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Monday
Apr142014

A photoshoot with the Nikon 200mm f/2 and other updates

It's difficult to not be a gearhead when getting in to photography.  Whenever I feel like I've found all the equipment I could possibly want or need something else pops up.  This time it is the Nikkor 200mm f/2 lens.  I've heard pretty fantastic things about how well it takes portraits, from the tack sharp focal point to the creamy smooth bokeh.  I was left even more impressed than what I had expected.  I first balked at the $5,000 price point, but now I am convinced it will be my next purchase.  Here are a few shots I got with it.  

 

 

Other Updates:

Awhile back I mentioned starting work on developing a video game.  The original intention of that project has changed a lot since I first started thinking about what I wanted to do.  I've decided I'm going to make a small experience for my nephew for Christmas.  I think if I can dedicate a little time to it every week I can put together something that will be about 5 hours long.  I want to make a game where he is the main character and revolves around events in his real life.  Since that project is going to be a lot smaller, I will instead be focusing more attention on another game development opportunity.  The Oculus Rift is something for which I am very interested in developing content.  Although I'm stretched pretty thin between work and all of my hobbies including: photography, a food/photograhy blog that I'm putting together with my girlfriend, full restoration on each of my pinball machines, writing/recording music for my next album, and now software development, a co-worker and I have decided that we are going to put a small dev team together.  We've done extensive research on the available game engines and decided the new Unreal 4 engine to be the best option out there.  Since neither one of us are experienced coders (he a chemical engineer and I an IT Manager) we're going with Unreal for its ability to do full scripting with what Epic calls Blueprint.  This sounded like a much better option than going with an engine like Unity and learning C# from scratch (although learning C# is on the to-do list).  I've reserved domains for both the food/photography blog and also our dev team so stay tuned for updates pertaining to both ventures.  

Wednesday
Feb052014

Gusher Magazine Cover

I recently shot the cover photo for Gusher Magazine's Winter 2014 issue. It was just released today.  Go check it out

http://www.jltulsa.org/ama/orig/gusher/Gusher_Winter_14_Web.pdf


Friday
Jan312014

Photos Featured on Galley Website

About 6 months ago I did some photography for a local kitchen remodeling company.  The photos are now on Galley's website showcasing one of their main products.  Here are the shots and a link to the site

 http://thegalleysink.com/galley-45/

 

 

 

 

Sunday
Jan122014

Made it to #1 on Reddit!

An image I took in Colorado made it to the #1 slot on reddit's front page!  It has recieved over 833,000 views.  Here is the shot that I took and a link to the imgur copy 

http://imgur.com/ob8Gq1k

 

Thursday
Dec192013

Homemade Vanilla Extract Christmas Gift

I wanted to create something from scratch for my mom and sisters for Christmas.  I decided to make some homemade vanilla extract and design a label.  I used Madagascan vanilla beans with Maker's Mark 46 bourbon. The label from scratch in Photoshop to this final image took less than a day.  This was a really fun project and I really think they are going to enjoy this year's gift

Thursday
Aug292013

Other Projects: Oklahoma Paul's Ice Cream *update*

This is an idea that I've been batting around for the last year or two.  I've been wanting to create my own line of ice cream that would be Gluten Free and reminiscent of something like Ben and Jerry's with gobs of ingredients.  The other night I worked out my first batch and then made a first pass on the artwork in Photoshop for the packaging.  Hopefully this project will continue to progress to a point where I can start selling these somewhere locally.  

 

 

*UPDATE*

I worked on the artwork a little tonight when taking a break from another project.  Slowly making progress. I've been doing the artwork from scratch in photoshop (aside from the main character which will have to be changed eventually unless I get a license) so it's going by pretty slow.  I'm also working on setting up some interactive media stations for Yolotti.  Soon we will be testing out having a 5-7" screen at some tables that either will have videos looping on them or will allow people to play a game of Super Mario, Zelda, etc.  

 

Friday
Aug162013

Other Projects: Pacman MAME cabinet

I had a Pacman cocktail table sitting around that wasn't working.  The boards had issues, the monitor had constant issues, and the power supply also needed work.  I finally decided to just gut the machine (carefully storing the original parts aside) and convert the cabinet to a MAME cab.  I wanted to use all the original hardware that I could, so I rewired the controls with an i-pac interface and wired up the case lights to the pc power supply since it carried the 12v needed for the bulbs used in the original cabinet. I have it programmed to turn itself on and off every day just in case I decide to put it up at Yolotti and want it to run with zero management needed.  I ended up sanding down the corner pieces on the cabinet as well and repainting them with a black gloss paint and matte clear coat to mimic the original paint job.  This cabinet had a Ms Pacman bezel art in there as well but I opted for the original Pac-Man art that would have come with this cabinet when it was first produced. It can run any verticle arcade game but for now I just have Ms Pac-man going in it.   This was a really fun project and took just a few days to complete from concept to completion.  

 

 

 

I also wanted to use the original speaker in the cabinet so I found this $10 amp to power it and it worked like a charm.  Has that great warm sound the original game made.  I'll post an HD video of it in action sometime soon

Tuesday
Aug062013

And the Rest: Playlist from The Vinyl Brunch *UPDATED*

The Vinyl Brunch at Chimera this last Sunday went really well.  I had a great time spinning and got a lot of positive feedback about the playlist.  Speaking of, here was my playlist for the first Tulsa Vinyl Society podcast.  The podcast should be available in 2 parts by sometime Wednesday. I'll update this post with links when it becomes available

 

 

Black Moth Super Rainbow "Zodiac Girls (Pony Version)"
DJ Shadow "The Gloaming (Remix)"
Alias feat. The One AM Radio "The Weathering"
The Go Find "Sky Window"
Seabear "Cat Piano"
Brightblack Morning Light "Everybody Daylight"
Edith Frost "Ancestors"
Nobody & The Mystic Chords of Memory "Broaden a New Sound"
Black Moth Super Rainbow feat. Laura Burhenn "Just For the Night"
Black Moth Super Rainbow "American Face Dust"
The Notwist "Trashing Days"
Pepper Rabbit "Lake House"
Tears For Fears "Head Over Heels"
Demon Queen "Swoll Tongue"
Yellow Ostrich "Mary"
Nada Surf "Blonde on Blonde"
The Shins "New Slang"
Zero 7 "Warm Sound"
Radical Face "Wrapped In Piano Strings"
Electric President "Good Morning, Hypocrite"
Sigur Ros "Saeglopur"
The Kinks "Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me From Worryin' 'Bout That Girl"
Beach House "On the Sea"
Nick Drake "Pink Moon"
Islands "Swans (Life After Death)"
Human Highway "Duties of a Lighthouse Keeper"
Zero 7 "Salt Water Sound"
Incubus "Aqueous Transmission"
Tobacco "Gross Magik"
Gonjasufi "Candylane"
Demon Queen "Love Hour Zero"
Grizzly Bear "Knife"
The Flaming Lips "In the Morning of the Magicians"
Other Lives "AM Theme"
Joe Cocker "Space Captain - Live (1970/Fillmore East)"
Leon Russell "It's A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"
J.J. Cale "Call Me The Breeze"
Taj Mahal "Corinna"
The Velvet Underground "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'"
Money Mark "Tomorrow Will Be Like Today"
Pepper Rabbit "Allison"
Demon Queen "Lamborghini Meltdown"
Plants and Animals "Bye Bye Bye"

 

UPDATE: Here is the podcast, give it a listen.

Pt 1. http://www.mixcloud.com/TulsaVinylSociety/the-vinyl-brunch-pilot-feat-paul-agee-pt-1/

Pt 2. http://www.mixcloud.com/TulsaVinylSociety/the-vinyl-brunch-pilot-feat-paul-agee-pt-2/

Saturday
Jul272013

More Bird Photos from Estes Park

We were hiking up to Dream Lake when we passed by a group of people feeding the birds (feeding the wildlife is something you are not supposed to do).  Either way I wanted to stop and take some pictures.  One is posted on my main photo section and here are a few others.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul242013

And The Rest: Chimera Update and I'm Developing a Video Game

First, I have an update for the Vinyl Brunch at Chimera.  I've been told that Beau from 'You're Welcome' can't make it for the first show.  They've decided to use that time slot as a dry run which means the first official recorded show will be mine on August 4th.  Be sure to make it out to Chimera to enjoy some good music, food and drink

 

Those who know me know that I am always working on a lot of different projects.  The newest one I am adding to the list is developing a video game!  It will be released for the PC and later for iOS.  I've been working on learning the scripting and tool set the last week and have already been able to come up with some interesting prototypes.  I don't have any more details to share yet but stay tuned.  I might be posting some test builds on here sometime in the near future.  I'm also exploring the possibility of developing some software for the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality HMD that will be released sometime around next year.  I've been working with a development kit for about a month now and it really has a lot of potential.  

Friday
Jul192013

Other Food Photography

Here are a few other photos that I took awhile back and never posted on my site.  Just a few things I've been cooking up.

 

Spicy crab, cream cheese, cucumber and jalapeno roll topped with spicy shrimp, dynamite sauce and chives 

 

Grilled hamburger stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and minced jalapeno with a stuffed bell pepper

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

 

Beef Pho with Sirloin and Short Ribs

 

Carnitas Street Tacos with Queso Fresco, Salsa Verde, Avocado Poblano Cream Sauce and Pickled Onion and Radish Slaw


 

 

Thursday
Jul112013

And the Rest: The Vinyl Brunch at Chimera

Starting July 28th, every Sunday at Chimera in Tulsa, OK there will be a 4-hour long live show hosted by Dillon Hargrave.  Each week he will have a guest come on to bring in their vinyl collection to mix for the patrons and the show will be recorded for a podcast.  My friend Beau Blackstock from SpyFm's 'You're Welcome' will be the special guest for the inaugural show and I'll be on the following week spinning the cream of the crop! I've been amassing rare and hard to find vinyl's for 5 years now and I am very excited to be able to share and discuss music.  Be sure to come by and check it out on August 4th!

 

Wednesday
Jul102013

Gear Talk: Saying Goodbye to my old Ballhead

It's time to say goodbye to a piece of my tripod hardware that I've been using for nearly a year.  When I first ordered it, the Manfrotto 498RC2 seemed to be exactly what I was looking for: a reasonably priced ball head with quick release plates and a fairly decent build quality.  But that is great on paper, not always so great in practice.  



The Manfrotto quick release plates tend to have a little bit of give in them and don't have a lock tight grip, so when shooting vertical shots they tend to droop every so slightly.  This is not always noticeable at first but when shooting architecture with a lot of leading lines, that slight droop causes major headaches in post work. The camera plate is also somewhat small and doesn't grip all that well, so unless you screw it in unreasonably tight, it will have some movement in the base, a very big negative.  Also, when stacking several shots together, there tends to be a very slight amount of movement which leads to less than tack sharp images.  So after doing the typical run through of entry level tripod gear, to the prosumer Manfrotto gear,  I've decided to retire this piece and upgrade to the Really Right Stuff BH-55 LR Ballhead.  

 

I spent several days researching everything on the market.  The Arca-Swiss heads looked pretty nice and have been around for quite some time, but the Really Right Stuff won me over.  Everywhere I looked for reviews the one head that kept coming up was the BH-55.  It has garnered a great deal of positive feedback from professional photographers for it's build quality and reliability.  One problem ball heads can incur is locking up in different climate situations.  I've seen a photographer use this in -45c without it locking up, that's more than enough to ease my concerns.  This head is also manufactured in the US and although the price is a little steep (see: very steep), I think this will last me for several years. I also ordered the BD-800L plate for the D800 so I can do vertical shots with more stability

 

Once I get this in I will do a full write-up and review or possibly a video review.  The next upgrade in sight is going from my aluminum Manfrotto tripod to a carbon fiber tripod by Really Right Stuff.  Gitzo tripods are considered by many to be the best out there, but after reading several horror stories about legs breaking and cameras falling off of the base, and seeing the amazing build quality of RRS, I've decided to go with them.   

Tuesday
Jul092013

From the Kitchen: Lemon-Poppy Ebelskivers

I haven't been cooking too much the last couple weeks since I've been mostly on the road, but on the way back from Colorado we stopped at a small Swedish community in Kansas and picked up a book on making Ebelskivers.  They are like a mixture of pancake and muffin in a bite sized form.  We made lemon-poppy with a lemon glaze and a parmesan crusted fresh basil with stuffed mozzarella ebelskiver and a marinara dipping sauce.  For being gluten free they were surprisingly good and had a really nice texture

Monday
Jul082013

Back from Estes

We're back from our trip to Colorado, got lot's of good shots.  I have about 1,300 images to go through so there should be a steady flow of new content for the next few weeks.  Went downtown Tulsa this evening to take some pictures and still have tons of July 4th images to go through so stay tuned.  I've also changed the appearance of the photo gallery so each full image thumbnail can be easily seen.