Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mortality - Drawdy Rouse Cemetery

Paul W Rouse
Ervin Dan Rouse
Joseph Clark Drawdy
I stopped by Rouse Cemetery on the way home, a small modest cemetery that has residents born over 100 years ago (see Paul W. Rouse above, who was born in 1906). The cemetery is located at the north end of Rouse Road, right before it turns due east and becomes McCulloch Road. It's surrounded by heavy woods and has a simple chain-link gate at the front. When I arrived around 5:30 this afternoon it was still open. I assume it's locked up during the night and is reopened in the morning.

Based on what little I've been able to discover via Google, the Rouse Cemetery is also referred to as the Drawdy Rouse Cemetery. I'm assuming that this cemetery was started long ago when this section of Orange was heavily rural, far more than it is today. All that's left are bits and pieces of the old forest, such as the section that surrounds this cemetery from where Corporate Blvd dead-ends into Rouse and north up Rouse until Rouse ends at McCulloch Road. I've started an informal inquiry to find who is in charge of the cemetery, to discover more of its history.
Family of Four
As I slowly walked about amongst the graves I came across little stories told by the names on the tombstones and the objects left around each grave. This grave looked to contain the remains of a family of four, both parents and at least two children. It was a long tombstone, but what was striking were all the toy cars (they looked like Hotwheels, but I let them alone) that were lined up along the base of the monument. I don't know the story behind this death, and I'm not so sure I could bear to hear it.
Grandma, Teacher
Faith Bless Love
While no one wants to see loved ones die, the loss of children is the hardest of all. Every time I see hints and traces of the loss of small ones I count my blessings and think about my children that have now reached their 20s.
According to what limited information I can find about Drawdy Rouse, it's supposed to be haunted. While I was there, the lone living inhabitant in a very quiet and peaceful cemetery, I never felt it was "haunted." It was a cloudy afternoon (a large rainstorm had passed through the area several hours before), leaving a Romantic light that seemed to coat everything with a beautiful luminous touch. I came away not afraid, but a bit saddened, certainly curious, but better for having taken a moment to slow down and pay my respects.

I will probably go back, and I am going to look in on as many local cemeteries as I possibly can. Out ancestors, immediate and remote, should not be forgotten.


I used an Olympus E-1 with a Zuiko Digital 1:2/50mm macro lens and an Olympus E-PL2 with the Leica 1:1.4/25mm lens. I'll let you figure out which one was which. Post processing done in Lighroom 4.1.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Pair of Classics

You can rave all you want about the newest that 2012 has to offer, but I still find myself drawn to what Olympus delivered back in 2003. The Olympus E-1 had its genesis back in February 2001 when Olympus and Kodak announced a joint venture to develop new digital photographic technology. Olympus provided the lens expertise while Kodak provided the sensor. Under the right conditions, shooting at ISO 100, and with the Zuiko Digital 2/50mm macro, that "old" camera can produce some mighty sweet results. All of this with just five "puny" megapixels. I've shot with 10 and 12 and higher on other brands, but I still keep coming back to this combination of camera and lens. I will never truly appreciate all that this camera can do, and that extends to all the other cameras I have. Why do I keep constantly chasing the new when the current I have in hand co still do so much? What is it I'm supposedly not getting?

Long live the E-1.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sixth Car Shopping Weekend - Chevy Volt and Spark

Chevy Volt
2011 Chevy Volt
Chevy Spark
2013 Chevy Spark
It's been a while since we went out to look at cars. The last trip was actually back when I took the Prius in for its regular maintenance at the new Toyota of Orlando location. While we were there waiting on the car my wife went out for a test drive in a 2012 regular Prius. Once my car was finished we went home.

Today in the middle of the heat we went over to Courtesy Chevrolet, across the street from Toyota of Orlando's former location on Colonial. We needed to at least look at the Chevy Volt, and at least check it off our list. It's a good thing we did, because it isn't worth $45,000, let along half that. Talk about sticker shock...
Chevy Volt Pricing
The surprising price tag
Chevy Volt Interior
The nondescript interior
We never took one out for a test drive. In fact, we were pretty much left alone for a fairly long period of time before anyone came out to talk to us. The salesman was pleasant enough, but activity seemed pretty dead (or else the sraff was very, very busy and we just didn't see them).

We looked pretty closely at the interior and the exterior of the Chevy Volt on display. And we were disappointed. The materials, at best, were nondescript, the kind of materials you'd find in a low end car from just about every other manufacturer. When you put a $45,000 price tag on a car, I expect to see the materials, fit, and finish of a $45,000 car. Trying to say that the cost is tied up in the technology underpinnings won't cut it. If you can't use luxury materials you can at least design the interior creatively to give the impression of a luxury interior. The interior of the Volt looked no more different than, say, the sub-$20,000 Spark sitting a few cars down from it.
Chevy Volt Charging Port
External power port and Volt logo just forward of the driver side door
Chevy Volt Hood Open
2011 Chevy Volt engine compartment
Even the Volt's mileage is suspect. While I can attest to getting 50MPG combined or more with our 2009 Prius under regular use, the Volt's "94MPG electric/37MPG gas" numbers I found somewhat bogus. I've never been a big fan of plug-in hybrids, or at least the way the Volt's hybrid system is designed. And to be honest I'm holding the new plugin Prius somewhat suspect as well, until I get more information. Chevy/General Motors is having a hard time telling their story to me about the Volt, and in the process they're not making a sale, most certainly not at that price.
Chevy Spark Pricing
2013 Chevy Spark particulars
Chevy Spark Hood Open
2013 Chevy Spark engine
Chevy Spark Interior
2013 Chevy Spark front interior
Chevy Spark Rear Driver Side Seat Down
2013 Chevy Spark rear seat folded flat
Chevy Spark Hatch Open
2013 Chevy Spark hatch open, rear seats up.
We were pleasantly surprised by the Chevy Spark. I was able to sit comfortably in both the driver and passenger sides, and we liked the styling. Unlike the slab-sided Soviet-era GM design of the Volt, the Spark and the Sonic that sat between it and the Volt were reasonably priced and interestingly designed little cars. When I compare the interior of the Spark with the Volt, I see little to differentiate the two, which is a shock considering that the Spark is nearly $30,000 less than the Volt. Or, to put it a different way, I could have bought two nicely equipped Sparks with plenty of cash left over for the price of one Chevy Volt. My wife discovered that the Spark's sub-assemblies are made in Korea and assembled in America. The design of the Spark (and the Sonic) is bears a strong design resemblance to Hundai. I wonder if perhaps the remnant of Daewoo Motors, which GM owned and eventually deconstructed due to "brand damage", are responsible for the bulk of the Spark's manufacture in Korea.

One final comment about the finish of the Volt; the lower door edge on the shotgun side showed nicks and marks from what appeared to be traffic getting into and out of vehicle. I have never seen that kind of early wear on any vehicle, which was another reason to question why I would ever spend $45,000 on a Chevy Volt.

I'm glad we had an opportunity to look at the Volt, the Spark, and a bit at the Sonic. We'll keep the Spark in mind as we begin to trade the Kia Sedona in for a new vehicle. But unless a miracle occurs with the Chevy Volt, I will never look at one again nor recommend it to anyone else I know.

As for cost, the MSRP for the various versions of the Spark and Sonic place them in direct competition with the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Scion iQ, and Smart ForTwo. Just about everybody beats the ForTwo, and the iQ is questionable. The Nissan Versa looks good at first until you get closer, then it begins to suffer. The Toyota Yaris is the only car that can compete effectively with the Spark. The only problem with the Spark is its relatively low mileage in comparison with others in its class. It should be getting 38-40MPG on the highway. If the mileage were higher, or the price lower, we would be seriously considering it or its larger cousin the Sonic. I'm not saying that we'll buy it, but if you can get a good deal on the Spark, pushing the price below $15,000, then it would make a decent little city/urban runabout, either as a first time car or a second economy alternative to a larger family vehicle like a van.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Small Sign of Hope

Out on our weekend runs, I stopped into the Best Buy across from the Mall of Millenia (where the former Circuit City once stood) looking for a class 10 16GB µSD card. The parking lot was about half full, and I didn't expect to have a problem finding a spot to park. But then I came across five slots right at the front, in the same area you'd find handicap parking, and found these reserved for "Fuel Efficient Vehicle Parking Only."

This is the first time I've seen anything like this near a commercial business. I've seen it in a few spots in downtown Orlando, and I've seen it around UCF, especially near Partnership III in Research Park next to UCF (see the example below). The difference between the signs is somewhat stark. Whereas the Best Buy signs say "Only", the UCF signs say "Preferred". And the working effects how the slots are used. While I was standing there taking this photo two other hybrids showed up and parked in two other slots. But all the other traffic that was cruising around the Best Buy parking lot parked elsewhere.

This is in stark contrast to the Partnership III parking slots. Whereas Best Buy has only five, Partnership III has 24. Finding hybrid vehicles beside my own in those Partnership parking lots was rare at the best of times. They were filled with everything from ragged-out student cars to massive SUVs, none of them hybrids except for my little red Prius and the handful of others that managed to get into them early in the morning. And considering it's the educational locations that should be more in tune with being green, you'd think that all of those Partnership III slots would be filled with hybrids. I can certainly tell you that I saw them scattered about  the main lot, more than enough to fill the "Preferred" slots.
Preferred Parking
These parking places are a very small step towards a better integrated energy policy. The way Best Buy has them laid out is the way they should all be laid out. They drive home alternatives and reward the use of alternatives: closer parking. We need a lot more of these little steps if we're ever going to do more than pay lip service to energy efficiency and ween ourselves off fossil fuels. Education in particular needs to really lead the way.


This is post 44 for the month of July. This marks the most posts I've made in any given month.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Environmental Colors

The worse time to walk from the office to the sub shop is mid-day in the height of summer. Either the rain is beating down on you, or the sun is out and the heat is beating down on you. Either way, you come back wet with rain or sweat, but you come back wet. I suppose if I had my druthers I'd prefer the days without rain, except if rain is absent long enough we wind up with dry conditions and wildfires. We need the rain. And lots of it.

When the rains do come the vegetation (trees, grass, shrubs, flowering plants) thrive and turn vibrant colors. Grass and other green leafy plants seem to glow green. New growth can come out almost any color, such as these little oak sprouts (suckers) coming out of the base of this small oaks trunk.
Even the works of man can show subtle shades of color, especially when it's been broken down and mixed about. Consider this small section of debris on the site of the former arena where they're constantly demolishing it. Shattered concrete, metal, insulation, old brick pavers, and creeping grass mix about into an interesting industrial Rorschach test.


I'm still infatuated with the Leica 25mm on the Olympus E-PL2 body. That's a potent little handful. And yet, I've been pulling excellent results out of the E-P2 using the M.Zuiko 45mm lens.

I love what the 25mm can do when I slow down and coax it a bit. The bent tree trunk at top is sharp from front to edge and seems to hang in mid-air against the green background, as if it were cut out with an X-Acto knife. Where parts are sharp, they're very sharp. When elements get blurry, they get blurry quickly falling away from the plane of focus.

I really need to learn more about the capabilities of the camera, lens and Lightroom 4.1, and really build clarity in my photographs. I keep looking at Kirk Tuck and Ming Thein, just to name two, and seeing clarity in their work. That kind of clarity comes from something other than pixel-peeping, and I mean to master that particular technique.

It's Hot

Parfait Friday
I cooked supper tonight. Farm-raised salmon with spices rubbed on and lightly brushed with olive oil, cut up steak potatoes in a light coating of olive oil, a little salt, grated Parmesan cheese, baked on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, simple salad with oil and vinegar. The salmon was cooked in aluminum foil for 20 minutes to keep in the juices. Then we were bad and drove up to the closest TCBY where it's parfait Friday and ordered a pair of frozen yogurt parfaits for desert.

When we went out for the frozen yogurt it was 8:45pm and the temperature was still 90°. My wife and I don't live an exorbitant life style. We try to eat reasonably healthy, which means simple ingredients and small portions, with as little to no industrial food as possible. I don't know where the frozen yogurt falls on the scale of Being Good vs Being Bad, but it's one of those little rewards we give ourselves. After all, parfaits on parfait Friday are just $3 each.

I mentioned how hot it was. Folks expect Florida to be hot, especially tourists. Especially in the summer. If you look at our statistics you find it is hot in the summer. But this year, it's been hotter longer than just about any time in my memory. I'm not a native. I moved to Orlando from Atlanta back in 1984 with my new bride. We lived in a modest rental house in the downtown area for the first year until we found this, our one and only house, in 1985.

When I first moved to Florida it would rain in the summer afternoons between 2 and 3 pm. People at the time remarked you could almost set your watch by the summer showers, they were so regular. That pattern kept up pretty much through the rest of the 1980s, and then began to tape off in the early 1990s. The rain became more erratic, and when it did come, the showers were more intense and lasted longer. Mini dry spells would develop and continue for at about a week, where the sun baked the moisture back out of the ground and the foliage. Driving home today I saw lawns beginning to burn yellow from the intense heat and lack of periodic (daily) rains.

The most frightening period for me was and still is 1998, when nearly all of Florida turned tinder-box dry and nearly burned down. The drought eventually broke and the rains came back, but I still remember the wall of smoke that cut off I-4, looking east, from the 436 bridge as I got off that day. And I could smell the smoke coming through the sealed up air-conditioned car I was driving that day. For year after that I would drive north up I-95 to Amelia Island for summer vacation, and on both sides of the road, sometimes for as far as the eye could see, would stand the burned-out pines and oaks from that period. The underbrush was growing back rapidly, but it was a startling contrast when I firs saw it.

This year, though, is intensely hot. This year feels as bad as 1997/98. We've been breaking heat records in Florida just like around the rest of the country. Here's a disturbing map courtesy of Climate Central (Record Summer Temperatures, By The Numbers) showing nationwide record temperatures for the month of June:
I don't know what the colors mean, I need to email the blogger and find out. I intend to keep track of Florida, as this is the kind of information our future generations will be interested in, if they're still around to care.

I'm taking time out to enjoy my modest life, to savor more of the moments as they come. Moments such as the ability to drive up and eat a $3 parfait with my wife. I feel we really are on the edge of a major event, an event we're not going to be able to do much about if anything. It makes life in these days just that more important to me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Looking at the Palm Parkway Construction, July 2012

Googlee Eyes
I dropped by to check on the progress of the new bridge being built across I-4 between Palm Parkway on the west side and lower International Drive on the east side. The area is being filled in with soil transported from other areas. It doesn't appear to be sand, but a very dark soil that reminds me of potting soil I might buy at Home Depot. If I had a civil engineer with me, he or she might give me a better clue. I don't think it would surprise me if the dark fill soil is in fact a richer soil that could be used to grow food. The more good soil we waste and cover, the less we have to grow anything, and most importantly, grow food to feed ourselves. I've been reading how the drought in the mid-West is pushing up futures for grain, which will push up food prices next year in the U.S. as well as trigger a repeat of middle-East uprisings due to crippling price rises in basic foods. With all that's happening to our farmland due to drought and erosion we're nuts to go around covering good productive soil over, or even worse, pilling it up and then covering it over.
Rush Hour

The Good Old Days

Please Play with Me!
These are photos taken in November 2008 when Ruby was ten weeks and Max was eight. Their fourth and twelfth year birthdays, respectively, are coming up in August. For whatever reason I got all sentimental and started to look for these particular photos. Max has certainly grown older since then, with prominent dark areas around the eyes. Ruby has just grown up, although if you see them standing side by side there's no mistaking smaller Ruby from larger Max.

Max is still as energetic as ever, and takes to his walks with the same gusto he's shown since he was a five month old juvenile. Ruby has been "trained" by Max, and acts as his backup annoyer when I don't move fast enough to dress them out in their leads for their daily walks. The only difference is I'm now careful not to walk Max nearly as far as I once did. His age, my knees, and the heat and humidity make me more cautious about the time and distance on any single walk. Instead we spend time out in the big back yard running, chasing, and playing catch.
Mellow Moment
In spite of what the photos may show, Max is devoted to Ruby and always has been. When Ruby first arrived he was more curious about her than territorial, trying to figure out how to play with her. He did love to tease her and Ruby teased right back. One of my favorite photos was this last one of the two of them on perimeter patrol. Max was always checking out the fence, and Ruby was right behind him. When they were walking like this they reminded me of the two Warner cartoon characters, Spike and Chester, although not nearly as crazy. And neither chase cats.
Showing Ruby the Perimeter
It was also the good old days as far as my photography was concerned. All these photos (and a whole lot more) were taken with the Olympus E-300, an 8MP 4/3rds camera and the 40-150mm 1:3.5-4.6 and the 14-45mm 1:3.5-4.5 kit lenses. The lenses had no ED or other special elements in their formulation, and they were both large and relatively heavy with metal bayonets, but they were both very good lenses for what they were. The 40-150mm lens in particular, which was used to take the top two photos, gave a pretty good performance, almost as good as my Zuiko Digital 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Mark II. I'd had this particular setup since March 2006 and I'd really gotten (back) into photography. I was so impressed with the Olympus system that a month later, in December, I'd purchase my E-3 with two lense, the 12-60mm, and 50-200mm.

The images were JPEGs taken straight from the camera and re-sized with Olympus bundled post processing software.

As much as we talk about the latest cameras such as the digital Pens and the OM-D E-M5, when I look back on what I've taken with everything over the last 10 years I would be challenged to re-shoot then any better. Which begs the question, has all that camera gear purchased since the E-300 really been necessary, or worth the extra expenditures?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a village for those who see the world as a playground

It's interesting what you can see if you're not too wrapped up in your own little world. Spotted this outside the sub shop at lunch. Something about the sunlight and shade and the lone translucent violet flower that seemed to float in the middle of it all. Taken with the Leica 25mm at f/1.6. I could have opened it up, but stopping down gives just that little extra depth of field and contrast.
Driving home, waiting at a light before hitting the 408, a UCF shuttle shows up and parks right next to me. Bright post colors on white, contrasting against the deep blue sky, flecked with clouds. And then I recognized the stylized iPhoneographer. I had to photograph the iPhoneographer.
I made another stop by the old arena. They've pretty much town everything down, and now they're digging into the lower sections where the basement and the basketball court used to be. I got a number of interesting compositions with these two, prowling and digging through the rubble.

The silly signs are still up. Looks like they've replaced all the old and dirty ones with a newer, hipper set. I find it disturbing that the sign uses icons from a 1978 arcade game, Space Invaders. Five thousand years of art, culture, and technical advancement, and the best we can do is make signs using 8-bit icons. It seemed appropriate to see a pile of gravel above the sign. That's what we seem to be reducing our whole world to, nothing but piles of lifeless gravel.


After Monday's personal Twitpocalypse scornfest I unleashed against the official arrival of the Canon EOS-M, I decided to give it a rest and let the dust settle around the rest of the blogosphere (how's that for long-winded term dropping?)

I stumbled around the Internets to see just how far off base I might have been with regards to my opinion regarding Canon's mirrorless entry. It looks like not far, but I was a bit over-the-top, perhaps, with my uninformed opinion. Just a bit.

Of all the opinions I've read so far, I believe Thom Hogan's post "Welcome, Canon. Seriously" pretty much hit on all the right points. Or right on the few he covered, which were the important ones. His post got me to really thinking about not just Canon's entry, but why it entered the market with the EOS-M.

Why Now?

Two reasons. First, Because Canon had no other choice. Canon is the largest camera manufacturer in the world, both in terms of gross sales and DSLRs. In 2010, the last year I can get statistics, overall Canon sold over twice as much as Nikon. But here's the funny part; Canon barely beat Nikon in DSLR sales. And here's the not-so-funny part: compared to what their sales numbers were in 2008, Canon's sales dropped slightly from 2008 to 2010, while Nikon's remained flat. Looking at how their DSLR sales were between 2008 and 2010, Canon's barely rose while Nikon's shrank slightly. As Thom Hogan has been pointing out on a fairly regular basis in his blogs, the camera business hasn't been all that good for anybody for some number of years. The only reason Canon makes as much money as it does is because it has a far more diverse business line than just cameras. Nikon, unfortunately, is more of a pure-play camera company and it unfortunately shows in its sales numbers.

Second, market success. Success which has led to growth for everyone involved. Canon entered now because Canon perceives that the market is large enough to sustain its products and supporting logistical business structure. Products don't magically appear. Technology intense products such as digital cameras require expensive engineering, labor-intensive manufacturing (especially those lenses), and supporting supply chain. The larger a company is, the larger the markets must be to sustain them, and this one is now big enough. Canon's entry validates this market as serious, something that all the players should take as good news.

Why the EOS-M?

It was the safest technical response that Canon could make. Canon re-used the sensor assembly from the Rebel T4i and packaged it into a typical Cypershot body design. The essentials for taking excellent photographs are there; when it comes right down to it that's all anyone really wants.

Why $800? That's the "Goldilocks price" that makes the camera not to hot and not too cold. To hot (low price or high features) and you run the risk of creating a camera that cannibalizes Canon's regular low-end DSLRs. Too cold (to expensive, not enough feature) and nobody wants it. But just right and it's high enough to keep the "practical" customers away who complain about the lack of "value-add" but just low enough to help entice the early adopters. And that's what Canon wants first time out of the chute. And that's apparently what they've got; according to Amazon, the EOS-M has been number 1 in preorder status since its official announcement. It will probably stay there for a while longer.

With the EOS-M Canon has come into this market of mirrorless interchangeable cameras right where they want to be, with a solid initial product that will pay for itself in short order and establish their beachhead. It doesn't matter if it won't focus as fast as any other competitors, or if focus with EF-L lenses "is almost painful." They now have the market buzz, the attention of their customer base, and it's all positive for them right now. It doesn't really matter what we "enthusiasts" think. Canon has already succeeded with the EOS-M. They just need to execute with later models to continue to succeed, and that will be the story to pay attention to.

One Final Note

The EF-M is a 22mm 1:2 prime lens. The closest equivalent focal length wise in µ4/3rds is the full stop slower M.Zuiko 1:2.8/17mm, and for basically the same MSRP of $300 (although you can find it cheaper if you shop around). If you want something as fast in µ4/3rds it's the M.Zuiko 1:2/12mm, a 24mm equivalent for $800. If Canon can continue to produce fast prime lenses like the 22mm at this price, then there'll be no more excuses for slower and/or more expensive lenses from the rest of the players. Or at least I would hope.

Update 30 July

Someone wrote about the Panasonic 1:1.7/20mm lens for $400. That's an almost reasonable response, except it's $100 more than the Canon. And the Canon 22mm has a 35mm equivalent of 1.6 x 22 or 35.2mm, which rounded down is 35mm. The Panasonic is more a normal lens of around 40mm equivalent in 35mm terms. That's why I turned and started at the Olympus 17mm. The only other 17mm equivalent for µ4/3rds is the Voigtländer 17.5mm f/0.95 manual focus lens for about $1,300.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Industrial Photography

Rails on Rails
Driving up and down 414 to Mt. Dora, I passed this locomotive and the industrial area. The problem is I'd drive past it in the morning when the lighting was good, then drive past it in the early afternoon when the sun was on the other side and casting it all in shadow. So today I got up early enough to do my chores around the house, then I drove my wife up to a service at RDV in Maitland. After dropping her off I continued across Maitland to the newly built 441 and on back up to this spot, where I stopped and spent about 30 minutes just walking about and photographing.
Flatcar Connector
I carried all three Pens, and probably looked like something of a dork while doing it. But on a Sunday morning, with little traffic and nobody at work, it didn't matter. I came away with photos taken with the 17mm, the 45mm, and the 25mm. As silly as it might sound, carrying three Pens with lenses is a lot lighter than carrying the E-3 with the 12-60mm. Seriously.
Cab Inland Lakes Railway
Inland Lakes Railway Long Shot
Under the Bridge 3
The bridge construction sits next to the locomotive's location. I switched to black and white photography for everything. I wanted to check out the sensor's capability to capture as much tonality as possible. I managed to loose highlight detail in the skies on both of these photographs, but kept the detail I was looking for on the lit surfaces as well as in the shadows.
Under the Bridge 1


Most of these were taken with the M.Zuiko 17mm. The top black and white bridge shot was taken with the 25mm. The long shot of the locomotive was taken with the 45mm. Everything post processed in Lightroom 4.1 and Silver Efex Pro 2.


Given enough time I'm sure I'll grow tired of the Pens. But right now this little collection of bodies and lenses has lit a fire inside that has me photographing and writing like crazy. This makes the fifth entry I've written in one day, and that's something of a personal record. This also makes the 37th entry for one month. I haven't posted this many monthly entries since January and February of last year, when I posted 43 entries for each of those months. There's still nine more days left in July, so I have plenty of time to meet, if not exceed, those records.

Mt Dora

Piglets Pantry
Words of Doggy Wisdom
After our second trip to Renningers we drove across 441 to the historic section of Mt. Dora and the Palm Tree Grill and Bar for lunch. It was good and filling, and reasonably priced considering the quality of the interior. When we finished we walked across the intersection to Piglet's Pantry Dog Bakery to have a look. Piglet's, according to the sign at the door, has been in business since 1997. Piglet's was named after the owner's Greyhound. When we left we'd picked up some treats for the Labs and the cats. Based on what we saw and how the Labs and cats took to the treats, we'll be back.
The Lost Parrot
Directly across the street from Palm Tree Grill is The Lost Parrot, another bar and grill. I remember this location fro 2003. That year I was trying to train for an M&S road ride, and one of the training rides was to Mt. Dora. We stopped at this location for lunch and to rest. It wasn't called The Lost Parrot back then. I went looking for this business on Google Maps, and found that before it was The Lost Parrot it was The Frosty Mug. I don't know how old the Google Maps information of the area is, so I have no idea when it changed. I can't recall if it was The Frosty Mug back in 2003. If you look at The Lost Parrot hanging from the doorway, you'll see where the current owners painted over the original brick red with light green.
Building Still Life
On the way back to where we'd parked I saw this collection of architecture and stopped to grab a photo. I knew as soon as I saw it that the only way to process it was in black and white.
I felt the same way when I saw this Harley parked next to the Palm Tree. And after working with the photo in post processing I came close to achieving the "look" I've seen in Ming Thein's black and white work. I say close. Going back and looking I still have a long long way to go before I can match his technique, not his images.


Everything taken with the E-PL2 and the Leica 25mm. Basically it was a Leica lens weekend, except for Sunday morning. I can't deny it, I love what that lens can do on all three Pen bodies. If Panasonic were to come out with any other Leica branded lenses I think I'd buy them as well.