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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scerious Science

Wow, who knew science could be so cool? Well, at least now that I don't have to take it to graduate. Today I was in a science classroom at a local high school to take a few images of some educational product ideas for a project I'm working on at Texas Instruments. Some things truly do never change; when the teacher we were talking to left the room, it was time to play around with all the toys. Anatomical Andy rocks!

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I was never very good with the Periodic Table and what combines safely with what, but thanks to Mr. Corbin's serious grading curve in 8th grade Chemistry (we're talkin' 13 out of 40 correct answers is a C+), I squeezed by. My favorite part of that class was the labs, though. What guy doesn't like combining chemicals he knows nothing about to see if he can make something dangerous?

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This image was purely for scientific research and my own dumb curiosity. Please don't e-mail me telling me I'm promoting glue-sniffing. I didn't - and still don't - see how someone could get high sniffing glue. My test results? High? Hardly. Nauseating? Without a doubt.

I have no idea what I'm doing in this image. Seriously. This was some kind of bony fish with spikes and apparently I was trying to soften him up a bit... he looked a little mean.

You're a Good Man, Dan McCurdy

Last week my friend, Dan - a.k.a. "Senator", "Danimal" or just "Daaaaaan" (pronounced Don, only longer) - turned the proverbial "Big 5-0". I felt compelled to give Dan a moment in the sun on my little blog because honestly you won't find a nicer guy on the planet. I promise you.

Dan is often the guy in our 'tribe' of friends that gets razzed the most or is the subject of many harmless one-liners. Don't get me wrong... some of that's self-induced since Dan is known for or even expected to be telling a semi-believable tall-tale for the first 5-7 sentences when you talk to him. People that don't know him are especially susceptible (I don't know how many people have fallen for the 'Opterectomy' surgery story). But at the end of the day, as much as we make fun of Dan we all know there's probably no one you could count on more to offer to help out if you have a need. There's a handful of guys I know that I would consider truly stand-up guys, and Dan's one of them. He's just one of those people everybody likes, and a testament to this was Saturday night when 35-40 friends showed up for a birthday dinner and celebration in his honor.

I hope I'm in half as good a physical condition Dan is when I hit the half-century mark down the road, and I would be honored to be considered the friend he is by even just a few. You're a good man, Dan McCurdy. Congratulations on your 50th Birthday. I wish you an even better next 50. I'd say more than 50, but let's be honest, at that point we'll be doing well just to remember our own birthdays, let alone anyone else's.

Okay, Dan, your 15 minutes are up... at least on this blog. I don't want to over-flatter you or I'll never hear the end of it. Seriously, though, thanks for everything you've ever done for me and the rest of the gang.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another Piece of the [Pizza] Pie

Hmmm... a quick recap.

Thursday lunch. Pizza.
Thursday dinner. Pizza.
Friday lunch. Leftover pizza.
Friday night? Yup, more pizza.
Saturday lunch. Leftover pizza.

I. Love. Pizza.

5 meals in a row... and counting.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fun Screen Cleaner

Best screen cleaning method I've seen to date... makes me want to get my screen cleaned all day long.

Try it yourself!


UPDATE: Apparently the link above has become a bit of a phenomenon on the web adn the server that hosted it couldn't handle all the traffic, so it's down for now. Hopefully it will be back on-line someday soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Vintage Contemporary Storyboard Collection

Well, after continuing to answer countless emails on the storyboard templates I created several months ago, I finally wised up and decided to make it easier for the GP to get info about them as well as be able to purchase them right from the blog. I know, I know... what took me so long? Guess I'm a slow learner. So, here's the 411:

Each template is a 250dpi layered Photoshop file that’s fully customizable, so if you want to change the colors, move design elements around, add/delete elements, this is very easy to do. In addition, each design includes an extended 2" border all the way around in case you want to offer these as gallery wraps. These templates also come with a couple video tutorials showing you how to insert your images into the files, change colors, etc. Very easy and very fast. Also, as a bonus I’m throwing in a custom 5x7 vintage holiday card template for those that purchase the templates.

Cost: $95 (~$20/template + free 5x7 holiday card template)
Sorry, no individual template purchases at this time, only the set.

I’ve tested the templates with Photoshop CS, CS2 and CS3, and everything works fine. It may work for earlier versions before CS, I just haven’t tested for those. I've also been told the templates work with Photoshop Elements. IMPORTANT: The fonts I've used in these templates aren't included. So, if you don't have the font I used, the text wording will still be editable, but the file will likely substitute some other default font on your system. You can either purchase the font or use your own favorite font instead, and I’ve included notes about which fonts I used in each template for your reference in a FAQ sheet when you purchase the templates.

If you are interested, please send payment ($95) via PayPal to, and I will email you a download link for the templates as quickly as possible, and certainly within 24 hours of receiving your payment. So please be sure to include your correct email address with your PayPal payment.

Due to the nature of the product, exchanges and refunds are not possible. However, if you change your mind before I send out the links - I am happy to offer you credit.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all. Also, I’ve images below showing a little larger view of the storyboards.

Storyboard 1 (10x20)

Storyboard 2 (10x20)

Storyboard 3 (10x20)

Storyboard 4 (20x20)

Storyboard 5 (20x20)

Bonus! Free 5x7 Holiday Card Template

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Wonder Years

I went through a couple shoe boxes of old photographs the other day... amazing how an image can completely take you back to a different time in your life and in an instant make you remember things you haven't thought about in years. I think that's why I love being a photographer and creating images for people... what's more important than the stories and memories of our lives?

Apparently I'm still a bit intoxicated on nostalgia, though, since against my better judgment I thought it would be fun to post a couple of the gems I found. Enjoy!

Love Olan Mills work. Such realism in their images. What kid didn't play football in poster-perfect pastures wearing plaid pants and a turtle neck?

Who doesn't pack a white, short-sleeve, button-down dress shirt for camping trips?

If I'm not cute here, I don't know what is. I'm pretty sure I peed my pants shortly after this, though. I had a bad habit of not wanting to take time out from playing outside to come inside and go to the bathroom when Mother Nature called.

My brother was an obvious fan of early mornings on Christmas. Either that or someone just told him Santa brought him underwear for Christmas.

Hey, Davy Jones, the rest of the Monkees called... they're wondering if you're in for the reunion tour?

White men truly can't jump. I proved it conclusively in junior high track long before Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes did.

Nice rolled jeans, Fonzie. Although, this style is coming back now, so I might argue I was ahead of my time from a fashion perspective.

Ahh... the gold necklace with the HS football jersey number on it. So original... like no one else was doing that in th early 90's. Very manly and cool, especially with the powder-puff white dog.

So pensive. A GAP model in the making. Actually, I was more likely looking down to make sure my jeans were rolled up.

True or false: Having your subject face directly into the sun makes for a flattering, natural-looking smile? And hey, Don Johnson, where's Tubbs?

Hmmm... I see a John Travolta Urban Cowboy starter-kit happening here.

Apparently the letter to parents with kids entering kindergarten said to dress them in stripes that matched the school bus to make it easier for the bus driver to know when she needed to stop.

Again with the plaid pants. And is the person in the background wearing an orange prison jump suit? Is there something somebody wants to tell me?

I'm sure Adam and I's prom dates are sitting on a bench on the other side of the dance floor pretending they're having fun, too... or maybe we're just laughing at that year's apparent faux jungle theme.

My last HS football game... I knew I had muscles once. Also, I remember "accidentally" tearing a big hole in the side of that jersey before the end of the game pretending it happened when someone tackled me in hopes I would be allowed to keep it. Turns out I was allowed to keep it but never wore it again because , well, it had a big hole in the side of it. Genius, I know.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Here's Your Sign

Sometimes it's the little things that just make your day. Case in point, yesterday I received the following email from someone I've never met before, and it made me laugh:
"Came across your website today from a link from another site. Didn't even go back to where I found it b/c I spent all my "free time" (was supposed to be doing laundry and ordering proofs) just laughing my way through your blog... like I knew exactly what you were talking about. Your work is absolutely amazing!! the point of motivational!!!! Oh, my poor boys when they get home from school... their worst fear is mom will have a camera out...again.

Your work is truly amazing!! (you need to throw a caution on your website, though, stating something about you are at no fault for visitors not getting their own work done!!!

God's Blessings

It's still amazing to me how we can impact complete strangers through the power of the web. I know for me this is a big reason that I got involved in and continue to be able to grow in photography. There are so many insanely-talented people out there freely sharing their knowledge, their work, their passion and their lives through the web, and they have been an inspiration and a compass for me in motivating me to get better. And thinking back where I was a little over 3 years ago in my work, it's very exciting and truly flattering to think today that someone might consider my work "motivational". God has truly blessed my in this area of my life.

Thanks for putting a smile on my face, Jenny. I can so relate to the hours disappearing when I'm on other photographers sites; there's been many a night I've been about to go to bed after I check out 'just one more site", and next thing I know it's 2:30am.

With that in mind, Jenny, here's your [warning] sign.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Warning: Hot Car Photo {look with caution}

Simmer down ladies. Put the drool back in your mouths, men. I'm not sure you can handle the power of the Plymouth. I was looking through some old photos last night and found this beauty and was instantly taken on a 4 cylinder, 65 mph top speed trip down memory lane. I bought this dream machine in Ohio back in 1993 when I was in college for $1100. I know what you're thinking, 'What?? Only 11 Ben Franklins?? How'd he score that once-in-a-lifetime deal?' What can I say, some guys are just blessed.

Check out those sexy curves (is there even a curve on that body?), the saucy red paint job, and the custom 12" rims. And under the hood... she musta been carryin' at least 23 ponies... and I'm sure there was some serious torque in there, too... and probably a big, state-of-the-art flux capacitor. Is it any wonder this baby made the girls cry when they saw it? Who wouldn't be overwhelmed?

The best part, though (I know, I know... how could it possibly get any better?), is that I sold her 13 months later for $1000. So, not only did I get the privilege of driving around this Plymouth Horizon instant classic - a 26th place finisher for 1984's Motor Trend Car of the Year - it only cost me $100 to boot. Winner.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Olan Mills Collection

This list has been making the e-waves the last couple days, and for good reason. Who hasn't had a portrait masterpiece like one of these done? If you haven't, congratulations on making it through the 70's and 80's photographically un-scarred. The captions are golden.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

M & M {engaged!}

Melanie. Mike. Marriage. In May. It's all about the M's. And doesn't this first image scream 'M"? Clever, isn't it? C'mon, it was too easy not to do.

I've known these two for quite a while, and I'm so excited for both of them. Mike (a.k.a. "Hippie" - picture him with longer hair. Much longer. Nope, keep going. There ya go.) and I first met him through Dallas Sport and Social club way back in... well, let's just say way back, and we've been playing flag football together ever since. There were a few forgettable softball teams in there, too, but nothing hall-of-fame worthy. Then along came Mel a few years later, and now he's finally a changed man. Well, at least he's got shorter hair. And a couple of dogs. And I haven't seen him wear those black and white checkerboard clown shoes in a while. So seems like he's headed in the right direction. Thanks, Mel! [grin]

Oh yeah, and Hippie's my back pocket auto mechanic, too. Anytime I've got a car question - like "where's the dip stick thing at?" - he's first on the speed dial list. So if you've got a question, give him a ring... unless it's about battery acid.

Anyway, I digress. These two love sports, especially football. Hey, that's how they met, and that's how they got engaged... Hippie asked Mel the big question at a Texas/Kansas State game... hmmm, wonder if Mel would've said yes if KSU lost that game? So it was only natural that we ended up in a football stadium by the end of the session. He's a big University of Texas guy, and she went to Kansas State (bless your heart, Mel, for your loyal support and misguided belief that KSU will one day have a good football team). While neither of those football stadiums were available, SMU obviously isn't using their field during bowl season - one might argue they don't really use it during the season either - so we snuck in [read: walked right in through an open gate] and had some fun before wrapping up my last session of 2007.

Enjoy the sneak peek of a few images. Click on the images for larger previews.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year = New Baby

Okay, first off - not my new baby. (exhale, mom)

Meet Sam. This little guy was an early Christmas present for my friends, Lana & Bobby, and after a false start due to a technical issue a few minutes into our first session attempt (apparently my flash equipment decided to take it's own holiday break), Sam was ready for his big debut in front of the camera. In fact, he was so excited that - after a little fussing, a little food and a few impromptu bathroom breaks - he slept through the whole show.

Enter big brother Max. He was more than ready to step in for some play time while little Sam was on break. Max has some of the most beautiful big, blue eyes you'll ever find. Watch out ladies. And he's a ton of fun, too!

Here's a sneak peek of a few images from our afternoon play time. The last image is possibly my favorite fun image from the session. I think Max is touching his brain.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Best Explanation of the Differences Between Men and Women I've Ever Read

I've been on a bit of a blogging holiday coinciding with the recent actual holidays, but I'm slowly getting back on the horse as the new year starts ramping up.

I thought I'd start off 2008 with a post that anyone who's ever been confused by the opposite sex (and who hasn't been?) can use and hopefully benefit from. The article written by Deborah Tannen is an insightful read and you can find it here.