that I saw looking out the window during my flight from Dulles to Atlanta. I thought it was interesting, so I got a few shots as soon as I was allowed to use electronic devices. There was a great opportunity for some spectacular sunset shots as we were arriving to Atlanta, but we were on approach and were already advised to stop using electronic devices, so unfortunately I wasn't able to get any shots of the bright red sunset.

Delta flight from Dulles to Atlanta

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Congress at night

I took this shot of Congress at night after visiting St. Matthews, the National Geographic Museum, an attempted visit to Ford's theater (it was closed) and the Spy Musuem (which was really cool, but they do not allow pictures, so I don't have any pictures from there). There was some sort of rally or event being held in front of the building, which is why there are very bright lights there (they kind of take away from the shot a bit, but I tried to minimize their impact as much as I could). I enjoy the fact that you can actually see the beams of light that illuminate the dome after the HDR processing. Enjoy!

Congress at Night

Monday, October 18, 2010

Geckos: Tails to Toepads

This shot is of a gecko that was taken in the exhibit "Geckos: Tails to Toepads" at the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC. The museum is not as large as any of the Smithsonian Museums, so it does not attract large crowds like the Smithsonian. This meant that I could set up a tripod and get several shots of the gecko exhibit without even a second glance from any of the staff. I decided to process this photo first because this gecko offered to save me money on insurance, stating "15 minutes could save me 15% or more". I could not locate exactly where he kept his wallet or cellphone though :)


Sunday, October 17, 2010

St. Matthew's Cathedral

This photo is of the interior of St. Matthew's Cathedral, located at 1725 Rhode Island Ave NW. It is near "downtown", as it is about 5 blocks from the White House (it is also near the National Geographic Museum). I did a little research on the Cathedral before we visited it, and it became a must-shoot picture after reading the following blurb on the Cathedral's website:

"Designed by noted New York architect C. Grant La Farge, the Cathedral has been cited "as [having] one of the most beautiful church interiors of modern times."

After reading that, I knew I had to make the Cathedral a stop during my vacation. We arrived at the Cathedral at approximately 1:00PM and had to wait outside a few minutes for the 12:10 Mass to be completed (I won't take any photos of any service inside of a church, out of respect for those in attendance). Once the Mass was completed, I set up my tripod in the center of the church and took this shot. I have to agree, the interior of the Cathedral is stunning, to say the least.

St. Matthews Cathedral, Washington DC

PS: One interesting bit of history about the Cathedral as well, the funeral service for John F. Kennedy was held in the Cathedral.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Casa Rio and Riverwalk (and meager request)

This post is taking a slight break from posting pictures around Washington DC, and going back to pictures from San Antonio. I processed this photo on my flight from San Antonio to Charlotte and has been available in my online gallery at Smugmug for about a week, but I haven't made any comments on the blog about it until today.

One of my photos, a view of San Antonio at night (click here for the photo) has been EXTREMELY popular and received several great comments on Smugmug. It was the most popular photo two days in a row in the Smugmug HDR group. This is mainly because of the comments, which not only gives my viewers/fans/enemies/agents from Soviet Russia, etc. a chance to help me take photos and highlight details that you want to see, it also creates more exposure for my pictures and work, which is always a good thing! I encourage anyone to leave feedback on any of the pictures, it helps me try to capture more shots that people would like to see, and helps me determine which shots to process first after a day or night of shooting. So please, please leave comments or questions on the photos that you like (or do not like) and tell me why you feel that way. It helps me produce photos that are more meaningful and also helps boost my photos online presence at the same time!

Anyway, back to the photo for this morning. This is another night shot of the Riverwalk (specifically of the brightly colored umbrellas of Casa Rio). I like this shot because it has a little bit of everything in it. It has a multitude of colors, streaks on the water from a River Taxi, streaks on the bridge from traffic going by, and streaks in the background from a vendor selling plastic light up objects to tourists. It also has, across the bridge, multi-colored lights from another dining establishment right outside of the Hilton (I cannot remember the name of it though). This shot will be even more impressive the day after Thanksgiving, as you can see in the foreground hanging from the trees the Christmas lights that will be strung around the Riverwalk for the holiday season. I look forward to returning and capturing many more shots of the Riverwalk (and San Antonio at night) once the lights are up and turned on!

Casa Rio and the Riverwalk

Friday, October 15, 2010

Space Shuttle Enterprise and SR-71 Nose shots

With the exception of the panoramic view of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, these two shots might be my favorite of all of the shots I've taken so far on my vacation in Washington DC. I tried to get both of these shots without a tripod during my previous visit, but I wasn't happy with the results. I returned with a small collapsable tripod and was able to get all of the shots that I wanted (in fact, just after a farther away shot of the Enterprise, which was my last shot of the day, I was "politely" reminded by a member of the security staff that only monopods were allowed on the premises). I am quite pleased with how they came out, and I hope that you enjoy them as well!

SR-71 Nose shot

Space Shuttle Enterprise Nose shot

B-29 Enola Gay

This photo is of the B-29 bomber "Enola Gay", which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and helped to end World War II. I had no idea that the plane was on display until the first time I visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center about two years ago and I have wanted to return to shoot it ever since. It is awe-inspiring to be near an aircraft that has had such a large impact on the world, and I hope I was able to capture some of that feeling in this photo.

B-29 Enola Gay

All Spark Sliver

The All Spark sliver is in a display case near the SR-71A Blackbird on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. If you have not seen the film "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", you can read what happens on the display plaque.

SPOILER ALERT: The sliver allows Jetfire to awaken, who has taken the form of the SR-71A Blackbird.

With my (by now) widely known enjoyment of taking photos of the SR-71, I am sure it is of little surprise that I put this photo in my gallery too!

All Spark Sliver

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

This shot is of the mothership as seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and this model has some very unique and interesting features to it. The model makers placed several small items on the model as jokes, including submarines, cemetery plots, school buses, mailboxes, etc. The item that was of most interest to me is a model of R2-D2, which you can see in the photo. I took several different shots and angles trying to get the best one with the least amount of glare and reflection, while preserving the clarity of R2-D2. I didn't see any other "hidden" features in this shot, but can you?

Mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - First view

Although I took this picture before, I wanted it again with a wide angle lens. I posted the original shot below as well, for comparison purposes, but I am VERY happy with my new lens. (Notice how many more planes you can see, including almost all of the two planes hanging near the railing on the left and right) It is especially noticeable in situations that a wide angle lens captures more of the shot, such as being close to large aircraft and trying to capture the whole plane in one shot. As always, any questions or comments are appreciated!

Wide Angle Overview

Original shot

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Panorama of Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Today I went back to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, this time with my new lens, a Tamron AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 SP Di II LD Aspherical (IF). This lens allows me to take very wide angle shots, which I will be posting as I process them. I don't want to give away any shots that I took (if you have been to the Center you can probably take a guess at some of the shots I will be putting up), but I wanted this to be the first one. I used the Photomerge option in CS5 to rebuild the panorama, and I think it came out pretty well.

(Note: I didn't use Photomatix on this shot, I did all of the processing in Photoshop (to include the Topaz Labs tools) to make it look "HDR-ish", but I am quite pleased with the results. I look forward to any comments you might have!)

Panorama of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Space Shuttle Enterprise

This is the last shot from the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center that I am going to post this morning, and it is one of my favorites. This is the Enterprise, the test shuttle made by NASA (the only shuttle that has never been to space), and it was named through a campaign headed by Star Trek fans to name the shuttle Enterprise. I've never seen a shuttle launch live, and I am hoping to get to Florida for the last launch, currently scheduled for next year. The Enterprise is my second favorite display at the Center, the only display that I like more is the most awesome plane ever, the SR-71 (browsing through my gallery and posts you will see SEVERAL shots of the SR-71!)

NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise

First view in Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

This is the view that visitors encounter when after entering the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, National Air and Space Museum, near Dulles International Airport. You probably have seen this shot before, almost everyone that enters the facility takes this photo, and I am no different. It captures two dominate aircraft, the SR-71A Blackbird and the Space Shuttle Enterprise (yes, that is the Enterprise, just visible in the background). This shot could be made even better with a wide angle lens, or maybe even a panoramic shot (I am considering trying a panoramic shot to see how it comes out today or tomorrow).

View of Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

THE USS Enterprise

This is another thing that I remember from my trip to Washington DC when I was young, the actual model of the USS Enterprise that was used on the show (1966-1969). The model is located on the lower level of the gift shop in the Air and Space Museum (if it were up to me, I would put the model near the entrance of the museum, instead of "hiding" it in the gift shop). It's amazing to me that this model (and the show itself!) is nearly 45 years old. I wish the model was on display hanging, so tourists wanting to take photos do not have to deal with glare and reflections, but at least it is on display still. (I like Star Wars too, BUT... I don't recall seeing any models from any of the Star Wars movies being on display )

USS Enterprise

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spirit of St. Louis

This shot features the Spirit of St Louis, which was the first aircraft flown non-stop between Europe and America by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. This is the actual aircraft, it was presented to the Smithsonian by Charles Lindbergh on 30 April 1928.

An interesting fact, Charles Lindbergh received a $25,000 prize for completing the flight (I didn't know this before visiting the museum, and thought it was pretty cool).

The aircraft is flanked by Space Ship One (the first private aircraft to reach space) and the Bell X-1 (the aircraft Chuck Yeager flew when he became the first person to break the sound barrier). It is amazing just how many interesting sites and pieces of history are on display in Washington DC, you could spend a month just going to the attractions and museums and you still wouldn't be able to see everything.

Spirit of St Louis

SR-71 and P-40E

This is the first shot from the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near the Dulles International Airport. The aircraft highlighting this photo is the Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk and the SR-71A Blackbird. As seems to be a recurring theme in my photos, this SR-71 (and the center itself) was featured in Transformers 2 (The SR-71 transformed in the Jetfire when touched with the sliver of the All Spark in the movie). I had to take this shot from the railing, as tripods are not allowed on the Smithsonian grounds.

SR-71 and P-40E

Boeing X-45A Joint Combat Air System

This is my favorite shot from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (on the National Mall). The aircraft is on display in the Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles exhibit within the museum. It it has a very sleek. stealthy appearance, but is still pretty small for a UAV (to me it looks like a combination of the B2 and the F117). Enjoy!

Some interesting tidbits from the Smithsonian site:

"This X-45A, named The Elsie May, accomplished several firsts during testing. Among them: the first autonomous flight of a high-performance, combat-capable UAV; the first weapons release from an autonomous UAV; and, with Air Vehicle #2, the first autonomous multi-vehicle coordinated flight. Only two X-45A scaled-down technology demonstrators were built. Flight tests successfully concluded in 2005."

Boeing X-45A


I took this shot after visiting the Air and Space Museum (visiting the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles (which houses an SR-71, the space shuttle Enterprise, and Enola Gay, among others). I didn't realize until post processing just how much was going on in this shot. Cleaners look to be cleaning the dome of the building, several people are taking pictures, and of course tourists doing touristy-type stuff.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lincoln Memorial

I wondered how this shot would come out, as there wasn't a whole lot of light or different angles to shoot from in order to try to capture a unique angle, so I just took it at a slight angle but centered Lincoln and the words above his head in the shot. I really like the way the shot came out, I could have gone back and made the marble a little "whiter", but I really like the way it looks, and I think gives this shot a more unique feel than those you commonly see of the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial

Carousel on the National Mall

From my only trip to DC as a tourist (which was when I was about 8 or so), this carousel is one of the items that I remembered from the mall, so I had to take a photo of it. I waited for the dragon to come around and be in the forefront of the picture. I didn't realize there were a few families on the ride, and I think they add quite a bit to the overall "warm and friendly" feeling of the photo.

Carousel on the National Mall

On the set of Transformers 3

My first shot from Washington DC has nothing to do with a museum, famous monument, or really anything else you would associate with the area. Instead, it is a shot from the set of Transformers 3, which is currently filming here. After taking a few shots of Congress, a BMW 5 series (maybe a 7, I didn't care too much about THAT car once I saw this one!) and this beautiful car pulled up in front of the Paramount Pictures tractor trailer parked along the road. I had no idea that Transformers 3 was filming here, just got lucky with the timing of this trip. There were about 100 people gathered around the car taking pictures of it, and since I put up a post earlier about "Air Force One" that was in the first Transformers, I think this is a fitting first picture.

On the set of Transformers 3

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tower Life Building, from San Fernando Cathedral Plaza

This shot was taken from the plaza located immediately outside of the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. The fountains are lit up at night, but they do not remain at a constant height. It isn't as noticeable as the Fountains at the Bellagio or anything like that, but it it is a small little intricacy that makes the plaza unique. You can also see the Drury hotel in this shot, as well as some of the shops at the back of the plaza.

This photo is also the first one I edited completely on my MacBook Pro, I actually worked on this photo during a flight from San Antonio to Charlotte. I hope you enjoy it!

Tower Life and San Fernando Fountains

Saturday, October 9, 2010

ATT Center in San Antonio, Texas

This photo is of the ATT Center, located in San Antonio, Texas. I took this shot following the opening game of the 2010-2011 San Antonio Rampage (AHL Hockey) season. It was opened in 2002, with the original name of the facility being the SBC center. It changed to it's current name in 2006 after being purchased by AT&T. It is home to all of the professional sports teams in San Antonio except for the San Diego Padres AA affiliate San Antonio Missions. It also partners with the Freeman Coliseum to host the annual San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

ATT Center

Thursday, October 7, 2010

San Fernando Cathedral -- revisited

As I noted in my earlier posts (located here), I took a few shots of the interior of the San Fernando Cathedral, and I was quite pleased with the results. Today's photo is of the exterior of the church, and was edited using the newest release of the Topaz Labs Photoshop bundle and Photomatix 4.0. The products and updates keep getting better and better, and it is almost to the point where you could spend days editing a photo striving for just the right amount of color, light, detail clarity, etc. I highly recommend checking out either product if you have not already!

San Fernando Cathedral - Exterior

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

San Antonio Zoo

The following shots are from the San Antonio zoo. The shot of the smaller bird on the ground, and with it's wings spread, I unfortunately was not able to find what species it was. He was on the ground in the middle of the Hixon Bird House, and I took some close-ups of him as he posed for the camera. I actually laid flat on the ground, slightly looking up at him, to get the close-up. The second shot was after I took a few shots of the other birds in the middle, I turned around and his wings were spread as if he were either A) stretching or B) trying to intimidate me.

Closeup of bird

Bird with wings spread

The next picture is of the flamingo exhibit near the entrance of the museum. The flamingos here seem pinker than the ones at Sea World, they have a larger display, and a waterfall. Each of those items make them much more photogenic than the birds at Sea World

Flamingos at the zoo

The next shot is of a rattlesnake that was in the, I'm kidding. It was in one of the displays in the Reptile House. Because I didn't take my tripod with me, this was the only shot from there that came out well, mainly because the light in the display was so bright.


And lastly, my favorite picture from the zoo. This is a black-crowned crane, which is mainly found in Africa. I walked back and forth trying to get a good shot of them, when the it seemingly saw me, took a few steps toward me, and just stopped, waiting for me to take a picture. I doubt that it what it was really doing (it probably wanted food from me) but I think the shot came out very nice.

Black crowned crane

As always, I appreciate any feedback on any of these (or other pictures). Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or any ideas for shots to try to take. Thanks again for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tower Life -- as seen from the Riverwalk

This shot was taken from a bridge crossing the Riverwalk (the shot was recommended to me by Mark who I met at my First Friday showing). I've been scouting out various spots around the city looking for the perfect shot of the San Antonio skyline, and while this shot does not have the entire skyline, I definitely think I will be revisiting this spot for a night-time shot of the Tower Life Building.

Tower Life Building (seen from the Riverwalk)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Casa Rio

This shot is of the tables (and multi-colored umbrellas) outside of Casa Rio on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. If you have been to the Riverwalk, you probably noticed the brightly colored umbrellas that cover the tables outside of the eatery. Casa Rio was established in 1946, and was the first restaurant to take advantage of the Riverwalk as a backdrop for guests choosing to dine at the restaurant. You can read more about Casa Rio here

Casa Rio on the Riverwalk

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Inside San Fernando Cathedral - from the entrance

This is another shot of the interior of the San Fernando Cathedral, located in San Antonio, Texas (for a shot looking back toward the entrance, please check out my previous post). This shot is just inside the front entrance, looking toward the back of the church. The lighting on this photo isn't as eye catching as the one on the previous photo, primarily because a majority of the lighting in this shot is artificial, but I feel it does capture the essence of the church very nicely.

San Fernando Cathedral - View from the entrance

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Judson Candy Factory

At the request of a couple that attended my First Friday showing last night, on the way home I stopped by the Judson Candy Factory lofts to take a few shots of the complex at night.

"In 1899, E.J. Jenner opened Jenner Manufacturing Company on St. Mary's Street. Mr. Jenner made hard stick candies, peanut brittles, and 5 cent fudge bars.

About 1920, J.W. Judson's bought part ownership of the company and constructed a new factory on part of the old Judson's Ranch, which is now South Flores Street. In the 30's Judson's added a starch department and started manufacturing candies with jelly and creme centers such as fruit drops, orange slices, jelly beans, and easter eggs. Mr. Judson's started experimenting, trying to make a more tart jelly bean, and ended up inventing the "sour", one of the company's most popular items.

In 1941 J.W. Judson's sons purchased the company from Mr. Jenner and in 1945 changed the name to Judson's Candies. Mr. Judson's son George Jr. then invented another popular item, the chewy praline. Pralines used to be prepared by scooping the batter with an ice cream scooper, however that process was mechanized using an electronic depositor developed by Southwest Research Institute.

In 1965 Judson's Candies was purchased by the Pearl Brewing Company, which was then purchased by Southdown, Inc. In July 1983, Judson's Candies was purchased by Basil Atkinson Sr., Dr. Basil Atkinson Jr., and the family, and renamed Judson-Atkinson Candies. In 1998, the company moved from South Flores to its present location on Dividend."

It looks like a really interesting place to live, and is very close to the Riverwalk, King William District, and other attractions downtown, and the prices for the lofts look quite reasonable as well. I'm glad that it was suggested that I take this photo, I am very pleased with how it came out!

Judson Candy Factory