Sunday, September 27, 2009

Picture Post, Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lilly, one of our poodles. She's afraid of thunder and has several favorite closed-in places she likes to get. This one is under our bed.

I was photographing the Indian River Lagoon that ended up as the black and white shots from a few posts back, and looked across to another part of this vacant lot and saw little blurry spots of intense red-orange. (I wasn't wearing my glasses, hence the blurry spots of color.)

So, I moseyed on over there, it being WAY too hot a day for anything more strenuous than a mosey. When I got these on my computer, I actually dialed down the color saturation in this photo because the original colors were so intense that it looked fake.

These are the kinds of colors seen around here with all the rain we've had this year.

Our piano. It serves now only as a picture holder. I liked the light in there, but the room is small and I had to zoom out to a wide angle to get even this cropped view, hence the distorted (bent) picture frame and the bottom edge of the piano. My new version of Photoshop Elements has a feature where I can correct some of that type of lens distortion, but haven't gotten around to playing with it yet. I liked the warmth of this one anyway.

One of Lovely Wife's flower pots out back beside the pool. I looked out our back door the other day and the late evening sun made this pot glow, so I grabbed my camera.

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Up To Speed (Bought Some New Stuff)

We've had Roadrunner broadband internet service in our home for years now, with an older 802.11 -B wireless system.

We've always avoided watching most videos on our computers, the link was too slow and the stopping and jerking of the videos drove me crazy.

But over time, Roadrunner has gotten faster and we upgraded to their fastest home service.

But our older wireless system wasn't capable of using all of that new speed.

So this past week we've bought a few new electronic gadgets for our computers.

I bought a new Linksys wireless router that is 802.11 -N, which is the latest, fastest system available.

Lovely Wife's laptop already had a -N wireless adapter in it, so as soon as I hooked up the new router to the cable modem, she was instantly super fast. She could watch streaming movies from Netflix and so forth on her computer for the first time without all the skipping and jumping.

I bought a -N wireless adapter for the desktop computer I use, and it's now super fast with internet videos now as well.

This just totally changes the whole internet experience, we're finally fast enough for all kinds of videos now and pages load almost instantly; no more waiting for images on pages to slowly trickle in.

We also bought a blu-ray DVD player (LG brand, BD390 model) that has built-in wireless capability and since were subscribers to Netflix, our new wireless router sends us streaming movies across the house to our DVD player.

In other words, our DVD player plays hi-definition DVDs as well as connecting to Netflix so that we can watch movies via it's wireless connection to the internet.

It's all a neat setup and it was super easy to get it all hooked up and working.

I can therefore highly recommend the following gadgets:

- Linksys by Cisco WRT400N Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
- LG BD 390 Network Blu-ray Disc Player
- Linksys WUSB600N Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Network Adapter

I also bought the latest version of Adobe Photoshop Elements, version 7.0. I have used version 4.0 for three years and needed to upgrade to have the ability to work with Nikon RAW files from my D90 digital camera.

I have loved Elements, it's a really great program, and the upgrade from version 4 to 7 is a big difference and the program has many new features when compared to my older version. Well worth the upgrade for me.

So I can highly recommend Photoshop Elements 7 and The Photoshop Elements 7 Book for Digital Photographers book by Scott Kelby.

If you have fooled with image processing programs a little, like Elements, Photoshop, or GIMP, then this book by Scott Kelby is the perfect companion to Elements 7. The book assumes some basic experience with imaging programs, but he explains each topic step-by-step, and is simply the best Elements book you could buy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Picture Post, Sunday, September 13, 2009

A look at Florida in Black and White.

I took these photos on Friday afternoon. It was such a beautiful day, and I knew that the light and the clouds would end up making photos that were more interesting in black and white as opposed to color.

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Expensive Hobbies

My Brother in Law has a real dry sense of humor.

When Big Sis comes home from shopping, he looks at her and asks "How much money did you save us?"

The net effect of shopping for ANYTHING is that money leaves your bank account, never to be seen again.

For me, both photography and guitars tends to be pretty expensive hobbies, but, I must say, the guitars I have are nice but really inexpensive as guitars go.

At a guitar show in Tampa a few years ago a representative for Paul Reed Smith guitars tried to hand me a Carlos Santana model electric guitar to try out. (I got to meet guitar designer/builder Paul Smith himself and talk with him, which was really cool, but another story.)

It truly scared me and I quickly backed away. Too timid for that kind of outrageously expensive guitar.

I was still very much a beginner at guitar at the time and was not prepared to try out guitars in public, a very crowded guitar show, and on an amp. But what scared the heck out of me was the price tag on the Santana guitar.

The list price of a PRS guitar made exactly like the ones Carlos Santana plays was $10,000 at the time. Even if the "street price" was a mere $8,000, I backed away from the man while holding up my hands in denial. I couldn't even get myself to hold the guitar, much less try to play it.

Really, really expensive things has that effect on me.

In the world of photography, today, Leica, the super-expensive but absolutely fantastically built/made German camera maker, released a new digital rangefinder camera called the M9.

The street price of the M9 is estimated to be around $8,000 to $10,000.

That's for the camera body only. No lens included.

Add one of the equally precious new Leica lenses to the M9 and you'll be paying out around $13,000 to $15,000.

One camera body with one lens or pay cash for a new car?

Rich people have such tough choices. Though I realize that if one can easily afford a $15,000 camera/lens, then they won't be driving a $15k car, but you get my meaning.

A couple of months ago, I bought a new Nikon camera body, and once I was satisfied that it worked well in all respects, I sold my older camera body on ebay.

Total price for the new camera body after subtracting what I got for the sale of the old one, about $450.

I still feel guilty about that too.

Then Leica comes along and releases a new $8,000 camera body.

And I suddenly don't feel so bad about spending the $450-$500 on my own new camera.

Thanks Leica!

Like when we were kids. If one of us said, "My arm hurts." one of the other kids might stomp your foot and say, "There, that takes your mind off of your hurting arm doesn't it?"

Same principle.