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Time Since Reboot

  • 1252 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes, 42 seconds ago

Week in Review: Feb 17 – Feb 23, 2014

Portfolio Additions


Observatory | ISO 100, 1/80, f/4.5, 24mm | Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED | Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 4, 2014 18:50 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Out & Out | ISO 180, 1/60, f/1.4, 24mm | Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED | Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 4, 2014 19:11 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Los Angeles 1.10 | ISO 100, 1/60, f/1.4, 85mm | Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF | Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 5, 2014 18:29 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Los Angeles 1.14 | ISO 100, 1/100, f/1.4, 85mm | Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF | Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 5, 2014 18:49 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

McCracken House, 2/12/14 | ISO 6400, 1/100, f/1.4, 24mm | Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED | Crestwood North, Birmingham, AL USA | Feb 12, 2014 19:32 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

.     .     .

The final Los Angeles photographs.  I told you one was going to be really depressing.  The little airplane toy on the child’s grave got to me a little, but that’s what I need to be on the lookout for – images that move me.  The two from the observatory turned out really well.  I like the symmetry of the building shot.  And there was something that compelled me to take the shallow focus photo of the observation camera pointed out toward the LA sunset.  

Pictures of Alabama houses in the snow are a dime a dozen this year, but I couldn’t help posting at least one.  This was more a proof of concept for me than anything – those concepts being 1) don’t be afraid to shoot in the elements (I bought a $6 ‘camera condom’ from Amazon to keep the majority of my gear dry, but really – I can’t be scared to get out and get the shot in less-than-ideal conditions, within reason), and 2) don’t be afraid to bump up the ISO to get low-light shots.  Low-light capacity has vastly improved in modern digital cameras.  The only illumination here is from streetlamps and the reflections off the snow.  At ISO 6400 there is noticable noise, especially in the sky.  But it isn’t unusable, it doesn’t detract from the image, and it’s much better than not trying to make a picture at all.

G. W. McCracken was the first owner of our house, built between 1927-1930.  Once we complete some planned external renovations this year, I’m going to apply to have it listed on the Jefferson County historical register and make the name official.  Whenever there’s a strange noise in the night, we attribute it to “old Mr. McCracken.”  

.     .     .

Tomorrow I head off to Kingsport, Tennessee for a week.  This will be the first business trip of the year – and I hope to make the time I have to myself in the evenings a little more productive than they’ve been in the past.  The camera will travel with me, along with a couple of lenses, the light laptop, and a few books.  I’m bad about zoning out and browsing the internet in my hotel room after a working day.  What I would like to do is use that time to be MORE productive than I am at home due to there being fewer distractions.  We shall see.  

Travel Prep

Early Monday morning I will be jetting over to Tennessee on the first audit of the year.

I now have two laptops – the photography workhorse with its whopping 32 gigs of RAM and a terabyte and a half of storage space, and the more pedestrian (and several pounds lighter) travel machine.  But – they now both run the same operating system and have the same software on board, even if the travel laptop doesn’t have the same processing power or space.  So this weekend’s project is to come up with a way to import my camera images, transfer them to the central server (a Netgear ReadyNAS that I have working but am not at all certain that I’m using correctly or to the best of its abilities), and then download the RAW images for processing on the little laptop while I’m on the road – while keeping everything in sync.

The test batch of photographs is the relatively small population of 62 images from the recent Birmingham snow (four of which I’ve marked as worthy of processing and possible publication).  Last night I transferred them from the camera, evaluated them in Darktable, and uploaded the whole batch (including the new ranking data) to the NAS.  Today I was going to attempt to log in to the server remotely – in this case, from the local coffee house – and download the batch to the travel machine.  Except transferring nearly 2 gigs of data was going to take forever.  So it looks like the first lesson is if I want to sync some files for processing on-the-road, I’m going to have to make that transfer when I’m still at the house.

That’s where we are now.  The plan, once I get the old data on the small laptop, is to 1) process, post and sync at least one of those photos from the road, and 2) take some new photographs, import them to the travel machine, and perform the same sync operation in reverse.  Updates to continue as I try to flesh out my new photography process flow.

Odds & Ends

When the big event of the week is starting a new book… well, it’s a slow week and at the same time the best kind of slow week.  Taking a break from fiction after the heavy, angry satire of Journey to the End of the Night, I selected the late, great Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark as my next read.  Somewhat timely, then, was this awful story about a proposed bill in the Missouri state legislature.  The decline is real, ladies and gentlemen.

In other depressing news: our great football coach is grinding on my nerves a little bit this week.  First with his unrelenting and unfortunate attachment to the ridiculous rule proposal to slow down collegiate offenses, and then with the bizarre Mercedes-Benz dealership story a day later.  I’m not going to link to any of those things.  Instead, here’s Matt Hayes of The Sporting News’ assertion that maybe, just maybe, people are making too much of this.  (But seriously, Nick, stop complaining about how fast HUNH teams are and just figure out a way to fucking stop them, okay?)

On to happier topics.

Here’s an interesting photo project that fairly well contradicts the popular notion that the more symmetrical a face is, the more ‘beautiful’ it is.  Not so much:


And as long as we’re talking photgraphy – this new website is kindling the flames of my gadget-lust.  


And finally, some helpful tips from Lifehacker on decluttering your space.  Posted here because I really need to implement some (if not all) of these suggestions.

That’s all.

PS – Stop being a pussy, Nick.  Stop it.

WIR: A Week For Love (or Hate, Whichever Applies to You)

Portfolio Additions


Los Angeles 1.8 | ISO 100, 1/1000, f/1.4, 85mm | Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF | Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 5, 2014 16:15 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Los Angeles 1.12 | ISO 100, 1/60, f/1.4, 85mm | Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF | Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 5, 2014 16:32 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

24mm Portrait Test | ISO 720, 1/60, f/1.4, 50mm | Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | Cypress Point, Lake Martin, AL USA | Dec 25, 2013 12:53 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Los Angeles 1.6 | ISO 100, 1/200, f/1.4, 85mm | Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF | Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 5, 2014 16:08 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

Los Angeles 1.15 | ISO 320, 1/60, f/1.4, 85mm | Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF | Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA USA | Jan 5, 2014 16:55 | © DRS 2014, (cc) by-nc-nd

.     .     .

Mostly additions to the EF series this week as I process and post the few remaining shots from late December and early January.  It’s becoming clear to me as I browse through the cemetery pictures that the 85mm lens is vastly superior to the 24mm for this particular project.  The shots from the anonymous little churchyard in Tallapoosa County are just not as aesthetically pleasing as their LA counterparts.  Safe to say that, going forward, I’ll be utilizing telephotos for Elysian Fields – either the 85mm or perhaps the 105mm Macro.

There were several versions of the “Memories Last Forever” bench (LA 1.6, above), each sort of focusing on a different sliver of the engraving.  I chose to go with the one that highlighted mostly the “Last Forever” section.  No particular reason; simply noting that for my future reference.

The portrait of Leslie is titled completely inaccurately.  The way my publication process works is that I export the completed, processed photographs from Darktable into web-friendly jpegs and upload them to my portfolio throughout the week.  On the weekend, I’ll go back through that week’s additions and post them here with metadata details, gleaned by opening Darktable again and copying the information from there.  So it was only just now that I noticed that this particular portrait was taken before I was gifted the 24mm lens.  A quick check verified that suspicion.  This photo was actually taken with my little 50mm 1.4G.  Ah well.

.     .     .

In the working world, it was a quiet week in the office.  Half of us were out on audits and others were out dealing with (some terribly tragic) personal matters (much thoughts going out to them and their families, btw).  So even with losing the equivalent of almost an entire day due to weather-related closures, the week was extremely productive.  I finished everything on my schedule and was able to get ahead – just the way I like it.

I’m currently about two-thirds of the way through Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night.  The language – even in translation – and the cruel satire of the work are impressive and quite enjoyable.  The subject matter… eh, not so much.  The experience, for me, is very similar to reading Love in the Time of Cholera.  I can appreciate how well it was crafted, but I can’t bring myself to care about the characters or the “journey.”  Unlike Cholera, I’m going to soldier through this one to the end.  It’s one of those that I should like, but for some reason it doesn’t give me that curl-up-with-me-by-the-fireplace feeling.

This week was also Valentine’s Day.  Mostly fun and sweet (flowers, books, cards, and the traditional Scarborough V-Day silver-platter dinner at Birmingham’s Taj India), with a brief bout of annoyance that probably raised my blood pressure more than it should have.

Next week will see the end of the first round of all Darktable all the time photographs.  New photo excursions will soon be needed.  Come on, weird southern weather – cooperate!

The Great Unfriending

I did something today I have only done once before – I unfriended someone on Facebook.  In fact, I unfriended several someones.  The only other time I’ve done that was when some ‘friends’ became disruptive to my relationship with people I love.  And that’s the reason for this mini unfriending spree as well.  You see, I love a great many people (and even some animals), despite what this obviously tongue-in-cheek Valentine’s Day card would suggest:

Funny, right?  I mean, it’s okay if you don’t actually think me posting this as a Valentine on my wife’s facebook page is funny.  There’s room for different senses of humor.  But if you literally think that I’m not being all jokey-sassy with my wife, but am instead publicly declaring my actual, literal hatred for every human being who is not my wife, then I really think you need to see a therapist about re-evaluating where you might fall on the mental retardation scale.  I’m so blown away by the unfathomable lack of common sense here that, if asked to explain to these Elmorons why the above image is a joke, I’m not sure I could do it.  I cannot comprehend how anyone would take that seriously.  

But there it is.  I get to hear that the pathetic biddies in my backwards-ass hometown, people whose lives are so unremarkable that the only satisfaction they get out of life is gossiping and gasping about the lives of others, are actually making this joke social network post I made into the daily outrageous oh-my-gah-no-he-didn’t has-been soccer-mom sewing circle chatter.  This is what I have to be bothered with today?  Sorry.  Life is too short to deal with this bullshit.  

In closing, if I link to this (or any other previous or subsequent pictures, videos, articles or personal journals) on facebook or twitter or anywhere else, and you click it and you are offended by it… you’re the problem.  Take the initiative and stop following me.  I don’t have time for it.


Who all could use a happiness boost?  Everybody?  Okay.

First:  can you believe the LIES the media are trying to sell us… what with these photoshopped images?!!  Shocking!


Check out these poor bastards, cast adrift while their wives/girlfriends shop.  

Do you know what a drawcansir is?  You do now – thanks to these cheerful dolls!  (Not actually cheerful.  Like, at all.)


Sorry about that one, old chap.  Here’s a good pick-me-up tip: work out!  Work out like a Jedi!  

And all right, people – I generally don’t play computer games, but I need this: