Mannequins of the USS Lexington

Soulless automaton. Hmm. Appears to be similar to some of my coworkers.
Soulless automaton. Hmm. Appears to be similar to some of my coworkers.

I do not like mannequins with faces or other human features. Let me explain: I got upset this morning when drinking my McDonald’s coffee because I didn’t like the “face” the plastic lid made when I opened the drink hole. You can imagine the shock to the system that an angry mannequin would be when you are deep in the bowels of a silent, decommissioned battleship.

Looks traumatized by his receptionist job.
Looks traumatized by his receptionist job. For God’s sake: DO NOT SMOKE. He will kill you!

I left out the horrors of the dental examination rooms for your safety. I don’t want you to have any nightmares! My seven-year-old declared the dental exhibit inappropriate. Yes. Somehow it’s creepy as hell to have motion-detectors on your sound system. A sound system blaring out a buzzing drill with a man screaming.

Oh, I don’t want to warn you about that section. It’s best experienced in person.

Overly happy. Do not trust.
Overly happy. Do not trust.
That is, um, a look on your face.
That is, um, a look on your face.

Okay, so the purpose of this project was to use the fisheye lens I rented to enhance the creepy factor of these creepazoids. I just knew there would be something horrid to distort on this old ship. Yay! Museum folks never understand what neurotic people might make of their work.

Or do they???

Aztec Caves (with a fisheye lens)

This hike is rated online anywhere from “easy” to “difficult.” I’ll go with moderate, in that case. The footing is unsteady, but I made it up with my six-year-old kiddo.

Looking down the trail.
Looking down the trail.

I think I would have made it up the mountain faster if I weren’t six months pregnant at the time. Luckily, there were a number of places to stop and rest.

I took these with a fisheye lens. I was exploring how that kind of lens might be used in landscape photography. Overall, I really liked it.

Looking up towards the caves.
Looking up towards the caves.

Since it’s a very wide angle lens, it did a great job of taking in panoramic views. Also, it was fun to distort the inside of the caves. The two below were my favorites from that series.

Exposed for the view inside the cave.
Exposed for the view inside the cave.
Exposed for the view outside the cave.
Exposed for the view outside the cave.

Aztec Caves Hike: Cute Finds

There were a lot of cute kids climbing up the Aztec Caves Trail in the Franklin Mountains (El Paso, Texas). This one agreed to pose for me when we got up into the caves.

Out of Proportion Child
Out of Proportion Child

Due to being low to the ground, this child was able to see little creatures I didn’t notice. Like this Chihuahuan Collared Lizard.

Mr. Lizard
Mr. Lizard

It took me a while to identify this lizard. This species of collared lizard lives only in El Paso County. At least, so says the internet, which we all know is infallible.

This little lizard was a great sport and posed for many pictures! Friendly lil’ guy.

There was another small, gray lizard running around the trails. I couldn’t get one to stop for a picture though. They just run like crazy when they see hooo-menz. Their little tails curve upwards, and they dash into the brush as if squealing, “AAAAAAAAHHHHH! AAAAAHHHHH!” in a panicked lizard voice.

Meanwhile, Mr./Ms. Collared Lizard was proud to show off his/her pretty spots and weird, grabby feet.

Lowriders in Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

I was around Ysleta del Sur Pueblo outside of El Paso to visit the Tigua reservation. My kid and I happened upon a local car show. We love cool “jumpy” cars! One of the owners showed the kiddo how he raises and lowers the front end of his car. Nice guy.

I took these with the fisheye lens I rented this weekend. That was my assignment: use the fisheye for everything! I ended up distorting the effect further in Photoshop. I wanted a surreal effect to match the artwork on the cars.

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lowrider2

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Fisheye Lens and Flowers

I took a trip with my kiddo this weekend. I asked him if he wanted to visit the mountains or the beach. He chose the mountains, so off we headed to El Paso.

For the first time ever, I rented a lens…a fisheye lens. Of all things! I wanted to see what I could do with the distortion that kind of lens creates.

I took the one below of a blooming palo verde tree in Concordia Cemetery. It’s not as in focus as I would like. To be fair to myself, this was taken the first hour I was working with the lens. I have to remember that this is all a learning process!

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I also tried out its capacity for close-up pictures of individual flowers. I really like how these turned out. You can see the whole background, but it is oddly blurry and bent. To me, it offers some interest to the background detail while keeping it from competing with the main image.

Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains
Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains

In one of my photography books, an author is bothered by the darkening of the corners of photos when using very wide angle lens. I find the effect sort of charming, like a vignette effect or something. It’s not something I would change in the editing process. Here’s an example of that vignetting on the upper corners of this picture of a globe mallow:

fisheye-flower2

And here’s another pretty flower from the Concordia Cemetery.

fisheyeflower3