Friday, December 31, 2010

Photo Friday - 'Best of 2010'

It's always difficult to look back on a year of photos and determine the "best" shot of 2010.

In what context?

Family memories? Flickr popularity? Published work? Personal satisfaction? Technical perfection?

Well, my final selection has to do with some of those items, but more specifically the act of being deliberate about photography. I very much remain an advocate of letting the photo opportunities coming to me as they will. Having said that, I am learning that there are times when a photographer needs to be able to make a photo upon request regardless of the situation (lighting, weather, etc.)

Obviously, I don't create or control the weather, but this is one of those times when I deliberately set out to get this shot and I came back with it:
Summer Solstice Storm (SOOC)

Honorable Mentions...

Monday, December 27, 2010

SPC - 'Shine' - #3

Shine #3

Harrison turned four years old this past week and we decided to do a "Super Mario Brothers" themed party.

Well, to our surprise, our local party supply stores and commercial bakeries did not have anything ready-made for our chosen theme.

We found plates, napkins and a balloons online, but we had to improvise for the cake and some of the other decorations.

This is one of the paper stars we made for the party. I found instructions here (we just had to add the eyes with a pen).

It's been a busy week for many reasons, but I thought I might get away with this simple SP for week 3 of the 'Shine' theme.

Here's the cake we made:
I designed the cake to appear like a 1-up mushroom from the Super Mario games and Christy came up with the idea to use some fondant icing.

We used the left over icing on the gingerbread cookies for party favors. Most of them had yellow icing instead of the blue one you see here.

Finally, here's a recent portrait of the birthday boy:

Thursday, December 02, 2010

SPC - 'Six Word Story' - #5

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat
You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

A quick-and-dirty composite attempting to recreate this image from Jaws which is then quickly followed by the brilliantly delivered line -- "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

Monday, November 22, 2010

SPC - 'Six Word Story' - #4


Searching through my Flickr photostream, I was dismayed to discover that apart from a brief mention in the comments of this photo, I've never mentioned my appreciation for palindromes.

Palindromes are words or phrases (or numbers) that are spelled the same backwards and forwards.

For example:
Bob (my Dad's informal name)
Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog
A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama


My daughter's name is Hannah. That was easy enough to sneak through. I wanted to name my son Llewk Cot Stockwell, so that his entire name would be one big palindrome and, phonetically, he'd still have a 'normal' name, "Luke," right? But, alas, I was vetoed on that one. Fortunately, Harrison was born on December 21st, a palindromic birthday (12/21)!

Be that as it may, I'm moving beyond palindromes for my six word story this week. I'm also fascinated by Reflection Symmetry.

Here is a diagram showing horizontal, vertical and rotational symmetry in the uppercase English alphabet.

As you can see, my entire image has a vertical symmetry axis which means one "S" is backwards and I had to fudge a little bit on the "R" but otherwise, it holds up. You get the idea.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Culture - The Word On Cheese

I have two photos being published in a photo essay in Culture Magazine's December issue.

Published -- Culture Magazine
This one on pages 1-2 of the essay (above) is mine.

The ice-coated chain with another red barn in the background on page 8 (below) is also mine

Pages 3-4

Pages 5-6

Pages 7-8
Culture Magazine Photo Essay Page #4

At least five other photos in the essay are by one of my talented Flickr Contacts, Todd Klassy. His post about the essay was what alerted me that it was finished. Thanks for allowing me to re-post these, Todd!

Photo Friday - 'Vivid'

Freak Out

Friday, November 05, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

SPC - 'Six Word Story' - #1

For the month of November, Self Portrait Challenge is playing along with another Flickr group, Six Word Story.

Wishing I Had Some Polaroid Film
"Wishing I Had Some Polaroid Film"

It's 'Roid Week -- and I have no film for any of these cameras. :-(

On the upside I did get prints back today from some Medium Format film that I shot through the Yashica camera. Hopefully, I'll get some of those up on Flickr yet this week.

Monday, October 04, 2010

SPC - 'SOOC' - #1

October's challenge theme at Self Portrait Challenge is: SOOC (Straight Out Of (the) Camera).

NO cropping.
NO adjustments.
NO conversions.
NO sharpening.
NO blurring.
NO color correction.
NO contrast boost.
NO Photoshop actions or plugins.
NO texture layers.
NO watermarks, etc.

I don't think of myself as a photographer who thinks to himself, "it's close enough; I'll fix it in post," and yet, I found myself shooting a bit differently with this challenge theme in my mind than I might normally. I tried to pay attention to white balance from the beginning. I reshot this a few times to get the framing closer to what I wanted, etc. I'm hoping that the exercise will be as revealing to other participants as it already has been for me!

The Fate of Empires

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SPC - 'Stairways' - #4

Stairways #4
Who says that a stairway has to go anywhere?

We went to a local orchard last Saturday. It was a perfect fall day for the visit.

Some other shots from the day:






Thursday, September 16, 2010

Summer 2010

So -- this probably should have been about a dozen or so individual posts, but, well -- it just never happened, so you get the marathon version.

Here are some photos and stuff from our Summer, 2010

Picking Strawberries - May 31, 2010
Spencer Farms - Noblesville, Indiana



Besides the ones that we "canned fresh," we made some desserts and LOTS of freezer jam.

Day Out With Thomas - June 26, 2010
Connersville, Indiana

Harrison plays his cards pretty close to his chest, but the little smile and widening of the eyes the first time he saw full-size Thomas from a distance made it worth the trip!



On the train ride:


4th of July parade
Chesterfield, Indiana




Balloon Release

I posted previously about fireworks.

Stockwell Family Gathering
Lake Holiday, Indiana


Michigan Vacation - July 19-23

July 19 -- Arriving
Cadillac, Michigan




July 20 -- Kenwood Park
Cadillac, Michigan


July 21 -- Crystal Lake
Wellston, Michigan







Can you believe that this boy wouldn't go near the water last year??

(Before summer break began, we had both kids in for swimming lessons at the YMCA. Harrison balled through most of the first lesson, but improved steadily in skill and confidence.)

Aaron invented some interesting ways to get off the pier into the lake:

...and what did the kids want to do once we got back to the campground after swimming all afternoon at the lake?
That's right. More swimming! Just NO DIVING at the campground pool, please. :-)

July 22 -- Tippy Dam Pond
Manistee County, Michigan

Waiting for the (rented) pontoon boat to arrive.

I'm on a boat!

The view...

Paul helped each of the kids cast the fishing rod a few times. One time, when he was just letting the weight go to the bottom to see how deep the reservoir was at that point, he accidentally got a bite on his line and his best fish of the day -- a nice rock bass!

Unfortunately, when we were out on the pontoon boat, a steady rain set in and didn't stop until about 12 hours later. We abandoned plans for dinner at the campsite and retreated to Grandma and Grandpa's house where we made our hobo pies in an electric sandwich-maker, instead. We still intended to go back to the campsite to sleep, but when the rain didn't let up until around Midnight, we eventually gave in and slept at the house, anyway.

July 23 -- Headed Home
Cadillac, Michigan to Anderson, Indiana

Friday, we broke camp and headed home, but not before the kids got in one more session of swimming at the campground pool!

On the way home, we stopped at Ivanhoe's Drive-in near Upland, Indiana:


Whitewater State Park - July 24, 2010

After arriving back in Anderson from Michigan on Friday night, I got the rain-soaked tent set up in our back yard and got the cooperation of a warm, breezy night to sufficiently dry the tent for packing away Saturday morning. Once that was done, we headed to a Cracker Barrel in Richmond which would function as a halfway meeting point to return Christy's nephew, Aaron, to the care of his parents. From Richmond, we headed south to Indiana's Whitewater Memorial State Park. They have a decent public beach there, though the bath house left much to be desired. Still, it was nice to be in the water on an extremely hot day.

After a picnic, and while the kids played on a small playground there, I chased this butterfly around a bit:

Hanging out with a healthy snack


Just a couple of days after we left to come home from Michigan, we got the terrible news that Paul's dog, Amber has suddenly died. She will be missed.
Amber (2002-2010)

Anderson Roadrunners Kids Fun Run
Tuesdays May-September 2010
Shadyside Park -- Anderson, Indiana

We were regular attenders at a weekly Fun Run for the kids this summer. Ages 7 and up run a mile course. Ages 5 and under run a 1/2 mile course. Six-year olds are given the choice of the long or short course. Our kids did great the whole season and looked forward to Tuesday evenings for this reason. Both kids managed to get a first place finish in their respective age and gender categories. They also recognize Personal records, regardless of placing.

One week, Cousin Katherine joined us for the event:
Weekly Fun Run

Both kids showed steady improvement over the course of the season. Typically, Christy ran with Harrison and I ran with Hannah. They both seemed to do a good job understanding pace after just a few races. By the end of the season (we still have two more races, yet), Harrison is running a consistent four-minute half (3:38 Personal Record) and Hannah is finishing under the 10-minute mark for her mile run (9:38 Personal Record).

Indianapolis Zoo - August 7 & 14
Downtown Indianapolis Indiana

We made two trips to the Indianapolis Zoo this summer:

The first time, Hannah got to be a "Junior Dolphin Trainer." She enjoyed the attention.

I didn't have a great angle (or light) at the few moments where she was "training" the dolphins:

Trip one also involved checking out the new cheetah exhibit:



Well, they didn't beat the 70mph chaser light that represents the top speed of a cheetah, but I'm proud to say that the whole family moved much faster than the real cheetahs we actually saw at the exhibit:

A few other animals we saw that day:



Indy Zoo -- Trip #2

On our second trip to the Indy Zoo, we went to the butterfly exhibit. I had never been. The last time we had a membership to the Zoo, the White River Gardens exhibits still required a separate ticket, so we never went. Apparently, they have changed that policy so that the Zoo membership gets you in both places.

Here are some shots from the butterfly exhibit:



The other section of the zoo that we missed during the other trip was the 'Forest' exhibits, so we went through there and got to see the tiger and the bald eagle, among others:


Besides that, we brought swimsuits to change into so that the kids could play at the small splash park they have at the zoo.

On the way home, I (apparently) lost my mind and took the kids to the Chuck E. Cheese. The kids had a great time. My experience was less than stellar, but that's par for the course at that place, right? I won't go into detail here, but rest assured, there was a tersely-worded e-mail sent to Corporate the following week.

Vacation Bible School -- July 25-29
Bethany Christian Church - Anderson, Indiana

For VBS, I ran live sound during the opening and closing and, in between, I ran around shooting photos of the kids, etc. We run slideshows during the opening and closing and the kids get a kick out of seeing themselves on the big screens (the adults do too, I think!). One of my favorite stations was the one outside where the kids had several water obstacles with which to contend. One of theme involved dumping a small cup of water on their own head! They had a blast. Here's one of Hannah doing just that!


Hannah had a couple of 'solo' excursions of which I have no photos and despite my general rule of thumb --if there aren't pictures, it didn't happen-- I thought these were worth mentioning:

Hannah attended church camp at Rainbow Christian Camp in Converse, Indiana. It was a short week (Sunday-Wednesday) but it was still her first overnight at church camp. She had lots of fun. We sent her with a disposable film camera, but we haven't got the pictures back from development, yet. I'm curious to see how they come out.

Hannah also went to spend a weekend with her Aunt Julia and the boys. She got to go to a water park in Lafayette, Indiana; fishing with Uncle Todd (she caught a mess of Bluegill); she got to ride a Jet Ski (on the back); and more. She always has a blast on her 'Aunt Julia' weekends!

Besides these events, there were, of course , countless trips to local parks, ice cream shops, etc.