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Showing posts from March, 2012

Paving Paradise, Inc

Today on the way home from a local Walmart, I made the decision to go west on Turkey Lake rather than try to take my chances going east-bound. My wife and I were grocery shopping there when it started to rain heavily. Heavy rain in Florida is the kind that pounds the roof so hard it will drown out nearly any other surrounding sounds. It was that kind of rain, lasting for several minutes before tapering off to a more normal downpour. It was enough to really snarl traffic in the Walmart parking lot and Turkey Lake.

Turning west, Turkey Lake becomes Palm Parkway. I turn right onto Lake Street, then right again onto Apopka Vineland Road which leads me back to where I live. It was on the Palm Parkway section that I found new construction taking place, where a section of once-wooded land had just been cleared. From what I could see it is wide enough for a road. It was cleared all the way to I-4, which makes me wonder if a new interchange will be built here.


There were four pieces of equipm…

The E-1 and Lightroom 4 - Experiment #1

I am no Lightroom expert. Even though I've owned it and used it since August 2009 (nearly three years ago), I've used it basically as a Raw converter with the ability to do some minor tweaking. In the right hands Lightroom can produce some remarkable results. Unfortunately my hands aren't that gifted. Perhaps, now that Lightroom 4 has gotten my attention, I'll work to improve my game a bit using this tool.

I enabled ISO boost on the E-1 and set ISO to 3200. I then turned the camera on poor old Rex and played a bit with the results. The first image is basically a raw conversion with exposure adjusted +2 to get the histogram back towards the middle. I don't know why the E-1 underexposed as much as it did. Highlights were adjusted -100 to open up detail in the light areas, while whites were adjusted +50 to lighten up the rest of the image. Color noise was adjusted to +100 to remove any color noise, especially in the shadows.


The base image shows the E-1's "li…

A Week in March 2012

This has been a very busy week at work. I always carry a camera with me, the E-P2 with a prime on the front. Zoom use with the E-P2 is now a rare exception with me. All photos in this post were taken with primes.

My wife's Mac had to go back to the Apple store because the WiFi was still malfunctioning. While we were turning it in for a deeper inspection and possible repair we also noted that the screen's backlight was intermittent. We left it to fix that problem as well as look at the WiFi issue.

On the way out I happened to see this particular father-and-son tableau (I'm assuming it was a father and son), with the son up on the table and playing with an iPad. The adult seemed transfixed by either another device or something else equally small. He's clutching his wallet at the same time he's concentrating on the other item next to his wallet. Is he thinking of buying the little one an iPad?

The week was spend with me visiting the construction zone next to the BK. …

Sheer Genius

My wife's Macbook is definitely showing its age. Purchased back in 2008, it has gone through hell and back in her dear sweet hands. It's survived drops and soy milk spills and trips around the state on various vacations. We tried to protect its white plastic exterior with an electric pink shell, but it's been broken so many times it's held on with duct tape.

The Mac's latest problem seems to be a consistent WiFi failure. Just about every morning Airport is disabled, and you can't enable it. The only way to get it working is to reboot the Macbook, then enter in the house SSID and password to get back on the network. My wife was getting Real Tired of all that, and I can certainly understand that part of it. So she called and scheduled an appointment with the Geniuses over at the Mall of Millenia's Apple Store.

When we arrived at the store it was before 10am, the regular opening time. Our appointment was scheduled for 9:30am. We got to the front door a stylis…

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Today I sold Old Blue, the silver 17mm µ4/3rds that left a bit of itself in Boston, to a very good friend of mine who'd picked up a new in-the-box E-P2 for the fire-sale price of $250 on eBay. I'd priced the 17mm at an equally fire-sale price to move it. Along with Old Blue I also sold one of my five(!) 4/3rds to µ4/3rds adapters, a Panasonic DMW-MA1. Before the sale I had an MMF-1, and MMF-2, and three DMW-MA1s. I think I can get by with just four...


Hopefully nothing will go wrong with the 17mm and we'll stay very good friends. The lens works just fine, it was the cosmetic issue that bugged me a bit. In the end I felt a certain tug at the heart-strings when it came time to give Old Blue up, like I was selling one of my own as it were. But it was better to find a good home for Old Blue rather than let it sit in its box on the shelf. And Jim, one of the few Olympus users I know of in Orlando, has a meaty 4/3rds collection which consists of a Panasonic L1, a pair of E-510s…

Still Diggin'

They're still moving earth, and lots of it, on the property next to the Burger King on University. They've completely transformed the lay of the land. There's a lot of fill dirt and no indication this was wetlands before they started. This morning I found three machines at work in the area moving dirt from where it was lying to where it was supposed to be. Traffic's been tied up in the area with large dump trucks hauling dirt into and out of this area and the much smaller one across the street.




I had very mixed emotions photographing this today. I'm still in a state of morning over the destruction of green space and habitat. But perversely I much enjoyed photographing the three machines with the E-3 and 50-200mm, not because I liked what they were doing, but because I could tell/feel I was getting some pretty good photos without having to chimp every other exposure. The E-3 and 50-200mm is a sweet handling combination in the right light, and today, mid-morning, th…

I'm a Sucker for Pancakes in Black

I know what I've written about my silver 17mm, both before and after the front cosmetic ring fell off. It was that falling off that prompted me to purchase the Panasonic 14mm 1:2.5 as a replacement for the silver 17mm. But then, one day while slogging through Amazon, I found the 17mm in black. And that's when the problems began.

Because I'm so Old School I was there to help build it, I tend to purchase camera equipment in black. Not red or green or white or silver. Black. As much black as possible. If the camera would work with black glass in the lenses then they'd be black too. That doesn't mean I won't buy silver. I purchased the M.Zuiko 40-150mm 'R' in silver because it was dirt cheap. And I purchase the original silver 17mm because it was cheap and the only version available at the time. And did I mention that the 45mm is also only available in silver? Along with the 12mm. It looks like Olympus is going after retro silver-bodied lenses (think Leica)…

So I Wrote This Blog Post Without a Title At First

Long day. One of the RHEL workstations lost its mind, or more specifically, its disk cluster in the middle of a critical application install that's part of a project I'm working on. As a consequence Linux insisted on dropping to a disk repair prompt due to a corrupted superblock. Crap. After a brief poking about I decided what the hell, I'll do a clean re-install. All the critical files and data were on separate physical volumes. Before I re-installed RHEL I physically detached the drives. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon between meetings and re-installing RHEL 6.2. By the time I left it was back up and running with the accounts in place. I'll finish re-attaching and mounting the data volumes in the morning.

It was 6pm by the time I left the office. Rather than go home and cook supper I punted. I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up some fresh fruit, then Chipotle for a couple of burrito bowls and than I headed home. Along that circuitous route I passed the former …

Tax Time 2012

It is, for me, that time of the year when I report to my accountant and begin the short but painful process of getting last year's expenses in order so that I can pay the rest of my taxes. I can't remember the last time I got something back; it's all I can do to stay within the law to keep my payment on April 17th as low as possible. So I have to pull all my receipts and make sure I've accounted for all legal itemized deductions.

First stage is to take all the official documentation in, such as my W2 and my kids 1098t (college) and all the other official bits of required by the government. I then get a list of all I need to finish up (a burn-down tax list), then send that all in to him electronically.

Finally, I'll show up at his place, pick up the printed out forms, write two checks (a big one to the government, a much smaller one to him) and say goodbye until this same time next year.

On days such as this I go out for a bit of what Robin Wong calls "photo th…

Colors

Since March of 2006 I have been a constant user of Olympus cameras, starting with the E-300, then moving on to the E-3, then the E-P2, and finally the E-1. During that period I used Olympus Master for post processing of JPEG output from the E-300 and E-3, then switched to Lightroom 3 for post processing of Raw from the E-3 forward. The abrupt switch from pure JPEG to (nearly) pure Raw was mid-2009, with the last six years roughly split between the two.

During that same time period I've used Olympus 4/3rds lenses exclusively with the lone notable exception of a Sigma 30mm. It wasn't until much much later that I started to mix in old OM lenses with the MF-1 adapter for 4/3rds and the MMF-1 adapter for µ4/3rds. Given my experiences of mixing lenses across all the bodies, I'd rather use native lenses designed for a given mount, and each lens has a unique color personality; different lenses on the same body, shooting the same scene, will usually require different handling if y…

Watching Out for Leprechauns

Today was St. Patrick's Day. Lulu was on duty looking for leprechauns, lest they sneak in the house and practice their mischievous ways. Lulu with her green eyes has a special gift for spotting leprechauns.

Right.

This was taken with the Olympus E-P2 and the MZ 45mm, aperture priority and auto ISO. The camera chose both the shutter speed (1/100s) and the ISO (400). Post was done with Lightroom 4. I used LR4 a bit more aggressively this time:
Highlights -100Clarity +50Shadows -50Sharpening +25Exposure -1White Clipping +25Orange Saturation and Luminance +50Yellow Saturation and Luminance +50Green Saturation and Luminance +50The goal was to bring back all the detail hidden in what appeared to be the over-exposed hightlights around the mouth, while loosing distracting detail in the shadows, and make the overall image more dramatic. The change in the orange, yellow, and green channels was to accentuate the eyes and the the nose, especially the eyes, which have a green and gold look to …

TGIF Week 12 2012

It's been almost a week since my last group of posts on Sunday. A long quiet period when I engaged with the real world and let the virtual world fly past.

Oh, I read all the news coming across the various services and fired off a multitude of tweets of 140 characters or less. While Shakespeare may have written in Hamlet that "brevity is the soul of wit" all I proved in my tweeting is that brief nonsense is still nonsense.

But tweeting was a way to scratch the need to write itch, even if said "writing" was as mundane as my longer winded blog posts.

Today I worked at home to help look after my wife, who had an out-patient procedure to correct a vision problem involving her eyelids. After coming home and sleeping for nearly four hours, she's up and about and already is happy that her vision is completely unblocked. Before the procedure she said it was like looking through partially open curtains. Now we just need to follow the doctor's directions so that t…

Another Sunday and Another Trip Back Home

Occupy Tallahassee

While other Occupy camps are being roughly disbanded by over-militarized local police (New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, etc), the camp in Tallahassee seems to be alive and well, having been established since October of last year, and having been at this location since Thanksgiving.

I found this while leaving Tallahassee after stopping by the Broken Brogan (see more below). I met several camp inhabitants this morning and they were all quite friendly. One of them, Aaron, gave me a thumbnail history of the area, stressing the fact that the city gave them permission to occupy this vacant lot at the corner of West Madison and South Duval. Apparently the Occupy group went to great pains to occupy the area legally.


I find it amazing that the city of Tallahassee would be so open-minded and cooperative with the Occupy group. Or perhaps I shouldn't be, with Florida State University and Florida A&M sitting right next door to the group. Both of these storied …

Sunday Morning Toons

I remember as a kid growing up in Atlanta when the Sunday paper was so special. It was because of the 'toons. As I got a little older I enjoyed the editorial cartoons as well. Here's two pinched from NPR that remind me of those times, as well as pretty much sum up my growing despair and paranoia over U.S. trampling of our Constitutional rights. I thought this trampling would end when Obama was elected in 2008. Instead the erosion of our Constitutional rights has continued and is accelerating. If the Republicans had even a shred of party integrity and cared about this country as much as they claim, then they would have chosen Ron Paul as their presidential nominee long ago and been done with it. I could certainly vote for Ron Paul.