Saturday, July 3, 2010


I've been out at my brother-in-law's house tonight celebrating the birth of my nation by blowing up a small piece of it. But I was a bad photochick again. I took my camera, but I forgot the tripod.

When you go out shooting your fireworks remember that tripod. You need a long exposure to capture the blooms. Way too long to hand hold. So even if you're using a point and shoot, put it on a tripod.

And yes, point and shoots can get good shots. This one was shot with a 4mp Fuji Finepix a few years ago.

Have a good weekend and don't blow yourself up. Or anyone else.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I was just thinking....

I was just reading an article on the current oil disaster. It talked about other environmental disasters that man has wrought on his world. I really never thought much about the Dust Bowl. I never would have considered it an environmental disaster.

In school I learned it was a horrible drought. Thanks to john Steinbeck I’ve got some perspective as to what it was like for people who were directly affected by it. According to my dad it’s part of the reason his family ended up in California, but that is another story for another time.

But all this time I thought it was a naturally occurring phenomenon. I never knew, never really thought, that we humans could have been responsible.

If you haven’t read about the why’s, I’ll sum up. Over farming and poor ranch management helped kill off the native grasses. The top layer of soil lay loose. When there was a naturally occurring drought the loose soil dried out and took to the air, creating huge clouds of dust. Those clouds of dust caused tremendous amounts of damage to crops, livestock and humans and really wonked up the weather.

How much of that drought was caused by lack of vegetation in general as well? “Less rainforest means less rain.” (can you name that movie?)

Thank you Hurricane Ike for Rainbowl 2008. We lost, but it was fun.

So I’m wondering about today, here in the north Texas area. It’s hot. Every summer seems hotter than the last. Droughts are becoming more frequent. More and more severe. Every summer we see the lake levels dwindle lower and lower here.

Lakes in Texas, there’s another topic. There’s one naturally occurring lake in Texas. Name it.

But back to the environment… It’s really something to stop and think about. It makes me wonder if we have to worry about a major drought? We’ve already seen the effects of global warming (yeah, I’m one of those people) And if it’s coming, is there anything we can do to stop it?

This time of year wait for rain because if it's too dry they prohibit fireworksand we have to rely on Grandpa Spunkie getting crazy with the sparklers.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I've always thought I was somewhat of a purist when it comes to photography. My rule of thumb has been not to go much beyond what I could accomplish in a traditional darkroom. Meaning dodging, burning, adjusting exposure, using filters for contrast....

I was going for an older feel here.

Then  I started hanging out on a site where there are a LOT of people getting what I would call "Photoshop happy" on their images. Some do take it too far, but I started to see some really nice effects. Then I start to think back to things I did in the darkroom. Things that were considered by some to be extreme and not "pure photography" at one point in time.

The one on the left I went for a sort of lomo effect, at least that's how it started. The one on the right is pretty much SOOC.

And I realized I am a dinosaur. I really am. I was stuck and not moving forward. Really a disconcerting revelation to have. I'm attempting to grow. I really am. but it's a painful process.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things that make you go D'oh!

I do lots of stupid things. I've come to accept that I just seem to do them, no matter how hard I try not to. It used it irk me because other people didn't seem to do things that were quite as stupid. But hey, at least I excel in my stupidity.

There was one time with my camera. I was at my in-laws and I'd had my DSLR a couple weeks. I go to take a picture and it's beeping at me. And flashing. It won't take a picture, it's waiting.

I started to panic. My new camera was broken. I rolled though possible options in my head. It was flashing to tell me the shutter was wonky. Or the battery was not charged or something. That had to be it.

A short time later I discovered the problem. The self timer was on.

Another time I thought my iPod wouldn't charge. This was my iPod video that Bear won in a City of Heroes contest way back in '05. We like City of Heroes contests in our house, they had good prizes. Like cars. But that's another post.

Back to the iPod. I had it plugged into some speakers in the kitchen and every night I'd leave it there. It was charged when i went to bed. I'd wake up and it was stone cold dead. The battery was completely drained.

This went on for about a month. I was investigating buying a new battery for it. That seemed the cheapest option. Then one day Bear told me he'd seen it a couple times in the morning.

OK, my iPod was possessed. That's all there was to it. It was possessed and was coming on by itself. That had to be what was draining the battery.

Then one day I was looking at the settings. Just looking and I see the alarm. And I remembered I'd hooked it up to my clock one day and used it as an alarm. And I'd never turned it off. So yes, every morning at six my iPod was coming on and not turning off until the battery died.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I love this lens

The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is by far my favortie lens. It's inexpensive, very sharp when compared with the entry level zooms and it's fast. I've been told Nikon's counterpart is just as much fun, but I can't see how since you have to use it with a Nikon. :p

Here are some shots with my 50mm lens.

50mm f/1.8 @ ISO6400 = campfire shots with no flash

I love this lens.