Category Archives: Photography

The Week in Project 365 Photos [2009-W06]

Hey, this is a late post on this topic, but it's not like I'm running a high traffic site here. Here are my photos for Project 365 from a week ago. Tomorrow I'll post photos from this week, thus completing a manipulation of space-time by separating a week by a day. Or whathaveyou.

Library Stamp
Note: The inside of The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie is more interesting than the side, which is shown here.
Library Stamp [2009-033]

Yeah. I cook. Not particularly well, but good enough for a guy living on his own.
Dinner [2009-034]

All in a Day's Work
For Johnson Space Center's Safety and Total Health Day, there were a number of booths and demonstrations, including this one by Clear Lake Kuk Sool Won. I think I'd like martial arts such as this. But. I don't think I'll be in the area long enough to really get into the groove. 
All in a Day's Work [2009-035]

In the Dark
The best from Shiner -- give it a try. 
In the Dark [2009-036]

Outside Mission Control
Detail from above the entranceway to Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center. 
Outside Mission Control [2009-037]

Spiritus Mundi
This is an elegant little sculpture -- and by little I mean huge -- by Pablo Serrano sitting in front of University of Houston-Clear Lake
Spiritus Mundi [2009-038]

The latest milestone which I've subjected my car to. 
45678 [2009-039]

Photo Backup Scheme

I'm obsessed with the idea of how to backup the digital life that I've strewn across the internet and also accumulated on my laptop. Last year -- and I suppose this year also, if I turned it on -- my laptop was dying. When I was at ISU in France in summer 2006, I fell asleep on my laptop and busted the adapter. After two years with a power adapter borrowed from a European computer, the cord melted, sparks flew, etc. Naturally, I blame the French.

How to back up photos has taken the bulk of my archival brainpower. If my laptop died, the worst possible scenario is that all of my digital photos that weren't burned onto CDs would be annilihated. It would be selfishly devastating. Maybe that sort of thing doesn't keep you up at night, but I worry about it. It's not the loss of property that worries me -- it's the loss of history that worries me. What I've seen is what I've become. I'd like you and others to see it as well, if only out of my own narcissistic tendencies (i.e., please tell me my photos are amazing).

The system I've developed for myself goes as follows. The basic idea is to (1) keep the whole of the photos in multiple places so they can't be destroyed in a single oops moment; (2) put the best out there where others can enjoy them.

1) All of the digital photos that I've ever taken are backed up online at You can't see them all. For every set that I add to Flickr, I unlock the corresponding album on There are a lot of junk photos there; there's a reason they weren't all added to Flickr. The photos are all open for rating, so perhaps the cream will eventually rise to the top. Or not. I don't care. The purpose of is solely backup, not entertainment.

2) Flickr. I try to add only my most interesting photos to my Flickr account. The truth is: the more photos there are, the fewer you will see. Too many is overwhelming. That's why the number of photos in my Flickr account is decreasing even though I'm adding new photos every week. I'm separating the chaff, which will still be visible at

3) Panoramio. I really like Panoramio, though it is not as full-featured as Flickr. Panoramio is cool because you geotag your photos, and if they're selected by the staff, they show up in Google Earth. As a geophile, I enjoy scanning the Panoramio layer in Google Earth, getting a feel for what the places actually look like.

4) Panoramas. (Not to be confused with Panoramio.) For years, I've been taking shots that I later wanted to stitch together into panoramas. Finally, in October, I discovered hugin to do this. And I've been on a roll since then: see my panoramas on Flickr.

That said, I've been working slowly through my old photos. It's a long process. My goal is to process one album of photos every week. At this rate, it will probably be a year, maybe two, before I finish. It takes time to add tags, descriptions, geographic locations where the photos were snapped, etc. Some of this is easy: editing the information on Flickr; some of this is difficult: editing the EXIF data on the photos.

So far, I've completed three albums this year:

Big Bend National Park, 26-28 January 2005 Big Bend National Park, 26-28 January 2005

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 28-29 January 2005 Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 28-29 January 2005

Saguaro National Park, 30 January 2005 Saguaro National Park, 30 January 2005

Conclusion: "Yes! I am inveenceeble!"

Postscript: Hey, Ben, the next album out of the showroom will be for you: life in Mojave.

The Week in Project 365 Photos [2009-W05]

This week, I focused on taking 15 second exposures for my Project 365 photos. Some of them turned out pretty good -- I like "The Tower" and "New World." It would be a lot easier if I owned a tripod; instead, most of these photos are shot from ground level with my camera propped on my bag. The long exposures have a cool effect on the scenery -- especially when there are clouds in the background.

(Secretly, I really like the "Hurricane Freezer" shot.)

From Within
From Within [2009-026]

New World
This is my favorite shot out of the week's long exposures. This shot, on the corner of Clear Lake, never looks so interesting in the daylight.
New World [2009-027]

Upper Bay Golden Brick Road
Taken on Upper Bay Road. It looks like sand, but it's the effect of the yellow lights on the street.
Upper Bay Golden Brick Road [2009-028]

The Tower
The Tower [2009-029]

Around Lake Nassau
Around Lake Nassau [2009-030]

Hurricane Freezer
These are remnants of my Hurricane Ike preparations: water stored in milk jugs in the freezer.
Hurricane Freezer [2009-031]

The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake
TAACCL [2009-032]

The Week in Project 365 Photos [2009-W04]

Twenty-five straight days of Project 365 and no sign of slowing down yet...

Building 1, NASA Johnson Space Center
My name is Kirk and I am addicted to making panoramas such as this. Look at this photo in full resolution. You can practically read the things on the desks. (Just kidding, Security.)
Building 1, NASA Johnson Space Center [2009-019]

Second Stage, Saturn V
Second Stage, Saturn V [2009-020]

Nassau Bay Villa
Sea green building; sunrise sherbet orange; soft twilight blue.
Nassau Bay Villa [2009-021]

Clear Lake at Night
Testing long exposures on Clear Lake at night. Or: freaking out the neighbors.
Clear Lake at Night [2009-022]

Clear Lake Never Looked So Good
I suppose calling it Murky Brown Lake didn't have the same sort of charm.
Clear Lake Never Looked So Good [2009-023]

Put this on your list of things not to screw with.
CAUTION LN2 [2009-024]

Centrifugal Force
Sometimes you get the urge to spin around with your coffee and take a photo of it? Totally normal, amiright?
Centrifugal Force [2009-025]

The Week in Project 365 Photos [2009-W03]

Sunrise Towers.
Communication towers on Surf Court catch the first rays of sunlight.
Sunrise Towers [2009-012]

Goooooood morning, JSC!
Building 1 and Building 4S on the NASA Johnson Space Center campus glow in the early morning light
Goooooood morning, JSC! [2009-013]

Top of the Astrodome.
Looking at the skylights atop the Astrodome from the Reliant Center.
Top of the Astrodome [2009-014]

Bay House at Night.
The corridor in my apartment complex looks sinister in a 15-second exposure in the artificial light.
Bay House at Night [2009-015]

Clear Lake Panorama.
A panorama at sunset from the Lockheed Martin building on Space Park Drive. (This newer Clear Lake panorama looks better.)
Clear Lake Panorama [2009-016]

Saturday, My Room.
Ganesh stares at me every morning. Thanks, Amrut.
Saturday, My Room [2009-017]

St. Paul Cathedral, Nassau Bay, Texas.
Slowly but surely these ribs are becoming something. I bet this would freak Jonah out.
St. Paul Catholic Church, Nassau Bay, Texas [2009-018]

Hey, add me as a contact on Flickr. If you want to. No pressure.

The Week in Project 365 Photos [2009-W02]

You know what keeps me sane here in Houston? Not much. But I found something recently: the Project 365 group on Flickr. It's a simple concept: take one picture every day and post it to the group.

Participating has been a surprising amount of fun so far, despite the short distance I cover during a given day; I live 1 km from work and I walk the same route every day, three times a week I go for a run, three times a week I go to the gym, once a week I go to the grocery store. Within those boundaries I only take my camera with me to work and back, so I have about a 1 km stretch twice a day along Space Park Drive to find a shot that moves me. I have not been disappointed so far. By looking for a view to share with the Project 365 group, I have to keep my eyes open every day along a well traveled trail -- the kind of trail that would, generally, fail to keep my attention. Now the street has my full concentration. By transitive property, a little bit more of life has my full concentration. Through small, insignificant steps, I will extract myself from these doldrums yet.

So. Here are the photos that I took during week 2009-W02:

Condensate Window [2009-011]

The Tower, the Trees, the Night [2009-010]

2 + 1 [2009-009]

Glory [2009-008]

Before Sunrise, the Alley [2009-007]

The Ongoing Surprise [2009-006]

Shut up and get back in your cubicle [2009-005]

And, as a special New Years bonus, here are the other four photos from the first week in January:

Towboat at the End of Illinois [2009-004]

Dreary [2009-003]

Dirty [2009-002]

New Years in New Delhi [2009-001]

Connect with me on Flickr: kittell.

Also: I'm testing WordPress Flickr plugins on this post. See if you have any opinions about Flickr plugins for WordPress that I can use here.