Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Early Edition

Oh boy.
Not a good Oh Boy! but a not so good oh boy.
Looks like the Flat Tire Command Center is moving after all.
I think I'm going to be a bit busy this next two months figuring out where I'm going to put all my cra-, uh, treasures.
Lemme tell you, I got a lot of treasures!
More on this later.
I'm still going through the paces with the New Camera, still making a lot of mistakes and learning how to set all the well, settings.
I'm at the point where it's after I take the picture I realize what the setting were supposed to be.
Sort of like two steps behind.
If you know what I mean.
The basketball pictures are getting better as the New Camera(NC) seems to have a better auto focus thingy:

I gotta say, the NC makes me want to go out and take pictures.
I mean the other camera was nice and all, but it was like just a camera.
The NC is like a Super Camera(SC!)!
Sort of.
I like taking pictures with it, which is the main thing:

It will help me document the Great Move and I'm thinking I'm going to find some Great Treasure once I start excavating the old site.
I mean cleaning up.
Or something.
First off, I gotta decide which bicycles I'm going keep since I don't think the new Command Center can take more than  two or three bicycles.
Then I have to decide which books I can keep since I won't have any library space like I do now.
It's a balancing act:

Don't you know.
More on the Great Flat Tire Excavation(GFTE).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Final

I was sad.
While cleaning my camera I found a small spot in the viewfinder, a spot that was inside.
It didn't affect anything,  I mean you couldn't see it while viewfinding, but it was there and I knew it was there.
So I thought about it all afternoon, you know, after I woke up from a nap and finally decided to take the camera with offending viewfinder back:

Lemme just say right here, if it was a less expensive camera I would have lived with it.
It was/is a camera that set me back a whole lotta coin and I figured I deserved a camera without an offensive spot in on/in the viewfinder.
The short of it all is I exchanged cameras and promptly set off to get some pictures.
I learned something tonight.
Most of the Honolulu Harbor waterfront is off limits.
Like you need a pass or permit or you gotta be invited as in like a guest.
I wanted to go here:

All I was allowed to do was stand by the gate and take that shot.
I wanted to get in there to take this:

Which would have been nice except I left my quick release plate for the tripod at home and I ended up walking a little ways down the road and getting this while resting the camera against a light post.
That's Aloha Tower.
Then I went down the road a bit more:

Finally on the other side of the tower:

Not too bad for hand held.
I would have fooled around a bit more if I had my tripod set up but I was also getting kinda hungry so I headed on home.
Not exactly the shots I wanted to get but I did want to see what the camera could do at night.
I still don't know what exactly it can do and I still don't know exactly what I'm doing, but so far so good!
I swear this camera has got so many goofy things on it it will take me like forever to figure everything out!
Okay, back to studying the user's manual!
Here's one shot that I liked from yesterday:

Sunday Early Edition

I'm happy!
I'm also sad.
So I suppose I feel normal.
Or something.
So anyways I took the Magical Image Making Machine to the basketball game last night to see just how magical it could be.
It was the championship for girls JV and one of my students was playing but it was in the opposing team's gym, which I had never been to.
The gym though was fairly new so I was excited to see what the lighting was like.
It was bad.
I mean really bad.
That made me sad.
So bad it made our gym look downright spectacular.
It was so bad, the light on the scorer's table looked just as bright as the lights hanging from the ceiling:

To make things worser, on the side we started the game on, one light directly above the basket was out!
Sort of looked like playing basketball in the Flat Tire Garage.
With the lights off.
Okay, not really.
Well, sort of.
Because of the lighting, my shots all looked like this:

The good news is that the autofocus tracking worked great!
I could hear the camera focusing the lens in small increments and almost all my shots were in focus!
The viewfinder is bright and the focusing points are easy to see.
Another shot:

I had the automatic noise reduction set to normal and in retrospect I should have tried all the settings except that it was a pretty good game.
Especially since we won:

That made me happy!
I'm not even halfway through the owner's manual yet so I really don't know what I'm doing.
So what else is new?
About the me not knowing what I'm doing part I mean.
I still want to try out the High Dynamic Range(HDR) thingy and a couple of other things.
One of the short coming of this camera is the shutter speed which tops out at 1/4000.
I cannot shoot wide open in bright sun, not at f1.8.
In retrospect again, I should have used my polarizer which acts like a neutral density filter; I had mine but left it in the car.
Lemme say this: this camera makes me want to go out and reshoot every picture I've ever taken.
I think I'll go out and do that today.
Okay, not really.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Yes I am.
I already said that last time.
Well I'll say it again.
Yes I am.
The Ultimate Photography Poseur(UPP).
Here I am, a strutting around with my brand spanking new Nikon D600 and I the only thing I know how to do is press the the shutter release.
The camera is so good, it makes me feel well, very small.
Like I don't know what the hell I'm doing.
Okay, I don't know what the hell I'm doing so that doesn't help.
If you know what I mean.
I gotta say, I didn't think moving on up from the Eastside was going to make that much of a difference but I'm here to tell you it makes that much of a difference.
The D600 is such a large step up it's freakin scary!
It makes my bad pictures look really bad!
Wait, change that.
It makes my really bad pictures look half way decent.
The resolution on this thing is nothing short of amazing!
You can crop to your hearts content!
Here's a look at them elevated rail thingys being constructed on the west side:

Here's a crop of the first two pillars:

I am shocked I tell you!
Look at freakin Diamond Head!
Also a bit embarrassed to be carrying this camera around for it's pretty obvious that it is like way beyond my talent.
Or untalent.
Or something.
Seriously, I feel like the Sorcerer's Apprentice; I'm in way over my head!
Anyways, I was over on the west side of the island for I had to drop off our entries into this years Scholastic Art thingy.
The kid's work is being judged as I type and we'll know if anything got into the show tomorrow.
Back to the Magical Image Making Machine(MIMM).
Photos on the Retina Display look three dimensional.  Color is like wow! nice and resolution, if resolution was any better my eyeballs would explode!
No really!

Well okay, the files are humongous, that one above is like 18.8 MB, but go ahead and enlarge it.
It's like a savior to someone like me.
You know, with bad aim.
Anyways, the real test comes tonight, if I can make the basketball game.
Let's just see how it does in low light with the newfangled auto focus thingy.
Off I go!
Oh and Mark, get one.
You will not regret it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Early Edition

So I finally figured out that the scanners at school can do slides.
Which is a good thing, since I got a GAGILLION slides that have been sitting in a drawer well, sitting in a drawer.
There's a slide/film holder thingy that sits on the glass and I believe it scans from the lid:

I'm scanning at max resolution so four slides takes a couple of minutes.
Fortunately I got slaves, I mean students to help me and I let them do it.
Hey! I give them extra credit!
Anyways, the slides are all of my older work, you know, from back in the olden days when we actually used film, and I haven't looked at them in years.
The slides I mean.
A lot of ceramic stuff was sold and most of my sculpture stuff was either dismantled or given away.
The thing about slides is you gotta put them in the right way or you get this:

You don't know you got that backwards stuff unless the piece has a recognizable face, which the pottery doesn't have.
The "Gone Fishing" by the way was a kinetic piece that my brother has; one day I'll go over there and take a video of the motion.
Here's the back:

The motions are all actuated by cams.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home you know that most of my stuff was kinetic but I did do some static stuff too:

I fabricated the triangles and welded them together so they looked like they were falling.
I'm still sorting through all the slides cause there are like good ones and bad ones for if you remember film the deal was you bracketed the images so I got three pictures of every angle of everything.
If you know what I mean.
I gotta say, it's comforting to finally have the images digitally converted.
It was sort of like they didn't exist and now at least I can look back on those days with some fondness.
The days I can remember.
If I can remember.
Another life don't you know.
I'm also starting to scan my old film pictures to digital files, this I can do at home since I got me a brand spanking new printer.
Just like a trip down memory lane, except with like physical evidence.
If you know what I mean.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Is that a cutlass in yer pants or are ya just happy to see me?
Oh wait.
Not piracy.
I was confused.
As usual.
It's all about privacy.
With some compromise thrown in.
Lemme tell you.
I had to make some changes to our class photo blog, you know, the one where we post all the pictures, for it seems, the privacy of the students.
That we were trying to showcase.
I mean the whole idea was to give the students some recognition and some exposure for the work they've been doing.
We also wanted to link up our site to the school's main page.
First though, we needed administrative approval, what I call The Word From Mount Olympus(TWFMO).
In order to get TWFMO, the site had to be reviewed before going live.
Well anyways, it was reviewed and it was determined that all student names would have to be removed lest they be exposed to the uh, nastiness of the real world.
Which sort of makes sense.
I mean I wouldn't want anyone to start like stalking them or anything.
Still, it was kinda nice for them to be recognized, while it lasted.
Not that it's going away.
The site I mean.
I'm just going to have to find a way to showcase their photos without actually naming who took the photos.
By not naming who took the photos, our site should get a link to the school main page which should be a good thing though the site has been doing well since it went live.
Which by the way was like two days ago.
Anyways, I took the site private for a day to make the changes and you'll see more changes as I figure out what to do.
Maybe we need a secret password to login.
Or a secret handshake.
Or something.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Starting the Day

Which is the same almost every day.
Of the week that is.
Weekends it's different.

I get in early so I can beat traffic.
Now it's like really dark and I had a nice newish moon to greet me this morning.
I can't tell if those are stars or dust on my screen.
Powering up the Flat Tire Remote Command Center(FTRCC):

First thing I do is turn on one of the iMacs and my POS laptop.
Not my laptop, which is a SOTA piece of stunning engineering, but the school issued laptop which sometimes has to be rebooted before starting up.
I don't bother turning on the lights for off I go!

School is not as empty as it looks.
Most of us early folks just aren't walking around.
Checking the ole teacher box:

Besides getting the keys to your room, this is when you know you've hit the big time.
The box.
Oh yeah.
Mine was empty this morning and you know what they say, sometimes no news is good news.
On my way back to the room I might nod and grunt at a few folks.
It's early morning.
If you know what I mean.
Let there be light!

Now my day officially starts!
Sort of.
I mean after I eat breakfast.
Or read the paper.
Or something.
I use the mornings to get my work done which is impossible at home with all the distractions:

I'm on like level 7.
Anyways it also gives me a chance to look through all the students work and make up stuff for them to do later.
I can also work on this:

More on that/those later.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I gotta admit that when I was in school I didn't like being graded.
Grades are okay, I mean we need a system that tell the student how well or how bad they did, but grades just sort of suck.
Especially when you compare your grades against someone else's grades.
If you know what I mean.
I think I grade fairly.
Or course art is subjective so I try not to take into consideration the "art" part, but just the part that needs to get done.
Pretty much as long as you turn something in you are doing okay.
Still grades for the most part went down for the second quarter:

That makes me sad.
On the other hand, the quality of work seemed to go up, which is a good thing as we(the other teacher and I) are making our entry selections for the upcoming high school art show thingy.
As far as the bad grades go, I'm hoping it was second quarter laziness and not something that will continue.
Then there's my grades:

As a newbie teacher, I need to go through all kinds of assessments and stuff, you know, to make sure I know what the hell I'm doing.
Most of it is self reflection type stuff, something I think some teachers forget to do, so I'm not too worried cause I do that stuff everyday.
Self reflect I mean.
Especially when I mess up.
Which happens more often than I'd like.
Mess up I mean.
I still have to work on this:

That's the one that counts.
I actually have to write some kind o'paper or something detailing the improvements I've made professionally, like in the classroom stuff.
I've been putting it off since there's really no room for improvement.
Don't you know.
Okay, not really.
Maybe there's so many things I need improvement on I don't know where to begin!
Okay, not really.
Anyways, there's like this list of improvements I can choose from so I'll go over that later and pick something out.
Hopefully soon.
Well, the second half of the year seems to have started off pretty well and I'm looking forwards to seeing what the kids can do.
Check out some of the work from last year here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Oh wait.
I'm a little late.
I spent the last couple of days couching it and watching TV and trying to get some rest.
I'm almost over that cold I had which is a good thing as school starts up tomorrow and I want to show up all bright eyeballed and busy tailed.
If you know what I mean.
I was going to do a whole year in review thingy but lemme tell you this year has passed by so fast I don't remember half of it!
Literally, once I got hired this summer at my new job, it's been just a blur, a good blur, but still a blur.
Which is not good since I teach photography.
Get it? blur? photography? not good?
A new Flat Tire Command Center has been located and signed for, though when exactly the FTCC will go mobile is unknown.
Tell you the truth, I'm sort of looking forward to it, but not really as I got a couple of truck loads of crap to move around and I'm not looking forwards to that.
Let's just say that the Flat Tire Garage will no longer exist.
There are some other things on the table here that I gotta go and see about but as usual there will be more on that later.
Besides the FTCC move, I got another five months or so of class time to fill and I have no idea what I'm going to be doing.
Which is not a good thing.
I got some help though:

The kids are now supposed to know how to work a camera.
I guess I should test them a bit and give them some projects that make them use them new skilz.
I sort of warned them last year that some new and challenging projects were on the way, but the problem is that not all of them actually own a camera.
There's also only so much you can do taking pictures around the school campus so I'll have to get a little creative.
Or something.
We also have the state wide Scholastics show coming up and our school entries will have to be in by the middle of this month.
More on that later too.
So anyways, where ever you are and what ever you are doing I hope this year is better than the last.
I have a feeling it's going to be a good one.
New year I mean.