Thursday, October 19, 2006

More Fall Eye Candy

A couple years ago, we were over to the LeRoy Elementary School for the annual Halloween party. Since I already had the camera, I tried snapping a couple fall pictures just for fun.

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I like the picturesque image of the old white church on the hill. Of course, it's overpowered by the red building. The leaves in the foreground frame it a bit and lend a nice fall air to the whole image.

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I purposely used the tree to frame this image. It's a shame I couldn't do a better job on the church. It's there, but it isn't easy to see. Also, this is another 35mm shot that uses the whole width of the frame. I did manage to crop it, but the results were less than perfect.

This is the uncropped shot. At first glance, not much was lost. Unfortunately, losing the trunk of the tree threw the balance off.

So that's it for fall color for this year, unless I find and scan in the shots I took around our property last year. I'll let you know if I get the time between begging for a job, going after chicken-eating dogs, writing, and feeding the hungry critters (not to mention spending quality time with my family -- but that's just a given.)

Back again

My resume' has been updated. My projects portfolio has been tweaked a bit, too. The big interruption in the middle came when that same disease came around and kicked my tail feathers again. I finally consented to go to the doctor once my throat got to be so sore that I couldn't eat. After a day and a half on antibiotics, it was still sore (though not quite as bad) Things finally got better when, at about 3:00 in the morning, a big gob of reddish-brown stuff worked its way out of my sinuses.

So now I'm back to looking for someone in the Cadillac area that needs a programmer or engineer or writer or something like that. It's hard to write a resume' when you're targeting such a wide audience.

So, aside from rescuing a meat bird from the neighbor's dog (and having to butcher it because it was so injured), finding a half-eaten laying hen, and thinking bad thoughts about pumping certain mutts full of lead, that's what's been happening around here.

Oh yah, and my story is demanding attention again. It says that I had better start writing again if I want to keep my sanity. But maybe it's too late on that one.

Since I have a couple fall pictures left, I'll see if I can get those out tonight. We already had our first snow, but there is still some color around. I hope some people are still in the mood for some fall color pictures. Personally, I'm in the mood to skip winter altogether and move on to spring.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More Eye Candy

Yesterday's images were bright and garish. Today's images are of a more pastel hue.

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There are lots of things to think about when trying to shoot a nice photo. There are things like composition, lighting, background, foreground objects, framing, and a bunch of other things that can come together and make a good image, or clash and destroy everything.

I couldn't resist the calm mirror-like surface of the water, the pastel shades on the other side of the lake, and the contrasting colors of the canoe, bucket, and toy.

I started by backing off and widening out the zoom lens (I love zoom lenses). The image is OK, but not quite there, as far as I'm concerned. The oak tree frames it nicely on the right, but throws off the balance a bit. I actually like the way the slight haze in the sky softens the blue and makes it work better with the pastel shades of the trees.

So, I guess it's a keeper.

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I like this one, but it gave me some grief when it came to making wallpaper.

I have always liked to crop tightly inside the camera in order to make good use of the film area that I have to work with. In most cases, this isn't a problem. With this picture, though, there was literally no room to crop off either end. None at all. Cropping either end would crowd the objects (canoe and dock) too close to the end. The picture was already composed perfectly as taken.

The trouble is, as I mentioned yesterday, that a 35mm frame has a 3:2 aspect ratio, while a TV or monitor has a 4:3 aspect ratio. If you fit the entire image on the screen, there will be a gap at the top and/or bottom.

So what to do?

Actually, it turned out to be not all that tough -- though it did involve a little cheating (I mean photo editing). I copied the image and pasted it into a bigger frame. I put the picture on the bottom, then used the cloning tool to add more sky on top. Since the color is uniform, it came out fine.

Love my FSJ (Full-Size Jeep)

A couple days ago, the neighbor kids approached and asked if I could pull them out of the driveway. I thought they were talking about that really steep side spur that goes up right behind their house (and that has been neglected and is severely eroded).

As it turns out, the neighbor lady's oldest son's itty-bitty pea-picking kinda sporty Chevy was stuck in the sand close to the culvert. We drive there all the time, but I think that little sporty econobox has about two inches of ground clearance, and it didn't occur to the driver that he should keep his wheels out of the rut.

Anyhow, I backed up to the front of his car and prepared the yank strap. He told me that he just wanted to get out of the driveway, though.

So, how do I get around him and pull him from the other side?

There is a power line running parallel to the road perhaps 100 feet into the property (our house is about 500 feet from the road, by the way). I drove the Jeep along the power line to the snowmobile staging area that's behind the Bristol Store, then out to the road.

I had one end of the strap attached to the Jeep's hitch (no, not around the ball. It's a receiver hitch, so I removed the ball assembly.) He couldn't find any place to attach the strap to his car, though. What do they make cars out of nowadays, anyhow? Plastic?

He finally figured out how to get it through the license plate frame and around the back bumper. I wasn't too sure about that, but it was worth a try.

I got into the Jeep, took the slack out of the line, and gave it just a bit of gas. I barely got the engine off of idle when the little car started moving. I pulled him out, disconnected, and drove off so that he could go out the rest of the way.

But he got stuck again.

So I extracted him again.

I haven't seen his car there since then, so I guess he decided to park it elsewhere.

So that's why I love my big Jeep. When all else fails, we can get out of the driveway. If the van gets stuck, we can extract it. If we have to haul something heavy, it's up to the job. It's roomy and comfortable. The only downside is that it gets about 16 miles per gallon (but hey, that's better than most of the big modern SUVs). I really want to convert it to run on propane. At $1.65 per gallon, we can actually afford to run that big beast.

Sometimes, it's fun to take it to out-of-the-way places.