… a level at a time.

Family

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.


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.


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.


No more server hopping.. maybe.

I haven’t done a ton with Mass Effect 2 lately… it’s not one of  those games I can just start and stop when I want. I get hooked in the story and don’t want to stop playing. I’ve had too much homework to take any real-time to dedicate to it. Hoping one of the next few weekends prove to be more viable for a bit of time spent progressing through it.

I still haven’t finished Assassin’s Creed or started AC2. I’m debating if I’ll ever finish it, I might just start the second and skip out on the last bit of the first. I’d rather not though, but with school and starting up World of Warcraft again, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the desire to finish Assassin’s Creed.

Speaking of WoW…. my brothers started playing again a week or so ago. They refused to start on another server or transfer, and my friends and I were already set on Staghelm and we didn’t plan on moving.

I guess it’s a good thing I never transferred my Paladin [Texhnolyze] to Staghelm. Even though I don’t play him anymore. I’ve fallen in love with the Death Knight and Mage, I’ve spent all my time playing on one of those two.

I’m also messing around with a new Rogue a little bit; my brothers, one of my nephews, and I all started new characters together. We’re staying relatively the same level so we can group up for quests and instances together.

I have gotten stuck server hopping so I can play with my best friends and my brothers before. I hate server hopping, I’m bad enough with alts on a single server…

But as it stands now, it looks like all my real-life friends that I play WoW with are leaving the game “for good.” If they do stop playing though, I will be going back to playing on Silvermoon “full-time” [as much as I can without screwing up school and work], which will be nice: no more server hopping. Also, if they stop playing, I *will* be transferring my Mage [Stasís] over to Silvermoon. I wonder if I can convince them to toss me any extra gold & spare mats before they stop playing [haha, doubtful]!

I’m also debating swapping Authenticators for WoW. I have one of the key-chain ones, but I also have the HTC Hero that runs the Android OS. Now there is the Authenticator application available for download on the Android Market. I always have my phone on me, I don’t always have the key-chain Authenticator with me.

I really wish I could go to PAX East this year, really I want to go to any PAX. I’ve never been to a gaming convention. Unfortunately due to obligations, finances, school, & work… actually getting to go is not gonna happen, again.


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