Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quantaray 2x Teleconverter - Nikon

Does anyone know where I can get a Quantaray 2x Teleconverter for my Nikon D80?

In a few weeks the Mrs. and I are heading to Chicago to see a Cubs game, a White Sox game, and a Bears game. On a budget of course, so it’s not like we have the best seats in the stadium. But I still want to get good pics of the players if I can.

Enter Quantaray 2x Teleconverter…. You lose 2 f/stops, and possibly may get a little vignetting around the edges. But I’m OK with that. I can always crop, and besides it’s just for me – not for my website or for any art shows or anything like that.

A couple of weeks ago I found one on sale at Ritz Camera for $80. Awesome, I’ll just pull that out of the vacation fund. But then I go down there and they don’t have it. “The store in Beverly Hills has it” I’m told, but that’s like probably an hour in traffic, so I say I’ll just hold off and wait till my local store re-stocks.

So two weeks go by, and I go back in – sadly they’re still out. “Can you order one?” I ask. “Our warehouse doesn’t carry that” I’m told. So I call the Beverly Hills store – it’s Saturday AM, maybe I can beat traffic, plus I need something else over near there, so why not. But when I call, they’re out too….So now what was a great low-cost solution, is now feeling like it might be a challenge.

I know Samy’s camera has a Tamron 1.4x, but it’s less zoom and about double the price. I’ve looked on Ebay and they do have 2x converters. Problem is, they are all no-name brands I've never even heard of. I’m cool with Quantaray, but I don’t know if I want to go any lower than that.

Anybody know where I can get one?

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Monday, June 23, 2008

A Nice Surprise

On Saturday, I went shooting down at Point Vincente on Palos Verdes, and then met up with some friends in Hermosa Beach for lunch. It was such a relaxing day, starting with a nice hike down the cliffs followed by lunch on the roof deck at Hennessy’s watching the beach crowd soak in the sun. I really wasn’t prepared for what I got in the mail when I got home – a surprisingly thick envelope from the Department of Cultural Affairs / City of Los Angeles.

"Dear Paul,” the letter reads, “it is with great pleasure that I am writing to inform you of your acceptance into the 2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition. The jurors reviewed over 2,000 entries, and from these have selected 92 for this year’s exhibition.”

In other words, "you’re going to Hollywood” (literally, actually…it turns out the LA Municipal Art Gallery is right there on Hollywood Blvd).

Holy uknowhat – how cool is that…The wife’s in tears, I’m standing there in disbelief, all the while thinking about the odds (92/2,000 = 4.6%). Not to mention the competition was open to all kinds of artwork – painting, sculpture, performance art, etc - in a city the size of Los Angeles which is of course a major arts/cultural center…

So needless to say a Saturday which started out really good just got even better! My piece "Libertad" will be on display July 31- September 7, with the opening reception on August 3. I’ll post more about the exhibition as it gets a little closer.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Premonition of Civil War

I was browsing through one of my favorite art books the other day, Sister Wendy’s 1,000 Masterpieces, and came across one of my long-time favorites: Dalí’s Premonition of Civil War (1936). In college when I studied literature and Spanish language, I remember reading unbelievable surrealist novels and short stories written during the same timeframe by a Nobel Prize winning Spanish author, José Camilo Cela.

The effects the Spanish Civil War on the citizens of Spain were simply devastating. It was right around the same time Hitler was mobilizing Germany for impending war against the rest of Europe. Spain underwent a coup d’état resulting in a new dictatorial government under General Francisco Franco, which was allied with WWII's axis powers. Artists and writers were exiled, upwards of 200,000 civilians were executed, children were separated from their families and evacuated to countries across Europe and even as far as the United States. All of this understandably had a profound impact on art and culture during this era (Dalí, Picasso and Cela especially, and others such as George Orwell, Ernest Hemmingway, and Robert Capa).

In Dalí’s piece, the juxtaposition of imagery of agony, destruction and terror set against a lucid blue sky conjures feelings of shock and nearly takes a person’s breath away. The notion of brute force trampling peace is so powerfully wrapped into this image, that even (or perhaps especially) today, one has to step back and think about how far we’ve come as a culture, yet how we're still chained to our seemingly undeniable need for war.

Anyway – yet another fantastic piece of inspiration found just browsing through an old book. Thanks Sister Wendy!

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Father's Day

Well it’s that time of year again, and between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day I’ve had my hands full! This next week or so will probably be a little hairy getting everyone's prints assembled and shipped on time, so everyone please forgive me if I’m offline here and there.

Mother’s Day was kind of a scramble, because I forecasted a little short on the number of mats I would need to fulfill orders from my site. So this time around I ramped up a little bit, and hopefully forecasted enough to cover Father’s Day. It’s busy enough assembling & shipping, but just another added layer when I have to run to get more supplies!

Well anyway, a huge "thanks again!" to everyone who has ordered so far! I appreciate your business and I’ll make sure to get everything shipped out to you asap! For anyone still on the fence, if you could get your order to me by Monday 6/9 that would be a huge help. On my site I'm saying the official cutoff is Tuesday 6/10, but having even one extra day would a tremendous help. I really want to make sure everything gets out the door in time, and I definitely don’t want to leave anyone hanging!

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008


So my wife has been nagging me lately to get my prints on Ebay. Honestly, I’m thinking, why should I? I already sell matted prints from my website, so why do I need another outlet. But her sister’s husband used to have a lot of success with sports collectibles on ebay, and well, she seems to have a way of getting me to cave in on pretty much everything. So ok, why not.

So what I’ve decided to do is take a couple of pieces I have left over from the Evening With the Enemy art show I did last month here in Venice, CA, and post some of that on ebay. That was a really fun show by the way, at Focus Studio literally 4 steps from the beach, right on the boardwalk in Venice. There were all kinds of artists including photographers, painters, sculptors and performance artists. It was a lot of fun, and I actually did pretty good that night.

Anyway, the Mrs. said she’ll take care of all the posting and such, so that’s certainly a load off. But as an advertising guy by trade, I wouldn’t be worth my salt if I didn’t throw in a shameless plug here (just click through the picture to get to the auction page on ebay). Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Dick Blick Art Supplies, buying materials for the matted prints I sell on my website, and on the counter was a flyer for the 2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition. It’s a contest where local artists can submit work, to be reviewed by a jury panel. The winners will be displayed in the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Hollywood for a month. Best in show gets $1,000, runner up gets $500, and third place gets like $250 or something in that range. The contest is every 2 years, and is open to painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, and so on.

Well, ok, why not? So I grabbed the flyer to read a little bit more. Turns out the cost of entry wasn’t too-too bad, so I decided to give it a shot. I took 4 photos, set them up in the correct specs according to the flyer, filled out the entry form, wrote the check, and dropped everything in the mail.

Next steps, the jury will review everyone’s entries and they will make a decision – I believe the date is June 23. So stay tuned. The flyer didn’t say how many total pieces will be chosen for the display. And I’m not sure how big the gallery is, or how much space they are devoting to the winners. But on the outside chance one of my pieces gets in, I’ll definitely let everyone know!

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Monday, June 2, 2008

The Huntington Library

Yesterday, based on a great tip from another blogger at FrenchGardenHouse, my wife and I visited for the first time the Huntington Library Botanic Gardens, over near Pasadena.

One word – WOW! It’s a huge complex with a Cactus Garden, a Japanese Garden, a Chinese Garden, a Lily Pond Garden, and indoor Rain Forest Garden, an Herb Garden, a Rose Garden – and much more. It’s $20 per adult to get in (well worth it in my opinion), or you can buy a 2-adult membership for $100 per year. It’s open 10:30-4:30 (that’s the only downside, not the best lighting for photography).We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and highly recommend it for anyone local here in LA or anyone planning a trip.

Meantime, I’ll be posting some new pics from the garden here, on my site, and on some of my other pages as well. Keep an eye out for some exotic flowers, cactus, lotus, and more. Thanks again for the awesome tip!

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