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Long time coming…

It’s been a very long time since I’ve made a post here. The past few years have been a whirlwind of life. For now I’m just going to post a brief [in theory] overview…

In July 2012 I received my copy of the Photographer’s Forum Best of High School & College 2012. That was the second time my sunset photo has been published.

The end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 most of my life was at school [I’m pretty sure I spent more time there than everywhere else combined].

I did however make some time to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association and do photography for some of their walks near me in 2012.

I had a great time and intend to do more work for them, unfortunately I have been unable to this past two years due to my schedule.

The shot to the left was a happy accident. I intended to focus on the crowd, but was holding the camera above my head so I set it on auto-focus… it decided the lady’s hands were much more interesting.

Over the course of about a month I volunteered at 3 different walks for the Alzheimer’s association.

Pretty much the rest of 2012 was class & the required projects, I won’t bore you with the details… but I will say it was a lot less hectic than the following semester!

The Spring semester of 2013 was the last of my stint at FLCC. Somehow I managed to juggle time for my life outside of school, 25-30 hours of work, and being at school from 9am til midnight pretty much every Monday through Thursday. There was one project in particular that I poured my heart and soul into every semester… and this semester wasn’t any different. I bled Graphic Design, Design for the Web, Sculpture, and Ceramics that Spring.

In Graphic Design we were given a list of all our projects at the beginning of the semester & as soon as I read about the magazine layout, I knew I would be dedicating myself to that project. I chose National Geographic Traveler & Burning Man for my magazine & topic. The project only required a cover page and 2 spreads [2 facing pages].

When I was done I ended up with the cover and 6 spreads… that was after I cut it down from 9 spreads [because my professor told me it was too many]. Even though I cut a lot out, I love how it came out.

The photos I used are all taken by Trey Ratcliff [of Stuck in Customs], he uses a Creative Commons Noncommercial license on his photos so students [like myself] could use them for projects. After the project was complete I emailed him a copy of magazine layout; he posted the cover on his Facebook and blog.

I’ve done a bit of web design before I took the class, so that class was a breeze. I learned a bit of CSS & had a lot of fun with two projects. One of which was redesigning a brand [ie- Coca-Cola makes cars] & creating a website for it. I chose Apple & decided they would be selling drinks.

I had a lot of fun with that one, but my favorite project from that class was the portfolio project. I had to make an online portfolio, I think it came out pretty good – link.

I spent most of my Sculpture class working on a Bronze Torso, and my favorite project in my Ceramics class was the Raku Clock I made.

The end of my last semester I put 3 of my projects in the Student Honors Art Exhibition at FLCC… I was expecting maybe an honorable mention for my magazine, but I walked away with a few extras…

It was a great last semester for me at FLCC. I’ll never forget the people I met & friendships I made while there. I graduated in May of 2013 with my AS in Graphic Design & AAS in Fine Arts.

 In July 2013 I was blessed with a new niece, Peyton. I didn’t get to go meet her until she was 1 month old… and have yet to go back again. I will be visiting again as soon as possible.

I’ve picked up gaming again again since school let out, so there might be more game-related updates coming. I spend most of that time exploring the world of Tamriel. I do a lot of modding to The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim… I’ve reached the point where I need to update my graphics card if I’m going to continue to mod it.

Well, I think that’s all I have for this update. I intend to start posting a bit more often again, but I don’t know how good I’m going to be about sticking to regular updates [not to mention my life has slowed down to the point where there isn’t much to post about, lol.

Photos, games, and life.

This year has been an interesting one for my photography. As I said in my earlier post, I had some photos and a ceramics piece in a show at the Phelps Arts Center. My photo of the Sunset on the Erie Canal in Fairport got some more attention while it was there. A graphic designer, Chris, talked to me about possibly using it for the Perinton Bicentennial event poster & wine label. After talking with him for a bit, we decided that I’d email him a low-res copy of my picture so he could mess with some ideas to present to the board.A week or so later, I received an email from Chris saying that they loved it and requested that I write-up an invoice for the town and Casa Larga, so they could use the photo.

Chris put me in contact with a representative from Casa Larga, because they would want some background information for a press-release. It turns out they wanted more than that, they asked me to show up at their tent at Fairport Canal Days for wine-bottle signings, and they also want me to go to the wine shop for an event later this month. I had a wedding that I was attending the weekend of Canal Days, and the only day I was able to make it out there was Sunday. It rained most of the day, which sucked… but there were still a lot of people at Canal Days. I didn’t expect that many people to be out. Dad took a picture of me at the Casa Larga tent one of the brief times it wasn’t raining. I ended up signing a dozen or so bottles, and got quite a few compliments while I was there.

After that show ended in Phelps – the pieces I had there, along with a new photo, went over to school for the Spring Arts Festival. The stuff in the show this year was fantastic, better than last year’s show I think. My photos got a bit of attention once again. The Canal photo that is getting most of the attention won second place for photography, and one of the other photos [bottom right in the picture] I entered was given an honorable mention, and the faculty at school purchased it for display around the campuses.

My Xbox 360 died earlier this year; after 5 years it finally got the Red Ring of Death.  That happened right around the release of Mass Effect 3… which I planned on playing on my 360. Instead of continuing my game, I was forced to start a new game on the computer [since I didn’t replace my 360]. I still haven’t made it all the way through the game. School was more important at the time, and I haven’t bothered getting back into it. I’m still looking into replacing my 360, but I’m not sure how I want to go about it. I could buy a cheap refurbished one, or I could take the plunge and buy one of the 360 Slims. I don’t know which I would rather do… that and I’d have to save up for the Slim. Getting a refurbished 360 would be much cheaper, but it runs the risk of getting another RROD. Whereas, if I picked up a Slim it would be more expensive, but I shouldn’t have to worry about the system dying for a while, and I would have more hard drive space. I would also have to buy the transfer cable to copy the stuff from the HD in my old 360 to the Slim. Also, it’s getting to the point that new systems should be released soon. I think I’ll probably just end up with a refurbished one.

Diablo 3 came out in May. This is one game I’ve waited a long time for. I only played through the original Diablo a few times, but I can’t tell you how many times I played through Diablo 2, or how much time I spent farming bosses and the Secret Cow Level with friends.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about D3, personally I love it. It still has that old Diablo/Diablo 2 feel, but there are new features that give it a slight touch of MMO. The skill bar is the biggest one that I can think of; instead of having just the mouse clicks for attacks there is now the 1-5 buttons that you can assign skills to. There are five to choose from; the Barbarian [melee, physical], Demon Hunter [ranged, physical], Monk [melee, physical/magic], Witch Doctor [ranged, physical/magic], and Wizard [ranged, magic]. Unlike Diablo 2’s max level of 99, the level cap in Diablo 3 has been limited to 60, who knows if Blizzard plans on raising that in the future [with or without an expansion]. The stash starts out small [7 blocks x 2 blocks], but is expandable [up to 7 blocks x 10 blocks] by purchase with gold. Then there are also 2 extra tabs that can be purchased with the same amount of space. The stash is also bound to your account, not the characters, there is no more needing friends to hold a game open to transfer items between characters. I’m not sure which is my favorite, but the two I’ve played the most is my Demon Hunter followed by a pretty even balance between the Barbarian, Monk, and Witch Doctor. I think I’ve only invested about 5 minutes into the Wizard so far, but I’ll play that more eventually. Blizzard added a new mode. In Diablo and Diablo 2 there was Normal, Nightmare, and Hell… now there is also Inferno. My Demon Hunter is the only character that I have made it to Inferno with so far. All I have to say about Inferno is that the elite mobs make all of Hell mode look like a cake walk. Some of them are comparable to [mini] raid bosses in MMOs. Blizzard also replaced the Secret Cow Level that was in Diablo 2. In Diablo 3, the secret level is Whimsyshire… the land of flowers, rainbows, teddy bears, and unicorns; all of which are out to kill you… well, except the rainbows – they’re just pretty. The map is amazing, it looks like a little kid drew it. Once again, all the maps in game are randomly generated, so things aren’t going to be in the same place every time.

I stepped away from Diablo 3 this past weekend because I participated in the Guild Wars 2 Beta. I played the first game a bit, but at the time I started playing the first Guild Wars, I was already playing [and enjoyed] World of Warcraft more and I just stopped playing Guild Wars. From what I got to play in the beta, there are a lot of new concepts… but there’s only so far you can go with a MMO.

I would have played more, but I wasn’t home all weekend, and the beta did not like running properly on my laptop… so I left it to when I was at home and could use my desktop. The story is interesting, the way it plays out is you are the hero, and every NPC knows it, when you create a character you give it background which changes how some NPCs interact with you [what god you worship, if you were noble or a street rat, etc]. Some of the chat sequences are a little like cut-scenes, it says they’re still a work in progress. It’s interesting and gives the game a bit of a single-player feel. Combat is cool, there’s the typical combat but there is also an interesting concept called “downed-state” [if you lose all your health]. Instead of dying right away, you go into a downed-state. In a downed-state you can fight using 4 skills [different from the typical class skills] that will do damage and help fill the bar, there is a chance you can survive if you manage to fill up the downed-state bar, otherwise [if it’s depleted] you die and have to respawn at a checkpoint. Other players can also come to you and help revive you while you are in the downed state. There is no tagging mobs for exp/loot. If someone is attacking a mob and you stop and help, you will get a little exp and possibly some loot. I don’t know if it cuts into their loot/exp table from the mob or not, but it’s nice to get a bonus for helping random people.

The attack buttons are pre-defined to the numbers above the alphabet on the keyboard, and I can’t find a way to change them [one thing I did in WoW was reassign some skill buttons to other keys that were easier to get to]. The first 5 skills [1-5] are based on what weapon you are using, and every weapon has a different set of skills. When you get a new weapon, you only have the first attack available. As you use a weapon more, you become more experienced with it and unlock the second skill, then the third, etc. Skill 6 is your self-heal skill, every class has one, there are no healers/dps/tanks. You have to keep yourself alive [use your skills, heal, and double tap directions to dodge]. Skill 7-0 are based on your class and what skills you chose with skill points.

I didn’t get into crafting this time [just disassembling gear for materials], maybe if there is another beta I’ll get a chance to mess with that more. You can disassemble weapons, armor, and some other things to generate the crafting materials, which is neat. You can also collect materials throughout the world [mining, herb gathering, and something else I can’t remember]. The bank is account wide, so if you put an item in on one character and hop to another, you can withdraw it from the bank on that character. The bank also has a separate tab that stores specifically crafting materials, so they don’t take up bank/bag space. I really like that, cause every time I upgraded gear, I disassembled the old gear for mats and my bag/bank would fill up very quickly.

The world is massive, and as far as I can tell, there are no mounts to ride. There are waypoints you can discover and instant-travel to for money, but if you’re always doing that you will miss out on experience and world events that happen all the time in random places. The art is pretty cool, landscapes and creatures are cool looking, yet another reason to run and explore. There is also exploration [jumping] puzzles that will reward you if you find/reach the end [I got an extra skill point from one, and a better weapon from another]. I haven’t had any official groups/parties, just a few with NPCs in the starting areas and the world event auto-group thing. The auto-group thing doesn’t actually form a group/party, but if a few people are doing tasks for an event [ie – protect a farm from bandit invasion (kill bandits & ruin their morale)] and one person completes part, everyone working on that event gets credit. Overall, Guild Wars 2 something I’m going to keep my eye on and play any beta I get into.

A little bit of awesome.

Well, I don’t have much to say… a lot of my time lately is spent doing school-related things. I wiped my laptop and put Windows back on it, I need it for school and Ubuntu wasn’t doing the job. Well, it’s not that Ubuntu wasn’t doing the job, it’s that I couldn’t use some of the programs needed for class because they’re strictly Windows and Mac based. As much as I would love to get a Mac, there’s no way I can justify the money [read: afford it] now.

I came across a cool program – RocketDock – that creates a Mac-like dock-bar on the screen that you can customize however you like. I left it on the bottom [default] and downloaded some themed icons for it. It isn’t a Mac, but it works!

The past two months have blown by, it doesn’t feel like it’s the sixth week of the semester already, but it is. I always forget how quickly the Spring semester goes until it’s almost half way done.

I found out in January that the HDR photo I entered in the Photographer’s Forum Best of College and High School 2012 photo competition made it into the finals. In the letter I received, it mentioned that there were over 18,000 photographs were entered in the contest. I looked at the previous competitions & there were roughly 1,500 finalists. I made it to the top 10% in my first competition! The letter indicated that if my photo advanced any further, I would be notified by mid February.

As much as I would have liked it, I didn’t get my hopes up… and it’s probably a good thing. I didn’t receive another letter. I still can’t complain, the first photography competition that I entered was a big one, and I made it to the finals. My photo will published in the Best of College Photography 2012 book by Photographer’s Forum which is scheduled to be published in late July.

Another cool thing that’s going on is I have a digital photo [the same one I entered in the competition], a black and white film photo [took last semester] & a ceramics piece [made last semester] in a student art show at the Phelps Arts Center. After that show ends, I will be entering those into the student art show at school.

Life’s Journey…

Hmm… three posts to cover 2011? This blog has not turned into what I originally intended. I was thinking a post a month at the very least would be good. Oh well… it is what it is, I guess.

I had a fantastic time camping with my friends back in June. It’s been a while since I had gone camping. We stayed at the Wakins Glen campground Friday night through Sunday morning.

Friday night after everyone had finished setting up, we spent hanging around the camp site – drinking, talking, & playing card games.

We spent a chunk of Saturday walking the gorge. Of course I took my camera; my friends got a little annoyed with how long I was taking… but being a photographer, I couldn’t help but stop to take pictures. I was taking a lot of long shutter speed pictures and multiple exposures for HDR images. After walking around the gorge for a while we went back to camp; we made some new friends that were there camping across the way from us.

After that a group of us went out on wine tasting. I didn’t do any tastings, because I decided to drive. When we got back from the tasting tour, we went back to our new friends’ camp site and spent the evening partying.

When I had finished post-processing my photos and posted them, most of the people that had complained about me taking so long responded with something like, “I see what took so long, good thing you didn’t rush. These are some gorgeous shots!”

I spent the fourth of July with a bunch of friends; there was a BBQ at Katie’s house. That night we drove to the city to watch the fireworks. I made my first attempt at taking photos of fireworks and think I did rather well. After watching the fireworks we made our way back to Katie’s.

Most of the group was ready to head to bed, so they left. Katie and I decided we wanted to watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog.

After that night, Katie and I started hanging out on a daily basis, up from our once every month or so. We started geocaching & going on all sorts of adventures together.

Katie and I went on our first date on July 19th; we took a day trip to Niagara Falls. She likes to think that she asked me out… in all honesty, she kind-of did, but I like to think of it as a joint effort [haha]: I mentioned that I still needed to get up to Niagara Falls so I could take pictures; she said that she wanted to go up there again soon, and said we should go together. One of us [I don’t remember who] made the semi-joking comment, “It’s a date.” Well, that semi-joking comment made us think, is it really a date-date or was it just a date we had set to go?

On the 19th, I drove out to Katie’s and we packed up lunch and snacks for a picnic, then left for Niagara Falls. After walking around for a while [and me stopping repeatedly for photos], Katie poked fun at me & told me that she was going to make me an “I break for photos” patch for my camera bag [which I’m still waiting for, lol]. After we had been there a while we began talking about what there was between us… were we just awesome friends, or was there more? Shortly after that, we made our relationship official.

In August, I had my first legit paid photography gig – a wedding vow renewal. It was a bit nerve-racking, but it was my first paid gig, and it was a wedding. At least it wasn’t their first wedding [not to make it sound that the renewal wasn’t important], so it wasn’t as stressful as if I was in charge of getting all the pictures perfect or suffer the wrath of the family. They also understood that I was new to the events/portrait photography. It was a great experience and even though it was stressful, it was a lot of fun. I think I still prefer landscape/nature photography though.

Katie and my next great adventure together was the Sterling Renaissance Festival, we went with our friends Kat and Shannon. They managed to get me in a kilt. Not that it was very hard, I think it went something like: Katie- “I want to see you in a kilt before we leave.” Kat & Shannon- “Yes!” Me- “I was thinking about checking them out anyways, but ok… if you insist.”

My 10-year high school reunion was in August of 2011. I had some car problems and almost couldn’t go due to repair costs, but then I suggested being an unpaid photographer in exchange for free admission & got in to the reunion that way. It was cool seeing everyone again, even though I didn’t talk to most of them back in high school.

Katie and I attended Uproar Festival 2011 with a bunch of friends… that was a great day. All day at the Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center listening to a bunch of great bands while hanging out with some awesome people. Katie and I ended up taking almost the same picture, just a slightly different angle, and I edited mine a little.

Last year was the first time I’ve dressed up for Halloween in a few years. Katie and I dressed up as Desmond Miles and Lucy Stillman from Assassin’s Creed.

Katie’s little brother needed his senior pictures done, and her parents requested my services to take said portraits. Because of this, I ended up picking up my second paid photo gig.

We started off by doing a bunch of the traditional shots, where Katie was helping with getting Tommy into the positions that they wanted for indoor & outdoor shots. After we had finished with the traditional sets, Tommy and I screwed around and got a few fun pictures of him with his dirt bike.

One of my instructors at school invited me to pick up my third paid photo job. There was an event at the Phelps Art Center where Stan Munro, the creator of Toothpick City was at the center giving a demo for some kids & there was a reception after.

It was a lot of fun & great getting to meet Stan. I had been to the Phelps Art Center a few times before to look at & take pictures of the display. It’s amazing what he’s done with just toothpicks & Elmer’s Glue.

I have started playing video games a bit more again: Assassin’s Creed: RevelationsBattlefield 3The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Red Dead Redemption [Katie got me this for Christmas].

I honestly haven’t played a ton of Assassin’s Creed. Between Katie, school, & Battlefield 3 – I didn’t have enough time to invest and get caught up in the story. Maybe I’ll hit it up some more later this week.

Battlefield 3, ah… Battlefield. I have heard friends say both good and bad things about BF3. All-in-all, it’s pretty much the same game as Bad Company 2. Sure, they’ve made it much prettier, added a few things here and there, and added a new physics engine… but it’s essentially the same game as every other FPS out there. Even so, I still enjoy the game immensely. It’s not a game I can spend days playing though, it gets too repetitive.

I was debating getting Skyrim, I’ve messed with most of the past Elder Scrolls games, but I never got very involved with them, I just got bored. Ever since I snagged Skyrim, most of my gaming-time is spent there. To say the game is amazing would be an understatement. The world is massive, there are tons of quests and things to be done. I have a level 37 Orc warrior that focuses on bows & two-handed weapons. I started a mage & thief characters around the same time as my warrior, but the warrior was the only one that has really kept my interest.

Red Dead Redemption is another game I wasn’t sure if I wanted. It was neat and all, but I had played a bit at a friend’s and wasn’t very impressed. The lack of excitement probably stemmed from a few weeks after it was released, when a friend tossed me the controller to a game that he was half way through and didn’t give me much of the back-story or any real instruction about what I was supposed to do. Katie got it for me as a Christmas gift and my interest in the game perked up again. It’s a pretty good game, kind of like a GTA of the wild west.

Skyrim is still consuming most of my gaming time, which is hindering progress in the other three games… but they are coming along, slowly.

This past semester at school went really well too. I took my first Photography class; it was all black & white film, and I loved it. As much as I enjoy digital, it’s a blast developing and printing photos. I also took Computer Imaging, which was loads of fun… even though a good chunk of it was review. I finished up the Design & Foundation Drawing class chain taking the second part of each. The last class I took the past semester was Ceramics I, I decided to take this so that I could make things that I can actually use in every-day-life now that the classes are done.

The other day I received a letter in the mail from school, I was worried that it might be an issue with billing or something. Luckily, it was to tell me that I was added to the Dean’s List this semester because my GPA was above 3.5!

All that being said, I leave you with an inspirational video for the start of the year.❤

The words in this video are from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


Beginning of Summer 2011

Classes ended a little over a month ago; I ended the semester with a 3.33 GPA.  If I hadn’t started slacking in Art History at the end of the semester it would have been a lot better. >_<

Summer has been good for the most part so far… I’m job hunting again. But I’ve got a lot going on as well, so at least I’m keeping relatively busy. I’m helping my dad re-construct a shed that he got free from Craigslist. The thing is a freaking beast; it took four of us to take it apart to prepare it for transport to the house.

The past week dad and I have been busy working on getting the shed put back together. Unfortunately, there is a chunk of the shed that needs to be  replaced. So, before putting the thing back together, we have to build part of it to replace the bad areas.

It’s a lot of work, but a ton of fun at the same time. It’s also keeping me from getting a farmer’s tan too since most of the time I’ll work without my shirt on [so much cooler], haha. I’ve had a farmer’s tan for the past who knows how many years. I decided this year I wasn’t going to get one, and shortly after I decided that – my dad told me he would need help with the shed. It worked out perfectly!

As you can tell, I’m still doing photography, but I stopped uploading things to DeviantArt [I last uploaded something on May 10th]. Instead I’m uploading them to a Facebook page [which may become public knowledge in the near future]. It’s easier to do that because I can upload more than one image at a time… with how many pictures I’m taking, uploading one image at a time is very tedious & annoying.

I’m going camping this weekend with friends, can’t wait! It’s been years since I’ve gone camping. Heading out tomorrow and coming back Sunday; it will be a great time. Taking my cameras down with me [of course], so I’ll have plenty of pictures when I get back.

Minor Update for a Major Gap.

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated. I’ve been pretty busy with photography & school, that’s probably why I haven’t updated.

Back in January before classes started I went out to California again. That trip wasn’t for pleasure… I went out to visit and support my mom, while she had surgery. Everything went well, and she’s recovering relatively quickly. I wish I could have spent more time out there with her, but I had to get back for classes.

Right before school started, I quit World of Warcraft. It’s weird not playing, but it’s nice. I have more free time to do all the other things that I would put off because I was being lazy. I replaced WoW with more productive things like taking pictures, messing with Photoshop more, hanging out with friends, playing some of my Xbox 360 games I still haven’t finished [Dragon Age: Origins], catching up on movies/tv shows via Netflix. Ok, those last two aren’t so productive… but I can only sit in front of a computer messing in Photoshop for only so long, and I can only do so much with night pictures.

I spent time playing Battlefield 2: Bad Company again, I’ve missed that game and some of my friends have played it recently. Actually, it’s the same with Borderlands too… a few friends have messed with it on occasion the past couple of weeks and I’ve joined them a few times.

This semester is going better than the past two… I’m enjoying my classes a lot more! My favorite classes are Design and Foundation Drawing. I love doing something for the class and not sitting there and listening to lectures. English is surprisingly good, even though the class is mainly lecture… Dr. T keeps the class interesting. It’s a bit small, so there’s not much discussion which kinda sucks. The one class I’m having the most problems with is Art History… I wish the professor was a bit more captivating.

I switched majors about two weeks into the semester; I went from Information Technology to Fine Arts. My school doesn’t have a Photography degree. Once I finish up my Fine Arts degree, I’ll be transferring to a school with a Photography degree. I’m thinking about doing a double major Photography/English or Photography/Journalism, but I haven’t decided. I guess it depends on where I want to go with the course my life has taken. I’m going to take some time and think about it, see where this semester leads.

So… I stopped typing this update mid-March [saved a draft] and now resume it mid-April. I’m really slacking with the blogging thing this year… gotta work on that! >_<

I have to reload my laptop after I get stuff backed up. Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 [64-bit] pulled a number on the system… most systems from what I’ve found online. It now takes 20-30 minutes from hitting the power button til I’m logged in and the machine is “ready” to run. I put ready in the quotations because even though the machine has booted… it takes about 10 times as long to do anything. I can’t even boot into my Ubuntu partition now, which is even more frustrating. This is what I get for being lazy and not reading up on any issues the Service Pack might have before I installed it. >_<

On a brighter note, it turns out the only thing wrong with my desktop is the RAM is fried. I thought there was more wrong with it… from what I could find online – I thought it was the motherboard or CPU. I’ll be replacing the RAM as soon as I can.

I have to swing back out to main campus and drop off a form. Since I last worked on this post, I’ve decided that I am changing my major again… slightly: I’m going to do a double-major of Graphic Design & Fine Arts.

This semester has my first ever art classes [actual classes, not counting art in Kindergarten]. Andrea [my Foundation Drawing professor] is awesome… over the semester I’ve gotten to know her pretty well. She asked to see some of my photography when I mentioned how much positive feedback I was getting for just starting out. I brought my laptop in one day so that she could see some of my stuff. After she saw some of my work she told me I should start networking and she introduced me to Liz.

Kurt [Liz’s husband] is a professional photographer… Andrea told Liz that she liked my photography and she thought Kurt would be a good contact for me. Liz suggested I email Kurt and mention that Andrea & Liz and she had sent me to him. She also suggested asking about going to see his studio and meet up with him sometime. I’ve since heard back from him, Kurt invited me to come and sit-in at one of his shoots [should happen in the next few weeks]. He said he would email me once he had a date finalized… I can’t wait! ^_^

Andrea is also encouraging me to put some of the work I’ve done this semester in the Student Art show on campus. I’m my own worst critic… I know this. I don’t feel like any of my stuff is good enough, but a lot of that is because I’m comparing my work to extremely talented artists that have done it for a long time. She pointed out two things that she thinks I should put in the show; I probably will enter them. What’s the worst that can happen? They tell me I need more practice? I’ll be practicing either way. I also have to look into if I can submit stuff that wasn’t done for class… if I can – I’m going to submit some of my photos.

I think that’s enough for today. It’s late and I was up most of the night last night and I had class early this morning… time to kick back and watch some Netflix before bed.

Culmination of 2010.

Hmm… I’m not even sure where to start, it’s been so long since I last posted. I’ve taken a lot of photos since the last post. I hope all of you that read this blog have had enjoyable & safe holidays so far.

A few days after my last post I went to the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge with some friends. Unfortunately none of us got a picture of the deer that was there. No one saw it until it was bolting away, and by then it was too far away & moving too quick for a decent picture. We didn’t come across any other wildlife that day, but there were still some gorgeous scenes available for shots.

The sky was clear blue when we were at the refuge, which made for some wonderful light-play. Unfortunately the trees weren’t as vibrant as they were at Watkins Glen.

We ended up going on a few different trails at the refuge. I think my favorite trail ended up out on a floating pier with a great view of the surrounding marsh.

Unfortunately my little camera only had a 3x zoom, so I wasn’t able to get some shots that I would have liked. It was a little breezy, so the water wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked. I still got some wonderful pictures though. I’m definitely going to head back there in the spring/summer & hope there’s no breeze.

Thanksgiving was spent in Delaware at my Aunt & Uncle’s house. It was nice getting out of New York for a while. The weather was much more enjoyable down there. I got to talk to one of my cousins about photography, he’s an amateur photographer & has entered a few photo competitions [I think he’s won a few too, or at least gotten honorable mentions]. He was very encouraging when he was my work. I need to start keeping an eye out for competitions to enter my photos in.

We went to the Air Mobility Command Museum the Biggs Museum while we were down there. My little cousins contributed art to the Biggs Museum, there was a door that children were drawing on & each of them got a square.

A few weeks later I went to Buttermilk Falls with the same friends. My little point & shoot doesn’t have very many settings I could change… like the shutter speed or aperture. Without those settings, I can’t get waterfalls to have that silky look.

Luckily one of my friends had a spare point & shoot [he was using his DSLR] that did have those settings & I got to play with them a little bit.

As you can see [on the image to the right], I could use a little practice with the settings. The water is still a little overexposed… and that’s after toning it down a bit in Photoshop. I don’t think it’s too bad; considering it was the first time I’ve messed with those settings.

Even with the extra settings my buddy’s camera had, I think the macro on my camera was better. I took a few pictures using macro with his camera and didn’t like the way they came out. It might have helped that I’m used to my camera for macro, but the pictures I took with mine came out better.

After a good chunk of the day at Buttermilk Falls, we went to one of the top observation spots at Taughannock Falls. with the poor zoom on my camera, I wasn’t able to get any decent shots from the distance we were. And by this point my buddy’s camera battery had died.

Last month we went to Mendon Ponds Park to watch the sunset. Half the sky was over-cast, it was freezing, and it felt like it was going to snow any minute. In a way I was hoping it would snow. At the same time cold is bad enough; especially without gloves, which I had inconveniently forgotten that day.

The clouds continued to roll in, and I was starting to think we weren’t going to be able to see that sunset. Shortly before the sun was supposed to set, the wind picked up a bit & the clouds passed through.

My friends and I decided to move to higher ground with less trees covering the horizon, so we hiked up one of the hills near by. I’m glad we did because I wouldn’t have been able to get some of the shots I did from there.

Another batch of clouds approached and the wind died down a bit again, it left the perfect opportunity for photos. I should have probably cropped out a bit of the black on the bottom out of the picture on the left, but I wasn’t thinking when I uploaded it.

With December came a lot of snow & another drop in the temperature. I still can’t stand the cold. For the most part, I’ve secluded myself inside once again. This year though, I’m making a point to get out of the house on occasion. I’ve gone sledding, met friends at coffee shops, and gone on a few hikes. I haven’t taken many pictures this month… nothing in my excursions has really called out to me… at least not when I had my camera on me. I’ve gotten to the point that I almost hate myself when there’s a perfect photo-op but I forgot my camera at home.

Since I’ve gotten into photography this year, I’ve started looking more and more at DSLR cameras… planning on what I might get in the future. But… Christmas this year came with an awesome surprise. My dad got me a Nikon D3000 along with the Nikkor 55-200mm f4/5.6G IF-ED (3.6x) lens! It’s been a bit too cold out to go out and do any serious playing with the camera outdoors, but I’ve played with it indoors & reading the manuals that came with it. The weather is warming up this week, so I know I will be out with it.

Now I really need to learn how to get all the settings to work so that the pictures come out exactly how I want them. That’s one of my projects for this week.

So I never finished the post yesterday and managed to head out today to Mendon Ponds Park to take some pictures with my new camera. Wow there are a lot of settings I need to figure out. I got a lot of good pictures, and a lot of bad ones [from playing with the aperture, shutter speed, and some other settings just to see how they affect each other].

I had lots of fun and got some really nice shots of a few birds. There were a couple of people standing around holding bird seed waiting for birds to land on their hands and take the feed. I got a really good close up on one girl’s hand.I wish I had gotten their info so I could send the pictures their way, but I didn’t think about it until after they had left.

As I was leaving I stopped to take a few more pictures at an area that was highly populated by birds. After a few minutes I took my eye away from my camera and was startled by a small bird perched on top of my lens! I wish I had been able to get a picture of that [third person view of course]! It flew off and I got up, ready to leave… as I turned around I found myself face to face with a doe. Well, nearly face to face… she was about 10-15 feet from me. I slowly crouched down and managed to get a few pictures of her before she romped off into the trees.

At the beginning of 2010, I did away with the idea of resolutions. I have never kept them [no mater how insanely easy they were to keep], what would the point be of making more? So I could break more? No, it wasn’t worth the effort of making some.

Even though I didn’t make any resolutions; I made changes… some good, some not-so-good. It’s been an interesting year, full of self-realization and I’m sure 2011 won’t be much different [at least in that aspect].

I don’t plan on making any resolutions for 2011, but I know there will be many changes & improvements.

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve. I was planning on posting this yesterday, but I ended up being busy all day and didn’t get a chance to finish it.

I was still up at 4:30am this morning when I started hearing sirens all over. It turns out there was a pretty big fire in the village by me. Around 5am I walked down to see if I could see anything. I managed to get a few decent pictures.

I was there for about an hour watching as five Fire Departments worked together to contain the fire. It makes me wonder if any of them had been up/out celebrating the new year just hours before.

After I was there for an hour or so and had taken a bunch of photos, I decided it was time to head home & go to bed. By the time I got home, transferred my photos & sent a few to the local news station it was 7:30am.

Absence.

It’s been a while… I’ll keep this update short and focused on games. The reason for the lack of posts is because I got caught up with projects & homework for school, not to mention Thanksgiving & Christmas.

Deathengine went as a farmer for Halloween [erm… Hallow’s End].

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm came out the beginning of December. I have mixed feelings about this release… mostly due to the quest related issues I’ve been having. Deathengine has been bugged since day one; only half the quests in each of the new zones have not been available to him [with the exception of Twilight Highlands]. There’s one faction I can’t gain any reputation with because the quest line was cut off before I started gaining any reputation.

The new zones are absolutely beautiful. Blizzard put a lot of detail into the new areas. In my opinion, one of the most stunning [as well as the most annoying] zones is Vash’jir… the underwater zone.

Heroic dungeons have gotten an interesting upgrade… they’re like mini-raids. Groups really have to pay attention to what they’re doing in order to succeed. If you get into a dungeon, you’re usually hoping there’s enough crowd control for the run [or a good enough tank/heals/dps to make up for the lack of crowd control].

I was debating dropping my Blood [tank] spec on Death for a Frost [DPS] spec.. but I already have my Unholy spec for DPS… what’s the point of two DPS specs? In the end I kept the Blood spec and have started gathering gear here and there so I can tank instances. He currently has enough gear to tank normals, but I don’t think he’s even close to being ready for tanking heroics. Right now he’s dual-wield Unholy, but someone was saying yesterday that Blizzard wants Unholy to use tw0-handed weapons and are looking at making DW less viable. If that’s the case I’m going to have to get another two-handed weapon for DPSing. I’m working on Archaeology right now, and looking to get Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds. I still have a few other pieces that need upgrading too, my helmet and relic are kind of pathetic. I had the best-in-slot [pre-raid] helmet swiped from me by a healer the other day, annoying. Now I’m doing guild-only runs whenever possible.

My guild wants to get started with raiding soon, I’ve only raided with them once or twice so far back in Wrath of the Lich King. From what I’ve seen… most players that are the “Casual” rank don’t get to raid with them which bothered me. Once discussions started about raiding, I noticed I was promoted to the rank of “Raider”. Needless to say, I can’t wait… of course I know it’s going to be lots of wipes until everyone gets the fights down [that’s gonna be expensive].

I also picked up Dragon Age: Origins again, strictly because I haven’t finished it yet. I’m slowly working my way through that. It’s still not great, but decent… and it’s something I need to finish. I played it maybe two days before I needed a break… can you tell how much I like the game? I don’t normally trade games in, but that’s one that I’m pretty sure I will.

A few friends and I are looking to set up a Dungeons and Dragons: Midnight campaign. Hopefully we’ll be starting it later this month. We’ve got to meet up at some point to set up our characters before we can start the game though. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that sometime soon, otherwise we might not get to start the campaign til February.

Walking the paths set before me.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I got caught up between school, gaming, and nurturing a new passion. What’s gone on the past two months you ask? I’ll tell you!

Since we last parted, I have made a little progression with Deathengine. He now has the Fiery Warhorse, as well as the Kingslayer title. I’m still running Zul’Gurub [still trying for the mounts] before Cataclysm is released… but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m also in the process of farming gold & Emblems of Frost so I can continue on the Shadowmourne quest chain. I’m still on the first step [The Sacred and Corrupt], I need to get another 16 Primordial Saronite. At the very least, I want to complete this section of the chain so that I can get my hands on Shadow’s Edge.

I picked up Battlefiled: Bad Company 2 for the Xbox 360. I’ve unlocked almost everything; all I have left to unlock is the last weapon in the Assault class.  I enjoy the Recon class the most… give me a sniper rifle and I’ll go to town.

I also picked up Halo: Reach. I finished Legendary in co-op mode, & I have one mission left to complete in solo campaign. A few of my friends and I are really enjoying Firefight lately, we will set up a game that lasts hours. The last game we set up was 10 sets, I don’t remember what difficulty we played on… but it took almost 2 hours! [click here for my Reach stats]

I have continued with the photography, although I’ve taken a few breaks due to school & games. One of my best friends moved back from Florida a month or so ago. We haven’t gotten to hang out too much, but the last time we hung out; she brought her puppy over and I ended up taking quite a few photos of her.

Indiana is a beautiful dog. She has gorgeous eyes and no problem whoring herself to the camera! I’m sure I’ll get plenty more opportunities to take photos of her.

I went to Watkins Glen over the weekend for a hike. We hiked from the top of the gorge to the bottom and stopped for lunch. After lunch we went back up to the top and made one last trip back down to the bottom. We did about five miles total during the hike.

Normally five miles wouldn’t phase me, but that’s talking five miles on a flat surface. Damn, all those hills & steep inclines made things interesting! I was a little sore on Monday after the hike.

I want to get a better camera now, I would like a Digital SLR. I was looking at a few online… I found two that I want [one or the other], the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or the Canon EOS 60D. I just have to figure out where I’m going to get the extra $2500+ for the 5D Mark II or $1000 for the 60D. I’ll probably go for something more like the 60D for now… just have to find an “affordable” one!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my camera [Nikon Coolpix L18, for those of you that are wondering]. For being a basic point & click machine, it does a very good job. I just want to be able to mess with all the settings, not just the preset ones that came with mine. I can’t change the shutter speed on my camera… also, there is no manual focus, this makes me sad.

So far all I’ve done nature photography and some sets of domestic animals. I would like to do a bit of photography with people as well, nothing major… unless I’m mysteriously amazing at it. I’m not sure how I would go about photographing a person, model specifically. I prefer to capture the moment and not script something [IE – set up a photo-shoot with wardrobe/theme].

I was thinking about it last night [technically Wednesday morning, about 4am while lying in bed awake… again]. I got thinking about different friends that I think could model & one person jumped out to me.

So Wednesday morning after I woke up [around 11am] & mulled things over a bit, I sent her a message on Facebook running the idea by of her doing a photo-shoot with me. I know it wouldn’t be anything professional [obviously], but I let her know what I had thought about.

I can’t say I was really expecting her to jump at the idea, seeing as we haven’t really talked in about four years and it was out-of-the-blue. I was surprised by a very enthusiastic response!

She asked me why had thought of her before anyone else. Honestly, that’s a good question, I’m not even sure why. She just popped into my mind when I started thinking about who would be a good person to do a photo-shoot with, who I felt would be an ideal match for the step into the world of photographing models.

Anyways, we are now in the process of trying to decide more of the specifics of what kind of photo-shoot we want to do. In a way, I wish I had some sort of studio so I could practice the indoor “staged” shots. But at the same time I’m glad I don’t have a studio, I’d rather avoid the prefabricated look. We will probably end up doing our photo-shoot outside. It’s a great time of year to do an outdoor set, with the leaves changing and all… even though its freaking cold out.

As soon as we have everything decided and we have free time, we’ll do a set and see how things go. If we think there’s possibility there, we’ll probably set up future shoots to do. With the way things have gone lately, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we did multiple sets.

I should ask around if any of my other friends wants to do a photo-shoot. Although, I’m not sure who I would ask. The biggest reason I mentioned it to my one friend is because of how she just popped into my head when I started thinking about it. If I do end up talking to more friends about doing a photo shoot… worst case scenario, we’ll end up with stupid pictures to post on Facebook. Who knows, maybe someone will even end up with a new profile picture!

I stopped in at school today to see an adviser about possibly changing my major. Because I went in without an appointment, I was only able to speak with one of the lowbie-advisers, oh well. Information Technology is seeming less and less desirable of a job lately. As much as I enjoy computers & technology, I don’t know if I want a career that’s focused on that. I’ve hated not knowing what I want to do for a career. Even when I finally chose IT, I wasn’t entirely thrilled about it. Yeah, it’s interesting… but all I’m interested in is stuff I’m planning on doing to my computer[s] & network[s]…

I have a meeting with the head career-adviser at school on Thursday. I’m thinking about switching my major over to something a bit more photography-oriented, possibly photo-journalism.

The more pictures I take [especially of nature], the more I think about photography as being a career… like working for National Geographic! That would rock!

Primordial Saronite

Expansion.

I’ve decided to expand this blog beyond just a gaming blog & include a little more insight into my life… how much insight will be given has yet-to-be decided. I will continue with my thoughts & ramblings about the games I play, so don’t worry.

I added a new menu in the top right [the idea came from looking at the layout at Keep Me Running Wild]. It has a mouse-over drop down function [just for the Gaming and Life tabs: as I create more posts this feature will be more useful] that has different categories available if you would like to focus on something specific.

Still no luck with any of the mounts I was attempting to get on Deathengine. But I only tried for about another week before I went on vacation. I spent the first two weeks of July out in California visiting fiends & family. I took my laptop with me & actually ended up playing more games than I wanted to… leveling alts mostly. I also had a problem with my debit card shortly after I got out there, so I had no money to go and do anything for most of the time I was on vacation. My brother took me to the shooting range where I got to shot a few different guns [for the first time]. I want an AR15 now, heh.

I went to the beach for the first time in a long while. I love the beach & miss being able to go there regularly, I can’t wait til I can move back out to Cali.

There were many barbecues while I was out there. I had a great time hanging out with friends & family. Thankfully, I managed to make it into San Francisco one day and meet up for lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a few years.

I played disc golf with my family while I was out there. It was, odd… but fun. After I got back, I picked up some disks so that I can play with some friends around here. So far we haven’t been able to get out and play a game, our schedules keep clashing; hopefully we’ll get a game going soon.

When my brother took me to the airport for my return flight, he kept poking at me to stay… I was almost to the point of not returning. If any of my nieces or nephew had been there & even mentioned the thought of not leaving, I probably would have not gotten out of the car & told my brother to drive back home.

Since I got back, I’ve invested more of my gaming-time into the 360 & finishing a few games that still needed work. I managed to finish Mass Effect 2. I forgot how much fun that game is, I’ve already started a second-play through. My first run I went through as a Paragon. For some reason I always play the “good-guy” when I play games that give me the option to be “good” or “evil”. My second play-through I’m playing as a Renegade… it’s time to change things up.

Two of my friends just got Borderlands, so I started playing that again, I forgot how much fun that game is. I’m debating getting new Downloadable Content for it, I already have Zombie Island. There’s a DLC that increases the level cap to 61… I might pick it up. I’ve been messing around with a Soldier and a Hunter lately, levels 19 and 26 respectively. I might wait to pick up the DLC until I get those up to the current level cap [50], or at least close to it.

I haven’t played much more of Final Fantasy XIII, I was too preoccupied with finishing ME2. Now that I’ve finished that I’m going to invest a little more time in FFXIII & get that finished up as well.

I still have to finish a few other 360 games & will be doing that over time. And other than Halo: Reach, there aren’t any more console games that I’m very interested in picking up [at least at the moment], so I can catch up on all the other ones I slacked off at.

Since I got back, I haven’t played much World of Warcraft. I’m probably going to take another small break from it again, at least until Cataclysm is released. If I don’t take a full-on-break, I’m definitely will be cutting down on my time spent in WoW. Saturday was the first time I’ve logged into WoW for more than 30 seconds… not to mention it was only the third time I’ve logged in since I got back. It had been so long since I played a computer game, let alone WoW & Deathengine that it took some getting used to again, haha. It probably didn’t help that I was really tired from spending the day walking around  Park Ave Fest.

I started doing a little more photography & messing around in Photoshop. I don’t have a ton of new stuff, but a few things, they’re up on my DeviantArt page.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any sort of photography, photo manipulation, or digital-art. I really need to get back into it. I’m not phenomenal or anything, but I do have my moments. I’ll only get better if I practice.

I went to see Inception yesterday [now that it’s 1am] with a friend. That was an intense flick. Good thing I went with a buddy, we had to bounce ideas off each other after the film ended. One of those films that really make you think, & I love movies like that.

I also saw Kick-Ass with some other friends. That was definitely not what we were expecting. We didn’t pay much attention to the trailers or rating. We didn’t know much about that one other than the talk about how the movie was awesome and it was some sort of super-hero wannabe movie.

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