Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pea Soup

When I headed out for work at o-dark-thirty on Thursday, the fog was as thick as ... well, you know.

Since I'm lugging the camera around everywhere for this little project (you wouldn't know it from the dearth of pics lately, I know), I decided to swing by the Twin Falls temple to see what it looked like.

Here's what it looked like:

1/13s (handheld, no less), f4.0, ISO:1600 (see my note from yesterday about defaults!)
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Expanding the corral

It's been a few days (more than a week) since I last contributed to this photo project I embarked on. Lucky I didn't try the 365 thing, right? Life has been far too hectic. (I know, I know... everybody's busy... Cry me a river... (or I should cry you one))

Anyway, I have had a few people ask me about more formal portrait work and I don't really have the equipment for that right now, but I though maybe a second flash would allow me to try some new things. I picked up a second SB-600, Nikon's affordable, but very versatile speedlight. I was messing around with it last night. Here's a shot of Cameron, mugging for ya'll. Key flash is behind the camera, bounced off white ceiling, fill flash on entertainment thingie, pointed right at the back of Cam's head. Smart alex expression optional. :)

1/60s, f5.0, 50mm, ISO: 1600
(ISO=1600 (completely unnecessary with the flashes) because I forgot to reset the camera after taking some picture of the temple in the fog that morning-- a reminder to ALWAYS reset all camera setting back to your default preferences whenever you pick the thing up.)
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Customer service is not dead

I broke my lens in December. Sad, tragic truth is... I just dropped it. Ouch! Luckily, I'd purchased that outrageous extended warranty thing from Best Buy (phew... it paid off). So I called them. Unfortunately, they said I'd have to send the camera and the lens in for the repair. (sigh) I wasn't looking forward to that.... AND I had two photography jobs to do before I could send it off anyway.

Fast forward about 10 days. My friend and outstanding photographer Paula Weeks loaned me her nice lens to do my jobs (thank you, again, Paula), and I'm headed to Best Buy to send everything off to be repaired. I'm dreading being without the camera, so I'm mentally gearing up to ask them to let me keep the camera and just send in the lens. I go to the Geek counter (or whatever it's called) and I wait my turn. It's still a bit busy, post-Christmas exchange season and everything, so I'm trying to be patient.

Up there at the front of the line is Mr. Grumpy who's telling everybody, "Nope, we don't do that," and "Sorry, we just ran out of those," and giving everyone the stink eye. I'm thinking my prospects aren't too good. (double sigh)

So, finally, it's my turn. Suddenly, (tiny miracle #1) Mr. Grumpy gets a phone call. Mr. How-can-I-help-you-sir walks up.The clouds lift a bit. I tell my story (though not the part about keeping the camera, yet). He looks thoughtful. We inspect the lens together. He looks across the showroom towards "cameras." My heart does a little flip flop. He says, "Will you excuse me for a moment, sir?" I put on what is meant to be a pleasant look but which probably reeks of "please help me!" and say "uh.. sure."

Off he goes, back he comes, and (tiny miracle #2) he hands me a new lens and says, "There you go, sir. Thanks for coming in."

I 'bout started crying right there in the store. Luckily, I held it together until I got to the car.

Geek Squad saves photographer's day, not to mention his faith in humanity, in Twin Falls!
Details at ... well, details above.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

got cabin fever?

Okay, so I know I said that I was only going to post new pictures for this project, but a friend asked for this one... Doesn't it make you long for summer?

July 1, 2009, 1/200s, f6.3 ISO:800, 300mm (450mm equivalent)
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#6 version 2

Okay, here's another version of yesterday's picture ... warts and all. You can see what I cropped out yesterday. In this version I quite like the gradation in the background from lower left to upper right. There's a bit of distracting stuff here, too, though.

What do you think I should do to it next?

(same exposure information as yesterday)
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Photo #6

I've dithered for a couple of days about whether to post this picture. I like the fact that the tree branches and the grass don't quite intersect, but I wasn't able to get the angle just right so that they didn't intersect at all (which is what I wanted). I also don't think there's quite enough contrast between the tones here. I monkeyed around with it in Photoshop for a while, but didn't get what I would say is a really good result (yet). It's like a study in contrasts, but it doesn't quite work, I think.

1/250s, f8, ISO 200, 18mm
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Photo #5 (counting only 'new' ones)

I might just come up with clever titles for the various posts in this little project...

and then again I might not. This is pic #5 since Jan 1.

I was in an accreditation meeting all morning, then working through 99,000 edits on the document we've been crafting. Beyond that, I need to get a few things done on upcoming classes but I couldn't quite make the mental shift "just like that." Jette, the person I share an office with, often suggests an outdoors walk to clear the mind and refresh the spirit, so I grabbed the ole D90 and headed out. It was sunny, but quite chilly, so I didn't stay long. I did see this on my walk-about, though.

1/500s, f11, ISO 200 70.0mm
Should I edit out the lens flare?

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Here's a sad bit of news. This little dog, our little Lilly, was hit and killed early today. So, for today I'm breaking the rule about only posting new pictures. This one was taken awhile ago.

Goodbye for now, Lilly. We miss you already.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

A question of ethics...

... or a question of aesthetics?

Here are "before" and "after" shots of the image I posted a few days ago. The first is the uncorrected JPEG image from the camera. Not quite the same thing as a RAW file (which is exactly what the camera's sensor saw-- no processing at all-- as opposed to JPEG which is processed by the camera before being saved to the card), but without a lot of tweaking. The second is the one I Photoshopped to increase the "pop" of the colors.

My question is this... Is such tweaking an "honest" thing to do? Are the colors presented in the second image "real"?

Few people would argue, I think, that if I completely falsified the colors or placed Air Force One in the image or showed Elvis bungee jumping off the Perrine Bridge that my image would then be a "photo illustration" and not a photograph. Is it, however, ethical, just to enhance what is already there? Or is that simply a matter of aesthetics?

And if this is a matter of aesthetics, why do we (apparently) prefer the latter image?

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Do the hustle

Keri and I chaperoned at the disco-themed regional youth dance Saturday night. One of the featured events of the evening was a couple from our ward teaching the kids "The Hustle." Some of the kids got in to it. Others ... um... didn't.

Which of you, dear readers, know what "The Hustle" is without the help of Google? Bonus points of you can DO it. :-)

And no, I did not wear polyester.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Name that movie...

Here are two clues. Bad ones, probably, but...

Clue #1: I put this movie into my Netflix queue without looking carefully at the date or synopsis. The first one I got was not the one I wanted. In other words, this movie shares its title with another movie.

Clue #2:
Okay, a third clue... a really obscure one:

One of the main characters shares its name with a main ACTOR's first name.

Too obscure? Too "B" list?
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Color in the canyon

You'd never suspect it, probably, at this time of year, but there is some cool color (or warm, if you want to get technical) in the Snake River Gorge right now. Sure, I enhanced it some in Photoshop, but you can see below that southern Idaho, though she be a high desert plain, is a beautiful place to be. Cold (very cold at the moment, "feels like" -2 at the moment), but beautiful.

I think I'll hang this one on my office wall. What do you think?

1/80s, f4.5, ISO 200, 17.0mm (35mm equivalent=25mm)
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Next photo, please

Yesterday's posting said that I'm going to post a few pics to get the year started. Here's another:

This is Caitlin (most of you probably know), ready for Sunday,
new little bracelet made my Aunt Mandi.
Specs: D90, 50mm, 1/60s, f4, ISO 200.
Cropped and color saturation increased slightly in Picasa.

After I posted the picture of Lilly last night, I thought of one of the limitations I could put on myself to motivate myself to get out and take new pictures. Simply enough, I'll only post new pictures during this little experiment-- no digging back into the archives for oldies but goodies. Oldies but goodies can be another project. Maybe next week when I'm already tired of this one ;)
The new semester starts in a few days (in-service anyway), so I better get in my licks while I can.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a few photos to start the year

I was browsing around trying to find a good deal on a new lens when I stumbled upon a guy doing a 365 project. I guess as an exercise in creativity and consistency, some photographers post a pic a day for an entire year-- setting themselves some kinds of limitations or guidelines to stimulate their work. Great idea, I think to myself. Too bad I didn't come across it 5 days ago...

I don't know though. Would I really be able to post a pic EVERY day? My schedule is a bit too crazy for that, I think. It'd take some planning, I suspect. So, no 365 project for me this year-- or at least not right now.

In that spirit, however, I think it'd be fun to post a pic every so often from among my many freaking gigabytes of them... you know, just to spice things up.

So, here's a Dia de los Reyes picture for you (though it has nothing to do with the Day of the Kings (which happens to be today, in case none of this makes any sense)):

This is our little dachshund, Lilly. Click on her to see her in higher resolution.
Specs: Nikon D90, 50mm, 1/15sec, f2.0, ISO 800.
B&W conversion and some selective dodging and burning in Photoshop CS3.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again

You know... the title of this posting isn't quite true. Well-- it is true and it isn't.

If you asked me if I was eager to have kids back in school during some moment when they were squabbling (the perfect word, by the way, for what they do sometimes) over the Wii remote or the last 1/2 ounce of holiday punch, I'd have said YES! without reservation. There are those moments, you know, when parenting seems like a lost cause-- an exercise in futility-- a hopeless, soul-sucking, life-draining, what-was-I-thinking-when-I-said-I-wanted-a-big-family challenge (do I sound a bit jaded?). Of late, when I am telling kids for the nine millionth time not to put their feet on the furniture or to turn off that darned light when you leave the room, you have thought that I wanted nothing more than to put them in boarding school and myself into a monastery (the kind for married folks, of course).

On the other hand (and isn't it good that we have two hands), when I dropped off the older boys at the jr. high (excuse me, the "middle" school), and when Cameron when out the door with a piece of cinnamon toast in one hand and his other hand outstretched in the sign for "I love you," I thought that the break was just too doggone short. We played some games, we rode grandma's four wheeler (and the attached sled) a bunch, we drank many gallons of holiday punch(*), we watched a bunch of fun movies, we stayed up late and talked; we just did all kinds of great family stuff that makes family stuff so great. In short, I was sad to have them go back to the routine. Like our youngest said when we were getting ready to leave grandma's house on New Year's Eve (and he said it with a sigh and a wistful look around grandma's living room), "Christmas is over."

So... Mom and Dad can hardly wait for kids to be home again. Hey... it's family night.

(*) Holiday Punch
1 can frozen OJ concentrate
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
10 cups water
3/4 C sugar (more or less, depending on how sweet you like things)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract (the "secret" ingredient that MAKES this)
1 2-liter bottle of Sprite (not 7UP, not Sierra Mist)

Mix in a large bowl or pot.

Makes about 5 to 5.5 liters. Save your 2-liter bottles from other stuff. Put in the freezer until slushy.

add a bit of blue food coloring to make a green "Grinch Punch"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

No... this isn't evidence of a new year's resolution to blog more or to blog every day in January (I already missed yesterday...). It's just a quick note to say, I hope your 2010 is healthy, happy, and peaceful.

It's been a strange break. I've been teaching an online class that began Dec 21 and will end Jan 15, so I'm both "on break" and "working" every day (though I did not do any work on Christmas nor on New Year's day). I like the idea of teaching only one class at a time. Kind of strange, of course, compared to the 5 or 6 I usually teach, but strangely invigorating to concentrate on just one set of students and one topic at a time. Rather restful by comparison.

I'm off to take pictures at a wedding today. . . some of it outdoors, if you can believe it. Maybe I'll post a pic or two later on.

Best wishes for a great start to the new year.