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Showing posts from June, 2013

it's a slow, slow, slow, slow sunday

It's been raining on and off all day today, starting around 11am. Several thunder showers have passed over the house, but nothing that would drive the animals to take cover. Just a lot of rain varying from light showers to the occasional, if short, downpour. So I've been playing with the GX1 today with the 20mm and learning a bit more about Lightroom. Nothing specific to LR5, just general skills.

I continue to be impressed with the output from the GX1. It, combined with the 1.7/20mm, make for a very nice combination.
Ruby's photo is SOOC, cropped and resized by LR5. I discovered that changing saturation in the menus is not actually changing saturation (although I really wish I could). It changes the tint, from dark sepia at -2 to neutral to dark blue at +2. I have saturation at -1, or light sepia tint. I love the monochrome images that come out of this camera. Maybe I could do better in post with LR5 and Nik Software. Sometimes I think the light areas could be a little br…

random acts of photography

I've been hearing about random acts of violence since I was a kid; that's over a half century for me. Later some "comedian" came up with "random acts of kindness", later followed by "random acts of art" until the meme was "random acts of [fill_in_the_blank]." For me it's turning into random acts of photography, for no more reason than the mood strikes me at that particular moment. Shapes, colors, textures, design, it can all come together at the most improbable moment.

Which is why I carry a real camera at all times, even though I supposedly have a decent camera in my Galaxy S4. While the Galaxy S4's camera is indeed much better than the camera in my former HTC myTouch 4G, it's still a crappy camera for all but emergency situations. Nothing beats having a regular camera (E-1, GX1, NEX 5N, E-M5...) for the ability to hold it assuredly with one hand, shutter release comfortably under the forefinger of the holding hand. In the …

sometimes all I have are the sunsets

If I didn't have Florida sunsets (and other Florida visual sights) I'd probably shrivel up and die from depression. That's one reason I like to go out for dinner in the summertime, especially after it's rained. The clouds and the setting sun's light make for spectacular light shows that lift and invigorate the tattered human spirit.

I needed today's sunset because of Chief Justice [sic] John Robert's direct assault on the Voting Rights Act and the further enabling of the war on voting that's been waged by conservative (read:Tar Party) state houses across the nation since McCain's loss in 2008. Before this there was the Robert's court decision in the Selinas v, Texas where you're essentially damned if you do and damned if you don't with regards to the Fifth Amendment. In case you've forgotten, Justice [sic] John Roberts was the little joke former President [sic] George W. Bush left behind as part of his "legacy" as presiden…

the skies reflect our circumstances

We've been having a spate of dramatic weather over the past few months; heavy thundershowers starting mid- to late-afternoon, leading to rather dramatic sunsets. Lots of lightening and thunder walking across the landscape, near-tropical storm rain falling in sheets that slowly sweep across the landscape in front of you. I'd rather have the rain than the dry heat. I've seen Florida burn; 1998 comes to mind with walls of smoke that cut the Florida landscape into strange corridors, the horrid smell of burning, and red lurid light at sunset that made you think Hell had come to Disney World.

Right now it's a reminder of what's going on in this country and around the world. NSA, Syria, wholesale forest burning in Indonesia. And that's just the three top items that come to mind.

This was taken one evening while my wife and I were out for dinner. I had my Olympus E-M5 and the M.Zuiko 12-50mm zoom. This was definitely not taken straight out of the E-M5. It was manipul…

lucy and lightroom 5

I went ahead and purchased the Lightroom 5 upgrade last week when it finally hit the store shelves. I could have gotten a copy earlier than last Friday, but I'm old fashioned in that I want physical media if I can get it. I'm not happy about getting just a digital download, especially if it costs any amount of money. The LR 5 upgrade cost $79, whether I purchased it direct from Adobe and downloaded it or purchased the physical boxed copy from B&H Photography (which I did).

I'm trying to decide if the upgrade was worth it with regards to new features, so I've been experimenting with what are some of the advertised features, such as the radial filter. I used the radial filter to darken the background around Lucy's head to better separate her head from the background. The center of the filter is slightly to the left, almost to her right tear duct. I then darkened the shadows around Lucy's head as well as desaturated the background. I kept the color the camera…

loosing my political naïveté

I can't add more to what has flooded the news since Edward Snowden's initial leak about the NSA's whole-sale domestic spying and other unconstitutional activities, except my own personal feelings, which are intensely against the NSA's actions. I find the whole Democratic party's participation, in particular Dianne Feinstein's, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who stupidly labels the NSA's actions as "protecting America" totally reprehensible. The only Democrat with enough backbone who has shown enough anger about the revelations is Al Gore, who called the NSA's actions what they truly are, "obscenely outrageous."

And now comes the news that the U.S. government has issued a formal indictment and a request to Hong Kong to arrest him and hold him for extradition back to the U.S. I don't know if this will do any good, but I am repeating what the ACLU sent out earlier today.
Dear Friends,

Edward Snowden risked everythi…

tropical paradise

Rain or shine (and a lot more rain than shine due to a tropical storm out in the Gulf and headed our way), the Dr. Phillips Art Center continues to inexorably rise above the skyline and the elevated 408 expressway. I stopped by on the way home, parked, and walked about in the mist with the GX1 and 20mm lens. I'm in that mode where I use only one camera and one lens, and right now it's the GX1.
They're getting ready to add flying extensions to the zig-zag roof they've been working on since late last year. It will be interesting to see how it looks when it's finally attached. I'm kind of curious how the fly structures will be balanced. I can only imagine what the structural loads must be in a hurricane. This season's first tropical storm, Andrea, throwing wind and rain this far east while it still churns to the west of us in the Gulf, is a gentle reminder of the things to come later this year. I have a feeling we're in for a wetter hurricane season than …

a prodigal daughter returns

As my wife lay crippled up with pain on her bed here at our home, our two daughters lived indifferent and uncaring lives in different parts of Florida. And yet I knew that troubling portents were afoot, as the skies over these last few days have been ominously colored towards the evening, troubled skies warning of visitations to come. Sure enough, the youngest came wheeling into Orlando Monday driving an expensive German sports car a $27/day Budget rental, the New New Volkswagen Beetle. The more masculine design, not the rounded feminine New Beetle that had the flower holder on the dash. She finally acknowledged that perhaps she owed some small pittance of time to the woman who gave her life and toiled unceasingly to bring her up in this world.

That's the nice thing about being a parent. I now know all the possible ways to guilt my children into doing just about anything.
She still drives the 1994 Volvo 940, not least because she can't afford to buy a new one. But even if she…

part 2 of panasonic gx1 review posted on thewsreviews

I posted part two of my review on thewsreviews: http://www.thewsreviews.com/2013/06/panasonic-lumix-dmc-gx1-silver-part-2.html

Nothing changed from part 1; I still believe it's a great little camera, especially now that it's heavily discounted. This time I used it with the Lumix 14mm. Whether the GX1 + 14mm is on the same photographic footing as the Nikon Coolpix A, Ricoh GR Digital V, or Fuji X100s is open for discussion, but for about US$450 body and lens, it sure does a great job for me. And when the 14mm doesn't suit me for whatever reason, I can switch it out for something else, such as the 20mm or M.Zuiko 45mm. Such is the real power behind an interchangeable lens system.


linux at home: running a linux mint 15 virtual machine on windows 8

Back in my last job I got into the habit of installing every Linux distribution when it was newly released. The primary reason was to keep tabs on the evolution of the various distributions. The secondary reason was because VirtualBox, and later VMware Player, forgave a host of sins when trying to install Linux on bare metal, not the least of which was lack of driver support for the latest and greatest peripherals that were evolving at a mad pace on their own. I quickly discovered I had far greater success installing Linux virtually than I ever did directly on a notebook or desktop computer. The icing on the cake was the rapid realization that I didn't have to wipe a drive when I wanted to install a different version of a different distribution. VMs were basically very large disk files, and as long as I had enough disk space (growing from the hundreds of gigs into the single terabytes) I could just create another VM, install yet another Linux variant, and keep on truckin'. Th…