Saturday, February 28, 2009

Discovery Day

I'm going to a Canon Discovery today in Cedar Rapids. (I got up in plenty of time [5:12 AM]). PhotoPro, a camera store in Cedar Rapids is sponsoring the day and it sounds interesting. It is a day of discovery of your camera. There are tons of options in the camera, and I know I don't come close to using the camera to the fullest extent I can.

There is a school of thought that says post processing should be kept at a minimum (working with Photoshop or other editing programs). As a matter of fact in photographic competitions there are rules regarding post processing. Photographers may perform enhancements and modifications of the image that could have been done at the time the image was taken, but that do not change the original truth of the image, e.g. cropping, and flipping the image are acceptable, adding or removing elements is not.

All major brand DSLR's have picture style settings that control color, contrast, sharpness, and saturation. And, all of these can be done in the camera. What I want to learn today is more about controlling the image in the camera with limited post picture taking processing. There are times when you need to "fix" a picture. I have frequently had only seconds to take a picture of a moving subject or the "right moment" before it was gone. there was no time to "tune" the camera to all of the appropriate setting of ISO, aperture, or picture style. It was a shoot right NOW moment or miss it. In that case, a little post processing is OK.

In competitions there should be a creative category where you can process all you want - and I like that category also.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Imagine for a moment that you wake up - there's a nip in the air as the temperature outside hovers near zero. You are looking forward to that hot shower to not only take the chill off, but to warm you up and get the blood flowing - only to discover that sometime in the middle of the night the hot water heater died.

It had been a good hot water heater, faithful in performing its duties of providing hot water for the household for at least 20 years. It shall be missed...

I don't know what it is about my basement these days - clogged drain, dead sump pump, flood, and now the water heater. The furnace was replaced a couple of years ago so we're OK there... I won't say anything about the washer and dryer (shhhhhh)...

I'll be home awhile today as the plumbers can't pinpoint a time other than, "...between the hours of 8:00 and Noon...maybe early afternoon." Here I am...

Well, late morning didn't's hoping early afternoon will...

1:23 PM Plumber guy is here...

2:45 PM New water Heater has joined the family - here's to a LONG and HEALTHY life...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blessed or Cursed?

Another early morning - it seems that my internal alarm clock is outa wack and frequently goes off at weird hours - like "I'm awake now!!" On the plus side I'm getting a lot more done each day - on the down side - my internal engine shuts down quickly about 10:00 PM or so each nite. So I'm inclined to think it's a blessing - perhaps next time I'll actually go to the grocery store in the wee hours and see who else is up?!?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Favorite Place to Take Pictures

I visited one of my favorite picture taking places to take some additional photos. It was a beautiful winter day, sun out, temperatures about 30 degrees and no wind. My 365 Project is One a Day and I end up taking a lot of photos. I thought I'd post a couple here...the Cedar River in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Perfect Storm

A Winter snow melt can be a good thing, OR, it can combine with other events and cause a perfect storm.

I was looking for a picture and couldn't find what I was looking for so I decided to look in the basement. When I got to the foot of the stairs it became readily apparent that we had a problem, as there was a puddle of water at the foot of the steps. We typically don't have a puddle at the foot of the stairs so that's how I perceived we had a problem. I took a couple of more steps into the basement and discovered, not a puddle, but a lake (no fish). My first thought was that since we had just gotten a humidifier added to the furnace perhaps the water line broke. No, m-m-m-m-m, that wasn't it. Then, perhaps the water heater finally gave it, that wasn't it either. I investigated the area of the basement where the sump pump is and discovered the deep end of the lake.

It seems that not only did the sump pump fail, but the drain in the basement also decided it was time to stop working...and the water started filling the basement. Since there was nothing we could do until morning we went to bed hoping the water didn't get worse (deeper). It didn't - it was lower in the morning. We called the Roto Rooter guy and he came and cleaned the drain and the plumber came and replaced the sump pump. So, all that is left is the mess and we're dealing with that...

When my wife called the plumber to schedule a visit she told him that her husband was not handy, but thought we needed a new sump pump. He then asked if I had "jiggled this" or "moved that"... to which she replied, "my husband is not handy that way (true), but if you want a picture taken of the sump pump it would be the best picture ever." (she's a fan of my photography) I think the plumber thought she was insulting me (she wasn't as I am not mechanically inclined) and he wanted to defend a fellow guy... At any rate - I was right we needed a new sump pump.

I couldn't stay home and help with the mess as I had a meeting I had to go to in Des Moines. My mood was not the best as I traveled. I stopped at a rest stop and as I was walking back to the car a $20 bill blew under my foot. My mood perked right up... there was nobody around, so I thank whoever lost it for my evening meal... Too bad it wasn't a couple of $100 bills I could give the plumber.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Physical Training

Every now and then I get an overwhelming nostalgic feeling and miss the Navy. Tonight the feeling came to me while I was walking on a treadmill during one of my 3 times a week workout. I know it's strange...but, some of my fondness memories are when a group of us would gather either before work (6:00 AM [the Navy always has to do stuff before dawn]) or during the afternoon and run physical training. I was never athletic and the run was always a challenge for me, but there were shipmates who stepped up and provided me with motivation and encouragement. Tonight I thought of Ralph, Ray, CDR R., CDR H., Tony, Lisa and others who ran with me.

Strange how time deals with memories - at the time I swore I hated every step of the run, but looking back - it wasn't too bad and the commaraderie made the memory. Thanks all...

PS I've been on the workout plan for 4 weeks and it is getting easier, I have lost 5 lbs and am close to dropping down a waist size...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


This sign hangs on my office wall. I believe it is missing from an awful lot of corporations. I for one am angry to hear that the CEO's and CFO's and managers of the companies who received federal bailout funds (MY tax money and YOUR Tax money) used it to pay exhorbitant bonuses to themselves and their employees. The below photo express' my opinion...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Sad Commentary

The Stone Barn landmark Southeast of Cedar Falls was built in 1875. I have been driving by it for years (not since 1875 however). I took the above picture a couple of years ago...

When the barn was in its prime there was a small village across the street complete with 3 houses, a church and a school. The city issued a "fix it" or tear it down ticket and the owner reluctantly removed the structure due to insurance and liability issues. The following picture was taken from General Denny Mills Public Picasa Gallery and shows the barn today.

Not quite sure why we can't preserve our history...

I am Naked

I am Naked
Originally uploaded by natureluv
Trying something new - posting to my blog from Flickr. Discovered this photo it intrigued me and I wanted to share. Love the fog...