Friday, September 06, 2013

Live Bait - In Living Color!

Nikon D90, Nikon 10-24mm lens at 22mm, f/22, 1/60sec, ISO 200
Nikon D90, Nikon 10-24mm lens at 14mm, f/22, 1/60sec, ISO 200
I have a lot to say, but not enough time to say it. (Obama, war, Syria, hypocritical liberals)

So, I'll just post a couple of photographs instead of writing out a half-hearted rant in limited time.

This is a local fishing / bait store on US 1 in Melbourne, Florida.

I have always loved the colors of this place and kept promising myself I'd come by one afternoon when the evening sun was on the front of the building.

I finally did it.

These were my favorite two of this building.

The colors and the sunlight came out very Florida-ey.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Picture Post, Sunday August 18, 2013

Mainly due to health reasons, it had been six years since I had made a trip to my home town of Monroe, Louisiana.

Along with Number One Daughter and Number Two Daughter, I made the sixteen hour drive/ride from Palm Bay, Florida to Monroe during the first week of August and stayed with Sainted Mother while we were there.

People who think Florida is hot and muggy don't have a freakin' clue as to what REAL heat and humidity are.  Lets just say, if I had any toxins in my body that could be sweated out, they were long gone after the first day in Louisiana.

Long trips are rough on a bad back and chronic pain, but I was able to get out and about a little while every day to visit family and one day the three of us headed for the community of Aimoch, Louisiana (considered part of Olla, La.) to visit the graves of my Father, Big Brother and other relatives.  After turning off of US Hwy 165 in Grayson, Louisiana, we stopped to photograph an old red building that was in great looking sunlight.  Out behind the old building were these two guys, watching our every move.  This is my favorite non-family photo from the whole trip.

Nikon D90, Nikon 18-300mm lens at 300mm, f/5.6, 1/800sec, ISO 200
One evening, Big Sis, Friend Marie, Number One Daughter and I went to Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge, just north of Monroe, Louisiana, to photograph the very, very Louisiana looking bayou scenery and any critters that we might chance upon.  They had some great lotus flowers and killer, huge lily pads.
Nikon D90, Nikon 18-300mm lens at 175mm, f/16, 1/6sec, ISO 800

I had forgotten just how many kooky buildings and strange "things" that can be seen on just about any rural road in Louisiana.  I could drive for hours on Florida's country roads and rarely see stuff worth stopping for.  Not so in Louisiana.  This was along Hwy 165 between Columbia and Grayson Louisiana.  It looks just like the man in the blown-up space suit in the comedy movie "Rocket Man" to me.
Nikon D90, Nikon 18-300mm lens at 56mm, f/10, 1/400sec, ISO 200

Simply the lovely sunset at Black Bayou NWR that we saw that day.  I liked the way my super wide lens made the clouds look.
Nikon D90, Nikon 10-24mm lens at 10mm, f/16, 1/40sec, ISO 200

The Ouachita River (pronounced WASH-itaw) separates Monroe from West Monroe, Louisiana.  If you watch or have seen A&E's Duck Dynasty TV show, it is shot in and around West Monroe.  In this photo, I'm standing on the banks of the Ouachita in Monroe, looking across to West Monroe.  Just another of thousands of US rivers to most people, but I always though the Ouachita was a pretty river.  This photo is about half a mile from my old high school, Neville High School.
Nikon D90, Nikon 10-24mm lens at 10mm, f/22, 1/160sec, ISO 200

Have a great Sunday!
God bless all of you.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Their Sneaky Ploy Worked!

I was doing some channel surfing earlier after watching some Netflix.

The Science Channel is always one of my first stops when surfing; I'm a sucker for a good astronomy / cosmology show.  (BTW, is it a law or something that Michio Kaku has to be on every single science show made these days?  Seems like it, but I digress.)

Anyway, when I arrived at the Science Channel, "Build It Bigger" was on.

I watched a couple of minutes of the construction of a huge hydroelectric dam being built in Turkey (the Deriner dam), then they were going to break for commercials.

But before the commercials, the show had a teaser question. "Which country on Earth has the most large dams?" and promised to provide the answer when they came back to the show from the commercials.

So I patiently sat through Progressive insurance commercial and others and then the show came back.

Did you know that China has more than half of the world's 48,000 large dams?  I didn't either.

Then it hit me.

I had totally fallen for it.

I sat through the two minutes of commercials just so I could find out which country in the world had the most dams.

Those sneaky Science Channel / Build It Bigger producers!  They KNEW that I would be compelled wait and learn that tidbit about dams.

I have long known that I'm a science geek - you don't work your way through the pain of engineering school without being one - but I still totally fell for that simple commercial ploy just to learn one more science-ish fact.

I'm such a dweeb.

But I guess there are worse things to be.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year to Y'all, 2013

When Good Intentions Get Trampled by Reality:

It's over in the evening, almost dark on January 1, 2013.

As 2012 came rushing to a close through November and December, I began to have a little up-tick in my spirit; I felt that I was turning a corner and had that almost forgotten feeling that I used to get when I had the courage to make big changes for the better in my life.

Oh well, so much for that plan.

My back problems and chronic pain have made the past few years of little consequence when it comes to moving forward and achieving goals in my life.

I call them health issues because I have a screwed up back and hurt all the time, but at the same time I've never felt that "health issues" or "health problems" is the right way to put what I deal with.

To me, health problems is more along the lines of sickness.  Sickness is usually acute, and can kill you quick.

Skeletal problems that have been repaired as best the doctors can do and continuing chronic pain doesn't sound or feel like sickness to me, so mentally I feel I should be able to struggle with my pain, struggle through my pain and confidently still attain my dreams and goals, albeit on a slower trajectory.

Yeah. Right.

December found me feeling increasingly bad - just generally bad - and then to top it all off, my back began hurting in certain new spots.  Hurting as in when the pain hit, I would yell out with no control, as if a mule kicked me in the back.  Just instant 0-10 level pain jump and after a few seconds, the pain would begin to taper off, only to leave me breathless, shocked and relieved that the episode was over.

On Christmas Day, a light was shined on my new issues when I went to pee about 1pm.

Peeing felt like I was passing sulfuric acid, and it hurt so bad that my body fought itself, both to relieve my full bladder, and to not pee so the burning would stop.

Long story short, I had a pretty nasty urinary track infection.  The tests run so far have indicated I have kidney stones, but with it being the holidays, getting x-rays and confirming various possibilities has been progressing at a snail's pace.

As I sit here this first day of a new year, I WANT to be working lickety-split on getting out of the rut I've been in for the past three years or so with my chronic pain.

But along with the chronic pain, I now face the dilemma of getting to the bottom of my kidney stone problem, because, though the antibiotics have almost cleared me of my infection, I still have the new pain, theoretically from kidney stones.

Kinda puts a crimp in the idea of hitting the ground of the new year running, you know?

I've never been a New Year's resolution kind of guy, but I hoped that the spiritual surge I was getting into at the end of 2012 would help me get a good start in being diligent in working on my (admittedly simple) goals for the new year.

Instead, I begin 2013 with that old "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" situation instead.

But I am SO thankful for a loving and supportive family; my lack of progress on where I'd like to be heading in my life exists only in my head.

All of this reminds me to 1. Be thankful to God for all the wonderful people and things in my life, and 2. That my problems aren't life threatening (at this point) so I know I can get back on track, if very slowly instead of quickly.

First priorities of this new year are to get on track health wise, and to get better on my guitar.   That's it.  Down to two goals from about one thousand always kicking around in my head ten years ago.  

Simple as these two goals sound, they're actually pretty lofty from where I am right now. 

Just wanted to post a blog post on Jan. 1, and now, have metronome and guitar; time for some scales, baby!

God bless all of you.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Picture Post, Sunday December 9, 2012

I haven't done a Picture Post in a while.  And though it's over in the evening on Sunday, I'll post one anyway.  Not that anyone sees these any more, but I want to keep the blog alive, even if on machine life support...

I've actually taken some photos here and there recently.

These first two are the Christmas themed photos that I set up and shot for Lovely Wife's and my Facebook "cover" photos.  I hate trying to adapt regular photos for the slender slot available there, so I set out to create some purpose-made photos to fit the Facebook cover area.

I've been learning to use off camera flash in such a way as to look natural, as if I had some good sunlight available to use whenever and in whatever direction I want.  This first one was some of the first decorations that came out of our first box of ornaments we opened.  They were just set up for testing my studio (also known as the kitchen) and backgrounds and flash settings. But I thought this was a really pretty photo and it's now Lovely Wife's Facebook cover photo.

This one with Santa and the snowman, I had taken and cropped to be put on Facebook on December1, but I woke up November 30th with the idea in my head to add the cross shadow in the background.  I was pleased with the way it turned out. 

In mid November, Number One Daughter and I drove up to Titusville, Florida to go to Canaveral National Seashore.  We had never been, and the main road into the park runs along the northern border of Kennedy Space Center.  I had her pull off the road to let me take this photo of Launch Complex 39B.  Some of America's great space endeavours began right out there, just to the left of the water tower in the left half of the frame.  I think it is now being deconstructed.  It is the pad where the unfortunate Shuttle Challenger lifted from in 1986.

This is Canaveral Seashore itself.  We thought the cloud shapes and the light on them made them look like the dramatic entrance of the space ships of the alien invaders from the 1990s "Independence Day" movie.  Lovely nonetheless.

On the way back to Titusville and then on to home, we had to go back over the Max Brewer Causeway.  I asked Number One Daughter to pull off and let me take some night shots of the bridge since it was then lighted so nicely.  The crescent moon up there adds a nice spot of interest.  I absolutely LOVE the deep blue of a dusk-time sky.  I have a big, heavy tripod (as tripods go) but the wind was blowing so hard I had to adjust the shutter times and block the wind with my body just to get a couple of sharp photos.

God bless you all, and hope you're having a good Christmas season!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tascam DR-07mkii Case (Great Fit)

Public Service Announcement:
Ape Case for the Sony PSP game fits the Tascam DR-07mkii very well.

After years of struggling on my own, I started taking guitar lessons a few weeks ago.

I had learned chords and am a decent strummer and  can play many songs, but I never seemed to be able to get better than that; to figure out how to improvise and begin to play leads or anything with flair.

My instructor  asked me to buy a cheap digital voice recorder for him to sometimes play some chords for me to later practice improvising over.

I tried a voice recorder like used for meetings and recording lectures, but the thing is so tiny I could hardly read the screen and the tiny speaker sounded...tinny.

This is where my eBay addiction comes in handy.

Got a great deal on a Tascam DR-07mkii stereo digital recorder; it's big enough to see the writing on the screen easily and it can be connected to my computer to download and manipulate the recordings.


But, Tascam doesn't make a small padded case for the DR-07mkii.

Being the engineer, I carefully measured the Tascam recorder and went a-searchin' on them thar interwebs for a suitable case for my new electronic friend.

Ape Case makes a small padded case to fit the Sony PSP (Play Station Portable) 2000, 3000, etc., hand-held game device.

Based on several web site's measurements of this case, I ordered one.

The case is perfect for the Tascam DR-07mkii and the two elastic straps inside that are designed to hold the Sony PSP in place also work fine to hold the Tascam recorder in there..  The case also has room to put a USB cable and a couple of other flat-ish items like maybe a USB drive or something.

So, if you are searching the internet for a case for the DR-07mkii, the Ape Case for Sony PSP is a great case to fit the Tascam DR-07mkii along with a few accessories.

Amazon sells the Ape Case for Sony PSP cheaper new than what I could find on eBay.

Friday, August 03, 2012

A New Experience

Click on enclosed photos to enlarge

We live on the Atlantic coast of Florida, pert-near exactly half way between Jacksonville and Miami.

Big Sis on beach.
It's a sixteen hour drive to visit my family in Louisiana.  I don't see my family much.

In the two years since I had seen my Big Sis, she had gone from someone interested enough in photography to buy a nice Sony super-zoom point and shoot camera to take concert pictures of her many Keith Urban concert attendances, to someone who bought a nice Sony dSLR and had taken photography courses and become truly hooked on landscape photography.

Big Sis came and visited us in Palm Bay in mid-July. 

We had a lot of fun just cramming everyone in the car and going and seeing local stuff that she could not see in Louisiana.

Great Blue Heron.
Lots of bayous in Louisiana, hence lots of opportunity to photography many of the same birds we have down here.  But to her surprise, the same birds down here will let you get as close as ten feet or so before walking away to keep a distance from you and your camera.

Our birds are used to lots of people around, and in fact, they'll stand around near any fishermen, which are pretty much at every park and pier around here, and hope for some fish guts if the the fishermen catch anything.

Needless to say, we took hundreds of photos of birds, boats, sunsets, etc.

But it was just great to have her here, see her and talk with her.  The photography was just icing on the cake.

Amazing Sunset Ends Rainy Day
The first full day she was here will give you an idea of the kind of nice happenings that we encountered while she was here.

She got to our home late on a Tuesday night, so we all slept late the next day, lazed about the house and ate lunch.

By noon it had become overcast and rained a good portion of the afternoon.

Around 6pm, looking east from our home, we could see some blue sky out over the Atlantic.

Stand-up Paddle Boarder / Sunset
We piled in the car and headed toward the beach hoping that the rain would stop enough to get out and take some photos.

We went to the beach, and took some photos, and the clouds above us on the beach began to break up. (see first photo of Big Sis at top of page)

We moved to a park along the Indian River Lagoon (Intercoastal Waterway) where we hoped to see at least a mediocre sunset over the Lagoon.

What ended up happening was one of the best sunsets we have ever seen down here, and we've seen some doozies.

We had several different experiences like this, just getting out regardless of weather, and the weather would clear and create amazing vistas to photograph.

Her week here went by in a flash and it's hard to believe it's already been several weeks since she left.

But we all had a great time with her, and it was a new experience for me to have a close family member to talk photography with.  Lots of fun!

Gorgeous Colors Bring Unforgettable End to an Otherwise Rainy Day