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I Walked Five Miles to Get This Shot

The eastern half of an icon of the Bay Area is coming down after carrying up to 300,000 cars per day for 77 years. Progress is slow, but this week a gap appeared in the longest cantilevered section, and I decided that this needed to be captured.

Luckily, the replacement span has a very wide, smooth bike and pedestrian path on the side facing the old bridge. Unfortunately, it’s quite a haul along the Bay Bridge Trail just to get from the parking lot to the foot of the new bridge, and at that point, you’re only half way there. It’s a good 90 minute walk to get out to the most interesting parts of the bridge. I’ll need a day or two to recover, but have no regrets. It was a beautiful day, and I got the shot!

What, we used to drive on that flimsy-looking thing? The bridge remains home to 800 cormorants.
The Bay Bridge served us well.
Channeling Peter Stackpole - shot with the amazing Fuji X100s, of course!

Promise Pegasus RAID Performs

circa 2009 Mac Pro Pegasus RAID 5

I recently purchased a Pegasus RAID array form my iMac. I chose this device because it is billed as “the world’s first and fastest” Thunderbolt array. The speed tests above seem to bear this out. On the left is a speed test on the hard drives in my 4-year-old, $12,000 Mac Pro at work. On the right is the Pegasus running a four-disk RAID5 attached to my iMac. As you can see, the difference is impressive!

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Andrew – Master Marbler

Andrew Johnstone – multi-talented muralist, painter, 3D artist, Alameda County Arts Commission board member, and Man designer – will be offering classes on marbling and wood graining. Andrew is undeniably one of the world’s best at this vanishing craft. I’m really hoping to find time in my busy schedule to take his classes. I’d like to attempt to marble a couple of the concrete columns in our loft. Wouldn’t that be cool? I’m not sure I could pull it off, but least I know that if I fail miserably, I can hire the best there is.

What’s Not to love?

When was the last time you got an unsolicited e-mail from a service provider announcing a price reduction with no action required on your part? Just bam – here’s 60% off. Have a nice day. 100 gig’s of storage for 2 bucks a month. What a wonderful thing. This is almost too good to be true.

Sorry Dropbox! We had a good run…

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Farewell Old Friend

six-year-old Nikon D3

It’s hard to believe that I purchased my D3 six years ago. It is without doubt the best camera I’ve ever owned. Unfortunately, it’s massive size and weight became an inconvenience with the introduction of high-quality mirrorless digital cameras. These days I’m much more likely to be seen shooting with my Fuji X100s. Mirrorless cameras just have so many advantages. They are the the future of digital photography.

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Weekend of Love

We spent a perfect three-day weekend in Gualala with a few of our favorite people. We drove up the coast with no firm plans, loaded down with food and booze. We stayed in our pajamas the first day while we waited out a much-needed rain storm, but things got really nice on the second day. From then on, when we weren’t eating and drinking we were posing for thedude’s camera, this time with off-camera flash and more cool black & white settings. What a perfect weekend!

First martini in the pouring rain Hollywood lighting for our friends
On the pier at Pt. Arena Besties at the beach
Number One Giants fan Lighthouse at Point Arena
Goofing with the gang thedude & Kellster
Yes - art. Jeff & Wendy are distraught about having to leave so soon.

Loving B&W Photography

I’m having so much fun shooting Black and white. It’s a real timesaver, and as a bonus, images look great. Nowadays, instead of trying to correct weird color shifts in images shot under terrible lighting conditions, I just whack the color altogether – and I’m loving it.

(Rollover the image to see the original color version.)

Black and white has several advantages. First, it levels the viewing experience somewhat. I’m always concerned that viewers will not be seeing my images the way I do. Black and white removes a lot of these variables – or at least reduces their influence. These images will look (more or less) the same on all reasonable displays. Removing color from the equation allows for much more dramatic adjustments while still maintaining a level of realism. (So much of the “photography” I see on the web these days is actually so abused by filter-happy PhotoShop jockeys that the manipulations are all I see. The results bear no resemblance to the original scene whatsoever.) Black and white distills the image down to composition and texture. And perhaps best of all, people love it. I shot our last company party, and after half an hour of trying to get a decent skin tone, finally gave up and converted the images to black and white. Well guess what? They look great, and my coworkers love them.

Shooting this way is energizing. It’s definitely inspiring me to shoot more photos, and that’s a very good thing.

Photo Dude-ness

Photo nerd-ness!

I created this for fun as a gift to a special friend who got a new camera for Christmas and wants to learn how to use it. The whole process was easy. I used my beloved FourSquare to my right and a small slave flash to the left to provide a bit of fill, but decided not to use it and instead used the flash on the DSLR I’m holding with the output power set to 1/50th. I had no assistants, so I had to shoot 53 goofy shots to get one that worked. The rest is pretty basic PhotoShop.

Easiest Site Redesign Ever

WordPress 3.8 ships with a gorgeous new default theme. The theme, named twentyfourteen contains a lot of the cool features found on modern websites everywhere like a fun image slider, beautiful Google Web Fonts, and a Responsive Design meant to provide the “optimal viewing experience” on all browsers and devices. It seems to work well on my wife’s iPad and on my Nexus 7. (You can see the Theme’s “responsiveness” by grabbing a corner of your browser window and scaling the page down. As it gets narrower, notice how the layout changes dramatically to fit even the narrowest windows.)

Applying this new theme to thedude.com was simple. I made very few tweaks to the stylesheet – mostly to accommodate my larger images. For the moment, I like the new look a lot. It might even inspire me to post more often. Maybe.