Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beer of the Month - June

If you've visited my photobucket, you'll see I have a section in there just for 'beer ads'. I started shooting my own magazine insert styled shots just for fun, trying to get a cool shot worthy of desktop know, beverages in their own natural habitat or something along those lines. When I try new beer while out, or in the store, I'll tell friends about the good ones I've had and pay the good experience forward; same goes for restaurants and hole in the wall take-out joints. Let me preface this particular series by saying please drink responsibly and more importantly don't drink and drive. Secondly, by no means am I an expert, rather experienced and in turn sharing my own experiences. That said, lets get this ship outta port.

The beer of the month for June is Warsteiner Pilsener. For the BMW enthusiasts out there this choice will be quite familiar as Warsteiner is a quite notable sponsor from German Touring Car (DTM) Racing Series in the 80's and 90's. This beer has the strong flavor and finish of a stout, but is light in color like a traditional lager. Traditional German beers are easy to recognize blindfolded due to the shared brewing methods and regional ingredients used. On my rating scale below, I give it 2 stars. You can sip this on a relaxed evening of conversation, TV or a poker game, but not in a higher paced social setting. Definitely a quality brew but for those without a refined palette, you should look elsewhere.

1 - Let a friend buy it.
2 - Solid choice.
3 - Enjoyable.
4 - Seek it out with great effort.

What keeps shooting interesting is creating excuses to capture new things. I'll try expanding themed posts to other items going forward, all while keeping the overall theme of this blog.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Green Thumb - Ep.1

Last year Beth took a stab at growing odd vegetables in pots on our deck, so we could make less nickle and dime grocery store trips for things like peppers and tomatoes. She started pretty late in the season last year so in September we ended up with a bell pepper the size of a big toe and maybe two regular sized tomatoes that only grew to the size of a Cadbury Egg. The saving grace was our two cherry tomato plants that grew quickly but due to the number of plants only yielded a handful of 'berries' a week. This year we're trying again, starting earlier (last month) and adding some additional herbs to the mix. Rosemary plants are pretty robust and did well in the pot last year, so we're going at it again using a plant from my parents collection (which will come up again in later episode), including some radish plants they donated as well.

Unfortunately half of the small plants from this years effort struggled with the transition to the new plant pots and soil. A failed experience with a Topsy Turvey (as seen on TV) put into the mix and she was batting 400. One of the tomato plants that never faltered is growing well and should be showing small fruit a couple of weeks or so. 

It appeared we had the same droopy branch & root rot problem with a hearty tomato plant that she got from my parents to replace one of the failed originals, as it was watered sufficiently but wilted in the sun. Recalling some old info my mom told me long ago I think I figured out the problem though; not enough oxygen getting to the roots. I added some holes to the potting soil with the sticks we use for vine guides and monitored the moisture levels with a watering globe...even did the soil aeration for the plants that were doing well. Now, after a week or so of the new setup, all of our plants are on the rise at a very noticeable rate.

Adding another small vegetable or two to the basil pot may be down the line, but getting what's currently growing a little further along is the current job.

Friday, June 18, 2010

10th Hole.

My sister in law Alena approached me to work an event coverage gig and I really didn't know what to expect. The job was taking courtesy group shots for people participating in a very cool local charity event called the Showcase of APG Technology Golf Tournament. Employees (as well as friends and family) working for many locally operating businesses in the Engineering, Science and Technology fields pay to participate in a 18-hole, one round golf tournament. All proceeds from this annual event, which took place at Maryland Golf & Country Club (Bel Air, MD), go to local student scholarships. The friendly and accommodating organizers of this event for whom Alena works, is the local chapter of a group called Women in Defense. Advertising was my payment, and once I found out more about what this event was for I was even happier I was able to take on the job. Please check out these sites if you'd like to find out more.

It was a cloudy day which was disappointing, but thankfully major rain stayed away so everything went along without a hitch. Everyone was enthusiastic regardless of skill level, it was definitely fun to be a part of. A couple groups were even taking cellphone shots for their work p2p networking pages, so hopefully they end up seeing these shots here (group pictures were printed out and delivered @ the event).

Proudly for me this event was also the public debut of my company logo. When I began formulating a design for my brand I reached out to my buddy Ethan to work his magic. For background, Ethan runs his own design company called 8380 Labs. His firm does a variety of design work for national businesses as well as his own line of automotive enthusiast inspired apparel. I was excited to see the finished product when he was done and promptly put it at the very bottom of this site as a 'contact me' button. Check out the 8380 Labs page to see his work, you may just need him for a project.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Mhmmm. I look forward to vacations every year and always plan to go some place new. If I can't afford to go to the 'some place new' I want, which happens often strangely enough, I stick with winners from the past. In a couple weeks I'll be going back to San Diego (and even more importantly Las Vegas) for the first time since 07'. It's been long over due, but well worth the wait; what's the thrill if you can do it any time you want, right?

There's something about travelling that appeals to me. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate time off from work in all it's lovely forms; laying around the house doing nothing but napping...catching up on DVR'd television shows...BBQ with friends over and a brew or two...but what's even better is changing your whole field of view; you close your eyes, snore on a plane for a couple hours, open em' and nothing is familiar; well familiarity in the form of sun, warmth and or beach is alright ha. I learned how important variety is to a happy mind a long time ago. Change can be trying depending on the circumstances, but eventually we all seek it in some form or fashion to break up the annual grind.

Stay tuned...

Friday, June 11, 2010


The forming of relationships is a fickle thing; a couple life choices, a few key spoken words or an action or two is the difference between having a seedling with potential or compost. Everyone goes through hundreds of life altering experiences and depending on what's going on with you when you meet a potential mate, there's either going to be the opportunity to see what happens...or not. Once you're past that stage, there has to be established trust, joint commitment and joint effort to keeping that small plant growing. This can be difficult, because depending on where you are in your own life, there's a million things out there to pull you away from committing to doing anything, let alone growing a plant with somebody. If you are fortunate enough to get past that stage, you're in luck! Now you get to learn how to share your space and (even more of your) time. Once you're good to go in the space and extra time sharing department and a flower or two starts to bloom from your plant together, that's when the real work begins.  As you mature you understand that dropping the 'y' in 'your' is half the battle.

Taking relationships to their full potential takes trust, confidence and an absence of fear. There must be no fear of failure, no fear of what's around the corner and no fear of what can go wrong...and if something does go wrong, no fear of the choices you'll have to make. Optimism and faith are (y)our friends in this gauntlet of sorts, as are (actual) friends and family who care about your goals. The large steps we take towards making the most of relationship potential in life are full of memorable moments. Here's to those that embrace this challenge, look for this challenge and those that support them.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You down with OPC?

Yea you know me! (O)ther (p)eoples (c)hildren are awesome...little people, developing personalities, smilin' and a gigglin', cryin', crappin' and a poopin' and they have their own parents to take care of them when I leave ha. Seriously though, I'll be in the baby makin' business sooner than later (gulp), but in interim the children of my family and friends are a good glimpse of my possible living ghost(s) of Christmas future. I 'strategerize' on possible parenting techniques while watching the successes and not-quite-successes of these young parents learning on the fly; they're admirable to say the least.

I enjoy taking pictures of the pride and joy of those close to me. A point in time only happens once and capturing it for later inspection is fun to a time capsule of sorts. Candid shots with infants are great, but trying to get a planned picture is tricky to do. Thankfully children are pretty at ease with me, which makes things smooth like peanut butter...well actually, the 'smoothness' is way more tied to rest and hunger levels of said child at the time of the shoot than my presence alone.  Ask me how I know.

These are some of my and customers' favorites from previous shoots. Currently, these kids are running around and learning what they can and cannot do within their respective homes, but they were immobile newborns not so long ago.

To be fair, Cassius (last pic) isn't as far along as Nina and Daniel are; he was just born last fall.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Cars have been a part of my life since I came out the womb. I love the story my parents used to tell me about leaving the hospital as a newborn in my dads (s)old 77' 911 Targa. I always looked forward to being driven to elementary school in that thing; it was a rare occurrence only happening on special days, because his 73' Super-Beetle handled most of the daily driver duties back then. My pops doesn't drive with gusto like he used to, he's a senior who relaxes in his garden retired now, but I remember like yesterday smiling with delight as he maneuvered through bad drivers, cursing occasionally (which always made me laugh under my breath), getting me to school with time to spare. He's always been into true drivers cars and that definitely rubbed off on me although unspoken. Both of these aircooled German engineered autos had a lot in common: rear-wheel driven, manual transmission and a rear engine in a boxer layout...oh yes. The most important thing they had in common is that they sparked the obsession that I currently live with. I don't think I'm going to get into any of my current or previous projects here (may have to start another blog for that), but this love of cars, German cars especially, pulled me into the car show scene as soon as I was able to inform myself how, where and when.

I experienced my first car show pretty late in life, at about 19. It was an ‘Import’ show in PA. I took pictures with disposables, developed them at Giant and CVS on the cheap and put them in a shoebox to check out when I had downtime. The internet just started to get easier to access (took advantage of the 24/7 computer labs at UMBC), but I hadn't discovered online car forums yet...just reading MotorTrend and Road&Track like I had been for years before then, but like a message from above specialty mags like Sport Compact Car and European Car started becoming available and everything just clicked. This is what I always wanted to know more about and even though I had no car of my own yet, I would soon. Looking back I didn't know how much money it would turn into spent on parts, paintwork, upgraded parts and other customization, but looking into my garage now I have nothing but fond memories and 'drive' for what's next on the menu.

I went from shooting with disposables to cheap digicams, upgraded digicams to more expensive models, to where I am now with a DSLR I want to replace with a newer and better model next year (I hope). Along with the car builds, wrenching, repairs, modifications and other nonsense those of my ilk go through on a daily basis, one of the best parts of this lifestyle is perfecting the craft, sharing experiences, techniques and good times (and bad times that must be overcome with combined knowledge/effort) alongside others embodying the same mindset. This is what the car scene has been to me. A lot of close friends and associates that I still keep up with have come from my years hanging around the scene, putting cars together and taking pictures of everyone’s evolving automotive obsession over the years. It's been a fun ride so far.

One of the shows I make it to every year since about 2000 is H2o International. This VW and Audi enthusiast based show takes place in Ocean City, MD every year at Ocean Downs Racetrack (although this year may change) and usually represents the last big show of the season.

After this show every year the cycle continues...I figure out what I want to do for the following season, plan a budget that'll get blown out the window, dig in my vast archives and skull for inspiration and start saving money like squirrels save food for winter. It’s not surprising the aftermarket automotive products segment is a multi-billion dollar industry…and that’s just in the US. Regardless of how many newcomers arrive to push this new ‘I'm only doing this so you look at me' and 'spoon feed me what I need to know' generation of faux enthusiasts, I’m happy to play my part in keeping what’s left of the enthusiast old school still around.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Floating through life.

Tis' the season for relaxing outside. I've been fortunate to have some good friends with things I can't afford (or care to spend my money on). Some people put money into vacation homes, nice cars or entertainment for their houses and some are incoherently drawn to the sea and put their efforts into spending time on the water; as such, going bigger and better with boats is the end game. My buddy Phil is one of the latter and has always been gracious enough to invite us out to enjoy his passion with him, along with his family. This shot was taken on the way back to dock last summer after a nice afternoon brunch on the water. I never spent much time thinking about boats or water sports as a kid, but I'm glad I got exposed to it several years ago; in coastal Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, boating is a big pastime as the Chesapeake Bay puts water and beach with easy reach of thousands of homes. There's a lot in Maryland I didn't know existed until I got to see it from the water...perspective is a wonderful thing to have more of.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who goes there?

Well this has been a long time coming. As some close to me know, I've taken my sweet time to get my act together on producing a site/blog to help showcase my content. I didn't feel like starting from scratch so blogspot fit the bill (thanks Google). I've been capturing said content with a variety of cameras for over a decade and I never really had a good place to put it where I could present it in the environment I felt it deserved, regardless of what subjects were involved...forums be damned.

This is the first picture I'll put up - pink beer. This shot makes me happy for a lot of reasons; not only was this taken on my honeymoon, the year before last to my lovely wife Beth, this shot represents what Friday means to all of us; a bar and a nice drink. Not saying we all equate drinking with relaxation or even drink for that matter, but whatever is at the end of the money earning rainbow for you that gets you through hump day, this is 'that' for me. Actually, cleaning my car is 'that' for me too, but this I can do sitting down with friends and family so it wins by default. We work hard to play hard and I enjoyed a few of these pink beers from the good bartenders at an 'unnamed resort' in Ochos Rios, Jamaica back in Dec' 08. Basically it's an ice cold Red Stripe (Horaaay!) with a shot of Campari liquor in it. Local rumor is that it helps in da sack, mon.

Well this is new for me so I'll figure it out as I go; I've always liked to ad lib as it keeps things fresh and organic. I'm hoping to post a bit a few times a week; some classic material, some new. As I get inspired I'll snap and share. Might even share work from some of my jobs. Time will tell, but thanks for looking. Last but not least, feel free to subscribe and follow this blog as well as my photobucket account.

Capturing Life's Fabric with Technology.