Monthly Archives: December 2007

December Challenge: Day 24 – Captain Barbossa

Captain Barbosa

Yes, it’s true. Tonight I photographed the infamous Captain Barbossa of the Black Pearl… actually, that’s just what his name tag said. His real name is Ian, and he works over at the Blockbuster in Del Mar Heights. I swear, every time I go in there he ends up helping me check-out, but we’ve never said more than two words to each other. Well, I guess even after talking to him a little about the December Challenge project, I still didn’t talk to him much on a personal level. He’s a really quiet guy (meaning that he doesn’t say much), but when he does talk he’s got this booming deep voice that kind of catches you off guard.

Oh well, maybe I’ll talk to him more next time… I know where he works.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 23 – Dino


I encountered Dino at a local gas station in Del Mar Heights late this evening. I was topping off the truck and I still needed a photo for the December Challenge, so I figured who would be safer to approach at a dark gas station at almost midnight than the security guy? I let him know about the project and he happily agreed to a photo.

Dino is originally from Romania, and he currently works as a security officer. He’s been in the business for the last 27 years and he says he loves his job. It also turns out that Dino is a bit of a photographer himself. He’s got a Canon dSLR that he typically shoots with, but he also has a few really neat cameras that his parents left him. One is an older Hasseblad, and the other is a Leica rangefinder that his Mother picked up in 1936 (I’m guessing it’s a Leica II). He said that the Leica is still in near perfect condition and he uses it from time to time.

We talked about so many things in front of that gas station for about 45 minutes — I’ll bet he’s got a ton of other stories and life-lessons to share. He had all kinds of stuff to talk about… lived in New York, retired from the army, four kids (I’m pretty sure on that number anyway). But the biggest thing I got from him was that he really enjoyed his job and he loved to talk about his experiences with it.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

PhotoDump 12-23-2007

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Group this week. I’m still amazed at how many new photographers and interesting photos I’m seeing show up in our group.

From libeco18From Colour VoidFrom locofotocuba66From A Cognitive State of MindFrom Daniel HellermanFrom Colour VoidFrom M-u-zFrom mathias.pastwaFrom J Quantz Jr.From javimoroteFrom the_wolf_brigadeFrom Rex Lisman PhotographyFrom xysmasFrom M-u-zFrom the_wolf_brigadeFrom TyCFrom Chris NixonFrom javimoroteFrom hankfeverFrom BrianLarterFrom DMcGrewFrom wasabifishFrom Colour VoidFrom StefinatelyFrom eclectic?From mayaehFrom javimoroteFrom wasabifishFrom Al MorrisonFrom Daniel HellermanFrom stephiedeeFrom mathias.pastwaFrom mayaehFrom {lifeography}From Chris NixonFrom {teegan}

December Challenge: Day 22 – Matt


I was trying to think of an interesting place to get a portrait for the day, and I ended up at the grocery store in the produce section. I figured the colorful fruits and vegetables would make for a nice background. Well, when I got there the place was pretty much dead — not many shoppers, especially in the produce area. There was, however, an employee stocking the bananas.

Matt is an X-Ray Technician student at San Diego Mesa College, and he works over at the local grocery store when he’s not in class. He also spends his free time surfing the local beaches. Interestingly enough, Matt is a native San Diegan — born and raised down here. And after being here for nearly half a year myself, I’m not surprised he’s decided to stick around.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

Link Roundup 12-22-2007

December Challenge: Day 21 – Drew Verkade

Drew Verkade

Drew is another member of the Quartus team (in case you couldn’t tell by photo), but more specifically he’s my direct manager — the boss-man. Drew is a cool guy and he’s really easy to get along with at work and outside of work. He has a great ability to be friendly as a peer, yet provide guidance as a knowledgeable superior. And, as with all of the Quartus management team, Drew is a skilled engineer who not only manages projects but works on them side-by-side with his engineers.

In his free-time, Drew likes doing things such as hiking, camping, fishing, shooting guns, etc — you know, the outdoorsy type of stuff. I recently learned that he was a bit of a photography enthusiast back in the day. Apparently he’s got a small collection of Nikon 35mm film equipment along with some medium format stuff. He’s been ignoring his cameras for a few years, so I now have the personal goal of getting him back into it.

This photo was taken from inside of our main conference room. The background is a frosted glass wall with the Quartus logo as clear glass. The logo actually faces outward, so in this photo it was backwards. I flipped the image so it would read normally. The mouse on the table also gives it away (it’s now a left-handed mouse).

Oh yeah, Drew also wanted me to note that he doesn’t usually look this grizzly — it was the Friday before the winter holidays so you’ll have to give him a break.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

December Challenge: Day 20 – Carlos


Carlos works over at one of the gas stations near my house. I didn’t know him before tonight, but I’ve encountered him on occasion. I waited until it was pretty late so I could get a little bit of time in there without interrupting the flow of customers at the counter. He was a seemed a little confused by me walking in with my camera and asking “Can I take your picture?”, but he was cool with it.

Carlos seems real down to earth, and he’s very soft spoken — seems like a nice guy all around. When he’s not working at the gas station, he’s working a second job. And when he’s not working (or sleeping between the jobs), he likes to play the guitar. Well Carlos, if you find the time to check out my website, thanks for being a good sport about having your photo taken while you were at work!

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

Destined For Retirement

Destined For Retirement

Brian Auer | 07/11/2007 | Independence, MO | 15mm * f/6.7 * 1/30s * ISO100
[Buy Prints] [Buy Rights] [See it at Flickr]

This photo was taken at my Grandfather‘s house in Missouri while my wife and I were on our move from New Jersey to California. His brother stopped by to visit, and he happened to be driving this big ugly rusted-out beast of a truck. He’s kind of a character, so something like this wasn’t totally unexpected. He’s actually very good at restorations and building custom vehicles — he just happened to be on a “rust rod” streak at the time (I think that’s what he termed it anyways). Here are some photos of the entire thing — no joke, this is what he used as his daily-driver… though I’m not sure if he’s still using it or if he’s moved on to another project.

The photo I shot for artistic purposes was the front driver’s side corner of the vehicle. I got in there real close with my 10mm lens and got some of that neat rust and paint texture. I processed the photo to focus on some of the colors and tones while making those textures and contrasty areas stick out. All in all I’m pretty happy with this one.

Destined For Retirement Post-Processing

I actually took most of the processing steps from Jake Garn’s Tutorial Video: Everything Old is New Again — and I tweaked it a bit for this image.

  1. In-Camera JPEG
    Not really much to say about this one, but it wasn’t much to look at either.
  2. Processed RAW
    I actually processed the contrast down a bit because I knew I’d be using the technique in the next step as soon as I got in Photoshop.
  3. Hard Mix Layer Blend
    I duplicated the base image and set the blending mode to “Hard Mix” at 43% opacity and 29% fill. This boosted up my contrast and saturation while giving it a little bit of a hard look.
  4. Black and White Adjustment
    I used the Black and White adjustment layer with a green filter in Photoshop CS3. I then set the blend mode to Overlay and dropped the opacity to 65% to de-emphasize the effect.
  5. Saturation Adjustment
    To wash it out a bit more, I used a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set the saturation to -36.
  6. Warming Filter
    I added a Photo Filter adjustment layer set with a Warming Filter (LBA) at 40% to give it the final tint.
  7. Sharpening
    I sharpened with the Unsharp Mask at 86%, 2.0 pixels, and a threshold of 0 to help make the textures more pronounced.


December Challenge: Day 19 – Robert Lawson

Robert Lawson

Robert is one of the Engineering Managers at Quartus Engineering, where I work as a mechanical engineer. He’s not my manager though — he works on the analysis side of the business (the dark side), whereas I work on the design side. That’s OK, I still like him. He was also involved with the Formula SAE program in college (as was I), and he still has a bit of an infatuation with fast cars and auto racing. Here are some FSAE event photos from 2004 (which is the last one I actually participated in).

I took this photo pretty much from the vantage point of my desk just outside of Robert’s office. I noticed that his window acted as a decent mirror after it got dark outside, so I asked him if I could take his photo. He said “Sure, what do I do?” I says “Just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t mind me.” So this is what Robert does for about 50% of is day, and the other 50% is spent talking on the phone with customers and whatnot.

To see the rest of my December Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.