Globes

GlobesWe are marking the first full day of winter today with a grin.  Yesterday was the kick-off for this year’s Winter Solstice offering over on my photography site and it was a good day (thank you everyone!).

But if you’re following via social media sites, they do a fine job of squashing certain posts that contain certain words, especially words that are a single-word representation of an offering of anything at a reduced level of currency.  Why?  Because they want us to pay them to increase viewership of those specific posts to normal levels.  Or pay even more to increase viewership even higher.

If you are looking for a holiday present, it is too late to get it this week, but if you’re looking for a different look on your wall, now is your chance!  Please click on the picture above and you’ll see the code at the top of my website.

Again, thank you all for your support!!!

Standing Watch

I do enjoy this angle whenever I’m in a situation where an official or honor guard is in place.

Standing Watch

Tomb of the Unknown, Arlington National Cemetery.

Compare to this one, taken a few years ago at the Horse Guard Headquarters in London, England:

At the Ready

As images go, I have a preference.

Which is yours?

Launch

It has been quiet around these parts for the past week or so.

Usually I apologize for that, but this time I don’t think that I will, even though I do appreciate my loyal readers.

I really do.

So where was the focus?  My new web site, of which this blog is a part.  Some of you might have even noticed some changes here.

It’s all part of taking my photography a bit more seriously, including delving more into portraiture.

Photo Logo

So please click on the image above (which takes you to http://billandersphoto.com), take a look around, kick the tires and leave a comment.  Perhaps buy a print or three.

I even dropped the prices 25% to mark the occasion.

BAP-Launch

Just click on that coupon and a new window will open.  Browse and pick to your heart’s content, then enter that code upon checkout.  And you’ll be in like Flynn.

If you had browsed my galleries before and think you have seen it all, please look again, especially in the Travel section of my Portfolio.  There are new photos in there.  And quite a few images that I have reworked for one reason or another.

So you might find something different.

As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by my littler corner of the sphere.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying…

I typed lots of words over the past hour or so, but have deleted them.

Instead, do some reading, if you wish.

There have been some legal shenanigans in the UK that may impact you, no matter what country you call home.

Because the shenanigans have global implications.

UK. Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now (Everyone = Silicon Valley ad platforms tech companies)

The UK’s copyright landgrab: The FAQ

And the government has a chance to explain themselves, as in “these are not the droids you are looking for“.

So after many years of purposefully no including watermarks because I find them ugly and distracting, I’m going to have to placing them on my pictures again.  This is many years after I quit worrying about somebody heisting a picture of mine and claiming it as theirs.

Grumble, grumble.

Of course, watermarks won’t keep someone from stealing.  But it may keep the honest people honest.  And the thieves will continue to steal.

Here’s a before and after:

BTS - Shorebreak

BTS - Shorebreak Wassermark

If you are new here, that’s a behind the scenes shot of one of my images.

And if it steers a bit more traffic my way, that’s a good thing.

I’ve got some beer, a new script and some time to edit/upload.  But I will not make a dent in what’s out there.  So I won’t worry.

I Love Bomb.

Out with the old…

…definitely in with the new this coming year.

It will be interesting.

Unlike tonight for Goddess and I, which will be a quiet New Year’s Eve here in Germany.

Yeah right.

This place will look like a war zone for a good hour or so after midnight.  And it’s great fun to get out there and watch the kids literally burn through hundreds of euro worth of fireworks (each!).

But between now and then, great company, great food and great beverage with dear friends.

And if I introduced you to this scotch this year, you’re welcome!

Three Wood

And if I haven’t, consider yourself introduced and go out and try some, if you like.

And if you make it up to Glasgow, Scotland, hop on the westbound train, hop off at Dalmuir and enjoy the short walk to the distillery.  It’s a great show (with tastings).

We’ll sip on a bit of this and enjoy Dinner for One before the fireworks (search for the video.  It’s a classic.  I can’t link it here, since they’ve blocked it for copyright reasons here in Germany).

Goddess and I wish you a merry New Year!

Clam Shell

I’m still looking back through the 7,100 pictures I’ve taken this year (so far) and seeing if I’ve missed something with potential.

Occasionally I find something.

This was from our travels this past year, so you’ll just have to guess where it is.

Hint: we didn’t make it to Australia this year.  That was so 11 years ago…

Clam Shell

I do love it when the clouds cooperate.

London Nightline

Well, it’s the year’s end.  And there will be plenty of year’s end lists.

Just not here.

Instead, I’ve been looking back at the year’s RAW images and seeing what I’ve missed or what needs to be reworked.

I guess you could call it a bit of nostalgia.  But not in the typical sense.

I’ve mainly thought of the three photographers that I’ve been able to meet in person over the past 13 months.  Photographers that I’ve known online for quite a few years.

In December 2011, Goddess and I had the pleasure of meeting Shimon Z’hevi, who after an arduous in-person screening process, decided we passed muster and spent the next week showing us the back alleys and culture of Jerusalem as well as the landscape of Israel.

It was an amazing experience!  And thanks to his blogging, he continues to draw us into the culture and events there in Israel with is vibrant first-person accounts.

Skip ahead to July 2012 and we were able to work with Michael Kaiser and find a common weekend free.  Mind you, we actually had to coordinate that weekend some five months in advance, but at least we were able to nail it down.  Michael was gracious enough to have Goddess and I visit and stay in his home.  Pretty gutsy considering we had never met in person.  But we’ve conversed virtually for many years and grew to know each other, so we were quite comfortable.  It was amazing to sit with him and flip through albums of his years working as a writer and photographer for his local paper, where his reportage took him to many places, including Afghanistan in the early 2000’s.  Trust me, his experiences in that country were far different than mine in 2011.

And the third, which is actually back a few months to the end of May 2012, we finally got to meet the lovely Susanna Hauru, a Finnish transplant to London, while Goddess and I were on a trip to the UK.  I was nervous meeting her (as well as Shimon and Michael), as she’s quite the accomplished street and wedding photographer (both Shimon and Michael are very accomplished in their own rights).  But she was as gracious as could be and we had a wonderful time walking the back alleys and haunts of London as she introduced us to her favorite views.  And we accidentally introduced her to a new one.

For that I earned a manly hug.

(gotcha Susie!).

But on our walkabout, while Goddess and Susie were chatting, I set up the tripod and grabbed this shot soon before Big Ben struck midnight and the lights went off in the tower and the Palace of Westminster.

A pretty magical view.

And not too shabby for my 23 year old 50/1.8.

London Nightline

Go ahead and click on that picture.  It will open up in a new tab/window on a black background.  That way you can enjoy the lines and lights.

As far as every post here, if you click on the picture, there will be different behaviors.  Play with them and figure out what they are.  ;)

But back to the three photographers.  This past year has been an amazing year on many different levels.  But on the photography front, the fact that we were able to meet these three in person was fantastic.  These three are my toughest critics when I ask them to be.

And I appreciate that.

And them.

Cutty Sark Gaze

Roaming through the archives from this past year and have stumbled across many images that I’m now wondering why I passed over for processing soon after I shot them.

Here’s one.

Perhaps it’s because I’m in a much different frame of mind that I was six months ago when I shot this.

Or perhaps not.

Either way, the more I look at his face, the more I wonder what the thoughts were.

And I’m hoping that I will get to be that age.

So I can spend another 30-40 years with Goddess.

Although she says I’m not off the hook for another 60.

I’m good with that.

Cutty Sark Gaze

Aboard the Cutty Sark.  Greenwich, London, England.

Future

It’s been a great week of watching the Paralympics.

Unfortunately, it took a bit of work and some references to find something more than just a daily recap, in words, of the events.

But we’ve got a nightly video feed.  Which has been inspiring.

Although it is a damn shame that we have to search that hard for the truly inspirational games.  Especially the opening ceremonies, where Professor Stephen Hawking addressed the audience.

If there is a currently living larger representation of the human spirit and the human mind, please let me know in the comments below.

I’m always looking to stretch my mind.

I am a huge fan of the Olympics, both Summer and Winter.  Because they show the true sports, not the ones that suck in lots of cash.  In my opinion, they show the true strength of the human spirit, unlike the overpaid egos of popular sport.

But that is not the point of this post.

Filtering through my images from Munich this past weekend, I really enjoyed the very large painting of a bicycle in the middle of the road traversing the Marienplatz, signifying that the entire area was a bicycle path.

That speaks to me.

Tackling it from different angles gave me some very beautiful compositions.  Some worked photographically.  Some didn’t.

I initially marked a few for presentation.  That marking did not include this one.

But in light of the performances we’ve watched this week and some reflection, this is the best one to present to you:

Future

Currently we’re watching the post-post-race interview of Ireland’s Jason Smyth, who earlier today set a new world record in the T13 200m sprint.  The coding T13 signifies track athletes who can recognize contours between 2-6 meters away (an S13 designation [as we saw tonight] means that swimmers cannot typically see the black line at the bottom of the lane, but can see the wall once they’re within 1-meter).

Immediately after Jason set his new world record tonight, covering the 200 meters in just 21.05 seconds, he breathlessly stated during his off-track interview:

“We’ve all got issues. You just do the best you can with what you’ve got”.

Absolutely.

So get out there and give it what you’ve got.

And if you are not giving what you have got, no matter how uncomfortable you are – quit your whining and just do it.

Or in the vernacular, HTFU.

For some great first-person images of the games, please click here.  And here.

Or here.

Quitcherbitchin.

And do this.

Or something similar.

That stretches your comfort zone.

Triplets

Fun with light.

And reflections.

Triplets

A huge thanks, and manly hugs, to Susie for introducing this sight to us.

It’s only fair, since we took her to see this sight (thanks to the suggestion of a passerby on the street) which was a first for her hometown.  All of those white specks were the pigeons coming home to roost for the night.  I just wasn’t fast enough with my camera, since I was busy setting up for another shot.

But it was a fine sight to see.

Unfortunately, no flatbed Fords.