Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Final

So what's the deal banana peel?
Well I got me this new lens and I gotta say, it's doing what it's supposed to be doing.
At 50mm, it's like 75mm in Nikon DX lingo, meaning I get a bit of extra length although I give up some field of view.
I had some images but they weren't good examples.  I'll try again later.
Then again, FOV wasn't really a concern.
I was more interested in a shallow depth of field, like really shallow.
How shallow?
Let's see:

The first image was taken with my zoom at 18mm at f3.5.
The second with the new lens at f1.8.
That's a whopping difference in DOF!
That's also some fuzzy cactus!
How shallow is it?
Check this out:

The center set of pokeys are in focus but the ones on the side aren't.
That's freakin shallow!
So shallow, you can get a circular blur thing going on the round pokey cactus:

Okay that's a bit extreme, but I plan on using this lens for portrait photography, like in the olden days styles.
More on this later.
I gotta say, I miss the wider field of view, so I may be looking at a 35mm f1.8 later on.
I don't know if I'm quite ready to spend the big bucks on a wide angle lens.
You know, this photography stuff can get insane fast and I don't know if I can hold on to my sanity.
If you know what I mean.
For now though, this new to me set up will be keeping me busy:

I'm also hoping this lens will let the kids get a little more creative with their portraits and maybe some other projects.
We'll be exploring shutter speed and aperture next and I'm working on what their project will be.
Something diabolical, for sure.
Stay tuned.

Sunday Early Edition

Sort of on the late side.
Of the Early Edition I mean.
Well I did have to drive over to the Honolulu side of the island this morning and that set me back a bit.
If you know what I mean.
The reason I traveled far and wide is for you, the reader, and I saw something on CL that I decided to pick up:

This is the cheapest of Nikon's 50mm lenses, but it's sort of on the fast side so I wanted to try it out.
The kids are doing well on their portrait projects and I wanted to give them the chance to shoot with a lens with some serious depth of field.
I actually have my eyeballs on the 50mm f1.4, but I gotta save up some bucks for that puppy.
Anyways off I went into the jungles of Waikiki for I was able to score this lens for less than a hunski.
That actually didn't take too long, but I got sidetracked.
First of all, I stopped by the camera place, but they didn't have what I was looking for in stock.
Then on the way home, I wanted to take some pictures to compare the field of view of my two pieces of glass.
So made like a tourist I did and I stopped off at the Pali Lookout, on top of the mountain halfway between Honolulu and Flat Tire Land:

Tourists have to pay to park here.
I get in free.
Cause I live here.
Don't you know.
Up the ramp to a panoramic view of the Windward side of O'ahu:

First, some background.
The lookout is built on what was once the road that led to Kailua, I mean Flat Tire Land.
You had to steer your horse and buggy up the long hill, over the top and back down again.
The modern day highway and tunnels follow that route sort of,  and the original road is still accessible.
Not to autos, but to hikers and adventurers only.
Anyways, usually this place is like in the clouds for it rains here almost everyday, in the mountains I mean and the wind is usually blowing something fierce.
By fierce I mean you have to walk at like a 70 degree angle to make any forward progress and folks who have tried to jump off the cliff have actually been blown back on the rocks below.
Pali by the way, is Hawaiian for cliff.
There was also a famous battle fought here, where Kamehameha the first defeated some chief winning control over O'ahu and finally unified the islands.
Informational thingy:

The area where the lookout is built is pretty much the only place they could have built a road, in the olden days anyways, for it pretty much looks like this on both sides:

Looks impressive, but actually only about 3,000 ft. at the highest point.
I don't usually come up here although I pass by everyday going into town and coming home.
I get here oh, once every five years or so, if I want a picture or if I get some visitors from out of town.
So, how did my new lens do?
More in the Final Edition.

Monday, October 22, 2012

So Now What?

Well the you know what hit the proverbial fan.
Poor Lance Armstrong.
I mean poor rich Lance Armstrong.
Caught up in his own web, so to speak.
Well now he's banned for like forever and now no one actually won them seven Tours.
I mean you can't exactly give the Yellow Jersey to number two, cause who knows who was juicing?
I gotta admit, the list of folks accusing and admitting is pretty long and now that they all turned Floyd on him it's difficult not to start believing that the doping and the juicing were really going on.
Boy, I'd like to get my hands on some EPO.
For clinical use of course.
Not that it would help me any.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, the thing is: who cares?
No really.
Okay, I suppose there are some folk who'd like to know how he got away with it for all them years and after all them tests, but besides that, who really gives a you know what?
I suppose some may feel a bit let down, okay, I sort of do, but in the back of my mind I mean really, he wasn't doping?
Like he beat all them other doping juicing folks without doping and juicing too?
I'm telling you, once I saw that clip of "the Look" and how he rode away from Ulrich and everyone going freakin up hill, I mean seriously, that's just not natural.
That's EPO.
The way I look at it, it's like NASCAR.
Everybody cheats.
It ain't cheating unless you get caught.
He got caught.
Sort of.
I mean he got caught like way after the fact.
The American thing to do is to just put an asterisk after his name.
Hell put an asterisk after that whole era why don't you.
Send some UCI dude over to Lance's house with a Sharpie and put a big ole asterisk on all seven of his yellow jerseys so that every time someone comes over he'll have to explain that he won, but it was during "that era."
So it counts, but it don't count.
Sort of like kissing your sister, except that don't count.
Kissing your sister I mean.
Besides, what are supposed to do with them jerseys anyway?
I guess you could use them to wash your bicycle, especially since you aren't getting no freebies anymore.
Maybe you can use them to dust off your shelves after you take down all the pictures and awards cause looking at em makes you want to do evil things.
Send them off to USADA, maybe they got some kind of special shredder that makes mulch out of pictures and jerseys and Olympic medals.
Anyways for me, it's like whatever.
The dude doped, the dude won them Tours.
I mean he still had to get on a bicycle and ride.
It's not like he hopped off, caught a bus and jumped back on his bicycle at the finish.
Well okay, Lance won all them Tours, but he's no winner.
If you know what I mean.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Early Edition

In the course of human events, I use my flash drive a lot.
Some of the kids don't have one and I'm always moving files from this computer to this computer to that computer.
I also have a school computer and the one I'm using now so I'm also transferring files back and forth between them.
I use my flash drive pretty much everyday.
The flash drive I started the year with was an old one, one I had for a while:

Two things I need in a flash drive: the ability to hang on my key ring, and a cap that can't be lost.
As you can see, that cap is floating somewhere on the event horizon.
That Kingston drive served me well until I lost it.
The cap I mean.
Well I also lost the flash drive, but as you can see, I found it.
Anyways me being me, I don't need much reason to upgrade, and the lost cap was a good enough reason, I needed to upgrade:

So I got me a pair of these Sandisk Extreme drives, one in 16g, the other 32.
You know, one for home and one for work.
USB 3.0 dont' you know.
Lemme just say right here, the difference between USB 3 and USB 2 is like night and day.
Or like me on a bicycle and well, anyone else on a bicycle.
Me being USB 2 and anyone else being USB 3.
It's that much faster!
A 7 gig file took around ten minutes on USB 2 and like less than four on USB 3 to transfer.
No really, it's fast.
Not that I transfer a ton 7 gig files everyday, it is nice to have.
Anyways, my 16g flash died, maybe cause I drop my keys a lot or maybe because I keep forgetting to send the thing to the trash(it's a Mac thing).
I tried reformatting it on my computer but no dice, now it's a Windows only flash.
That's not totally true, it will transfer only certain files and the files it decides it can transfer seem to be random.
Don't ask me why.
Anyways, any reason to upgrade is a reason to upgrade so I got me this:

The flash drive to end all flash drives!
Okay, not really but it was shock proof via that rubber baby buggy bumper thingy.
I've dropped my keys once already and it bounces very nicely thank you.
I have to admit though, I got it cause it looked cool, not because I thought it would be better.
I mean it's only a flash drive, right?
So where am I going with all this?
Where exactly are you going with all this Mr. Flat?
I'm so glad you asked!
Well, that first flash drive I got cost me like ten bucks, and this last one I got cost me like forty.
What the hell was I thinking?
The thing is, that first flash drive still works!
I swear someone should write a book about me cause I don't know what the hell is wrong with me!
I beginning to think there's something clinically wrong with my brain for now I have like 3.5 flash drives and last night guess what I was doing?
That's right!
Looking at more flash drives!
I need to put them all on a string and hang them around my neck.
I need to set some parental controls on my computer.
Maybe I just need to get a life.
Or something.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Final

Not what I expected.
From that polarizing filter I mean.
First of all, it's pretty dark:

You can see there what it looks like mounted and on a white background.
It's at least an f/stop or more darker, not unlike a neutral density filter.
Because I have an auto focus camera, it is a circular polarizer as opposed to a linear polarizer.
More on this later.
Without filter:

With filter:

The sky darkens up a bit and the glare disappears from the water.
Still not getting natural color though.
Again, without:


Not too much difference but I took these when the Sun was high in the sky and reflections were at a minimum.
I think the difference will be more dramatic if I get the Sun lower on the horizon.
I also need to shoot a little hotter with that filter on to compensate for the loss of light.
Here's one with the filter I touched up:

As I said before I wear polarized sunglasses and lemme tell you when I take them on and off the differences are like black and white.
Okay, not really like black and white but the differences are more apparent than what I'm getting on the camera.
I'm not sure if it's a difference between linear and circular polarization but it's what I suspect.
I need to get down to the beach after work, when the Sun is lower and see how the filter does.
One more of a kite surfer dude:

The Nikon D200 takes some nice images.
You can see the stringy things that attach the dude to the kite!
I see a difference in sharpness compared to my old Canon and the pocket cameras I've been using.
The exposures aren't as bright as I like them to be, but maybe it's just my eyeballs.
Hopefully on Tuesday I'll have some time after work to do more experiments.

Sunday Early Edition

So I was driving to work the other day and what did I spy?
I mean usually I'm sort of on auto pilot, you know since it's like six in the morning and I don't drink coffee and I'm not really awake yet.
Even after taking a morning shower.
I'm awake, but not really awake.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, I'm like driving along which sometimes is a bit spooky cause all of a sudden I'll like wake up and I'm wondering how I got to where I was for it's like I blank out cause I'm so used to driving this route.
Well what did I see?

Not a great picture cause I took it from inside my car and I was actually driving along and I really shouldn't do that cause it's like against the law.
To be operating something other than your car while you're driving I mean.
Christmas decorations!
Like, we haven't even done Halloween yet!
Are you kidding me?
Thanksgiving is like a month away!
More than a month!
I swear, next thing you know we'll be getting ready for Christmas like right after Christmas!
Which actually may not be such a bad thing.
Sort of.
Well it was sort of Christmas last week cause I got me this:

Campagnolo Crazy!
Even though I haven't donned the spandex in like five months, I bought me this Campagnolo jersey.
I only have that other long sleeve jersey and it's not going to get chilly around these parts for like never so I wanted a short sleeve Campagnolo jersey.
You know, for that PRO look.
Besides, I read somewhere that Campagnolo is selling off the sportswear side of the business and I wanted to get one before I wouldn't be able to get one.
In fact, I may order another jersey.
You know, to frame and hang on the wall.
Anyways, the jersey is really nice and all, but I'm a bit confused by this:

Now some clothing folks make the tags out of something cool like plastic or maybe like Castelli they give you a sticker.
Honestly, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with a piece of leather and chunk of wood.
Are the folks at the Campagnolo sportswear place like cutting up the chairs and the shelves?
Is this like Campagnolo memorabilia?
Should I wrap it in plastic and freeze it?
Is this stuff like some secret Italian code?
Okay, I feel pretty stupid cause I'm not getting it.
No seriously, what do the leather and wood symbolize?
If anyone knows, let me in on the secret.
Anyways, I was hoping to actually wear it, like on my bicycle today, but it's been raining off and on and it's a white jersey and it's new so I don't want to make like Pepe le Pew and have a stripe down my back:

If you know what I mean.
I also wanted to test this out:

When I go around and take pictures of the ocean around here, I'm not really taking pictures of what I see.
That's because I see through polarized lenses, my glasses I mean are polarized and what I see is not necessarily what you get to see.
There are in fact many images that don't make it to these pages because after downloading them, they just look like pictures of the water.
The colors I tried to capture are just killed off by the glare of the sun.
Because I've been using a P&S for most the images here, I wasn't able to get a polarizing filter on the lens but now I'm able to bring to you, the reader,  a completely different view of Flat Tire Land.
Not that I'm going to be lugging that brick of a camera around with me all the time.
It weighs about a GAGILLION pounds don't you know.
Anyways, if the Sun manages to put in an appearance today, I'll go down to beach and get some before and after shots.
If I'm not to busy watching Korean dramas on Netflix.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I was baked today.
No, not that kind of baked.
Though I've been there too.
You know, back in another life.
I mean it was freakin hot and humid today!
The weather has turned to Konas, meaning the wind is blowing from the south and the vog is just hanging over the islands.
I had the ceiling fan and the small fan going and I swear I could feel the hot air just blowing around the living room.
No really.
No, I wasn't talking or anything.
It was way too hot to do anything so I just sort of sat around and perspired.
If you know what I mean.
I also cruised around the webz, just to see what was up.
Anyways, my assimilation over to the Dark Side is almost complete.
Meaning I've bee thinking of getting one of them newfangled pad things, maybe an iPad even.
I've been doing a lot o'reading on the webz lately and while scrolling through all them documents on the ole Retina screen is nice, sitting in front ole computer isn't.
Nice I mean.
It would be better if I could get the standard Couch Potato Position(CPP) and read at my leisure with cold beverage by me side.
Safari also had this nice Reader thingy where it expands the text and gets rid of all the adds, it makes web browsing so much better for me especially when I'm hunting down some relevant information.
That Kindle Fire looks good too, as does that Google thingy, but I'm going to hold off until I see what that iPad mini/nano looks like.
Which should happen sometime soon.
I hope.
The good thing is I've already talked myself out of an iPhone seeing as no one ever calls me and since no one ever calls me I don't really call no one back so maybe my assimilation will never be complete.
If prices come down over the holidays, I mean you just never know.
Sort of.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Early Edition

Hello World!
Which is what I suppose a newborn is thinking when the ole eyeballs first pop open.
On the other hand, it could be something like WTF?
Kids nowadays.
Anyways, my sister in law went to l'hopital Friday night and still hadn't done the deed when I went to visit yesterday around lunch.
Poor girl!
Not to worry for Hello World! happened sometime yesterday and I'm about to head on out to make the obligatory visit to Baby Land.
A chance to use the new camera.
Speaking of cameras, I just couldn't bring myself to pop for a new camera, especially since some other new cameras are on the horizon so I picked up the used Nikon from My Friend Hoku.
He threw in a lens and some other stuff so I could go off and take some pictures right away:

In other words, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
So anyways, with new camera in hand, off I went to the football game!
Actually, I wasn't going but I had told a student that I would go and that I would bring the camera.
The student didn't show up and I was left lugging my brick of a camera around in addition to the Canon from school.
So the new camera.
The new header shot was taken with it although I did do some altering.
The Nikon seems to take pictures a little underexposed, for me anyways.  I supposed I like my pictures a bit more "hot."
It has an exposure control thingy and I've set it on the plus side so my pictures are a little brighter.
I've shot mostly on P, letting the camera do the work as I practice using all the buttons.
Now the football game is another story.
In daylight it was fine:

Well, maybe not.
I left the AWB on and since it was an overcast day, it was going all goofy.
Especially when the lights went on:

The AWB saw this as cloudy even though all the clouds were gone.
I also shot on Aperture for a bit, trying to see if I could gain any more shutter speed.
That didn't work out so good.
I still haven't found the best settings for the football game.
It was the last game anyways and I got until next year to work it all out.
Or get another lens.
Which I'm going to do anyways since basketball is right around the corner.
I was thinking a 35 or 50mm f/1.4, it cost a little more but I think it will be worth it.
Okay, off I go to the baby place and maybe practice shooting more pictures.
Maybe I'll have more luck shooting straight daylight.
If you know what I mean.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The List

Which is what I'm trying to get back on.
The waiting list I mean.
For a new to me kidney.
The hospital the old transplant center was at closed so there's like a new center and I got to get all registered again.
The thing is, it's been five years or so and I'm way up the list so it's almost time.
To decide I mean.
So anyways I was sitting there in the room, waiting to talk to a bunch of folks, and did I mention I was waiting?
Well I always wondered what exactly those things hanging on the wall did:

Just exactly what can you see with them newfangled doctor thingys?
Not much:

Glorified flashlights they are.
So anyways, the whole thing takes like two hours and by the time I leave I'm pretty famished.
So many places to choose from, but since it was a nice day I headed over to a lunch place and took my meal to the park:

I'm not a real eat lunch at the park kind of person, but as I said it was a nice day and I'll be going back to work soon.
Only problem was, my lunch fell of the front seat and onto the floor just as I was pulling in!
I got some gravy on the ole camera bag!
So anyways, lunch got a bit mixed up, which was okay since it was a mixed plate:

Roast pork and meatloaf covered in gravy along with some tossed salad.
Didn't look good but it was.
The benches around me were empty and I was thinking I was lucky since did I mention it was  really nice day?
Well it turns out the benches were covered by the salt spray.  It was so bad, you could actually see the spray coming over the seawall:

Well okay, you can't really see the mist there, but you can see the waves crashing over the rocks.
On both sides of me:

I'm on the south shore here, in Honolulu and the surf was supposed to be around 2-4 feet.  Not quite, but it's possible the waves were better somewhere else.
The park I was at used to be the city landfill, and the surf spot was known as Flies.
Once in a while you still get surfers there, but not so much since they built the rock walls.
Anyways, as I was sitting there eating my lunch, I was thinking about how much I miss the ocean.
All the way up until high school it seems like I lived at the beach and after I dropped out,  I used to go shore fishing quite a lot.
I sort of miss hanging out at the beach, enjoying my favorite cold beverage while watching the sun go down.
Did I  mention it was a nice day?

Last football game of the year tomorrow and time to test out the new to me camera.
Oh, did I mention I got a new camera?
More on that later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nikon D200

Okay, so what's it like?
Well as I said earlier, it's an older camera without all the bells and whistles the newfangled cameras have.
More of a PRO camera, it shoots in RAW and has for me, a minimal amount of settings.
What I mean is you can't go hog wild with your pictures once you take em, you'll need some aftermarket software for that.
First of all, this thing weighs about a GAGILLION pounds.
No really.
I could build up my biceps if I did some curls while I was standing around.
It also eats some batteries, like fast.  I took maybe a hundred shots and the battery is like over halfway dead.
I'm also getting the battery grip with this so battery life shouldn't be a problem except now I'm gonna have to lug around like 2 GAGILLION pounds.
There's no preview of your shot so you got to eyeball it and set things up accordingly.
I haven't had to eyeball shutter and aperture in a while so it'll take some getting used to, but thankfully if you need to mess around you can mess around in P as the shutter and f/stops are adjustable.
Meaning you can scroll up and down:

The first shot was taken in P at f/3.5 @ 1/1750.
Scroll the wheel and the second shot was taken at f/19 @ 1/40.
Both were taken with the lens at 28mm.
Not too bad and I like the true depth of field.
I sort of got used to P&S cameras with a DOF of about a GAGILLION feet.
Or so.
Some macro:

Again at two different f/stops, but this time I went manual so there are a bit dark.
Operator error.
Something I think we'll see a lot of with this camera.
Thank goodness for stuff like iPhoto and Aperture!
I like what this camera can do with it's full manual settings and focus, although it's like going back and navigating through MS-DOS.
I remember how.
Sort of.
Okay, not really.
I do have a plan though if I pick up this camera.
It's got a fairly decent lens on it, all I would need is another long zoom and a short fast lens.
If I pick those lenses up, I'll go and look for a newer Nikon body, like a D90 or D7000.
I can use the D200 as a back up, or just turn it around and sell it for what I paid.
Actually it's difficult to see this a second camera since it's so freakin heavy.
So I'm sort of leaning towards picking this up and using it for a bit, you know, like learning how to ride a bicycle again.
On the other hand, I've also lined up a good deal on a Canon T4i, but that comes with the kit lens and that set up will cost me more in the long run.
Do I go Canon or Nikon?
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Test Drive

The Quest goes on!
Sort of.
It's been hot and muggy recently and since I'm on vacation it's the perfect time to just sit around and do nothing.
Almost nothing.
The ole web browser has been working overtime as the Quest for Camera is in full swing.
So lemme tell you how it went today.
First I figured out what exactly I was going to spend.
Then I started looking around at all the cameras in that price range.
Then I figured maybe I should step up to the plate so to speak, you know, just get a good camera that'll last me till next year or so.
When the new cameras all come out.
If you know what I mean.
Then I started thinking, boy, I'm no photo major.
For what I'm thinking of blowing on a new camera, I could get me a new throwing wheel!
All shiny and new with quiet bearings and stuff.
Okay, I'm looking at way too much camera.
To make a long story even longer, I went all over the place today as far as cameras go.
From the eVilness to Amazon, I was there.
Finally I call up My Friend Hoku:
Hey dude, you still got that camera?
Yeppers, says he.
Okay, he didn't really say yeppers.
I made that part up.
So anyways, I jump in my car, it's like evening time now cause I've spent all day at this Quest for Camera, and off I go:

He's got this older Nikon D200 for sale along with a 28-105 zoom.
It's an older camera, like only 10.2 mp, but it's PRO.
As in none of the bells and whistles you find on them newfangled cameras.
All it does is take pictures.
Which is a good thing.
The not so good thing is that it's lacking a few things I've sort gotten used to.
One is the preview you get once you've adjusted the camera stuff so you can see how your image is going to look like.  This thing has a straight view finder.
The LCD screen is small and archaic, especially if you are used to the larger view screens on even pocket cameras.  The LCD is for post viewing only, you cannot use it to aim.
Canons in particular have articulated view screens that move around; I used mine to take pictures while holding the camera over my head.
On the plus side, I like the Nikon view finders more than the Canon's, it seems closer to the eyeball.
There are only four settings, P, S, A and M so there's no scrolling through a bunch of scene modes.
The control layout is pretty nice, easy to get used to.
Then there's the price.
He's asking only half of what I intended to spend and that's a really good thing, except I'll have to find me a short fast lens.
You know, for short fast work.
So anyways, tomorrow I'll be taking it our for a test drive, taking some pictures and seeing if this is the camera of my dreams.
Okay, it's not the camera of my dreams but really, what would I do with the camera of my dreams?
I mean I'm not even a photography major!
If you know what I mean.