Sunday, September 30, 2012

Panorama Mode with iOS 6 Update on iPhones

If you're not an adventuresome iPhone user, you may not have discovered that with the iOS 6 software update on the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5, you now have a new camera mode with the iPhone Camera app. Under "Options" at the top of the screen, there is a "Panorama" choice. The camera operates by taking numerous photographs and automatically stitching them together.

Clicking on this will bring up a screen which directs you to pan the camera from left-to-right and provides an arrow that assists you in keeping the camera level. As can be seen in the photo to the right the Panorama mode opens with a prescribed length, though that can be shortened by tapping the camera icon at the bottom of the screen for a second time. Using the Panorama mode will create an image that is approximately 8" x 30" at 240 dpi, which is a good large size for printing.

Below is a photograph I took the Alabama-Ole Miss football game on Saturday night. The Million Dollar Band was on the field at half-time. They were more-or-less stationary during this sequence, which was good because moving subjects do not yield positive results in Panorama mode.

Panorama Mode on iPhone 4s :: Alabama-Ole Miss and Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa

Friday, September 28, 2012

Autumn Coral Encore Azalea, Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Autumn Coral Encore Azalea at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Autumn Coral Encore Azalea at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, Alabama.

The most popular of azalea varieties, the Encore Azalea is a three season flower that blossoms is spring, summer, and autumn. 

Azaleas are hardy, forgiving, and easy to grow. They are sometimes referred to as the "Royalty of the Garden."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pink Giant Hibiscus, Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Pink Giant Hibiscus flower at Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Pink Giant Hibiscus flower at Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, Alabama.

The exotic-looking hibiscus has long been one of my favorite flowers. The giant hibiscus is a hardy plant that grows on a large bush. It blossoms from summer through the first frost, and the blooms can grow to as large as one foot in diameter. The deep red eye spreads outward in a starburst to a pink or white petals.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Water Lilies in the Lily Pond, Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Purple Water Lilies in the Lily Pond, Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Purple Water Lilies in the Lily Pond at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, Alabama.

These purple Water Lilies were photographed on a rainy visit to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. While the precipitation was little more than a light rain as I got out of the car, it was rather steady as I set up for the first photographs of these lilies near the gardens' entrance.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Boutwell Auditorium Parking Deck, Birmingham

Boutwell Auditorium Parking Deck, Birmingham, Alabama :: Canon Rebel T2i, EF 24-105 f/4 L, f/5.6 @ 1/500s, ISO 100

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Alabama CASA's "Through the Lens" Event

Alabama CASA's "Through the Lens" Event in Birmingham
Alabama CASA's "Through the Lens" event: A photography event to help CASA give a voice to Alabama's abused and neglected children. October 4, 2012, at the Kress Building in Birmingham.

In two weeks on October 4, the Alabama chapter of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) will be hosting its Through the Lens event, in which local photographers (among whom I am pleased to be counted) will exhibit work depicting "A Journey Through Foster Care," which is this year's emphasis.

A silent auction will be held to raise support for CASA and the work they do in representing these children. For ticket information or to participate in future Alabama CASA events, please visit their website. Tickets can be pre-ordered here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wade Sand and Gravel in Birmingham

Having now been on the premises of Wade Sand and Gravel in Birmingham, Alabama, on a couple of occasions, I continue to be impressed with the scope of these sorts of operations. The quarries, the machinery, the gravel, the pit run. And although this panorama was more of an afterthought (though an afterthought I spent considerable time in creating), it has become one of my favorites from the trip.

Wade Sand and Gravel, Birmingham, Alabama
This and other photographs from Wade Sand and Gravel and the Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant on the premises can be found in my Birmingham gallery.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Running the Talladega 21000 Half Marathon

Several months ago, Anna decided she was ready to start training for her first half marathon. So we looked around and settled on a race that we were both interested in, the Talladega 21000 Half Marathon. This would be my third Half, and the legendary Talladega Super Speedway would provide quite a different backdrop from the races I had previously run in Birmingham and Huntsville.

As training progressed over the course of a couple months, the miles added up as did the blisters, excitement and anxiety set in, and we avoided any injuries. On the morning of the race, Sunday, September 16, 2012, we set out early from Fultondale, headed for Talladega, with Anna's parents along for moral support, seeing many others who were similarly eastward bound.

Talladega 21000 Half Marathon, September 16, 2012 :: Just out of the Gate
On this morning, the weather could not have been better, with overcast skies and rains to the east, making for some nice vistas as we ran. The event, in its fourth annual running, was well organized, with music and an energetic emcee to be heard throughout the course. And best of all, we finished at our goal time and saw a couple of other folks we knew who ran as well. If you're a half marathoner, this Talladega 21000 should be on your radar.

Commentary, photos, and video from other races I have run in 2012 are also available: Russell Forest Run 10K in Alexander City, Statue to Statute 15K in Birmingham, and Run for Their Lives 5K in Fultondale.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tempting Darby to Swim at Moss Rock Preserve

Darby loves the water. Whenever we go to the park, she makes a beeline for the creek. Wherever we go hiking, if there's water to be found, she's in it. But curiously, Darby doesn't seem to like swimming - splashing about and frolicking, yes; in over her head, not so much. We first got her to swim a couple of weeks ago at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, but Anna wasn't there and didn't get to experience it first-hand. So when Anna, Darby, and I went to Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover a couple of days ago, we were determined to get her to swim in Hurricane Creek. Results below.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant :: Meter Panel

Meter Panel, Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant, Birmingham
Meter Panels at Republic Steel's East Thomas Plant in Birmingham, Alabama, on the premises of Wade Sand and Gravel.

It's impossible to know what the function of this panel of meters once was while Republic Steel was still in operation. But now it sits defunct and destroyed in near darkness, alone, missing the daily bustle that formerly encompassed its steady operation.

The broken glass and chipping paint are constant reminders of the grand industrial past that is Birmingham's, iron and steel titan of the South. The ruins of the factors lie around the city like so mine dinosaur skeletons, scoured and scavenged. The meat was long ago picked away; all that is left is the bones.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant :: Cauldron

Cauldron at Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant in Birmingham, Alabama
Canon Rebel T2i, Tokina AT-X 12-24mm @ 12mm, 3.2s @ f/8, ISO 200
This gargantuan vat is housed in the upper level of one of the frowzy buildings at the Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant.

Like the tubs and basins in a prior post, I've no idea as to what use this cauldron was put. But when I was alone in this dark building with its strange sights and sounds, I permitted my imagination to run amuck a bit, and the stains and remains could lead one to any sort of conjecture. Molten metal. Whole cows. Terminator robots that then reconfigured themselves into their proper shape. Regardless of its prior use, it now does nothing but gather rust and befuddle visiting photographers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant :: Rub-a-Dub

In one of the buildings at the Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant in Birmingham, there is a room filled with all sorts of tubs: sinks, toilets, large basins, bath tubs. It's hard to say what purpose there was in lodging all of this accumulated tubbery in this particular locale, because it's entirely out of sorts with the contents of not only the adjacent rooms but also the rest of the building. Not to mention, the eerie cast levied by the green-hued windows.

Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant :: Roomful of Tubs and Basins

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant :: Walled in and Waterlogged

Remains of the Republic Steel, East Thomas Plant in Birmingham
Trying to describe the status of the remains of this building is more than a small chore, and one which I could not adequately complete. 
  As I approached the end from which I photographed, stomping through the overgrown brush and walking up to the window, I heard a loud splash as a turtle abandoned its perch atop one of the pipes. Shortly thereafter, the moving water subsided, and no further signs of life emerged.
  When I visited the Republic Steel, East Thomas plant (located on the grounds of Wade Sand and Gravel in Birmingham) two years, I photographed this same building (on the blog, in the gallery), but this time I wanted to capture a more all-encompassing view. This oddly shaped photograph is a composite of ten or more photographs, which normally I would have cropped but decided I liked the turn-out and ought to leave well enough alone.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rock Climbing at Hurricane Creek Park in Vinemont

Hurricane Creek at Hurricane Creek Park, Vinemont, Alabama
In addition to the lovely hiking that is available at Hurricane Creek Park and the William "Buddy" Rodgers Natural Area, in yesterday's post, I mentioned that there are rock climbing and bouldering opportunities at Hurricane Creek Park. These climbing spots include a climbing wall facility at the park entrance as well as numerous large boulders and rock faces along the trails.

Toward the end of our visit the other day, Blake and Tyler decided to tackle one of the rock faces, while I manned the camera and Darby.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hurricane Creek at the William "Buddy" Rodgers Natural Area and Hurricane Creek Park

The William "Buddy" Rodgers Natural Area and Hurricane Creek Park are found in Vinemont, Alabama. Hiking and mountain biking are available on maintained trails, and plenty of opportunities of bouldering and climbing are also present. While hikers are encouraged to stay on trails, sometimes trailblazers are needed so that lovely photographs (like the one below) can be taken, when they otherwise would not be.

Hurricane Creek at the William "Buddy" Rodgers Natural Area and Hurricane Creek Park in Vinemont

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lily Pad on Flint Creek, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

Lily Pad on Flint Creek at Wheeler Lake in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Lily Pad on Flint Creek at Wheeler Lake in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, near Decatur, Alabama.

This rather large lily pad was photographed while I was on a short spider-web-filled hike on the Flint Creek Trail in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Several photographs from a November visits to the Atkeson Trail in the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge can be found both on the blog, here, and in my Alabama the Beautiful gallery.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Crashing onto Rocks at Baines Dam

Baines Dam, Newfound Creek, Gardendale, Alabama
Baines Dam at Newfound Creek in Gardendale, Alabama.

Whereas earlier in the week, I exhibited an all-encompassing view of the waterfall that forms at Baines Dam on Newfound Creek in Gardendale, Alabama (here), here I have changed tactics.

The prior photograph used a long 15-second exposure to make the water look all silky smooth and created a different feel than this. 

Here you're looking right into the heart of the waterfall, and time is stopped at 1/500s or so to capture that foamy crashing and splashing onto the rocks at the dam's bottom, a continual beating that they endure incessantly and without complaint. Ever being worn down and smoothed out.