Friday, February 29, 2008

Fat Tire on Tap!

Been a while since my last beer post. I've just returned from a photography workshop in Death Valley. I'm happy to report that I found Fat Tire on tap!!! What a treat! This was at the restaurant in Panamint Springs, California.

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Fat Tire has a wonderful smokey and full-bodied taste. It's one of my favorites. I asked for a "super grande" size and got this massive ~24-oz mug :-)

Combining Exposures to Handle High Dynamic Range - Part 1

This is my first photography article, and will start a series on how to handle scenes having a wide or high dynamic range (higher than the camera (digital or film) is capable of recording). The method presented in this article shows a quick "down-n-dirty" way of combining two exposures. There are other, more sophisticated methods of combining exposures, and I'll publish articles later on that cover some of them.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this method. This article does not go into great detail about all the fine points, but rather is meant to provide a quick and easy means of combining two exposures using tools we already have.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Camping in the Backyard

"We went camping, just me and my dad..." This is a line from Mercer Mayer's book, "Just Me and My Dad", a children's story about a little critter, er... boy, that goes on a camping trip with his dad. It is one of Henry's favorite books, and I've read it to him probably 100 times.

Last Saturday, Henry and I (and Tanya too) slept outside in the backyard in tents. We didn't do the whole camping routine like cooking outside or peeing/pooping behind a bush (the neighbors probably think we're crazy enough for sleeping out there in the first place), we just slipped out back at bedtime and slept the whole night in the tents.

I don't think I've ever seen Henry that excited. I took him out first at bedtime, and he and I got into the big tent and read books by flashlight. Every other page or so, he'd look up and around and say, "I can't belieeeeve it!". He and I have been talking about camping and sleeping in a tent for so long, and there he was finally doing it.

We made it the whole night, too. That was a bonus. I expected him to last a few hours and then get so whiney and uncomfortable that he'd have to come inside. But he didn't. He slept quietly and comfortably next to me the whole night. Tanya and I planned to switch out (she started off in the little tent by herself) at some point in the night, but it wasn't necessary.

Now, the next step is to actually travel somewhere and camp for real :-)

More Portraits from the Backyard

Here are a few new ones of Henry. I tried a lot of motion shots - shots taken with Henry moving while I panned the camera attempting to match his motion. I also tossed out my "perfection" routine (shoot RAW, process carefully) and shot JPG with different in-camera settings.

The first two were done in black and white mode with the red filter effect (all in-camera settings). I figured out from the histograms of the first few shots that I needed to dial in +2/3 exposure comp. to get it right. The third shot is a high-contrast low-saturation (color) effect, again shot in JPG.

(click for larger pic)
It's not the way to maximize image quality, but it's fun. And I can't say that I'm dissapointed with the results.

Beautiful Skies

The skies over Houston this past weekend were stunning. Enough so that I had to drag the camera out and shoot from the backyard. Now, I could have gone someplace more scenic to make better use of these skies, but I didn't have the time or energy. So it's more of a record shot :-) But damn the skies were beautiful!

(click for larger pic)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Week 5, ‘08

Summary of Miles Walked:
- This Week: 7.0
- Since Jan. 1: 82.8
- Since Nov. 26, 2007: 183

The big news this week:  I had my gall bladder removed last Friday. This was a scheduled procedure. I had been having trouble and was diagnosed with having "two small gall stones" last year. Friday, after the surgery, the Dr. told Tanya that I had "two large gall stones".

So, I won't be walking much this week. I tried to get in as much walking as possible last week before Friday, but things were just too busy. We bought a car on Thursday evening, and I was still way too sore from the big 17 miler the previous weekend. I managed a few miles, but they were agony. At least my butt has stopped hurting now :-)

Oh well, I'm behind now. Way behind. But I'll be back up to speed soon :-)