Fair Fun

My memories of the fair are pretty fond.   I really looked forward to meeting up with friends and riding rides, people watching and eating carnival food.  My kids, being 9 and 6 get excited about the fair and my daughter looks forward to meeting up a friend who comes along with us.   Since Jena doesn't share my appreciation for rides, I'm happy that her friend talks her into trying new rides each year.   

This year, the new-to-us came in the form of a hang-glider ride at the bottom left of this photo.   My daughter actually rode it a couple times, I did too - it was awesome fun!

After the rides and festivities and spending nearly 30 minutes watching the model train layout setup inside the coliseum, we got the kids settled in the car and was able to do a quick flyaround of the fairgrounds.    Careful to keep the Inspire 1 over surrounding fields and not over people, I'm pretty happy with the resulting unedited video.   The lights always make for an awesome aerial spectacle!

The link to the video fly around is here:  https://youtu.be/iDuez6Z6VKw

Smurf as a Verb

I was watching Smurfs, (the cartoon) the other day, like most grown ups. :)  I had forgotten how magical the word Smurf is.  It is quite versatile as a noun, pronoun, verb or adjective.  It described people, places, events and more.   Pretty incredible!

Outside in my front yard, I got down at eye-level to ask the Smurfs that live there if they could explain to me the grammatical capabilities of Smurf.  Cars passed by slowly, I can almost hear them ask, 'what's that fool doing laying on his belly in the yard looking at mushrooms?'

Have a smurf-er-ific weekend! :)

Crazy Clear September Nights

Here on the Gulf Coast, it isn't common to have such reasonable humidity and clarity in September.  Great for Astrophotography and Astronomy in general!     This is a 10 minute single exposure taken via a remote observatory in New Mexico.  

This particular scope was a Takahashi FSQ-ED 106mm.  I love everything about this scope!  Probably my favorite 'rental'!   I like it because it is equipped with the same SBIG STL-11000M 10 megapixel imager that I used for awhile on my telescope here at home but with the better optics that I can't really justify owning here on the hazy- humid Gulf Coast :)

This is probably the clearest single Luminance frame I've ever captured.  Once I combine them for color it should be a good wall-hanger for my office!  :)

I've been banking my observatory hours most of the summer and I've scheduled out most new-moon nights out through November.  Should be some good astrophotography opportunities ahead!


Somewhere on a marker board, a phd is scribbling physics symbols that we laypeople could barely interpret into complex equations that are thought to symbolize the nature of the universe.

I don't really fully comprehend this but the way I understand it is apparently some of these PHD brainiacs theorize that our universe exists within a sea of other universes and more specifically that our universe may exist on the membrane of an extra-dimensional bubble afloat in a vast sea of other bubbles.  Maybe the Big Bang was an event spurred from the collision of two such bubbles or some other interaction of cosmic objects in this extra-dimensional space.

Still, somewhere else in the world a couple of young guys are sitting around a campfire, smoking a joint and having a similar conversation:

"Whoa.  Dude, What if... the whole universe.. is like.. in an enormous soap bubble. Just floating... "

"AH man, what if it popped!  That would be loud man!"

"DUDE!  That could totally have been the Big Bang!!"

As a culture, we'll treat the first guy with reverence and respect.  We will fund his research even if it doesn't go anywhere. The second scenario, most of us would look down on him and maybe even suggest he quit smoking so much weed, perhaps get a haircut and a job.

The point is that good ideas can come from anywhere; the Harvard grad or the surfer drop-out.  Even if the delivery is off or isn't polished, a good idea is still a good idea!   Sometimes, I don't think we keep this in our own pea-brains when we hear new ideas from unexpected voices.

Cast Net

Having not grown up on the Gulf Coast - I didn't grow up swinging a cast net like many of our kids do. I'm still a little fascinated at this form of fishing. At any rate, this little fella was casting off the pier as I was snapping some photos, I'm happy to have caught one of his better tosses.

I haven't posted anything in a few weeks, I've had a couple of interesting projects that aren't really photography-related underway that I'm looking forward to sharing in the coming weeks! More on that, later..

Our kids head back to school tomorrow and everyone gets back into a routine.. Hope your week, ahead is great!

Unfamiliar Perspectives

Even though I've been working with Drone and Aerial photography for a couple of years, I sometimes still get surprised by how certain things look from above.

Take the Fairhope Pier.    It is probably one of the most oft-photographed features of the Gulf Coast.  We all know it has lights and they create reflections on the water, yet before drone photography became a thing, I really didn't consider what the implications of the lights would be from 200 ft up.  The repeating patterns and lines are pretty cool to see!

Have a great weekend!

Summer - Holiday Commute

The beaches were a bit more cluttered with leftover trash than usual and the northbound roads were a bear.   I think this all means it was a good weekend for the businesses on the Gulf Coast this 4th of July Weekend.

I stopped by one of my favorite Taco joints, Bravo Tacos and saw they had sold out for the weekend! Hopefully that's awesome news for our Gulf Coastal vendors.

As the BBQ and Fireworks high for the weekend wears off, I hope you have safe travels to wherever you call home and a great week!

Blues Turn to Golds

I wanted to paint the scene for you, when this photo was taken because parts of it are a little humorous.   The plan for the outing was there were a couple of motion sequences I needed for a video project.    Basically, I was looking for golden hour light with some low and fast passes along the surf and a pull up and away to reveal the Bayway in the distance, the Mobile Skyline if possible.

I parked at Bayfront and made the walk through the Village Point Park Preserve with the Inspire suitcase in tow.   This thing really needs rollers.

I noticed some cars at the event haul near the main park but didn't think much of these until I got to the Village Point pier.    A small wedding party was hanging around near the pier, getting their photos taken by a photographer person.   

One thing that I know for sure about most women, is that flying robots have no place in their special day.  Armed with this life truth, I walked a comfortable distance away from them, in fact I kept going until I could no longer see the white of the Bride's gown.  

I made one of the eagle-scout-project benches my home.

Listening to tunes on my iPhone, in a few minutes I was able to get the Inspire deployed within a few minutes and began filming.    It was hot, it was sticky, there are creatures biting.  Typical southern Alabama coastal moments.

I was able to get a battery of filming done between crowds and passer bys.   Eventually, though - the session was cut somewhat short by some curious wildlife.

Normally, I wouldn't take photos of the kids that stop and ask questions about Drones.   But these two kids were cracking me up for a number of reasons. 

The boy had no reservations whatsoever to get entirely too close to the quad, even when flying.   Chasing it, trying to grab it out of the air - all seemed like a great idea in his little mind.

I didn't see their parents around, so I cut my session short. 

The moral of this story is, beware of wildlife during your drone adventures.  If a wild one gets clipped by a spinning propeller, it would certainly be my fault, parents or none.   If you are flying a drone and feel the situation is no longer safe - stop.  

There are always more sunsets out there to enjoy. :)

Lagoon and the Gulf

The area around Johnson beach, looking back towards Fort Mcree.    I think as beaches go, this area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is about perfect.   I unfortunately don't get down there as much as I'd like and never get down there in good light.    

I would imagine around 2 AM the Milky Way starts to become visible this time of year - something I hope to go down and try to photograph at some point...

On the south side, you have the Gulf.  It isn't cluttered with Jetski rentals, chairs, condos and swimmer buoys.  You have sand, surf and whatever you carry with you.

On the North side is the Lagoon.   It bends around enough to give you a sense of privacy.   Hermit crabs, shells and sand dollars scatter amongst the gentler surf.

Comical Origins of Serious Passions

Have you ever stopped to consider the origin of some of your interests and passions? 
I was pondering on this the other day while playing Indiana Jones Pinball with some friends.

Personally, I'm heavily drawn to the general idea of exploration.  Exploration of foreign lands, exploration of space, exploration of knowledge.   Ironically, much of this as at odds with my chosen career of a person who gets paid literally to sit at a desk all day long.

As the knight in the Last Crusade might say, "He chose, poorly."

But where did I get those notions?   The plane pictured here is one of two on Disney's cruise-ship island in The Bahamas.   The story goes that at least one of them was a derelict, left behind when this island (with a runway!) was used for drug smuggling.

What this plane really reminds me of is LaunchPad McQuack's plane from Duck Tales!   I would come home from school and plop down in front of the TV to catch Scrooge McDuck's adventures with his nephews nearly every day.   It had adventure, it had travel, the mystique of treasure hunting and clear plots around the virtues of working smartly.

With these visuals and those of Indiana Jones, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and similar movies it really is no wonder why I'm fixated on the idea of exploration and anxious to go out and see the world.   Even when chained to a desk! :)

So my question is this.  Does popular media form our children's later inclinations or does it inform them?  Are my kids destined to be obsessed with mining and building things? :)

Duck Tales is scheduled to be rebooted in 2017.  I wonder if Scrooge McDuck's money bin has been affected by inflation or diminished in any way by bad derivative investments in the sub-prime lending crisis.   I guess we will have to wait and see!

Just out of Reach

All too often, lately when I'm out for a leisure photo walk, the leisure is somewhat removed because of the presence of a camera drone.   The leisure photo walk usually turns into a Drone Q&A with spectators and the whole bit.   I don't mind this but I do miss opportunities for shots when there is a crowd of onlookers with questioners.

It was considerably more relaxing recently to just throw on some sneakers and earbuds for a walk / run.  No suitcase-full-of-drones, just a mirrorless camera and an okay sunset.  

Need to do that more often for both mental and physical health! 

Working Late @ Austal

Chasing down a sunset, these crazy summer clouds make for interesting drama in the skies.     I am thankful that the armed gentlemen around the port @ Austal didn't decide I was a foreign spy and start shooting at the stationary blinky light in the sky.

I've heard tales of a few jet-skiers getting a good scare from men on megaphones as they approached too closely.   The Inspire-1's no fly zone indicator didn't complain, so I'm going to assume this was kosher. :)

Looks like quite a few folks were working late on this particular dreary Wednesday evening.

Where the Trolls Live

If trolls live under bridges, what lives under piers?   I know there's a joke in here somewhere.  

Speaking of Trolls..   Over the weekend I posted this photo of the City of Mobile taken from across the port.   The sky was boring, so I used another photo from my personal stock of sky photos to make the sky a bit more interesting. 

The same night, I stayed up really quite late doing some much-needed site update work.  The next morning, I got up pretty late to find this gem in my inbox:

Dear "Photographer",
Your image called Port City Nights showed up on my feed this evening.    I have family in the area and clicked the thumbnail to see more.  

The Gulf Coast must be a forgiving place to live and call yourself a photographer.   This photo and many others I see on your pages have blatant and tasteless processing.  Don't quit your day job.

<Name Omitted>

PS, Drones r the biggest nusance and waist of time of the decade. You thank your being creative but your really just being a jerk.   Just stop.

I don't get messages like this often but when I do, they do entertain me.  This one, might be the all-time winner given the awesome grammar - which was honestly hard to even copy and paste  - chrome wanted to correct it!   

At any rate, I hope Mr. Pleasant stops by the site again to read this and other posts.  I do read the emails but I don't get too worked up about this stuff.  The internet isn't going to Troll itself. :)

Seriously, normally I wouldn't even share these but I'm feeling playful, trolling the trolls.  A veritable TrollPocalypse!  :)  

Wishing everyone, trolls included, a great week ahead..