A Garden of Delights

Captured

Posted on: July 4, 2015

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What do YOU see in this image?

Today, I’m a bit late with my First Friday Photo post.  We were cleaning house and moving furniture.  All sorts of my least favorite, but necessary,  activities…

That means my head just wasn’t on blogging or pictures or pretty much anything until just before I should have gotten ready for karate.  I’m not going to that tonight because there’s a Dr. Who event at the local Barnes & Noble that the Boodle wants to go to…  yes, I’ll take pictures and post them one of these days.

Anyway…  my contribution for the First Friday Photo is a small foreshadowing of the thing I’m planning on doing tomorrow… which is trying to capture a near-perfect camera RAW image of a firework using manual mode (despite it being slower for my camera to process and write to its compact flash card).

JPEG taken in 2009

JPEG taken in 2009

I’ve had some luck with auto-mode shots. My old Canon G5 can write JPEGs to its CF card reasonably fast. It’s a dog at writing RAWs though. And RAWs with a reasonable exposure-time? Good time to catch a cat-nap between shots….

So I’m actually very happy to have captured these last Thursday during the Tri-City ValleyCats game:

A Random Capture

A Random Capture

From the Finale

From the Finale

They aren’t perfect, but they are exceptionally detailed captures. And I learned a bit trying to catch these, such as I should ignore my camera’s exposure warning and speed up the shutterspeed just a touch more (the excess light in the Finale shot means I could even turn down the ISO a nudge and get a less noisy image).

And the top image? What do you think it is? How do you think it was taken? Any guesses?

If you’ve got an image you’d like to share, jump on in and post your picture to the First Friday blog hop. We’re a social group, and we love to talk and discuss our images.

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Way Out in Left Field

I went to my first ever baseball game last night, opening night for the TriCity Valley Cats, and…  I did it under duress.  Not that I knew I’d have a bad time, or that I didn’t appreciate the skill of the players or any of a number of things…  I don’t hate baseball.  I actually find a lot of things about the sport interesting (though none enough so to make me a fan).

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Two Boodles

It was just…  well, I wasn’t kidding when I said I have been super busy in yesterday’s post.  And all I could do was think of the multitude of things that needed to be done yesterday and how far behind on things I was….

Still, we went.  We had tickets, and we’d promised the Boodle that we’d go to at least one game this year (and this game came with a bunch of fanfare and fireworks so it made for a very full, intense evening).  It was fun.  The lines were insanely long at the concession stands (the register computers were acting up, so people often got their food while being stuck standing in line several minutes more just to pay), but the between inning antics were amusing, and the Boodle made a friend.

On a side note: I also think I’m finally perfecting my ability to take fireworks photos in manual mode.  I’m not quite there yet (I just downloaded the photos, and yeah…  not quite there yet).  It’s hard on this old camera–probably would help if I reduced the quality of the shots from CameraRAW images to JPEGs; just the time the camera takes to write to the Compact Flash card (yes, compact flash; yes, the camera is that old).  Thing is…  I’m trying to figure this out.  And maybe I’ll get there eventually.

And on that note…  I know what I’ll be doing for next week’s First Friday Photo!   The linky is now active (part of the change I decided on this week so we can actually get our photos in by the First Friday).  Don’t worry…  it’ll be open over next weekend end too for people who want to post holiday images.

Come on and join in the fun!

I forgot my last few weeks of posting (I know!  but at least the break in between wasn’t almost a year like I had done).  Who’d have thought it would be so hard to come up with single weekly blog post?

Thing is…  it hasn’t been a single post.  Just a single one here.

I’ve been busy, busy, busy over at my writing progress blog Many Worlds from Many Minds, and have been either posting there or commenting on the many wonderful participants of the Writing challenges I have been involved with: the Round of Words in 80 Days; Ready. Set. Write!; and the JuNoWriMo.  It was also the end of school for me at BCS (and homeschooling), so there were progress reports to make and assignments to review….

The plan this summer is to merge this blog with Many Worlds so I can dedicate my attention to maintaining one online home.  Or rather one blogging home…  with Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and… well, you get the idea.

But that’s for later this summer.  For now…  I just really wanted to both apologize to you all for being absent and to note a small change to the First Friday Photo blog hop I hold here on the 1st Friday of every month.

From now on, I’ll be opening the FFP linky up the week before the first Friday of each month so people have time to post their links.  The links should go active on the Friday.  This way people can schedule their posts somewhat, and they can have something to look forward to on First Fridays.  :-D

Waiting for laughter

Waiting for laughter (cred: Eden Mabee)

Hope you’ll all join in.

Week 2

Week 2

Welcome again to this little blog hop.  I hope you all had fun with it last month and are looking forward to joining in again.  If you missed out on what the First Friday Photo is, let me fill you in.

I wanted to give myself an incentive to get back into photography, something I’ve enjoyed for a few years now but always set aside for “more important” things much the way I’ve often done for my writing.  Since I found bloghops helped inspire me to get more words on the page, I figured “why not make a photoblog hop?”

So I did.

I wanted to start small since I was coming back after months of not even using my camera.  And…  I’ve started taking pictures almost every day since.  I’ve even gotten my son involved, as today’s post demonstrates.

If you’d like to join in with us, here are our rules:

 

  • post a photo (one you took, please don’t post other people’s work) on your blog
  • include a link to the linky (so visitors can visit each other’s work)
  • add the link to your post to the above linky (so we can find your work)
  • visit other people’s posts

And now to the photos…

I have four pictures today.  All three were taken near the NYS Capitol around midnight (the metadata on the images lists the times as a bit off, since another shot we took of the Albany City Hall carrilon tower shows midnight but the metadata lists the time as 11:17pm.  Guess I need to fix that in the camera… later.

Anyway, to summarize things, this was an experiment. Why?  Because I’ve only taken a few night photos before, and none of them using long exposures or in RAW mode.  My hands shake pretty bad for even normal daytime shots (“essential tremor” runs in my family…  though I don’t know what made it so essential for us to have!!), so long exposure shots even bracing the camera usually result in wild blurs.

However, there’s a lot a tripod and a timer can compensate for:

Fountain at Academy Park, turned off

Fountain at Academy Park, turned off

This shot almost looks like it was taken during the day (I did do some post processing, but not as much as I thought I’d have to…  a bit of white balance adjustment; a bit of trying to remove the glare from the lights of the Capitol).  I posted a larger copy of the image to Flickr if you’d like to see more detail.

I have an old Canon Powershot G5 that gives a “mostly manual” mode that I’ve used.  In auto mode, these  shots would have been close to impossible.  Yes, the camera does allow a decent shutter length (15 seconds), but it doesn’t have anti-shake, and it can’t handle an ISO over 400.  Correction…  it can’t handle an ISO over 100 well.  The image above and the image below we shot at ISO 200, and… well, they’re very noisy images.  No amount of Adobe Photoshop can fix that, it seems.

The best part  was the way his eyes lit up when he did it himself

The best part was the way his eyes lit up when he did it himself

Not that I don’t like these images.  They’re great.  This one my son took.  He set all the settings himself, he picked his target (we could barely see the statue in the dark with the way the lights were aimed—in fact, he took the picture in part to see what it was a statue of), and I think it’s a great photo.  It’s just not a “great” photo in that it came from a mediocre camera.  And I’ll show you why….

This:

Noise...  lots of noise

Noise… lots of noise

See all that speckling in this crop of the larger image? That’s noise. There are ways to reduce the amount of noise in a picture. One, especially with our camera, is to cut the ISO (the camera’s sensitivity to light).  Simply by reducing the ISO from 200 to 100 I was able to affect this change in a different shot (the full-sized image is here on Flickr if you’d like to see it):

Less noise at 100 ISO

Less noise at 100 ISO

This image is actually of a smaller piece than the one above, but the details are clearer.  If I’d wanted to increase my exposure time (this was 6 seconds) I probably could have gotten even less noise out of the shot by going down to ISO 50, but there’s no guarantee of that.  The same amount of light was going to hit the sensor either way…

Still, noise or not, I look at these images and I remember a wonderful evening after writing group where my son and I just had fun exploring the city a bit.  We stopped (because he wanted to read) every single historical landmark post, we chatted, and we both tried something new.  I can’t wait to try it again.

It’s here!  It’s HERE!

A new thing...  for me

It’s Baaack!

Got a picture you’d like to share, a thought on photography or even a piece of digital art…

The First Friday Photo blog hop reopens for submissions in an hour.

We welcome all your creative images*.  I created this blog hop to make a space to enjoy art in my busy life, even when it’s only once a month and to share my love of photography with others.

The rules are simple (quoted from my original First Friday Photo post Still Motion):

  • post a photo (one you took, please don’t post other people’s work) on your blog
  • include a link to the linky (so visitors can visit each other’s work)
  • add the link to your post to the above linky (so we can find your work)
  • visit other people’s posts
  • enjoy

I had to put that “enjoy” there.  Every time I open a package of instant ramen, I giggle because of that.  I mean, of course I am going to enjoy…  yummy ramen is, well, yummy.  :-D

Hope to see you there!

(*though if it’s explicit, please use discretion and an NSFW warning)

Putting Up

Posted on: May 29, 2015

I don’t want to make today’s blog post into a diatribe, but  I have so many opinions that I usually don’t want to share with the world…  Would the world accept them?  Does the world care?  Who am I to have an opinion on things I only know third-hand through the biases of social media and my oddly-sheltered childhood?

Thing is, I have opinions, and I have a place to express them.  I want to express them.

Doesn’t mean I should…

To express my opinion on most of these things means the first; it means I have to do something beyond saying “I agree/disagree” with something.  At the very least, I need to express why, and sometimes I don’t know exactly why—I just know I feel the way I feel.  More research needed…  and yet, it’s not right of me to be a social voyeur (at least not anymore than I already am with my writer’s people-watching addiction) as in the most recent brouhaha over the ATI families, TLC and the molestations.

Does my researching and exploring the situation make it better?  Or am I adding yet one more layer of schadenfreude to the situation?

Equal Right Amendment Map (Wikipedia)

Equal Right Amendment Map (Wikipedia)

If I want to go a step further, I can ask people to act on something I believe in such as this link for a petition on MoveOn.org about trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed.  Put up, or shut up…  I can speak out, let the world know how I feel and ask them to act with me.

If I don’t, then clearly I am comfortable enough with the way things are, with the way things might go (even if they get worse).  I’m content with “putting up” with it for a long time too.

Please sign, btw.  True Equal Rights will go a long way to preventing things like the above mentioned situation.


My personal “putting up” involves something far less dramatic or grand scale.  That said, it does affect my life greatly.

Lately I’ve had problems with my part-time teaching position at my son’s school.  The class I am teaching now is nothing like the class I signed up to teach (1st year French).  Now, I have students self-studying, with guidance, seven different languages.  I’m trying to inspire them to learn the language they chose because they chose it, and because they have a reason to learn it.  Three children put in consistent effort because they want to learn their language….  three students out of twelve.  The rest..  well, they say this is what they want to do, but they don’t do it.

William Blake's watercolor "Age Teaching Youth"

“Age Teaching Youth” by William Blake; a completely idealized impression of mentoring (Wikipedia)

I’m not quite sure where to go next.  I’ve already made it clear that there are no grades in the class; that the learning is for them; that  am available to talk with about trouble they might be having, etc. and as a dialogue partner and/or mentor; and…

I have three students who have shown me they have an interest.

As I had originally thought I was going to be teaching French as an elective class, … three dedicated students might actually be a good thing.

But, today is the second to last class of the year.  The final project needed to be handed off to another class for artwork…  last week.  Do I ask my students who haven’t put in any effort to “put up or shut up” for a weekend rush?  Is it fair to ask the rest of the children to put up with their class time being disrupted constantly by the disruptions and goofing off of those that aren’t doing their work.  (To me, the answer  to the last question is obviously “no”, but both the kids and I are in pretty untenable positions; the kids don’t want to be there, and I am trying to make everyone happy, when it’s clear that no one is.)

But…  for now, I am putting up with it.  The year is almost over.  I know a lot more about what I am willing to put up with, and…  what I have put up before I have no choice but to shut up.

I’m a huge fan of growth, personal growth especially.  It’s often as uncomfortable as all get-out, but I’m almost always glad for the experience.

Growth always comes in stages.  We notice certain stages (or rather the effects of those stages) more than others.  The painful ones, the sudden ones…  they are more visceral than the quiet ones, the ones where our mind are slowly spinning or where little cellular processes at last trigger responses in our bodies that move the next process and then the next….

But these slow, near invisible steps always lead to the next Eureka moment, the point where change is impossible to ignore.

This week,  I found myself moving with more of those awkward , discomfort, inducing periods of growth.  Three blog posts in particular played the parts of those invisible triggers…  thoughtful pieces that made me step back from the chaos of day-to-day life and look at where I really was and how I’d gotten here.

And, they also, like most things that spark reactions…  they helped me see possibilities for the future.

These posts, in no particular order, are:

Out of all the wonderful posts on the web, I was drawn to these three.  They resonated.  Something within me vibrated, breaking through walls and accumulated layers of denial and fear.  They said “Respond; React, Change and Grow”, just as I’m sure the triggers that inspired their creation did.

I don’t know what form the change will take; things are still moving within my mind and body.  Something is happening…  I’m somewhat aquiver with anticipation.  Someplace new, changes that need to come so growth can occur the way it was meant.

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Break through

As a side note: for my #OneGoodCup, daily I’ve made time for #OneGoodPet, a few moments of uninterrupted time with each of my cats, just petting, enjoying the purrs and the quiet space.  My cats love it, and so do I.  I don’t bring a notebook for the time (my hands are occupied), but my mind does wander and resettle itself into new ideas and patterns.  I’ve recorded some of these after the fact, some I’ve lost…  it’s okay though.  Tomorrow will come again.

First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

Grutto / Black-tailed Godwit / Barge

...l'ora della pappa..

Through The Viewfinder I

More Photos

obligatory “What I Allow”

I’m on Facebook (too much)

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