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4 years, 1 month ago 11

The BCS Championship game has us in town almost a week, so there was time to run down some burgers int he off hours!   There were plenty to try, the local favorite Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill, Jack’s Hamburgers, Five Guys, Cheeburger Cheeburger, and many more of the usual suspects.  A new chain that is getting a lot of buzz was also around, Smashburger.



My first stop was the highly rated, (by locals) Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill.  This is a family owned burger place that claims they make abetter burger because of using natural gas for their grill!  It’s a flame guys and you know my stand on burgers cooked over flame.  Not a fan!  Truthfully for a burger grilled over a fire it was not too bad, seasoned well, and cooked good and medium, so it was juicy.  They are also generous thick patties, but that flame broiled taste, I just couldn’t get past it.  So Gilbert’s burger gets a 3.5 pickles score, which isn’t good enough to break into our top 25 list.   The next place I checked out was Jack’s Burgers.  This is a conventional flat top grill burger and was actually very good.  The burgers was little on the thin side but well seasoned and well prepared, Jack’s got a 4.0  which is a very good score, pushing it’s way toward the top twenty five! I didn’t check out Five Guys, I’ve had plenty and they are always a solid 4.2 or better!  I also skipped on Cheeburger, Cheeburger, one of my favorite chains years ago, but wildly inconsistent in recent visit!  The new kid ont he block is Smash burger (lead image at the top!)  I actually first heard of Smashburger a couple of weeks ago from Mike Moats the great close-up shooter.  He wanted to know if I had tried one and I told him I had not but would on the first opportunity.  Well, once again I have something to thank Mike for!!!  The burger at Smashburger was fantastic, a solid 4.5, placing it well up in the pack of great American burgers!  So it was a lot better week for Alabama fans and cheeseburger lovers than Notre Dame fans!




the pilgrim



4 years, 1 month ago 4

I’ve even quiet trying……..  My friends think I have the most fascinating job in the world, and no matter how much I try to explain to them what it is “really” like they just refuse to believe me, so I’ve quiet trying.  Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes being a tech rep is really cool!  Shuttle launches, Air Races, and Air Shows are all a lot of fun!   Political Conventions, golf tournaments and football games, not so much.  The reason is the credentialing process.  At the good events you get to be a part of the action, but at many big national events like the Masters, or the BCS Championship, or the Super Bowl, you never get to see the field!  Don’t get me wrong, our job is to support the people that are actually working for a living, and for me, having once shot NFL a lot, I’m not all that disappointed. I’d rather be watching the big game on the big screen HD at home, but my friends just don’t believe me!



So I’ve taken the liberty of showing you what our work area is like at the BCS.  Do we get to watch the game, you bet, see below!!


Now, before you get the wrong idea, I work with great people like Jose’ Ramos and Francis Yeh at  this event, and the photographers, for the most part really appreciate our being here, and hey I can get close to the TV and see the game!!!  It’s just that my best football buddy, Sherelene, and my refrigerator are so far away!


But hey God has blessed me in so many ways, who’s complaining!  Hey was that a first down???!! Who has the ball???




the pilgrim



4 years, 1 month ago 7

Well we are one day away from the National Championship game in college football and a lot of folks are painting the logo everywhere, above, even on the beach!  We spent yesterday working in the stadium, below, getting our consignment gear unpacked, inventoried and prepared to help the 250 shooters that will attend the game, Monday afternoon and evening.



When we could take a break from our duties, it was fun watching the artists apply the logos and team names to the field with special paint. They use a sprayer and they control the edges with a deft skill!


So as you can see they are truly getting ready for the big event, but that was not what I was referring to in the blog title; “Closing in on the Game!”    No, I’m preparing for some exciting things in my future and one of them is creating and releasing a large number of  eBooks!



I hope over the coming few years to produce a number of eBooks ranging from teaching books on many aspects of photography, and several faith based books.  The first is in the works right now, and it actually started yesterday!  I was trying to find a place in Fort Lauderdale to pickup supplies, and was probably going a little slow trying to figure out where the business was, so an SUV behind me, probably in extreme frustration of my speed, recklessly tore around me and swerved back into our lane and then was stuck behind the long line of traffic we were all trapped in!!!  I thought at that moment, “How can you find peace, in a ticked off world?”  Thus was born the title, How to Find Peace……. in a Ticked Off World!   


As I drove on down the highway a flood of ideas came to me, mostly how much I need this book myself!!!  We live in a world full of people that are very angry, and they show their frustration at the drop of a hat, maybe no place worse than behind the wheel!  Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there, you see it in people’s behavior in the airport, in stores, in restaurants, at sporting events, everywhere people go, they show how “ticked off they are”  I need a guide to help me find peace in my own spirit in the midst of all these frustrated, angry, disrespectful, and down right trying people. I’ll bet some of you do too!  So soon we will all have one.  It will be a fun book filled with funny examples of a not too funny condition of our world.  One fun aspect will be the chapter titles which I’ve pulled from famous movie quotes, like;


“Frankly my dear I don’t give a ………..”    Gone With The Wind


“What we have here is a failure to communicate…..”   Cool Hand Luke


“You complete me……”    Jerry McGuire


I hope you get the idea, a real book about real situations, real people have to deal with, and most importantly what God says in his Word about how to do more than “cope” but live  “victoriously!”   

So the real game for me is not Monday night in Miami, it’s every day for the rest of my life serving Him!




the pilgrim


*Photo Note:  The shot at the top, of the beach logo, was made with the D600 hand held and the 70-300 AFS-VR from my balcony!  At 100% you can see the grain in the sand!


Special word of thanks…..  I was so proud of Scott Kelby for writing his new book, It’s a Jesus Thing,  I’ve always loved how Scott introduces humor into all his books and I think that is the best way to deal with difficult subject, whether it be Photoshop or Faith!!!  Scott has inspired me to wade into this book world!




4 years, 1 month ago 10

Today has been a day of details, one thing after another to work out for the BCS game, thankfully everything is rolling along fine!  Sneaky way to bring up the subject, but let’s talk about cameras. As I have shared before I’m working on what I hope to be the near perfect system for the next bunch of years of shooting.  I truly believe that we have entered the best age of digital technology yet.  Well of course, since things keep getting better but we are hitting the really sweet spot, and I think this is the time to build a system for the future.


Here are a few of my thoughts;


1. If you ever owned a 4X5 or 8X10 view camera and you want to get that kind of amazing detail, the D800 or D800e is the ticket in today’s DSLRs.  I think of my D800 (o.k. Nikon’s D8700!!!) as the go to camera when the ultimate in detail and resolution is the goal.  When used just like a view camera, on a solid tripod with a cable release and very careful technique the results can be utterly amazing.  The shot above was made on our Red Rock Workshops in Lower Antelope Canyon with the D800 and the 24-120 AF-S VR.  This kind of file could be made into a print of just about any size you needed!  So camera number one in my future system, the D800.


2.  The everyday shoot almost anything camera, should be a little more compact, have plenty of resolution and shoot great in extremely low light.  Sticking with the system I use, Nikon,  the D600 is a perfect fit!  It’s 24.3 mega pixels is a lot and still allows great low light shooting.  The feel and operation of the D600 has become one of my two favorite cameras for ergonomics.  When I ho out the door for normal shooting the D600 has become a constant companion!  So number two on my list will be a D600.    


3.  I believe that it is a great idea to have a DX body just to stretch your lenses and for travel when weight is really important.  For years I’ve loved the D7000 and I can’t see any reason not to go that route, assuming nothing comes along to change my mind it is number three, the D7000!


 4.  Finally I think everyone needs a camera for when they just don’t feel like carrying around a DSLR and some lenses, but still want to be able to make really wonderful images.  This is a tough one because so many great choices exist and more than any other kinds of cameras, how you work and what  you want in the feel and weight of a compact camera will be a great influence on your choice here.  Because I get to use a lot of different compact cameras, I’m stilling trying to decide on this one, but the leading candidates are the Nikon Coolpix P7700, Coolpix P7100 and the Fuji X10.  Each has it’s own charms, and any of them can make wonderful images!!!!


So there it is, what I think will be my shooting partners for years to come!  * Of Course I reserve the right to change anything as new cameras appear, but they will be hard pressed to beat these list above.


Tomorrow will be Media Day at the stadium and we may finally make images that relate to football!




the pilgrim