Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my loyal followers here in the USA and to whomever else celebrates this day of Thanks .... I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

I started out the day taking pictures around the west side of Houston during the early morning:

A new artwork appeared two weeks ago next to the new Westchase Park office building near the intersection of Westpark and Beltway 8. The new artwork is entitled Synergy and was created by Texas artist George Schroeder.

Next stop: church; then a fabulous buffet meal at the Omni Hotel (Woodway and Loop 610). Excellent food and atmosphere. Total cost = $70.00 USD!! Expensive for sure but since I only indulge in this sort of extravagance only about once a year, well, why not! After I stuffed myself with delicious food, I wandered around the front courtyard of the Omni Hotel and photographed the geese swimming around a pond adjacent to the hotel. One goose in particular - after eyeing me intently for a few seconds - started to chase after me snapping his mouth several times!! (Talk about a wild goose chase!!)

Anyway, I survived the chase and after capturing a few more photos I departed for home.

FYI: This was my first Thanksgiving at home in Houston since 2006. Having spent the last two Thanksgivings in Kuwait, I was quite pleased to be home again for the Holiday this year!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rice University (Houston, Texas)

I'm still at home (and will be for a few more weeks) but at least I had the pleasure of spending a day over at Rice University to attend a semi-annual joint-industry-project update. Wednesday was one of those rare days in Houston when the sky was virtually cloudless and the humidity was low. After the morning's presentations, we all trooped over to the Faculty Club for lunch and as we walked I managed to get a few pictures of the beautiful campus. Almost makes me want to go back to school again ..... almost .... but then again, since I still need the income, I'd better keep working!

Monday, November 9, 2009

At Home in Houston ....

My original plan was to be in Kuwait this month but since the Eid al-Ada holiday (a big Holiday in the Islamic world) falls almost on the same day as our Thanksgiving Day, it was decided by the powers-that-be in our company's office in Kuwait that I remain here in the USA and travel instead at a later date (yet to be determined). Although I must admit I miss traveling, at least I will have the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving at home here in Houston for the first time since 2006! (The last two Thanksgivings were in Kuwait!) So, my dear followers, I hope you won't be too disappointed by the lack of new postings. I have a short trip in early December but otherwise I shall remain housebound for the next few weeks.

One pleasant item to report: my kind and generous boss has allowed our team to purchase a new telephoto lens for our team's camera. Our new 'toy' is a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM telephoto lens. The picture below shows the lens mounted on our Canon 50D SLR. I will practice using the new lens over the Christmas Holiday and if I capture any interesting photos, I will post them here. One word of caution: the lens weighs 3 pounds (ca. 1,500 grams!).

As a first example of what this lens can do, I took a picture of the new Memorial Hermann Hospital building located along I-10 (near Gessner) in West Houston and then I zoomed in on the ghastly top of the building. You can see the difference in the 100 mm and 400 mm focusing ranges. My question to anyone who lives here in Houston: just what the heck is that thing on the building top anyway? An observation deck? And just how much did (or will) that architectural trifle cost the hospital's patients??!! No wonder we have a health care crisis here in the USA!!

The new Memorial Hermann hospital building at 100 mm focal length (above) ....

and at 400 mm focal length. So what is that thing on the top of the building??!!