Invading Horde of Brush-Eating Goats

I didn’t think I had a post for today and then something happened.  GOATS!  We’ve lived in the same apartment for upwards of 6 years with a brushy hillside behind it.  I think I can say with some confidence that it has never been covered in goats.  Until today, anyway.

The goat delivery van and the browsing horde

Goats covering the hillside and the goat transporter.

Goat BABIES!?!!

Oh yeah – they brought goat BABIES!

Goats Gone Wild

Sometimes the goats get that crazy look thing going, but hey – it’s goats.  In the city.  Eating the plants.  Confusing the pedestrians.  It was all right.

Goats getting their eat on.

Even in 90 degree temperature, they do what they’re supposed to do, and they’re going to be back tomorrow, in double the numbers, to do it some more.  Check out the gallery below for more picture.

2 Steps to Snappy Pictures

Seattle can be a dreary place – you may have heard.  The overcast gives an even light that can be good for portraiture, but when it gets too dark out, you often end up with flat light.  However you get it, flat light makes boring pictures.  Simple as that.  A while back, I put up this technique (or at least linked to it) on how to add some pop to a picture that needs something extra.  It works well, but it takes a little while.  There are more than a few steps.  It involves brushes and such.  When you need it, great.  But what if you want something easier?  There are a couple caveats, but once again, I’ve stolen something I can help you with.  Let’s start from the start:


Wanna see how this picture gets at least marginally more interesting?  Click the jump for more.  I promise it’s easy!

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Belgian Beer At Home

Maybe a year ago, some friends and I decided to make a Belgian beer.  We make beer of all kinds, so this seemed like a natural step.  It’s a bit more difficult – more finicky, more (expensive) ingredients, but it’s still just beer.  After the brewing, the fermenting, the bottling, and the waiting, the word came in.

It tasted like feet.  And maybe hot dogs.  Five gallons of beer were poured out, and not even for anyone’s homies.  After that we got serious about sanitation and “being careful” (or at least as careful as 4 somewhat drunk guys get).

Recently we got brave enough to try again.

Belgian beer samples in Guinness cups

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This time it worked.  Belgian flavors present, tubular meats and foot stink missing.  It was a good afternoon.

Cat In The Headlights

The more I learn about photography, the more I realize how little I know.  I’ve been doing some portrait stuff at work and I’ve been thinking a lot about lighting.  I got to rent some neat crap which made me realize just how much fun it is to be able to get your flash completely off your camera.  It leads to some great photographic stupidity, like this:


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That’s my furry little monster Lucky, who happens to be a perfect subject in that he can’t leave and never knows what’s coming.  See those dark corners?  No post-processing at all.  When you can control your flash direction independently of the camera, you have all sorts of options.  Most of the time, to be honest, this is analogous to the manual controls on your camera – for all the freedom it gives, it’s usually just confusing.  Unless you do this all day, a setting pretty close to auto is very nice.  It isn’t cheap in any way, but the new Pocketwizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 are the best of both worlds.  They have pages of settings to toy with, but my favorite part is that when I attach one to my camera and the other to my flash, the camera works just like the flash was directly attached. The only difference is that I can direct it however I like.

Usually the best way to use a flash is to disperse the beam – bouncing it off a ceiling or wall for more even light.  In this picture, I used a grid, which does just the opposite.  I don’t think it would be the most flattering portrait, but it sure is exciting and hey… Lucky can’t complain.

Classic Cars From The Vault

I used to work at a place that had something to do with cars.  While I was there, my photography thing and my work thing seemed to overlap and I got to take some pictures of cars we were reviewing as well as a whole lot of car shows.  The kind of pictures that worked well there weren’t usually the kind I liked taking but I always took a few for myself.  Things like this and this.  I just dug back into the vault from the same show that the other two came from and found another one I liked.


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Only thing is, I can’t for the life of me remember what kind of car it was attached to.  Anyone know at least the make if not the model?  C’mon you car buffs out there – show me what you got!

Getting back to the photo nerd thing, the bokeh is nice.  With so many symmetrical reflections I really like the pattern across the top of the hood.    This image has been chopped up a bit and I don’t have the original so I don’t have the EXIF information, but I’m pretty sure I took this with my 50mm lens just because you can count the number of diaphragm blades that make up the aperture – 5, just like the 5 sided bursts of light you get in this picture.

Transmogrification – Trash to Light Tent

If you were ever curious about how those pictures of objects seemingly hovering over an endless background (like the ones of my new camera) were shot, you just got a taste of a Light Tent.  Most are constructed about the same – like this one.  You have what is essentially a box, with opaque panels on most sides that you can shine lights through.  There is a long seamless sheet of white or black material that starts at the upper back and swoops down and ends on the foreground floor.  They often collapse to a smaller size for easy movement, and unfortunately seem to cost upwards of $150.  I’ve been looking for a better way to take pictures of small objects, but at that price, it didn’t seem too attractive.  Luckily, I stumbled on a great Strobist article which shows you how to do the same for $10 or less, depending on what sort of trash craft supplies you have laying around.  For me, the grand total was $0.

DIY Light Tent from the front

Interested?  Read on after the jump.

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Smokestacks and Lines and Shapes

I posted a picture of the bridge of the ferry Hyak a while back.  The huge and almost universally outdated ferries that ply the waters of the Puget Sound are a constant symbol of life in the North West, but unless you actually live on an island or commute to one, it’s not something you actually ride every day.  Grey’s Anatomy not withstanding, these are things seen from afar, so when I do get a chance to ride one, it’s a lot of fun.  Here is another picture I took on the same trip.  Since the maximum capacity for most of these ships is based around cars, they usually have capacious passenger decks with few people on them.  Getting a few shots of the uncrowded lines of the upper area and smokestack isn’t that hard, but I always love the mix of simple colors and shapes.

Smoke Stack of the Ferry Hyak

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My Precious

Canon T1i Body, 3/4 shot

About four years since my trusty Digital Rebel XT came home with me, I decided it was time for something new.  The Canon Digital Rebel T1i, stupid name not withstanding, finally forced my hand.  The camera showed up a couple days agoand after far too little time to have much worth saying, maybe I won’t say anything at all – maybe the big smile on my face should say enough.   If you want to hear about the new camera and see more pictures, click the jump.

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