Monday, September 29, 2008

Many Colors, All The Same

This is one of my most recent captures, at the Getty Villa in the Malibu/Pacific Palisades area. I loved how different all these lilypads were and yet they were all lilypads. I like to see this as a metaphor for life- we are all different colors, and yet we are all human beings. I wish we could act as if we were all brothers and sisters.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Reflection In A Pond

I love capturing reflections in water. This one is in a pond at a nature preserve near Tarpon Springs, Florida. You can see the trees, clouds and sky reflected in the water, and to add texture, the leaves and some green plant life is floating on top.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate- To Upgrade Or Not

I have Paint Shop Pro X2 which is definitely the poor man's alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It wasn't just the cost that convinced me to purchase PSP instead of Photoshop, but what I perceived to be a much more user-friendly system. I could be wrong, but the choice was made and I will stick with it, for now.

I've been working with the PSPX2 for less than a year and I have to be honest, I'm not thrilled. It's very slow and buggy, so when I read that there was an upgrade, PSPX2 Ultimate, that some people were claiming fixed some of those issues, I was delighted. Although I wasn't thrilled to be paying for what would amount to a patch, and a few extras. I decided, however, to go ahead and purchase it. For a limited time they were offering the Ultimate as an upgrade for those who already had the X2 for $29.99, but frankly, it isn't worth the cost. I think the price has gone up, since.

The Ultimate, comes with a 2 GB USB flash drive (which you can get for $10.00 on sale at Target), a background remover plug in (who cares), Corel Painter Photo Essentials 4 (they just took away all the painter effects from X2 and added them here- and I would rather they were in X2, Media Software Recovery (to retrieve lost photos etc on reformatted memory cards- I could care less), Creative Content Pack with new frames and tubes, but for the life of me, I couldn't find any new frames. That's about it for the Ultimate, and to add insult to injury it's still the same slow, buggy software as before.

If you are considering upgrading to the Ultimate, I wouldn't, but that's just my opinion.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Need To Shoot- Or - Could You Please Hold Still

I love this cartoon. It so captures the essence of a photographer's passion and the need to capture everything we see, and the often frustrating times we have with un-cooperative subjects, weather and light.

For an enlarged version go to the source:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Online Shopping Scams- How to get the best deal without being scammed

If it's too good to be true, it probably is. A statement, as cliche as it might be, that holds true for pretty much anything in life, including shopping.

When we are in the market for a high-ticket item we all want the best deal possible, and with prices that vary, to a huge degree, between retailers and on-line marketers, the urge to go with the cheapest can often land us in major trouble.

The Internet has made it easier to shop around, and with the click of your mouse you can buy pretty much anything.

I am looking for a new camera and I have been looking into the Canon EOS Rebel XSi. Prices (for the camera with lens) range between $649.00 and over $1,000.00. All these sellers (from camera shops to places like Best Buy) are selling the same item, but profit margins obviously differ for each. So when I saw an ad for the same camera for $409.00 I decided to check it out. was not only selling the camera kit (with lens), their package also included a bunch of other accessories. Sounds great right? Wrong! I wondered why their price was substantially cheaper than the least expensive one, so I googled their website and came up with a slew of complaints. It appears to be a bait and switch operation, which, in the long run, would probably wind up costing you more than purchasing from a reputable buyer.

One of the cheapest places for my camera turns out to be itself, not one of their merchants. and Circuit City also had some of the cheapest prices.

Your best bet, when it comes to finding the best deal for whatever you want to buy, do your research. Know what you want and then google away. Check some of the comparison sites and then check dealer reputation on

Save yourself from being ripped off by being a savvy consumer.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Desert Flowers in Mentryville, California

Just got back from a trip to L.A. and took a load of pics.
I decided I wanted to find a place, that might have some different terrain, more stark and colorless than the very colorful flora I usually take, and considering L.A. is so close to the desert I thought I would try and check out some ghost towns.

I asked for some recommendations from a friend, and was told to go to Bodie, California, which is about 4 hours or so from Sherman Oaks, where my sister lives. But, I want to save that (and a trip to Yosemite (which is close to Bodie) for when I upgrade my camera, so it will have to wait until my next trip.

So, I did some research, and the only placec close enough was Mentryville, in the Santa Clarita Valley, about 30 minutes from Sherman Oaks.

Packed my gear and headed noth for Santa Clarita, got off at Lyons Road and drove it until it ended at Mentryville, an insignificant, not very interesting bit of history. It was closed to the public, to boot. But I drove around and took some photos of the surrounding mountains and some very interesting dried flowers. Haven't a clue what they are, even after trying to research it on the net, so if anyone knows what these are, please let me know.

The photo looks as though it's sepia, but this is exactly what it looked like.

Can't wait to go to Bodie next time.