Saturday, January 26, 2008

Twins Fest 2008

Yeah! It's almost Twins time. If you don't know me personally, it might be new, I'm a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan. For Pete's sake, I asked my wife to marry me at game during the 1995 season.

Twins Fest kicks off pre-season. Pitchers and catchers start reporting to Spring Training right around February 1st.

This first picture isn't something I normally get to see, a sea of empty seats in the Dome. It took me a little while to try and find the right angle and view. Some very interesting lines form. It actually surprised me they weren't more parallel

I'm still not sure about this picture. I didn't have a lot of time to take it. We were on the "Club House" tour and were cow herded through things.

This is the shelf where the players store their batting helmets and other items they aren't using during the game.

It's amazing how little color exists in the Dome. The dugout is no exception. Other than this blue shelf, its all pretty much concrete and white walls.
This is the picture I got the most excited about. I'm not quite sure why, but the latest version of Picasa keeps darkening my pictures. This picture is much brighter than it keeps posting to the blog.

This picture was taken in the hallway near the Twins Club House. We actually couldn't take pictures inside the Club House because of some kind of bizarre rule imposed by the Player's Association. Even the Manager's office is off limits to the camera. Go figure.

All in all, Mark and Aron and I had a great time exploring the Dome.

This time of year always gets me excited for my favorite summer past time.

Let's Play Ball!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Monkey Bar - Fargo, ND

Before this past weekend, I'd never been to Fargo, ND, as far as I knew. If I had been here, my parents brought me here. I'll have to admit, that after this weekend, I really don't know much more about it either. It's was -28°F on Saturday morning. We didn't go out much.

I played in a poker tournament that was being run at, The Hub. This is a large venue with several different bars and restaurants under one roof. You walk through The Fan, a sports bar with horrible service and great food, to get to the Venue. A theater/concert hall. It's not huge, but it's roomy enough for 351 people to play poker.

The Monkey Bar seems to be everything on the second floor of the Venue. This bar is also one of the coolest looking places I've been to in a while. A fellow poker blogger named Columbo would love this place. Its nothing but tiki lounge.

These first two pictures are of the Buddah sitting on a lit table in front of one of the bar areas up here. I just loved the lighting and the chance to capture some interesting art.

I actually took quite a few shots of the Buddah and the table stuff, a few bonzai trees. There was a poker tournament going on, so there were lots of people milling about.

This would have been fun to have more time and less distractions, but I think the subject was most interesting and the lighting was a lot of fun to work with.

Near this bar, was a doorway that connected to the official area of the Monkey Bar. It definitely gave you that VIP feeling. This room had black jack tables and great sound insulation. It was a nice getaway from the general chaos outside the doors.
It was in this room that I found the bar. It was lit with an ever changing color. The lines of the shelves were pretty cool as well. Nothing parallel. The colors of the glass were mixing with the light from behind.

This was my favorite. I got a few different color cycles, but the amber really seemd right for me.

All in all this was a pretty cool place for taking pictures. I might need to go back and shoot some more, if I have time.

None of these pictures have been altered since they were shot. Cropping and lighting were done in camera.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A wee bit of color

I found myself attending, High School Musical on Ice. This is basically a fund raiser for Disney, but I have 3 girls in my house that just love these movies.

I took 2 memory cards of pictures at the show. I just wanted to see what my camera cold do, in a seat, not real close to the action, but apparently close enough to get enough light.

I also experimented with the holy trinity of ISO, shutter speed and aperture to see what could be done with the camera. This is one of the first pictures I took out of the pile. I've only cropped it. Its absolutely amazing how difficult it is to take pictures and frame them correctly when when young girls are bumping your arms the entire time.

I really like the colors, they really grab you.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New books, new lens and stagnation

Its not that I haven't been using my camera since the first of the year, the problem is the subjects haven't really been something that I feel is appropriate to share in this venue. They've all been very personal.

On the left is a picture I took of my youngest daughter. My wife really likes the pictures they always take of the kids of families that get the new houses on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

I really want to get better at taking pictures of the kids. This one seems to have captured her natural joyous side.

One of the hard parts in doing shots like this was keeping Mom out of the scene. She was alway trying to straighten things and just kept telling her that if you want pictures that look natural, you can't stage them.

"Photo Idea Index", by Jim Krause, one of the books I got for Christmas, is full of some really cool ideas and experiments. Our family is going to be going through some adjustments over the next few weeks. I might take some free time that this is loosening up and attempt to practice a section a week from this book as an exercise and a reason to get creative. I haven't been feeling all that creative lately.

Also, next weekend, Brenda and I are heading to Fargo, ND for the MN state poker championship. Of course the camera is coming along. Travelling always seems to bring out the photographer in me. I've also wanted to shoot a poker tournament. Unfortunately, that will conflict with the reason I'm going up there. In order for me to photograph the tournament, I'll need not be in the tournament, and that's just not going to happen.