Mildly Amusing Musings & Some Photographs

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Triple Exposure Flamingo

LL0A0712-2 copyI finally figured out how to get a clean focus on the images from MkIII. Unfortunately, this coincides with my new obsession with multiple exposures & HDR. Too bad I can’t do both at the same time.
Here is a triple exposure with some extra saturation & vibrance courtesy of Lightroom4 (version whichever one just took an hour to download & install).

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Self Portrait – Batman in a Scary Motel

Self Portrait - Batman in a Scary Motel

You cannot see it so well but I am wearing Superman underwear with a Batman shirt. Rebel.
The motel was not scary when I took this. It became scary the next night when a police officer pulled us over to tell us about the suspicious activity in our motel. He would not specify what kind of activity nor he would say whether we were safe. We later saw him patrolling the grounds on foot. We locked the doors & din’t leave again until the sun was up.

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Bad Photoshop – Baseball Edition #1

Bad Photoshop - Baseball Edition #1

You may ask why, but I ask why the Hell not? No one is looking so I might as well.
This is Marlon Byrd at a New York Mets spring training game in Port St Lucie on March 24, 2013.
The best part about his awful partial desaturation is that I didn’t even try to make the line straight.

Let’s Have a Party! Wooooooo!

(C) Conn!

Pictured here is Wanda Jackson at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ on August 25, 2012.

This is one of the first photos I edited with my new computer & Lightroom 4.  Phase One of Operation Conn! has begun.  My old pc decided he wasn’t going to connect with our new internet provider so I took him for a checkup.  Said checkup revealed that his capacitors were dying.  The technician said I may have a few more weeks without glitches or a few months.  His last upgrade was about 15 years ago & there was also no easy way to revamp his system to make way for the extra speed & power a new camera will require.  Despite knowing that a mac or at least a laptop would be more practical, I opted for a touchscreen desktop HP.  I waited nearly a week to disconnect my old pal, buy Lightroom, and hook up my new friend.  My old friend served me well & I still didn’t throw him out.  I left him just where he has been for the past 15 years & set up the new pc in front of him.

Prior to the upgrade, Photoshop Elements 5 was my editing program but I kept reading about Lightroom 4 & how great it was so I made sure it was my first purchase (especially when I heard Wanda was coming to town).  I meant to write immediately to document my return to the future (or at least the today) but, of course, I didn’t so now I am writing as a fly has landed on my screen & continues to mess with my typing & as I have 400 photos open in LR waiting to be edited.  400?!  That is insane.  I used to only be able to open about 20 at a time.  With a week of LR editing behind me now, I definitely do not hate it the way I did on first use.  I still dislike that simple terms like “open,” “save” & “close” are “import,” “export” & “delete” in LR.  I also dislike not being able to add text or multiple layers but I now have Elements 10 to take care of that.  I am fairly certain that all sounds pretty amateur to whomever is still reading & didn’t stop when I kept referring to my old pc as a him or didn’t stop at the mere mention of *GASP* editing photos on a pc!

What else is new?

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I LOVE Gaslight Anthem’s new album, “Handwritten” & cannot stop listening to it. I am currently eating a Fruit Roll Up.  Despite not watching them, the Olympics did what they have done to me every fourth summer since I was little; they made me start swimming laps again.  I broke my second lawnmower of the summer & had to weedwhack the entire lawn.  I ordered new red boots for my Wonder Woman costume.  addicted to “Entourage” & watched the whole series in less than two weeks & have not stopped watching for over a month.   I do not blog often enough but did start an Instagram to also not keep up to date.

That is about all.  I am hoping Phase Two, buying a new camera, begins within the next few weeks.  I am definitely leaning toward the Canon 5D MkIII but the Nikon D800 is also an option.  I will have to weigh the cost of lenses & batteries for both.

Oh, that isn’t all!  I love Wanda Jackson.  She rocked my socks off.

All your choices make you change your mind..

It is an absolutely beautiful summer day & yet I am sitting here watching video after video of camera comparisons, mainly between the Nikon D800 & the Canon 5D MkIII.  This is, of course, after all too long diversions into a series of “Where are they now” posts about child stars & subsequent readings of some of their blogs.

For the past four-ish years, I believed I needed the Canon 5d MkII mainly because of its amazing video quality.  It has also become abundantly clear to me that I need a camera that is better than either my Canon 10D or Nikon D70, especially in low light settings.  As a rough guess (because the inner workings have reset themselves), the D70 has over 130,000 shutter clicks & the 10D only slightly less. While I believe in making the best of what I have, editing subpar images has become tedious & way less fun than it used to be.  There are about 3000 RAW files lingering on the hard drive which brings me to another key issue – my computer.  My computer is the same one I used in college & has not been upgraded since 2005.  It is a PC with far less RAM than it should have for proper editing so I only use Photoshop Elements 5.0.  My card reader cannot read cards over 2Gb.  Obviously, an upgrade of camera will require a subsequent upgrade of computer, software & accessories.  SOOOOO, with the prospect of upgrading my camera a near reality, where do I start?

The 5D MkII was the original dream camera that I set my sights on but now the MkIII looks significantly better.  Then, there’s the Nikon D800.  It has more megapixels which has never been a concern of mine (my cameras have about 6 megapixels).  I have not amassed a collection of wonderful glass for either Nikon or Canon so I will need to get a great lens for either one.  Which lens would be best is another decision I am not even close to prepared to make.  I beat the crap out of my cameras so when I saw a test of the Pentax K5’s weather proofing, another spectrum was opened.  Ahhh, the Olympus is also good with wicked weather.  Then, there’s Sony.  These three brands don’t get nearly as much attention as Nikon or Canon but is it just because of brand-ism?  I need to do more research.  I don’t want to fall prey to iSyndrome (a brand new term I have just thought of… the belief that you need a certain product because everyone says it is cool & the best, a result of incredible marketing & a desire to be awesome).  I do desire to be awesome but I also want something that functions well at the best possible price.  Oh, audio. I will also need a whole audio set-up.  This sucks.  While the price of the camera is within reach, how long before I can afford the lenses, extra batteries, microphones, monitors, new computer/laptop or insane upgrades to this wonderful dinosaur, photo, audio & video software, card readers, high speed cards?

I am pretty much hinging my future on my ability to make beautiful, wonderful things with this next camera.

Advice, comments, personal experience stories are all welcome please 🙂

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Flava in Ya Ear – May 15, 2012

I just uploaded my pictures to ADAY.ORG for their worldwide photo project.  The goal was to capture your daily life in ten photos shot on May 15, 2012.  I worked that day but I also had to to take Big Papi to Mini to have his power steering replaced.

My loaner was a 2012 Mini Countryman.  I loved the color & the SiriusXM.  I didn’t have anyone with me to take advantage of the extra roomy backseats but they looked really nice.   There was a sunroof for the front & a moon roof for the rear but I still prefer the full convertible.

Most of the day was grey & rainy & my workload was so spread out that I didn’t have much time during work to shoot anything outside of my route.  Around noon, I decided to take advantage of the loaner Mini’s SiriusXM radio & I started shooting what I was listening to as well as a photo of what was outside at that time.  Syncing the photos to the radio photos was a task I would never complete in a timely fashion & I couldn’t find just ten that worked well for the project.   This made me miss SiriusXM & it also made me want a radio that displayed all the titles of what I listen to.  I suppose an iPod would work too but I liked the idea of selecting from 100+ stations that I didn’t control.  I did take a break from the radio for a little bit to re-take the “There’s A Law” shot I missed last time I had a loaner.

Subsequently, I tested some of the other CDs I had with me to see which would register the song titles.  Besides those few, here is what I listened to May 15 between 11:57am & 6:13pm when I returned the loaner.

I wound up not getting the power steering repaired because they saw my brakes & tires as a bigger safety issue & I just couldn’t afford both.  Big Papi & I are in a very abusive relationship.  Whenever something breaks, I feel like I should sell him & get something cheaper to fix but then I see him & drop his top & our love affair continues…

I really love my expensive, little buddy. His brakes, two tires, a belt and an oil change came to $1100.  The power steering & new related hoses will be in excess of $1500 but they said I can’t damage it anymore than it already is & I can continue to drive him without power steering.  K turns are now Super Triple W turns but otherwise I almost prefer the tighter steering & my arms really could use the workout.  Already the driving muscles I used to have from driving the Dart are coming back.  I wish the Dart would come back too.

“Steer as we drove through town…”

Whenever I write something good about Big Papi, he breaks.  The day after I posted about his newly tweaked transmission, his windshield was struck by a pebble & cracked for the third time. The first time I paid $11oo to have Mini change it.  The last time, in October, I had someone come to my house & it was less than $300.  I will now wait until October 2014 when he needs another inspection.  In the meantime, on Thursday, my power steering stopped working.

I had been hearing a whirring noise & thought one of my belts was wet.  With the music turned up, I could barely notice it.  Then, the whirring stopped in the middle of a turn & the wheel didn’t turn with ease.  Our old Dart (that I miss terribly every single day & can be seen in several quick shots of “Summer of Sam” & “The Hurricane”) was manual steering but there’s something about a power steering failure that is much more difficult than manual steering 🙂  I called Mini because the manual (ha, different manual) didn’t say where the power steering fluid was.  The service manager directed me and, when I saw it was low, I said “So, I could just go to Autozone & get some?”  “NOOOO!  You have to get the right kind.  Find a BMW dealership.”  Fortunately, I was less than two miles from the nearest one.  So, when I work, I don’t give a crap what I look like.  I have work boots, a big oversized blue, dirty trench coat, a pink “Hilfiger” thermal shirt that my sister in law prompted my mom to buy for me at an outlet one Christmas, no makeup, unkempt hair… & I had to go into BMW with the fancies & their polo shirts.  I told the “valet” (his job is to direct people.  That is all he seemingly does –  tell people where to go for what they need) that I needed to buy transmission fluid for my Mini.  I held up the post-it note with what kind I needed.  15 minutes later he comes back & says, yeah I finally found our guy who works on Minis.  You need to go to the parts desk & get it.  The parts desk, which was not labeled, was 20 feet away.  My only issue with the wait is that I need to finish working & I need to get my gross, ugly self away from the ostentatiously beautiful BMW’s all around me.  She goes to get it & it is $45.  I laughed.  Part of me expected it to be $100 (because it retails for about $25 & they deserve to make a profit) & the other part of me was really hoping my bank card went through.   I then hit up their “free” Starbucks coffee machine.  I leave the coffee in the car & open the hood.  Immediately, I drop the power steering cap under the hood.  It Plinkos down, almost getting stuck near the hot engine before plummeting to a stop under the car.  Dead center.  Because the Mini is so low, I had to get completely on the ground to reach under.  At this point, I am laughing uncontrollably.  What else could happen?  I open the special German fluid & I guess it is really full (which it should be for $45) & I must have squeezed it because the green oil explodes all over me.  I poured it in, tried to wipe off the excess with the non-absorbent paper towels from the Starbucks bar & wiped a hand on my pants so I could go back inside & wash up.  All of this occurred in front of that gorgeous $92,000 automobile.  I have no desire to own a Louis Vitton purse or other wearable eccentricities but I will always have yearnings for beautiful convertibles.

The whirring continued after I added the fluid so I decided to do some quick research on Mini’s & power steering.  Hurray!  Power steering failure is just another of the premature mechanical failures common to the earlier, new Mini Coopers.  The fan eventually stopped completely, along with the power steering.  VERY long story short, my arms had a good workout for the rest of the day.  K turns became triple W turns – 8 maneuvers minimum.  The Mini service manager never called me back so I did some research & contemplated removing the pump myself to clean it but then saw that it may be the rack & got concerned that I would fuck it all up.  I also considered continuing to drive it anyway because my arms are really fat & need a workout BUT that too could cause a bigger problem so I left Big Papi at the repair shop up the street this morning.  I can only imagine what this will cost. I also need two new tires & brakes really soon & a new windshield for the PT Cruiser.  Oh cars.  They were so much easier to deal with when my dad was alive.  As the manager of a body shop, favors were more easily traded & there was far less of a chance that my service would be compromised by the fact that I am female.

In other news, and as a plea for a new dad, I fixed the lawn mower today.  It wouldn’t start so I came inside to see if I could troubleshoot it online.  In each of the three discussions I found, what started as people asking questions about how to get their mowers started ended in lectures for and against using hand powered push mowers.  I am all for not polluting the environment but people who are asking for help repairing their mowers are probably doing so in an attempt to not buy another mower.  So, how did I fix it?  I sprayed a dab of WD-40 on it (which certainly did nothing) & tipped it over to look at the blades (to see if something was stuck).  When I returned it to upright position, gas started pouring out of the primer button.  This must have moved the stale, sat all winter gas out of the way & it started.  I should probably make sure it isn’t still leaking.  That would be bad.