Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Little Pieces of History

My Mom, Betty Hansen, has been slowly dispersing her worldly goods out to her children, grand children and great grand children. The latest is a box of Legos and Loc Bloc sets. She worked as a Lego Designer/artist for Samsonite in the model shop in Loveland, Colorado during the nineteen sixties and early seventies. The Samsonite Lego plant itself was pretty cool as it had giant lego bricks decorating the outside of the building. They produced a lot of Lego bricks under license for the Danish Company Lego out of that building. Many of the block sets sold during that time period featured models that she had designed. She once made a four foot tall crystal cathedrals from clear blocks. She also created displays for stores. Once she built a giant chess set out of B+W blocks for the FAO Schwartz Toy Store in NY city. She also created a giant six foot Christmas tree for them one Christmas complete with decorations.It was amazing! I remember the tree had to be broken down into multiple boxes to be shipped. When we moved from Colorado to Northern California she continued her artistry working with plastic blocs by getting hired by Loc Bloc a Japanese competitor to Lego down in Los Angeles. She would fly down to LA to meet with them periodically as well as ship completed models she had created down to them. As a kid it was pretty exciting when she would bring home extra Legos that had been swept up off the factory floor or ones that had mixed colors from when they changed colors on the molding machines.It was like Christmas when she came home with a bag full of blocks. This is a little bit of Lego as well as my Mom's history.#teamcanonusa God's light and love to all in the upcoming year, chris

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Parking Lot Perch and a Black Cat

I'm always on the lookout for interesting perches to use in my bird photography. While walking across the shopping center parking lot at the end of last week I spotted a small downed branch covered in lichen. I noted where it was located and reminded myself to pick it up on the return trip to my pick up. Sure enough I forgot to grab it. Monday afternoon I was back shopping at the same shopping center when it hit me. Where was that cool perch? I turned from where I was headed and walked back to where I was parked previously. After a bit of looking I was surprised to find it. I tossed it into the bed of the pick up did my shopping and headed home. This morning I clamped the branch beside the bird feeder. Then I put up a new neutral background behind it. I gathered up my photography gear and climbed into the photography blind to wait. Being winter there only a few species that come into the bird feeder. I photographed Chestnut Backed Chickadees, Steller's Jays and Red-Breasted Nuthatches. I was interrupted by the yowling of a cat after about twenty minutes. All of the birds left and a stray black cat that has been hanging around for about a week approached the blind. I called to it and it cautiously came closer. I held out my hand and it sniffed it. Then big shock to me it came into the blind and climbed up into my lap! I petted it for awhile and then walked with it to the house where I gave it a bowl of cat food. It ate all the food and then wandered back into the forest. What a wonderful morning. Merry Christmas to one and all, chris all images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MKII camera and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550 EX speedlight set to minus one and one third stops.Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400, Exposures varied. #teamcanon, #withmytamron

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Christmas Cat

There may be some value to the Blasted Cat after all. She is pretty photogenic. This morning I wanted to create a Christmas Cat image for Annika. (It's her cat) The thought of hauling out the studio lights and setting up the studio backdrop seemed just too daunting. I grabbed a shop light and a simple gold reflector instead. For a backdrop I set up a red knitted throw on the couch. I grabbed a short string of clear Christmas tree lights and draped them over the back of the couch arm. I set the shop light onto the top of the couch facing downward and leaned the gold reflector against the coffee table facing the couch. With the shop light as my main light and the reflector set up as my secondary. I was set. I let the cat in and gave her the idea it was her decision to settle down onto the throw on the couch. When I could see that she was comfortable I brought my tripod over and got down on my knees with the camera in front of me on the far end of the couch.She was undisturbed as I watched her preening away. Every now and then she would stop to take a break and look around. I clicked the shutter every time she looked up. Of the five best ones this was my favorite and I'm sure it will be Annika's as well. God's love and blessings to all, chris This image was created with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i camera and a Canon EF 28-200mm lens. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 8.0 at 1/13th of a sec.#teamcanonusa

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Flying Buzz Saw the HeliSaw

Earlier this week as I drove home up the road leading to my house I found that it was close to being blocked by pickups from PG+E,several tree services,a construction company and Calfire. There were close to a dozen vehicles and about fifteen people sporting hard hats and safety vests standing around in groups. Something was up and I had no clue as to what it was! My first thought was that it was a safety meeting of some type to go over the next steps in clearing the trees from around the power lines as this has been an ongoing project for about the last three weeks. Those thoughts drifted out of my head as I went indoors to catch up on some image processing for a job I have been working on.Half an hour later I was interrupted by the sound of a helicopter roaring over the house and circling the Cul de sac seemingly just above the tree tops. Determined now to find out what was going on I grabbed my camera and ran out of the house. I was greeted to an incredible sight. There was a helicopter hovering over the road with what can only be described as a giant buzzsaw hanging from it. There were eight whirling saw blades one above the other on a column with a motor powering them. The helicopter was slowly moving parallel to the powerline trimming off tree branches at an incredible rate. The pilot I was shocked to observe was looking down at the saw from a bubble window sticking out on the side of the aircraft all the while keeping the helicopter level and steady. This must have taken some incredible piloting skills because as the saw moved from tree to tree the helicopter would start to rock in the air.It was just crazy! I watched them until they went around the corner and i couldn't see it anymore. The following day I heard the helicopter working further down the ridge from me. They had traffic controls and I couldn't get a good view of it in operation so I decided to head down to the local airport to watch them refuel. Luckily my timing was good because I got there just in time to catch them landing to refuel both the saw and the helicopter. Landing as I observed it is pretty tricky. They have to very slowly lay down the saw and its supporting control column or they can damage it. The pilot very carefully set the end of the saw on the tarmac and then slowly and carefully backed away and down. It took a close to three or four minutes of hovering gently downward to accomplish this. After landing they did a hot refueling of the helicopter by bringing out a small fuel truck. They also checked on the saw by first looking over the saw blades, checking the oil and refueling the saw with a five gallon gas can. I was very surprised to find that the saw only uses a couple of gallons of fuel per hour. I had expected that it would use a lot more.The pilot and the mechanic chatted while he took a break having a snack while using the saw motor as a table. I asked the pilot how hard it is to watch the saw and fly with the helicopter being bumped around by the saw and the breezes. He simply replied,"It takes some getting used to." A few minutes later he walked to the helicopter and climbed in.He slowly lifted the saw up into the air then rising up higher circled to the west and more tree trimming. Afterwards I did some research and found out that the whole set up is called a Helisaw. God's love and blessings upon your week, chris All images were created with a Canon EF 28-200mm lens mounted on either a Canon EOS 7D MkII or a Canon EOS Rebel T1i camera. Exposures and settings varied.#teamcanonusa

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Steamed Up for Christmas

Every year the Roots of Motive Power runs one of its steam locomotives for the Christmas Train or Holiday Express to the delight of steam fans, children and many others. This volunteer Willits, CA organization gives away free rides and a warm serving of hot chocolate to each and every one of its passengers on its short track around the ballfields on the eastern side of Willits off Commercial street. It's a holiday favorite looked forward to by many every year. This year it was raining but that didn't seem to deter many as there were riders all day long. Thanks to the Roots of Motive Power and all the work that they do. Merry Christmas and God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i and a Canon 28-200mm lens. Basic camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400, F 8.0 shutter speeds varied. #teamcanonusa

Portrait of a Fat Squirrel

Outside right now the rain is pouring down cats and dogs plus some deer and field mice thrown in. Perfectly lovely day to sit and process some images I'm behind on. After turning on my computer and opening my library up the first image I see is a misfiled image of a fat squirrel. I love the fine details of the whiskered face and the pose though I'm not fond of the rumpled fur and fat chubby body below. Hmmnn... am I having fat discriminating thoughts about a poor squirrel? What strange thoughts for a rainy day.Perhaps something to really think about on a deeper level. Especially if I apply it to the humans in my own world. I crop the image and decide it makes a really nice portrait. My thoughts move on to the task at hand. God's blessings upon your day and Thank you, Lord for the rain, chris This image was created with a Canon EOS 7D MKII camera and a Canon 100-400 IS v1 telephotolens at 400m. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800 F 8.0 at 1/50th of a sec. A Canon 550 EX Speedlight was used for fill light.#teamcanonusa