Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blue Chair

Blue Chair, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I found that if you wander around a college town right at the start of summer you find lots of discarded items on the sidewalk that you normally wouldn't. Like this chair.

I had one just like this in my classroom a couple years ago. Including the broken wheels. The kids loved to sit in it (high school) even though they would eventually forget the part about the missing wheels and fall over. It was funny at first, then it was annoying. One day it was particularly annoying, so I picked it up went outside, and threw it as far across the blacktop as I could. It broke into a zillion pieces. It wasn't annoying anymore!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Berkeley Viking

Berkeley Viking , originally uploaded by mhall209.

While in Berkeley, California for a few days of PD I went for a little walk through the neighborhood. I wasn't a block away from the dorm where I was staying when I found this sewing machine on the sidewalk. I have a general policy in life that when I find a sewing machine on the sidewalk I take a picture. So here you go!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bee Balm

Bee Balm, originally uploaded by mhall209.

In the front yard, in my wife's garden (don't tell her I called it that- its OUR garden) a bunch of bee balm with a bee on it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fence Post

Fence Post, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Out for a walk in the neighborhood and noticed this fence post and barbed wire. The rust and the green work for me. Need to do more of these walks!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Smile, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I have never noticed these types of plants around before, but this year they seem to be everywhere. Any idea what it is?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Army Snack

Army Snack, originally uploaded by mhall209.

The Army recruiters were out in force at the SkillsUSA National Convention, and they even cooked for us. Bananas Foster a la U. S. Army were pretty good. I don't think it is quite what my brother talked about back in the '80's. I think they may have stepped up their game in the Army Food Services department.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


hmmmmm, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I snuck off to find some lunch in Downtown Kansas City, and found this different perspective of an everyday object. Can you figure out what it is?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bread Scale

Bread Scale, originally uploaded by mhall209.

One of the highlights of the SkillsUSA National Conference is the different culinary arts competitions. As we visited this morning the students were just starting their day of baking. Most contestants were measuring out ingredients for whatever all they were being asked to make. Believe me, at the end of the day they make a whole bunch of stuff, all of which looks awesome. There wasn't much to see as we strolled around, but I did manage this shot.

We will see what tomorrow brings as my students are presenting their projects to the public all day, leaving me with time to stroll, and my camera battery is charging now!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Urban Renewal

IMG_3445, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I am still in Kansas City, MO. with students who are participating in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. They needed some materials we thought would be easier to buy here than to pack on the plane, so off I went this morning to find a few things. On foot. The good thing about walking is it takes you to corners you would otherwise miss, you would just drive on by. Like this little spot. A new parking lot getting new landscaping right next to a building that is either falling down or being torn down. Not sure which. In California it would be surrounded by fence, but not so here. Maybe people in this part of the country have enough sense to not walk though a falling building. (There was nothing cool in the falling down part. I checked.)

Monday, June 21, 2010


IMG_3440, originally uploaded by mhall209.

The first day in Kansas CIty. One of the first things I noticed, besides the heat and humidity, was the number of brick and stone buildings in the downtown area. We don't see them that much in California. I guess earthquakes and stone and brick construction do not go together well!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Real red

Real red, originally uploaded by mhall209.

My wife and I went for a little walk this morning up the "Spure Grade" a little section of road near out house. As you can see from the picture there is not a lot of room to walk on this road. We were a bit surprised to see this road rally come by, the 2010 Snowball Rally. It was cool to see these old cars come by, and a real challenge to get good shots as the sped by. There some more shots in my photo stream, click the photo to view them. And if you can identify these cars, please do so!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Bike, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Going for another walk. In the spring, summer, and fall the area we live in is serious recreation country. When going on walks you really need to watch your back, you never know what might be silently lurking behind you! In this case it was a serious bike ride. I don't know what you call it when a couple hundred bike riders get together and do their thing. I call it a photo op. If you are on a bike on the road by my house, you are hard core!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moke river

IMG_0635, originally uploaded by mhall209.

This is an older shot from the archives. I didn't like it originally, but I was playing around in Aperture on my new Mac. I had never used the software, and I wanted to see how it stacked up against Picasa and Bridge. Way better than Picasa, Jury is still out on Bridge.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Old Dodge

Old Dodge, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I have been meaning to get a shot of this truck for a while. It sits in a field not too far from the house. The problem is the guy who owns the property would not be too happy about having someone taking pictures of his property. I know that as long as I am not trespassing I can take all the pictures I want, but who wants a confrontation. So I waited for an evening when I thought he wouldn't be around, and took my shot. I didn't trespass. I didn't. Thats my story and I am sticking to it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Two Does

Two Does, originally uploaded by mhall209.

These two does were having dinner in our pasture this evening. Sometimes they aren't real happy about having their picture taken, the click from the shutter release often scares them off. Tonight they didn't seem to mind. I was lucky, there was enough light to get this shot, but not too much as to be too much light.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Sharp, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I had a rather bloody encounter with this plant. Would you call it a bush? A cactus? Heck I dont know. I do know those sharp ends are sharp, and they do pierce the skin, rather deeply. Note to self: when focussing on something in front of you, dont pay so much attention that you forget there might be something equally sharp behind you. Enough said.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mission Fountain

Mission Fountain, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Another image from our recent trip to the California Central Coast, and the Mission San Miguel. One of the things that fascinates me about the California Missions is the ancient relics that are being maintained on a shoe string budget while the mission is still used as a functioning church and museum. This results is a really interesting blend between relic and function.

I am sure that the original missions had a water feature in the courtyard, but I think it would have been more functional than this one. Ornamental cattails would have been little use to the mission residents. I am sure they did not have a fountain with a stone ball in the top with water pumped through it. But for today, it is pretty.

And just so I don't sound too negative, hats off to all the people who work really hard to keep these old places open to the public. I really enjoy visiting and learning from them. And thanks for not chasing me off on a Sunday morning.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mission San Miguel

Mission San Miguel, originally uploaded by mhall209.

COming home this weekend from San Luis Obispo my wife wanted to stop by this mission. Its been a while since we stopped at a mission. I think we have been to all of the California Missions at one point or another, but this is the first time to be at one on a Sunday morning. I felt the need to be miire discrete with my camera.

I decided I need to do a photo series on the California Missions, I think it will start right now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Crystal Graduated

Crystal Graduated, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I met Crystal about eight years ago when she was a freshman in the high school I worked at. Towards the end of her high school years she told me that she wanted me to go to her college graduation. I was luke warm at best, I told her we were very close then, but she would go off to college and I would ever hear from her again, like most of the students I have known. I told her that was a good thing, that she needs to move on with her life. SHe disagreed. She promised that she would stay in touch and come back to visit, abd thet I had to go to her graduation. I made a deal; if she stayed in touch, I would go.

Well she has stayed in touch. We are on each others facebook.(I dont think she has a twitter account) She comes by to visit me at school when she is in town when school is in session. She is one of very few former students who have been to my home. The rest of the students who have been here came with Crystal!

This weekend she graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and I was there. No question, my wife and I got in the car and drove the 6 hours each way to watch her graduate. We went to her apartment that evening for a little BBQ she was having for family and friends. It was a lot of fun, and I am very, very proud of her.

Good job Crystal!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stars over SLO

Stars over SLO, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Our first mini vacation of the summer! A former student was graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and she wanted me to come see, so we did. On Friday night we went out to eat in downtown SLO. It is a great town-if you are in to college towns, which I am.

This was the view from the top floor of the parking deck. I liked the way the star was lined up right over the mountain. I had no idea, untill I got back to the room and uploaded the image to my computer, that there ware actually three stars! This is why, next time my wife asks, I always keep a tripod in the car trunk!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

misson gate

misson gate, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Something about this image that I really like. The old adobe building techniques, the cactus outside the gate, and the old trees inside. And the colors. This really works for me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sidewalk closed ahead

Sidewalk closed ahead, originally uploaded by mhall209.

A little shack along a road I found a while back. You can guess why the sidewalk is closed. My surprise was that there were actually sidewalks where this barn is.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

lake flowers

lake flowers, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Finally got the film back on this one. From a nice Sunday afternoon walk around a nearby lake. The wild flowers were out, and I thought I would try my hand at some wild flower photography with a twin lens reflex film camera. Turned out worth waiting for.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Steven's home

steven, originally uploaded by mhall209.

This is Steven, my youngest son. He is home from college. He goes to San Francisco State, where he is an art major. When he is home he has a habit of taking over the garage with two of his projects; restoring that VW bug, and his pottery. I don't know how to explain what he is building there, but I do think it will be awesome!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The backyard

creek, originally uploaded by mhall209.

The backyard looks pretty good this time of year. Actually, this is behind the backyard, but it is still behind the house. Our property line goes down the middle of the creek. I have always wondered how you measure the middle of the creek when the creek is always moving. Hmmm.

This year I am able to spend more time down in the creek. I am doing a little gold panning, and a little clearing. I am hoping to clear a path along the creek so we can walk along it. Right now most of the area is unusable. Blackberry vines, downed tree limbs and what not make it difficult to walk along the creek without walking down the middle of the creek. But that's pretty fun to.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

field work

field work, originally uploaded by mhall209.

Our school has a lot of students who are children of farm workers. When you ask what their parents do for a living these students will usually be evasive. "Work" and "Stuff" are the usual answers. They really need to trust you before they will say "My dad works in the fields." I have never heard a kid say "My parents are farm workers."

Around this time of year they sometimes let it slip, especially the boys. The boys will be excited when their parents "let" them miss school to work in the cherry packing sheds. I understand that by farm worker standards the jobs in the cherry sheds are the top notch jobs. They pay very well, comparatively speaking, and you get to be in the shade all day. So I understand why the parents and kids want to miss school for this. It is not legal, and I don't agree with it, but I understand the situation.

This picture was taken a couple miles from our school. The school is at the edge of the city, the farms start literally down the street from school. The people in this shot could very well be parents of my students. Heck for that matter, they could be my students. This is another image I want to use in class this year. I am hoping the students can relate to the image. The topic? Composition, and leading lines. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


art, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I have been keeping my eye out for shots around school. I want to collect images from around where my student's live. This was a grocery store a mile or so away from school. A couple months ago it caught on fire in the middle of the night and has remained empty since. The pay phone was the first thing that caught my eye. I don't know how long it has been since I have seen one that actually had a phone it. The second thing that caught my eye is the lack of graffiti. That is very odd for this part of town!

When I took the shot I had it framed with the word Mart at the top, but it turns out much better with the word "Art."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

car fire

car fire, originally uploaded by mhall209.

I had to drop my son off at the airport this morning at an ungodly hour. On my way back I saw some smoke, and having some time to kill I wound my way around an unfamiliar neighborhood, and arrived at this seen, except no one was there. No one. It was a car that was fully involved- nothing I could do but call 911, which I did. The Sacramento City Fire Engine 6 was there pretty quickly, and so I grabbed my camera and started shooting. It was pretty cool. Stuff was blowing up and I was getting some good shots!

I need more of these shots for my classroom this summer. I have been shooting a lot of rural scenes, but I need to be shooting exemplars for my students' work. I need shots that are relevant to them. Like this. I think I will use this shot in the photography lesson about filling the frame.