Monday, April 30, 2007

Take off and go!

We were out at Pioneer Park when we saw these two birds chilling out on a bird box. We figured if we waited long enough, they'd get weirded out by the two photographers stalking them and make a break for it -- and sure enough, they did. :) Cute lil' guys. Click to enlarge.

Photo trip!

Josh, Lanette, & I all went on a crazy-fun photo excursion this past Saturday; I'll be posting a bunch of pics over the next few days. Here's a funny one of Lanette being a goofball on a local bridge. Gotta love the wide-angle. :) Click to enlarge.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Warning: now grabbing copyrights just underwent a major site redesign, and lost among the clutter is their new legal policy. **edit** It's been pointed out to me that this policy is actually not new, but has been around since 2005. For more information, see the update edit at the end of the story. One would intuitively think that simply posting a photograph to the forums over at would not mean that one is surrendering their copyright to for all time, but it would appear that that is no longer the case: is the legal owner of all copyright interests of content. Each and every submission to carries with it an implied assignment of the entire copyright interest in the submission. In exchange for the content and publication of that submission on, grants back to the submitter a non-exclusive, non-transferable and royalty-free license to republish that submission in any and all forms.

Essentially, this means that posting any of your content to FARK, be it photograph, text, or whatever, immediately and forever transfers your copyright ownership to the owners of If, for example, you post a photo, they are free to sell rights to your photograph to others or to use it without permission in any way they deem fit, including advertising. The owners of FARK are "generous" enough to grant you back a license to use your own photo as you wish, but you are forever barred from selling licenses on the photo, as you (A) no longer own the copyright, (B) have only been granted a non-transferable license, and (C) FARK has generated a Royalty Free license, meaning that the image can never be Rights Managed again. The owners of FARK now own your image, not you.

**EDIT** Further details and Drew Curtis' response. Looks like this was just a case of poorly written legal copy, and FARK has no malicious intent. (I never really thought they did; the problem is that the law really doesn't care what you meant to do in a contract, it only cares about what's on the face of the contract.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tornado damage from south of Gothenburg

Darren Addy and I went chasing (or, more accurately, busting) this past Saturday, and on the way we stopped by in Gothenburg to snap a few photos of the damage from the tornado that struck south of town on April 20th. The tornado ended up being rated an EF-2. You can see the NWS's page about it here.

The scene was really something -- it's amazing how far tornadoes can spread debris. There were front end loaders all over the place picking up sheet metal and lumber and the like out of the fields hundreds of yards from where the debris originated from. The cleanup effort was huge, with at least 30 people and 5 pieces of heavy construction equipment helping out.

Below are the photos that I shot. Click to enlarge.

A snapped tree atop a home's roof south of Gothenburg.

All the windows in this SUV were blown out.

Damaged house.

Lumber from a damaged house embedded in the window of a pickup truck. The truck's windows were shattered.

Damaged tractor trailor.

Damaged tractor trailor.

Damaged, mud-caked truck, at the edge of a field, with a debris field in the background.

Tire swing (for fun framing), with damaged house in the background. Basically, a hole is blown in the kitchen area.

Another through the tire.

This is a tractor trailer alongside I-80 near some snapped trees in the path of the tornado. I assume the driver made it out okay, since I didn't read any news stories about truck driver injuries. The cab was really smashed up, though.

While it's unfortunate that homes were damaged and people were injured, Gothenburg really, in my opinion, dodged a bullet on this one -- on a freak, unexpected supercell, no less.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wow, I've been a serious slacker at updating lately! Here's a slew of crane photos (probably the last for this year, since they all start to look the same after a while). Click to enlarge in a new window:

These were all shot on my crane excursion with Lanette. My next big photo trip is on next Saturday, when my best friend Josh drops in from Vermont for a wedding and a fun photo romp with me n' Lanette and anyone else that comes along.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Alltel "billing"

I got a bill in the mail today from Alltel:

Now, I'll be honest, my first reaction to this was to be a bit panicked -- and then I started laughing. What kind of billing screw-up results in a $1,000 phone bill? A very simple one, apparently. I pay $25 a month for a service they have called "Axcess Data Connection", which is just a marketing monkier for "Unlimited internet tethering to my laptop via my cell phone". I pay this to plug my phone into my PC and get as much broadband as I want for free. Well, half their billing system forgot that I had this on my account, and so my bill reflects what I'd be paying if I *weren't* paying $25 a month for unlimited internet. Quite a bargain, I'd say.

I thought I had it bad until I read this post over on Stormtrack by Mike (click the image to enlarge it in a new window to read -- I'd link to it directly, but that particular forum requires registration):

WHOA!! I'm pretty sure if I'd gotten *that* bill, there would have been no laughter involved. :)

For what it's worth, the Alltel tethering service is, in my opinion, one of the greatest deals out there right now for internet connectivity. At least when they're billing you correctly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Non-HDR versions of the tree sunset

Someone asked, so here you go -- this is what the previous HDR shot of the tree against the sunsetting sky looks like sans HDR. This was exposed for the sky, meaning that the tree had to be in silhouette. This was shot slightly before the HDR shot, so the sky is much redder. (I wish I'd shot the HDR at this point in time instead -- the sky was much more dramatic! :)) Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Today's photos are from an old abandoned railcar that has been converted into an antique store (seriously!). The shots are of the cracked and weatherbeaten paintjob on the side of the car -- presumably the original coat. Click to enlarge.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Windmill cranes

Cranes take flight near a windmill in south-central Nebraska. I camped on this shot for-eve-errrr waiting for the birds to take flight. :) Click to enlarge.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


A group of cranes flying low over a cornfield. I think we spooked them. :) Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The many angles of Lanette

There's a lonnnng old railroad bridge south of Kearney that runs over the Platte, and it serves for a half-good place to view the cranes roosting at sunset. (They tend to stay several hundred yards back, since people who hang out on the bridge to look at the cranes don't realize they have to be very, very quiet to not freak the birds out.) Anyhow, I was showing the bridge to Lanette in the afternoon, since I was planning on coming back there later that evening for the sunset. Of course, this bridge is also a great place for portraits; I've done a couple of senior picture shoots here. Here's a few shots of Lanette. :) Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Freaked Pheasant

While we were driving near Rowe Sanctuary, Lanette noticed a pair of pheasants milling around in a field. I backed the car up and we got out to take some pictures. This freaked the birds out in a heartbeat, and they took off in different directions -- one running (we think -- it kinda just disappeared), one flying. The flying bird flew over our road and into the cow-filled field on the other side. Not a bad strategy, if I say so myself! I switched to the mode 2 panning on the 70-200 and snapped this shot as the bird flew past. Click to enlarge.

Crane Fight

Two Sandhills Cranes duke it out in a Nebraskan cornfield. This basically entails a half-minute long jumping contest -- I think whichever bird jumps the highest is declared the winner and king of the cornfield. :) Click to enlarge.

Monday, April 02, 2007

We've got cows!

I can't decide which one of these I think is funnier. :) I think I like the one with the background cows in focus. We came across these guys while looking for cranes. In typical cow fashion, they all stopped what they were doing and stared at us until we left. A grazing cow's life must be incredibly relaxing. Click to enlarge.

Wally Warbleton

While me and Lanette were driving around Crane Meadows looking for cranes, we came across Puffy Pufferton's little birdie cousin, Wally Warbleton. I don't know what it is about Meadowlarks, but they act like they can't get enough press! :) Click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Cranes on the Plain

Another crane photo. I have a brazilian of these -- still trying to pick out the best ones. :) Click to enlarge. If you're in the area and thinking of shooting cranes, know that you'll need at the very minimum of 300mm lens. I shot this with a 200 2.8 and a 1.4 TC on a 1.6x crop body, and I still didn't have enough reach. Really, a 500mm lens is optimal for these birds, though it certainly restricts you to tripoded shots (for the most part).