Photography 2010-14

Declare independence...

Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow U.S.ians!

The U.S. Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays second only to Halloween. Katie and I love to sit out and watch the various fireworks displays in the area. On Friday night, we were down in Aurora for one show and tonight we'll be in St. Charles for another with her brother and his fiancee.

I did take some photos on Friday. They didn't necessarily turn out great, though. Due to a little physical instability of the camera, the in-focus ones look like they're double exposed. So I decided to do something a little different and intentionally take a bunch of them with semi- to very-soft focus. I really kinda like the result.

Here you go...

Hope you celebrate safely.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'd like to offer up a very special Happy Independence Day wish to my friend Marie. This is, after all, her first time celebrating as a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Even as I left Florida...

I think I shall tackle the post about our recent vacation to Florida all Clint Eastwood style!

The Good

  • We got to see Nano for several days
  • All three of our flights arrived ahead of schedule (anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour)
  • We rented a really nice 2010 Ford Fusion and I was quite comfortable driving it
  • We had free Sirius/XM satellite radio in the rental car and I fell in love with the Lithium channel (24)
  • We spent several days poolside and got tans but did not burn
  • I took a boatload of photos and managed to complete my weekly photo challenge with Disney photos
  • We did not overspend on anything really
  • We hit up two parks in the Disney compound - Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom
  • We pretty much bought nothing at Disney other than food
  • We learned how to play the system at Disney for free ice water
  • We hit up most of the major rides at the two parks and even rode several of them twice with time to spare
  • I watched as someone was viewing porn on their laptop computer at the airport
  • We started and finished season four of Monk on our portable DVD player
  • We rarely used our cellphones and didn't even carry them on some days
  • We left our laptop at home - you cannot imagine how freeing this felt

The Bad

  • We waited a little too long and our airfare jumped up a bit from when we originally priced it
  • We pretty much bought nothing at Disney other than food (food is expensive and we were hoping to get at least a little Christmas shopping done)
  • We had to deal with huge crowds at the park - the worst was Animal Kingdom where we were sardines in a sweat lodge
  • We saw parental neglect at its worst as parents sat talking or browsing the web on their phones as their kids ran around wrecking havoc (it's hard to blame the kids when the parents are paying zero attention)
  • Our Illinois iPass still isn't compatible with Florida's tollway autopay system (works in 14 other states, though)
  • Dinoland USA just does not fit in with the rest of Animal Kingdom at all; it upends what is otherwise a nicely themed park
  • Strollers are evil - people should be given size limitations for strollers in crowded public areas like amusement parks as well as on public transportation
    Clarification (before parents tear me a new one) - I have no problem with strollers on general principle, but the Cadillacs these parents were pushing around taking up literally 6-10 square feet of space were just ridiculous. We saw one parent fold over a tandem stroller and shove it into a tram then, with baby in hand, climb over the top of it and slide down into the last available seat to get to the parking lot. He not only held up the tram for five minutes extra (with the conductor instructing him to wait for a new one where he would have plenty of room) but packed in all the other people to a point of discomfort and endangered his kid while scaling Mount Stroller.

The Ugly

  • The heat - it was ridiculously hot and it was only May. We were sweating horribly both days at Disney and our energy levels got sapped very quickly

The Photos

'nuff said.

As I arrived home tonight after work, I noticed a little bird fluttering around near our front door. I walked up there and, in a flight of fear, just started flapping everywhere and wound up running into walls and doors and everything you can imagine.

For his own good, I tried to shoo him away from the entryway and into the wide open outdoors. Instead he flew into my garage and would not (or could not) leave. He kept flying into the walls or into the side of my truck or flapping like mad against the bottom edge of our garage door. At one point, he clung to the door and hung upside down like a bat.

I finally got him outside, but couldn't help but wonder if he was blind or if it was just severe fear and confusion. I wasn't sure what to make of it.

Here he is...

Blind Bird

I hope he's okay.

You are my lover, my life...

On this day, an undisclosed number of years ago, the Good Lord (or whatever you choose to call Him/Her) had the good sense to grace the world with Katie.

While I wouldn't know her until 21 years later, she did finally come into my life at a time when I wasn't sure anyone would ever become a part of it.

But she did.

And I love her for it.

Happy birthday, Katie.

I love you with all my heart and always will.

Snow kiss 2

That's snow, by the way.