Saturday, September 19, 2009

San Antonio Day 1 -- Sunday 13 Sep 2009

I already blogged my brutal trip to San Antonio, which included a 3 hour delay, a missed connection, and a successful standby.

The planes we fly on the short 2 hour flights nowadays seem to include a lot of Embraer ERJ-170 jets. Two by two seating means no nasty middle seats, and they fly rather nicely.

I arrived about 4 or 5 hours late, just in time for the last 20 minutes or so of a session on the future of the Unified Modeling Language. Apparently, there was rather spirited discussion during the day, but by the time I arrived, it was all Kumbaya ....

Afterwards, I spoke with several people, one for at least 30 minutes. He talked my ear off, but he made some good points so I enjoyed it. A couple of my coworkers were chatting about one of the specifications we are working with and I caught them with the new cam. It was the only camera I took for the trip and it handled the varying lighting very well.

I popped up to my room and noted out my 6th floor window that they were preparing the lunch area on a huge balcony on the 1st floor ... the table clothes shone rather brightly.

In that image, you can see the glass tube / bullet shaped elevator just coming up behind the balcony. All the inner rooms faced this wide open area inside the building ... most impressive.

We had all agreed to meet at 7pm (6 of us from IBM) and off we went down the famous River Walk. The light at 7pm is already fading because the River Walk is below street level, heavily treed, and shadowed by many tall buildings. So I was shooting at high ISO right from the get go.

This was the first image I shot by the river, and it could only get 1/30s at 1600 ISO. There are no other brands of compact camera that would have been useful down here.

This one did manage 1/110s at 1600 ISO ... so it could have been shot at 400 ISO. But the whole point is to point and shoot while walking with friends. Setting ISO based on shutter speeds is far too slow and I would never do it with anything but a dSLR.

By the way, the river is not all that wide here. One of the tourist boats that plies the river all day can pass (obviously), but not two.

As we walked, there was a pause and I asked one of our distinguished engineers to pose.

We stopped at a nice little restaurant that came highly recommended. While waiting for our food, I thought I'd capture the group for posterity.

The restaurant was dark inside, and this is a remarkable image when considering that a pocket cam shot it. This is one of the few flash images I took during the entire trip.

Our food arrived and I found out that blackened tuna here is also sushi. Hmmm ... it was ok, but certainly not what I had wanted. The Chinese black rice was also interesting, but again I could have been happy with more mundane fare.

After dinner, we decided to continue the river walk.

Not too many compacts delivering that detail in the dark. I saw one of the boats go by and took a stab at panning it ... it worked out, the boat is pretty sharp and the background moves ... cool.

The path gets really narrow at times. I wonder how many people end up in the drink? Especially after imbibing all night long ...

This bridge tunnel reminds me of the south bank of the Thames ... but is much smaller. Again, our group ...

On the other side of the river, there is a long narrow bridge. No idea what the point is, but it's kind of neat looking ...

We got back to the hotel and were chatting about the Alamo when Dave suggested that it was a 2 minute walk and we should go see it. We were game, so off we went. There is a little tunnel on the bottom floor as we leave the hotel and this lovely mosaic adorns the wall.

I got a nice image of the Alamo at night ... very crisp lighting.

And we asked these really cute girls to shoot an image of us ... we had lost one person, but we are whole here ...

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