Monday monday

Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/10 sec, ISO400
Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは! Hello! How was Monday?

Mine was super busy… not only with work, but I had to take my car to the shop to get the starter replaced. Of course they found several other things that needed to be fixed, but I declined on all of them. They weren’t super-critical so I will look for a mechanic who can do the job for cheaper. Anyways, that was an unexpected expense and caused me quite a bit of stress.

Also adding to the stress level is my workload, which is pretty high. The highest ever for me. I inadvertently took on a huge multi-month project which started out as one simple task but then mushroomed into several large projects. It is crazy how it just got out of control, but it has pretty much become a full-time job. And then I have my regular work to do, and then my workload from another group, which is pretty crazy. It’s like in the past year, my workload went from one full-time job, to 1.5x, then a few months ago, it went up to 2.5x. Needless to say, I haven’t been able to do my primary job… these other tasks have tight deadlines and honestly, who else is going to do them? It’s pretty ridiculous.

But, like I said before, it’s mostly fun work… there is just too much of it! I guess I am having too much fun? Wait… that’s not right!

Haha, anyways, it’s so out-of-control I just have to laugh sometimes. And this project will end this month (yeah, right) and I should go back to my 1.5x workload, and then hopefully manage it down to a regular level.

But when it comes down to it, my life is pretty good, you know? I have a lot to be grateful for.

And speaking of good, tonight’s photo is of our dinner table. Mariko made a delicious Japanese curry, with yummy steak. You can see the kids reaching for the meat! It was awesome!

Take it easy, and have a restful evening!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

Busy Sunday

Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/10 sec, ISO400
Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは! Hello!

Wow, my body is exhausted… yesterday we received 1 cubic yard of dirt to use in our front and backyards, so today I shoveled it all into the wheelbarrow and distributed it around our lawns, to fill in low spots. We get heavy rains sometimes and it washes away a lot of dirt. So once in a while, it is good to replenish! But it’s a lot of hard work and my arms are so sore. Plus the mosquitoes are in full-force in Central Texas, so it wasn’t a relaxing bit of work. But it all got done, and I have a good feeling of accomplishment!

In other news, we bought a couple new fish for our aquarium, plus I asked the store for several Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Our tank has developed a lot of brown algae, and these snails are supposed to help keep everything clean. Right after I dumped them into our tank they got straight to work! I wonder how good a job they’ll do, and how long it will take to see any progress. It will be fun to see!

Today’s photo is of Koa, eating dinner using chopsticks while riding the exercise bike and watching television. He can multi-task like a pro!

Well, I need to sleep early… my body needs rest. 😄

See you tomorrow! おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

Bowling party

Austin, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
Austin, 2016

こんばんは! How’s it going?

Today Koa celebrated his birthday 🎂 with his friends at “The Main Event” which is an entertainment space that has bowling, glow golf, laser tag, indoor rock climbing, arcade games, billiards, shuffleboard, etc. It was our first time hosting a birthday party there, and it turned out great. The facility has several different birthday packages, and the one we chose was for tweens and teens and included an hour of bowling on two lanes, light dinner, one session of laser tag, and ten $10 game cards for the arcade.

There was a host who coordinated the bowling and food portion of the party, and the whole thing cost about $200. It really is a bargain for hosting 10 kids (we actually had 9 kids attend, but the minimum is 10). At first, I thought that it was really expensive, but after adding up the normal price of game cards ($100), two lanes for an hour ($72), one laser tag session for 10 kids ($86), and food (~$90), the party package is quite a good deal!

Besides the financial aspect of it, the kids had A LOT of fun! I’m so happy that they all got along great and totally enjoyed themselves. And Mariko and I got to relax and enjoy a beer 🍺 and pizza 🍕 while we watched the Dodgers beat the Giants in extra innings. 🎉 (There are many big screens around the facility showing sports of all kinds)

If you want a no-fuss, high-enjoyment-factor party, I’d recommend The Main Event.

It’s Saturday night, and getting late, but the nice thing is that this is the one night of the week where I don’t feel like I have to get to bed because I need to wake up early! Yay! But of course I will probably be up at my normal time tomorrow. 😜

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

The weekend is here!

Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/9, 1/7 sec, ISO6400
Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは! Hello!

The weekend is here already! I cannot even remember what I did this week. It went by so fast.

This evening, Bay and I watched Star Wars Episode 7 on Blu-ray. It was amazing! We watched it twice in the theater, but watching it at home is really nice too. And for some reason, our broken surround sound system decided to come back to life, so we cranked it up and had the house shaking with the sound of space battles and explosions. It was great!

Tonight’s photo is of our dog, Lani, who was nice enough to join us for the movie. She really dislikes the camera, so I was surprised I could catch her looking at the lens. 🐶

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

Finding a style

Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO3200
Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは! Hello, how’s it going? Enjoying the warmer weather? It’s been in the 80s here in Austin this week. Lots of sun! ☀️

I read a lot of photography blogs and listen to several photography podcasts, and one theme that comes up often is that you should find your photographic style, and not have such a wide range. I don’t know how important that is to an amateur photographer like myself, but I can see the logic in that philosophy if you are running a photography business.

However, I think I have found an aesthetic that I really like, and I have been using it a lot lately. It is kind of simulating the look of film, with a nice grain to it, and also not super-sharp. I have been experimenting with creating presets in Lightroom so I can get a consistent “look” to my photos. It is still early on, but I am enjoying using it! Basically, one preset adds a certain amount of grain. The next preset adds a slight “S” tone curve. And finally, my blur preset adds two gradient adjustments to de-sharpen the entire image. (If there is a better way to do this in LR5, let me know!)

In the photo above, I have applied all of these presets, plus added a black border which I love (Nik Analog efex 2). I am also using the Fujifilm Velvia film simulation here. I think it is a good start in defining a consistent style. I still enjoy both black & white and color images, so I can’t really make a choice. I mean, I need to take my sushi photos, and they just won’t look so great in black & white, right? 🍣

Well, as you can see from the photo, we had sushi at home for dinner. While it was super-delicious, eating so much sushi-rice makes me so thirsty… I’ve had three large glasses of water already tonight!

Have a great Friday everyone!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto