This saga has been going on since before November 2010. The problem is there have been a lot of new homes and two schools built around our area over the last few years. With all those new homes and schools comes a lot of internet users on cable. So everyday from about 5:00 pm until midnight this is what we have to deal with. We get download speeds of between .90 Mbps (which is a little bit faster than dial-up) and 1.25 Mbps (which will let you look at images if you are a patient person.
It is maddening considering what we pay for “high speed internet” and what we are getting for our money. I take (well I try to anyway) on-line courses in the evening but I haven’t been able to do that for three months now.
I started complaining in late October about the problem. Well Mediacom’s first response is we want to send a Tech out to check your wiring. I responded, “There is nothing wrong with my wiring.”
How do I know? Well because I am up at 4:30 am every morning and this is what I get for speeds, when everyone else is asleep (Yes, that is 20 Mbps and was taken this morning.) So if it was my wiring I would not be able to get this kind of speed ever.
So we messed around for a month trying to get aTech out here. Mediacom’s standard mantra , “We can have someone there from 8 am to Noon or 1 pm to 5 pm.” “Hello!!” Most people, including us work during those hours. Finally we got a guy out to look at our wiring (on a Saturday.) The wiring was perfect of course.
Now I’m told that it will be another two weeks or more as they have to put in more equipment. Seems like they have discovered it is over utilization in our area. Duh!
Sorry I didn’t mean to bash Mediacom tonight but there was a live seminar on-line tonight and of course I couldn’t get on because of the line speed. So I needed to vent and because this has been going on for such a long time now. Mediacom acts as though they could care less. Which I guess if you are about the only game in town is exactly how you can act.
After I posted this article I was checking out the link I put below and wanted to make sure it went to the speed check. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse now I’m getting only .67 Mbps. Maybe I should re-consider dial-up again.
By the way if you’d like to check your connection and find your upload and download speed here is the link.
I’ll shut up now. Thanks for listening.
Once again I’m sitting in my office doing my normal morning routine of reading, working on photos, and reading other blogs, and then the sound I always hate to hear keeps going up and down our street. Yep another day with the snow plow as a constant companion. That means a fun commute this morning.
So that is the reason for these two photos. A book I just finished called the “Happiness Advantage” reveals study after study of the benefits of putting yourself in a happy state of mind. It is after all a matter of choice. The photo above is certainly something to make a Father happy. Angie and Mark have brought me a great deal of happiness.
This photo is a double source of happiness for me. The happiness of Angie and Ben finding each other and building a wonderful life together and this was the announcement that I was going to be Grandpa (and yes well they were also going to be parents.) Truly a wonderful moment in anyone’s life. So after viewing these images for a little while I am ready to face the challenges of yet another snowy day in Iowa.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great Wednesday yourself.
Angie and Ben have this toy for Josh called Baby Einstein. Basically it is a mat filled with soft foam in a colorful design with an arch over the middle from which bright, shiny, and attractive shapes are hung just out of the reach of a new baby.
I’m not sure at what age a baby discovers they have hands and arms but at this point I think he is excited and interested in the objects and as he is flailing around, if he hits one of them he makes a cooing sound and smiles. (I did Google it and I found anywhere from two to three months.) Regardless it is a great developmental product. I spent an hour just watching him enjoy it.
I thought this was a neat capture (I talked yesterday about the lousy photography) of Ben and his Son enjoying some time together. My hour with Josh, Angie and Ben was a great time. I’m sorry Jeanne couldn’t be with me as she was home still recovering from a really bad cold and didn’t want to take any chance of giving the bug to Josh.
Thanks for stopping in and have a great Tuesday.
I have mixed emotions about this post. On the one hand it is a post about and of my Grandson and as such every image is precious. On the other hand as an aspiring photographer these are lousy images.
Here are my excuses for these less than stellar shots. I have a flash diffuser which is designed to soften the light and spread it more evenly in the room. I had packed it for this shoot, but it somehow fell off the flash when I was putting it in the car and so it spent some time on the garage floor. (error #1 no diffuser.) The lack of a diffuser produces harsh shadows and uneven lighting as evidenced above.
Second issue is the images are softer than I would like them. (i.e. fuzzy, out of focus.) This is as a result of improper camera settings. The camera has three settings for focusing. The first setting is manual (rarely used by me except in micro photography), single focus, (mainly used for portraiture work) when you know your subject is not going to move (also it is the default setting on my camera), and continuous focus, used when the subject is apt to be moving (i.e. a little baby) 🙂 Hence the fuzzy shots.
Third issue was too shallow of a depth of field or too low of F-stop. I shot these pictures at F2.8, which means that only a very small part of the subject (where the little focusing square is) will be in focus and everything else will be soft.
Fourth issue was poor composition. By that I mean given the lack of a diffuser, one must work with what is available. There are ways of re-composing shots to lessen or eliminate the problem of harsh lighting. Plus I was just too lazy to move around and get a better angle on my subject.
So while any images of this beautiful child are precious and special, from a purely photographic standpoint I am very disappointed in my work here. As the old adage goes the “devil is in the details” and when you do not pay attention to the important details you pay the price.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to do better in the future.
I spent most of Saturday working on the final part of a large project I am about to finish up. Then I was lucky enough to be invited to Angie and Ben’s house for a little Grandpa time with Josh. I’ll post those photos tomorrow.
This morning I got up around 6 am (late for me) and decided I would go find some Eagles to shoot (take pictures of). I spent 3 hours looking for them and found one so far away that even with a 500 mm lens I couldn’t really tell if it was an Eagle when I looked at the image. 😦
So as I was coming back to Dubuque I noticed these railroad cars sitting on the tracks just outside of East Dubuque. I parked the car and got some shots of them. One thing was apparent to me when I started shooting this morning. Everything I shot was going to be in black and white. It was a gray overcast day and very cold. Every thing looks so dirty and all I could see this morning was black and white.
This image I took from my car at the Lock and Dam. I’m not sure if it is a barge, or a river house of just what it is. It is tethered to polls so as the river rises and falls it goes with it. I was sitting in my car hoping an Eagle would start fishing in the open water by the damn when I notice the smoke coming from the barge. I thought it would make an interesting image.
Tomorrow some of the images I shot of Josh. Thanks for stopping by.
Happy Friday! I decided to post some more of the train garden pictures this morning. (since I didn’t get anything shot yesterday) It is a very interesting story and I wish I could remember more about it.
The image above shows some of the members of Rotary listening to the daughter of the train master talk about some of the highlights of the train garden. I don’t remember her name either. Sad to say as I look at this image many of these fine gentlemen have since passed.
What was amazing to me is the level of detail captured even in the little things, including the people, trees and the fine detailed work on the buildings. Most of which the owner built himself. The more remarkable thing is it all worked. I can remember I was lucky to get a train to go around in circles more than 5 times without something going wrong. 🙂
These are some of the houses and stores in the town. He even had a lake built on the setting and some fishing boats that were on the water with people in them.
This turn style (not sure that is what it was really called) actually worked and each of the engines sitting in the repair bays worked. He could bring them out and just like a real train yard hook them up with a variety of cars (he didn’t have to touch them) and then send them on their way.
Yes he even had a tunnel through a mountain in the garden. To the left you can see one of the lakes he built. This is the smallest one, the larger one had boats on it.
This is the Train Master. I’m sorry I just do not remember his name or much of anything about him. This is a very interesting story and I wish I could remember more about it. Here he has his console flipped down so you can see some of the wiring. He was a very humble man I remember that.
He was running the trains from his control building and I went in to compliment him on his craftsmanship and attention to detail and he just looked at the ground (embarrassed by the compliment) and all he said was, “It is fun.”
Hope you have a great Friday and have a wonderful weekend. I have a big project to do this weekend that is going to take a lot of work but I’m determined to get out and shoot some images so I will have some new things to show on Monday.
Thanks for stopping by.
Good Morning – I haven’t taken any images this week because (choose one)
A. The Weather
B. I’m lazy
C. I’m too busy at work
D. I’m always running late
E. All of the above
So this morning I was looking through my archives (which I enjoy doing from time to time) sometimes just for the sake of remembering and other times to hopefully learn from seeing all the mistakes I made with the shot.
Today I came across a series of images I took in 2003 (before I owned a DSLR.) Dennis Voy (KMAQ -AM/FM Radio) had the program this day and he rented a bus and took us out to this farm about 5 miles North of Maquoketa.
At the farm was a “Train Garden.” This retired Gentleman lived with his daughter and son-in-law on their farm and had painstakingly built with enormous detail a huge working railroad complete with a town.
As time permits I will show more of the images and hopefully you can get an idea of the amount of work that went into his project. Just look at all the intricate detail work that went into this trestle alone.
Well that’s all I have time for this morning. Make it a great day and as always thank you for stopping by. Hopefully soon some Eagle pictures and of course some more of Josh.
The above image is a follow up to the image I posted yesterday of Paul Mulholland and his Mother. Our Bank in Clinton held an event in December for our customers and one of the things we did for them was to offer my portraits to anyone who wanted them taken.
I shoot a lot of green screen shots for a variety of reasons. It is very portable, I don’t have to carry around a lot of back grounds. Working with a green screen (if you do it correctly) lets you create some stunning shots with cool backgrounds. One thing that should stand out in the above image is how small the green screen actually is.
The problem is that my green screen is okay for a single portrait but put more than one person in the scene and it is just too small. At this event I had several groups come up and they wanted a group shot of three or four of them and it was very difficult to do because the group extended beyond my green screen.
So at Christmas time one of the Photography Stores that I buy from ran a special on green screens. a 9′ x 15′ for $24.95. WOW that is some price so I jumped on it and now have a green screen that can be used for larger groups or for a smaller need I can just fold it up.
Three years ago Jeanne gave me these studio lights for Christmas. They are pretty low quality lights but work pretty well for what I do with them. You can see I have two soft boxes on them (24″ x 24″.) Lighting is my biggest challenge and I constantly struggle with getting the lighting right. It’s like anything else, it just takes a lot of practice and I don’t get a chance to do a lot of portrait work, not nearly as much as I would like too.
I also tried shooting directly into my laptop on this evening. I had never done that before so that presented a whole new set of challenges. It was a great learning experience though and it will work much better the next time I do it. Assuming of course I do it again before I forget what I learned 🙂
I love shooting portraits. They are hard to get right but I really do enjoy the set up and getting the shot composed correctly. That is the purpose of shooting tethered to your laptop because you can see a full screen image on your laptop instead of the small 3″x3″ LCD screen on the back of your camera.
Here is an image I made of John Doland on Christmas Eve. I have gone to John for 20 years and he is an excellent barber. Not many of them left in Dubuque. I asked John if i could take him image and he said “Sure.” I printed an 8 x 10 of this image for him and will matte and frame it and then drop it off at his shop one of these Saturdays as a surprise.
Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy your day and the rest of the week.
As I sit here in the Laboratory (as my wife calls it) this morning and listen to the snow plow go up and down our street I’m reminded that it is only January 11th and we still have a lot of this type of weather to go. Hence the need to post the picture above. It is from one of our visits to Steve and Becki Kent’s Lazy K Farm .
The photo above is a wonderful Mother Son portrait I did in December at an event sponsored by one of our banks. This is my friend Paul Mulholland (he is a Loan Officer at our bank) and his Mother who was at the event. I just love this image so I thought I would share it with you.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day.
Okay not quite the enthusiasm as I had on Friday but still I am thankful I have work that I enjoy and that makes me pretty fortunate. I had what can best be described as a lame weekend.
I had such grandiose plans for this weekend both from a photography stand point and getting some projects done or at least a good start on a couple of them. I did pretty much nothing this weekend.
Saturday I just felt run down and I slept a lot. Took a couple of naps during the day and then slept pretty long Saturday night. The only positive thing I did accomplish was I completed an on-line course I have been taking on exposure.
I was going to get up Sunday morning and try to capture some images of Eagles but looked at the temperature and decided they would be just fine without me. So I snuggled a little deeper in the covers and went back to sleep. LAME!!
Finally this evening I did set up this shot just to have the practice of shooting something. It is an Angel that Jeanne received from one of her teacher friends and the plant from her friend Debbie. I created the star burst background for the image and all in all it turned out okay.
The above image was one I shot a couple of weeks ago when I captured the sunrise and frost on the trees on my way to work. I hadn’t processed this one yet and it seem to lend itself to B&W with a little retro look. Anyway it’s time for bed (Sunday evening) so I had better get some more sleep. Thanks for stopping by.