Saturday, December 29, 2007

And the capstone

this year in lenses

I'm not going to lie... I did the border treatment because I screwed up and didn't level the image in the viewfinder while I was taking this picture. Whatever.

This is the 156th three-a-week image, which means I successfully completed my goal from January 2. That time has seen me acquire these three lenses, the 25mm extension tube (not pictured or involved in this picture), and the off-camera flash cabling I needed to do the light this way. I took 5464 pictures between the first and last in this series. Not all of the pictures I've labeled three-a-week were technical masterpieces; most of them were little more than snapshots of things I found amusing. The important thing is that I ended up using my camera during the year, especially at times I might not have thought to otherwise.

I have yet to select a goal for next year, but I doubt it will be as formal as this year's resolution. I also doubt I'll need the formality - I seem to have gotten into a habit of taking more pictures regardless of my intent to post them online, and I actually haven't had a picture printed in quite some time. Maybe that should be a goal as well, regardless of what I set up for myself as far as tripping the shutter.

My walls are pretty barren, after all.

I guess, though, that's half the draw to working with digital anyway; I'm no longer bound by the delay, so I choose not to incorporate it at all. I do miss the experience, though, and I'm really looking forward to popping the 43 onto my MX and killing a couple rolls of black and white or color slide film with that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

He waits.

cat again

Sure is my cat. Thanks, new tripod and 50/4 macro!

Buck Rogers

buck rogers

This was in the space toys case at the Dulles thing. I liked it, but if you look real close at the way the picture looks, it almost has a film air about it. Shot in raw, for the record.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Parking is $12

shuttle enterprise

Today saw a trip to the Hall of Color Temperature Nightmares, a.k.a. the Dulles facility of the Air and Space Museum. I had to shoot raw for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that I couldn't even expose correctly half the time. I really need to go back with a tripod.

Oh well, it was fun and now I know how to get there.

Sunday, December 23, 2007




Sorry about the cat again... I tried to get out and take pictures downtown, but nobody else wanted to take the metro in Saturday night. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The sunset today was shaping up to be really nice... until a large cloud developed for about 20 percent of the sky arc in the west. Boo. It was going to mean a quick side trip to Centennial to try to get a picture of nice red or orange clouds over the lake.

Instead, I came home to find my cat yelling about how I was home. Fine by me, of course, just a little harder to justify photographing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


hawk in the yard

Jeff said it was chasing doves through the common area behind the house. I don't think that shot turned out very bad, considering that it was through glass with my 135 wide open (f3.5).

Here's a crop of the bird (unprocessed):

Saturday, December 15, 2007



He's too motion blur, but whatever. I needed a picture to even out the count, and he was being adorable, and I really like using my 24mm lens.

Friday, December 14, 2007

on Unattainable Goals

There's a Verizon Wireless building we drive past every day on the way to work... each year, at Christmas time, they deck the top side of the building with a pair of wreathes that are lighted and blinky. They're spaced out toward the ends of the building... and below them, in the center, is a cell antenna.

Two eyes and a mouth.

It looks like a giant robot surveying the road. I've speculated it would be fun to get a picture of it at sunset, with a red sky behind it while its eyes are aglow. Unfortunately, their parking lot is gated, which means there will be no good opportunity to take a picture of the building as such. The depression is further compounded by the fact that the only way I'm even going to be able to show you is by doing a shot from the car on the way in during a morning commute.

Oh well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday oddness

I'm not sure what's most different about this winter:

--Two days of work beyond the end of finals before the school closes
--Two days off after Christmas week
--Not having to go anywhere to see family for the first time in 8 years

I feel kind of weird about it, that's for sure.

Oh, that and spending three days at the zoo the weekend before New Year's...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007



That's my cat, Spencer. He and the dog are best friends, as is evidenced by my cat's willingness to clean the dog's right rear leg.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


pentax boxes

I had to put away the little stack of accessory boxes on my desk, so I figured while I was at it, I might as well photograph all of the Pentax stuff I've bought since I turned 23.

Fanboy much?

Chibi Snowman


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Repair phase

Well, so to speak, anyway. I wasn't productive tonight photographically like I had hoped, but I did fix my nice bass earlier, then i played it for over an hour. Both of my hands even still work!

I figured out both why it was so quiet and why it was so hard to play - the strings were twice as far away from the neck at the 24th fret (second octave) as they are on my other bass. I had to let out a lot of neck tension, too - the neck was way too straight and needed relief. Basically, inverse squares being what they are, the output was a quarter as strong as it should have been, and it was taking twice a normal amount of effort at almost all frets to depress the string.

Second, as previously discussed here and here, I repaired my amplifier. This time, for real.

Want to know what the culprit really was?

Input jack was loose.

The moment I tightened that up, the horrible noises went away. I noticed this was a problem because as I was moving around while tethered to it, the sound would kick up again. "Hmm," I thought, and went over and felt the moving part. Ding! All better.

If not one artistic pursuit, then another.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wait, why am I wet?


Cat in a tub.

If not stealing my seat on the couch, that's his favorite place to be.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Flash go boom



lesser tree shrew

This is from Wednesday when I got the cabling, and this is from Friday when I took stuff to the SMH with me. Dealing with getting used to shooting through glass is one thing now that I get to think in terms of multiple planes of shooting, but moreso, I really need to work on setting the flash zoom to something more appropriate than the lens field of view coverage.

That part's going to be kind of a battle, but it'll do for now, as digital is free (as we all know). It'll be a bit easier if I get the 9 foot cable and play with that some. The 3 is great for close-up work and even some general off-camera work (getting shadows from the sides), but is a little too cumbersome to "learn" with.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Hand sanitizer! Fun for photographers and the obsessive compulsive!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


house centipede

This thing sucked at life so much it fell off the wall shortly after I took the picture.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fighting the cold comes with a price

Last login: Mon Nov 5 17:20:47 on ttyp1
Welcome to Darwin!
[acefoley:~] natkuhn% uptime
17:21 up 38 days, 21:14, 3 users, load averages: 0.64 0.63 0.73

I have to shut down Ace so I can rearrange my room such that my bed isn't touching two outside walls. Since that means moving my desk, it also means no power for a while.

Good run, though.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Prosimians make me smile

ring tailed lemur

Yeah, okay, fine - technically, this was taken last week, but I like lemurs, and that means you have to put up with it.

Battery Change!

Image number 7713 (11/3/07) marks a new set of batteries in the camera body.

Change history:
07/23/06 - 1,151 - 1,151 - Olympus Camedia CR-V3
12/28/06 - 2,812 - 1,661 - Energizer e2 lithium CR-V3
04/30/07 - 4,537 - 1,725 - Olympus Camedia CR-V3
07/22/07 - 6,228 - 1,691 - e2 lithium AAs
11/03/07 - 7,713 - 1,485 - Olympus Camedia CR-V3

I was initially puzzled when I got that last figure, but then I remember I did a lot of on-camera review the last time my mom visited, and also, I've tried to use the camera a few times when it's been colder than normal toward the end of the life span of the batteries.

You may also be interested to know that I got a set of eneloop rechargables to use in my flash. Each battery weighs 27 grams, while each e2 lithium AA battery they replace weighs something on the order of 17 grams.

Oh well.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Triple shot from Sunday:

Ceres looks so peacefully lazy up there.

gibbon ridge
There was a keeper coming to give the two white cheeked gibbons their medicine... the female started making subdued cooing noises at the poor guy once she realized what was up.

red tailed hawk
Not a part of the collection, but I had been standing about 15 feet away from this hawk before it decided it needed to go soar instead. Hiding behind a lightpost made it really easy to stalk him (guessing on the gender, it was really small for a redtail though, but otherwise an adult). None of the closer pictures worked well because of the wind and the fact that the camera was being stupid and autofocusing on the branch immediately behind the bird due to the wind blowing everything around.

Sorry for the four shots at once - I didn't get a chance to upload Saturday night because I had to start getting set up for yesterday - I did work at Boo at the Zoo, came home, passed out, and woke up with an allergy thing... very no bueno. Anyway, the remainder of my week is Tuesday and Wednesday at work, Thursday at work then a SMH staff meeting, then Friday at work, then a Saturday shift at the zoo again.

If I didn't post now, you weren't going to get anything this week.

From Saturday:

wt sparrow

Here's a white throated sparrow's butt from Saturday. There's a pair (male/female) that's hanging out outside my aunt and uncle's window. I hope they stay, they're funny little birds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why, hello there!


There's not supposed to be five inch mantids cruising around on October 23, right?

Fall follow up

Maine's trees

battlefield's soldier

cfalls state park trees


There you are, then. A lot of this is more interaction of light with color than the colors themselves, but whatever, it was fun and the camera tried to behave itself. Sort of.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's molting on our porch?



Updated: These are ladybird beetle larvae. I've found seven now.

This is five more pictures of them at 1:1 magnification - each frame is 15.7mm tall and 23.5mm wide. The one that actually looks like a ladybug is the same one that, above, looks rather like an eyeless cabbage patch kid. How quickly they change over a single day's time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Photo workshop results




kestrel keeper

group at large

Remainder. I did commentary again this time. Also, I really need to re-convert; the conversions from UFRaw + Gimp are detailed enough, but there is no noise reduction. The indoor shots are... point and shoot. Yeah... I didn't even know a 6 megapixel APS-C could be that noisy. ACR should do a lot better.

I spent a lot of time playing with exposure curves; also, I took the white balance a bit warmer in several places to give a more "inviting" feel to the pictures. I didn't manipulate very many by very much, though, beyond bumping around exposure and contrast some. UFRaw does give me a better feel for what the curves adjustments do. I don't think yesterday has changed my mind about shooting JPEG. If I had unlimited space and a faster computer, it'd be easier, but for long outings like yesterday, it's no doubt better to do a better exposure in the field.

That's pretty much what I liked doing, anyway.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

i see wat u did there


Brown phase Eastern Screech Owl.

I tried to use Pentax software as a workflow-type solution, but it's impossible - any change you make to one image's settings is duplicated on all additional open images.

I'm not sure when I'll have time to fix this. My car isn't so good at starting right now; it has a tendency to not do so immediately after it's been running. I haven't yet figured out the problem; I know it's not a voltage issue, as the car isn't even trying. I can hear relays click, but there's no drop in voltage in the system - none of the indicator lights dim. It seems to only happen when the car is not cold. I have a bad feeling the wiring for the starting system is failing, which sounds like one of those things that is "it's the labor, not the parts."

Incidentally, I read about what's going on with my temperature gauge - it's been pegged off-scale high while the key is on since quite some time ago; apparently, it draws its information from a second sensor, and that sensor can fail.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I win

One big moth.

Incidentally, I attended the night portion of the Tamron outdoor photography workshop today. Interesting experience... the photographer for the Beltsville event is Don Gale. He takes a really hands-off approach to image touchup/manipulation, so I think I'm going to do everything in my power to pay attention to what he has to say about exposure and white balance.

Note of interest - I was the youngest person there, if not by 15 years, then by 10 years.

For the next 18 hours or so, I've got a Tamron SP 90mm f2.8 macro to play with. Should be fun tomorrow at Patuxent wildlife refuge.