The first lesson was in lighting.
I consider myself to be an adequate amateur photographer with a good grasp of the fundamentals. However, occasionally I manage to expose my ignorance in a fashion that makes me chuckle.
Exhibit one! I took this as a “before” picture. When I captured it, I looked at the view screen on the camera and deemed it acceptable. A bit overexposed in the background, but good enough to be working with.
Exhibit two! This one was taken immediately post shave and shower. Maybe 10 minutes had passed. The only difference in these two shots is the light coming in the window onto my face and reflecting off some white sheets to my left. Still a bit overexposed (especially on the face) but so much better than the first shot, for lighting up my face.
Portraiture has been something I’ve been interested in for a while, but I’ve not gotten to it because I know it will be more of a study (practice, practice, practice) than the type of photography I’ve done most of my life. I remarked to Jenn that, based on these two shots, I really need to buckle down and learn about lighting and start practicing
I was extremely amused with myself when I downloaded these images and saw the difference. My first thought was, “Why did I think that first shot was a good one?”
Oh, what’s the second lesson I alluded to?
I look a lot younger without the grey side burns.
Everything I’m testing should be invisible to you. If something is weird, then either I or the process got SNAFU’d.
I find it interesting when I take self portraits that I just can’t manage a very good smile. I’m usually pretty good about smiling for other people’s pictures, but for the ones I take of myself I end up with a lot of throwaways if I try to get a smile. So, I don’t bother too much.
I’m going to leave these two things here for everyone to reflect on. The top is today’s google trends search. The bottom is an xkcd comic from April(?) 2012. The crossover point, by the way, is November, 2012
We are in Newry, Maine for a baby shower with Jenn’s family and some friends who’ve come up to join up. I went out for a stroll this afternoon and here are some pictures of the place where Jenn grew up.
There are tools to help you produce documents. These tools are varied and a lot of them center around grammar and spell checking. Most text editing programs come with spell check of some sort in order to keep you from sending misspelled words out into the world. Of course, these spell checkers have contributed to a profusion of homonymic misspellings (their/there/they’re, four/for) and most grammar checkers won’t be able to fix it if you use the wrong word (definitely/defiantly). This illustrates the importance of proofreading, and especially the importance of having someone else do the proofreading for you, but that’s another blog post.
Another important reason to not fully depend on the tools is because they’re not fully dependable. The image here is a screen capture from a Microsoft Word document I’m working on. Notice how “descritpion” has the squiggly red underline? It didn’t have that five minutes ago. That particular word has been misspelled through three drafts of this document because, for some reason, MS Word didn’t recognize it as misspelled.
Why? I have no idea. While the program was still refusing to acknowledge that it was misspelled, I checked the custom dictionary and did some Google searches—nothing to be had there. I tried forcing the spell check to check the word—nope. Finally, I deleted the space between it and the word prior to it, then reinserted it and [poof], it’s misspelled according to MS Word. Obviously, the program was barfing on this one word for some reason.
I did not catch this. It took my boss noting that I should spell check my documents before submitting them (and me head-scratching because, well, I do) before the problem was noted. The lesson here is that there is no substitute for the Mark I Eyeball. Use it, and don’t look like a doofus.
The husband of my friend Kim Bosco was recently promoted to First Sergeant which is just ever so slightly a big freaking deal. If you don’t know why this is a big deal, spend a bit of time googling around and you’ll understand.
Go read it from the horse’s mouth and drop some congrats for 1SG Bosco!
I was at the Janke Studios a few weeks ago for an iron pour. The photo set is here.
I realize this is a good problem to have, but I am singularly incapable of figuring out how much tax to pay every year in order to have a $0 balance between state and federal income tax when I file.
Every single year since 2008 we’ve owed taxes and each time I’ve sat down and done the math to figure out how much additional deduction each pay period is required to make that magical $0 number. Every single year I’ve not managed this trick. In fact, the last two years I’ve failed this process so badly that there’s been a scramble to find the cash to pay the IRS. Mostly this is because our gross income has continuously gone up since 2007. Like I said, a good problem, but it is still frustrating.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this frustration. It should be a simple calculation to figure out how much tax we will owe at the end of the year and ensure that the correct amount is being withheld from our (joint) paychecks. Obviously it’s not that simple, or I’m incapable of managing it’s simpleness. Take your pick.
So, once again I’m going to devote time trying to figure out our 2013 tax liability in advance, which will be complicated by the new addition to the household due in late July, and that we expect some changes in our overall gross income for this tax year. Wish me luck as I spend time being an uncompensated tax (un)professional.
I bought a new tool today; I’m very happy with it. This is what it looks like after the first two hours of use in a pollen-rich environment.
With my back issues ongoing, I’m not in shape to do any significant raking, so I splurged for the most powerful leaf blower that The Home Depot had on the shelf. This is the Echo PB-500T and I spent $300 on it. A wonderful $300.
The previous leaf blower I owned was a Homelite and I economized a bit on price when I purchased it. Alas, I regret that decision. Like hard drives, you’ll always need more than you think from a leaf blower. I would classify it after several years of use as “slightly anemic” and while it would do the job, it just couldn’t handle all that I wanted it to (thus the needing to rake).
Fortunately, the Homelite died and forced me to get a new blower. Knowing I needed more oomph than previous, I didn’t flinch at price, and I’m glad I did. I spent two hours blowing a winter’s worth of crap and leaves to places where I don’t mind them being, and now I feel like my yard doesn’t hate me. Which is important if you’ve ever seen Poltergeist. It’s also important because I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of the work I did today with the old leaf blower, and thus would have had to hire someone. Therefore, I saved at least $100 already. This is how I justify my purchases.
The one issue I have with the Echo so far is that it randomly stopped, twice. If it continues to do that I’ll post about it.
An interesting aside is that the Homelite I owned was rated for 400 cubic feet per minute (cfm) at 170 mph while this Echo is rated at 450 cfm at 162 mph. If these numbers are accurate (and I have no method of evaluating that) then that extra 50 cfm makes a huge deal. I estimate that this blower is at least a third again more effective than the old one.
Jenn and I attended the 2013 Braves home opener last Monday. The Braves beat the Phillies 7 to 5 with three home runs. It was a fun game to watch.
I took some pics. Here’s a selection. More can be found at my flickr account.
The groundskeeper spent a good 20 minutes crafting the lines around home plate before the game. He was meticulous. Precise. 10 minutes into play it looked like this.
Baby’s first baseball game.
When the Kiss Cam™ came on, I told Jenn that if they focused on us, I was going to kiss the girl next to me on the other side. Said girl giggled.
When the Braves came on the field, they blew a buch of streamers in the outfield to celebrate. The streamers remained, dangling from the TV cameras, for the rest of the game.