As I was exploring Presidio Park in San Diego, I found this pergola is remote section of the park bordering an affluent neighborhood that looked pretty "old money" (big estates, amazing views, no McMansions). I could imagine spending a lot o time here reading and thinking.
This is one of those pictures where I've latched on to some obscure detail that is lending the photo merit in my mind despite having at least one glaring flaw.
The merit: I like the post-processing. Yeah, it's totally over-the-top. But I wanted a dreamy, other-worldly look; kind of like something out of Kurosawa's Dreams. I think I accomplished that.
The glaring flaw: I shot it with too small an aperture and everything in the background is in focus, making the whole thing just too damn busy. If only I had opened up the lens to throw those houses of out of focus...
I don't normally show my alternate versions, but I thought it might be fun in this case. Here it is. Instead of going for a wild hallucinatory vibe, I was trying to make it look like it was in Hobbiton - warm, fuzzy, tranquil, pass the pipeweed. Once again, I'm happy with the post-processing execution, but I still see the flaw...
Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Paul McCartney, and Tony Williams. Now that's a supergroup. In fact, "super" isn't superlative enough. Ultragroup, maybe. The combination is interesting. I expect it would have been either wildly successful or a complete bomb; probably not anywhere in-between. In any case, it would have been impossible to live up to expectations. But I would have loved to have heard it...
Article on Rolling Stone
Article on Rolling Stone
I don't know why, but when I look at this photo, it appears to me that the fish is just about to burp.
I mentioned in a previous post how challenging I found photographing fish at an aquarium to be. This is one of the keepers that came from the session at Moody Gardens. The reason it came out well is that a lionfish is slow-moving. It doesn't swim so much as it floats from place to place. At least in it's normal, calm state. Maybe when it's excited it can swim more quickly and deliberately. Anyway, that's why this picture is fairly sharp. I remember though that the hallway in which this tank resided was particularly dark, so it's not as sharp as it could be. The photo was shot at ISO 3200, which is further than I'm usually willing to go with ISO before noise just becomes too much to bear. It took two rounds of noise reduction - one on the RAW file, then another to get rid of residual noise that got amplified by the post-processing I did. And even so, it's still a pretty noisy photo. But at modest sizes, it looks good and I like the colors a lot. I overlayed a texture on the background, which gave it a more dreamy quality and also resulted in those neat little bubbles you can see in the upper-right.
|1. GSI Personal Java Press - Now that I've mentally accepted that I won't be primitive camping with a backpack for awhile (until my kids are old enough to schlep a pack for a few miles), I've decided to embrace the relative opulence of car camping. And the most enjoyable luxury is the GSI press. After a fitful sleep on an uncomfortable camping mattress, fine pressed coffee is ambrosia. The GSI is a design marvel as well . It's insulated to keep the coffee warm and the filter is o-ring sealed to prevent you from sipping sludge. The mug, carafe, plunger, filter, lids, and coffee all nest together like a caffeine-injected Matryoshka doll for easy packing. If and when I do go primitive camping again, this will probably make the cut list of crap I'm willing to carry.|
|2. Somebody Else Doing The Lawn - OK, I'm something of a perfectionist, I'm a DIYer, and I can be kinda cheap. All put together, I've always opted to mow my own lawn. But mowing your lawn in Houston with it's 100+ temperatures and 100% humidity is a whole other deal. It wears me out for the rest of the day. Plus, I hated having my precious weekend monopolized in terms of time. So I finally gave in this year and started paying somebody to do it. And boy, am I digging it. It's like having an extra free day added to every other week. I can always find a way to make more money, but this is as close as I can find to making more time.|
3. General Finishes - After my brother completed the lion's share of it, I'm wrapping up finishing bookshelves and cabinetry for my wife's library. It's coming out great. I'm using a water-based stain and top coat to make it easier to clean up. This stuff is expensive, but it looks great, it's easy to work with, and it seems durable.
|4. Op-Tech straps - These aren't the fanciest camera straps available, but they are well-made, affordable, and extremely comfortable (the padding system is particularly excellent). But my favorite aspect is that they're part of an interchangeable system. You attach a set of quick release clips to your camera strap mounting posts, then you can easily attach it to a regular neck strap, a sling, or even to backpack shoulder straps. It's kind of complicated figuring out everything you need (and the web site ain't much help) but once you suss it out, it works wonderfully.|
|5. V-neck T-shirts - I'm a T-shirt guy. I like to wear them under my dress shirts and I like to wear them by themselves. And I like to wear them in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in a car. And in a tree. But I hate how the collar gets wrinkled and you have to iron it out if you want to look nice (like, say, when you're going to a Dr. Suess convention). Enter the V-neck T-shirt. Problem solved.|
I read something this week that really resonated with me. It was in a well-known professional photographer's blog. He was responding to an e-mail he received from a struggling amateur who was discouraged by his lack of creativity and advancement. The thing was, when the pro went to go check out his work, he found that the discouraged photographer really didn't have anything posted, and most of his web presence was either talking about video games or complaining about various aspect of his life. For a guy who wanted to be a photographer he really wasn't doing any of the things that photographers typically do to learn and succeed, at least with respect to the web which is the epicenter for all things photo nowadays. So the pro gave him one of the most amazing responses I've ever read. It was, somehow, blunt and ass-kicking while simultaneously positive and inspirational. Usually when you hear a "tough love" response, it's really just the lecturer unloading his contempt for the listener and trying to couch it as something "for his own good". Malevolence disguised as benevolence. But this guy really nailed it perfectly.
Anyway, the thing that really hit home for me was when he was talking about dealing with one's shitty day job. He wrote,
What is it you MOST want to do and go after THAT. Your day job is now your own personal corporate sponsor to get you going in that direction.Wow. That's a hell of a liberating idea if you're one of the (probably majority of) people who don't like their day job! I had kind of accepted the idea that I wasn't going to get much fulfillment from my chosen profession and that it was up to me to find fulfillment in some other way (which I've done through family, music, and photography). But I love this notion of thinking about your day job as a "corporate sponsor" for your independent pursuit of fulfillment. It makes the employee/company relationship a lot more equitable. You can look at it as you're both helping each other toward independent goals, or you're mutually using each other. Either way, it's a lot more fair relationship when viewed that way.
This evening I went to my oldest son's school musical. Loved it! There's nothing more life-affirming than listening to kids sing, especially when they're your own. On the way home we decided to eat at a local burger joint in the next suburb over, Fulshear. On the drive there I saw this cumulonimbus cloud. I think that's what it is, anyway. (Jesse, pipe in here...) I really wanted to pull over to grab a shot but I resisted because I was already running late getting to the restaurant. However, as we ate, the sun got lower on the horizon, the sunset colors started forming, and as luck would have it, the cloud was fairly stationary the whole time. By the time we were ready to go, the cloud looked awesome with lots of golds and pinks. So as we were leaving the restaurant, I grabbed the camera and tripod from the car, ran out into a field next door, and grabbed this shot. I wish we'd lingered over dinner about 10 minutes longer because as I was driving home, the colors got even more vibrant! But I'm happy to have gotten this one.
This is one of three photos I took of Petco Park, home field of the San Diego Padres, the morning that I left the city. My entire time in San Diego, the mornings were overcast and dreary with just rotten light. But on the last morning I woke up at 5:30AM (it takes my body awhile to adjust to local times), looked out the window, and saw a great, partly cloudy sky with nice colors in the clouds from the rising sun. It was also ideal in that there wasn't that hazy low contrast sky that you get a lot on the coast; perhaps the rain the night before had cleared it up. So I threw on some clothes as fast as I could and dashed out of the hotel (which is the big building in the background) and over to the ballpark.
As I said, this is one of three similar shots of the park. I chose this one for the blog because I like the cleaning guy in the foreground. It looks like he's cleaning the entire stadium by himself! By the way, a couple nights before we took in a ballgame (versus Milwaukee). The company had rented several suites in the Western Metal Supply building that you can see in the photo, and which is incorporated into the stadium design. Apparently that's a result of the fact that the Western Metal Supply building was declared a historical landmark. But only the exterior façade, which opened the way to including it as part of the structure and making it into a team store, private suites, restaurant and rooftop seating. That's lemonade from lemons, folks (although I suppose it's debatable how much it aligns with the spirit of having historical landmarks). Anyway, I got some game photos from the suite which were my first real stress test of the Nikon 55-300mm lens that I bought over a year ago. Oh, I've used the lens, but I hadn't really pushed it's limits performance-wise until now. I just don't use telephoto that often. I'll probably post some of those photos, but for now I'll just say that it performed surprisingly well for a low budget ultra-telephoto zoom.
I just got back from 5 days in San Diego. It was for my company's annual user conference, but I went up a couple days early to take photos. So far, this is my favorite shot from a very productive trip photography-wise. If you're into history or engineering and you've never been on an aircraft carrier, you really owe it to yourself to visit one. From the sheer size, to the engineering prowess on display, to learning about carrier operations, to imagining life on board a ship-city, aircraft carriers are just endlessly fascinating. I could spend days on one. Anyway, this is a Vought F4U Corsair in the hanger deck (the giant warehouse beneath the carrier's runway) of the USS Midway. The Corsair had an impressively long service history across the world, but was employed by the US primarily in World War II and the Korean War.
From a photography standpoint, I was really going for an aged photo look to go along with the vintage aircraft. In the original photo, everything from the sign in front of the plane to the back wall was fairly in-focus. I shot it at f/4, but the ultra-wide focal lens combined with the distances involved resulted in a pretty deep depth of field. I felt like that made the background a little distracting. So I used the "quick select" tool (an amazing tool that I'll have to devote a posting to in the future) in Photoshop to select the airplane, the sign, and the cordoning rope. Then I inverted the selection so that the background was selected and I ran the lens blur filter on the background to throw it out of focus. That made it look a bit like a diorama, which could be cool in small doses. I had to play with the amount of blur in order to strike a balance between reducing the distraction of the background and not making it look like an HO-scale model.
Next, I brought the photo into Color Effects Pro and ran three filters on it. First, I used the Tonal Contrast filter to bring out details and balance the exposure a bit better between shadows and highlights. Then I used the Film Efex - Vintage filter to warm the color tone (giving a bit of a golden hue to the light), desaturate the colors, add some film grain, and add a vignette to further de-emphasize the background. All of that lent an old, faded photograph look to the image. The last filter was the Glamour Glow filter, which is typically used for portraits, but I used it here to soften the look a little bit. Some final sharpening and there you have it.
Here's a still life that I processed to give it an antique look in keeping with the style of the clock, which normally sits in our master bathroom. I ran the original photo through the "bleach bypass" filter in Color Efex Pro , which desaturated it a little and gave it more local contrast. Then I blended it with a texture image which gave it a weather look and put the border around it. I painted a layer mask on the texture file in order to reduce the texture's effect in the center of the image over the clock, but keep it strong on the edges. I also tweaked the overall tonality and color saturation on the clock face to further age it.
I've had mixed feelings about opening up my photography to critique. And it's not for the reasons that you might imagine. On the one hand, there's obvious value in getting objective 3rd party appraisal. If you spend a lot of time and energy on something, you can really lose all sense of perspective on it. On top of that, I find that other people often notice things that completely escape me. I'll be so keyed in on one aspect or another, that I'll completely miss some obvious faults or strengths of the work.
The rub for me comes from, candidly, being too accepting of criticism. Over the years, I've put a lot of music out there on the Internet for people to critique. My attitude is that if you're going to do it, you have to accept the feedback that you get graciously, without argument and with minimal justification. Suck it up and take it, or don't put it out there. But in the past, I've taken that attitude so much to heart that I've forgotten that a lot of times (especially on the 'Net) critiques are worth about what you paid for them. I can remember one episode in particular where I spent several weeks meticulously crafting and recording a song. Now that I've got some distance on it, I view it as one of the best things I've done. I put it out there on one of the music forums I used to frequent, where it received very enthusiastic compliments. Except for one guy, who I'll call Mr. Kindly who basically eviscerated it. In my desire to accept criticism openly, I didn't really question whether Mr. Kindly was right or not. I spent a lot of time and energy questioning not only my song and recording, but also my talent since I obviously couldn't hear how crappy my work was! (It sounds crazy to me now, especially in light of the overwhelmingly positive feedback that I got overall. But that's where my mind was at the time...) As it turned out later, Mr. Kindly had a deep history of being hypercritical about other people's music, not just mine. He kind of made a sport of it. Another person on the forum called him out on it later, and even went so far as to say that Mr. Kindly did it in order to make up for some kind of personal insecurity of his own. And in a moment of amazing self-reflection and guilt, Mr. Kindly admitted it! Still later, Mr. Kindly set about on a project to transcribe my song (why he picked my song, I'll never fathom) and e-mailed me asking for help because he couldn't suss out the rhythms. Think about that for second. He didn't have the talent to even work out the basics of the music that he'd so vigorously panned!
And I had a mini existential crisis over this dude's opinion?! Good grief. Obviously I learned a valuable lesson from all that.
Yes, if you're going to put your art out there for criticism, accept that criticism with grace and humility. Give it sincere consideration. Absorb as much knowledge from it as you possibly can because sending your babies out there to be called ugly ain't easy. But don't forget that a lot of critics are unqualified, asshat-like, or both and even if they're not, they just might be wrong.
Anyway, the photo above is one that I sent out there for critique on Google+. Most of the feedback was useful and pointed out things that I'd missed. An enlightening experience. A little bit of the feedback wasn't and after giving it due consideration, I discarded it.
In my first ever "What I Know Of" post, I took a shot at explaining the exposure triangle. The purpose of the post was to give a high level understanding of the concepts, but the only way to develop working skills with aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is to take your camera out of "auto" and shoot some pics! Taking lots of photos at various settings and examining the results is what is going to give you an innate feel for how the controls affect the final image. Well, Canon has a cool little web app that simulates a camera and let's you practice without a real camera. It's not a substitute for logging hours with your meat world camera, but it would certainly help to learn what's going on and cement the controls in your mind, especially since the app has tons of help information that wouldn't be available on an actual camera. Check it out...
I had to make a quick trip down to the office on Saturday night to retrieve the power supply for my laptop. "Quick" is a relative term as it's quite a ways from my house to my office unfortunately. I brought along my camera to get a couple nighttime city shots. I was hoping the office would be running the fountain, but it wasn't. Still, it's a fun shot and it marks the first time I could have used a wider wide-angle lens because I would have liked to have gotten more of the buildings on the sides in (there was no room to back up.) I would have also liked to have taken it from a higher vantage point, but that wasn't possible either.
This photo is actually a pretty good demonstration of why shooting in RAW format is a good idea. It's a single-exposure photo; no multi-exposure HDR involved. Below is the same photo as it came off the camera with no post-processing other than the conversion to JPG. Compare that to the photo above and you can see just how much detail lurks in the shadows of a RAW image that can be pulled out with some simple post-processing. That never fails to amaze me.
I'd been sick the latter half of the week, but yesterday I finally started feeling a bit more normal. So we went a kite festival being held at a neighborhood nearby. There were some really marvelous kites and I got lots of photos of 'em. But this was my favorite shot of the day. Just my son being, well, himself. Putting an ultrawide lens right up in his face to distort his features helps a lot though.
I tried something a bit different with the processing. I've been enamored with this gal's photos for awhile and this was my first attempt at recreating the look. I have to admit that I didn't succeed very well on that account (I think the biggest thing is that I needed some fill light to lighten the shadows, and to tone down the contrast a little), but I did come up with something that's interesting in my opinion.
As everybody knows by now, Roger Ebert has passed on. I got into Sneak Previews pretty early on, probably in the late '70s or early '80s when I was still in high school. I didn't recognize it at the time, but Siskel and Ebert taught me the standard of good critique - or rather, how to critique a critic. A critic worthy of the title should not be just a dude or chick with an opinion. A good critic's opinion is highly informed, well-defended, and undiluted. It was obvious when you listened to those two guys that they had studied cinema history and they had a strong basis on which to judge movies. They'd seen all the classics, they knew about the styles, forms, and innovations of all the pioneers. Those guys knew their movies, and they could articulate exactly why a movie worked or didn't work, on both technical and artistic levels.
They also didn't pull punches. They were effusive in their praise and they called a turd, a turd. And they were unapologetic about it in either case. By definition, a critique must have a strong point of view, an unmistakable value system under which merit can be assessed. I'm not into hatchet jobs, but the weaker the point of view, the more a critique becomes just "writing about shit."
The various news sources are currently running little retrospectives on Ebert's most memorable reviews. The reader comment sections are awesome. People get awfully defensive about movies they like! I totally get that, because in a similar way Rolling Stone's various "100 Best" lists used to drive me nuts, especially on topics of which I had some knowledge. It usually seemed like the editors were trying to be hip rather than critically examining merit, skill, or contribution. Johnny Ramone ranked ahead of Mark Knofler as a guitarist?! Now I love The Ramones and totally recognize their role in rock history, but Johnny as a guitarist? Give me a @#$ing break.
But I've come to see critiques in a larger context. Just because a good critic is highly informed, doesn't mean he or she always gets it right. If you do dozens or even hundreds of critiques a year for 30 years, you're going to get some of 'em wrong, even by your own long-term reckoning. Conversely, just because a critic gets it wrong (or right), doesn't mean you can't enjoy the movie - unapologetically, just like the critic's opinion. But the key thing I've learned about critics from Siskel and Ebert is that critiques are supposed to be debatable. That's the whole appeal of them! The show was most compelling when Siskel and Ebert didn't agree, or when you didn't agree with them. When you read a critique and think, "Give me a @#$ing break!" then as a reader you are fully engaged and that's always a win from a journalistic point of view.
So as I read these things I think to myself, Remember, you're not supposed to agree with all of this. For the record, however, Mark Knopfler is a way better guitarist than Johnny Ramone, and it's not even close.
I must confess I have mixed feelings about photographing flowers. On the one hand, it's hard to resist because it's almost a guaranteed decent shot as long as you can hold a camera still and avoid blowing a color out. In the spring, it's so easy. They're beautiful and they're everywhere. Like fishing in a stocked pond. Point, shoot, nice photo. And that's why my feelings are mixed. It's so easy and it's so common that it almost feels like cheating, so I feel guilty about it. Which is kind of dumb, but that's the way it is.
Or, How To Fix the Shutter Release Button on a Battery GripThere's this great running gag in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the family patriarch uses Windex as the miracle cure for whatever ails you. It's one of the funniest bits in a very funny movie.
The electronics version of Windex is DeoxIT. You have a scratchy sounding volume knob? Put some DeoxIT on it. A button that only works sometimes? Put some DeoxIT on it. A switch that has failed? Put some DeoxIT on it. Did you burn your finger on the barbeque grill? Actually, don't put any DeoxIT on that!
When you take them apart and examine the innards, electronic switches (buttons) and potentiometers (knobs and sliders) are dead simple - typically they're just two pieces of metal (or some other conductive material) that touch each other to form an electrical connection. There must be a solid, and in some cases steady, connection between the two pieces of metal or the switch/potentiometer will misbehave or outright fail. Most of the time, the culprit is either dust that lodges itself between the two metal pieces, or corrosion of the metal pieces themselves. DeoxIT works by flushing out the dust and/or dissolving the corrosion. It also leaves a protective coating over the conductors.
My latest DeoxIT patient - the Nikon MB-D11, also known as Nikon's pricey battery grip for the D7000. The shutter button for the grip had been working only intermittently. If I'd paid full retail for the grip, it would have really pissed me off. But I bought the camera used and the grip was thrown in to sweeten the deal (the combo was priced less than the going rate on e-bay for used D7000s alone), so I considered it a freebie. Anyway, first I tried spraying the miracle elixir into the tiny crevice between the shutter button and its hole in the grip. You might be surprised how often that actually works (the dust has to get in there somehow; it makes some sense that the spray could follow the same path). And it did work. For a couple days. Then it started up with its intermittent failure again. So more invasive methods were necessary.
|Nikon MB-D11 - Can't say it's worth the dough!|
I looked over the grip for how you get inside it and found 6 tiny screws that fastened the top cover onto it. Removed the screws (saving them in a container so I wouldn't lose them) and the cover. First observation: this grip is more complicated inside than I was expecting! But ignoring most of the stuff inside, if I used a flashlight and peered into a gap between the main circuit board and the grip housing, I could see how the shutter button worked. The actual switch was two slivers of metal (about a half inch long, and less than 1/8 inch wide) with "nubs" at one end and mounted so that there was a tiny air gap between the nubs (in other words, just barely not touching each other). The nubs were the contact points for the switch. When you push down the shutter button, it causes a plunger to push down on one of the metal slivers, which in turn causes the nubs to contact each other, thus closing the switch. Simple.
While I had the grip opened, I decided to do a little trick I learned for fixing the pickup selector switch on a Les Paul (which works almost identically to this shutter switch). I got a piece of 320 grit (extra fine) sandpaper and cut it into a small strip (about 3 inches by 1/4 of an inch). I inserted the sandpaper between the nubs, held down the shutter button, and moved the sandpaper back and forth a few times to abrade one of the nubs. Then I pulled the sandpaper out, flipped it over, reinserted it, and did the same thing to the other nub. The idea here is to sand away any corrosion, but very lightly. Finally, I sprayed some additional DeoxIT on the nubs and worked the shutter button several times to flush away any debris and to leave a protective coating. Worked like a charm and hopefully it will continue to work as it does for Les Pauls!
Before I close this post up, I gotta gripe a little bit about the Nikon battery grip. A Grip Gripe, if you will.
The retail price for one of these things is around $200, which is a lot of dough especially since 3rd party equivalents are available for between $50 and $100. I might consider it worth the extra money if the quality were significantly superior. But I can tell you firsthand that the shutter button on the Nikon unit is terrible, and not just because of the issue I've described here (which, to be completely fair, could have been caused by the previous owner if, say, he was a smoker or liked to store the camera in a used vacuum cleaner bag). No, this shutter button sucks because the travel on the button is way too long, there's no positive feedback on actuation, and the feel of the button is just flat-out mushy. All of this means that it's really hard to get a smooth, decisive, and shake-free activation of the shutter when in portrait orientation, which is supposed to be one of the key benefits of a battery grip. Further, the grip's multi-directional switch for navigating menus and placing the focus point is fiddly to use. The other buttons on the grip work fine, thank goodness. But combine those issues with, let's say, questionable, reliability of the shutter button switch, and I can't say the premium price of the Nikon grip is worth it. I'm glad I didn't have to pay retail for it. All that said, I do like having a battery grip! It provides more surface area for my big mitts to grip, with two batteries loaded you can shoot a couple thousand shots (!) before recharge, and holding the camera in portrait orientation is a lot less awkward even if the shutter button is mushy. So I'd rather have a battery grip than not. But if I need to replace this one, it probably won't be with another Nikon unit.
Another photo from my day trip to New Orleans. This is not an HDR in the sense that it's not multiple exposures processed in HDR software. It's just a single-shot image tweaked a bit in Photoshop for exposure, tonality, and color.
Looks like my brother made it back to New Mexico safe and sound. Took him about 4.5 days to bike from El Paso to Roswell. Not too shabby for a man pushing 60 years old, carrying fully-loaded front and rear panniers, including 20 gallons of water (ponder that for a moment) to make it through the desert and the Guadalupe Mountains. The guy's in seriously great shape.
Meanwhile I spent the weekend pretending to rough it on a cub scout camp with my wife and kids. I say "camp", but it was more of a sleepover. It was at the aquarium at Moody Gardens. We forgot pillows and one of the other fathers was a terrible snorer, so I slept like hell. (I'm not complaining too much given what I just told you about my brother.) But it is kind of cool in a surreal way to wake up in the middle of the night, look over and see a zebra shark cruising over the heads of sleeping kids. I have some photos of the event, but I gotta say, it's an incredibly difficult thing to shoot. Aquariums are very dark which means long shutter speeds and very unreliable auto-focus. A flash won't work because it just reflects off the surface of the glass and the light won't reach very deep into the water anyway. On top of that, a lot of fish move fast, which doesn't play well at all with slow shutter speeds. I went all the way to 3200 ISO on a lot of shots just to get a reasonable shutter speed and I still had major problems with motion blur. Due to the excessive noise, 3200 ISO is higher than I would normally accept on my camera (and it's known as a strong high ISO performer in it's class). But I had no choice. I took about 300 photos, deemed about 60 of them as keepers, and had to do heavy noise reduction on most of those. Still, if I get even one picture I'm happy with I consider a shoot to be worthwhile, and I got more than that so it definitely wasn't a wasted effort.
And as for my photo above. That's a sidewalk near downtown Houston by the Buffalo Bayou. It's a lovely walk, with a canopy of trees shading the entire length. It's probably worth another trip down there in the spring after the leaves have grown in. If I do it, I'll try a telephoto lens to compress the distance between the trees and enhance the canopy effect. For this photo I used the ultrawide to take in the giant oak I was standing under.