Sunday, January 24

Up There

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Still no time to take my new 7D out for a spin. Finally tried this afternoon, but it poured rain. Didn't have the time to work out a rain shield... so, still haven't checked myself out on the new machine. Since we fly away on February 5... I can hear the stopwatch ticking... y'know? I may have made a BIG mistake by purchasing the new camera before the Peru trip. Maybe after my deadline hurdles are leapt by Wednesday... maybe... maybe... maybe...

Here's a pretty girl riding on her daddy's shoulders I captured with my Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens, on the 40D which is no more with us. Again, city living provides so many spontaneous opportunities for street portraits, Still, it'd be good to get out into the countryside again.... The term "cabin fever" is resonating strongly inside of me.

Am I alone with a winter malaise?

Sunday, January 17

Farmacia - Rome

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I was walking one night through Rome just as a storm rolled past. Only a half block away the traffic wizzed and honked. Unlike New York, nearby to high intensity Roman streets nestle eddies of peace. It's as if the city closes up in spots yet continues to thrum only meters away.

What's up with that, huh?

Geek Stuff

Took this with my 20D. Processed it first in PS/CS4 where I cropped it, reset the dynamic range and applied parts of several different Topaz filters to restructure the texture. I also re-crafted the palette. Then after sharpening the picture I applied a Snap3 filter (oil). Then once again I applied a series of curve layers and masked in the new ranges to again redefine the dynamics and I used a series of PS brushes to mask in the various curve layers and to create new brush strokes.

Oh yeah... sorry... I also used the PS perspective tool early on to rearrange some of the vertical and horizontal angles to create a structural flow to direct everything toward the cross. Um, maybe some small additional iterations. Okay... okay... here's the original - see if you can spot them.

This is all about atmosphere and mood. I see it framed large on the wall of an elegant room to compliment an expensive modern European mood.

Sunday, January 10

Opening The 7D Box!

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Early Saturday morning it arrived. A decent sized brown box with a good feel to it. I was just finishing a workout, so I left it vibrating on the living room coffee table while I sweated out the last super sets. Yeah - vibrate - I could feel the things inside of that package ... their aura was buzzing me right through the wrappings.

Okay, showered, dressed, I Xacto-knifed the thing open in my studio. It was crammed with another box, two 8 gig storage cards, a spare battery with charger, and an envelope with B&H's three year warranty. Okay... okay... then inside of that Canon box were all sorts of cables, CDs, instruction manuals, a strap, another batter with its charger and a bubble wrapped white pouch.

And in the pouch? Heh... heh.... My brand new, black Canon 7D body. And just a tad of disappointment!

"Huh?" you wonder. Disappointment? Well, just the slightest amount. See, when I traded up from my Canon 20D to the 40D, the body was different. Not enormously, but more than subtly. The 7D though is 90% of the 40D body. The LCD is larger, and the buttons are arranged slightly differently. But the real changes are in the processors, the increase by 50% in the megapixels, and the button just above the lens mount... the button that turns this machine into a HDTV quality video camera. I kinda wish though that they'd restyled it a bit differently from the other D-Series cameras, perhaps a tad more like the Mark-series. Canon could use a good Italian or Macintosh designer.

And now for the learning curve. Canon's played a bunch with the firmwear of this baby. And I have to customize it for the different sort of shooting conditions I do. And there were a ton of chores to do today (Sunday) which left me with not too much time to read the new manual. And now it's late and I've gotta be up at 4:55AM for the gym tomorrow, so it's bed time. And the workweek looms full since we are trying to get a bunch of stuff finished before I leave for two weeks next month on the Peru trip. Plus I'm giving a big speech on the regional economy next week, and leading an executive webinar the last week of the month. So with the large feature piece for the February edition I'm writing on the changes in legal and accounting business law for 2010... things are mucho busy.

So... when to get out with this new thing? Will it be before next weekend? Darn, dunno... even though it's vibrating while I sit here and type this. Why is it the world intrudes upon our play? Sigh.... Stay tuned... I'll keep ya posted.

Thursday, January 7

Just Ordered New Camera -WHOA!

Did it! Got off the phone just now with B&H Photo in NYC. Bought a Canon EOS 7D digital camera body, a spare battery, two Kingston 8GB ultimate CFCs, and the three year warranty. Affordable thanks to the bucks I got for my faithful EOS 40D and vertical battery pack.

Question.... does anyone else share the thrill of opening a new photographic toy box? Do you hoard your old boxes? Do you get grief for hoarding your old boxes? Do you care about the grief you get for hoarding your old boxes?

At any rate, the thing comes tomorrow... Friday. The weekend weather report for Lancaster County looks chilly but not grim. Maybe... maybe... I'll be able to go out without freezing my pixels off? Sure hope this machine lives up to my expectations.

They are way HIGH!

With this machine I shall only take brilliant pictures. With this machine my artistic work will enjoy a quantum leap forward. With this machine I shall abruptly be discovered by every gallery and museum in the known world (along with some in the unknown world). And with this machine all of those critics who have panned my work will be overcome with an astonishing epiphany.... understanding what I do and discovering a here-to-fore missing brilliance in each new image.

Okay, perhaps my expectations are a tad high. But, a man needs a dream, right?

Monday, January 4

Global Chilling.... Brrrr....

Yesterday my friend Andreas posted a comment to my bitterly cold ramblings on global chilling (please read it). Since his serious response to my lighthearted shivering deserved a serious response ... well I tried to post one, but it failed to fit in the comments box. So... how about this...

Hey… Hey…. HEY! I wasn’t the guy who PhotoShoped multiple hurricanes to the cover of his latest book (propaganda?), nor the same fellow who pointed to tsunamis and Katrina as evidence for “theories” of global warming. That guy’s named Gore (a Nobel Laureate by the way, but not in science… Hmmmm…. Wonder why that is? Of course he got that award from the same committee that recently gave one of those things to one of our Presidents who’d been in office two weeks before the nominations closed… so much for propaganda and propagandists…. Heh, heh, heh.) Incidentally, in Texas they are giving out Nobel Peace prizes with each oil change, but I digress.

As for things anecdotal… Theory to be useful must demonstrate twin necessary and sufficient conditions…. (1) It must be internally consistent, and (2) It must have predictive capacity. Scientific conclusions must have one necessary condition… they must be reproducible.

The internal consistency of global warming is thinner than a starlet’s tee shirt. Point in fact, when you take the computer models that the Climate “Scientists” are using to “predict” some future event…. And simply reverse them to “predict” some known point in the past… That is when you check their assumptions against known points… they are ALWAYS wrong and by amounts way beyond any tolerable levels of error. And they are wrong on the COLD side. I.E….. when they are focused forward, they are biased toward warming… way biased, every single model! And the weather stations used to collect their inputs are further biased by their positioning in or around toasty warm urban centers. The recent announcement by the Russians that the Hockey Stick Team failed to use any of their Siberian data is a wonderful case in point which makes most statisticians break out in giggles.

So much for internal consistency… as for reproducibility… Well it seems that after the ClimateGate revelations of climate “scientists” cooking their books, there were renewed outcries for their original data to see if their results could be reproduced. Oh, how unfortunate, the same guys who were coercing and defaming any and all critics and tricking out their methodologies suddenly can’t find any of the original data. It seems to have been lost. Not enough storage space. It got tossed out.

The dog ate their homework?

BTW-a... I am ashamed to say that I have a graduate degree from Penn State where one of these characters is diluting respect for my credentials. PSU had better crank up that investigation they are doing of this guy, his recently revealed emails, and the former debunking of his statistical competency are quite embarrassing.

Which leaves us with three questions, (1) is global warming occurring at all? (2) If so, does it differ in any degree from the previous cycles over billions of years, And (3) Have humans contributed in any significant way…. And a policy question… If (1) is true and (3) is true to whatever degree…. Are there policy alternatives available which will have any significant impact upon (1)? And what are the cost/benefit effects of that… those… policies?

BTW-b… some say that the polar ice caps on Mars seem to be melting along with those on other planets. Hmmmmmm….. the sun couldn’t have any part in this, could it?

Look, we shouldn’t foul our nests. I am a conservationist… even a modified Green. I drive a tiny car, always have. My home is super insulated and retrofitted. It’s a decent idea to find alternative and reproducible energy resources. In fact, nuclear makes sense to me even though I get some of my electricity from Three Mile Island which is a stone’s throw from where I’m sitting. Conservation is not an ideological issue nor a political power grab… Climate “science”, however is both walking and quacking like it is both of those things. It is, however, the perfect device to bring about central control of all decision making, something that a lot of people have been anxious to do in order to overcome the pesky irritation of democracy and rule by citizens, as opposed to rule by rulers over subjects.

As for the anecdotes… Given the state of research into climate…. I conclude that we are the first generation of any animal/plant/mineral in the history of history which demands a right to its own climate! How much hubris does that take? And isn't any theory based upon a few thousand years out of the many billions of earth history merely an anecdote? Can it really be taken more seriously than a few overheard conversations in a pub?

Hockey sticks are for ice rinks, of which we have more right now in Lancaster County than anytime in the last fifty years. Why isn’t a frozen pond also on the cover of Mr. Gore’s latest piece of propaganda? Hmmmmm…. Maybe because it would create doubt? Demand the funding of unbiased research? Threaten his income flow?

The future of the world remains a mystery to me and consequently I am a global warming agnostic… The case has been neither proven nor disproven. Which means that the human role in any of this is way far from being investigatable. Maybe this year we shall get closer? Happy 2010 :-)

BTW-c: Okay, don't believe me. I am merely a subject as far as the politicians are concerned and consequently unqualified to enter into this grand debate. Of course so is Andreas, and for that matter, Al Gore. So let us turn to a fully qualified expert, okay?(and one who Mr. Gore refuses to debate) Here.... Click here, check out this link I've posted and let me know what you think... Um, even if you are "only" a subject as opposed to a citizen and not an expert. BTW-final... have you noticed that in this debate, politicians forbid (or shame) their subjects from commenting because they are not experts? Spooky, eh? I guess they sort of figure that some of us are just smarter than all of us?

Sunday, January 3

Copenhagen Agonistes

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Why hasn't it become balmy? They promised us BALMY! What are they? Balmy?

If Katrina and tsunamis were incontrovertible evidence that the planet was warning. What are three blizzards and a $465 December heating bill evidence of? Huh? It is all so confusing. Is it possible that Al Gore could be... um... wrong? How can anyone who's become so wealthy be... wrong?

On the other hand, there is a difference between weather and climate I guess. Odd though, even in October the weather forecasters couldn't predict the intensity of a season like this, I wonder how the climate forecasters can be so confident of their 100 year predictions?

Like I said, it is all so confusing... Sigh.

Seems to me that politicians fund scientific "experts" who legitimize their laws. Since only the "expert" can discuss those laws, the citizens have been turned into subjects of the scientific law-makers. Citizens participate in their government, subjects are commanded by it. Remember when some guy with a telescope was silenced by theological experts over his theories of planetary revolution?

Creepy the way that rulers use experts to dominate their subjects, huh?

How does it feel to be a subject instead of a citizen? From my place in Lancaster tonight as the wind howls around our home... it feels very, very.... COLD!

Friday, January 1

Teasing Baby

Hmmmm….. some interest in the mechanics of yesterday’s post. Folks want a how-to. I’m not much good at demos… but lemme try.

First off the challenge here was plucking an idea from a snapshot from my G10 on Christmas day and turning it into a feeling I could communicate. Fortunately the Canon G10 packs more than 14 mpxls into a snapshot allowing a bunch of information that leaves room to crop away as much as thirty percent of an image and still have sufficient material to allow traction in post processing. BTW…. I used an ISO of 400 to avoid introducing too much noise…. The downside of the G10's densely packed mpxls.

As you can see in the full frame capture in Image One… the lighting was contrasty tungsten which needed a bunch of adjustment in Adobe’s Camera Raw application. Fortunately I used a gray scale swatch in the first of this series to allow easy color balance.

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I used the auto rotate function of PS4 to rotate the image as shown by the arrows in the corners. Then I did a crop to get rid of the mass of confusion around the chair as I’ve shown with the orange squiggles. But even with tight crop, there was still a lot left to compete for the eye, when Katelynn Rose was clearly the subject. And the confusion was not just in a cacophony of shapes but also of palette and light. Sooooo…. I've suggested the final crop with the white outline in Image 1 and that's what you see below in Image 2.

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Now to get down to mood. With adjustment layers I saw that I had to not only create some mysterious drama but also burn away most heavily in areas 1 – 4. However, since I wanted to allow supporting visual interest in those four areas: How to do that yet not provide sufficient information to quarrel with the main story of the baby? Alien Skin’s Bokeh of course. After changing the over-all dynamic range with curves adjustment layers (six I believe carefully masking them in to different elements of the final image) I flattened the image, copied the layer… and applied Bokeh to it. Masked it away, then brushed back the creamy results into the four problem areas above and to a lesser extent to any of the chair’s fabric which continued to distract attention while introducing a dreamy sense consistent with the child's nap.

None of this is particularly challenging, but it’s all a matter of applying the right tool to the proper area to tease out the feeling I visualized when I took the photograph.

Does this transition from snapshot to moody image help anyone? Hope so….

Happy New Year….