It’s just an old abandoned house that I came across this week in some of my travels. I like the old antique look of this image.
My Son, Mark turns 23 on Sunday. It’s so hard to believe. He is a hard-working guy with a ‘can do attitude’ and I’m very proud of the young man he has become. He has had some challenges in his life as everyone does and he has stood up straight and taken them on without complaint and over come them all. That is after all the true test of an individual, how they handle adversity.
That’s it for today. I haven’t been able to fly the Phantom since the “lost on the Mississippi episode.” So many things I want to do with it and the weather just hasn’t cooperated. There will be opportunities ahead I’m sure.
Much to contemplate in the weeks ahead. Thanks for all the supportive comments from my dear friends. I am so grateful for your friendship and support.
Enjoy this Friday. This is number 5 and there are only 47 more this year. 🙂 Be careful.
Good Day! I grabbed a quick-lunch yesterday and then went looking for things to make images of. When I came into Maquoketa yesterday morning this guy was sitting in this tree looking much like he does here. He was still in the same spot at noon and then when I left Maquoketa around 4:30 p.m. to travel to one of our banks for an evening meeting he was still there. Either he is totally confused or has the patience of a saint. 🙂 I’m not sure there are a lot of fish that are going to swim by his field of vision right now but I have to admire his tenacity.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to amuse me. I was driving up a narrow gravel road when I caught a glimpse of movement off to my left. So I stopped and once I got the camera to my eye I could see it was a squirrel digging in the snow. He was very busy and snow was flying everywhere. I tried to get some shots of that but none of them turned out to my liking.
Finally he emerged with this pod and spent the next ten minutes eating on it. His face is all covered with snow from his digging and rooting around. Like I said it doesn’t take much to amuse me and I sat there watching him for 10 – 15 minutes. Sad isn’t it. 🙂
That’s it for today. Hope you enjoy your day. Thanks for stopping by the blog and be careful.
Happy Hump Day. Short post today. This is one of the images I captured from the lock and dam on January 4th. These two battled for several minutes and finally the juvenile gave up and flew away. Once he did that the mature eagle landed near this spot and just sat there. So apparently they were fighting over a small piece of ice on which to stand. We humans tend to do the same thing. In the HR world we call it “turf protection.”
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your cold wintery day, although it will seem down right balmy today with a predicted high of 25 degrees. Be careful.
Happy Tuesday. I only ventured out yesterday long enough to clear my drifted in driveway and the sidewalks. That took about an hour and a half and I was a Popsicle by the time I was done. I received an email from my friend Burt who showed one of the best eagle shots I have seen that he took yesterday in a minus 20 degree windchill. I admire his tenacity but must admit that I would not have stood outside yesterday for any period of time even if it were to catch an image of an eagle. I am a wimp and I admit it. 🙂
Here is another image from the Friday night Gala. These women all work at DAC in Maquoketa and I know a couple of them. This one took a lot of time because some of the background was not green screen so I had to improvise. I set the background up to take an image of two people (three tops) so this was really a stretch for both the background and the 85 mm f1.4 lens. I didn’t have that much room to back up and so it was hard to get them all in.
All things considered I’m happy with the way it turned out.
Hope you have a great day. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Be careful and stay warm.
Happy Monday! I’ll admit it. I’m a wimp anymore when it comes to travel. I looked at my calendar this morning and the road conditions and decided I would take an unscheduled PTO day. I knew it would take an hour or more to clean out my driveway (I did that yesterday as well) and then the slow drive to Maquoketa would add additional time on to my lateness. I reasoned that a PTO day would be good for my mental health as well so here I sit in front of my screen working on photos. 🙂
I thought I would share some Winter photos that I took yesterday. The image above is a tree that I have photographed in the four seasons. I like the way it looks and yesterday morning after I finished clearing the snow the sky was a pretty blue with white wispy clouds so I was able to make this image.
Yesterday afternoon Jeanne and I drove down to the river. It had not yet begun to snow until we arrived at the lock and dam. There were three eagles sitting in the middle of the river by an open pool of water and two perched high up on the bluff. I couldn’t get a decent shot of any of them so I didn’t take any. We then drove over to the little park South of the Lock and Dam and I captured this image of a bench with the Iowa / Wisconsin bridge in the background. It had just started to snow. The wind was blowing pretty good as well but not as hard as it was going to a little later.
Finally we went to the 16th Street Basin. This is a low quality image and the only reason I am showing it to you is because of what it captured.
There was a small pool of open water at the West end of the Basin and when we arrived there was a lone Mallard Duck swimming in it. He was playing in the water and then he got out waddled over to this small opening that you see to his right, he jumped in stuck his head in the water and came out with this long thing that we first thought was a weed. In fact I gave it no more thought until I was processing my images and I noticed that he had pulled a live fish out of the water and was trying to eat it.
I did not know that ducks ate fish. He struggled with it for awhile but we assumed because it was the size it was he was trying to break off smaller pieces. We didn’t stay long because it was snowing harder and watching a lone duck while interesting isn’t frankly all that interesting. 🙂
So that’s it for today. Enjoy your day. If you have to travel be careful and as always thanks for stopping by the blog.
Wonderful weather pattern we’re in right now. I’m looking forward to the -20 plus degrees tomorrow night. It could be worse and if you live in the Midwest during the Winter months what more can we expect. Jeanne and I had a wonderful time at the Chamber Gala this past Friday night. It was a very nice event and it afforded me the opportunity to take portraits of all attendees (those who wanted them) as part of their evening package.
Portrait photography, as is the case with all types of photography comes with its own challenges. I can’t remember the last time I set up my lights and did a formal portrait shoot so like anything you forget things and have to get in a rhythm. That being said I was overall very happy with my images.
The image above is of a wonderful couple. She is on the board with me at the Chamber and I just met her husband the night of the Gala. They were great subjects and one day I might talk them into a more lengthy session. I basically did a two and through session with everyone. I had people stand on a predetermined mark and shot two images of them. A quick look at the LCD screen to make sure eyes were open and then on to the next. So they are not perfect but again I’m pretty happy with them.
I shot everyone against a green screen background. That presents its own challenges but I like to use it sometimes because I can use any type of back ground to insert behind it that I choose. The image above is of the same couple pretty much like it came out of the camera. Photoshop and some of the plug-ins that you can buy for Photoshop do a pretty good job on a green screen background so that’s why I continue to use it. I could tell you a nightmare story of the fist portrait shoot I did with a green screen. OMG it was terrible I don’t even like looking at those images. 🙂
Another type of background on this image. This lady was presented with the Volunteer of the year award. She is one of those individuals that really gets involved in the community and works hard to improve it. I may post some more of these images as I get them processed. I spend about 20 – 40 minutes on an image getting it ready. It’s a lot of work but I enjoy working in Photoshop almost as much as I do taking the image so I don’t see it as work at all.
Enjoy your day and stay warm. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Be careful.
It’s called I got nothing Friday. This is the best I could do. Another image lifted from a video I took this past Monday. Sorry subject I know but it’s all I could come up with today.
On a happier note, this evening is my last official act as President of the Maquoketa Chamber. We are holding our 2nd Winter Gala. There are 160 people signed up for an evening of great wine, food, music and some other fun things. This year I am doing a formal portrait of each couple as a complimentary gift to them.
So that means I’ll be taking my portable studio complete with green screen backdrop, Elinchrom BXRI 500 strobes and soft boxes, the whole operation and making (hopefully) some fun memories for the attendees. I would like to show you some images from the Gala tomorrow but it depends on how late I get home. They may have to wait until Sunday. 🙂
That’s it for today. Enjoy this small break in the cold today. Back to the freezer Sunday and through most of next week.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Please be careful.
A short post today as I am true to form running late. I’m still experimenting with the images from the Phantom from my Monday experience. I didn’t take any still images but lifted the two images used for this post from the video. Therefore the quality of the images is pretty soft and was very noisy. After I removed the noise the images were really soft. Like I said I’m still testing and evaluating and trying new things.
I gave a program on the Phantom today and about my losing contact with it out over the Mississippi. I think the Rotarians enjoyed the presentation and I had fun telling the story and showing the 10 minute video.
I would have liked to give them a demonstration of what the Phantom looks like in flight but the temperature was a balmy 4 above with 15 – 25 mph winds so I opted to just do a PowerPoint presentation with some images and the video.
As you look at the image above if you focus on the middle of the image you will see me standing between the two benches flying the Phantom. I cannot actually see the Phantom because of the bright sky and my dark glasses but I could still see the POV application on my iPhone.
So if you think about how small I look to the Phantom (and trust me I’m not small) you can understand why I couldn’t see the Phantom once I got close to the bridge. I won’t make that mistake again.
That’s it for today. I hope you have a great Thursday. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Be careful.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck. Before making my trip to the river on Monday I stopped by the 16th Street Basin. There hasn’t been any activity there the last few times I’ve stopped but I thought I’d take a chance.
At the very Southwest side of the basin there was a small open space of water and a dozen or more ducks were busy playing. They move very fast and are constantly changing course and bobbing for food on the bottom so they are a little tricky to capture. I enjoy shooting images of Mallards. I think the male is really colorful. I enjoy taking images of wildlife just about anytime.
I did go down to the lock and dam and there were two eagles sitting high in the trees close to the Eagle Point park. No I didn’t even consider getting the Phantom out and trying to get a close up of them. The last thing I want to do is scare or disturb an eagle. I love to watch them and take their pictures but I am not about messing with their environment.
I also photographed some folks walking and fishing on the ice. At my current density I do not believe it would be wise for me to walk on the ice. There were a couple of people with high-powered binoculars who walked very close to the dam to watch a lone eagle fishing. Again that is something I wouldn’t do.
Well that’s it for today. Not much of a story for you with this post. I have a busy last half of the week ahead, with dinner meetings Thursday and Friday and then dinner with a group of friends on Saturday. I also have a program to present at Rotary today on the Phantom. So I was up late last night working on images and video for that presentation.
Enjoy your Hump Day. Thanks for stopping by the blog and be careful.
Happy Tuesday! I have an amazing story to share with you today. I’m somewhat embarrassed yet over joyed to share what happened yesterday to me and the Phantom. I had yesterday off because of MLK day and I really wanted to go flying somewhere other than our neighborhood. I piddled around in the morning and then around 11:00 a.m. the sun came out and even though there were a lot of white clouds in the sky there was also a good amount of sunshine. It was 34 degrees so that wasn’t too bad. The wind was a little high about 22 m.p.h. but acceptable.
So where to go? I wanted to take an image of the Julian Dubuque Bridge I said to myself, so I loaded up the Phantom and a camera and off to East Dubuque I went. I went to the boat launch on the Illinois side of the river because it is close to the bridge and I reasoned I wouldn’t have to venture too far from my ground location. When I arrived it was apparent they had not cleared the snow in some time and so there was no good place to launch the Phantom from. As I sat there contemplating my next move I reasoned also that flying close to the bridge might be distracting to some motorist and that might cause an accident and I’d spend the rest of my life in jail. 🙂
Ah ha, to the Great River walk and I can take a video and some images of the old rusty railroad bridge. Yep that is what I’m going to do. Again I won’t have to get too far away from where I’m standing so it will be perfect. Fast forward now I’m standing on the river walk and I have the Phantom sitting on a circular pattern on the walk and thinking about my flight plan. So I fired up the Phantom and it jumped into the air. Now it is here that I have to explain a few things. First of all I wear transition lenses and they get very dark. Very dark indeed. So it is hard to see my iPhone and the flight app with them on. If I take them off I can see my iPhone but it is a big blur so I have issues.
Second the river is completely covered with snow. Snow is white (remember that), there are a lot of white clouds in the sky (remember that) and the Phantom is white. So I ran it up to an altitude of 112 feet so I could be sure and get a good clearance over the bridge and then I stopped and rotated the Phantom so I was looking at it from the other side. That is where I must have gotten disoriented. I could not see the Phantom so I wasn’t sure exactly where it was. I could make out the bridge on the iPhone so I flew it like that. I thought I cleared the bridge and was back near the place where I was standing but nothing looked right and of course I couldn’t see the Phantom so I was mildly concerned.
Finally I got it oriented to where I could see the Wisconsin Bridge and the Railroad Bridge and felt like I was re-acclimated once again. The wind was pretty strong and the more I tried to come back to the bridge the farther away I seemed to get. I couldn’t see my monitor good enough to really tell where I was but I also knew I could eventually figure it out. Then the worst thing happened. A “Lost signal with the Phantom” message appeared on my iPhone. Oh CRAP!! Now what. Well I can’t believe I’m that far away but I must have flown further than I originally thought. So I started walking South on the river walk thinking I was over by the Julian Dubuque Bridge.
I couldn’t connect to the Phantom so I figured I must have gotten turned around and it was North. I walked to the end of the river walk and then climbed a fence and walk another 150 yards or so trying to reconnect with the Phantom. It was nowhere to be found. OMG, now what? How am I going to explain this to Jeanne, to my readers of the blog, to my friends at work, hell to the insurance company? To say I felt dazed and dejected would be an understatement. I felt really bad. How could I have been that stupid, with less than an hour of flying experience under my belt, to take it over the Mississippi River. I walked back a lot slower than I had gone out so it was about 25 minutes from first taking off by the time and I knew that the Phantom had a 25 minute flight endurance on one battery. I finally got back to the bench and where I had left the Phantom’s case.
As I approached the bench there on the River Walk not more than 12 inches from where it had taken off set my Phantom. In one piece, fully powered down and just sitting there waiting for me to pick it up. So I reconnected with its WiFi and stopped recording. I had hopped it had recorded the entire event so I could tell where in the hell it had gone to. Sure enough it was still recording so I stopped the recording (see Lesson #5) and then powered down the Phantom again. I wanted to kiss it but I didn’t (in public anyway.) 🙂
The video below is the flight that I made. I cut out the long 10 minute hovering part until it went into fail safe mode. I’m impressed, just like they said it would do if it lost its connection with the controller it would return home. I didn’t turn the controller off until I started my walk back. So even though I had lost contact with the WiFi connection from the Phantom it was still receiving contact with the controller. When I shut the controller off, that is when it went into its fail safe mode and returned to its launch point. WOW!
So if you want to watch the video it is about 10 minutes long. Again I trimmed the sitting and waiting for me to turn off the controller so it could come home. Lesson #6.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your day and be careful.