Roop Vision

Sunday, May 2, 2010 (4:34 pm)

Graduated at Last!

Filed under: Life,Misc.,Photography,UF,Video — daweathaman @ 4:34 pm

Sunday, February 21, 2010 (2:46 am)

Cape Canaveral

Filed under: Life,Photography,Travel,UF,Weather — daweathaman @ 2:46 am

Our Independent Study class trip to Cape Canaveral.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010 (12:42 am)

Ft. DeSoto

Filed under: Photography — daweathaman @ 12:42 am

Stroll

Vacancy

The Layers!

Lookout

Translation, Anyone??

Shell Dunes

Cold Sunset

Untitled

Beach Skip and Hop

Sunday, November 8, 2009 (9:00 pm)

Goodbye, Erin.

Filed under: Life,Misc.,Photography — daweathaman @ 9:00 pm

erin_frontheader1

Last Monday, the worst night of my life happened. As Erin and I were crossing Archer Road after getting of an RTS bus, she was hit by a car while I was inches away. I dove to miss the car, but Erin wasn’t lucky. She was transported to Shands at UF with trauma alerts issued. She suffered an extensive amount of internal damage and she slipped away about 90 minutes after it happened. The trauma surgeon, who I was told was the best around, broke the news to me and her father via speakerphone since he was at work in Wyoming. I fell to pieces once he said the words “we lost her.” I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.

It’s been six days since then and I am back at the apartment Erin and I once shared. I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I feel just…lost in a daze. I’m not sure what to do next. The woman I have happily been with for the last four years is no longer here with me – just like that.

Yesterday, her memorial was held in Ocala at the First Presbyterian Church. I wrote a speech for the memorial and I would like to share it with those who couldn’t attend:


When I was at CFCC [Central Florida Community College] *ahem* years ago, I remember noticing her around campus. Didn’t know her name or anything about her, but I would notice her walking around in her scrubs or even shopping in the grocery store I was working at. There was just something about her I couldn’t put my finger on. I never knew who she was, though, until we met in Chemistry I. We would have our first conversations in Chemistry lab and would soon become friends, study-buddies, and chemistry lab partners. Over time, I felt like she was someone who I could open up to. She had that glow of affability and trust to where I could tell her just about anything, except that I was starting to get a crush on her. However, little did I know that she felt the same way.

Not long after I found out she got out of a bad relationship, a friend told me something like “dude, she has the hots for you.” Now, that blew me away. Our first date, movie and kiss was on June 10, 2005. It’s a night I will not forget.

I won’t forget our nerd trips to the bookstores or our trips to the beach. I won’t forget our trips and little vacations we had, from Miami, Key West and the Bahamas to Texas to Savannah. Nor will I forget the times we laughed together, cried together, or just cuddled up just for the heck of it. I won’t forget how Erin took care of me whenever I was sick and made me chicken soup, or sang to me at night when I was stressed and couldn’t fall asleep. I will never forget that cute, beautiful smile that she always had. I loved it when she smiled.

Erin also had a big heart. Erin always thought about others and how to make people happy, including me. She was a very strong young lady with class, love and intelligence. It’s just some of the many reasons why I love her so much.

She was no doubt an animal lover. The only kids we have had are Opie, her crazy and jumpy dog, and our cats: The finicky “Mouse”, the loud and loving “Moo” and our crippled but smarter-and-stubborn-than-the-average-cat “Toadie.” There are many more pets she has had throughout her life. Including Frank, the lizard. Erin rescued Frank from the inside of a Books-a-Million this past winter. He was cold and, as she thought, in danger. She took him home and placed him in the window so he could get some sun and stay warm, and so the cats wouldn’t have a feast. It was about a week and the temperatures were finally getting above freezing. I told Erin that I thought she should let him go. She hesitated a little, but decided it was best. It goes to show how much she loved animals and how much of a great veterinarian she would have been.

I always thought we would be together until we grew old and have our property with all of her animals. Since I’m a Ham radio operator, I wanted antennas in our yard. She wanted goats. Erin and I then, jokingly, decided to blend the two together and have goats with antennas on their heads. I remember the first time we mentioned that to Erin’s mother, she gave us the look like “What’s the matter with you two?”

However, Monday night was undoubtedly the worst night of my life as I was there when she was taken from me. I was thinking “Please, God. Don’t take her from me.” I need her. She’s my rock, my soulmate, my lover, my best friend. She’s irreplaceable. But God has other plans. Why he took her now, I will never know.

I hope that one day, whenever it’s my time, I will get to be with her again in our own house, property, antennas, goats, and, yes, goats with antennas on their heads.

Lastly, I told my friend something after Erin’s passing that I feel is important for everyone. I essentially said, “When you go home to your loved one tonight, hug her, tell her that you love her and never, ever take one second for granted. You never know when a moment with each other will be your last.” I have stopped counting how many times a day I told Erin I loved her. I made sure I told her that, and you can never, ever say it enough.

I love you, Erin and I miss you so much. I can’t wait until we’re together again.

The night before, I created a music slideshow on Aperture to present at the reception (I’ll try to post that in SoundSlides format in the coming days). It was some of the best photos and memories I had during our time together. Andrea, her sister, and I also scanned lots of photos from birth to recent and complied them for show after the slideshow.

Again, I am not sure what to do or where to begin. On my whiteboard (yes, I have a whiteboard – Charles=nerd), I have “What to do next” written on it and below that, a big question mark.

I want to find a way to complete this semester successfully and pass everything so I don’t have to waste anymore time at UF. I’ll get with my instructors on that sometime soon. I still need to take the GRE and I definitely think that will not happen until at least December. Days before she passed away and months after I ditched journalism, she told me that I “would be a kick-ass meteorologist” and that I was “so qualified.” And, as she reminded me, she wasn’t BS-ing. This is something I have wanted to do for a while and I love this field too much. I’m not just doing it for me, I’m doing it for her.

Also, I need to figure out how I am going to take care of all three cats and a black lab. Erin was highly selective on who could take care of her pets. I need some time on that one.

I am trying to figure out what to do about what happened. Media reports state that this was the third accident of its kind recently. The bus stop that we get off at is something I feared that an injury and death would one day occur since RTS riders have to cross six lanes of traffic, even at night (there is no lighting whatsoever at that stop). Something needs to change. I’m not sure how to go about it, though. Eventually, the City of Gainesville will be hearing from me. This should not happen again.

My mom and I, as well as Erin’s dad, cousin and grandmother, came to the wall on SW 34th Street this afternoon to view the painting that Erin’s friends and co-workers at Gainesville Animal Hospital created. I was happy to see such love for her painted on this wall. Luckily, we found some orange and blue paint left behind and wrote our names and comments on the wall others. Erin’s grandmother wrote “Phil [Philippians] 4:13” and her cousin wrote “Gone too soon.”

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In Memory of Erin 1

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A couple of people asked me if there was anything in the apartment should be removed that bothers me. The only thing I cried my eyes out is when I found the promise ring I gave her two years ago. It was my promise to her that I would be with her for the rest of her life through thick and thin.

My life has changed forever. The love of my life is gone from Earth, but not forgotten. It also reinforced the fact that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.  This is going to take time – weeks, months, maybe years. But I will not forget that one, special young lady who changed my life for the better.

I love you, Erin.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 (9:37 pm)

UF Homecoming Parade 2009

Filed under: Photography,UF Law,Work — daweathaman @ 9:37 pm

Shot these for UF Law…

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Trial Team Competition

Filed under: Photography,UF Law,Work — daweathaman @ 9:12 pm

For my job at UF Law, I was assigned to cover the Trial Team competition on Nov. 15. Here are a few of the photos. More info is at the top of the latest edition of FlaLaw Online.

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Trial Team Competion 15

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Friday, September 4, 2009 (9:42 am)

Mini-Vacation, and in memory of my Canon

Filed under: Life,Photography,Weather — daweathaman @ 9:42 am
My Canon EOS 40D
September 11, 2007 – August 21, 2009

Just like any vacation, chances are that I have my camera strapped on my side. In the last five years since purchasing my first SLR camera, I have yet to have any major accidents with my gear. I’ve been fairly lucky – until August 21.

Erin (my girlfriend) and I were approaching our second night in Ormond Beach for our vacation just before classes started at UF. One of the things that made this vacation interesting was Hurricane Bill out in the middle of the Atlantic. Landfall was not a threat for the area, but the waves were. Swells from Bill caused higher than normal wave action and made high tide appear as if a hurricane was going to hit the area. It was a surfer’s paradise.

Really High Tide
(One of the last images taken that Friday evening (Aug. 21) shows how bad the tide and swells were.)

That Friday evening, Erin and I were walking back to our hotel on the beach. Keep in mind we were, not way out in the ocean. We were probably 30 feet from the sea wall. Near a beach ramp (similar to the one seen in the above photo), a swell came up out of nowhere. Water as no longer at my ankles – it was at my knees. As I held my shorts up to keep my pants (and new iPhone in my pocket) from getting wet, we slowly continued our walk closer to the sea wall go get out of the mess. As I kept walking, little did I know the concrete slab I was walking on was going to end and have such a big drop-off to the eroding sand. Sure enough, I slipped, and fell in the water that was now up to my neck. I immediately jumped out of the water and realized really quickly that my iPhone (which I only had for five days) and my camera were immediately done for. There is no way that electronics can survive salt water damage.

The effects on the camera were instant. The shutter started flickering and the light in front was blinking. The Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 lens was full of sand and it was hard to zoom in and out. The iPhone appeared okay at first since it was in my pocket, but slowly the iPhone started acting up saying it was connected to a headphone. Then it started saying “no SIM card.” My wallet and keys were soaked, too. Hell, I was completely soaked in salt water. “God must hate me today,” I remember thinking to myself. Surprisingly, I kept my composure. Erin, however felt really bad. She started to cry about a minute after leaving the water. “I just feel so bad,” she said to me. “It’s your camera. It’s you.”

I remembered later that I had insurance placed on the camera when I purchased it from Best Buy nearly two years ago. That calmed me down a little bit, but my attention turned to my phone. My only phone. My only way of communicating besides using a wi-fi-enabled laptop or amateur radio.

The next morning, I had to find a AT&T store to get a new phone. Unfortunately, I had to pay a hefty penny to get a new one. The good news was that I was able to borrow money from my mother to get the replacement phone. I got a near water-proof case for the new phone after this experience. Plus, the next time I go to a beach (or anywhere near large bodies of water), that phone is going in a tight Ziplock bag.

Once we got back to Gainesville, I sent the camera to the store to file a claim. They sent it off to be repaired, but I knew there was no way they were going to be able to fix it. About a week later, I was notified that they were not able to fix it and they were going to give me store credit (for the value of the camera’s comparable replacement). After doing some quick research – and learning that the 40D has been discontinued and replaced with the 50D, I knew what I wanted. Since I no longer had any Canon lenses (sold them) and I didn’t like the reviews on the 50D (notably the high noise at high ISOs), I decided to switch to the Nikon family and get the D90. In the end, I still had some store credit left.

So far, I like the D90. The quality is very good, even at high ISOs. The only two things I don’t like: the video quality at 720p HD (yes, it does video). I think it has to do with the Motion JEPG codec used in the camera. Also, got to keep an eye on the white balance settings in florescent lighting environments (a little too warm when left on Auto WB). Then again, I shoot in RAW (.NEF format), so it’s not that big of a deal to fix if needed. Other than that, a pretty solid camera.

I’ll leave you with a “Opie” shot with the new Nikon…

Opie

Lightning @ Ormond

Filed under: Photography,Travel,Weather — daweathaman @ 8:08 am

Here are a few of my best lightning shots I got while in the Daytona Beach area for a short vacation in August. I was starting to get frustrated that I haven’t got any lightning photos in the summer. I guess my luck changed at the last minute.

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Lightning_Ormond 1

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 (1:36 pm)

Father, Son, a Balloon, and Fireworks

Filed under: Life,Photography — daweathaman @ 1:36 pm

Father, Son, Balloon, and Fireworks.

A man and boy watch the fireworks in Alachua, Fla. on July 4, 2009.

Old Photo: Directing

Filed under: Photography — daweathaman @ 1:33 pm

Directing

Firefighters from Gainesville Fire Rescue train at closed restaurant on Archer Road in Gainesville, Fla. on April 22, 2009

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