Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Woo-Hoo!!! Finally some vacation time, and some camera time!

Yes, even I needed to take a break from scraping and painting the garage, and stripping all the paint off the porch and repainting it (which has been going on for TWO YEARS now ... but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I'm almost done!) ... and so like every year, it was VACATION TIME in early September, as we returned to Cape Cod, for yet another week of peace and quiet, rest and relaxation, lobster and scallops.

Didn't do much new this year ... and no really spectacular photos, because we were essentially visiting the same places we like to visit every year, and also because I was taking it a bit more easy, and trying to have a bit more of a break. Some days I didn't even lug the SLR around, just bringing my little point-and-shoot, which actually takes some really good photos!!! (this one below is actually one of my favorite, because I love the couple in it ... and I was just leaving the beach after a swim, saw them walk by, and whipped out my point-and-shoot and got the image).

So here's a few examples of some of my shots ... I will say, it's actually pretty hard to take bad photos in Cape Cod; the light is magical, and the scenery is amazing. Though I did my best ... going through an entire day with my ISO setting too high, left over from the night before when I was taking some sunset and post-sunset shots. But even though some of my photos from that day were a bit grainy, I think they worked out okay in the end!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why I haven't posted lately

There's that thrill that comes when you're out with your camera, exploring a rural area, and you stumble across an old building, obviously abandoned for decades, dilapidated, looking like it's only held up by the very paint that's flaking off like dandruff. Buildings like these make excellent photo subjects, and also great backdrops:

Sigh. If only that were true. No, truth be told, this building with the leprosy-like paint scheme is MY GARAGE. Built in 1959 (not sure why it was built 50 years after the house was built), I don't think it's been painted in the last 20 years or so. Because it looked like hell. I was embarrassed to even have people see it!

So along with working on the porch (which has now been completely stripped down to bare wood, through 7 layers of paint and is being prepped for painting), we also worked on the garage. We scraped. We sanded. Rotted wood pieces were removed and replaced. A new gutter was installed (and eco-friendly person that I am, it's downspout leads right into my rain barrel), and finally, it was primed and painted. We just finished up painting the door, which while it only had one coat of paint on it, still had its original coat of varnish under that paint, so I had to remove all that, as well.

So the downside is that it's taken me all summer, wiping out most of my nights and nearly all of my weekends. But now it's done ... next up is the porch. And next summer, I should hopefully only have a few outdoor projects, and perhaps even might get some time to play with my camera!!!

Though tomorrow, we leave on vacation ... seven lovely days in Cape Cod, the most photogenic place I've ever been ... so I'll probably have a few photos on return. Probably not the 600-odd ones I had last year ... now the challenge is finding new things to photograph while I'm there!

Friday, July 25, 2008

What the hell???

Okay, so I dropped our little Canon PowerShot A75 while we were walking around Chicago. Seemed to work fine, although I messed up the settings when I pulled it out of its case to take a shot ... so a number of my shots were vastly overexposed. But then that evening, when we were trying to take pictures of Jack and Claire, the Cutest Nephew And Niece In The Entire World, the flash wouldn't fire. And the camera kept having problems.

Okay, okay, I know when I shouldn't mourn, but move on. Especially as this camera was about 4 years old, and at its best, could only take a 3.2 megapixel image. I'm not a "bigger is better" kind of guy (at least that's what I tell my wife), but in this case, I decided that I'd like something that shoots a bit bigger, so hopefully if I grabbed a good spur-of-the-moment shot, I could always blow it up to 8x10 and frame it. So I bought a new quick shot camera, a Canon PowerShot SD850IS. It was actually not that terribly expensive, which is nice, and it works pretty much the same as all the Canons I've owned, so I don't need to fiddle around too much with the instructions. It's a point and shoot, which is what I want for taking around on the days I don't feel like lugging around my SLR.

But it's friggin' neat ... first off, the thing has Image Stabilization, which is a nice feature. I'm not sure how they can put it in a $200 camera, but if you want a Canon SLR lens with IS, it's well over $1000 (which puts it about $800 over my price limit), but I shan't complain, because it works nicely.

But complete geek/neo-luddite that I am, I'm actually really impressed with this feature where you click on a setting, the camera picks a color in the viewfinder, and then only keeps that ONE color (or two, it appears), turning EVERYTHING else in the image black and white. Okay, I know some people can do this in Photoshop, but I can't do squat in Photoshop, so the fact that the camera does this automatically just amazes me. I have no idea how it works, but it's cool, in my 1980s computer mind (hey, remember I thought the Commodore Vic 20 was cool, too).

Now of course, I want to run out and take all sorts of photos with this feature on ... I have no idea why, and frankly, I know the uses are gonna be pretty limited, but I'm just absofrigginlutely amazed that this little camera, about the size of a pack of smokes, can do this as well as a host of other way cool things I haven't figured out yet. I'm tempted to bring this little guy with me even when I bring the big SLR, so that I can fool around and take some quick candids and maybe some fun stuff like this "Color Accent" feature.

Geez, I'm a geek ...

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Here's a couple of shots from the weekend in Michigan a month or so ago ... We were visiting the Saugatuck/Holland area. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice area, but there wasn't a whole heckuva lot to see and do there, and we exhausted nearly all the possibilities in the first day. We almost left early, but stuck it out, and actually enjoyed ourselves on the final day, as the weather had FINALLY cleared up!

But while there wasn't much to do, one thing there WAS, and that was wonderful beaches. I'd have to say these Lake Michigan beaches were the finest I've ever seen in the Great Lakes, and they rival the wonderful Atlantic beaches on Cape Cod. I was also shocked to see how extraordinarily clean they were ... no junk, no pollution, and not even any beach debris. I'm not sure where it goes, but it ain't there. Maybe it just keeps going in the lake and washes up on Lake Erie's beaches???

Wish I had more pictures, or better pictures, but it just wasn't in the cards that weekend. I guess I'll have to wait until our week in Cape Cod comes up again in another month or so!

Of course, with my luck ... it'll rain the whole week!!!

Still Alive

No, I'm not dead ... I'm just spending my summer trying to strip and scrape the paint off my front porch and garage, so that both may be repainted. In short, it's worse than death. But it's the price you pay when you get a century-old house, and once they're done, then I need not worry about them for a few years, and frankly, next time I paint them, I won't need to strip them bare again, because I did it this time. So next time it'll just be throw another coat of paint on it!

So I haven't had much time for taking pictures, to be honest!

We did take a brief vacation to the western coast of Michigan, which was nice, but there wasn't a whole lot there to see and do, so I didn't get many good pictures. Nor did the weather cooperate! I may post a couple, but I'm not overly happy with what I got.

In the meantime, here's a couple of flower pics I shot today in the backyard.

Monday, May 05, 2008

More Industrial Stuff

A few more pics ... I will confess that these were originally shot in color, but I've turned 'em b/w in Photoshop. I dunno, I guess spending all that time looking at David Plowden, the FSA photographers, and years of digging through old archival photos has made me favor b/w ... color's nice, especially for landscapes, but in industrial settings, it's kind of pointless, because there's really not much color in the industrial world. Factories tend to be black and white, or shades of gray. Some machinery may be painted blue or green, but it's a pretty monochromatic world.

I wish they would be a bit sharper, but that's probably due more to my vision than the camera ... though my goal one day is to get an old-fashioned large format camera (or I guess a medium-format camera will do), learn how to use it, and then REALLY take some sharp photos!

Factory Floor

Before Cubicals

Ear Protection Required

Extra Dies

Numbered Bins

Shelf 13E

Safety Cage

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A little industrial photography

Sorry I haven't been around lately ... not much to take pictures of, unless you like artsy photos of me working in the backyard, or trying to fix a gutter.

And frankly, I'm not that a good ... a photographer, though I'm not that good at home maintenance, either.

Though an opportunity came up to take some neat industrial photos, and I jumped at the chance. I belong to a group called the Society for Industrial Archeology, and it's made up of folks like me who like to poke around old factories and industrial sites. We're amateur historians (I lost my professional status when I got laid off from the museum I worked at), and we just like a part of history that is often ignored or completely forgotten. America's industrial heritage.

So my local chapter got to take a tour of a small company that stamps out all sorts of things. It's been around since before World War Two (earlier, I think), and it's a neat little factory in an old part of town. Best of all, they let us wander pretty freely for hours, and TAKE ALL THE PHOTOS WE WANT!! That never happens ... so I brought my camera along and snapped away.

Here's some of the highlights:

Caution Safety Glasses

11000 lbs per shelf

Dale Junior

Endless Shelves

Non-Conforming Material


More Stampings

Even More Stampings

Maybe I'm an oddball ... but I find beauty in industrial settings ... you just gotta look.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

And now for something completely cute ...

Awwwwwww .....

We've come to a turning point with Brewster, the Wonder Dog. Heretofor, he'd spend his days at home in a cage, as my wife and I didn't want him roaming the house freely, because he's been a tad destructive. But over time, he's really mellowed out, so we've decided to get rid of the cage. And now he spends his days at home right here ... on the couch.