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Showing posts from October, 2009

Watching Orlando Unravel 6

I haven't written one of my Orlando Unravels entries for some time now because it's too depressing and I've been very busy doing other things, like holding on to my job. So busy is good. In fact busy is wonderful.

I felt compelled to write another Unravels entry because today, while out picking up a few necessities with the wife, we happened to stop by a local Books-A-Million store. This particular store is at the corner of Lee Road and I-Drive (Kirkman/I-4 exit), in the same complex as Sweet Tomatoes. It used to be open four weeks ago. Today, when we drove up, the store was locked and completely empty. We had no idea they were going out of business, and there are absolutely no signs anywhere indicating where they might have moved if they moved. The only thing left is the store with the unbleached wall showing where the letters used to be.

That entire store block is empty now. That Books-A-Million was the last store in a block of stores that once contained a Micheal's Cr…

Olympus E-3

One of the reasons I invested heavily in the Olympus system was the E-3 body. The E-3 body is built of molded magnesium, has a bright full-frame optical viewfinder with 1.15 magnification, image stabilization in the body, an articulated LCD with live view, is dust- and splash-proof, and has IMHO one of the best 4/3rds sensors on the market.

Full Frame Viewfinder

The viewfinder, more than just about any other feature, was the deal-maker for me. It's an optical penta-prism design that shows 100% (or nearly 100% according to the ad copy) of the image that will hit the sensor, while providing a magnification factor of 1.15x. This helps produce a bright, sharp viewfinder that's very easy to focus with, especially compared with my older E-300. Don't get me wrong. I love that E-300 and still continue to use it, but the E-300's viewfinder, a porro-based penta-mirror, is darker and at times difficult to use, especially in low-light situations. The E-3 in comparison is blindingly …

Camera Website Homage

Ever since I bulked up with the Olympus E-3 Christmas 2008 (and actually, even before then) I've been hunting down and reading many an on-line photography blog and review site in an effort to gather as much useful intelligence as possible about the pros and cons of the current state-of-the-art in camera gear.

And make no mistake; I'm more the gearhead than the photographer. And why not? A camera is the ultimate convergence of optics, mechanics, material science, electronics, and cybernetics into one convenient awe-inspiring hand-holdable device. The only other device with nearly that much 'pull' in its construction is the smartphone, and it doesn't take nearly as good a photo, in spite of what may be written.

To scratch both the gear as well as the artistic itch of photography, and to make sure I know how much it's going to really cost me, I've developed a list of sites over the last 10 months where I go and seek the wisdom of the oracles. So here, in no part…

The Menagerie

We've got five animals in our house right now; three cats and two Labs. The cats are all rescues, as is one of the Labs. One of the Labs was purchased from a local breeder, something we haven't done since we were first married 25 years ago.


The Labs are named Ruby and Max. The cats are Lulabelle, a common mackerel tabby, Ellipse, a long-hair mix, and Lucy, a mackerel mix with a lot of white. The Labs are buds and travel together constantly. The cats generally get along, but every once in a while there's the loud cries of two cats challenging one another. But mostly everybody gets along peacefully.

I love all the animals we have. I didn't go looking for the cats, they just started showing up about two years ago, first via my oldest daughter, and then a year later when Lucy literally walked in the front door. I didn't consider myself a cat person at the time, but I just didn't have the heart to say 'no'. The Labs and the cats mix together quite well, and tw…

Postcards from Paradise

I've taken to shooting with my Olympus E-300 again, far more than the more advanced E-3. I've even gone so far as to set exposure (aperture and shutter speed) using the sunny 16 rule; since I shoot primarily ISO 100 (with some ISO 200), that would mean f/16 at 1/100 second (or 1/200 sec @ISO 200). In my case, because I like to shoot at f/5.6, I increase the shutter speed accordingly to 1/800 second (1/1600 for ISO 200). I do that because f/5.6 gives the best lens performance and the higher shutter speed gives crystal clear shooting.

It's funny, but it's more liberating to set a camera on full manual and ignore the bleeping display, especially when you're outdoors on a sunny Florida day. The light changes in interesting ways from sunup to sundown; when I'm done and I go back and download the images, they're pretty close to what I both saw and experienced the moment I took the picture.

There is some post processing. I use Olympus Master, and within Olympus Mast…

It's been a while

Thought I'd drop by, clean off some of the cobwebs and dust off the book cases, as it were. I've been busy.

Living the Digital Life

I nuked my Twitter account (@wbeebe). After a little more than a year I finally had all I could stand and left. Twitter's primitive interface/API, which are perversely hailed as avant-guarde by many of the digerati, finally drove me out. Spam re-tweets were the biggest annoyance, followed by the Ponzi/MLM schemers and 'sex workers' who arbitrarily followed me. I blocked far more than I allowed following.

I still have my Facebook account. It's a better Twitter than Twitter itself, but that doesn't make it good in the general sense. I have yet to decide if I just want to let it go and die from bit rot, or just delete the account completely. I may just let ennui set in and let it rot away.

I still post regularly to Flickr (see the image at the upper right for example). Right now I'm in a "post digital" mode where I'v…