Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's A Poppy

That’s What It Is

This one flower showed up in Dorothy’s garden on Monday. I couldn’t figure out what it was. It had such unusual structure when I looked more closely.

I saw Dorothy today, and asked her if she had seen the flower. I described it to her as white concave petals, surrounding a pin cushion center ringed by yellow puffed wheat looking things which were ringed by blue puffed wheat shaped things.

It had a bristley, long, round stem and leaves that looked like they belonged to a carrot, I added.

She seemed puzzled, so I went out and took a couple of pictures. I brought the camera to the dining room and showed her a picture.

“It’s a poppy”, she said.

The weather has been mild with occasional designer clouds to add dimension and scale to pix of the local volcanoes and mountains.

The time of day casts a different light on the view of Mount Lassen from the Treehouse Senior Apartments, (The apartments aren’t seniors - they aren’t even old enough to vote). It’s the people who live in them that are the seniors.

In case you missed it, here is a picture of the full moon. I took it last night, but the almanac says it’s a full moon tonight, too.

On Monday, I experimented with another place to position myself next to the piano. It seemed to work nicely. I could see, and sing to all the tables where the happy Monday Jamboree regulars, sit.

Photo credit - Margaret Miller

There is only one item I will need to add to make this work better; A music stand.

I usually have my playbook on the table in front of me, but a table is not part of this new arrangement. I like the openness of this setup, but I sometimes need to glance at the words and music to keep from going astray.

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this big oak against the twilight of the western sky.

What a world we get to live in.

Today’s Video;

Be Kind, Be Happy

Monday, February 25, 2013

SD Card Saga

A New Experience

When I began planning tonight’s blog post, it seemed like I should include a couple of stills from last night’s slideshow video. It’s a good thing that I did.

Do drop in, there’s plenty of room

When I got home this evening, I discovered that the 8Gb SD card with all the spectacular pix I took on the way back from the Jefferson State Blues Society Sunday Jam, had quit working.

Fortunately, I have extra 4Gb SD cards that will work in the FZ35 and I took these nice clear moon images, tonight.

These moon shots are amazing to me. I took them from my balcony, hand holding the camera.  I do not have a steady hand, but I have learned how to keep relatively still with my eye on the viewfinder and the camera up against my eyebrow. That, combined with the optical stabilizer, helps me get long zoom, slow shutter speed, clear shots, some of the time.

I think it is interesting that one can see a slew of faces on the moon when pictures are this clear. Of course I can alway squint and blur my vision to the point where I see the traditional ‘man in the moon’.

My trusty companion, the inner cosmic voice, (intuition/collective consciousness/guardian angel), showed me a 'sign' last week, when a 32Gb class 10 HCSD super pooper SD card showed up on one of the sites I visit. The card was on sale for a low price I could afford. Thinking I might need it one day, I ordered one. I love it when these magical ‘coincidences’ occur. It will arrive early this week, (perhaps tomorrow).

There was a moon picture from Saturday where a bird flew to the perfect spot to make a balanced artistic composition. I spent an hour or two ‘playing’ with it to find the right look for a birthday card. I ended up with several versions, (concepts/treatments/variations on a theme).

I didn’t use this design for the card, but it goes well with tonight’s theme.

Tonight’s 26 Movie Video;

ABCinema - Take 2 from Evan Seitz on http://vimeo.com">Vimeo

Tuned In

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Breeze With A Bite

Still Not Winter, Yet

The light was right for photography. The breeze had a sharp edge to it. If one was out in the open, a jacket and a sweater were essential for spending a lot of time outside. It sure was worth it. The days pictures were sharp and colorful with good white balance.

I began the day with the usual bowl of Natures Path organic cereal, (you can see the flakes peeking out from beneath the fresh fruit), then a quick check of my email, and I headed out to check my mailbox. As always, a camera, accompanied me.

Baby crow watches mom fly off in the wind

AT&T is so nice. They never forget to send me a letter every month.

Silverscript, (prescription drug plan), sent me the same printed material that Orangepeel was sending before they were acquired by Silverscript. All they did was put their name on the badly designed forms. I guess that saved them the cost of hiring someone with graphic design experience. I wonder how long it will be before Bain Capital buys Silverscript, lays off the employees, then declares bankruptcy and makes a tidy profit?

The light was bright on the balcony

I set up the FZ35 to take a picture of me holding a pullthepork.org sign, so I could send that to the rally by email. I don’t have the money to go to demonstrations in other parts of the country, but this one made it easy to at least send a picture showing support for the cause.

I ended up taking the picture with my iPod Touch, while I shot some video of a nice clump of blossoms that the bees would not go near. I need to observe bee behavior more closely to see if I can distinguish why they are attracted to some blossoms over others.

Friday night moon

Just before sunset, I took a ride down to the river by the Sundial Bridge to get some late sun color tones lighting up the gnomon. I spent most of the time taking pictures of the sea gulls that were bedding down for the night on a gravel bar island in the middle of the Sacramento river.

It was a popular idea. They were packed tightly, but still accommodating new arrivals, as well as Canada geese, coots, and ducks. I took some pictures of the moon on the way out, getting some nice moon and bird pix, then stopped on the way home to catch the last rays of sun lighting up Mount Shasta.

I couldn’t decide on 3 or 4 pictures to show you, so I made a little slideshow movie for you.

Today’s Video;

Another Magical Day

Friday, February 22, 2013

Catch Of The Day


In the previous blog post, I presented images from the Lumix FZ35 that had been subjected to the program called FX Studio. For tonight, I have switched to a different App, called FX Photo Studio. The names are similar, but the Apps are quite different.

It is a more fully featured program than the one called FX Studio, and I can get lost in the minutia of detail and color tonal choices, in addition to the masking and layering. The next thing I know, hours have gone by while I am putting just the right shadow color on a particular curve of a leaf.

I know this program well enough to sometimes get fast results, if I can visualize what I think will be the perfect enhancing set of available layers before opening the program.

The main thing tonight, was to see how the Lumix FZ35 images reacted to the various processes that are part of FX Photo Studio.

The camera itself has effects that can be used while composing some shots that tell their stories better with the addition of a bit of pizazz.

I used ‘camera magic’ to enhance the colors and dimensions of the yellow and pink flower pictures, above. The available light was of the sort that dulled the colors in the camera viewfinder, so I used the High Dynamic Range feature to ‘liven’ them up a bit.

I have some extra space this weekend in my schedule. Or, I should say that there was an opportunity to devote some attention to whatever project tickled my fancy on Saturday.

Just as soon as I had that thought and spoke the words, I began filling my Saturday schedule with a bunch of creative pursuits. Like finishing the words and melodies to the 2 new songs that John and I started earlier in the week, or finally making the video of me assembling a few solar powered projects, or spending some time exercising my cartooning muscles by sketching out a few ideas that have been hovering around my sense of humor like blowflies.

I think I will the the muse decide after breakfast, tomorrow.

Of course, (to get back to todays photo experiments), my favorite images are the ones where I have captured a moment, a thought, or story, simply by combining light, action, color, shadow, purpose, and personality in a composition that perfectly suits the camera and settings perfectly, and needs no further development.

That would be the case with the picture of John, (above), changing strings on his cherished Fender Stratocaster, while surrounded by the instruments he makes, that are cherished by symphony violinists.

What a fantastic world this is. Filled with wonders of nature and the works of creative people like a marvelous storybook, all this magic is ours to behold and celebrate.

And now for some amazing, creative technical knowhow, creativity and application...

Today’s Catchy Video

Believing, Can Help Us See

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More Robust

With Artistic Detail, Too

Exploring the new possibilities and potential of the FZ35 has become a world of discovery. New layers of post production techniques are now at my fingertips, and existing, familiar programs are open to further exploration.

Effects in FX Studio that would have obliterated images from my other cameras, are now useful additions to my palette of imagery transformations.

Because the FZ35 image sensor produces an increased density of fine detail, the pictures are not as easily destroyed by the software algorithms that make up the effects and enhancement applications.

Not all of tonights images were improved by FX Studio, so some of the pix are posted without effects. Can you tell with ones they are?

Home after singing and playing with the band

Tomorrow, I will try some pictures in another one of my favorite 30 photography applications. I may find some new favorites in my adventures.

Those turbines are more than 40 miles away from the eastern 2nd floor stairwell of ‘A’ building, where I took the picture from. I am impressed and very happy with this latest new/used Lumix camera. Of course I have said that about each and every Lumix camera when I acquired them, and I still feel that way.

Today’s Expansive Video;

LosDomos TimeLapse from Boppin Community on http://vimeo.com">Vimeo


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Firefox Is Faster

I Like That In A Browser

Vegetable stuffed poblano chile

I almost used Google Chrome again, tonight. But, when I opened it up and began assembling the parts for this blog, it was slower to get to the things I wanted. I am used to the speed of Firefox when I want to jump to an article or find a story I read yesterday.

It was another beautiful day in Redding. It stayed in the 60’s, but that was plenty warm enough for the cookie catching birds of Park Marina Drive.

I divided the bird images into two groups; Flyers and Setters.

The plan is to make slide shows of both. Tonight I hope to get the flyers uploaded to Flickr and that slide show embedded on here before midnight.

Alright, there it is, and before midnight.

Mount Shasta

It was a good day all around for photography and just gazing at the wonders of this beautiful planet we are lucky enough to be living on.

Mount Lassen at sundown

In the midst of it all, I am filled with gratitude and appreciation for this unique and magical opportunity I have been given. We all have been given this gift of life on earth.

The moon continues to grow toward fullness on the 25th.

For years I could not see the ‘man’ in the moon. It wasn’t until I saw that old, 1902, silent movie where the men crash their ship into the the moon’s eye, that I realized people were talking about the ‘face’ on the moon.

Today’s Lunar Video;

On Gossamer Wings

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chrome Plated

Blog Post

Every so often, I try to use Google Chrome for my browser needs. It would seem like the obvious choice, given my years of using Google products to create this blog.

I think the last time was a year, or two, ago. At that time, resizing the images to fit the page layout was bothersome because Google was using an antiquated system that was time consuming and ill suited to the creative process.

As I use Chrome this evening, I am pleased to find that I can use the handles on the image box to size the pictures and images.

I have been noticing other improvements to the Chrome experience on the MacBook. The finger gestures work better than they do on Firefox. That is not exactly a fair comparison. I don’t actually know what the regular Firefox browser does, or doesn’t do, for I am a beta tester for FF, and some features get left behind right after each update. There are as many as 4 changes to the beta browser each week, as new advancements and tools are written.

Nevertheless, Chrome seems to work smoothly, and in some ways better than Firefox, this time. I thought that Chrome had failed a couple of times while writing this post, tonight. But I can see the modem from here, and the internet connection went ‘off the air’ at those times I thought Chrome was acting up.

Today was partly rainy with temperatures in the 40’s. I did manage to get a few pictures of the Treehouse roses during a period when the sun was making a valiant effort to burn through the clouds.

I tried a few different settings on the same roses to find out how the new/used Lumix FZ35 would capture the colors and depth of detail under wet conditions. The results are very promising and I am beginning to feel more comfortable with this latest addition to my Panasonic Lumix camera collection.

So, there you have it. I am using Chrome to produce tonight’s post.

I could have written about the lack of media coverage about the very important demonstration against the Keystone pipeline that is intended to pump Tar Sands oil from Canada, across the midwest to Port Arthur, Texas, where the oil will be refined then loaded on supertankers bound for China and other global destinations.

None of that oil will benefit the U.S., but when the pipeline leaks, ruptures, and spills repeatedly over the years, it will poison the water and land that it crosses. I guess the short term profits for the oil companies are more important than letting the American people know that farmers, ranchers, economists, scientists, and climatologists gathered at the White House, along with 50,000 concerned citizens to ask the president to deny the permit for this bad news, oil company flim flam.

But I won’t spend too much time on that topic. I have already used more words on the story than NBC, CBS, or ABC.

Today’s Verifiable Video;

Enlightening Imagery