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Exploring iPhone Portrait Mode

:: Tags: Camera, Dylan, Photo, Too Cool!

Well I finally traded up to the new iPhone Xs last weekend and I have to say, I am impressed. Like everyone else, I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about the new portrait mode, so I spent a little time trying it out around the house. I use to have to use my large Nikon DSLR to get nice portrait shots like this, but now… actually being able to do this with your smartphone camera… that’s huge! Here are a coupe of photos with the iPhone Xs and portrait mode turned on.

Webelos @ Alexandria Fire & Rescue Station 210

:: Tags: Dylan, Friends, Scouting, Too Cool!

This weekend the Webelo Scouts from Cub Scout Pack 1229 visited the Alexandria Fire & Rescue Station 210 training center as part of their First Responder Adventure requirement. We scheduled our tour with the Alexandria Fire Department several weeks before and were told that while there was no problem with having the boys tour the station, they couldn’t guarantee that all the equipment and trucks would be on site. Well we lucked out… they had all kinds of toys in the garage and the fire fighters were more than accommodating in showing us around and demonstrating how all the equipment worked. Now I remember why I wanted to be a fire fighter when I was a kid… it’s an equipment intensive profession where you get to work with cool gear and the job makes you work both with your mind and your hands. This is also the reason I became a technical wreck diver… it’s also very equipment intensive and dangerous. Here are some of the photos from our visit to Alexandria Fire Station 210… Thank for having us guys!!

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RS Field Trip to NOAA

:: Tags: Dylan, Friends, School, Too Cool!, Weather

As a favor, Julie personally arranged an educational visit for Dylan’s 3rd grade class to the NOAA’s main facility in Silver Spring, MD. The field trip was geared towards weather, the earth and climate. Along with taking a tour of NOAA’s Educational Center and learning about all the things that NOAA does, the kids also had the opportunity to check out NOAA’s new technology exhibit known as ‘Science on a Sphere’. I wasn’t initially planning on attended the field trip, but I’m glad I did… I was totally blown away with the quality of the graphics and computer generated holograms used to display climate data on the sphere. This was a great field trip and the kids from the Falcon Class really had a blast.

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ICE at National Harbour

:: Tags: Dylan, Event, Holiday's, Too Cool!

‘Dylan and I stealing a selfie with Rudolph and the Elf’ – The Gaylord, National Harbour, MD

It feels like we buy tickets to this event every year and every year the ice carvings just keeps getting more impressive. My son, being a true believer in Santa and ultimate fan of the Christmas holidays, absolutely loves these kinds of events. The cool thing about ICE (at least for us) is that the theme of the show changes every year and always follows one of the original children’s Christmas stories. This years theme was from the 1964 classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the ice sculptors really nailed it right down to the very large Abominable Snowman that Dylan and I tried to get a selfie with. As always we had a lot of fun… click the link below to see more photos from this event.

‘Another selfie… this time with the Abominable Snowman!’ – The Gaylord, National Harbour, MD
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The Blue Angels Flyover

:: Tags: Awesome, Event, Photo, Too Cool!

The Blue Angels flyover at the Air Force Memorial – Arlington, VA.

We heard about a possible flyover of the US Navy’s Blue Angels on the radio this afternoon and decided to try and find a nice place on the river to catch the show and take some pictures. They don’t normally advertise when they plan on flying over the Washington Metro area and I guess you can probably understand why that is, but this time they did. As a mater of fact, they gave so much advance warning that when we got to the Air Force Memorial, which is where we decided to try and watch the show, it was pretty much already packed with would-be spectators.

The information on the radio was that they where going to be doing flyovers at Reagan National Airport for a photo shoot and that one of the trainer planes would be taking photos as they flew over Washington, DC. I think it was for a “Fly Navy” advertising campaign or something like that, but who really knows. Instead of flying down the river in line with the DCA landing flight path they actually flew across the river from Washington into Arlington… through the DCA flight path and almost directly over the Air Force Memorial where we were set up to watch. WOW, what a great sight! They only made two passes, but it was enough time for me to snap off some awesome photos with my Nikon D7100 and 70-200mm f/2.8G FX VRII Zoom Lens. Enjoy the photos!
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Slot Car Racing

:: Tags: Dylan, Fun, Too Cool!


Some how Dylan talked his nanny into bringing the slot car race track upstairs this afternoon and helping him set it up. He told her that he wanted to surprise me when I got home from work and wanted to race cars with me because he was fast! It’s nice racing slot cars with your 5 year old son after work… it makes all the unpleasant work crap of the day fade away.

ICE at National Harbor!

:: Tags: Dylan, Event, Holiday's, Too Cool!

“Dylan and Frosty The Snowman @ ICE” – The Gaylord Hotel – National Harbor, MD.

We took Dylan to an event at The Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor this weekend called ‘ICE’. They put this ice sculpting event on every year at this time and this years theme was “Frosty The Snowman”. You can only imagine how excited Dylan was when he heard that ‘Frosty’ was going to be there this year. The ice sculptures were fantastic and I couldn’t believe how many of them there where, but one thing was for sure… is it was freakin’ cold!

This is my last post for 2104… I hope you enjoy the photos!!
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The Motorola Dynatac 8000x

:: Tags: Lost & Found, Too Cool!

The other day I was going through some boxes in my workroom and ran across a device I though I had lost years ago. Way back in the day, when cellular phone technology was just getting started there where two types of cellular telephones you could purchase… the original “Phone in a Bag” or “Car Phone” model or the much more expensive handheld model which inventor Martin Cooper is credited with designing in 1973.

I cant remember what year I switched up from my “Car Phone” to the Motorola Dynatac 8000x, but it was pretty cool being able to stick your mobile phone in your back pocket! I got the newer model that had a smaller battery pack and was sold exclusively by Cellular One at that time. It dropped calls constantly and didn’t work anywhere outside of major cites, but cellular was just taking off and I new this was going to be the thing of the future. Wow, how times (and technology) have changed!! Oh yeah, and after charging it… it still works!!

Dylan’s New Ride!

:: Tags: Dylan, Fun, Photo, Too Cool!

Dylan driving his new Cadillac EXT around on the street! – Arlington, VA

A big thank you to Dylan’s Grandparents, Barbara and Ray, for the awesome birthday gift! I wasn’t sure if this was going to be an age appropriate gift for him, but boy did he take a liking to it right away. He still needs to work on his driving skills, but there is time for that next summer when things warm up.

Dad had the hard part… when the box says “some assemble required”, they mean clear your schedule for the rest of the day! It took me two hours, with power tools, to put this thing together and apply all the decals. And what sucks is I couldn’t even fit in the thing to test drive it! Oh well, I hope you enjoy it Dylan… Happy Birthday Big Boy!!
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