Gimme Shelter: Baby Ducks Edition

Take in the cuteness. You know you just want to cuddle them and love them and call them George.BD08

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But then they grow up and poop all over your dock.

We’re in Houston Magazine this month

Well, Gimme Shelter isn’t actually in the magazine, but I’m flattered that one of my long-exposure photos is featured in the CLICK section of the April issue of Modern Luxury Houston. Even if you’re not a Houstonian, you can still check it out on pages 22 and 23 of the digital edition.

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Thursday, April 9, I’ll also be on 88.7 FM KUHF Houston Public Radio from 5-6 p.m. representing Technip and matching donations during the Spring Fund Drive as part of our commitment to transparent reporting, sustainable development and community outreach.

And while I’m just promoting random stuff, I thought I’d mention that the crew of Gimme Shelter provides freelance copywriting, design, photo, video and translation services to fund our adventures. If you’re in need of any of those things, visit our photo site at www.fredfacker.com and like our Facebook business page Facker Media Services.

Stop and smell the roses

Some nights you plan to make an instructional video on how to disassemble and service vintage Lewmar Spring Jaw Self-Tailing Winches, but some nights you just have to stop and smell the roses.

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And stare at the sky, watching the planes go by.

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And then eat cookies while you watch a bunch of episodes of Mad Men Season 7 on Netflix.

But tonight it’s back to work … probably.

Congratulations to John and Megan

It takes a lot to get Mary and myself off the water, but we had some very important duties this weekend. Mary was serving as the matron of honor in her best friend’s wedding, and I was lending my photography skills to the event. This is a sailing and adventure blog, not a wedding blog, so I’ll keep it short, but I will say, “Congratulations John and Megan. I hope you guys have many happy years together!”

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Finally developed that last roll of film

From time to time I still carry around a 35mm film camera. In this case it was a Leica M4-2 with a 35mm Summilux and a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400.

It takes me a long time to finish an entire roll of film, so when I finally develop the negatives, it’s like opening a time capsule.

Here’s some scenes with friends (and dogs) on film from the past few months on boats and around the marina.

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Time to load a new roll …

Rodeo Run

Houston traffic snarled up more than usual Friday as men, women, and children on horseback and in wagons slowly made their way to NRG Stadium for the 2015 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

Saturday morning our alarm went off at 6 a.m., and we had to leave the dogs aboard Gimme Shelter as we made our annual trek downtown for the Rodeo Run 5k — there’s also a 10k, but Mary and I have never made it that far.

A few of my co-workers made it early enough for a picture near the parade floats before the cowboy hat-wearing volunteers chased us out of the area.

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The entry fee for the event goes toward the HLSR Scholarship Fund, which is great, but I think the most interesting part of the Rodeo Run is being able to walk the Houston streets without cars and see things from a different perspective.

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Neither of us work downtown, so the only time we see the area is when attending an occasional concert or when we get called for jury duty every two or three years.

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As you can probably tell from the fact that I carried a camera the entire time, we just do the 5k walk, and we don’t take it too seriously. We definitely didn’t set any records, but we did finish.

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And once the trail riders make their way through the downtown streets …

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There’s no forgetting that the rodeo is in town.

Playing with light

If you haven’t figured it out from the blog, I’ll just go ahead and admit it now … I’m not normal.

Over the weekend our boat neighbors gifted Mary a string of LED lights that she thought might be neat to install under the counters in Gimme Shelter. The lights made it home with us, and they were just sitting there in the living room, so I HAD to play with them.

Mary didn’t even seem surprised when she called me to dinner and found me in the living room wrapped in the lights dancing around in front of my camera. However, I was surprised when she volunteered to be wrapped in the lights, so I could continue experimentation with long exposure light painting.

After about a dozen tries with 8-second exposures and an off-camera flash, we were able to create a dress (or at least an artistic facsimile of a dress) from light.

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To create this effect, Mary had the string of lights wrapped around her torso and waist with about four feet of light dangling from her waist to the floor. She would strike a pose and hold it, and I would start the exposure. After hitting the button on the camera, I would pop an off-camera flash, which would expose her face and arms. As soon as the flash had gone off, she would bend over and wave the 4′ of dangling LED rope in front of her to create the “skirt”. We found that if she didn’t bend over, her face and arms would continue to expose in the upper part of the frame causing blurs and ghosting.

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It’s always satisfying to learn a new technique and create something unique. Of course, I was still in long exposure mode this morning when I rolled into the office, so I snapped this 24 second exposure of the sunrise out of the window before grabbing some coffee and jumping on my conference call. Yes, it looks pretty much exactly like the last long exposure I did out of my office window, but hey, it’s still cool.

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Our new feathered friend

Last weekend we had a new bird take up residence near Gimme Shelter. Every morning this snowy egret was walking the shallows just the other side of the breakwater.

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While he kept an eye on us and refused to eat while we were watching, he never flew away. I left him to catch his breakfast while I went to eat mine. I was excited to see him again the next morning when we got up to walk the dogs.

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Rarely are birds and animals close enough to shoot with the rangefinder, but he (or she, I have no idea how to tell the gender) was close enough that I managed to capture these shots with the M9 using the 135mm f2.8 Leica Elmarit lens.

All of the rocks in that area disappear under water when the summer tides and south wind return, but hopefully our new egret friend will stick around and have breakfast with us for a few more weekends.

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