OC Pet Expo 2010

April 19, 2010

This past weekend Bryan and I attended the OC Pet Expo at the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. This was the first year we have gone to this event since this is the first year we are officially dog owners. About ten years ago my dad and I went to a similar event at the LA County fairgrounds and we left the event with tons of free stuff for our cats. We didn’t pay for a thing except admission, I thought this event would be similar. The admission to the expo is $12 per person, this is insanely high but I was willing to pay it as long as I got a plethora of free samples. Well the free samples were few and far between, we ended up paying for a majority of the “free samples” that were being offered. We started out in the dog buildings and were almost instantly drawn into the Alaskan Malamute rescue booth. Since we have our own Malamute mutt at home I had to drop a donation to them because Mals are just so darn cute. Along with the many doggy related vendors that lined the building each breed of dog had their own booth. Breeds such as Dachshunds, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands and breeds that I had never even heard of were on display. One breed that Bryan and I particularly fell in love with was the Anatolian Shepherd. The dogs that they had at their booth were very large and were the color of sheep, they had the sweetest faces. This is definitely a breed I will look into if we ever adopt again.

As we weaved our way through the two buildings we collected numerous samples of dog food and dog treats. Our friends Mark and Sarah were also at the event and we found them at the Rattlesnake Avoidance demo booth. Sarah was holding a dog that could only be described as a Rottweiler with the body of a Corgi. His owner’s called him a Runtweiler, we had to get a photo since I had never seen anything like him. We ended up having to make a trip back to the car because all the “free samples” we were getting was weighing us down. We stopped for a moment to see the Splash Dogs demo in which dogs are judged on their splashes into a large pool. Some of the dogs absolutely loved the water and jumped gleefully in. One dog in particular that we watched hesitated and seemed to be scared of the water, I’m sure he didn’t get high points but watching him proceed with caution before jumping in was pretty hilarious. We then made our way over to the Equine arena where they were having a Friesien demonstration. Friesiens are by far my favorite breed of horse and if you see my photos below you can see why, they are stunningly beautiful. By far the most expensive thing at the Pet Expo was the food, and unfortunately we got hungry while we were there. Our taco salads and drinks cost us nearly $30. Note to self: bring lunch and leave it in the car if we come back next year. To end our day at the Pet Expo we headed over to the Adoption building which was full of numerous rescue and adoption organizations. We found the booth for Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, which is where we got our two dogs from so of course I had to buy something from them. I ended up getting a magnet that says “I love my white German Shepherd” and a mug, cheesy I know but I definitely support their cause.
Check out a few photos from the Pet Expo below:

Photo 191-Photomerge

April 18, 2010

For our third class assignment we were taught how to merge multiple images in Photoshop CS4 to make one single image. Our instructor, Neil Sharum, asked us to shoot a minimum of three images. We could either choose to do a standard panorama or shoot one scene, on a tripod, slightly changing the scene a little with each shot. Bryan and I chose the latter. There are two techniques to merge photos in Photoshop. The first requires you to open up all the images you intend to merge, then go to FILE —> AUTOMATE —> PHOTOMERGE. This merges the three images, however the final merge can sometimes look ridiculous, for example, my final photomerge had no subjects in it. After the merge is done you most likely have to do some tweaking. Bryan and I both had to paint our subjects back into the picture. You do this by using the paint brush tool on the layer mask that is created for each photo.
The second way to merge photos is to again open all the images you would like to merge but this time open them side by side. Choose the photo that you would like to be your background image and drag the other photos on top of it. Then in the LAYERS tab create layer masks for the two photos that you dragged on top of your background. Use the paint bucket tool to make these layer masks black and then with the paint brush tool paint your subjects back in. This sounds completely complicated but it is actually very simple as long as the photographs you are using are photographed correctly. Below are the images Bryan and I created.

Photomerge by Jamie

Photomerge by Bryan

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

April 13, 2010

After reading online about the incredible wildflower bloomage that takes place at Anza-Borrego Desert Park every year around April I knew we had to check it out. We decided to go this past Saturday for a sunrise shoot. Anza-Borrego is about two and a half hours away from our house so in order to get there at 6:20am for the sunrise we had to leave at 3:30am. I can assure you, this is the earliest I have ever left my house to take pictures, I felt like a real dedicated photographer. Google Maps told us to take the 15 freeway to the 79 and to continue on the 79 until we reached San Felipe Road and make a few turns after that. If you are not familiar with the 79 you really don’t want to be as it is a one lane highway with zero street lights. Of course we were trying to beat the sunrise so it was pitch black on this windy little highway. We drove most of the way with our high beams on wondering to ourselves if we would actually ever see the turn off for San Felipe Road. We continued driving, we passed through a quaint little touristy town called Julian and ended up next to a lake called Lake Cuyamaca. The sun was just starting to come over the horizon so we stopped by this little lake and took a picture. We then continued on, but the sun was rising fast, we decided to turn into a camp site and see where we were at. Since Google Maps had obviously led us astray we punched the address into our GPS. We ended up being several miles off course, in fact we had to drive back the other way so we could get on the 78, which was not shown on our Google directions. As we drove back we stopped again at a place called Vista Point which overlooked the valley below. On top of the hill there were three large crosses which looked totally epic in the golden morning light. We finally started heading back so we can get to Anza-Borrego and we finally got there around 7:30am. That’s right, it took FOUR hours to get there. We ended up at the visitor’s center and stayed for about half an hour taking pictures of various flowers and cacti. You would think after that long drive we would have wanted to stay awhile but unfortunately due to park rules prohibiting dogs from going on any of the trails we had to leave our dogs at home. We knew we could not leave them all day in the house so after that initial thirty minutes of photographing we headed right back home. We didn’t get to see a lot of the wildflowers that were advertised on the parks website, but just as we are dedicated enough to wake up at the crack of dawn and drive for hours to take a few photos, we are even more dedicated to our dogs. On our way back we got to see how beautiful the scenery was off the 79, we even pulled over to take a few pictures. When we got home we were exhausted from all the driving but at least we have some great pictures to show for it.

To see more photos from our trip to Anza-Borrego check out our GALLERY.

Lake Cuyamaca put through Photomatix and made into an HDR

View from Vista Point also made into an HDR

Cross on top of the hill at Vista Point

Barrel Cactus in HDR

These yellow flowers were everywhere


More Cactus

I love shooting at F4

Blooming Cactus

Yes I was trying to be the tree

Bryan and I at the Visitor's Center

I loved this barbed wire

Wildflowers off the 79

Heading for home


Photo 191: Portraits

April 6, 2010

For our second project in our digital photography class we were asked to do portraits. I chose to do environmental portraits of my coworkers. To make my photos a little more artsy I converted them to black & white and added noise in Photoshop to make them have a more grainy film feel. I think they were very successful. I call my series; “Life in Customer Service”.

Bryan did his own environmental portraits while at the Dirt Devil Race. He shot his photos when the sun was coming up over Mission Trails so he got very beautiful golden light.