Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who would have thought?

So my rant a couple weeks ago about the Seattle PI did not apparently go unnoticed. I just learned today that they did publish my letter in the paper.

I wasn't exactly friendly to them so I am surprised that they published the letter. I must say that I am impressed.

Here is a link if you are interested.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ch Ch Ch Chia

Man O Man is it an exciting time at the Hayward house! We've planted the seeds on Shrek's Head and it's just a matter of time until Chia Shrek has a full green afro.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Harlem Globetrotters

Savannah and I had a great time at the Everett Events Center. We had front row seats to see the Harlem Globetrotters! I used to love the Globetrotters when I was a kid and it's so neat to see Savannah get that same twinkle in her eye that I had watching them do their magic. It was a good game with the Globetrotters squeaking a win in over the Washington Generals whose team motto is "Winning isn't everything." It's a good motto for them as they haven't been able to beat the Globetrotters since 1971!

I learned just minutes too late that the team had stopped by the Mall to promote the game and a few of the players ate at my restaurant. I was knee deep in paperwork and found out too late.

Unfortunately, security confiscated my camera on the way in to the game. I had called ahead to ask if cameras were allowed. They said everything but video cameras were OK. Turns out that was a bit vague and only point and shoot cameras were allowed. To clarify I restated their policy....taking photographs is allowed, just not good ones. C'est Lavie. I scared the heck out of the nice lady charged with keeping it when I told her how much it cost. When I showed up to pick it up I didn't even have to give her my claim slip as she said "I was getting so worried when you were taking so long to get it." I thought that was pretty nice of her. Aside from the miscommunication on the phone, they really do a nice job running that place. The staff is friendly and efficient. Even the food vendors seem like genuine good people. Not the typical "carnival employee" type you run into at most arena's.

Since Savannah and I didn't have any parental supervision (Mom stayed home with Sophie :) we went a bit hog wild at the concession stand and by the time we left people were asking Savannah for autographs mistaking her for one of the players.

After the game the players take the court and sign autographs for a half and hour. It was a bit chaotic so we were only able to get to one player. Lucky for us it was Scooter Christensen
who showed us some of the most amazing ball control we have ever seen. That guy can seriously dribble!

They did have "official" photographers all over the place and they grabbed a quick shot of Savannah and Scooter which can be seen and purchased here. That's a pretty good idea actually. While they were using Nikon Cameras, cheap lenses and direct flash I still think the pic came out alright.

Here are a couple of photo's taken after the event. It was a lot of fun and if they Globetrotters are playing in a town near you I recommend you go and check them out. They put on a great show!

See you in the funny pages,


Saturday, February 23, 2008

A quick post....

It is pretty late but I couldn't with a clear conscious go to bed without posting at least one quick photo from my Uncle Mark's 50th Birthday Party in Renton tonight. For an old guy, he really knows how to have a good time :) At all times he is suave and debonair, but in a tux! What a stud!
I grabbed quite a few fun shots from the evening and I will for sure post some more shortly along with details of the night. This shot was taken while Uncle Mark and Aunt Dianne were playing alongside several other couples in "The Newlywed Game" the term Newlywed is loosely defined here, but they had a great time and provided some great moments for sure. This photo was taken moments after they (finally :) got an answer right. Remind me never to allow Mark to cook for me anything that ends with the words Ala King.

Happy Birthday Mark! Dang....50!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More train and car shots

Check out this train off the tracks abandoned in the forest. It was about 50 yards or so away from the super cool car!

My good friend and extremely talented photographer Randy Kepple is undertaking a very cool personal work project this year. He is a far more articulate writer than I am and you should check out his Inspired Photo Blog and read his post Art in the Ruins. It describes exactly the sentiment I was hoping to portray in the images below.

Can't get enough of those train details!

More shots....

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Day Trip

Lea and the girls have been in Eugene the last 4 days. I've been forced to feed myself and clean up after myself . On the fourth day, logic prevailed and I knew that the less time I spent in the house, the smaller the mess would be for me to clean up. I went to bed knowing that I wanted to go photograph something. I just didn't know what or where. I googled the heck out of the Seattle area then found the blog of Jan Klier a member of Flickr and realized one of the most popular scenic attractions in the area was less than an hour away. Off I went to Snoqualmie Falls. The trip was faster than I had anticipated. I loaded all my gear onto my back and headed over the bridge to check it out. It really is beautiful. I knew there must have been a better angle to see it so I started to hike down. Not too bad a hike on the say down but I knew it wasn't going to be as fun on the way back up. I was right. Hmm, could be time to start working out. I think my physical condition is somehow less than inspiring when it comes to steep vertical inclines while carrying 60 pounds of gear on my back. What the heck, I got some good shots. Made it worthwhile :)

An unexpected surprise that Jan's blog mentioned too was finding a slew of old, rusty train engines. They were all fenced in with no access to get close but I was like a kid in a candy store. Years of weather have created the most amazing textures and colors of rust and crackled paint on the iron horses. Absolutely amazing. I must have walked up and down the row 5 times taking pictures as the light hit certain spots in different ways. I would love..absolutely love to gain access inside the fence to do a portrait session with someone some day. There were limitless photographic opportunities to say the least.

I edited about 1/3 of the pics so I'm posting a few now. I'll be sure to post more within the next couple of days. Be sure to scroll down to the car pic. There are some really good ones of it I'll be posting later too.

Let me know what you think!

The Train Yard

Art in Decay

After walking the tracks two or three times with different lenses I went around the back side to see if there was access to the back row of decayed trains. There was an open gate with a few house scattered around. The fence was a bit more dense and the view of the trains was obstructed pretty much everywhere. Making my way, I saw away from the fenced area in the middle of the woods were two trains abandoned and slowly becoming a part of the forest. There were No Trespassing Signs all over the place so I didn't venture in (too far). I grabbed a few shots of the trains (I'll post later) and was heading out when the sunlight hit a piece of metal somewhere and reflected in my eye. I turned to look and there was this car. I was really thrilled to find it. I'm curious as to it's story. Whose was it? How did it get there? How long ago? Like the abandoned trains, it too was becoming a part of the forest. In 100 years will it be recognizable?

Needless to say with the sun setting directly behind it, I fired off quite a few shots. A dog started barking at the house down the way while heading towards me with a menacing growl and the the hair above his neck standing on end. I knew from my years as a vet tech that was a bad sign. Then the owner came out and gave me the stink eye so off I went. But wow, what a car!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Seattle Post Intelligencer...hmm, maybe they should change that last word

I'm riled up. I try not to get too worked up about politics. I usually avoid talk radio. I don't fault the editorialists paid to express their opinions but when a newspaper pretends to be impartial about a topic, yet constantly publishes articles with sensationalist titles, inflammatory photo's and well, I'll be honest here...they give a voice to people I not only disagree with, I just don't like. Especially when it's about bashing one of my favorite places on Planet Earth (I actually have a list of my favorite places on Planet Earth but that's for another blog someday). I get riled up. Because my letter to the editor clearly disagrees with the opinion of the Seattle PI I can't imagine it will see the light of day so I thought I might as well post it here as well. If you agree with me (especially the part about stopping Animal Rights Extremists from breeding with each other) then please forward a link to this site to as many people as you would like.

Federal inquiry sought into zoo elephant's death!!!! with a photo of Hansa, not roaming in the huge elephant habitat at the zoo, but with her face wedged against two restraints and a hose blasting her. Don't mention that she loved the water, just let people jump to their own conclusions while reading the headline. Don't mention the group seeking the inquisition is about a half dozen nut cases that dropped out of high school after they were suspended for sniffing turpentine all day ever day. If this was the first time the PI posted sensationalist journalism offering free publicity to the nutcases I wouldn't have been so bothered. The truth is that they run these stories constantly. I'm sure the nuts contacted the other papers too. Why didn't they run the story? Because it's not a story! OK, here's the link....

here is my letter to the editor and author. Please feel free to write you own letter to them as well. I doubt the Animal Rights Extremists represent the majority opinion, I believe they are simply the loudest.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but it seems very apparent to me that the Seattle PI is constantly printing sensationalist journalism giving a few animal rights extremists a voice in the community and presenting their opinions as fact when really all they are doing is expressing their ignorance.

Starting with the image you chose and the headline you used it is very clear to me that while you are quoting the zoo and passively giving their point of view you are clearly in favor of the message these animal rights extremists are wanting to get out. These are the same people that dressed up in clown suits and handed my then 4 year old daughter animal rights extremism propaganda including disturbing images of abused or dead animals while we were waiting in line for the circus. The extremists feel that zoo's should stop breeding elephants? I propose a group be started to help prevent animal rights extremists from breeding with each other. Let the experts worry about the elephants. I have seen first hand the keepers and zoo staff interact with the elephants and other animals at the zoo and I can say with 100% certainty that these dedicated people have a true passion and love for the animals and genuinely have the best interest of the animals in mind with regard to their health, happiness and general well-being.

This entire tactic of contacting the USDA is clearly not to help elephants but simply a way to gain attention from the media which you seem more than willing to offer any time these ignorant people say anything. The Zoo shared all of their information and tests with the USDA immediately following Hansa's tragic death as well as the results of determining her cause of death. Why is this a story now? How on earth could anyone have predicted in 1998 that a previously undiscovered virus would take the life of an elephant in 2007?

Shame on the PI for not only giving the extremists a voice in our community but for supporting their opinions so frequently and obviously. At least pretend to be impartial sometimes would you?

OK, my rant is over...probably.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Seattle Wedding Photographer Mat Hayward

I love this shot because it really shows to scale how humongous the female Lion is at the Zoo. For a detailed (very detailed) story of this shot and others taken Sunday at the Zoo scroll down. You might want to get a cup of coffee first.

Vday Photo's at the Zoo

Love at the Zoo

For the 2nd year in a row the Woodland Park Zoo brought out Heart Shaped or Valentines Related Treats for the animals to celebrate Valentine's day. Myself, Dale Unruh and the incredibly talented husband and wife team of Dennis and Sue Dow were given a schedule of events and asked to cover it. I had grandiose plans of bringing a lot of equipment to get a wide range of shots but when I woke up I was unpleasantly greeted by torrential downpours of Seattle Sunshine...aka lots of Rain. Scratch the extra gear, minimal is best. I hopped in the car, hit I5 and was thrilled to see the rain let up. By the time I got to the Zoo it had pretty much stopped and with just intermittent sprinkles here and there it ended up being a perfect day to photograph at the Zoo.

Yesterday was a very unique day at the Zoo for me. There were quite a few people around to watch the treats get distributed so it was challenging at best to get good position for photographs. On my way to photograph the Otters I ran past the Lion habitat and noticed the female lion was pacing right up to the glass next to a little girl. I could not pass that opportunity up so I grabbed a few shots. The photo's I got really give a good idea of the massive size of this beautiful animal. It was cool because the girl gives a good idea of scale. I don't think I had seen her so close before and even I was surprised by how enormous she is.

I made it to the Otter habitat just in time. The keeper was nice enough to take me on the roof of the habitat with her so I didn't have to shoot through the nasty glass. The otters were really posing for me as I don't think they are used to a long lens pointing at them from above. I think they may have been expecting more treats to fall from the camera in their direction. It was a great session.

Then I had to run the entire length of the zoo in 10 minutes to get the Pigs and their treats. It isn't the prettiest of habitats so I did my best but no award winning shots in there.

Next...the Arctic Fox located just next to the Otter habitat of course....allllll the way back across the zoo. I just made it to watch them get hand fed Chicken Hearts. Not a very Valentine's Day themed photo op, but the Foxes were frisky and they are awful darned cute so I did get some OK shots there even though you have to shoot through a chain link fence.

At this point there was a break in the action for an hour and a half or so. I met Dennis, Sue and Dale in the Cafeteria and Sue was generous enough to treat us all to lunch...thank goodness because I was famished and had left my wallet at home! How embarrassing! Honest Dennis, I really did leave it by accident :)

We had a little time to spare and headed to the Gorilla habitat nearby to check and see if the baby was out...She was! But so were the crowds! Tons of people including small children packed against the glass which combined with neon jackets reflecting on the glass does not make for a good photo op. In addition, Amanda (Baby Mom) was holding the baby at an angle that made it very difficult to see her. No good shots there, but it was awesome to see her out and about considering she had a pretty significant surgery last month.

I lost track of time and realized a bit too late that the Jaguar was getting her treat in a very short period of time....I literally ran down the path to her and was shocked to see a crowd of at least 150 to 200 people packed around the glass. The keepers had placed a popsicle heart on a branch in front of the glass so I backed up and got as high as I could in hopes of getting a shot. I did, she gave a nice pose then I realized on the ground below they had placed a Valentines Heart shaped bright red box filled with Raw Meat for her. I wedged my way in and had a clean shot. She opened the box and found the meat then to my utter joy she grabbed the red lid of the box with the red side facing out and began to carry it. She was at profile but turning in my finger was poised above the shutter release in anticipation..this would be the crown jewel of my Zoo photography..head is turning...just about there...NOW! I fire the camera off in a burst of 10 frames per second and at the exact moment a kid about 8 years old jumps right in front of the camera and starts pounding on the glass! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I yelled at the top of my a move not unlike Will Ferrel at the Birthday party in Old School I shove the kid aside into the crowd. I yell obsencities at the top of my lungs and the crowd gasped in horror. An old woman fainted and the cat ran away...Well, that's not exactly how it happened, but it would have made for a better story. The kid blocked a once in a lifetime opportunity shot but the zoo is for kids so I couldn't fault him too much. I think I muttered something under my breath disgusted with myself for missing the opportunity and then I moved on to the Lemur's.

The Zoo published a Calendar for 2008 and the February shot is a photo I grabbed of the Lemurs eating from their heart shaped treat. It was my favorite shot of the year last year and I was thrilled they used it for the calendar. The keeper was super cool and was asking us where we wanted the treats hung. The Lemurs ran out excited and I got some pretty good shots. Who knows, could be the 09' February Calendar pic :)

After that was the Tiger. Some of you may remember me posting pictures of the cute, cuddly Hadiah as an 8 week old Tiger Cub. Now she is a gigantic cat full of energy and intensity. It is amazing how much she has grown in such a short period of time. She didn't get a Valentine's Themed treat, instead a large box containing meat balls that she devoured in no time flat. The keeper was wise enough to smear meat on the outside of the box as well so Hadiah put on quite a show of throwing the box around. A couple of birds landed in her habitat also and got away from her quick pounce with just a fraction of a second to spare. Once she was done thrashing the box she moved to the front of the habitat and plopped down on a rock giving me a beautiful pose for a portrait session. I snapped enough shots to fill my 8GB card and was ready to call it a day. I had originally planned to bring more cards but the rain scared me so I left them at home assuming 8Gb would be more than enough. Those of you that have seen me shoot at a wedding must be chuckling at me because obviously I was only fooling myself. I am trigger happy with my camera and everyone knows it.

I wasn't planning to wait the extra hour for the Red Panda treats so I said my goodbyes to the gang and started heading back. I walked the Gorilla trail to get out and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a much thinner crowd and the baby in her mothers lap playing! She was alert, active and in the perfect position! I aimed my camera...focused...fired and got the most horrible message ever...Memory Card Full! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I yelled at the top of my lungs...the Gorillas fled. The end.

Ha Ha, just kidding of course...I quickly started chimping my pics and deleting those I knew I wouldn't need. I freed up around 20 or 30 shots and fired them off. She is so dang cute. If you live in the area you really need to stop by and check her out.

So that was the day. If you made it this far through reading my blog then you are truly special :) I know this is a photography blog and you want pictures not novels but those of you that know me know I can't help myself :)

See you in the funny pages!