Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prep Time

Sitting in the library.
That's what I'm doing.
I'm usually here every other day same time, same place.
Out of the six periods of classes one period is designated a prep period for us teachers, meaning we are supposed to use this time to do whatever teachers do when we don't have kids in front of us.
I get in to school at about 6:30 every morning so I get my work done then so when my prep period comes along I usually hang out in the library.
It's air conditioned don't you know.
Some times I take care of the grading or make up lessons but mostly I read the newspaper or surf the webz.
I sit with my back to the wall so the librarian can't see what I'm doing.
They probably think I'm doing something school related right now.
Well actually I kinda am.
Yesterday I got this:

I'm reading up on how to use this Aperture stuff.
I mean I've used it some since I got it but I don't usually alter my images all that much and I've found iPhoto more than enough.
I've hardly touched Photoshop but I do miss being able to add text to my images and making folks walk on water and all that.
When I ordered that book I didn't bother to check how many pages it was, I mean it's just a manual but oh my goodness that thing is like 480 pages long!
I mean seriously, my images better be looking like 3d holograms after I finish reading that tome.
I guess I got something to do doing my prep periods now.
I haven't even started on my Photoshop book yet.
Anyways I've been neglecting my blog lately and that makes me kinda sad so I'm trying to find some time to get to keeping you, the reader informed.
Besides, I really like making stuff up and exaggerating about my exploits.
Okay, not really.
About the exaggerating part.
So I figure I can take like twenty minutes or so of my prep period and use that as my blogging time!

If you squint yer eyeballs you can see that I'm still using iPhoto, that's because I'm only on page 5 of the Aperture book.
The good part is I actually look like I'm working!
You know, doing photography related stuff!
Boy, why didn't I think of this earlier?
I mean I can be writing the blog and downloading photos and everyone will think I'm doing the teacher thing!

That is as long as no one from school reads this blog.
If you know what I mean.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Final

Boy, I'm really falling behind here.
Seems like only yesterday I was punching out a post a day and now I'm barely getting one a week out.
Need to work on this.
Anyways, here's one of them night pictures I finally did a bit of work on:

I'm not really happy with the composition; something's not right about it.
I mean I really like the subject, but it's missing something or I need to take it from another angle.
Or something.
I'll go out and shoot it again.
With this:

Yep, I bought me another camera!
I told myself I was going to wait a bit but this deal came up and after thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking and well, you know what I mean, I went ahead and picked this up.
It's not a new camera but it had a very low shutter count and the price was right.
It is a step up, though not as up as I'd like, but a step up anyways.
My old camera was 10 mega pixels and this one sports 12.
Not a huge jump but it does take nicer pictures.  The old camera was CCD and this one was them newfangled CMOS things so I suppose that has something to do with it.
I swear I'm not going to be happy until I get to like 100 GAGILLION mega pixels and my image files cannot be loaded up on Blogger.

Here's the last of the images from the old camera; I took this one the same night I went out and got them   headlight trails.
I saw these surfboards in the window and I just liked the way they looked at night.
I also went by the LBS and got this:

I just liked the way the sign illuminated the sidewalk.
Anyways if you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know that I got some new glass:

It's the same as the old glass, 50mm f/1.8 but well, newer.
I'm not sure which one I'm keeping as they both have different qualities.
I used my new rig to take this:

Sort of a test shot to see if what I visualized holds any water.
I like the idea of taking a gas station at night, the way the lights shine with the high roof and how they are sort of beacons of safety made me think they'd be a good subject.
I stopped that image down some cause I wanted to blacken out the background.
I don't think this station has the right "character" but I think I may be on to something.
Anyways there's only like three more weeks until vacation and I'll be busy working on the last projects of the year at school.
Some of the kids do some surprising work and I hope you have to time to check out the stuff I posted up on our blog.
The link is on the right and if you go leave some comments so the kids know "real" people are actually logging on.
Okay, it's late and I still got to come up with the next lesson plan so off I go!
Sort of.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Early Edition

Last night, I was feeling sort of sorry for myself.
I hardly ever feel sorry for myself, but seeing as how my "good" camera has less mega pixels than my "junk" camera, well I just thought it was appropriate.
Sort of like riding an Italian steel frame bicycle with anything less than Campagnolo.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, I've been wanting to get some night time shooting in, particularly some head light trails on the highway.
The thing about headlight trails is that you just can't just shoot them any ole place.  It's sort of got to be the right spot or else they just look like any other lights.
Kind of.
I mean they look pretty cool, but it's all about location, location, location.
So I was getting some money at the auto machine teller and I just happened to have my camera with me, the "good" camera not the "junk" one, and I set it up real quick just to see what I could get:

This isn't as easy I thought.
Okay, not really.
I was just testing the camera settings.
So I busted out the ole tripod and took a few shots:

I got sort of lucky here as a police car went by.  Too bad he wasn't going in the other direction.
So anyways now I'm on a roll!
Off to the highway I go!

Here I am trying not to get run over.
I tried various settings on the camera with my new lens.
Did I mention my new lens?
Actually it's the same as my old lens only new.
More on this later.
Well, the new lens only goes to like F/16 and I got to thinking I needed like F/22 so over to the old lens I went:

I just needed some extra seconds for the cars to crest the hill so that the trails didn't just stop all of a sudden.
I been thinking of this other place for a while, a black and white shot so off I went!
Here I am hiding next to my car:

If you squint yer eyeballs, you can see two street lights back there.
That was my target.
Not as easy as it sounds as I wanted to catch them without any cars passing by.
After about forty minutes, I gave up.
It was about nine and I guess folks are still going somewhere and there were cars going by left and right.
Well, it must have been on my mind cause I woke up this morning at like four o'clock and I went back out:

I always though it was sort of strange to have those two lights in the middle of a dark highway.  They do illuminate a crosswalk, but it's like who'd be crossing the street in the middle of nowhere?
Well okay it's not in the middle of nowhere, but on one side is a juvenile detention place and on the other a women's correctional facility.
I mean I don't think anyone from either place is going to be taking a walk in the middle of the night.
At least I hope not.
Anyways, I also wanted to try and catch one lone car passing by:

Okay, that's not the image I was looking for but right now I'm too lazy to find the right one.
It looked kinda like that.
More like this:

I'm still going through all the pics doing some post pics processing.
I also took some other stuff that I'll bust out later.
Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Is the name of the game.
Sort of.
In cameras I mean.
My pixels are bigger than your pixels.
I got more of em!
So exactly how many pixels do you need?
I gotta say, this is kinda like bicycles, the upgrading part.
The eVil part.
My old camera was only like 8 mega pixels.
I liked it a lot.
Then I got a cheapo P&S which was like 10 mega pixels and I felt kinda funny that my cheapo camera had more pixels than my "real" camera.
So then my old camera died, so I was looking at a new camera and my cheapo camera died too so I got me a new cheapo with 12 mega pixels and a new to me "real" camera with 10 mega pixels.
Which sort of put me back in the same situation.
Following along so far?
Cheapo camera = more pixels than good camera.
Good camera meaning the big camera.
So now I'm looking for a new big camera, cause you know, I just can't have the cheap camera being better than the big camera, but it's sort of like upgrading to a carbon frame.
Just how much better can it be?
If you know what I mean.
It seems the camera companies are in like a mega pixel war, more is better, and I'm drinking the Kewlaide.
I want me more mega pixels!
Like I want a camera with like a couple GAGILLION mega pixels, so my picture files will be in the gigabytes, and I can crop them down like 2000%.
If I had a camera with say, 24 GAGILLION mega pixels, I wouldn't need to upgrade for oh, say a year or two.
At least until the 45 GAGILLION mega pixel camera came out.
The resolution in my pictures would be so good you could see atoms!
Subatomic particles even!
Hell if my camera had 24 GAGILLION mega pixels I could possibly solve the Grand Unified Theory in physics!
I'd have photographic evidence don't you know.
Got myself all worked up!
So anyways, I've been thinking about all this camera stuff and lemme tell you, it's been keeping me up at night, and I've come to some conclusions.
First of all, a 24 GAGILLION mega pixel camera might not be a good idea.
I mean after five pictures, your hard drive would be full.
Then again,  I could always get one of them external thingys.
Okay, don't let me go there.
Second, I don't make a living off my camera and spending some serious coin on one is not a good idea.
Well, seeing as how I sort of teach photography,  I sort of do make a living with it.
A camera I mean.
Well, that sort of puts me in a spot!
Maybe I should sell all my bicycles and get me a Hasselbloom or Leeka.
Or something.
Stay tuned.
Oh and I finally got around to putting up some student work on the webs, you can see their pictures here.
I'll put a link up on the side bar later.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Cactus Update!

Off today.
Not going like off! anywhere, just off from work.
Where I've been really busy since it's time for our mid quarter reports and all the kids have been scrambling to make up stuff and turn it in so their grades don't look so bad.
I'm sort of sad cause it's like half the kids are failing.
No really.
Some of them just aren't turning in any work!
I hope the semester ends on a brighter note.
Anyways, just so I didn't end up wasting the whole day like I did yesterday, I took six steps and went to do some cactus maintenance.
One of the soldiers up and went south:

I don't exactly know why, but it might have been some sort of cactus fungus or something.
There were these brown spots that showed up and eventually covered the whole thing.
Sort of like these brown spots here:

I'll have to keep and eyeball on that.
If you squint yer eyeballs you can also see some growth markings on that tall boy, kinda neat.
The good news is that the opuntia is like getting really fat!

Now it's starting to look like a cactus!
Not like that other one next to it, which sort of looks like a hot air balloon.
The cactus that fell off the lanai last year is also doing great:

At first it was sort of turning brown then all of a sudden it began to sprout new, uh, arm thingys.
Now it's all nice and fuzzy again.
Sort of.
I know I keep saying this but I really have to go and transplant some of the other ones I got in them small pots:

Slowly but surely I'm getting them into bigger pots where they seem to do better.
The saguaro is looking good:

It's been like two years and that's what they all look like.
For the most part.
I swear if I live to see them get to one foot, I'll be a happy guy.
Okay, there you go!
Time for me to go and double check the ole grade book, you know, before I send em on in to where ever they go in.
Oh yeah, I have to iron some shirts.
Image and all that.
Dont' you know.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Early Edition

Well hello.
How are you?
How have you been?
Haven't seen you in a while.
I've been busy.
No really.
Busy, busy, busy.
For one thing, I had one of my review thingys where one of the VPs comes and visits me in class.
While class is going.
Which means we(me and the VP) had a lot to talk about.
Forty five minutes worth of talk about.
No, nothing majorly bad or wrong, just some helpful suggestions.
Sort of helpful.
I mean.
I gotta say, running a classroom of twenty five or so teenage folks ain't exactly the easiest thing in the world to do.
For one thing, you gotta keep em busy, which may be the hardest thing in the world to do.
Keep em from goofing off, fooling with various electronic devices, and roaming the internets and playing online games and watching non teacher approved video.
I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.
Actually things aren't that bad.
Actually not bad by my standards, but on the other hand I'm not being judged/graded by my standards.
If you know what I mean.
I like my classroom to be fairly loose, meaning folks can do just about anything they care to do, as long as it isn't bothering folks doing what they are supposed to do.
Anyways, to make a long story somewhat shorter, I was aware of some of my shortcomings in classroom management and I got called on them and now I gotta take care of them.
This is like saying you ride a bicycle pretty well but you're really slow.
Hey wait!
Okay, I used to ride a bicycle and lemme tell you, I'm slowly mentally working my way back.
To riding a bicycle I mean.
I was even thinking of pumping up my tires!
Anyways, as far as classroom management goes, I've installed a few tweaks and we'll see how that goes in the coming weeks.
It sure seems like the year is just flying by!
I must be having fun.
I think.
In other news, I am a banana head again.
Okay, I guess that's not news.
Not new news anyways.
So I got this polarizing filter for my camera, and I showed you folks some images I took with it.
Well I got this new lens and I went a looking for another filter or some kind of step up thingy and I got to thinking about how well a polarizing lens works.
I mean the differences aren't that great right?
Is it really worth it?
Well it seems it works just like a regular polarizing filter meaning that you still have to turn it some to get the best results.
I swear I should learn how read directions.
Or something:

I mean I figured it's circular right?
You know, like in a circle?
Like all around?
Not like it's circular so you have to rotate it.
JRA, you can just shoot me right now cause I don't think I should even be holding a camera.
At least not one with manual controls.
Or one that needs filters.
Maybe I should just go back to making pots.
Which I need to do since I got this craft fair coming up next month.
Okay, lemme go and see how this filter thingy really works.