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
- Name: BrentKMoore
- 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.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I had the wrong answer to the Riddle (Giraffe)Links to this post
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...Links to this post
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Brent's 10 years of taking pictures retrospective.Links to this post
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
YOLO: The Taco Bell Breakfast ExperienceLinks to this post
Luckily, I was familiar enough with Chattanooga well enough to remember there's one right off the interstate. They left no doubt as to whether this was one that offered Firstmeal.
Here's the signs in the window:
I almost never get breakfast fast food. While I eat fast food (especially Taco Bell) more than I should, there's not many fast food breakfasts I care for. My goal today was to see what it was like. Specifically, I wanted to sample three different entree items. While the Cinnabon Delights look really good, I knew I wouldn't be able to eat them after getting another three items.
Keep in mind I'm not a food critic, nor am I really trying to review these items. I'm just attempting to give you my initial reaction and impression after my visit.
Item #1: Bacon & Egg Burrito.
It's Taco Bell. It would have been a safe assumption that this was going to be on the menu.
Wasn't bad, but I didn't care for it. Seems just like the McDonalds Breakfast Burrito, but I don't care for that either.
Item #2: The Waffle Taco
This seems to be their signature item, from a marketing standpoint. It may not be the best item, but it's the tacobelliest item. Combine three different breakfast items, a waffle, sausage, and egg, and fold it into a taco shape so that it retains an element of a faux Mexican fast food place.
I first learned of the Waffle Taco from someone posting it on Facebook, and I decided to repost it to my facebook wall. I was curious what find of feedback it would receive. All but one of the responses were negative (somewhere between "yuck" and "I would never eat that") and the other one response was subtle so I don't know if he said he'd try it or if he too were bashing it.
Well, I tried it. I can say I wasn't impressed. In retrospect, I should have used the provided flimsy spork and eaten all the egg first, then the sausage, then the waffle. Putting all three ingredients in your mouth at the same time creates a cacophony of discordant flavors.
Again, I'll leave the caveat that I don't really like sausage. Even if this had been the best thing ever, I probably wouldn't order another one. Still, this is Taco Bell where they pretend to serve food from Mexico. They could have at least replaced regular sausage with chorizo. Of course, they should also have made the "taco shell" out of crispy bacon instead of a waffle. It might have cost $5 but the cool kids would be calling the Bacon Taco the best thing ever.
Item #3: A.M. Crunchwrap with Bacon
While the Waffle Taco is "something different" in a bad way, the A.M. Crunchwrap has the potential to be "something different" in a good way. The regular daytime crunchwrap is a little of everything all folded into one flat convenient package. The breakfast version starts with a hasbrown covered with eggs, cheese and bacon (or sausage if you're in to that kind of thing) folded into a convenient edible carrying case.
And, we have a winner. Here, everything works together well. What I wasn't expecting was they added some kind of spicy (maybe chipotle) sauce to it that made it even better. I've had this sauce before on something, but I can't remember what Taco Bell item it was.
In the perhaps unlikely event that U ever try Taco Bell breakfast again (which would be more likely if they go nationwide) there's one item I will certainly get - The A.M. Crunchwrap.
Also, I'd like for them to make a Denver Omelet burrito.
So, in conclusion,
Friday, March 01, 2013
Today's proof that most people are bad at mathLinks to this post
Of course, this would also bother me if it said $11.95 followed with "Less than a dollar a month." Then, it wouldn't be a mathematical error, but an impracticality.
$11.95 / 12 is 0.99583 dollars per month, which translates to 99.58 cents a month. If you buy this service, you're going to pay the whole year's service all at once. However, let say they set up a monthly billing cycle and each month you had to pay them 99.58 cents. It wouldn't matter what combination of legal coinage you could come up with to pay your bill, if you don't give them a full dollar, you'll have an unpaid balance.
Friday, January 04, 2013
Always read the labelLinks to this post
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Your Move, Dollar TreeLinks to this post
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Brent's 2012 Self-aggrandizement Photography postLinks to this post
I am writing this for myself, mostly for posterity sake. If you find it interesting, feel free to keep on reading. Or, maybe you'd like to skip on down to my favorite 20 photos of 2012. I also did this in 2011, 2010 and 2008.
In 2012, I took about 26,000 photos. I've tried to be more precise in the past, but with MariLynn using the cameras even more these days with her pet tarantulas, it's tougher to keep track. It's about 5000 more than last year. I photographed 4 state Capitols and visited 4 zoos. The two closest states to me are Alabama and Kentucky. While I usually tend to visit KY more often, I make five separate photo excursions into Alabama this year.
Most of my publishing-worthy photos are uploaded to flickr. I now have a total of 7,481 of which about 900 were uploaded in 2012. These photos have been viewed collectively 2,193,401 times with about 520,000 views in 2012.
flickr has a term called interestingness where they use a secret formula to determine what my most interesting photo is. My top photo from 2012 is of a floating Alligator at Gator Lake at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, FL. About a couple of months after I took this photo, Gator Lake was in the news as some lowlife killed local favorite Stumpy the Alligator. I don't know if this was Stumpy or not.
The most viewed photo of 2012? The Orange train cars at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum. (as a side note, I uploaded about 5 photos that my mom took and one of them outranked this one. Go figure.)
2010 was the first year of my website, SeeMidTN.com. While my hit counter only shows 1531 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 7226 unique visitors who made 10,958 visits viewing a total of 60,563 page views with 181,525 total hits. There were visitors from many different countries, so hello to the one person in Macedonia who stopped by. 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 has 33 fans and a twitter feed with 27 subscribers. These were set up as a set-it-and-forget-it tools that repost my other content, but still has room for growth.
The highlight of my website is the daily blog. After three years, the hit counter says I've had 34,411 visitors with over 20,000 of those were in 2011, so it has grown doubled in the past year. Blogger reports I had 85,917 page views in 3 years, a number which has tripled since last year.
I also have a youtube channel. Most of my good content is recordings of my dad's early music groups. All-time, I have 474,132 views with about 98,000 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 37,106 views all-time.
My top 10 photos of 2012:
There are several reasons why I might include a photo here. Some of it has to do with it being important to me while not looking like it should be on a post like this to a casual observer, 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:
Nashville & Eastern Railroad (NERR) Locomotive 579 "City of Cookeville"
I am increasingly a fan of trains with each passing year. On three different occasions, I had an engineer wave as I took his picture at the controls. I went to visit the Tennessee Central Railway Museum and while there I overheard "They're getting back!" While the museum offers excursion trains, this one was sent off to commemorate the grand opening of the replica depot in Monterrey, TN. I got to see them as they returned to station and pass back and forth as they switch from track to track to get all the train cars in the right spot.
Great Horned Owl
In 2012, I had a Nashville Zoo membership. I enjoy using my new camera equipment to get better shots of these animals than I ever had before. Here is one particular animal that isn't in a habitat but instead makes an appearance during the daily show. The two things I like the most: 1) the closeup detail I was able to get of its face. If I'd done a full owl body shot, we'd have seen the owl standing on the zookeepers arm, and nobody needs that. 2) My favorite zoo pictures are the ones where you can't tell it was in a zoo. There was a painted backdrop, but when properly blurred you don't realize you're not out in nature.
Toco Toucan - Nashville Zoo
While we're talking about the zoo, here's another one. This one might violate what I said about the last photo. It might not look like it's in a zoo, but it's in some kind of building - so it's not up in a tree somewhere. First of all, this is a nice colorful bird. Next, since it's at the Petting Zoo area, I had never seen it before, so it was extra special that day. In my mind, what sets it apart is the high degree of difficulty in getting this shot. Although you can't see it, there's a chicken-wire-esque fence between me and the bird. With the right equipment, you can shoot through it like it wasn't even there.
See Beautiful Rock City
This was the third time I had visited this Rock City barn in rural Giles County. I just love the countryside where it's located, nestled along the old highway and secluded from the new highway bypass that's less than a mile away. I also love the character of the barn as most of the lower pieces of wood have been replaced over the years. For me, what sets this apart the most was the shadows and the lighting on this day.
The Old Railroad Bridge View #1 Tracks to Nowhere - Florence, AL
I first learned about this bridge that crosses the Tennessee River in the fall of 2011. And then I became obsessed with it, where I tried to think of a reason to get to go visit The Shoals area of Alabama. This summer, I had my chance. While you can't see everything this bridge has to offer in one photo, there's a lot for me to like. The bridge dates back to about 1870 where it was a double decker - railroad tracks on the top level and pedestrian/auto traffic on the lower level. When a new auto bridge was built, the lower lever was left to rot. At the far end of this bridge was a swing bridge, which eventually changed to a lift bridge. When railroad traffic stopped about a century after it was built, the lift was removed, so now these are tracks to nowhere and they just stop. Around 1990, preservationists became involved and the lower deck was completely restored. The upper level had a large gate set in front of it so no stupid/daring people can advance any further. Now, there's vines growing from the gate, grass growing from the railroad timber and if you look closely there's a patch of mushrooms.
Music City Youth Orchestra #1
A good friend of mine recently got a chance to work with the Youth Orchestra and invited me to stop by and take some photos during one of their weekend retreats. I've never been one for posed portrait work, but I really like taking candid shots. Plus, these kids are really good at what they do.
The Delta Queen
Most cities usually don't get a National Historic Landmark stop by and then set up permanently. A couple of years ago, the US laws changed on what makes a ship sail-worthy. But, since this famous paddlewheel riverboat now doesn't qualify anymore, it's docked in Chattanooga and opened as a botique hotel. While I haven't spent the night here, my wife and I did eat an anniversary dinner onboard. There are two historic bridges in Chattanooga. One of them is the Pedestrian bridge in the background and the other is the one I walked along. While the Market Street Bridge isn't a pedestrian bridge, it does have sidewalks. If you've never walked across a long bridge before, it's usually windier there than on solid ground. Additionally, the day I did this, it was one of the windiest days of the year. Also, my biggest mortal fear is of drowning, but if I didn't lean my camera over the railing, I couldn't get this angle. It was the most afraid I'd ever been to take a photo, but it was worth it.
See Beautiful Rock City atop Lookout Mt.
This is quite a photogenic barn. I drove well out of my way on a recent vacation to see this barn near Murphy, NC. What sets this barn apart is the alternating sections of diagonal boards. Plus the leaves are starting to turn.
The Old Store in Locust Grove, GA
Usually my pictures are more of a documentary style than artwork. However, there's something about this view that made me really want to tinker with it in post processing, which I usually don't do much of. The next thing you know, I'll be posting to instagram after it's not cool anymore.
Jellico Motel & Restaurant
I'm a big fan of mom & pop motels, and while the gigantic isn't the coolest old neon sign, it's quite vintage. I really like the way the sign is juxtaposed against the Tennessee hillside. Plus, this sky has my favorite kind of clouds.
The last thing I'd like to mention is my favorite self-portrait of the year which is at the Old Stone Fort in Manchester.