Oakland Skyline Update

We’ve had about enough of the almost non-stop helicopter sounds outside our window. There are three or four in the air almost every evening that doesn’t include rain.

Click for a closer look at this 15,000 pixel-wide view from my rooftop. It’s not the sharpest image ever taken, but this is because the shots were handheld at high ISO with the lens wide open and manual (out of) focus. I sort of forgot that my 35mm lenses don’t perform as well wide open as the awesome lens on my X100T.

The last time I did this sort of thing, I used a tripod, lower ISO, smaller aperture and auto focus. The resulting image received more attention than any other in the history of thedude.com.

DISCLAIMER: Just as the moon was not really in that spot in my earlier panorama, there was actually just one helicopter with a searchlight in this one. I took about 5 shots of the police chopper in 2-second intervals thinking that I’d combine them all in the final pano, but this is what came out of AutoPano Pro on the first take, and I like it. Done. Well, that is until Kelly saw it and suggested this tighter crop. Yes, I like this one too!


Photographing Four Kids is Hard

While the thought of shooting kids (with a camera) is not something I’d normally consider fun, I really could not refuse when my boss asked me to shoot his kids for the holiday. (Did I mention how adorable his kids are? Yes, they really are. No, really!)

I get butterflies before all photo shoots, and this assignment had me more nervous than most. It’s easier to focus the camera than four kids, but as always, fear morphed into fun as soon as I started working. The kids were great, and we managed to get a few winners. I can’t spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to wait until after the holidays to see them.


Oh Just Frigate

Working on a cover of a book about pirates.

The image started as a model from the Sketchup 3D Warehouse, exported in 3DS format, imported into Cinema4D. What you see is pretty much straight out of Cinema.



It’s true – the new 5K iMac is mind-blowing. Ii takes just a few minutes on a 5K retina display to realize that there will be no going back. After my boss saw it, I had no trouble convincing him that I could not live without a 5K display at work. So now I’ve been busy going through my entire image library – finally seeing my images in their full glory. This is the main reason you haven’t heard from me for a while.

My advice? Sell your kids and get a 5K iMac immediately. It will change your life. Did you do it yet? Yes? Good, because I don’t want my efforts to make thedude.com retina-ready to go unappreciated. (Actually, there’s an awesome retina plugin for WordPress that made the whole process very easy.)

Another distraction is the work we’re having done on our largest wall. Andrew has been working his magic. The Venetian plaster is even more spectacular then my visualizations. They do not convey the tactile quality of the plaster. When you see it, the first thing you’ll want to do is touch it. It’s amazing.

Now we need to have a bunch of LARGE prints made. We’re in no hurry though. Why rush to cover up Andrew’s masterpiece?


Happy Birthday to Me!

I cannot thank you guys enough for getting my fifty ninth sixtieth(!) year off to a such a great start. You guys RULE!

Chris and Ben, thanks for being the best of all hosts and for opening the door to your beautiful home. Thanks to Peter and Jane for the excellent conversation, the laughs and the port! Andrew, the sketch is completely amazing. Jeri, your bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers were the bomb, and your transformation into kitchen commando totally saved the day. And of course, my wonderful wife Kelly orchestrated the whole thing. Thanks so much, Honey!

Andrew & Jeri’s
Dazzling Wedding on the Playa

Surrounded by bees and unicorns, Andrew and Jeri and Ursula and Sophie made it official on Wednesday as the sun set on The Man. With the Reverend Billy presiding, I assure you, this event was more beautiful and spectacular than you can imagine.

If you want more, you’ll find a couple hundred high-resolution images from my trip to the Playa on my Google+ page.

Other coverage of the event:

Richard Lair

My friend Herve had this to say when he saw my shot of Richard.

‟He has a Faulknerian stance, with a sprinkle of twinkling old Mark twain…”

Richard is the world’s authority on the Asian Elephant. He has lived in Thailand for most of his life, and has spent much of that time running one of the country’s largest elephant camps, where 60 or so magnificent elephants live rich lives, sometimes into their 70’s.

It’s always a pleasure to chat with Richard and hear the stories of his impressive eyebrows.

iBurn For You

I worked with a 2D file provided by Andrew to create a 3D splash screen for a Burning Man mapping app called iBurn. With it, burners will always be able to tell how far they are from The 7 Deadly Gins or Hungover Camel Hydration Station or even F.A.R.T. Kamp, for when they get the urge to fart into a megaphone.

Weekend Renders

There’s a reasonable chance that I’ll be asked to serve on the board of our Home Owner’s Association in a few months, and one topic that will be revisited again is an update of the interior of our building. A facelift is long overdue, and having a few convincing 3D renders may go a long way to making it actually happen.

I created 3D renderings of some of the building’s unique features with SketchUp and TheaRender a couple years ago, but decided to migrate the files over to Cinema4D. I love the results I get from Thea, but Cinema4D has excellent modeling tools, is faster and more stable. It also runs amazingly well on my iMac.

View a full res version of today’s featured image here.