Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Final

Happy Easter.
I ate a lot.
I also took a lot of pictures.
All of them bad.
Okay, not really.
I took some baby pictures that look okay, the rest, the artsy stuff was bad.
After I ate a lot, I figured I shouldn't just go home and sleep, though lemme tell you, I was tempted.
To go to sleep I mean.
Instead I headed back to Sand Island, you know, from yesterday, to try my luck at getting some nice images.
I didn't have it.
As in this is harder than I thought.
First of all, I left the rocks alone.
I'll go back with some overhead light and have a go.
Instead since the sun was getting low, I thought I'd practice some long exposure water shots.
I practiced, but got nowhere near perfect.
So I started here:

I'm shooting into the sun, which is already a problem.
So now I filter up and slow the shutter down, like way down, like 10-20 seconds down.
I was trying to catch the waves breaking over those sand retention thingys, so timing is everything.
I don't have it.
Timing, I mean:

Too long.
I need to time the water going over, and then going back out.
I also stacked some filters and got a mean purple thing.
Light was also leaking in from somewhere even though I wrapped the lens with a black cloth.
I need to work on this.
Then I shot short:

Still not getting the timing right:

I'm sad.
It wasn't a total loss though as I got a couple of nice shots:

I got this dude fishing right before I left.
I've also been fooling with some High Dynamic Range processing:

I downloaded a trial version of the stuff from Nik and it's working out okay.
I think.
More on this later.
Overall though, I feel like I wasted two hours.
Then again, two hours at the beach is not really wasted.
If you know what I mean.
Maybe I should stick to baby pictures.
Or something.

Sunday Early Edition

So I've been busy closing out the third quarter, you know, kids desperately trying to turn stuff in and working on extra credit.
Things they should have been thinking about when the quarter started.
I also have this teacher evaluation thingy and I have to write a report, yay!
No really.
I like writing reports.
Making conclusions from collected data and all that.
I even went in yesterday to work on said report but after three hours I had to take a break.
So off I went!
It was raining pretty hard when I left and I've been wanting to take some pictures in the rain so I was looking for some place good to well, take pictures in the rain.
I even bought one of these things:

If you were thinking of getting one like this, don't.
Save your cash and use a plastic bag instead.
Okay, it has a draw string on one end, but that's about it.
Anyways, I went back to Sand Island, mainly cause it gave me an open ocean shot.
Unfortunately, by the time I got there the rain had mostly passed offshore:

Instead I focused mostly on the clouds.
Contrast don't you know:

Then I started to take pictures of the rocks I was standing on.
Some of them contained pockets of rainwater:

I sort of liked this idea of the isolated pockets of water, you know, right next to some big water.
There's a relationship there.

Anyways I was getting sort of dizzy walking around all them rocks, I wasn't feeling my best yesterday, so headed on home.
I'm thinking of heading back out there today.
Rocks on the brain.
If you know what I mean.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Crafty

My old college professor liked to say "we do art here, not arts and crafts."
He liked to distinguish a line between fine art and well, what I call folk art or what others call crafts.
Crafty stuff is okay, I mean it's folks being creative and being well, crafty.
If you know what I mean.
I got this book:

Lot o'ideas in there about what to do with your pictures besides letting them sit on your hard drive collecting digital dust.
Mostly crafty stuff as the fine art part is in the actual pictures, the good artsy pictures I mean, most of the stuff is like picture holders and how to use the pictures if you ever get around to printing them out.
Anyways one of the projects was a photo mosaic you create if you got some blank walls to fill.
Well I got some blank walls to fill.
So I got me some of these:

They're like little dots of adhesive, sort of like the stuff used in magazine pull outs except stickier.
Not so sticky as to be permanent, but almost.
Now the place I'm at is not really mine so I can't just go and start sticking photos to the wall so I did the next best thing and got me some foam core board from craft place up the street.
The foam core I can use as panels and put them together if I want to get really big, but for now I just started on one sheet:

The example in book uses photos with no borders, but I decided to try it this way first.
I also switched over to Adobe Lightroom so I'm still figuring out the print settings and that's why the borders are all different.
So on one sheet you can fit 25 images and I plan on putting up at least four sheets.
We'll see how it goes.
For one thing, it cost some funds to print out all them images; printer ink ain't cheap.
Still, putting up all my images in one place made me realize how little I use color.
The next panel will consist of some old blog pictures and the next one will be only black and white and maybe the next one will have a theme.
For now though, I'm just getting them stuck on there to see what they look like.
Sort of blending the line between art and craft if you will.
I hope my old professor isn't reading this.
Then again, it's better than sitting around watching Law & Order.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Carbon Goodness

Not Italian though.
I could have gone Italian, but it's like I enjoy eating.
Italian carbon goodness was more than I could afford.
Sort of.
Anyways, I got my monopod today, you know, for my 80-200 lens.
I mean holding that thing is like doing curls and I didn't want one arm to get bigger than the other.
Especially when shooting volleyball, it's like bring it up, put it down, bring it up, put it down, bring it up, etc.
So a monopod it is:

I could have gone with the usual stuff like Manfrotto or Gitzo or the other Italian goodness but decided to try this new company called REDGED.
I compared all the carbon tripods and decided on REDGED because of weight, the twist locks, and well, price.
The RMC-532 I got can support about 30 lbs, and folds down to about 18 inches.
Or 480mm for you folks using that other measuring thingy.
It also weighs a little over 1 pound, which was the lightest monopod I looked at.
It comes with a nice case:

Though the case may be too short if you add a head.
My tilt head is on the way, so we'll see when it arrives.
It's a five section monopod, I figured I'd want the most adjustment since I may use this standing and/or sitting:

The twist lock was the deal winner.
You can grab all four locks at once and extend all in one motion.
I'm a bit partial to Manfrotto, I have one of their tripods, but I'm not liking the clip locks much after getting my hands pinched every once in a while.
I'm liking these twist locks better.
Gitzo makes some nice carbon twist lock stuff, but it's sort of costly.
Okay, it is costly.
Though not as expensive as some other brands.
Thing is, I'm just not willing to spend PRO prices on something I'll only use occasionally.
At less than a hunski, the REDGED carbon monopod fit my bill.
Wallet I mean.
Carbon goodness:

While REDGED is a European company, I have no doubt this thing is manufactured somewhere in the East.
The carbon capitol of Earth.
So why carbon?
The usual reasons.
It looks PRO.
Actually carbon has better damping properties than aluminum, just like bicycles.
I mean we all knew that, non?
Also after lugging around my aluminum tripod around, I learned that light is good.
We all know that too.
So there ya go, REDGED carbon goodness monopod.
Now my pictures will be like a thousand percent more awesome!
Or something.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Checking Out The Neighborhood

On foot.
I got the ole bicycle ready to go, sort of, and there's more exploring to do, but today I walked around some, just to check things out.
Not that there's a lot to check out.
This is a mostly industrial area, filled with warehouses like the one I presently occupy:

Home sweet home.
For now.
Anyways I needed to pick up some stuff so off I went!
Thankfully, there's a place to eat right next door:

Before I leave, we'll be on a first name basis.
If you know what I mean.
Across the intersection and near the freeway off ramp, there's this:

I try not to think about that place.
Below it, is a small stream, one of them streams that originate up in the mountains.
I'm not sure which stream it is exactly, I'll have to look at a map.
Anyways, going over the stream is the freeway.
Good ole H1:

On the other side of the freeway is park, a rather nice park at that.
So I got to where I was going which is a good thing since today was really hot and muggy:

Oh yeah baby!
The craft store place!
Air conditioning!
Since I don't have TV, I have a feeling that place is going to become a fan favorite.
I picked up some stuff for this project I've decided to start, you know, to sort of brighten up the walls around here.
I've been taking a lot of pictures and I've got a ton of photo paper so I decided to make use of my new found free time.
More on this later.
Right now, I gotta go and dig up my fan cause all the doors are closed and there's like no wind at all and it's getting sort of warmish in here.
I may have to get one of them stand alone aircon things.
You know, to keep cool.
I'm already cool.
Don't you know.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back in Time

Way back.
Like in another life.
Or two.
Or three.
Or something.
Back to my early beginnings, when TV was still black and white and folks still listened to AM radio.
I listened to my crystal radio set, though the only station I could get signed off at like 4 in the afternoon.
Yes, back to my humble beginnings.
Pre-take over the world days:

Everything seemed smaller.
I supposed that's because I was smaller, or maybe my world was bigger.
Not so big now what with this internet thing and satellites and space stations.
Oh we had Skylab, but that was a temp thing and I did see the first man on the moon live on TV.
Still my world was humungous, everything was still waiting to be discovered.
You know. places to be and things to do and all that.
Days weren't long enough way back then.
My room was right in the middle, the second set of windows from the left, and I looked out over this:

My back yard.
It actually looks a lot nicer than I remember, for back then it was source of danger and adventure.
Hidden trails, strange noises, flash floods; I wasn't even allowed to venture by myself until I was taller.
That's entertainment.
Replaced by computers and iPads and miphones and technology.
I gotta say, I was hesitant to go back.
I mean you don't want to go backwards.
Sometimes though, backwards is forwards.
I stood there, going backwards and forwards at the same time:

The trees were different, the paths were gone; it was not like how I remembered.
Now instead of danger and adventure I saw serenity and tranquility.
Going back may actually be a step forwards.
Not today, but maybe one day.
One day.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Early Edition

So yesterday, I went out and fooled around with Big Mamma.
You know, just to get a feel for how it handles.
So far, so good.
I think.
I went over to Sand Island, the same place I took some other images before.
Sand Island I believe is partly man made, they dumped a lot of fill there during the construction boom and they also dredged the hell out of the area creating the harbor entrance.  Sand Island sits at the entrance to Honolulu Harbor.
Now it houses industrial stuff, a container yard and the Coast Guard.
More on that later.
So I drive over the bridge and find these guys:

We got a BMX track!
Okay, I knew about the track but I had never seen anyone on it.  Kids were flying around it about every three minutes; I guess it was like open track time.
Okay, some of them were flying around, the others seemed to struggle a bit.
These were really small kids.
Like really short.
The area by the way is accessible by bicycle.
Note to self.
So anyways, I took a few images to see how the autofocus thingy was tracking and stuff but none of kids was getting any air so I moved on.
To the other side of the park I mean.
I got there just in time to see a honking big boat come in:

The life line of the islands.
These boats stop coming and everyone runs out of toilet paper.
I watched for a bit as the honking big boat did the harbor dance and parked to my left.
I've been wanting to try out my 10 stop neutral density filter:

Here's a 15 second exposure; if you squint yer eyeballs you can see how it smooths out the water.  I'm not sure I like this particular effect at this particular location, but it did what it is supposed to do.
Then this other honking big boat decided to show off to the other honking big boat.
Apparently this honking big boat was waiting for other boat to do it's thing before doing it's thing:

I call it the Big Boat One My One Eighty Is Better Than Your One Eighty Contest(BBMOEIBTYOEC).
The BBMOEIBTYOEC attracted some attention:

These boys apparently were not here for the show:

Remember I said the Coast Guard folks were also around these parts; if you do a search you can find some pics of the station I took while on a visit.
I'd post a link, but I'm lazy.
Well, I got a bit bored so off I went!
To the other side of the harbor:

There's that honking big boat, waiting for the stevedores to finish dinner break.
Now the sun is in front of me so it's time to bust out the filters.
This part of the harbor, piers 38-40, have been developed for commercial use.
There a couple of restaurants and a fishing/boating supply place.
Forrest Gump too:

Not much going on, but sort of a nice place to hang out in the late afternoon.
The lighting was spotty so I just sort of scouted out the place, walking around and checking things out.
I fooled around with the HDR setting:

HDR with the goofy filter:

Some buoy in the middle of the harbor:

I spent some time staring at it, wondering what the hell it was doing there.
I mean it can't be marking something and there's only the one.
Maybe someone nautical can explain it to me.
Anyways, I was tired and hungry so I took one final image and headed on home:

We were expecting some rain this weekend but it looks clear today.
Maybe I'll go back and reshoot some stuff if the light is better in the afternoon.
If I can separate my you know what from the couch.
Well, I don't have any TV but I am streaming Law & Order on Netflix.
I'm on season 1, episode 2.
I'm also on vacation.
Don't you know.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Big Mamma

Sort of.
I mean it's sort of big, but not really.
First of all, on Thursday I went and shot some boys volleyball.
If you've been following along at home you, the reader, know that I shot some volleyball earlier in the year, girls volleyball.
Lemme tell you, boys volleyball is not your girls volleyball.
I mean it actually looks like volleyball compared to girls volleyball which looks like what it sounds like: girls volleying a ball around.
The boys actually set up their hitters and the game is much more under control.
Less volley and more spiking.
If you know what I mean.

I didn't get a lot of shots, I was too distracted just watching.
We won two matches by the way.
I also have no sense of timing and it doesn't help that I seem to be a frame per second slow.
The good shot is in-between my shots:

In other words, I missed a ton of shots!
Part of it I was working the net, sitting right under the upper referee and the angle was all wrong.
I decided that I needed to work the end line, you know, in the back.
Except that I don't have a fast long lens.
Until now:

That's right polished glass fans!
Big Mamma!
Okay, not really.
More like Medium Mamma:

Medium and Fast Mamma.
Sort of.
I got Big Mamma to try out and see if I like the focal length and to see if it's fast enough.
Sometimes I think f2.8 ain't enough as it seems like our gym is lit by candles.
Anyways, I'm already shooting on the short side of the lens; I mostly use my 85mm f1.8.
I'm hoping Big Mamma will give me more diversity and allow me some different angles on the floor.
Next game is on Tuesday so I'll give it go and see what happens.
I'm a hankering to give this bad girl a try so I think I'm going out tonight and see what I can shoot.
I'm on vacation don't you know.
So off I go!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Final

It's been a long day.
Okay, not really.
It was the same length, it just seemed long.
If you know what I mean.
I went back and forth between the New Flat Tire and the Old Flat Tire a couple of times and I can't believe it but I still gotta make one more trip.
The Cactus Army is still back there holding down the fort and I can't relieve them until Tuesday.
Hold on boys!
Help is on the way!
I learned something about living in a warehouse: there's no wind.
I'm a gonna need a fan.
Or one of them stand alone air conditioners.
Or something.
Like I can't wait for summer.
Anyways, I finally got all my crap together:

Cozy in a cramped sort of way.
I got two shelves and some boxes for furniture.
Actually it's okay, I just need a couple of things.
For one thing, it's hard to iron clothes on a box:

After three pairs of shorts I gave up.
I didn't bother with the shirts.
I only need a weeks worth anyways, since next week is vacation and I should have a solution by then.
So now comes the hard part: sorting through all the boxes o'stuff.
I guess I have six months or so since my place I mean the Permanent Flat Tire Command Center will be  occupied until around August or so.
So every weekend I should be able to start going through everything and basically repacking the stuff I really want to keep.
I thought I was going to simplify but boy, I just couldn't let go of some stuff!
Now that I know just how much stuff it is, well I've sort of taken a mental inventory of what I really really want to keep.
I think.
If I can get all my stuff to fit in this one room, I should be okay when it comes time to move again.
Yeah right.
Okay, I need to straighten up a bit more.
Signing off from the Temporary Command Center.

Sunday Early Edition

Almost there.
Lemme tell you, it was harder than I thought.
All this moving.
This will probably the last Edition from the old Flat Tire, the next report coming from the New Flat Tire.
I got maybe four more boxes o'stuff to pack then I'm off!
In fact, I should be going.
I gotta straighten out the new place.
Don't you know:

I still don't know how I'm going to handle living without cable.
I thought about getting a new TV and hooking it up to the computer so at least I can stream some shows, but we'll see how I do without first.
The tube for me is mostly white noise, except when Law & Order is on.
My entertainment center, for now:

I have plenny to keep me busy anyhow as I got boxes o'stuff piled up all over the place:

I gotta say, I'm not quite sure how I feel about all this moving; I mean my feelings are mixed.
It's hard to leave someplace you've been for a long time, yet any place new is something of an adventure.
More on this later.
Back to packing.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Final

I'm sad.
No really.
I'm sad.
It's getting closer to MI-Day, that's Move In Day for those of you all ready settled.
I was sort of looking forwards to it, but then I started to move out and lemme tell you, that's a different story.
First there's all the crap:

That's just the stuff I'm throwing away.
There's more.
Way more.
See, it's hard to part with things that have been sitting around collecting dust for so long.
I've been trying to use that "if you haven't used within a year" rule but every time I see something it's like some sort of magic attachment thingy gets activated and it just sticks to me!
Like I can't let go of it!
I'm trying real hard!
Eventually though, you just gotta add it to the pile and take it away:

I mean as much as I'd like to, I just can't keep everything.
Well I could, I just wouldn't have any room for the important stuff, like me.
If you know what I mean.
The appliance grave yard:

What happens to them now?
After all those years of service.
Abandoned art:

Actually I didn't really feel that bad tossing my stuff.
Okay, I did but I had no choice.
Hopefully they will be recycled into something spectacular.
Most of the steel work was rusting anyways, and it's not like they were on display here or something.
I only kept one or two items.
By next weekend, the New Temporary Command Center(NTCC) should be up and running.