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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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January 17, 2006
Remembering Dr. King
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics

I always go back and read something I wrote a long time ago.

Pulled by Emcee on January 17, 2006 at 09:52 AM
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January 10, 2006
Well. what I think are the best of 2005 anyway...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Photography

Looks like I took almost 7,000 photos in 2005. Well, that's how many I downloaded from the cameras anyway.

You can ask pretty much anyone that knows me - especially anyone to whom I must make regular deliverables of some kind - and they will tell you that in the last couple of weeks I have spent an inordinate amount of time going through, selecting. culling, and processing photos to make my 'Best of 2005' gallery. It's completely true.

This was a very challenging process for me. I culled a large number of shots that I really loved because they were just redundant. As well, I included many photos - not because they are artistic - but because they have some other kind of value - like how the Japanese people celebrate cherry blossoms like Americans do a football game. I included some that are nearly the same as each other - for the most part because I think they'll make good diptychs or triptychs. I think I've ended up with about 220 images. I have color corrected all of them by hand using Photoshop. In some cases, I have performed additional processing or effects to get what I feel is the essence of the image or to coax out what I really felt was in there but couldn't achieve without some work. In some cases I removed obstructing parts of the original shot to make them better. I did a little glamour work because I've been studying techniques for that recently.

The gallery is in the order that the photographs were taken. There are pictures from Las Vegas (Bellagio, Caesar's, Wynn), and from Japan of course - cherry blossom season, the fish market, Hama Riku Park, Oeno Park, Kyoto (quite a few from Koka-dera), Inokashira Park, and other Japan locations.

There are a few from Ocean Shores Washington, a couple taken from the air flying from Seattle down to California, some downtown Seattle sights, a few backyard flower shots with the macro lens, some Seattle nightscape shots, along with pictures of a night scuba expedition that I happened upon (and I'm still quite fond of the resulting pictures even if they are a bit strange).

There are some from Nevada's Valley of Fire state park in all their fiery glory, a few shots from West Seattle's Fauntleroy ferry launch including a couple of shots of a friendly armed Coast Guard escort boat. There's a large series from Mount Ranier in Washington state - both the Sunrise and Paradise side (with an interesting shot from the West at night as well with the moon and a star in prominence), along with some from the Grove of the Patriarchs, and the Nisqually nature trail area.

There's a series from Juanita State Park (Washington) with several macros that are some of my favorites. There's a series from the National parks on the Washington peninsula - including Hurricane Ridge (with a couple of beautiful fawns), Lake Crescent, the Hoh Rainforest (in which I used soft focus techniques several times - to get the light!), Ruby Beach, Kalaloch Beach, and the Lake Quinault area (including an old homestead and associated rain forest).

There's a small series from Zion Canyon Utah - one of my favorite places in the world (look for the climbers on the face of Angel's Landing in number 118 - they're pretty tiny!).

I included a few from the wedding that I shot in September (I took about 1,200 photos in all for the rehearsal functions, ceremony, and reception) - a few candids, a couple from the ceremony - some fun shots that I do so people can loosen up, and a few portraits from the wedding and reception. B & C are beautiful people and great kids and I wish them all the best! (Incidentally, the first portrait of them together - number 131 - is a heavily processed 'glamour' effort that I did just to try out a series of techniques. I think it turned out pretty well, but the folks that I've shown it to have had a pretty visceral reaction one way or the other - which means that I have a lot to learn in terms of implementing the techniques). For the most part the other wedding photos are just color corrected.

Oh, yes. There's a series from Koishikawa park in Tokyo and then a long series of Kyoto photos - Golden Temple, Kiyomizu-dera, and Koka-dera. Koka-dera remains my favorite photo 'session' of the year. There are a few good keepers here - along with one or two discoveries that I made while processing.

After that Japan series is a series from the University of Washington arboretum - fall colors. I made the decision to use soft focus techniques for several of these shots. A couple in particular that I've always felt had some potential, but couldn't quite get them to 'speak' without making them a bit dreamy. You'll have to tell me what you think.

There are a few more from my last trip to Japan for the year - including one that really sparkled up in color processing - number 212. It may be my favorite of the whole bunch. If you haven't seen them before, check out the photos of the mandarin duck in this series as well.

The final picture is of the first snow fall of the winter here in Washington.

So, the gallery is here. There are some controls at the bottom to run it as a slide show. You might have to wait on it a little bit - there's a trance music piece that will load up when you first navigate over there to accompany you on my 2005 journeys. (in those controls at the bottom right there is an icon to turn the music off as well - if the music stops and you want to restart it, just click the little music icon twice and it will start back up).

Please let me know what you think. This has been a significant labor of love for me and I've learned a lot in the process. I'd like to hear from you about your favorites and if the extra processing that I did on some of the photos was an enhancement or not. If you are a regular visitor to the site, you will recognize many of these - hopefully the color correction has made them crisper and more enjoyable to view.

If you want to order archival prints from this gallery, suitable for framing, you can do so here.


Pulled by Emcee on January 10, 2006 at 03:28 AM
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January 01, 2006
Comes a Chinook...
Filed in: Current Affairs

Usually, sometime in late November or early December, they start.

The winds, I mean.

I know they aren't unique to this place, but maybe the way they work here is. See, we have this little pass (I call it the little pass, because we are in this valley here and it is up the steep hill on the interstate and it has weather that's like a mountain pass, the one we have, oh, twenty miles east, but this one is close and I can't just call it the pass because no one will know which one I mean) west of us here, and when it comes to winter, I've seen, well, we've all seen some unique weather.

There are times when west of the little pass it will be raining, and it will be raining right up to the top of it. Then right there across the interstate will be a line, maybe it's right at the apex of the little pass, maybe it's one hundred yards east, what there will be is a line of snow. Sudden like. Six inches deep. Rain before it, then the snow starts. You want to be ready for that.

...Continue reading "Comes a Chinook..."

Pulled by Emcee on January 1, 2006 at 11:52 PM
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