Archive for the ‘Daily Stuff’ Category

Day 16 – Like a bird in a cage

Sunday, June 10th, 2012
Like a bird in a cage

Like a bird in a cage

Day 6 – Static Turtle

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

A bit of a take on a grungy garden turtle

Static Turtle

Static Turtle

White Knuckle Ranch – Chris Shaw

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Here’s some shot’s I took of my friend Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch.  They turned out better than I expected.

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Chris Shaw at White Knuckle Ranch

Photographing Incense Smoke Tutorial – Part 1 – Capture

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
Incense smoke can be one of the neatest subjects to photograph, especially when you toss in a little ‘photoshop magic’ to liven it up.  In this little tutorial, I’ll show you the approach I used (there are others) to shooting incense as well as finishing it up in photoshop.
The most important thing to understand about photographing smoke is proper lighting.  I have talked to numerous people who try and fail at photographing incense because they try to use the on camera flash, but you can’t get these shots with light from the front.  The light MUST come in from the side!  I use a desk lamp on one side and a flash on the other.  (see picture).  Now you might think that this is all for lighting the smoke, but NO!  Only the flash is for the smoke.  The lamp simply lights the smoke enough to allow your camera’s autofocus function to focus on the smoke.
The Setup

The Setup

I set the flash on about half power (simply to decrease recycle time) and zoom it in as far as it will go.  Remember, you are just trying to light the incense, not a whole scene.  I also think it’s a good idea to put a snoot on the flash to really pinpoint the light.

You can improvise a gobo or a snoot with a rubber band and either two small black cards or a large sheet of black construction paper.  With the cards, simply place a piece on each side of the flash (front to eliminate lens flare, on the back to keep the background dark) and attach them to the flash with the rubber band.  With the paper, simply roll it around the flash and attach with a rubber band for the same effect.  For this shoot, I didn’t even use black cards.  I had to laminate passes laying around that worked great.

Improvised Snoot

Improvised Snoot

 

Now, make sure you have some sort of dark background.  I use a black poster fold out.  They are cheap and readily available at hobby stores and probably wal-mart.  It’s like what a kid would use for a science fair display.  You could also use a piece of black cloth.  Position your incense at least a foot and a half in front of your black background.  If you place it to close, you will end up lighting it and the effect of the smoke won’t be as nice.

I use very cheap wireless flash triggers for my flash, but you can use a cable to.  I set the shutter speed to  just under the flash sync speed of the camera.  The reason I go just under is that every once and a while the wireless takes a split second longer to cause the flash to fire, so the lower speed is just insurance.  I usually shoot these at ISO 200 anywhere from f8 – f11.

Ok…incense.  You want a good quality incense.  Not because it’s going to make a difference in the photograph, but you have to smell this stuff up close, so find something you like.  Light the incense and turn the room light off.  Also, no fans, and you may need to turn off the A/C , depending on the vent location.

With the desk lamp on, you should be able to hand hold and autofocus.  (I used to use a tripod, but found it a bit limiting.)  Use the single autofocus point in the center.  If you have problems getting the autofocus to work, you can cheat a little and focus on the tip of the incense then recompose on the incense.

Now just watch for neat patterns to pop up in the incense.  If there is no air movement, the patterns will be straight and boring.  Simply lightly wave your hand or gently blow in the direction of the incense and you should get something interesting.  Take tons of shots and don’t be disappointed if they aren’t all in perfect focus.  Focusing on smoke is a tricky process.

You will end up with something like this:

 

Smoke picture before post processing

Smoke picture before post processing

That’s it for capturing the shot.  Next we have to run it through some post processing which I’ll cover next time.  Enjoy!

The Mysterious Critter Has Been Caught!!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

I have trapped the source of the strange sounds under my bathtub.  This took me over a week as he is extremely smart.  Now to figure out what to do with him.

Racoon

Racoon

Rocky The Racoon

Rocky The Racoon

The Epic Fail of the Dinner Rolls

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
Something had triggered the memory of Donna Blair’s rolls in the kitchen in hers and Wooten’s house on the big hill.  We would go up to visit and Donna Blair would always be making fresh rolls.  They were sweet, a little floury and delicious!  When this memory triggered, I knew I wanted to make some sweet dinner rolls.  This was obviously a mistake because a) I’ve never made rolls from scratch before and b) I don’t bake very well.  But I was bound and determined to give it a shot, which let to my comedy of errors.First off all, let me start out by saying you should never …NEVER bakes stuff in the oven when the daytime temps are over 100 degrees every day.  It will heat up the house to unbearable levels and will basically make you melt.  That being said, I pulled out the water, milk and yeast and mixed it up in the kitchen aide mixer.  I was then supposed to add softened butter.  Here is my first problem.  I didn’t let the butter soften long enough so I basically had little butter chunks floating in the liquid.  This was disturbing, but I figured I might as well press on.I added the egg, sugar, salt and such.  Then I slowly added the flour.  As I got to the end, I switched to a dough hook because the stuff was just to thick.  I let it mix with the dough hook for a couple of minutes, then I removed the bowl from the mixer and covered it to let it rise.  I set the timer for 45 minutes.When the timer went off, I went to punch the dough but oddly enough, it hadn’t risen and was kind of cold to the touch.  But never one to stop a task for such trivial problems, I pressed on.  I broke the dough apart and rolled it into little balls and put them in a pan.  I was going to let them rise another hour, but since everything had seemed cold I moved the pan on top of the stove and covered it.  I had preheated the oven to 400 but since these were going to rise for an hour, I turned the oven down to about 250.When I came back after the second rising cycle, I was pleased to see some progress.  The rolls seemed to have risen nicely and it was time to put them in the oven.  Following the directions, I popped them in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.  When the timer went off, I went and checked and they hadn’t even thought of turning brown  yet.

“Hmmm…”, I thought.  “Lets give them another 5 minutes.”  So I reset the timer and went back to the chair.  When the timer went off I checked them again and still they weren’t even close to brown.  I decided to give them yet another 5 minutes.  I set the timer and sat down and then it dawned on me.  I had reduced the oven temperature to 200 when the rolls were rising.  They were never going to cook at this rate!

I raced into the kitchen and turned the temp up to 400, wondering what I was going to finally end up with out of this fiasco.  I gave them about 8 minutes and they were browning on top so I pulled them out.  I pulled out my wooden cutting board to place them on, turned the pan upside down and shook, waiting for the rolls to pop out.  Oddly, the rolls gave no response.  I shook again.  Still no response.  I banged the edge of the pan on the cutting board.  Still nothing.  Then it dawns on me.  I didn’t grease the pan!  I grabbed a spatula and tried to scrape the rolls out of the pan but ended up just ripping things apart.

I looked down at my failure with scorn, but decided I might as well see what the taste and texture is like.  I gathered some of the mush up on a plate, grabbed some jelly and sat down at the table.  They were not the best rolls I’ve had, but they were definitely edible.  I discovered from the taste that to attempt to recreate Donna Blair’s rolls, I would need to add some more sugar (hers were definitely sweeter) and a bit more flour and salt.

All in all it was a worthwhile experiment and I will definitely try again, but probably not until the weather cools in October time frame.

Sword Engraving

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Day 15 of the 31 Day Personal Photography Challenge

Sword Engraving

Sword Engraving

I’ll miss you, Ella

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Ella

Ella

 

Ella the greyhound relaxin'

Ella the greyhound relaxin'

 

Ella's Up Trane's Butt

Ella's Up Trane's Butt

 

Puppy Love II

Puppy Love II

Syncing Multiple Google Calendars With The iPhone

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Like a lot of people, I’ve got several calendars tied into my Google Calendar (personal, work, holidays, birthdays, etc…).  I also sync my Google Calendar to my iPhone.  Since I had been syncing, it seemed that the Apple/Google tag team was only good for the top level calendar.  When I linked the two on the iPhone, this was all that showed up.  Since I really USE my iPhone, I grumbled and acquiesced and put almost everything on that top level calendar.  Today, I decided that the company’s were too big to have overlooked this and that it must be me, so I started looking.  It’s buried pretty deep in there, but, if you can find the page, it’s easy as pie.  Google!  Why do you have to bury this stuff!?

So here is the link to the page to selectively add all your calendars to the iPhone sync.

 

 

Google Calendar Tip – - Yearly Repeats on day of week/month

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

I went to go add Thanksgiving to this years google calendar.  It seemed like common sense to just have it repeat every year on the 4th Thursday of the Novemeber so I checked the repeat box and selected yearly and was surprised there was no obvious way to set.  After fiddling with it a little, I discovered that it, in fact, can be done.  The setting is just a little odd so I thought I would pass it along for anyone else who might not know.

  • Create the event then check the “Repeat…” box
  • For repeat, choose repeat Monthly.
    • Choose repeat Every 12 Months.
    • Choose repeat By Day of Week.

Works like a champ!  Also helpful for Labor Day!

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