Out for some evening driving

I was supposed to meet my photo class/club at the office last night to talk about some computer related and blogging type stuff. But it was about 74 out, sunny and there was a breeze. So we went for a drive instead. I had some fun. Unfortunately, an upset/empty stomach brought me back home earlier than I would have liked, but the pictures are nice.

Gladiator. We found a wheat field and I asked "Who wants to help me do a 'Gladiator' Shot?" Only Aubrey, who is a movie buff and used to work at Movie Gallery knew what I was talking about.

Aubrey, who runs Creative Creations Photography, is one of the students and the one who is most into this club and photography in general. Oh, and she also shot Meghan and my wedding, which was cool. Anyways, she was our navigator, driver and director for the night. She was also disappointed when I said it was time to head back to Flora.


For that one, I was just trying to get a picture of a cow (An uncooperative little cow), when Meghan said to get a picture of the barb wire fence and the trees. Not the first one I pointed the camera at either. This one. So this is is sort-of her shot. But only sort-of.

I love turning specular highlights into starbursts. Flash on the foreground.

This one I was trying to strobe light the vegetation in front and let the sun shine through in back, but it took too long to get everything ready, so I ended up not getting the sun as bright as I wanted. Still nice though.

A locust. Ok, a cicada. Apparently, there's a difference. I'm no entymologist. Or is it Etymologist. One is names, one is bugs and I'm afrain I forget which is which.

Got the locust shot right next to the sun shot. Used the same strobe to light it.

A really cool old cemetery.

The highlight of the trip, which Aubrey said was just getting started when Meghan and I bugged out for dinner, was Bunker Cemetery. It was awesome. Due in no small part to the light being real good when we got there.


If you don’t like flare-y glare-y type shots like this, just navigate away now.

Some nice light again.

Aged 22 days.

I like the grave and the plant together.

I’d probably re-shoot that last one, because the focus is not on, but I still liked it too much to leave it out.

Just really like the feel of this one. Plus, flare-/glare-y.

Told you there'd be more flare and glare.

Pretty cool gate at the back entrance of the cemetery.

Add in the off-camera strobe, thank you pocket wizard.

Another Meghan suggestion, right next to the gate. Strobe on the fence post.

So yeah. A lot of flare and glare. Still had fun. Thanks for looking!


Zoo 4: Final Zoo…or something about monkeys, meh.

Yep, last of our zoo pics post. Seriously, who goes to the zoo and shoots 700 pictures? I have a problem, and with they way Meghan’s shooting pictures, it’s apparently contagious. Whatever…Look Monkeys!

Insert "Swinger" joke here. No but seriously, there was no monkey action to be watched. My 5-year-old self would be diasppointed.

These were all taken at Tropic World in Brookfield Zoo. Also known as Alex’s favorite zoo exhibit ever. Which I admit doesn’t sound as good. But seriously, gorillas.

"What don't you get about 'no eye contact'?" asks this surly fellow.

This guy is awesome! Just look at that. He's like a squirrel that isn't an idiot. I assume.

That’s cool. What an adorable little monkey thing. Only one thing that could make it better….

Yup, he's got his tongue sticking out while he eats a cookie. My day is complete.

Zoo 3: Flutterbies…and kids

One of the really cool things we did at the Brookfield Zoo was to go to their butterfly enclosure. It cost an extra $2 or something, so that kept many of the crowds out. Add to that the fact that the huge swarming school trips weren’t going through there and it made for an oasis amongst the hustle.

Anyways, I got off of my feet for a while and sat on one of the many park benches. Meghan on the other hand, had a lot of fun shooting photos of butterflies and kids. So yeah, these are pretty much all hers.


My favorite of the pictures of kids.

And my Fav butterfly picture.

Zoo 2: Splish-Splash

As I said before, our first stop on our trip to Brookfield Zoo was the dolphin show. They have apparently been doing this for over 50 years. I swear up and down that it started when I was a kid, but apparently, I’m just terribly confused.

"I love mackerel!" says a cheerful dolphin. (In my head)

Here’s a gallery of dolphin images. I had a good time. ISO 1250 on a camera that does an acceptable 3200 didn’t look too bad either. Set to aperture priority, I had shutter speeds in the 1/400 – 1/1000 range, indoors.

These dolphins were smart. Fortunately, they can’t do anything to us. Unless they learn how to fly or something…

Oh well, At least they can't drive yet...

I realize that the whole gallery is full of pics of dolphins “Flying,” so that kind of negates the whole joke, but I had to show off that picture. Just let it go.

Anyways, that’s it for the dolphins. Let’s let them say goodbye….

Thanks guys.

Zoo Pics (part 1)

With Meghan and I living in Clay County, where she grew up and me being from Chicago, where my parents still live, there are plenty of roadtrips to make. I’m pretty close to my parents and I have a good group of friends I’ve had since High School or earlier that live there, so our trips are usually made on a monthly basis.

This last weekend’s trip was our first since we got married though and while it was for my friend Bill’s bachelor party, my Mother, Mary Sue, said she wanted to take us to Brookfield Zoo, where she is a member. My Dad, Jim, came as well. It was a hot Friday and we arrived at about 11 a.m.

Mom and Dad. Guess which is which!

First thing we did was beat feet for the dolphin show, but I’ll put some of those pics in a later post. Here’s some pictures of us and some animals at the rest of the Zoo. We’ll post dolphins, butterflies and cute kid candids later.

King of the naps.

If that guy is king, I've gotta at least be a baron of naps. Photo by Meghan.

Just because this polar bear is against global warming, doesn't mean he has to like Al Gore.

Sorry, I'm not coming up with anything as far as eagle-based puns to caption this with.

Lot of competition in the arena of napping on hot days at the zoo.

Apparently, even camels aren't huge fans of getting their picture taken while eating.

Here's Meghan. I took this right after me. I think we'll end this post with a picture of one of her favorite animals....

The stately giraffe! Picture by Meghan. That's all, thanks for reading.

More Shafer Art

I feel I’m a patron of the arts and what better way to support the arts than to support those done by your pals. My pal and coworker, Kyle Shafer,

"Even I like Kyle," says an anthromorphisized sunset.

who I’ve featured here before, has recently seen reason to set himself up a portfolio page on FlickR. It’s pretty nice stuff and he’s got it well organized. It’s nice to see a FlickRPage that isn’t stuffed to the gills with random, like mine, which is up to like, 3,800 images now. The painting pictures on there are the ones I shot of his work and featured in the earlier blog post too.

Weekend Pics (First of Many?)

When I get back to work at the newspaper after a long weekend, I’ll typically make a new folder for my non-work pictures called “Weekend Pics,” or some variation on that theme. I had a few that I liked or had fun with this time, so I thought, “I’ll post some of these,” at least to show off / see if the subscription tab is working. Anyways, let me know what you think, that is, if anyone is reading this.

Meghan and I took a Friday evening road trip to Effingham, which kind of sucks, because when Effingham is the interesting place you go to on weekends, you must live somewhere kind of boring. Before going, Meghan wanted me to dress kind of nice and for some reason, she had a problem with what I decided to wear…

Yes, I am this cool. She made me lose the hat, the Hawaiian shirt and the socks/sandals combo.

After changing what I had on, we departed and got some nice pics on the way out of town, including some lovely reflections…

Off of a screen door's window on our house.

And in Meghan's Car windows.

This one was shot on the way out of town. I know it’s just a gas station, but I really like how everything comes together. This would be a candidate for setting up a tripod and doing an HDR shot. But we just stopped the car and shot the photo out the window.

Nice sky, huh.

In Effingham, we got some dinner at Friday’s which has WAY better service than the one in Oak Park. Then we enjoyed a little cosmic bowling at K-Bowl in Effingham. As I have described to my snickering coworkers, I enjoy bowling way more than my sub-100 scores would have you believe. On the way back to Flora, we stopped at Effingham’s big cross and got these two shots. ISO 200, just used a timer and let the camera rest on the trunk. I had a tripod with me, but meh.

Meghan said that it's holy, but I don't see any holes in it at all...

I’m sorry about that joke. Not sorry enough to stop making them though.

This is a Hardee's billboard. While it has less religious significance than the cross, they do make a decent burger.

And it was back to Flora for us for a nice night’s rest. Just kidding, the dogs wouldn’t shut up. Perils of pet ownership, eh.