Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Photograph of 2012

I know this may seem like an odd choice since it's really just so much fungus, but I'm pretty sure after doing a quick perusal of my photographs on the website that this photograph of bracket fungus from Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama, is my favorite of 2012. If you had a favorite post or photograph of mine from 2012, please feel free to share.

Orange Bracket Fungus at Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama

Friday, December 28, 2012

Stucco and Spanish Windows, Birmingham

Stucco and Spanish Windows, Downtown Birmingham, Alabam

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spanish Flavored Architecture, Birmingham

Spanish Flavored Architecture in Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Monday, December 24, 2012

Unfortunate Plight of the Stink Bug

The stink bug was suddenly buffeted (repeatedly) with the stark and unforgiving reality that the defense mechanisms with which God had endowed it were of no consequence to this casual and indiscriminate predator/diner.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Back from the Lens Doctor: EF 24-105 L

A while back, while photographing the Republic Steel East Thomas Plant and Wade Sand and Gravel in Birmingham, I had the misfortune of dropping my Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L lens from about should height and it landing lens first in the hard-pack road; actually, it wasn't even "dropping" it so much as it was the quick release plate disengaging from the tripod while it was slung over my shoulder and allowing gravity to do her worst. She did.

I began to notice in subsequent outings that the photos taken with the lens just weren't sharp. And the problem didn't improve regardless of focal length, aperture, or use of Image Stabilization. But in the words of the immortal GI Joe, "Knowing is only half the battle." The real issue was, what was I going to do about it. After a couple months of deliberation, I sent the lens off to Canon's repair center in Virginia. And they sent me quite the estimate; they could repair it for about a third of what I paid for it, which was not insubstantial. So rather than having an uber-expensive paperweight I ponied up the rubles. 

Upon the lens' return about 10 days later, I discovered, and I'm pretty certain about this, the lens now takes sharper photographs than when I first purchased it (used). And I learned a couple of valuable lessons through this experience:
  • Buying used is not always the best alternative, even when you save several hundred dollars up front. If I had purchased the lens new, it would have still been under warranty when I dropped it and the repairs would have been covered by Canon; thus I came out about even in this thing.
  • Don't rely on the quick release plate to stay mounted to the tripod. Take that extra couple of seconds to sling that camera over your shoulder or use the wrist strap.
  • Canon's repair service has a really quick turnaround time, but I hope not to use again in the near future.
The subject of my first test shots was the closest cuddly thing at hand.

Darby wants to play ball. I want to test out my newly repaired lens.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Showing Signs of Wear at 2408, Birmingham

Showing Signs of Wear at 2408, Birmingham

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pine Tree Plantation in Blount County, Alabama

Pine Tree Plantation, Blount County, Alabama :: November 2012 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shrugging off Autumn's Shroud in Guntersville

Giving Way to Winter, Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, Alabama
Autumn is faithfully giving way to Winter on the banks of Lake Guntersville on the Tennessee River, in Guntersville, Alabama.

On a recent work-related trip to Guntersville, I paused long enough to notice that the seasons are continuing to shift, and the trees are shrugging off their autumn shrouds.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Autumn Landscape in Walker County, Alabama

Pond in Walker County in an Autumn Landscape

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Highly Dynamic Pond in Walker County, Alabama

There was a lot of color and contrast in this scene that I really wanted to bring out. And with the clouds being so bright and the foliage being significantly darker, the best way to go seemed to be multi-exposure bracketing that is often known as HDR. 

This is one of several photographs made on a visit to Marion County. All this driving around the state for work-related purposes, really seems to be working in my photographic favor.

Pond with Autumn Foliage and a Cloudy Sky in early November, Walker County, Alabama

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Coyote Crossing in Blount County, Alabama

As I drove through Blount County on my way to a meeting in Guntersville, Alabama, I spotted these three coyotes trotting mischievously away from an adjacent field housing a herd of cattle. There was no visible evidence that they had done anything disruptive, but they're coyotes and mischief is in their genetic makeup. Besides they appeared to be the most well-found coyotes I've ever seen.

Trio of Coyotes Crossing a Field in Rural Blount County, Alabama

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hazy White Hibiscus on Stouts Road, Fultondale

White Hibiscus along the Roadside on Stouts Road, Fultondale, Alabama

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Roadside Hibiscus, Fultondale, Alabama

Roadside Fuchsia Hibiscus, Fultondale, Alabama
Throughout the Southeast, back in late summer (which seems so very long ago now that late fall's cold temperatures and dreary landscapes have set in), the area was awash with all varieties of crayola-like flora, including any number of hibiscus.

In September, this fuchsia-flavored hibiscus was growing along historic Stouts Road in Fultondale, Alabama.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inaugural Tacky Christmas Run in Cullman, Alabama

Bright colors were popping on Saturday morning, December 1, 2012, at the inaugural Tacky Christmas Run, in downtown Cullman, Alabama. Everyone from Santa to Elves to Who's from Whoville to tutu-laden runners put in appearance at this race. To put it mildly, it looked very much like Christmas kitsch threw up all over itself - but then again, that was the point.

Inaugural Tacky Christmas Run, Cullman, Alabama :: December 1, 2012
Some fifty run participated in the 5K, which kicked off at 8am in ideal weather. Despite it being the race's first year, it was well organized, with Cullman police blocking intersections, encouraging volunteers stationed along they way to point runners in the right direction (including the Easter Bunny in Christmas Decor - below), water stations, on-site paramedics, and free food (from Chick-Fil-A and Logans, among others) at the end of the race.

The Easter Bunny Cheers Runners
The race was dubbed "Feet on a Mission!" by its organizers who are using the proceeds from this and other fundraising enterprises in their continual mission to aid the Sonrise Baby Home in Uganda, Africa. The orgnizers, among whom are two nurses from Children's Hospital of Alabama and who attend Cullman's Desperation Church, will be visiting the Sonrise Baby Home in the near future.

Following the 5K was the One Mile Fun Run, which had about twenty-five participants, the majority of whom were children. In fact, kids placed first through third in the Fun Run.

So if this time next year, you're looking for a good, little race run by good people for a good cause, I encourage you to seek out what will hopefully be the Second Annual Tacky Christmas Run in Cullman, Alabama. And don't forget to seek out your most appalling Christmas garb.

Young Caleb Heis bests both his Dad, Andy, and the Easter Bunny to Win the One Mile Fun Run