Galveston Oh Galveston

The weather for the last few days has been spectacular. Lows in the 50’s and highs in the 60’s and 70’s. I had Friday off and wanted to take advantage of it so I invited my friend Jim Henkel to head off on a road trip to post-Ike Galveston to have a look around.

Galveston is still very tattered. Lots of debris and devastation but signs of life and reconstruction were plainly visible. I wasn’t all that interested in documenting the destruction, but the sight of the Flagship Hotel was pretty compelling.

We checked out Seawall Blvd and then headed to The Strand (Galveston’s historic district) where they were making preparations for the Galveston Mardi Gras. And by preparations I mean people were busy stocking the storefronts with booze.

We found some lunch and then headed off to catch the ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula to have a look around. That was way more depressing. We took a quick look around and then made our way back to Houston.

The road to recovery is a long one for poor Galveston.

In Bruges (in HDR)

One of the things I promised myself is that I would photograph this trip to the best of my ability. I would strive to utilize not only my skills and knowledge, but also fully exploit my hardware. This included shooting some extended exposures like the ones I shot in Brussels which required me packing my sturdy Manfrotto tripod and lugging it around the city.

I also wanted to shoot some HDR, and while I should have shot those with a tripod, I ended up shooting them handheld. The results (I think) are very good.

Built in image stabilization is my friend.


My 1971 Cutlass (Rosco) has been sitting up in the garage for the last year and a half. Dead battery and a flat tire. I guess I kinda let things slide. Normally I drive the car quite a bit around October, but last October we were in Spain. When we got back it was too cold and then came spring but the tire went flat and the battery died so I let it sit some more and, well…you know.

Cynthia and I took the last two weeks off and since the weather was so nice I decided to confront the Cutlass situation and see about getting the beast back on the road.

I went to NTB and got a battery, brought it home and installed it. I then used a can of Fix-A-Flat to inflate the flat tire. I put the key into the ignition and the engine growled to life, no problemo. A huge cloud of exhaust pushed out the tailpipe and into the driveway, as if the car were simply clearing it’s throat. I backed the car up into the driveway and shut it down.

I called AAA and arranged for them to come out and fill all the tires to the correct pressure and I began to wash away a year and half worth of garage dust.

The car cleaned up pretty well and pretty quickly, all things considered. The AAA truck showed up while I was washing Rosco and my tires were soon filled to the proper PSI. I located my registration sticker and put it in the windshield and was all set except for one minor detail. An inspection sticker.

I located my insurance card and proceeded to drive the car to my mechanic to have him inspect it. I was pretty confident the car would pass inspection as it had on previous occasions. Sadly, I was wrong. Rosco seemed OK until the inspector attempted to turn on the windshield wipers and nothing happened.

Crap! I never use the wipers so never noticed they had gone out. Close examination showed that the wipers were actually coming on, but going the wrong way, jamming into the rest position and not stopping or reversing to traverse the windscreen.

I asked if they could fix this and they said they’d try. Two days later I get a call and they’re stumped. All they can figure is that the car needs a new wiper switch but they don’t know where to get one. I tell them to hang on to the car and proceed to go online in search of the part.

After 20 minutes I locate a guy in Tulsa, Oklahoma who has a Web site called Billions and Trillions Inc. that looks promising so I call the number on the Web page. A guy named Jeff answers the phone and I ask him if he has a wiper switch for 1971 Cutlass Supreme and without pausing, flinching or anything he says “Yes” and quotes me a price. It’s kind of hard to believe but I really want the part and decide to order it, even though I have a bad feeling about the situation. I figured I’d either get my part, or just send money into the ether. It just seemed TOO easy but I was too eager to get things moving along.

Turns out the guy is reputable and my part arrives the next day. I take it to the shop and they install it and voila~! My car passes inspection with a working set of windshield wipers.

The weather the last several days has been spectacular and I’ve been driving Rosco quite a bit. I don’t think I’ll let the car sit up for a year and a half again….

As Hazel Motes liked to say in Wise Blood; “Nobody with a good car needs to be justified”

Tripping The Low-Light Fandango

My passion (photographically) is low light and available light photography. I love my lenses wide and fast and when that’s not suitable I mount the camera on tripod and shoot extended exposures.

Cynthia has recently shown an interest in this type of photography and I’ve been showing her what I know. We bought her a nice tripod and a 35mm f/2.0 lens and setup in front after dark in of the house to shoot the front door since it has leaded glass and has interesting light properties. She caught on pretty quick.

I suggested we try some new scenery and on Saturday night, after our customary Italian dinner, we proceeded on to Discovery Green to engage in some after dark shutter shenanigans.

We had a good time and Cynthia made several breakthroughs in her understanding of low-light photography. She doesn’t want to publish anything to the web yet, but I am going to share with you a shot she took that night…

The interesting thing about this photo to me is the fact that it’s an extended exposure of me taking an extended exposure shot of something else. Cynthia figured out that she could catch me holding still right after I triggered my shot, allowing her to capture me clearly at 1/2 second exposure and no flash. Good job Cynthia!