Monday, January 31, 2011

What Lies Beneath

January 31st, 2011 - Day 31

“Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.”
-Pearl S. Buck

Sometimes, when you are looking for something beautiful or worthy of a picture, you have to look way down on the ground, move aside a few dead leaves, and you just might end up finding beauty in the most unlikely of places.

January 31st, 2011 - Day 31

 And like that, we have finished the first month of my picture of the day, Year 2.  January went so fast and I am totally happy with how my pictures came out for the month.  I would have to think long and hard to decide on which one would be my favorite.  Now, if you are a fan of my photography on Facebook, you have a chance to win a copy of your favorite picture of the month.  Go there now!  All you have to do is go to the post and tell me what your favorite picture of January was.  If you are picked at random, you get that picture!  Easy enough!  I love my fans!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Catching Up On the Fun

Have to catch up on three days works of pics and fun!  Friday morning, I woke up and the fog was just unbelievably thick!  Even though it wasn't even 7:30 in the morning yet, I quick threw on some clothes and went to the park to try to take some pics of the foggy park.  My idea was that fog in a park with trees and stuff would give off a sort of creepy, eerie feel.  It was sure nice to have my pic of the day done by 8:00am in the morning!  However, I took a bunch of pics that I liked and wasn't sure which one to use as my pic of the day.  On my photography site on Facebook (I am pretty sure everyone reading this is a fan of the page already), I elected to post all 8 and put it to a vote of which one to use.  The following picture below was the overwhelming favorite.  Although you can't see the fog as well in a sepia-type tone like this as opposed to my color ones where it is very apparent, people loved the clarity of this one:

January 28th, 2011 - Day 28

Yesterday, I started work on my tattoo sleeve.  I am planning on doing my whole arm in movie characters.  We started with Alien and Predator and after about 6 hours, we still didn't finish.  It is mostly done, but I have to go back in about 3 weeks for some shading and stuff like that.  I elected to have the pic of the day be, obviously, something tattoo related.  The following pic is the tool used to create my tattoos right before we "started" on the tattoo.

January 29th, 2011 - Day 29
Why did I put "started" in quotations you may ask?  Well, besides being the pic of the day, this picture did double duty for me!  Some of my fellow bloggers have elected to bring back the Saturday Scavenger Hunt project.  Every week, someone picks a word and the goal is to take a picture that represents that word.  As this was the first week, the word, "start" was chosen.  I think I got the job done.

Today, I had a few ideas for the picture of the day, but then Jess was being cute and made the gesture you will see below.  I thought it was so cute, I asked her to do it one more time while I took a picture.  I am so lucky that she is such a willing participant in my picture taking!  Well, and lucky that I got to marry her!

January 30th, 2011 - Day 30

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Ones

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
~Gilda Radner

What an exciting day!  Today, we found out that my sister is going to be having a little boy.  Going into it, I really had no preference to whether it would turn out to be a boy or a girl, but when we found out and saw the little guy on the ultrasound, it was still such an exciting time!  I can not wait to be an uncle and spoil that little guy!

After that, as kind of a celebration, we went to Squeeze Inn for some good ol' burgers.  Seriously, how can you not like a burger that looks like this:

 My Main Squeeze

 It's heavenly.

After that, Jess and I took Winston (and Leia) for his first outing in the open.  Prior to today, he has only been inside as he did not have all his shots.  He finally got his last shot on Monday so today, he got to go see what the outside world was like.  He LOVED it!  He ran circles and circles at full speed at the park; playing with Leia like he just discovered what playing was.  It was awesome and so fun to watch!

January 27th, 2011 - Day 27



Wednesday, January 26, 2011


January 26th, 2011 - Day 26

“To be alone is to be different, to be different is to be alone.”
 - Suzanne Gordon 

Something about this fallen mandarin on the ground that really struck me. So much color against a cold and desolate background.  Again, like yesterday, I struggled with what I wanted.  Do I want to take an up-close macro picture of the mandarin, seeing every little detail, but taking up most of the screen?  Or do I zoom out and focus on the mandarin, but leave a lot of empty space around it?  I decided in the end that to fully show the vast emptiness around the fallen mandarin, I needed to show as much around it as possible so it really did look lonely.  I love it, truthfully.

January 26th, 2011 - Day 26

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


January 25th, 2011 - Day 25

"A weed is no more than a flower in disguise, Which is seen through at once, if love give a man eyes."
-James Russell Lowell 

I was really torn on how to frame this one. I know I wanted empty space on the left hand side. That was the easy part. My dilemma was taking a picture semi-up close like this one with a decent amount of space on the left or zoom out a little farther so that the plant wasn't quite so close (and thus, not showing as much detail), but having the exaggerated empty space on the left be quite apparent. In the end, I went with a closer shot, but I still go back and forth.

January 25th, 2011 - Day 25

In totally opposite news, the Oscar nominations came out today.  The 4 or 5 of you who are reading this blog nowadays know how much Jess and I love this time of year and how we always go to see every movie nominated for Best Picture.  I started this about 13 years ago and Jess a couple of years prior to that.  It was fairly easy before when it was only 5 movies.  Last year, they increased it to 10 movies and it became more difficult, especially since we only saw about 2 prior to the announcements.  With the announcements today, we have seen exactly half of the movies nominated.  5 out of 10 to still see isn't too bad at all so there is very little stress this time.  Once they have all been viewed, I'll be back to review them.  I haven't done movie reviews in a while and at this point, it is too hard to go back and review all I have seen since the last one.  But I promise to be better starting with the Oscar movies.  Stay tuned...

Monday, January 24, 2011

An American Revolution

Sometimes, I have to sit and wonder to myself, "What should I photograph today?"  Then there are days like today where you see something, the inspiration just hits you, and you pray your camera is within a reasonable distance.  Today, when coming home from picking up Winston from the vet (he got neutered today), I saw my neighbor's beat-up old Chevy in front of the house and was inspired to try taking a vintage looking shot.  I am actually quite pleased with how it came out.

January 24th, 2011 - Day 24

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Love It When a Good Weekend Comes Together

I love good weekends.  Truthfully, the large majority of our weekends are good, but when Jess has the whole weekend off and we have a good mixture of fun things to do and relaxing time, it makes it all better.  Friday night, Jess and her friend Yvette had Bunco so Brandon and I had dinner and hung out until our wives were done.  Jess even won the most money for the night so that was a plus.  After, we all hung out and like most hang out nights, we were out pretty late.  I think we finally went to bed about 1:30am. I was back up at 6:45 to watch Manchester play soccer.  I tell ya, having your favorite team being about 8 time zones away really can be an issue at times!

Luckily, getting up that early and on a little over 5 hours of sleep turned out to be TOTALLY worth it as they ended up winning 5-0.  The lack of sleep was forgotten right away.  I followed that up with getting to play real soccer with my friends.  I have missed playing real soccer so much.  I played all my youth and then after high school, played on various adult teams both outdoor and indoor.  Hell, I used to be in somewhat decent shape!  But I hadn't played in over 5 years (except for the once a year alumni game) and I have missed it.  If you remember, a group of us gathered and played on Thanksgiving and we finally did it again on Saturday.  It was a tremendous amount of fun and I hope we occasionally keep doing this.  So where are the pictures?  Uh, yeah, I took the camera, but forgot the battery.  Fail.

After that, we went to my parents' house for carnitas tacos.  Seriously, watch soccer, play soccer, and then eat great food and all by 1pm.  I can't think of any more of a perfect beginning to a morning.  After that, we went and saw some friends' son play some youth basketball.  It was fun to not only watch, but to photograph as well (remembered the battery this time!).  Only tricky part was shooting high speed photography in a dark setting.  Still, I got some decent photos and this one was one of my favorites, which ended up being my picture of the day. 

January 22, 2011 - Day 22
Saturday night was poker, and well, that went pretty horrible, but there are nights like that.  Today has been great as well.  Most of the day has just been relaxing on the sofa.  We spent the afternoon doing a little shopping for a secret craft project we are doing together and then going out to dinner.  Overall, this has been a great weekend.  Today's picture was kind of impromptu.  I was originally practicing a different shot.  I like how it came out, but a change of a few things can make it look a little better.  Since I already had my camera out, I took a few snapshots of Leia who so graciously just sat there for me.  Such a good girl. 

January 23rd, 2011 - Day 23

Friday, January 21, 2011

In Rememberance

January 21st, 2011 - Day 21

This picture has more sentimental value than artistic value.  When I was a kid, my favorite cartoon was He-Man.  This guy, Orko, was maybe my favorite character and I even went as him for Halloween once.  I had the figure, but of course, sold him like all of my other toys long ago.  I liked him so much though, that Jess and I named our Schnauzer after him.  We loved that boy and were devastated when we had to put him to sleep last April.  He was a great boy; our son.  Sure, we have a new Schnauzer puppy, and he is wonderful, but we will never forget Orko.  The other day, I decided to buy on Ebay, the original Orko figure so that I can remember our boy whenever I see it.  I think it was a good decision. 

January 21st, 2011 - Day 21

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Be One With the Laptop

Today, I decided to do a little camera fun.  Reach into that laptop!

January 20th, 2011 - Day 20

You would think this is Photoshopped, but there is no Photoshop at all in this picture.  Just a little trick photography.  Kind of fun.  Of course, the picture posted on Facebook was of lower quality like usual and you could see what I did, but thank goodness for Flickr posting higher quality images. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Wanna Rock!

January 19th, 2011 - Day 19

"If it's illegal to rock and roll, throw my ass in jail!"

-Kurt Cobain 

In honor of the craptacular, good for nothing, piece of garbage show American Idol starting back up today, I present to you some REAL music. Simple, but it gets my point across. :-)
Bonus points if you can name every artist and CD in this picture. There are 21 of them.

January 19th, 2011 - Day 19

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Tooth Fairy Cometh!

January 18th, 2011 - Day 18

In this pocket you will find
A teensy, tiny tooth of mine.
So while I sleep where dreams are made,
Let's see if you can make a trade.
~Author Unknown

Yes, on top of that penny is a tooth.  Obviously, we humans do not have teeth that small so where did it come from?  Well, our boy Winston is starting to lose his baby teeth.  He lost a few last week, but this is the first one we have been able to actually find.  At that size, it is quite easy for it to disappear or even be eaten by him.  Our boy is growing so fast!

January 18th, 2011 - Day 18

Monday, January 17, 2011

Off the Beaten Path

January 17th, 2011 -- Day 17

"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

Henry David Thoreau
 I went out to the field this evening with the intention of taking pretty much the exact shot you see below.  Only thing I didn't count on was no matter what angle or direction I held the camera, I couldn't get a shot without houses in the background.  I really wanted a path and ONLY a path, but sometimes, you have to go with what is in front of you.  Perhaps another day, I can find the path I am looking for, no pun intended.  I guess I could have edited the houses out, but it seemed like a little too much work and too much alteration.  In the end, I am still happy with this picture of a path on a dreary day.
January 17th, 2011 - Day 17

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Two For the Price of One

Got a little behind in posting pictures the last couple of days because of a couple of busy days and late nights.  So, because of my busy life, you get two pictures in one post.  Double the reading in half the time!

Yesterday's picture was taken right before bed last night.  As Friday night was a late night that required some sleeping in and Saturday was a busy day,  I didn't even think about taking pictures until late last night.  Eager to take something quick, I somehow thought of the idea to take a picture of a screw with my macro.  Something simple, but something that could look cool if done right.

January 15th, 2011 - Day 15

Today, with more time to think about what to take, I went for something a little more complicated.  It came to me today as I walked past the window after my jog.  I loved the light coming in, but wanted to do something a little more complicated than a simple picture of the blinds.  So I grabbed the tripod, thought of an idea to put myself in the picture, and came up with what you see below.  I call it, "The Voyeur."  Or, you could just call it, "The Nosy Neighbor."

January 16th, 2011 - Day 16

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 14th, 2011 - Day 14

The Beast by moonlight

This ended up being an alternate shot.  Last night, Jess and her best bud, Yvette, had a girl night so Brandon and I decided to go out  and have some fun as well.  Originally, the plan was for some dinner and then a couple of games of bowling.  I took the camera with the intention of my picture of the day being some kind of bowling shot.  Unfortunately, Brandon's shoulder had been hurting him and the bowling plan was scrapped after dinner.  Still needing a shot, I decided to take this shot of his new RC Car.  Unlike most photo shoots, I only took about 5 shots and decided that would be good.  This is quite the opposite of the usual 50+ shots I usually take for a picture of the day.  In the end though, I am happy with this shot, nonetheless.  I could have taken a bunch of different angles, but I like how this came out.  

January 14th, 2011 - Day 14

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How Can the End Be So Beautiful?

January 13th, 2011 - Day 13

The death-bed of a day, how beautiful!
-  Philip James Bailey

January 13th, 2011 - Day 13

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


So here we go with the first, but probably not the last picture of the day featuring our boy Winston.  When I first did this project, I took a handful of pictures of our dogs Leia and Orko.  I even had to document the passing away of Orko near the end of the year-long project.  But then again, I documented a lot of life changing events in that year.  I guess that was one of the reasons that made that project so special and memorable. 

But back to the picture at hand (sorry for going off on a sad tangent there).  I went outside to take a picture, but with the light not right and Clan Night approaching, I snapped a quick picture on Winston.  Somehow, I got him when he was still as he never is unless he is sleeping.  Even here, I think he was slightly moving.  We love that boy. 

January 12, 2011 - Day 12

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


January 11, 2011 - Day 11

Nothing is more useful than silence.  ~Menander of Athens

January 11, 2011 - Day 11

Monday, January 10, 2011

Roped In

January 10th, 2011 - Day 10

"We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.”

So, yeah, I love this picture.  I originally went outside with a different shot in mind.  I took a few shots, but wasn't happy with the lighting.  It would have been a decent shot, but not exactly what I was looking for.  I can try it again with the right lighting.  As a backup, I took this shot right before I went back inside and instantly knew I was going to like it.  Seeing it on the bigger screen, I am quite pleased.

January 10th, 2011 - Day 10

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Cup of Bubbly?

January 9th, 2011 - Day 9

This is the shot I was trying a few days ago that I finally gave up on.  I just couldn't get it exactly as I wanted it to look.  I decided to tackle it again today and I think this is PRETTY much what I wanted.  It isn't perfect and again, I could have given up again, but I was pretty darn happy with it.  But yeah, this was a pretty big pain. 

January 9th, 2011 - Day 9

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Shuffle Up and Deal

January 8th, 2011 - Day 8

Another year, another season of poker nights at the Valle house.  The chips are out, the cards are shuffled; tonight, the fun begins again. 

January 8th, 2011 - Day 8

Friday, January 07, 2011


January 7, 2011 - Day 7

In the Summer of 2003, Jessica and I went to New York to see relatives and do some sightseeing.  It was an amazing 2 weeks and New York was every bit as amazing as I hoped it would be.  One of the many places we went to was the, apparently, world famous Serendipity 3, a restaurant right in the heart of NYC.  I guess celebrities always go there and one of their most famous dishes, the frozen hot chocolate, was absolutely to die for.  Luckily, although not quite as good by any means, they sell a powdered mix of the product that you can order online.  Today, we discovered that we still had a couple of packets left from a couple of years ago.  Why did we STILL have them after this long?  I was afraid to eat them so quickly and have them disappear from our cupboard.  It was such a sweet surprise to find them today and knew the finished product would become the picture of the day.  Yes, it tasted as good as it sounds and looks...

January 7, 2011 - Day 7

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Another Collection I Shouldn't Start!

January 6, 2011 - Day 6

It has begun.  Ok, I am going to do my best to keep my collecting tendencies from going overboard, but I just got my first Disney Vinylmation.  These have been out for a couple of years, and what they are are different Mickey-shaped figures that are painted in all kinds of themes.  They have ones based on rides, characters, artistic ones, etc.  This month they have Star Wars based ones. Really, these things are awesome and my tendency to collect things is having a hard time staying away!  Thanks to my friend, JL, I have my first one.  And of course, it perfectly suits me... a cheeseburger one.  It was as if they  had me in mind when they made them.  Check out the site for them here.  They ROCK!

January 6, 2001 - Day 6

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Photography Can Be a Tricky Thing Sometimes

January 5, 2011 - Day 5

Back up shot!  Yeah, so this was taken at the last minute as I worked on another shot for over and hour and just couldn't get it as well as I would have liked.  So, with very little time left in the day, I went for a quick, completely different, alternate shot and this is what I came up with.  I love the framing in this shot so in the end, I am not too upset.  Still, I need to come back to that other shot one day.  I promise you, if I can get the shot I want to do, it will be worth all the aches and pains it was and frustration that I encountered. 

January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Old Man Winter

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant:
if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,
prosperity would not be so welcome.

- Anne Bradstreet

This wasn't the original shot I intended.  I walked in my back yard without an idea in the world as to what to shoot.  I get that way sometimes after a long day of work; where my mind has been on anything other than what photograph to take for the day.  I walked outside though and had a pretty brilliant idea, but alas, the sun was too far down for the day.  As a secondary shot, I went with this instead.  Still, I am pretty happy.

January 4, 2011 - Day 4

Monday, January 03, 2011

And now, little man, I give the watch to you

Amazing that I took a picture of a watch today when technically, I barely had any time to take a picture today!  Today was the first Monday of the month which means it is my super busy time at work.  In fact, today was the busiest it has been in a while.  Over half of my clients that I work on throughout the month all decided to send their work on day 1 so I was jam packed with stuff to do and didn't even come close to finishing.  If all goes well though, later on in the month should be fairly light because of this hellish couple of days.  Fingers crossed!

We took Winston to the vet today and he is up to 8 pounds!  Even better, he has his last shot scheduled for three weeks from today as well as getting neutered.  So, in a little over three weeks, he is ready to go out and about into the world.  So exciting!  I know HE is looking forward to it and seeing more than the inside of the house and the backyard!  It has been a long TIME coming.  Like how I incorporated that picture again?!?!

For this picture, I wanted to take a picture that looked like a classy ad for a watch; something you would see in some upscale magazine for some overpriced watch.  I am actually really pleased with how it came out.

January 3, 2011 - Day 3

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Drops from a Rainbow

Well, there ya go...two days of blogging in a row!  Yeah, the photography brings the creative juices back out in me!  Today's shot was a pain the ass.  I got the idea off a photography forum.  I thought I would give a try, but didn't realize how hard it is to find a perfect rainbow on a DVD.  I was twisting, turning, and even gave up and decided to try it another day.  But I came back to it and am fairly happy with it.  The only thing I would change is the clarity.  It was almost impossible to get the drop as clear as I wanted it by doing it hand held and I couldn't get the tripod close enough to do it the way I wanted.  I would have also liked to get the whole picture be rainbow colored instead of the white light on the left side, but could not get it just based on where the light was coming in from the window.  It is what it is.

January 2, 2011 - Day 2

Saturday, January 01, 2011

And Here We Go Again...

Yup, I am back in full force.  I know the last couple of months have been VERY sporadic at best, but with my photo a day project back for year 2, blogging will return to normal, not just for photos, but for regular posts and comments on your blogs as well!  Yup, we now return you to your normally scheduled programming.  And I have to say, I couldn't be more excited!  I am excited to take more pictures.  I am excited to write more blog posts.  I am excited that 2010, which overall was pretty crappy, is done and we move on to a new beginning.  2011, I am fully counting on you to not suck this year.  Let's make it a good one - not just for me, but everyone. we go!

January 1, 2011 - Day 1