Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Punished Pixels

Hey gang, I've moved my blog to a new, more permanent address. My new blog/photo blog/webcomic is located here:

I will not be posting at this location here, please follow me at Punished Pixels. =D

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Garage Photo Studio

Until recently, my photo studio has been in our basement laundry room. While the space was adequate, I quickly outgrew it. Fortune smiles on the patient, however, and some space cleared up in our garage!

I build a twelve foot wide backdrop from some PVC pipe and white, 108" wide muslin cloth. The cloth is suspend from the wood ceiling by the PVC pipe, string, and screw-eyes. The sides of the backdrop are pinned to the walls with clamps to stretch out wrinkles.

All the materials for this came in just around $50, a real deal. Nate and I are planning a snowy indoor shoot this weekend, so we will put this set-up to the test!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Avatar Scorpion Gunship Re-Finish

It has been too long since my last posting. Naturally, I have been crazy busy! One of the many things keeping my attention has been this Avatar Scorpion Gunship project. I picked up the toy at Fred Meyer, a little steep at $25, but I really like the design.

The toy came in pieces, which was actually quite helpful when re-finishing it. You can see the step-by-step progress on my flickr page here. My goal was to re-finish this so it looks like a piece of military tech that has seen some combat. I layered colored paint over metallic paint so that I could leave some metal exposed. The desired effect was to have it look like paint has worn off on the areas that would see more weather than others.

To finish it off I gave it a wash of brown paint to dirty it up a bit. What I ended up with is really close to my initial concept, so I am quite pleased with it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Europe Trip - Part 3 - Amsterdam

Paris was my favorite, but Amsterdam was probably the most fun city we visited. We took the train from Paris to Amsterdam. It was just over 4 hours and we got to see the country side of France and Belgium. An interesting fact: we did not have to go through customs at the train station.

We stayed at a really nice hostel near Vondel Park. Amsterdam is a relatively small city so we were in a good position to see all the sights. Though we could have probably walked everywhere, we picked up a 72 hour tram pass, which helped out dramatically.

The sights in Amsterdam:
  • Van Gogh Museum - This was really amazing, my mom would be so jealous!
  • Canal Cruise - Though this was super-touristy, it was really cool and an amazing opportunity for photos. The photo above was taken off the stern of our canal boat.
  • Heineken Experience - One of the most elaborate brewery tours I have ever been to. This is a must see if you are a beer drinker in Amsterdam!
  • Rijksmuseum - Absolutely stunning. They have swords, guns, and a gigantic model of a 72-gun Dutch man of war ship. Though the real amazement came from the plethora of Rembrandt paintings, as well as many of his students, such as Vermeer.
  • Red Light District - I was expecting the prostitute zone to be ferreted away on some back alley, but it is in the very center of the city. Though no one in our party was keen on soliciting the services of the local business ladies, it was really interesting to check out. We also checked out the Casa Rosso theater for some local uh... flair!
We spend our leisure times checking out local pubs and eateries. Mike tried a local delight: raw ox meat sausage. Though it sounds revolting, it was actually really good.

We spent two and a half days in Amsterdam before we had to head back to the States. I had an amazing time on the trip, I highly recommend that everyone take at least one trip through Europe, you will not regret it!

Europe Trip - Part 2 - Paris

We hopped a plane from London to Paris. This took a big chunk of the day and we ended up getting to our hostel in the Montmarte area of Paris later on in the day. After checking in we found a local pizza place and relaxed a bit for dinner. Somehow I kept getting anchovies on each of my meals throughout Paris, and come to find out that I hate anchovies. My pizza had anchovies, but it was still good. Later on that night I went for a walk and grabbed the photo shown here.

We spent the next two full days walking around Paris, seeing the sights and taking many photos. The metro in Paris is amazing and we were able to see a lot of sights:
  • Notre Dame - Yes it is cliché, but it is amazing, also they allow photos inside, as the St. Paul Cathedral in London did not. I tried out getting some bracketed photos for HDR, here is what I ended up with.
  • Musée d'Orsay - This was one of my favorite museums of the trip. Since the Louvre was closed that day, the Orsay was free! My favorite pieces were the Rodin sculptures and a couple of Van Goghs.
  • Pompidou - Though it was closed, it the outside of the museum is a big part of the attraction. All of the technical fixtures (pipes, vents, etc) for the building are on the outside.
  • Louvre - Another cliché, but it really is a must-see. The building itself is an amazingly gigantic palace. There is great art, but there is a lot of filler art as well to fill such a large space. I did see the Mona Lisa, even I am not immune to being a total tourist.
  • Montparnasse - The tallest skyscraper in Paris is here, though on the day we visited the top was shrouded in fog, so we did not bother going to the top. We did, however, check out the cemetery here, which was really cool.
  • Eiffel Tower - Again my touristy impulses drove me to this popular spot. We were not disappointed though, the sun had just gone down and the lights had come on. I nabbed this shot.
We had my favorite meal on the trip in Paris. It was a local shop near Notre Dame. I had onion soup, and it was incredible. I guess they don't call it "French" onion soup for no good reason! We also met some great German, Canadian, British, and Australian people at our hostel and spent a night sharing drinks and stories with them.

Paris was my favorite city on the trip, I plan on learning to speak French and going back to France to investigate the country outside of the city. Much of the appeal of Paris to me was just walking around the city. It is absolutely stunning.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Europe Trip - Part 1 - London

From December 4th through December 13th 2009 I was traveling Europe with my two friends; Dave and Mike. Mike and I had some paid time off to cash in and Dave is on sabbatical from work until January, so the three of us decided to take a whirlwind trip through Europe. Our first stop was London, England.

London was the easiest and probably the most boring city to travel in. Everyone there speaks English, which is helpful, especially with it being our first stop in Europe. Our first day saw us hopping out of the metro at Piccadilly Circus. We hiked south to check out Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. These attractions are all near each other, making it a convenient first attraction for us to check out. Afterwards we hit up what ended up being a tourist trap Italian restaurant. While my pesto spinach lasagna was rather tasty, Dave's sheppard's pie and Mike's fish and chips were less than satisfactory. Also, it cost us an arm and a leg, not to mention that the only beer they had was lame.

After lunch we headed north and checked out the National Gallery and British Museum. In London most of the museums were free of charge and they allow photography, which was amazing! These two museums were what you would expect from a traditional museum. The National Gallery was full to the brim with paintings from throughout all of artistic history. The British Museum was similar to what you would find in a Hollywood history museum; Egypt sculptures, Greek statues, and old stuff from cultures around the world. Both museums were a bit generic, but still really cool.

After scouring London all day we checked into our hostel; Palmer's Lodge. We were in a 30-bed room, but the place had free wifi and a bar in the basement! We settled in then checked a nearby pizza chain called Pizza Express. It was actually one of our best and cheapest meals of the trip, I highly recommend it.

Day two saw us at St. Paul's Cathedral. This is one of the most massive and beautiful buildings in London, I was completely blown away. We walked around it and then checked out the inside, which was equally stunning. Though the do not allow photography inside, I was able to sneak a quick video. Shhhh its a secret!

We then took the Millennium Bridge across the River Thames to the Tate Museum. Above is a photo I took of the bridge as I passed under it. The Tate was full of a lot of modern art, which is not my favorite, but was fun nonetheless. Did I mention it was also free? I like free things! After the Tate we wandered east a bit and grabbed some food from a street vendor. To finish the night we crossed London Bridge and got a stunning view of Tower Bridge as the sun fled the sky.

By this time it was late afternoon on a Sunday in London, which apparently means that most every shop in town closes up. Fortunately for us our hostel had a bar! We spend the rest of the night drinking hard cider and enjoying free wifi internet.

The next morning we hit up a local joint for some English Breakfast and ciders before boarding the bus to the airport; for Paris awaited us!

I am processing photos from the trip as I type this, they will show up on my flickr photostream.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Well, I splurged a bit and bought a brand new Nikon D300s. It was probably going to happen eventually so it is best that I got it over with quickly. So far I have been extremely happy with it. I will be taking it with me to Europe for my adventure with Mike and Dave. In the coming weeks I expect to be posting many photos (and maybe even videos) of our European exploits.

The photo here is a project I have been playing with compositing several images of myself. My twin brother will find this ironic, no doubt. I was inspired to do the whole doppleganger composite thing from one of my favorite photographers Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir. She has a whole bunch of her "Gemini" photos with composites of two or more of herself.

You can see more of my photos on my flickr photostream.