Category Archives: Photography

Convalescence, II

Party spoils. That drink was not mine.

It used to be that I drank cocktails in parts: my stomach was the big mixer and my brain its favorite victim. Friday night’s party taught me the meaning of “used to be” to a great extent.

With but four beers in me, a sip of tequila sunrise threw my stomach into a revolution whose magnitude would remind the French of their storied past, much as their lame present would. Gastric fortitude is one thing, the integrity of my facilities was another. Driven home thanks to a kind, non-drinking guest at said party, I drifted from one state of consciousness to the next. Coupled with intermittent stops to help me dry heave, I must say that despite my smugness I will admit that I was a total embrassment last night.

At this point I really don’t care if none of the people I met last night would even want to see me ever again. Part of my me-centric style says that I regret not having had two glasses of water before I crawled into bed more than I do looking like a drunk in front of my hosts. I have spent the day with a splitting hangover headache, and a stomach resisting any input, including water.

Having slept for more than nine hours during most of Saturday — not including the night’s sleep — I’ve learned one life lesson quite well: I’m not as invincible as I thought.

Regular blogging will resume on Monday.


sunset from my backyard

I am not dead. I have been resting as I have been very ill for the past two days. Usually when I get hit by a cold it either lasts weeks or hits me so hard I’m out for a day or two before I recover as if there were nothing wrong with me.

The photo above is one of the most beautiful sunsets I have captured from outside my home. Living on the east coast, awesome sunsets can be hard to come by, but thanks to lowered exposure value and just plain old luck I was able to pull this one off quite well.

I’ll be slowly recovering my mojo over the next week or so. I have things to do, too. However, I’d like to lead you, dear friends, to my public thank you note over at Electric Venom.

I was sarctastic when I said that archives are hardly revisited, because they serve one very important purpose, one that could probably be used in real life if one is self-aware enough: they remind us of how things were. Archives are our written memories, and they are the mirrors of progress and development as writers in general and specifically as bloggers.

Faking lomography

Digital photography at its purest is one thing; making use of the digital darkroom to manipulate and produce derivative art is another. I have no knowledge of the politics between the purists and manipulators. I know, however, that if I can do something with my digital photos, and they look good, why wouldn’t I?

I spent the better part of the day looking through lomographs. Photos taken on a lomo have a distinct quality to them. Slightly out of focus, with a haze in some, and most often the picture is oversaturated. The following photos are my own little attempt to duplicate the quality of a lomograph with my stock photos:

dog in sunset, original dog in sunset, hazy
path behind my backyard, original path behind my backyard, hazy and in sepia path behind my backyard, just hazy
another path, original another path, hazy

I have included the photos in their original form.

UPDATE (Feb1, 1229a): I had a little help from this tutorial.

Fun with snake lights

Composing photos blind — for example, trusting the position of the lens as it sits on an surface — is a risky thing. A lot of photos come out as crap, which is totally understandable. There is little to no control over what actually makes it into the photo. I keep the results of most of my blind-composed photos to myself, but this one turned out so-so:

twirling snake lights

No big version either; the 1600-pixel shot is a tad too grainy for my own taste. That’s me holding the damned lights. I would have taken another shot, since there is a chair in the corner and all that, but I noticed that all the spinning and twirling has caused the series circuit of LEDs in the snake light to be unstable.

The price we sometimes pay for art, hmmm?

Snow Day Recap

A fair, and early warning: this is a gratuitous slice of life post.

You don’t need a reason to help someone. — Zidane Tribal

Monday brought about severe weather conditions for my area in Maryland. Five inches of snow may not mean anything to some people living further north, or in the Midwest, but five to six inches of snow here can mean a shutdown of vital community functions: the mall, the local Wal-Mart, and did I mention schools already? Oh. And those.

Having considered the projected weather for the next few days, there was no way in hell that the nieces would be going anywhere anytime soon. The roads were covered in powdery snow. That didn’t stop me, however, from finding a ride from my good ol’ stepdad to go to my friend’s house. We usually spend his days off lounging around watching television and drinking more than a fair share of beer for both of us. The first night we had thirty six beers and two pizzas between the two of us.

The day after brought no comfort. The bad weather kept on coming, with incessant freezing rain and drizzle. My friend got a reprieve from work and he had no reason to take me home on such dangerous road conditions. This begun the second round of beer and pizza, and we all know what happens when I blog drunk: a post like Ultimate End.

It was during this time that I maintained a correspondence with Boi From Troy regarding a site design for which I volunteered. Coming home from my buddy’s house my family and I went out to Costco for a taste of bliss. If Matt Mullenweg calls happiness a fresh stack of CDRs, what do you have when you have two for the price of one? Bliss, I tell ya, bliss. Once in the warmth of my hell-cave I went to work with Scott, and the results are a source of great pleasure for both parties. I am proud of my work.

waking up... or is it? buy one, take one it will be a long time before I buy CDRs again

Finally, I also assisted Val Prieto in a design conundrum for a pet project of his. The resulting conversation has, in a way, helped me recover some faith in humanity. A true gentleman, he has shown nothing but appreciation and gratitude. For that I would like to return the thanks.

As the day comes to an end, I look back at the past few days and think to myself, “how about that? What a good few days it has been.”


Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. — Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Pardon the non-blogging for the day; I am at my friend’s house having fun. I took the following pictures as the sun was low in the sky this afternoon. The light of the setting sun provides me with that warm tone I like in a lot of my photos.

Chimes. Buddy's dog. Buddy's dog and the fence.
Porch ornament. Stuff on the porch. Other stuff on the porch.

I can only concentrate on things politic for so long before things take their toll on me. Like the day itself, I too need a rest.

Good night, everyone.

Finally, some holiday cheer

I have been out all day, having attended a party among close relatives. The presents weren’t few and unimportant to me; I did appreciate them greatly, but I have never had a noisier, livelier Christmas than today. There was plenty of food and (non-alcoholic) drink to go by; I think I ate today more than I have in the past week.

In the more than a year of blogging I have encountered so many interesting people; I’d like to take the time to greet everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or best tidings for whatever it is that you celebrate round this time of year.

I was able to squeeze in some photographic playtime for myself and another favorite subject, Light.

Some rocks in the driveway. Close-up shot of Christmas lights.
A shot of Christmas lights with no white balance correction. The photo looks like what it's supposed to look like. Almost the same shot, only this time, white balance correction has been used in order to compensate for the incandescent nature of the lights. They are now very sterile, and ugly.

The last photo is the same shot taken with white balance correction. Sometimes it is necessary, say, when taking portraits of people with incandescent light. Sometimes, it totally ruins what the picture is “supposed” to look like. In the case of the Christmas lights, white balance correction sterilized the photo, stripping it of warmth and character.

Breaking the light

I have a big thing for having different sources of light in my room. In a small room light is the key to having a visually appealing space.

Star Lamp from IKEA Snake light on one corner of the curtain rod mount
Snake light along the curtain rod. Fuzzy dice too. My lava lamp and other widgets on the corner of my desk.

These photos were taken with the flash off. At the full resolution of 1600 by 1200 pixels the photos are very grainy but when resized to 640 by 480 the grain isn’t as terrible. Of course, all photos are copyright I wouldn’t offer these as wallpaper; the bigger sizes are very unworkable. I hope you liked today’s eye candy.

Big Bright Blue

backlit shot of sky crab apple flowers big sky scene bare branches

In my photography, I am very fascinated by the clear blue sky. Growing up in the Philippines, in the center of Metro Manila, Big Bright Blue was usually occluded by the brown of city smoke, and by tall buildings, whose placement and eclectic architecture and all, hardly made the view as breathtaking as I usually see here and now. Climb up on a tall tower and you see the city, an expanse of brown and gray on the ground, a brown haze at the horizon and the blue of the sky. It was beautiful it its own way, but I grew up seeing it, getting used to it, that I couldn’t care less.

Landing into Detroit, I saw the scenery and the first thing I thought to myself was: “it’s so green!” Not that the Philippines doesn’t have its own share of green, no. There places minutes from the fringes of the city that are breathtaking as well, but I have not seen so much green, and so much pure, immaculate blue — Big Bright Blue as I now call it — until I have lived here. Maybe it is something that not everyone appreciates; I’m guessing that if you’ve grown up to this kind of scenery no comparison would be available. I hope my little account helps y’all appreciate the Big Bright Blue a little bit more.

Enjoy the photos. They’re clickable, and link to a 480 by 360 pixel larger version.

Wallpapers on demand

Nope, I’m not Jason D, whose photography is by far one of my favorites out there, but if you do notice that little rotating photo on the sidebar, I think I have my own little camera eye.

The shots are taken with an Olympus D-380, at 1600*1200 pixels at 72dpi. Obviously I like skyscapes, and trees, which means that whatever photos I do take are between April and October. I’m not sure if I like fall photography; I didn’t have a chance to try my camera with that yet.

Anyhow. If you want a wallpaper of a photo on the sidebar, here’s what you do:

First, right click on the photo and save the picture. The filename will have a PHP extension on account of the image rotation, so you’ll have to save it as a .BMP file. Save it somewhere you can retrieve it. Next, attach it to an email message and send it to wallpaper -at- onefinejay -dot- com. Include the size, in pixels, of the desired wallpaper. I will maintain the aspect ratio of the photos, so don’t expect me to make a 1280*768 wallpaper unless you want some cropping, which will then be at my discretion.

Expect me to respond soon; I have quite a lot of time on my hands. I will need to add my copyright notices to the photos, so that will be the only factor in considering the time frame.

I will not allow derivative works such as montages, collages, or any of the sort, to be made from my photos. If you wish to manipulate them, you’ll have to drop me a line again, and ask nice. The derivative work would also require a credit to me.

Not all photos are available for request, and please, one photo at a time only. Most of the nighttime photography tends to be tacky at 1024*768 resolution, and higher, so I cannot promise anything.

A few friends have seen the raw files, and like them. I will send them to you as maximum-quality JPEG files.

If you want to save me bandwidth please go to my blogroll page where you can refresh away, without costing me too much transfer.

I’ll be posting this in the blogroll page soon enough (hopefully more coherently) and I’ll be placing a link under the random photo once this entry rolls down reasonably far enough.

What can I say? One more reason to drop by my home online and establish a nice communication with me, right?

Do you know me?

For you life is a long trip
Terrifying and wonderful

convention center

Birds sing to you at night


The rain and the sun the changing seasons are true friends

chesapeake bay

Solitude is a hard won ally, faithful and patient


Yeah, I think I know you. (Words by Henry Rollins)