Couldn't Do It

The Sagrada Familia: 401 (341/366), originally uploaded by Amberture.

You may have noticed that I quit blogging. By "you", I mean David (and sometimes George). That's because I put way more pictures on Flickr and it's double the work to come over here and blog about them. So I'm closing up shop here but am still very actively posting there. Check out my photostream!

I'll also be setting up another blog in the future. I'm not sure what the format is going to be but probably more like a portfolio than an ongoing conversation with the world. I'll put the link here when I get around to that.

So thanks for reading and take care!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

325/366 Trash Cans, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

324/366 Rays the Steaks, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

323/366 Art Envelops You, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

320/366 Three Doors, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Today I took a tour of closed and locked up St. Elizabeth's Hospital. We weren't allowed inside any of the buildings (unlike previous tours...) but there was a lot to see and photograph. Anyone that knows anything about me or my photography knows that decay, industrial devolution, and rotting old barns are some of my favorite subjects.

From the flier we were handed during the tour:
"St. Elizabeth's Hospital was a landmark in the mid-nineteenth century social reform movement that sought to provide care fo the mentally ill. Dorothea Lynde Dix, a noted American social reformer, philanthropist, author, and educator, helped establish St. Elizabeth's as the Government Hospital for the Insane in 1852. Its purpose, according to the March 3, 1855, legislation that organized the hospital, was to provide 'the most humane and enlightened curative treatment of the insane of the army and navy of the United States, and of the District of Columbia.'"

This photograph came out looking similar to how you see it now - the vignetting was ambient due to an overhanging porch roof. The RAW file looked quite a bit muddier than you see it here but Photoshop cleared that up on auto. I pushed the contrast and sharpened it up a bit; moved the dark levels down just a tad. I experimented with some high-pass sharpening but wasn't pleased with the result - it seemed to put tiny specs of white into the shot and just didn't have the right feel. I have to say I'm very pleased with this one, particularly with the gradient of light moving down.

More St. Elizabeth's photos in my Flickr.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

321/366 Jingle Bells, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Friday, November 14, 2008

319/366 FotoWeekDC, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Tonight I was a volunteer for the kick-off party for FotoWeekDC. I must have opened 200 bottles of wine. It was incredibly fun - I was in my element. I should have been a bartender or the like. I love having that power over people and telling them to all go f*ck themselves. You can wait for your free booze!

I will take the swank out of your fancy-pants party anytime.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

318/366 Advil, originally uploaded by Amberture.

For a week now, I've had excruciating pain in my upper left wisdom tooth. I've been to the dentist and consulted with my oral surgeon and there's nothing to be done except treat the pain until I can get them out. Because of the wonders of our health system, if I wait until January 2nd, I save $500 on the operation. $500 is a great deal of money for me and I intend to wait and suffer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

317/366 Noise, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I thought my outfit was really hip today but you can't see the best part of it as I'm squatting down. I had on textured tights and black snow boots. I looked hip.

But the godforsaken picture is far too noisy. I'm used to a point and shoot that gives me an agreeable noise level, regardless. My D80 thinks I know what I'm talking about, and it's becoming a problem.

Veterans' Day, Tuesday, November 11, 2008

316/366 In Bed, originally uploaded by Amberture.

George willingly submitted to having his photograph taken today. I must not be pestering him enough or he wouldn't offer.

Took this guy at medium zoom (check the exif) on a tripod. The overhead light is rather dull so I popped on both of our reading lights to give the background a bit of punch. I like what's going on on the sides but we definitely needed more light on us - nasty shadows on my face.

I just love George. He's so great.

Monday, November 10, 2008

315/366 Mickey Pin, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

314/366 Pirates!, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

313/366 Elephants, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This was a good day. After doing some routine morning reading, I was filled with a desire to go to the zoo. And so we did!

I am thrilled about the wide variety of free entertainment there is in this city. As I always say, if you're bored in DC, it's your own fault.

The best animal of the day was the red panda, who was performing all manner of acrobatics for us and smiling for the camera (check Flickr). Even the normally elusive pandas were just lying about on the rocks, giving the eager photographer plenty of time to compose and snap away.

Friday, November 7, 2008

312/366 Looking Back, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This picture is a lie - it was taken at the zoo, and not on Friday the 7th. On Friday I was so completely out of it that it didn't even occur to me that I had to shoot. George was really, really great taking care of me as I tried to make the pain in my tooth go away. But I actually slept through the night (mostly) which was a major improvement over Thursday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

311/366 The Third Eye, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This picture was taken right before I launched into one of the worst nights of my life.

I am blessed with extra wisdom teeth than most people - one little baby on each upper side. The left one has decided to make my life practically unbearable without Advil by jamming the big guy for no apparent reason. The most my dentist could tell me is he "just needs to come out." That, and if I wait until January 1st, the operation is $400 less!!

So in the meantime, I'm waiting to see if it will just go away so I can have all four (six) of them out at once and spare myself more anguish. Until then, it's Advil time, all the time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

310/366 Teddy & Me, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, 2008

309/366 Stop Voting, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I'm late in giving my diatribe about why Obama's win is important to me but I'm still exciting and I'm still going to say a few words.

I'm not an African-American but this major achievement for all black Americans is incredibly encouraging, to me, as a white person. I believe this is what McCain and all his folk missed entirely about this momentous event. It wasn't just a gain for black America - it was a gain for all Americans. To know that there are more people that value talent, intelligence, vision over skin color. That is what makes this a special day.

That is incredibly important. That is why people poured into the streets here in DC to hug a stranger and party all night long.

That is what was sorely missing in 2004 and why so many of us felt completely cut off from 50% of the people in this country. How could they want more of Bush? As Obama said in his incredibly eloquent speech, his win is a mandate for change - and we're finally ready to see it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

308/366 Self Reflecting, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

307/366 Closets, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I'm experimenting with taking pictures of different things around the house as opposed to a self-portrait in the bathroom mirror. My tripod has been instrumental in these endeavors. Beware - off-camera lighting may be next!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

306/366 Bulldogs and Sticks, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Travels on Saturday took us to the Shirlington dog park which was an incredible amount of fun. The dogs were all very well behaved and most would come right up to you and say hi before running off to do other things. I only pulled my camera out at the end and none of the dog owners seemed to take offense.

Shortly after snapping this one, the little guy got the stick and kept it until the big guy got bored!

Halloween, Friday, October 31, 2008

305/366 Toilet Candy, originally uploaded by Amberture.

My Halloween was less than spooky but was instead a quiet, relaxing night with the beau.

I found these at World Market for $.74 a piece. They are plastic toilets with sour powder inside. You "plunge" them with the provided lollipop plungers and then eat what comes out of the toilet. Awesome, right!?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

304/366 Band of Light, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I'm experimenting with exposure here but my camera's autofocus was having trouble and didn't want to lock onto the door. And clearly I have no concept of "blurry" vs. "sharp."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

303/366 Two Pumpkins, originally uploaded by Amberture.

George bought these pumpkins for some huge sum of money thinking we would actually carve them. I'm not sure where the plan was supposed to go from that point because we live in an apartment and don't have a balcony or a porch.

In any case, they are still exactly where they have been for two weeks now. I suppose we'll eventually throw them out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

302/366 Dressers, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I'm always taking bathroom mirror self-portraits when I shoot at home so I thought I'd try something different today. Barring my lack of strobes or even an outlet close by to try janky side lamps, the light is far too directional from above but you'll have to live with it!

The dresser is neato but the bed is too high up and creates an unattractive leading line down with the circular handles.

Monday, October 27, 2008

301/366 The Rejects, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Poor mangled, ugly pumpkins. Some shmuck kid is going to get stuck with these because his mom couldn't get it together in time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

300/366 Looking Back, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I shot a whole bunch of stuff but nothing was really very interesting. I like the rim lighting a lot but I was definitely missing a beat.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

299/366 White Space, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Friday, October 24, 2008

298/366 Pentagon Memorial, originally uploaded by Amberture.

George and I took a nice walk Friday evening down to the new Pentagon Memorial. And this is it. No giant stone carvings, ornate columns or ostentatious fountains with gold trim. To be honest, it felt a little subdued. Where is the fanfare for the celebrated fallen? Instead we get a bunch of benches and some miniature pools that have now filled with gravel.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

297/366 Butternut Squash, originally uploaded by Amberture.

George bought this butternut squash at a farm when I was away. I cooked up half of it but refused to touch the second half - I in no way am desirous to cook five pounds of squash.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

296/366 Globe, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

295/366 Winter Coming, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Between when I left and coming back from the road trip, the weather got markedly colder. As such, I've had to start wearing sweaters and scarves and jackets and all the clothes that mean winter is well on its way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

294/366 TCS, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This is me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

293/366 Informal, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This is George. Not much to say about this one either.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

292/366 Flash, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This is David. There's not really much more to say about this picture.

Friday, October 17, 2008

291/366 Heroin, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Having wrapped up our road trip the night before, David and I headed down the hill to the DEA Museum where we snapped up some lovely photos of old bottles of narcotics (legal then). The museum was better than we expected but not that great.

We then proceeded to cook an enormous dinner and gorge ourselves, which is just about all we ever do when David is around.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

290/366 Creation Museum, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Road Trip: Day Six

After touring the surprisingly pleasant city of Cincinnati, David and I headed to one of the places we are least welcome, the Creation Museum.

This museum is a private institution (that's why we had to pay so much, right?) that is dedicated to spreading the word about creationism and beating down the myth of evolution. In my head this was much funnier but upon getting there, it was just kind of pathetic. There was very little appeal to reason and much more "yes, it's this way and isn't that awesome?"

David even sprung for the planetarium tickets. The show was pretty well done and I found myself enjoying the show. And then they explained a light year and I wondered, "why don't they just give the real definition instead of putting it in miles?" The answer came later, of course - because if it really took light that long to get to where we are, we wouldn't see anything, because the universe was created just a few short thousand years ago.

Nothing to laugh at, really. Plenty of people - I mean, everyone at the museum besides us - believes it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

289/366 Bourbon Whiskey, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Road Trip: Day Five

On the way out of the unmentioned relative's neighborhood, we tried to hit up a couple of places and fell short. We did manage to get into the Woodford Reserve distillery, though. Apparently it was high-class but I think I have to admit that I just don't like whiskey. I don't. I've tried.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

288/366 Pabst Blue Ribbon, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Road Trip: Day Four

From the unnamed relative's house, David and I headed out to Mammoth Cave to see the largest cave system in the world. We were that close, we had to go. The rangers proved much more knowledgeable and entertaining than those of Luray Caverns but the sights paled in comparison.

I was more pumped about the "Dinosaur World" down the road but it was more than the caves and we just couldn't swing that. There was a really neat antique store across the way and that's how I snagged this photo of Pabst cans.

Columbus Day, Monday, October 13, 2008

287/366 Coal Elevator, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Road Trip: Day Three

Our Columbus Day should have been spent exploring the abandoned coal mining towns of West Virginia's New River Gorge. Unfortunately, my period made a show that day and turned me into a raging bitch and turned my belly to mush. So we only visited one ghost town, a "restored" ghost town: Thurmond.

This is a picture of the coal elevator from Thurmond's heyday. It was the biggest town around and all the railroads had to pass through so it was booming until... it was dead. The coal elevator was really neat and everything else was so obviously cared-for it didn't hold any falling-apart charm. More of the elevator in my flickr.

From here we went straight to an unnamed relative of David's. She fed us and continued to feed us for the rest of the trip.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

286/366 Dump Truck, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Road Trip: Day Two

We woke up in Elkins, West Virginia, quite refreshed and ready to start the road trip over, since we were quite ready to call it quits the night before (see previous post).

Right in front of the hotel were these two old trucks seemingly being left to rot in the middle of a field. The light was streaming through the windows and they were perfect. More shots in my flickr.

Day two took us to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for a pretty awesome tour. For a twenty-five mile radius around the observatory, no one is allowed to broadcast anything. The astronomers regularly have to hunt out sources of static in their area, like electric blankets.

The rest of the day was spent getting on down to the New River Gorge. We drove through some incredibly beautiful scenery but there was hardly anywhere to pull over and snap photos, so we largely did not.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

285/366 S.L. Tidler, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Road Trip: Day One

David and I headed out after lunch with George and drove straight to Luray Caverns for some exciting spelunking activities. The cave was really awesome, though hugely overpriced. Check my flickr for pictures of "mirror lake" - an almost completely still body of water underground. It looks as though there's no water, until you realize you're staring at the ceiling reflected.

After stopping at this cool old cemetery to snap some pics, we unsuccessfully tried to play bingo with the locals and then spent three hours driving through mountainous Virginia and then West Virginia looking for a place to stay. Would you have made a reservation if you were going to West Virginia?

Friday, October 10, 2008

284/366 Pina Colada, originally uploaded by Amberture.

First post in a long time because I've been on vacation, a motoring vacation. More pics soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

283/366 The Shunned, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

282/366 Five Guys, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Five Guys have the best hamburger around.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

281/366 Gazebo, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This picture is far out of focus. When you zoom in my face is all blurry. There are a number of reasons this might be but #1, I'm going to go with quality of my lens and the fact that I was zoomed all the way in as the table I rested the camera on was far away. What can I do? Carry my BRAND NEW GIANT DSLR WITH ME!!

Other factors might include dirt on my lens, general incompetence. Totally not important.

Monday, October 6, 2008

280/366 Fall Spread, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Boring, but it was late.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

279/366 Relief, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Today I finished my relief project for Design I. It took me at least 20 hours to complete, but I may be underestimating.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

278/366 Twins, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This was taken at the Del Ray Art on the Avenue. I was blown away by how many vendors were out hawking their wares. More images are available on my Flickr (look left).

These babies were so cute and their Ma was full-on in the next stall over so I wasn't too shy. A newfound bonus of having an awesome SLR is that your face is in the same place as the camera so if someone's going to look at you, they're going to look at the lens. Score!

Friday, October 3, 2008

277/366 Jester, originally uploaded by Amberture.