Friday, October 24, 2014

The Koi

Worked all day today, trying to make some magic with the Koi painting.  Not there yet, but I'll keep at it.  Trying to think like an artist, I've decided to disregard the true colors at the bottom of their pond and use colors I like.  Nothing too awfully wrong with "pretty" once in a while...is there?  The dark brownish/blackish colors may be what's there, but I wanted to make it look like they're swimming over emeralds and sapphires, minus the sparkle.

That's it for this week, ladies and gentlemen.  Hope you had an enjoyable and productive week and an even better weekend. :))

This image was made using the old Canon camera, with a feature called, "Vivid Colors".  It really does what it promises.  Often it pushes the intensity too far compared to what I see, but in some instances, it's a nice-to-have feature.  The next image was taken with it off.

Using the normal setting, only adjusting for the type and amount of light, this image, at least on our computer screen, seems a little washed-out, lacking the vibrancy of the first.  It is, however, a truer representation of the painting as it exists today.  Probably like most of you, I always take multiple images with a variety of settings when photographing artwork.  Perhaps like you also, there are days when nothing goes right and none of the photos are keepers.  Despite all the wizardry of cameras today, there remains a certain magic to capturing a good or great image. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hurricane Ana And Something A Little Different

The state of Hawaii--all eight major islands--dodged another bullet this weekend, when Hurricane Ana kept her distance from our shores.  We did, and still are receiving a lot of rain, but there was no major damage from high winds or storm surge.  We have had quite a few flash flood warnings, but those are fairly routine whenever rains totals are forecast to be higher than the almost daily mountain and valley "pineapple showers".  On the plus side, all island reservoirs will be filled!

This photo was taken Saturday, October 18th.  The south shore of  Sand Island, which protects the harbor, was beginning to receive the effects of Hurricane Ana.  That's a Coast Guard cutter at the bottom of the photo.  Click on the photo for a close-up.

As Ana tracked across the Pacific, initial prediction models had her smacking O'ahu right in the face.  Specifically, the southwest side--where we live!  We had sufficient quantities of emergency supplies on-hand from previous threats, so there was no shopping frenzy.  Friday night, I guess you could say we had our version of a Hurricane Party.  New friends from the building came by and we enjoyed a couple of Mai Tais, ("Maita'i" is the Tahitian word for "good"; but the drink is spelled as two words, sometimes hyphenated or capitalized.) before heading down the block to Hunan Cuisine for dinner.  It was a wonderfully spicy and delicious meal! 

Saturday morning, we nested the lanai chairs after bringing the cushions inside, moved the two tables against a wall and tucked the plants in.  Eventually, clouds moved in and the rains started.  It rained most of Saturday night and continues today.  Kauai and Niihau are receiving the brunt of the wind and rain now, but tomorrow life should return to normal in Paradise.  I don't know if global warming or El Nino is behind all the storms, but we'll be very happy if next year is back to normal! :)

As for the promised "something a little different", I've been, and still am working on a painting of some Koi from the pond here.  I cropped a photo and was so fascinated with the resulting composition, I decided to give it a go.  The self-portrait at 64--all 27 versions--lie beneath this painting.  I still have time to complete the sp before the magical birthday, but I'll have to hurry!  True to my "style", the surface is lumpier than the worst mashed potatoes you were ever served. :) 

It's still a work-in-progress, so don't beat me up too badly.  The white Koi's markings are more black than the Prussian blue I used, but I'll work on them.  I added the tail in the upper left corner.  The reference photo was cropped to 7 x 5-inches and had less negative space.  This is 20 x 16-inches and I felt this lagniappe was a "small gift" to the composition. :) 

This is what I found so fascinating about the composition.  Three of the four possible orientations, to me, at least, are interesting and acceptable.  My goal is to create the illusion of movement through very soft edges and a few "ghosts" to blur the images a bit.  I've got a lot of finger painting ahead of me.  The Koi pond bottom is a multitude of colors, mostly dark browns, dark greens and a few grays for good measure.  

This is the last view.  I should probably take a visitor poll to see which one (if any) resonates with the majority of the exceptionally talented people who visit this blog!  Yes!  I mean YOU! :)))

Two other paintings are also in-work:  A view of Waimea Falls and the portrait of a child of a friend here.  Neither is ready for a debut, so please stand-by.  How odd it was today...overcast and raining...it made it easy to stay in the studio, with only occasional interruptions to watch a little football. :))  Hope your day was filled with sunshine and the beautiful colors of autumn.

Friday, October 10, 2014

ARM Cuauhtemoc Departs.

This morning, not long after breakfast, we were amazingly fortunate to see the Mexican Navy Training Ship, ARM Cuauhtemoc, make preparations for getting underway.  We were able to watch as cadets in their colorful uniforms scrambled up the ropes to man the yardarms.  And what a beautiful sight to behold as the colorful semaphore flags, decorating the masts from bow to stern, and a large Mexican flag danced in the brisk trade winds.  The crew will likely never forget this visit to Paradise.

Our view of ARM Cuauhtemoc (between two downtown skyscrapers) with the crew manning the yardarms just prior to getting underway.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

She's cast-off all lines and is turning to port, toward the channel to exit the harbor.  Nice day for a sail! :))

Heading southeast now.  Very soon she'll be sailing parallel to Waikiki Beach, with Diamond Head off her port bow.  What a thrill for the tourists on Waikiki Beach, as well as, the cadets!  While the ship was blocked from our view by downtown buildings, we were able to keep track of her course and speed by visiting a great website called marinetraffic.com.  This link may show you Honolulu Harbor, but you can have it show any port you'd like to see. 

She's on her way to Long Beach, California, for a port call and goodwill visit.  Aloha Oe and Vaya con Dios, amigos! :))

And here are a couple of photos taken earlier in the week:

A double rainbow appeared on the morning of 9 October.  It was breakfast and a show!

Then, an airliner taking off from the reef runway got into the show.

The sunset from October 9th.  A few days ago, the sun's path moved far enough south to allow us to watch it slip into the ocean again.  No green flash that evening, but we'll keep looking!  My goal is to get incredibly lucky and capture a photo of a green flash to share with you.

Have a nice weekend! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse Of The Blood Moon.

The total lunar eclipse of the " blood moon " entertained us last night and it was quite a show.  I used my greater-zooming camera, but because of the moon's location in the sky--almost directly overhead--I was unable to use the tripod.  Despite that, some of the shots came out fairly well-focused.  From what I've read, we were in a perfect spot on the planet to see the show.  Hope you could see it wherever you live! :)

Before the moon crept over our building and into view, I took this photo of the Mexican Navy's tall ship, ARM Cuauhtemoc, with her masts and yardarms beautifully illuminated.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

Nearly halfway into the eclipse, 11:57 PM on Tuesday, 7 October.

Nearly midnight, a bit better-focused image.  At this point, we didn't see much "blood" color.

This is more like it!  This shot was taken at 12:51 AM.

The final and arguably best of the lot.  This was snapped at nearly one AM.  Leaning well-out over the lanai railing eighteen-stories above the ground, holding a zoomed-lens camera straight overhead is why I'm proud of this photo.  Needless to say, several images were blurry and discarded.

Have a good day tomorrow! :)   

Monday, October 6, 2014

The ARM Cuauhtemoc Makes A Port Call.

The ARM CuauhtĂ©moc, a tall ship and sailing training vessel of the Mexican Navy arrived in Honolulu today and I could hardly wait to see this magnificent ship up-close.  We saw her tall masts from the lanai as she maneuvered into a berth, and it didn't take long to jump into jogging attire, grab the camera and race the half-mile to the harbor.  Click on the link above to learn all about this great ship.

The ARM Cuauhtemoc arrived this morning, berthed just behind the Star of Honolulu.  She's a magnificent three-masted barque sailing training vessel of the Mexican Navy.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.  "ARM" stands for Armada Republica de Mexico.

The Cuauhtemoc was built in Bilbao, Spain, and one of her sister ships is the Colombian tall ship, ARC Gloria, which visited Honolulu in June, 2013.  Enter "ARC Gloria" in the search box to see my post about her visit.

The Mexican flag.

The ship is named after the last Aztec Emperor, who was killed in 1525.  Her home port is Acapulco, Mexico.  What a great place to call home! :)  The crew was busy preparing the ship for visitors, hanging semaphore flags, putting up safety railings and polishing the bowsprit.  

And speaking of polishing the bowsprit...the photo was taken against the bright morning sky, making it rather dark.  The day was on the humid side and I didn't envy these young cadets!

Lots of sails and colorful semi-fore flags on a perfect day.  Bienvenidos amigos!

Ah-h...to be a young naval cadet about to go on liberty in Honolulu! :))  That's the Gordon Biersch restaurant and BREWERY on the left.

Tied-up near the Cuauhtemodoc was a party barge, two Japanese fishing vessels and the huge cruise ship, MS Oosterdam, a Holland-America vessel.  The gentleman is taking photos of the Cuauhtemdoc.

While taking photos of the cruise ship, I began a conversation with two of the nicest people who ever sailed the seven seas.  They're here with the MS Oosterdam until 10:30 PM this evening.  Linda and Eric live in Florida when they're not cruising the world and I did my best to talk their ears off.  Eric was in the navy, so we naturally--and probably to Linda's dismay--began chatting about the old days.  I finally realized it was time to let them enjoy their day and said goodbye, leaving them waiting to go aboard the Cuauhtemoc for a tour.

That's Eric and his wife, Linda, heading for the MS Oosterdam for some photos.

Eric and Linda, with the Japanese fishing vessel, Shin Oita Maru behind.

Meeting such nice folks makes any day special and when you add-in a visiting tall ship, it doesn't get much better in Paradise!  To my new friends...Fair winds and following seas and Aloha Oe! :)

Hope you all had a good day, too!

Pitigliano, Italy, In A Cinquecento Commercial!

Michele found this cute TV commercial produced for Fiat's potential American customers for its Cinquecento (500).  We were astounded to see Pitigliano featured as the setting for this humorous look at the larger version of their famous, re-invented Cinquecento automobile.

A view of Pitigliano.  This is a blown-up image of a painting of the town I did years ago, in a fake museum setting.  There used to be a website called Dumpr, which allowed one to make their paintings look monumental and appear to be on exhibit in one of several museum settings.  So, the painting was real, (30 x 40-inches) but is long-gone.

Michele and her Italian cousin, Angelo Bindi, with Pitigliano as a backdrop, November, 2008.

Michele's father was born in this small Tuscan town, emigrating to America with his family when he was a young boy.  We first visited the town in the early 1990's, ultimately deciding to move there following my retirement.  If you type Pitigliano into the search this blog box, you can see more of this quintessential Tuscan hill town.  Ciao, tutti amici! :)))

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Angels In Paradise.

The Blue Angels, that is.  The U.S. Navy precision flight demonstration team dropped-in from the mainland, putting on two great shows for O'ahu residents this weekend.  Michele and I enjoyed front row seats for the shows from the lanai.  My photographic efforts weren't as successful as hoped for, so please click on the link for professional images of the aircraft, pilots and support crew and all the information about this elite team.  Now, if you will all please prepare for takeoff:

Without a doubt, the best of the best--and I'm not just talking about those exceptional pilots!  I got very lucky with this photo.  It's one of the only images in which the bold blue and yellow paint scheme is visible.  They took off at four PM, which meant contending with the sun for these photos.

Probably the second best photo of the two days.

A shot of their takeoff on Saturday.

One of their thrilling and dangerous maneuvers over the field.

Hang-on to your cookies!  If you click on this image, you can see the group heading toward the field in the upper-right portion of this photo.  I was hanging over the lanai railing to capture this jaunty image and decided not to use the "straighten" function of the photo software.  It was my hope that it might give you a feeling of what it's like flying with them. :))

Smoke on, zooming back to the airport.

A personal favorite.  They're between five and six miles away from our location, the lens was significantly zoomed and it was beyond my wildest hope to ever capture all six aircraft in the frame.

A final image as they flew past the crowd.  That's the airport tower, but you probably knew that. :)

How about the sunrise illuminating some morning clouds instead of a sunset? :)  This was taken at 6:22 AM, before I headed out for a jog on Friday.

I really tried to not include a sunset, but this one, on the 24th, just seemed too nice to leave out.  Sorry. :)  Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some Fun With The Camera.

Whenever a touch of boredom creeps in, it's fun to put the camera lens up-close to unremarkable household items and see what we get.  Having favorites blown-up to poster size is something we've done before.  They add an inexpensive splash of color to homes with all neutral colors.  Here are the latest curiosities:

I've already forgotten what this was, but here it is after a close-up and some computer magic.


























This one is a tulip.





Another tulip-inspired image.

Clouds catching the last blast of the sun.

One of the day's inspirations.  Not exactly the season for tulips!

A final shot of "reality". 

Hope you all had a great day today! :)