Cerebral Gibberish

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Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Bain Water Works

Posted by heymoe on 13th April 2008

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Yesterday I joined up with about 40 other photographers at the old Bain Water Treatment Plant near downtown Raleigh to explore and take photos of the architecture among other things. I don’t know what it is but there is something about exploring old abandoned buildings. Maybe it’s neat to see how time puts a toll on things when there is no one around to maintain them. Maybe it’s the mystery that around the next turn when going down a dark corridor. Or maybe it’s just the models who are there posing for the cameras 😛 hehe. Whatever it is, it’s just a lot of fun.

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I spent just about 5 hours at the location exploring the different levels and rooms and there was still a lot left to see. The Bain Water Treatment Plant went online in mid-1940 to meet the demand for city water. The architecture of the building falls into the Art Deco style which included a two-story lobby with a circling mezzanine on the upper level and stairways rising to both sides and ornamental details applied throughout. The facility eventually closed down in the 1987 and used as storage during most of the 1990s. In 1999 the facility was sold to Capital Area Preservation, Inc. and Historic Preservation Advisors, LLC who are planning on renovating the building to house shops, restaurants and / or office space.

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While there I got to try out some of my new toys that I got in the last few weeks for my camera. First up was the Nikon MB-D80 which acts as both a multi-power battery pack for my Nikon D80 as well as a portrait grip which includes access to a secondary shutter release, both command dials and focus/exposure lock button. Next up is the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 APO Macro DG HSM lens which allows me to get some really close close-ups and seems to work great for taking portraits. My last new toy is the Nikon SB-800 flash. I really enjoyed using the flash and learning how bouncing and defusing the light effects the photos. I also got to test out the wireless mode of the flush which not only allows me to light up an area from a different direction but also gives me a second light source when used in conjunction with the camera’s built in flash. Really cool stuff.

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Oh yeah, did I say models? I sure did. For the most part the photos I take are typically landscapes, flowers, nature stuff, etc.. but that all changed yesterday. There were 4 female and 2 male models were there and everyone was allowed to take photos of them as long as you where courteous and gave the photographer who was working with the model priority. The type of modeling going on ranged from high-fashion to goth / punk and all of them were really nice despite being surround by multiple photographers. It was really cool and I think I got a lot of great shots for my first try at taking photos of people / models. I want to thank all of the models that were there and if any of you happen to see this and would like a copy of any of the photos I have for your portfolio, just drop me an email. Thanks again!

Well there you have, that is how I spent my Saturday.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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NOTE: Photos of the models are in separate sub-folders of the main “Bain Water Works” folder so click on the “More Photos Here” link above to see the sub-folders for each model.

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WRAL Azalea Gardens

Posted by heymoe on 13th April 2008

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A guy I meet at a Flickr meetup told me about the WRAL Azalea Gardens so I make a quick trip to check it out since the Azaleas where in bloom. The garden is small when compared to Duke Gardens but none the less a worth while place to visit when the azaleas are in bloom. While walking down the garden’s maze like paths, you are surround by a wide array or colors from all the different azalea plants. It’s very impressive. Next to the azalea garden is a somewhat large grassy area which is nicely landscaped and bordered by other colorful flora. I don’t know if you’re allowed to but it would make a nice place to have a small picnic with someone special I think.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Skydiving Anyone?

Posted by heymoe on 31st March 2008

Sky Drive

I’m thinking that this year is going to be the year I jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Does anyone else what to join me? I’m still researching Drop Zones but so far it looks like the closest one is Carolina Sky Sports located in Franklinton, NC. which is about 45 mins. from my house. Of course the jump will be a tandem jump where you are connected to an instructor who does most of the work and you’re just there for the ride. The jump consists of about 60 seconds of free fall time at 120 M.P.H. and then about a 6 min. parachute ride back to the ground. Carolina Sky Sports charges $195 for the first tandem jump. It looks like there might be opportunities to get a 10% discount depending on the day of the jump.

If we get hooked and want to get our Class ‘A’ Skydiving license, the total cost will be ~$2,500 which consists of 25 jumps. After getting the license, jumps cost $24 + $15 if you need to rent the gear which seems reasonable after the initial training costs.

So if anyone else wants to join me in this adventure let me know.

Posted in Transportation, Travel | No Comments »

Duke Gardens

Posted by heymoe on 23rd March 2008

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Today was such a nice day I decided to get out of the house and visit Duke Gardens for the first time. I guess this could also count as yet another local park I’ve explored as well. Any ways, after taking a wrong turn due to me not writing the direction down correctly, I arrived just to realize that a) A lot of people are spending their Easter afternoon here or b) A lot of people are just spending their afternoon here. There were two parking lots and both were full of course but after making a circuit or two around the lots, I was able to get a parking spot. Parking was listed as costing $2.00/hour with a max of $8.00 but they only charged me $2.00 for two hours which was just the amount of cash I had on me and they don’t take credit cards for parking. There is no charge for visiting the gardens which was nice.

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The gardens are divided into four sections: The Doris Duke Center, The Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, The Terraces and The Blomquest Garden of Native Plants. The Doris Duke Center acts as the welcome center and gift shop as well as a library and classroom space. The Culberson Asiatic Arboretum garden features ~550 species of flora from eastern Asia. The Terraces’ main attraction is, well, the terraces which were full of color from the wide range of flowers and the New Jersey limestone. Last but not least The Blomqueist Garden of Native Plants which features, can you guess, ~900 species and varieties of regional native plants.

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You could see the signs of the drought pretty much everywhere in the gardens especially the south lawn in the Terraces garden which was fenced off and looked really dry but I guess that might just be how that type of grass looks in early spring. A lot of plants and trees were still leafless but I figure in a few more weeks the gardens will really be hopping. Two hours was not enough time for me to explore all 5 miles of paths and trails so I will definitely have to go back. Hopefully next time there will be fewer people wondering around and I’ll have a zoom / macro lens to get up close to the flowers.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Shelley Lake

Posted by heymoe on 22nd March 2008

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As part of the recent changes at work, we gained Good Friday as a work holiday. So after I was done shopping at Crabtree Valley Mall, I headed to Shelley Lake to continue my exploration of local parks.

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I’ve actually been to Shelley Lake before but that must have been at least 8 years ago and from what I remember from way back when, a lot of things have changed. I don’t remember the path all the way around the lake being paved or at least not as wide as it was. I don’t remember there being a boat house and docks. I’m pretty sure the playground has been updated as well.

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Unlike Lake Johnson, I did not have any problem finding a parking space. Granted that might be due to it being Friday and not everyone having Good Friday off or maybe there was just more parking available. The trail around the lake has markings every quarter mile for a total of 2 miles and took me about an hour to go once around including stops for taking pictures. There are some large wide open fields where people were enjoying different activities like frisbee and soccer or just enjoying the sun. I enjoyed my visit and I’m sure to go back.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Lake Johnson Park

Posted by heymoe on 17th February 2008

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It has been awhile since I’ve gone exploring a local park so after my haircut on Saturday I told my GPS to show the a list of parks in the area and Lake Johnson Park was the winner.

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My first impression of the park was not that great due to the limited amount of parking. I circled the lot a couple of times, along with several other cars, hopping that I would get lucky and get a spot. After my third time around the lot I decided to drive to the other side of the lake and see if there was any parking over there, since there was a boardwalk that also went across the lake, and there was. The other parking lot was also small but at least people had the ability to park on the side of the road but luckily I was able to get a parking spot in the lot.

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I decided to head across the boardwalk since there seemed to be more activity on that side of the lake. The boardwalk was well maintained and populated with walkers, joggers and fishers. It also provided a nice view of the lake as you strolled across. On the other side there was a park center which provided a concession stand, restrooms, a nice covered deck with rocking chairs that over looked the lake and boat rentals.

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Wild life wise consisted mainly of ducks, geese and seagulls. I’m sure there are more critters out there and luckily I did not have a run in with anything that could have put me in the hospital like last time, even when I went off the trail to get some pictures.

Other then the limited parking, Lake Johnson Park turned out to be another nice park to explore. Granted I only explored a small bit of the park since the park consist of over 300+ acres of land. The map of the park show a fully paved trail that goes all the way around the east side of the lake and an unpaved trail around the west side. Next time I’ll have to get there earlier and take a stroll around the lake.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Watch Your Step: Pullen Park

Posted by heymoe on 1st December 2007

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After getting my haircut yesterday I decided to take the opportunity of already being downtown to visit Pullen Park. The park is pretty much located right next to the N.C. State University (NCSU), my alma mater. It’s a little sad that during the 5 years I went to NCSU, that I never really stepped foot in the park. The park was a buzz with activity as workers were getting everything ready for the Holiday Express activities later on that day. The park is full of activities for a family outing including a train ride, a carousel ride and pedal boats.

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The park has well maintained and paved walking paths and plenty of things to take pictures of. I even had a run in with some wild life that surely would have sent me to the hospital for some medical attention. While taking some pictures of a tree that still had some brightly colored leaves, I wondered off the main path and down a rocky hill down to a creek when I heard something move and a hiss. Of course this made me jump back the way I came and once I regained my balance I looked down and saw a snake which was sunning next to a rock (see picture). I’m not 100% sure what kind of snake it was but I think it was a cottonmouth water moccasin. Of course since I’ve escaped without a scratch on me I had to go back to take some pictures but this time I looked before I stepped.

NOTE: I am in no way saying that Pullen Park is a dangerous place to go. There is always a possibility of something happening when people and nature interact. Especially if you did what I did and leave the main trail.

More Photos Here

Posted in Photography, Travel | 1 Comment »

Happy Late Turkey Day!

Posted by heymoe on 25th November 2007

I was gone visiting family for Thanksgiving and did not have Internet access (gasp!). Hope everyone got stuffed with turkey.

Posted in Random, Travel | No Comments »

Fall Colors: Durant Park

Posted by heymoe on 10th November 2007

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Today I made my first outing to Durant Nature Park to take in the fall colors. It was overcast and windy and even though it looked like it was going to rain a few times, which would have been nice since we are still in a drought here, it was overall a nice day. Durant Nature Park is smaller then Umstead Park which I visited just about a month ago but none the less, it still provided plenty of photo opportunities while I wondered around the trails around the lakes. I did see some wildlife but was not able to get close enough to get good pictures. I really need to get a zoom lens for my camera so I can get those close up wildlife photos. Oh well, I’ll keep on wishing for now. Any ways, enjoy the photos. I did take a few HDR shots so keep an eye out for them in the gallery (HDR will be in the name). HINT: The first and forth photo in this post are 2 of 8 of the HDR photos.

More Photos Here

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Up Up and Away!

Posted by heymoe on 29th October 2007


Last Sunday I went to the 34th Annual Carolina BalloonFest in Statesville, NC.. The event took place at the Statesville Regional Airport (KSVH) which made me wish my pilot license was still current. I could have just flown out there which would have been a lot quicker then the 2.5 hour drive from Raleigh. In any case, I got there shortly after 2pm which gave me plenty of time to walk around and enjoy the other activities before the launching of the hot air balloons at 4:30pm. There were a lot of attractions for the kids as well as wine tasting for the grown ups from several local vineyards and different arts and crafts booths. There was a lot of different type of fair style foods to enjoy as well. The frozen cheesecake on a stick dipped in chocolate was really good.

Before 4:30pm rolled around there was one group inflating a balloon but they did not get to far since the winds started to pick up. This was the first time I’ve seen a hot air balloon get inflated but not the last one. I do kind of remember taking a hot air balloon ride once but I was really little at the time and it was not really much of a ride. It was more or less a up and right back down to were we started. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how that would have worked, maybe it was not a real hot air balloon ride after all.

Any ways shortly after 4:30pm the grounds started to buzz with activity as gas powered fans started to inflate several balloons at the same time. It was really neat that while the balloons were being inflated you were allowed to walk right up to the and touch them. The only area they were really strict about keeping you away from was right behind the basket where an anchor line was running from the basket to a car / truck. As the balloons filled and started to lift the baskets, this line would get pulled tight and could whip around some so it’s not a good place to be. I got a lot of great shots of the inflation process as well as the rise and fall (a few balloons had some technical difficulties that required them to be deflated quickly) of the envelopes on the ground. Over all I had a great time.

A lot more photos here

Posted in Events, Photography, Travel | No Comments »

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