Category Archives: Photography

Vacation, Take One

Cumberland Falls
Vacation is here!

Yesterday my family left on vacation for Cumberland Falls State Park in southeast Kentucky. After about six hours of driving in the rain, we arrived and checked into a very nice two story cabin that could sleep about 10 people. Three TVs. Cable. Kitchen. 2.5 bathrooms. Very nice. We win.

Aside from taking in the rainy Kentucky scenery yesterday, Karen, Rachel, Blair and I played Wii Fit for several hours last night, while Mom and Dad did their own thing.

This morning we got up relatively late and then walked/hiked around the falls area on the Cumberland River. It was very pretty, and I’m uploading pictures to Flickr right now. I’ll keep them updated as I can throughout the week.

Vacation has, of course, had its humorous anecdotes.

Take just a minute ago for example: Karen and I have been in the lodge using the Internet for the last hour, and she was getting thirsty so we went to find a drink machine. Because she brought her laptop in her purse-bag-thing, her wallet is at the cabin, and I just have one, $1 bill. We got down to the vending machines and were so excited to see that they have Diet Dr Pepper.

Only one problem, though: the Diet Dr Pepper is in the bottle vending machine, which costs $1.50. Our excitement slightly lowered, we then tried to put our dollar in the 12 oz can vending machine which costs $1. It didn’t take my money. Instead of being smart and going to the front desk to ask for change, we tried to put it in an older looking food vending machine to get change (Karen’s idea, I might add.) Did we get our change? You guessed it. The machine sat there staring at us blankly.

$1.00

$1.00

What’s your problem? Why do you want change? You put in your $1.00.

$1.00

DAH! So Karen and I decided to buy the least thirst-causing candy available in a land of salty, sugary goodness: an Almond Joy bar.

We now have $0.25 and nothing to solve our thirst problems.

I’ll update again when I get the chance!

My Weekend

And then came the rains...
The past few days have been interesting. With Karen gone over the weekend, I found myself at times bored out of my mind, and at others occupied in some of the strangest ways…

Take for instance Thursday night. While a lot of my friends were hanging out at D201 (University Village apartment of Rhett, Zach, Dennis and Chris) apparently giving Zach a mullet I was uninformed, sitting in my room playing Super Smash Bros. Melee. (Note that the link is to a Facebook photo; those of you without a Facebook account won’t be able to see it.)

But then on Friday I went to lunch at La Canasta with Joe Caldwell, something we haven’t done since our first summer on campus (I think.) I spent a good part of the afternoon working on a Powersearch It! widget for one of the Weldon Library’s Web pages. It was the most complicated coding I’ve had to do in a while. Nothing at UTM requires that much work.

Friday night I successfully made plans to head to D201 to hang out and play video games with the guys (at which point I saw Zach’s mullet in person…) We got in some good Super Smash Bros. Brawl before watching Battlestar Gallactica (I was completely lost.)

Then things got more interesting on Saturday. Blair and I helped Dad put up a new set of attic stairs to the attic in my parents’ house. We all almost died at one point or another. In case you didn’t know – attic stair units are basically all one piece and very heavy. When we got the old one out (hard enough) we then had to lift the new one through the hole in the ceiling vertically and then angle it around to fit in the hole correctly. While doing this we found out that 1) the hole wasn’t cut perfectly by whomever back when the house was built, so the hole was slightly snug, and 2) Blair’s head and my right hand are really strong.

Because the hole wasn’t exactly perfect, one end of the stairs’ frame wouldn’t fit into the hole. This caused it to fall on Blair’s head at one point (he was standing on some makeshift scaffolding directly underneath the opening.) While Blair was readjusting the scaffolding a few minutes after that, Dad decided to hammer at the snug end and that was all it took to loosen the entire opening. Since it was staying so perfectly, nobody was keeping the stairs in place and I barely caught the falling attic door/stairs with my right hand. Guess my fingers are stronger than I thought. Must be from all the video game playing.

So there’s a public service announcement for all of you: Play video games. It might just save your life.

News du jour

Karen and I made a couple of important decisions today, after we spent a good deal of time discussing things after work.

In no particular order:

We decided to begin looking at apartments around Martin, so after a Taco Bell run, we drove to a few spots in town. We looked at different apartments from the outside and got names and numbers. We won’t need one for a year, but one can never start the data gathering process too early.

Second, we decided that we are going to get a Westie when we get married. We have discussed on and off every few weeks for the last six months what kind of dog we want to get, when to get it, etc. We recently began looking for dogs that don’t shed much and that have hair instead of fur, because we are 99.5 percent sure that Karen is allergic to certain dogs (Rachel and Blair’s Murray, for instance).

So we decided on Westies. They fit our carefully planned list of criteria, and besides, who could resist something this cute?

With all this busyness, I didn’t get to have my photo adventure. Oh well. Suggestions are still welcome, and on top of that challenge, I’m issuing a new one!

I’ve been on Flickr a LOT lately at work (seven hours a day, only one or two hours of work to be done) and I’ve noticed that many of the top photographers on Flickr have at some point in the recent past shot a year-long series of self portraits. I thought this was a fabulous idea, and was contemplating taking on such a project myself.

But then Karen reminded me that I’m not so photogenic. And she didn’t exactly volunteer to model and be my subject, either.

I’ve thought of a few more ideas: 365 days of UTM, 365 landscapes, but there are problems with these ideas. I’m not at UTM every single day of the year, and there are plenty of days where no interesting landscapes come into focus on my camera.

So therefore I’m extending the challenge to you. What can I photograph for 365 days? Be original. Best of luck. I’ll let you know when one of you/I come up with anything.

In the meantime, enjoy more Westie photos.

Now accepting suggestions


I’ve been crazed today with a desire to go take pictures of something/anything cool. Problem is, West Tennessee is covered with clouds this afternoon and will continue to be through tomorrow’s thunderstorms.

So I want suggestions of what I can do to scratch this metaphorical itch. Post comments here. E-mail me. Call me. Send up smoke signals. Whatever works.

I promise to post the photos on Flickr in a timely/becoming manner that will recognize the person who comes up with the best suggestion.

And if, by chance, no body reads this until tomorrow or the weekend, your suggestions are still welcome!

Danke!

Photo Lesson for Wednesday

I know that there are myriad photo lesson Web sites out there in the vastness of the Internet. (It is a series of tubes, after all.)

Today I reminded of a very valuable lesson about the importance of white balance that I think the world should at least have the opportunity to read. So with a little Fleetwood Mac on the iTunes (Don’t Stop/Yesterday’s Gone – the live version with what sounds to be a marching band accompanying them) let’s get down to it.

Backstory: As I was riding my bike to Gooch today from my voice lesson I passed the awesome tree shown above, which is right outside of the Honors Center. You can tell spring is coming just by looking at the tree, and for once I noticed it. Hey, sorry tree. I’ve been busy lately.

So as luck would have it, my camera was waiting for me in The Pacer office. I let Will borrow it yesterday to photostaff Cheryl DeYeso’s art show. He left his in that place that he lives. Not sure where that is exactly…

Anyway, I get up to the office and throw my stuff in my chairs—yes I need two, one for sitting and one for stuff—and then grab the camera.

Unsure of go about shooting the beauty in the world outside, I headed to Tomi’s office for a morning Reese’s break. Then it occurred to me: Tomi’s window looks down on the tree, adding a unique perspective to my tree.

“Perfect!” I think. Only there’s one problem. The blasted rain has covered Tomi’s window in a stippling of water droplets, but I decided they would just have to add to the effect.

I saddle up to the window and move the blinds, then take my first few shots. It takes a little time as I wait for students to be out of the shot (or in the shot if they are interesting enough).

Tomi comes in about half-way through my shoot.

“What are you doing?!” she asks in a typical Tomi voice that could just have well been asking why I had been stupid enough to staple my fingers together or something.

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shoot this tree. Have you noticed it lately?” I responded. Her curiosity satisfied, we both went about our business like nothing was strange about me hovering over her computer desk to photograph a tree. She’s cool like that.

The lesson here: I kept wondering what I could do to fix how gray/blue my first few photos were. I couldn’t capture the light as it actually showed up in front of me, and it was frustrating. But then I came to my senses—too blue (cool) means white balance! A quick switch from auto white balance to the cloudy preset was all it took to yield the difference shown in the comparison photo at the top of the post. Pretty much awesome.

That does it for today. Just remember to keep white balance in mind when in the field on a cloudy day!

Let’s play catch up

So, as promised nearly two months ago, I’m uploading photos from Reelfoot today. It’s the first real chance I’ve had since before break. To my defense, I was gone and busy for most of the break. Now that I’m back, I’m swamped with homework and myriad other things. Just know that I’m slacking off for you. Check out the results here.

With any luck I’ll be able to go through my photos from Choir Tour and upload them to Flickr in the near future. Then I would like to record some thoughts about California, Arizona and Nevada in the blog. We’ll see what happens.

Reelfoot Lake

Today Karen and I took a departure from our normal Friday schedules and went with Dr. Mark Simpson and Helmut Wenz to Reelfoot Lake with part of Dr. Simpson’s Geography 201 (Physical Geography) class.

It was a lot of fun, however cold, but I was able to get some decent photo work done while the sun was out. I need the photos to use in my Scholar’s research and to include in my PowerPoint presentation for Geography 201 (Methods in Geoscience) next Tuesday. We are giving presentations summarizing the literature reviews we have worked on this semester. I still need to add more lit to mine…so it should be a fun weekend.

I’ll post the photos on Flickr sometime later for those interested.