I think there must have been something in the air this weekend. It's not really hard to figure out, of course--a beautiful wedding, towering redwoods, pools of sunlight amid the shadows cast by the trees. Who wouldn't feel a little romantic?

Juliette always says that her older brother and sister-in-law have the best relationship, and, you know, I think she's onto something. I haven't seen many couples that fit together as well as they do. I remember telling them that once and they responded self-deprecatingly, saying something like "Oh, you should see us fight." But, of course, everybody fights with the people close to them sometimes. Not everybody has fun together, and not everybody is affectionate with each other, and not everybody is so obviously in love, especially after multiple decades of marriage. It's really something special, and I always like getting to spend time with them.


Nikon D40, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX
f/1.8, 1/4000, ISO 200

Father of the Bride

The Kiss

We were up in Big Sur this past weekend for Juliette's sister's wedding, which, as I'm sure comes as no surprise to anyone who knows the area, was beautiful. I wasn't the photographer for the event, which meant I could relax and enjoy it as a guest instead of having to worry about getting every shot. (In theory, anyway. Jason kept me busy enough that I couldn't really say I "relaxed," but it was fun, nonetheless.)

For the most part, I just tried to stay out of the way of the photographer that they had hired, but I couldn't completely keep myself from taking pictures. After all, I was in the middle of a beautiful Northern California forest surrounded by people I care about.

This one is from the rehearsal, the day before the wedding. Needless to say, things went smoothly and we were all in a pretty good mood.


Nikon D40, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX
f/1.8, 1/200, ISO 200



I set this picture as my new desktop wallpaper a few hours after I took it. I don't imagine that sounds like much to most of you, as most of the people I know change their wallpaper all the time. I've been using the same neutral background since I got my laptop in 2007, though, and this is the first time I've used a photograph as my wallpaper ever. But I think this might be the best picture I've ever taken, and I want to keep looking at it.


Nikon D40, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX
f/1.8, 1/100, ISO 200

This Looks Like a Good One

This Looks Like a Good One

Aside from the whole "seeing family" thing, I was excited to take a trip home last weekend because it would give me the opportunity to take pictures of stuff outside my normal routine. So, of course, I had to go and forget to bring the charger for my camera, which meant that by Sunday I had to use my iPhone if I wanted to take any pictures at all.

As usual for our trips to Big Sur, we ate at the River Inn several times. Jason was entranced by the umbrellas on the lower deck, and kept wanting to see them. Monday morning, his cousin--"Other Jason"--showed him how to throw pebbles into the river, which was hugely exciting for him. Seeing him delight in such a simple little game made me nostalgic for my own small-town youth. We don't have any rivers near our house, but the bright side is that I think Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula will probably become a very special place for Jason as he grows up.

Technical info: Shot with an iPhone 3G. The EXIF data says the aperture was f/2.8, with nothing about shutter speed. Post-processing in Aperture 3: applied the Cloudy WB preset first. Then added edge sharpening and bumped vibrancy (0.2). I added a strong mid-tone curve, then a medium (0.4) burn to the river and background. Desaturated reds a little (-15). Finally, I added some vignetting (intensity 0.6, radius 0.9).

Thoughts for improvement: Tough to get a great technical shot out of an iPhone, but for what it is, I like this one. The main thing when using a cameraphone like this is to try to avoid high-contrast scenes and moving subjects.

My Latest Obsession

As you may have noticed, photography has become my latest obsession. I've been doing a ton of reading on photographic technique and composition, submitting photos to online communities for critique and publication (so far, none have been up to snuff), and taking a ton of pictures. The question that's come to my mind a lot, though, has been "How long will this last?"

I tend to be very single-minded in terms of what I'm passionate about. A year or two ago, all I wanted to do was play poker, and while I still enjoy it, both my interest and my skill have waned considerably since Jason was born. Before that, it was web design. Before that, movies. All of these things still have a place in my heart, but in terms of active pursuits, I've moved on.

Will I stick with photography? It's hard to say. Based on my track record with hobbies, it looks like I'll probably cool again some time in the next four or five years. On the other hand, although I've only recently taken it up again, I've had an interest in photography since I started high school, which is coming up on 17 years ago now. Too, as long as I have kids in the house, I'll probably have at least a little motivation to document their time with me.

The fact that my skill seems to be growing pretty rapidly (in my somewhat self-congratulatory opinion) helps, too. It's gratifying to be able to see the progress in my work over a very short time. On the other hand, it's also been frustrating since I can see how much more I have to learn. Some of the critiques I've gotten have been difficult to take, even though they were both spot-on and quite civilly delivered. I know: this is how you grow, you have to start somewhere, etc. And I do enjoy the process. But sometimes the gap between where I am and where I want to be seems insurmountable.

Usually around that point I have to remind myself to stop being so melodramatic and self-absorbed.

I think I had a point somewhere in there that I was swirling toward, but I seem to have lost the track. Anyway, here are my favorites from the trip home this past weekend:

Treacherous Footing


Garden Walk



And the rest of the set: