Brenternet (The World as seen by Brent Moore)

Trying to appeal to the highest common denominator. I can't give you 110% effort, but I will give you 107.4% effort. If you're a spammer and leave me a comment, I will make fun of you. I use twice as many semicolons compared to most other bloggers

My Photo
Location: Smyrna, Tennessee, United States

As the title implies, I am Brent K. Moore. I married MariLynn Simons on Sept. 25, 1999. we attend Stewart's Creek Church of Christ. We have five pets, a dachshund, Slinkie, a malamute, Juno, and three rabbits, Ebunny and Ifurry, and now Houdini.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Demand Account Letter! Oh, Noes!

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Just when I thought we had paid every last bill from my wife's two month hospital stay, we get this letter...

(Please take a moment to open this up and look at it at full size. )

Oh Noes! What can I do? What if I start getting calls from debt collectors?

I guess I'm going to have to send them a check for $0.00!

[Side note: The ironic thing is this office sent two different doctors to look at my wife while she was in the ICU and these two doctors strongly disagreed with each other regarding the best course of action. To be fair, she received excellent care from everyone involved.]

Friday, January 03, 2014

Brent's Favorite Songs in 2013

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I guess I shouldn't expect that anybody other than my closest friends care what I think, but these are the songs I listened to the most in 2013. I'm not a music critic or reviewer, but I do listen to a lot of music. I just won't be able to put into words what I like about songs. I also listed to a lot of Acappella church music, and that is also beyond the scope of this list. These songs aren't in any particular order.

Part 1: Songs from 2013

1) Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us This is the song I had on repeat over and over.
2) Arctic Monkeys - Do I wanna Know?
3) Pink with Nate Reuss - Just Give Me a Reason
4) Dizzee Rascal ft. Robbie Williams - Goin' Crazy
5) Pentatonix - Daft Punk This is simply the most amazing acapella song I've ever heard.
6) Capital Cities - Safe and Sound
7) Bruno Mars - Treasure
8) Pentatonix - Little Drummer Boy
9) Anna Kendrick - Cups
10) Knife Party - EDM Death Machine - it just goes to show I have diverse musical tastes
11) Lennon and Maisy - Ho Hey - From What I have seen of the TV show Nashville, this was my favorite moment.

Part 2: Songs not from 2013

This might be the part that interests my friends more. These are the songs that I didn't know about until 2013, or songs that I didn't appreciate until 2013.

1) Coverdale Page - Shake My Tree
2) Moby - After
3) Oliver Onions - Orzowei This will easily be the "From out of nowhere" song. It's a minimalist 70's disco song from a couple of Italian movie soundtrack musicians. This live performance is also the worst lip synching I saw this year.
4) Fleetwood Mac - I'm So Afraid (Live) This song never gets played on the radio or appears on a greatest hits album. But it is a Live staple and this is the year I got their Live album.
5) Eurythmics - Love is a Stranger Annie Lennox is at her androgynous best.
6) Rare Earth - I Just want to Celebrate (Mocean Worker Remix)
7) Lou Bega - The Trumpet Pt. II
8) Jarod Neimann - Lover, Lover We need to throw in a country song on rare occasions
9) Coldcut - Space Journey
10) Jackson Browne - The Pretender
11) Alicia Keys - Rock Wit U
12) C + C Music Factory - Keep It Comin'

Part 3: Songs that I knew in the past but played over and over the most in 2013:

1) John Mellencamp - I need a Lover
2) Black Keys - Gold on the Ceiling
3) Orianthi - According to You
4) Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA I think I'm now legally required to turn in my man card.
5) Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Brent's 2013 Self-aggrandizement Photography post

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In years past, I've written all the boring stat stuff first. This year, I'll show the year's top photos first and then you can skip over the boring numbers at the end.

Brent's top 20 photos of 2013

There are several reasons why I might include a photo here. Some of the photos may look they don't belong in a "best of the year" post, but they may be important to me for other reasons. Some of these are my favorite composed shots of my favorite subjects. Some of these are interesting effects while overcoming challenges to get a usable photo. Here we go:

Martin Springs

Martin Springs
As someone who loves photos, it would make sense that one of my favorite things to collect is post cards. I began to find many 70+ year old post cards to this place and upon further research I found this amazing natural wonder was a must see tourist attraction in the 1930s.  This year I asked around and I didn't have a single friend who had ever heard of this place. Even crazier, I bet half of my friends had driven within a quarter mile of this place, and it's still open to the public and easily accessible. My mind was preoccupied with this place until a sunny spring day when I took the day off work just to come out here. I may never do it, but someday I want to write a book on all of the hidden gems in and around the area, just like this one.

CSX 5318 Crosses the Nickajack Lake Causeway

CSX 5318 Crosses the Nickajack Lake Causeway
Perhaps I over-rate this photo, but this was the first photo where I was able to take advantage of the super-super zoom of my Canon SX40, which I purchased to supplement my nicer dSLR. I could not have gotten this photo with my more expensive camera. Plus, I just think it's cool how you have lake, tracks, lake and mountains, plus some vapors.

Tri-State Spot in the News: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama

Tri-State Spot in the News: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama
This isn't the most exciting photo, but what it lacks in pizazz, it makes up for it in news-worthiness. (And, I didn't even realize it at the time!) All of this made for my favorite photo write-up of the year.

Tennessee Mountain Highway - Marion County

Tennessee Mountain Highway - Marion County
There's not much I can say about this one, I just like the curvy mountain road

The Delta Queen at Night - Chattanooga

The Delta Queen at Night - Chattanooga
A few photos back, I talked about my Canon SX40. I take photos where I push my limits of my camera all the time. Here, I specifically wanted to do it with my "lesser" point-and-shoot and I left in the car my camera which was better equipped for this kind of thing. Sadly, this was also the last time I was able to do this as when I was photographing the waterfall two photos down, I dropped the SX40 in the stream and I broke it for good.

The Full Moon Rises over the Cumberland Plateau

The Full Moon Rises over the Cumberland Plateau
Every once in a while, you see something that you've never seen before and wonder if it's really that rare. For those of you that don't know your astronomy, the moon is full when it's on the other side of the Earth from the Sun. So, when we get close to the longest day of the year, both the sun and the full moon can be in the sky at the same time, but on different sides of the sky. The setting sun produces a warm glow at a time of day we photographers call the Golden Hour. On a clear day at dusk, the sky can be a color that I can only think to describe as "Mixed Berry Yogurt." While the execution here isn't perfect, I don't know if I'll ever be in a position to see this again.

Wetumpka Falls - near Ledford Mill

Wetumpka Falls - near Ledford Mill
Yes, this was the waterfall that killed my backup camera Canon SX40. But, if I had left while pouting instead of taking some photos with my good camera, I would have missed out on photos like this. It's what the SX40 would have wanted.

Fentress County Courthouse Reflection Upon US Flag in Store Window - Jamestown, TN

Fentress County Courthouse Reflection Upon US Flag in Store Window - Jamestown, TN
This was an artistic idea that jumped out at me. It made me wonder why I don't think to do this kind of thing more often.

Union Camp Falls

Union Camp Falls
There's a running joke around photographers. "That's a great photo. I bet you have an expensive camera." We hear it all the time. Yet, nobody ever goes to a restaurant and says "That was a great meal. I bet you have an expensive oven." See, you have to know how to use it. With that in mind, this photo was taken actually after sunset.

Steam Train Panning - Southern #630 at TVRM Railfest 2013

Steam Train Panning - Southern #630 at TVRM Railfest 2013
Until the 2013 Railfest, I had never seen a steam train in action, or at least not during my adult photography years. I didn't ride the train since I was there to photograph it. I planned my whole day around where I would be when it was coming and going, looking for the best staging locations. However, when the train returned to the station from it's excursion, I didn't know where to be as I ended up changing my spot several times. I ended up too close for what I was hoping to accomplish. Instead, I got this action shot which turned out to be my favorite of the day.

Coffee County Fair 2013: Astro Wheel at dusk

Coffee County Fair 2013: Astro Wheel at dusk
The next few were taken at the county fair in Manchester. I like blurred motion photos of ferris wheels, especially classic ones such as the 1967 Astro Wheel.

2013 Coffee Co. Fair: Astro Wheel in the Day

2013 Coffee Co. Fair: Astro Wheel in the Day
Not to get too technical here, but one of the camera toys I had this year was a variable neutral density filter. An ND filter help you blur the motion of something that would normally not be that way. I wanted to blur the motion of a ferris wheel in the daytime since it's something I'd never seen anyone try before. While I liked this result, this still image while using the filter is the one to me which really popped! The colors are vibrant and I like how the sky is dark to light across the sky. (This happened because a variable ND filter is really two stacked linear polarizers, which can cause weird things.)

2013 Coffee Co. Fair: Spider Ride

2013 Coffee Co. Fair: Spider Ride
Most people only try to get blurred motion pics of the wheels, but I think the other rides can certainly provide interesting and colorful results.

Desoto Falls

DeSoto Falls
This may have been my riskiest photo of the year as I'm leaning quite a bit past the guard rail. However, there's just no way to get a better photo unless you know someone who lives on the other side of the gorge.

The Tivoli Theater - Chattanooga, TN

The Tivoli Theater - Chattanooga, TN
I finally had a chance to get a picture of this spectacular marquee lit up at dusk. I wasn't really fully in a legal place to park, so I had to set up and get out in about a minute.

Christ Church Episcopal - Rugby, TN

Christ Church Episcopal - Rugby, TN
This year, I accomplished several places off of my Tennessee bucket list. One of the places I looked forward to the most was the quaint little town of Rugby. The community has preserved about a dozen Victorian era buildings and this colorful church is the most popular. It was built by Cornelius Onderdonk and I just like that name.

Hamptons of Skullbone, TN

Hamptons of Skullbone, TN
Sometimes the towns on my Tennessee bucket list consist of one intersection and one store. This store has quite a bit of character and charm, plus a neat story. And, I got there in the morning so the sun was hitting it perfect.

Reelfoot Lake in Autumn

Reelfoot Lake in Autumn
I learned about Reelfoot Lake in my 4th grade Tennessee geography class and it took me nearly 25 years to get out there. Sadly, I was only able to stay about an hour but I loved my time there. Much of what I know about photography is self-taught, often by looking at someone else's picture that I love and figuring out how they did it. For this photo, I held the camera about an inch above the water to make the nearby water in the foreground extra blurred, conveying a greater sense of depth.

Greyhound Half Way Station - Jackson, TN

Greyhound Half Way Station - Jackson, TN
The subject of many images from my photostream is nostalgia, although rarely do any of these places outside of Nashville have any personal meaning to me before I photograph them. This is a rare exception. Growing up, my family would spend every Christmas in the Dallas suburbs to be with my grandmother. In the Christmas of 1986, the rest of my family took the car because they were able to get away sooner leaving my dad and I needing alternate transportation when my school break came up. For the first (and so far only) time I traveled by bus alongside my dad. We departed downtown Nashville late and made a scheduled stop here close to midnight. This is also the only place I've ever used a Pay Toilet.

Perry Co. Courthouse at Night - Linden, TN

Perry Co. Courthouse at Night - Linden, TN
This photo is a combination of two of my recent photo objectives. 1) Take great photos of every county courthouse in Middle Tennessee. 2) Take photos just after sunset when the sky is colorful. With #1, my aim is to become the go to source for small town mid Tennessee stock photo needs. Getting a great picture of each county courthouse is crucial in that regard. While some courthouses are ornate, others were built at a time when counties were cutting back on spending for their public buildings. This makes it a challenge to find something that stands out when the building itself is more plain. On #2, I used to think that the photo opportunities dry up when the sun goes down. That's true for a lot of places, but there are still things we can do at night. Even better is a few minutes after sundown when there's still color in the sky. If I ever get to produce a coffee table book, it will probably be on courthouses in Middle Tennessee and this photo would be in there.

So What was my most popular photo in 2013?

Flickr has a term called interestingness where they use a secret formula to determine what my most interesting photo is. My photo of the abandoned train station in Jamestown, TN really took off. The photo has 66 Favorites and 5,900 views. This photo became so popular, it leapfrogged all my other most popular photos to become my all-time best. This saddens me just a bit, not that there's anything wrong with this photo, but I'm just not sure I want this to define my career.

Jamestown, TN Oneida & Western Depot

Now that you have the best photos out of the way, what can you bore everyone with?

This may be the part where you stop reading. I am a professional number cruncher, so this kind of thing is my cup of tea and probably not yours. I record it for posterity sake.

In 2013, I took just a bit fewer than 11,000 photos. That may sound like a lot, but it's about half of what I've done other years.

Most of my publishing-worthy photos are uploaded to flickr. I now have a total of 7,987 of which about 500 were uploaded in 2013. These photos have been viewed collectively 3,689,328 times with about 1,400,000 views in 2012. During the year, Flickr changed what's considered a "view" making more things count than what used to. As a number cruncher, this irritates me. (By comparison, last year I had about 1/3 as many views.)

2010 was the first year of my website, While my hit counter only shows 2455, I could be a little disheartened. Apparently a lot of people are finding content on my website via google searches and not seeing the home page. My webhost's stats show last year I had 13,984 unique visitors who made 37,336 visits viewing a total of 216,860 page views with 426,779 total hits. The most popular time to visit is 6 AM on Wednesdays. 573 visitors stayed for over an hour. (I suppose these are my biggest fans.) My desire is for the website to grow exponentially, and the more content that gets added, the more visits I should get every year. The goal is for the ads on the site to start paying off someday as well as the increased exposure causing me to be the first person found when looking for a stock photo of a specific place. I set up a Facebook account which now has 46 fans and a twitter feed with 31 followers. These were set up as a set-it-and-forget-it tools that re-post my other content, but still has room for growth.

The highlight of my website is the daily blog. After four years, the hit counter says I've had 46,349 visitors with over 12,000 of those were in 2013. Blogger reports I had 143,954 page views in 4 years, with about 58,000 in 2013, a number which continues to grow. I even had 51 hits from the country of Poland.

I also have a YouTube channel. Most of my good content is recordings of my dad's early music groups. All-time, I have 511,186 views with about 37,000 in 2012. The most popular video has always been "What a Friend we have in Jesus" which was recorded in a 2007 reunion concert of 70's chorale students. That video has 35,622 views all-time, which is a number that somehow went down from last year. A new stat they offer: My videos have been watched for 74,515 minutes.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Black Friday!

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Today is the day! It's the day that
Rebecca Black
sings about!

It's Friday, Friday!
Got to get deals on Friday

Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I had the wrong answer to the Riddle (Giraffe)

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Things for Sale: T-Shirt #15: Riddle Wrong Answer Giraffe

No, I didn't get the answer to the riddle wrong and be asked to change my facebook profile pic to a giraffe. (Since no one has sent me the riddle, I did a google search for it, so I already know the answer.) This is for all of you who did have to change your picture.

See the t-shirt here!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Say Hello...

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Say Hello...

To My Little Kitty

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Brent's 10 years of taking pictures retrospective.

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On September 18, 2003 at 10:15 AM, I took this picture:

There's nothing particularly special about this photo, but it's more about what this photo represents. My wife saw a cool spider out in the yard and wanted me to try and get a picture of it.

I've always liked pictures, although for the longest time it never occurred to me that I should be the one taking them.

Perhaps my first real hobby was collecting baseball cards. With a baseball card, you have a photo of a baseball player and it's a keepsake that you can hold on to. I never went looking for the expensive cards, but always for the players that were on my team. Occasionally, I'd find a card of a player I didn't root for, but the picture was particularly interesting. If it didn't cost more than a quarter, I'd buy it because it was a small work of art.

Even before I bought cards, my grandmother helped me out. My favorite team was several states away and didn't get much coverage in the local papers. My grandmother who lived in the town where they played would finish reading the newspaper and cut out all the articles about the team, then every couple of weeks would mail them to me. After I'd read the articles about games that were a couple of weeks old, I'd cut out the pictures and keep them.

Another hobby I developed was collecting post cards. Anytime I went out of town, and I went looking for souvenirs, I'd go strait to the post card aisle. I didn't want to go back to the hotel and mail these to my friends. I wanted to keep them. They represented the places I had been and the things I had seen. I didn't want just one post card. I wanted every different post card the store had for sale. Luckily, post cards usually don't cost much and it's easier when I don't want to buy anything else.

On the internet, the right click button was my friend. Whether it was photos on the internet of my favorite players or old photos of Nashville, if it was something I liked, I'd right click and save.

I wanted a camera, but I was a cheapskate. Although I was a terrible at saving up money, I didn't in principle mind paying a couple hundred dollars for a device that would capture images, but there was the film. It's not like film was expensive, but you had to pay for a handful of photos. Then, you had to pay again to get it developed. If you messed up a shot, you still had to pay for it. And, perish the thought that you might open the camera before the roll is finished and have sunlight ruin the whole batch! Even still, for special occasions, such as a vacation, I'd go to the store and get one of those 27 exposure disposable cameras.

Before the Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati

Then Digital Cameras slowly became mainstream. What's not to like? You don't have a per roll charge and the only limitations are based on your memory card (get more than 1) and batteries (get rechargeable). [Let me stop for a moment and say I respect the people who used film and still sometimes use film today. It forced the photographer to stop and take a moment to think about what they were doing. Today, you can mess up things as much as you want because there's photoshop to fix it. There are some things you can do with film and in a darkroom that while they can be replicated digitally, it's just not the same. It's becoming a lost art. I also understand the value of listening to vinyl over downloading an MP3.]

In September of 2003, my 4th wedding anniversary was coming up. This time we were taking a nice trip, going to Hilton Head Island. A 27 exposure disposable wasn't going to work. I took the plunge and found a camera at a closeout price.

Camera #1: Fuji FinePix A101

(My Wife at Hilton Head Island)

I don't know what kind of Smartphone you have, but it's better than this. It ought to be, this was over 10 years ago. It was 1.3 megapixel and had an optical viewfinder which is really something you'll thankfully never see anymore. I didn't know what I was doing back then, so I just took pictures of stuff I liked.

Lula Falls on Lookout Mountain Collapsed Church Building, Cincinnati Tree Kangaroo. Pittsburgh Zoo.

Camera #2 Canon Powershot S1 IS

It didn't take too long for me to realize that the first camera had limitations. While I still didn't know what I was doing, I figured an upgrade to a smarter camera would allow me to do so much more. This is a "prosumer" camera with a lot of features and setting, with a 3.2 Megapixel sensor and a 10X optical zoom. Over time, I tried to learn what things like ISO and Aperture meant, while realizing I had a lot to learn about composition. I was able to take pictures like this:

See 7 States from Rock City The Seattle Wheel Cumberland falls Red-faced Muscovy Duck Scenic Motel sign - Pigeon Forge, TN Nashville skyline at dusk

In many ways, I have been self-taught by doing what I enjoy - looking at other people's good photos and trying to learn what they did to make it successful. During these years, I joined Flickr which was a great place for such learning. I created a long-gone website with the goal of taking pictures all over Nashville. I had my first published photo and later sold my first photo (incredibly, to Time Magazine). It wasn't so much that my photos were that great but they were standard shots that fit someone's need. I took this photo which caught the attention of someone important at the state fair, which led to my first, and most significant gig.

Camera #3: Canon Powershot S5 IS

I used the S1 for three years. Over that time, it was great when it worked, but it started to develop problems (inherent to many manufacturer's 1st generation of superzooms). Once it became unreliable, I needed an upgrade. Since I liked all the features of the S1, and didn't want to learn a new system, I stuck with the same Canon product line and went with the S5. It had some upgrades like more megapixels and a 12X zoom, plus all the nice features of the previous one. As I continued to learn my craft, I developed a better understanding of lighting, composure, plus camera add-ons like filters and hoods. Over time, I learned how to push the S5 to its limits. I was able to take pictures like this:

Christ Church Cathedral Pipe Organ - Nashville Nashville Fireworks on the 4th #1 100 Things to see at the fair #8: Ferris Wheel 100 Things to see at the fair #100: Randall's Racing Pigs Bowling Green Fountain Square Fountain 1 Chattanooga Choo Choo sign

During these years, I learned I had a niche. I realized I wanted to be known for having the best photos of all the important locations in every county in and around the midstate. I had Realtors and Lawyers from small towns ask to buy the use of my photos on their website because I had the best photos of what little they could find. I decided to establish a brand and create a website of the same name, SeeMidTN. I wanted to reach two kinds of people: 1) those who want to buy a stock photo from their town 2) those who wanted to see photos from where they grew up. Like it's predecessor, I had the S5 for three years and I think some people are surprised I did so well even though I had been using a point-and-shoot (albeit a good one).

Camera #4: Canon EOS 20D

Although I pushed the point-and-shoot to its limits, there are still limits. I had been wanting one for years, but it was time for me to finally get a dSLR. A brand new dSLR was close to being out of my price range. I made the decision that I'd rather have a used high-end SLR than a new entry level dSLR. (Still an entry level SLR should be better than the best point-and-shoot.) Since I was testing the waters, I got a used Midgrade SLR that was 6 years old. I had to relearn everything, in a sense. I bought a couple of discount lenses that were lousy and had to be replaced, plus several other accessories. Many of the settings that were automatic on the S5 had to be set manually on the 20D. If you set them wrong, you could ruin a photo. (I almost ruined a whole day's worth of photos while on vacation.) However, if you set it right, you had the potential to take better photos than anything the S5 could have done. Still, it took the creative vision and knowledge for them to turn out right. Once I learned what I was doing, I was able to take photos like this:

Air Show: Thunderbirds in Precision Flight Murfreesboro 2011 Flags of Remembrance Christ Episcopal Church - Pulaski, VA Sam Davis Statue at Giles County Courthouse

Camera #5: Canon EOS 50D

I used the 20D for a year. It was great but it was old enough that I was ready for something better. I still went with a used camera, but with one that had just been replaced by a newer model so the used price had really fallen. With this camera, I was better equipped for difficult situations, which meant I could get the photo that many people couldn't, plus it opened my level of creativity that much more. It's the camera I have been using for nearly the last couple of years. I could still stand to upgrade my lenses, but I am happy where I am at. I can now take photos like this:

Great Horned Owl Music City Youth Orchestra #1 Rock City's Fairyland Caverns: Little Miss Muffet Toco Toucan - Nashville Zoo Kentucky Theater Marquee - Downtown Lexington Tarantula: Greenbottle Blue - Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens

I'm still learning how to take better photos, but the learning should never really stop, should it? The page views have been growing exponentially every year, and the photo usage requests keep coming in faster than they did in the past. Still, I am far from making enough money to quit my day job, but anytime I can supplement my income (and avoid the temptation to invest that income in more expensive equipment) it's a good thing. I have started to sell things, such as posters and post cards, greeting cards and t-shirts. It hasn't gotten very far, but if it does, I might even start buying advertising. A lot of photographers won't let you right click on their photo to save it. While I'd never question a pro who feels that way, I'd like to think there's someone out there who collects my photos, like I used to do.

Things in life are going well and I feel blessed (but nobody has it perfect). I belong to a great church family. I have a great wife. I have a primary job that I enjoy, usually. My hobby has really grown, from something I'd do while on a vacation, to something I'll do every sunny weekend, plus tinker with on the computer on a near daily basis. The things I do for fun and to unwind have significantly changed since that sunny day in 2003. Plus, this hobby doesn't add to the stack of boxes of baseball cards I have in the other room.

All in a decade.