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April 3 2014

Airbus – this is a really nice office

The other day I was having a conversation with another pilot about all the different jobs we could of, should of or just narrowly missed havin;  some seriously considered, some not really at all.  One rule in aviation is that when you get your pilots license you also get your complaining license.  Obviously this is not universal, noting is, but on the whole, pilots complain a lot.  About what you ask; about everything.  Pilots know everything, just ask them.  They can speak with unwavering confidence on a range of subjects most earthbound people can’t.  I’m kidding of course,  but they are confident in their subject matter, whether they have a leg to stand on or not.   Some people call it ego, I call it, well…just everyday normal.

All that being said, we do have a fairly good office compared to most.  The views are better and it always changing, the cafeteria sucks but then again it’s moving thought the sky at 8 tenths the speed of sound, so it’s understandable.  My opinion, if you don’t like the food, bring your own, when was the last time you went to restaurant and got an airplane ride?

There is a down side however, I have to ask to go to the bathroom.  I have never had a job where making a call to my co-worker was required before having to use the Lav.  But now, after 9-11,  all bathroom breaks or “leaving the cox-pit for physiological reasons” requires pre-coordination with the flight attendants.   These are new realities of the world we live in.  Anyone else ever have to do that in your office, my guess is no.

All in all, this is fairly good job, it could be worse, I could be the CEO.

I shot this after parking in GDL, for all of 1 hour layover, which was plenty here.  I used my Sony NEX 7, shot 3 bracketed exposures and worked on them in photoshop.

USMC Memorial Sunrise (2 of 2)
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April 1 2014

Marine Corps Memorial; Sunrise

About 3 months ago, a friend of mine contacted me concerning a photo he needed for an upcoming issue of his magazine. He’s an editor at a well known military magazine (well known if your in the military or work for the DoD) and asked if I had any descent images of the Marine Corps Memorial in DC. Unfortunately, I had to decline politely saying I had never been there. I felt embarrassed, especially as a a former Marine who had spent a lot of time in DC but never been to this particular memorial. I actually have been but only in passing, it was after completing the Marine Corps Marathon in October of 2006 I walked by it on my way to find a quiet place to throw-up. This was the extent of my experience with the famous and to a Marine (former or otherwise) holy place.

USMC Memorial Sunrise (1 of 2)

As luck would have it I was going to be in DC working for my civilian airline and staying in downtown DC for 18 hours. This seemed like a reasonable amount of time to get over there and shoot a few frames, and redeem myself in the process. I figure this was going to be the closest I was going to get for a while so “strike the iron while it’s hot” so to speak. The arrival into IAD (Dulles) was late, which made getting up for sunrise less and less appealing. However the weather was forecast to be partly cloudy and brisk the next morning, perhaps great photo weather, so I thought I would give it a try.

We arrived about 01:00 am to the hotel. A quick look at the sunrise times and I realized this was going to a short night. Sunrise was scheduled for 07:10 the next morning, which meant I really needed to be there at least 30 minutes prior for Nautical twilight (that time the blue / orange / red colors appear before the sun crests the horizon – for you non-dork folks) I was keenly aware this may suck the next morning, but that’s what naps are for, right.

When the alarm went off I seriously contemplated staying exactly were I was, but I begrudgingly got out of bed and opened the drapes. If the city was covered in clouds I would have had a sigh of relief and gone straight back to bed. But no, partly cloudy skies, time to get dressed. Instinctively, I knew it was going to be a great morning for images and since my friend needed them I got ready and headed for the lobby.

Instead of riding the Washington DC Metro (which opens at 05:00 am and was literally 300 feet away) I chose a cab instead, it was warmer and more convenient, screw the $15.00 dollars. It was only about a 10 minute ride to the top of Arlington and the park where the memorial sits, as opposed to the 45 on the metro. Sometimes you’ve got to say “What the F%$#”

On the way the cab driver and I talked briefly, he asked me what I was doing there and what was the “big deal” about the memorial. He didn’t even know the memorial existed or what it stood for. I told him it signified all the wars, conflicts and battles that Marines had fought and died in. I didn’t have a tremendous amount of energy for a lessons in American history, so I did what everyone else does, I told him to look it up on Google. That was all I could muster for 6AM.

For all the Photo geeks like me – here’s what the settings and equipment were. I shot this on a travel tripod, using two Pocket Wizards as the trigger. I shot some in HDR using 5 exposures and some with only three. The camera settings were 200ISO, f5.6-f8 for a larger depth of field and the length of exposure was determined by the camera since I was shooting in Aperture priority.
I processed a few in Adobe Lightroom only opening up a few of the sliders like, clarity, shadows and contrast. Then I processed a few in photoshop using HDR software and a little layers management for the darker shadows.

After the sun came up and the traffic was at it’s peak I took the Metro back to the hotel and got back into bed for another few hours, glad to have “sucked it up” and gotten the shots you see here. I hope you like them, my editor did.

The Shed Exterior
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March 16 2014

The Shed – on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi –

"Off the charts good'

Down on the Gulf coast of Mississippi there is some of the best BBQ I have ever eaten. In this place not only is the BBQ fantastic, but the Potato salad is addictive like crack cocaine it’s so good. The place is exactly what you would imagine from a name like the Shed, it certainly lives up to it’s name.   “The Shed has two locations, one in  Gulfport and the other in Ocean Springs MS, they are both unique and at the same time, identical.  They are unique in that I have never been to a restaurant like it, anywhere.

I have spent a lot of time in the south, livered there for a year and half just outside of Memphis near Ole Miss, in the northern part of the state and I have had some serious “home style cookin”  but nothing as good as this.  I honestly don’t know the owner and only get to go on the rare occasion i am in town but it;’s so good and so uniquely special I just had to write about it.

The Shed-InteriorWhere you order

The Shed - Outside Tables