Saw this on the way home from dinner with Angie and Ben. I had to capture an image of such a pretty moon.
Enjoy your day and be careful.
I’ve been AWOL from the blog for a couple of weeks and some of my readers have inquired as to the reason. There are four reasons and four images for today if you’re interested.
I use to build and manage websites for myself, my company, some not-for-profit entity, and some of our customers. At one time I was managing over 20 websites. However in the last few years I have eliminated all with the exception of three of my personal websites and they take little to no maintenance.
So, as the image above (a screen shot of my new website) would indicate, I’ve been busy trying to relearn new web authoring tools and getting things to work that didn’t want to work. I finally launched the site and my new business endeavor yesterday and I’m reasonably happy with the way the site turned out. I would invite you to click here to visit my new venture.
The second reason for my absence from the blog is that I have developed a higher level of laziness then I thought was previously possible. I imagined when I retired that I would have so much time to do all the projects and chores I have put off for years because of the very lack of time. Well it seems when I was faced with an abundant amount of time I have found many new ways to procrastinate and have become somewhat of a sloth.
Third reason is that I have been, for over 40 years, an avid gamer. With all this additional time available I have become immersed in several action and role-playing games. Frankly I’m having a ball playing a lot of very fun video games.
Finally the fourth reason is that I just don’t like hot and humid weather. It has been hot and humid here for the last few weeks and I just don’t like to go out and be that uncomfortable. I’ve taken a lot of on-line courses and doing a fair amount of reading so I’m keeping what little mind I have left active.
I never realized how wonderful retirement could be. I wish it paid better but I love the freedom to do whatever I want or don’t want to do. The stress relief is in itself a huge bonus.
I hope to keep active with my new photography business and have been contracted to do three jobs, but I don’t want to be so busy that it becomes work. I love photography and I still have the passion so I don’t want it to become a chore. I reserve the right to say no if I don’t like the opportunity that comes along.
I had lunch with a couple of very good (and old) friends yesterday downtown. Since it was just a short drive from the restaurant to the river and the sky was amazing I decided to go down and shoot some images. I was really more interested in the sky than anything but it was nice that I got there just as a barge was moving away from the lock.
Enjoy your day and be careful.
Happy Hump Day Wednesday!
I thought, as did some of my friends, that I would spend a greater amount of time on photography after retiring. I’ve actually spent less time for some reason. My passion for and of photography has not wavered and 90% of the time I have a camera with me. However I’ve been focused on many other things and have developed a significant case of being lazy. 🙂
I have four images for today. Yesterday, I had lunch with a dear Friend and for the first time in recent memory I was actually early, so I decided on the way down to stop and photograph anything that interested me. This pond sitting in the middle of a corn field has always attracted my attention for some reason but yesterday I had, for the first time in years, time to stop and photograph it.
When I went by the Duck Pond I saw this Blue Heron. I have ten thousand photos of Herons but I just can’t pass up a chance to photograph one. I had to make a U-turn and do some stealthy sneaking up on this guy to get a shot of him.
On the way out-of-town I stopped at the Hurstville Interpretive Center and shot a couple of images of their flowers.
I love the Interpretive Center and used to spend a lot of my lunch hours just walking around the grounds and enjoying the wildlife and echo system.
Just a word of caution for email users. It used to be pretty easy to spot a phishing email attempt because of the wording and their look. Not so much now. Yesterday I received a notice from PayPal that my account had been put on hold because of a security breach. I opened the email and it looked like every other PayPal email I’ve receive over the years. But when I hovered my mouse cursor over the “Log-In Here” button the URL was clearly not PayPal. I later went to the PayPal website and found there was nothing wrong with my account. Had I been busy or in a hurry I might have clicked on it and who knows what would have happened.
Enjoy your day and be careful.
I have three images for today. Interesting day yesterday. I had to take my car in for some enhancements and had to have it there at 7:00 a.m. I don’t like having to get up early or at a certain time anymore since retirement. 🙂
So, since I didn’t have transportation and Jeanne was tied up for most of the day I didn’t plan on any activities surrounding President Trump’s arrival in Dubuque. My car got finished sooner than expected so I got it back around 12:30 p.m. What I really wanted to do was get a picture of Air Force 1 so I headed for the airport.
I knew of a position that would give me a great viewpoint of the airport and I was pretty sure it would be available. Duh! Every road even close to the airport was blocked off and I couldn’t get anywhere because of the President’s motorcade was expected shortly. Darn!
Obviously I was hoping for the big 747 but should have realized that they probably wouldn’t bring that to a smaller regional airport like Dubuque. Instead he flew in the 757, which is still a large airplane just not as impressive as the Jumbo Jet. 🙂
So, to finish my story, I took some side roads that finally reached highway 151 and then took some gravel roads (even though my car was sparkling clean) trying to find any vantage point where I could see the airport. I saw this vehicle parked on the side of a gravel road and thought, oh great another law enforcement person going to tell me to leave the area. Turned our it was a guy named Kevin and he was a very friendly and gracious individual who invited me to park behind him. He said that with the wind direction he figure the plane would take off on the closest runway to us and we would get a great view.
While we were waiting the President’s motorcade arrived at the airport and it was ten minutes later that a flood of vehicles came by us on the gravel road. Apparently they had been detained while waiting for the motorcade. We were inundated by gravel dust. I was worried about my lens getting dirty and you could feel the grunge from the dust starting to build. Then the plane started moving and nothing else mattered. Many cars stopped and joined our little group to watch. It turned out it was a great vantage point for making some images of Air Force 1.
All images were shot with the Sigma 600 mm lens. Oh and by the was the GDP announcement today was 4.1% 🙂
Enjoy your day and be careful.
I have three images for today.
I had a wonderful day yesterday spending time with some dear Friends that I haven’t seen for sometime. Friends are such an important part of my life and when there is discord in a relationship it causes much pain. When there is tolerance and acceptance then it creates an aura of peace and fulfillment. 🙂
It was my intent yesterday, to stop by the Dubuque Arboretum for some flower photography. It’s been sometime since I captured any flower images. On my way home from Maquoketa I went by some flowers at the Hurstville Kilns so I pulled into the parking lot and spent a few minutes exploring and enjoying the flowers planted there.
I’ve always enjoyed photographing flowers and I follow several photographers who specialize in flower photography. I guess I’ve been engrossed in trying to get my head shot photography sideline going and I have neglected some of the other subjects I enjoy photographing.
I hope these images brings a little happiness to you.
Enjoy your day and be careful.
Today’s post is a little about grand children and a fair amount of discourse about photography. I have four images that go with the blather so if your on Facebook and are interested, click on the link below to go to my blog.
Ben was on call yesterday and so Angie brought the kids over for some play time and lunch. I love to photograph Addie and wanted to try out a new lens. It is a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED portrait lens. I’ve never shot with a f1.4 lens before so I didn’t fully know what to expect.
I have a couple of f2.8 lenses and I know that you have to be careful with shooting wide open or you get a lot of out of focus areas especially if you photographing more than one person in the image.
Gabby was excited to show me her newly pierced ears so I asked her if I could photograph her. I love the soft bokeh that an f.14 lens delivers but as you can see in this image, that I shot at f1.4 I got her eye sharp but most of everything else including her new ear-ring was really out of focus. Obviously I need some practice.
I normally shoot in Aperture Priority and as much out of habit as anything I generally shoot at f8.0 unless I’m trying to create some special look with depth of field. At f8.0 you have a relatively large depth of field and seldom have to worry about your subject being out of focus. F8.0 is my go to aperture for wildlife since you can aim at the body of the bird and get the eye in focus as well.
I shot this image at f8.0.
Finally this image of Addie holding on to the large pink Bear, called “Boo-Boo.” That’s the name Angie gave it when she was old enough to talk. She learned to stand holding onto the bear just as Addie is doing. The day after Angie was born I went to the toy store at the mall and said I want the biggest pink stuffed animal you have and this is what they had. I can remember all the looks I got walking through the mall with this thing and at the hospital as well. Josh found Boo-Boo in the store-room yesterday and brought it up. Addie took right to it. 🙂
Enjoy your day and be careful.
Today is the last post I will do about our New York experience. I hope you have enjoyed the images and narrative. There is a lot of untold stories and experiences but frankly I’m tired of working on it and want to move on to other things.
So, today I have 12 images and 3 videos to wrap up the trip.
Anytime we were in the hotel room this is where I would find Jeanne. Either standing by the window or sitting on the window ledge. She really enjoyed watching the people and traffic no matter what time of day or night.
We decided, after some negotiation, that we would spend the morning at Ground Zero. I was tired of walking all over New York and standing in line. One of the main reasons I went to New York was to be at Ground Zero.
With a new-found confidence I convinced Jeanne to trust my navigation skills and we walked a half block to the subway and took the A train all the way to Ground Zero. I was so proud of myself!! I was amazed by the subway. I had heard so many stories over the years most of them bad. The subway was clean and we felt safe the entire time. Only one exception was when because the train was full we had to set next to a very large man who was pretty well wasted and he was singing, shouting, and talking to himself. As soon as a new area opened up we moved. 🙂
It took me over 30 minutes to get this image of the “Survivor’s Tree.” There were so many people around it and I kept shooting hoping I could remove people from the scene using a Photoshop technique. Then as if my wish was granted I had 90 seconds of no one around the tree. I was so happy to make this image.
I cannot tell you how wonderful the morning was. I felt at peace and thought about all the video I have seen over the years of the 9-11 tragedy. For some reason I felt connected. It’s hard to explain but I have to say that Sunday morning was my favorite thing of the entire trip. There we lots of other things I enjoyed at well. We went to “Wicked” on Broadway Friday night and had front row center seats. It was amazing. The Freedom Tower was amazing as was some of the 9-11 museum. The part of the museum Jeanne and I both wanted to see was inundated with so many people that you couldn’t get close to any of the exhibits unless you stood in line and waited for several minutes.
Because of the number of people crowded into a relatively small space it was very uncomfortable and hot. That is the one thing I would do different if I were to go back. I’d visit the museum as soon as it opened in the morning.
We walked around both towers’ footprints and then sat and reflected. This pigeon dropped down and grabbed a drink then flew off.
Jeanne wanted to visit the Fireman’s Wall honoring the 343 Firemen who lost their lives on 9-11. It was too big to get in one picture so I shot 4 images and stitched them together in Photoshop. This is a technique that works pretty well but I did a really lousy job of taking the images and so there is a lot of distortion in the image. I would suggest clicking on this image to see a more detailed version.
Finally around 1:00 p.m. we decided to go have some New York pizza. I did some terrible things (food wise) while in New York, including eating the first pizza since I was diagnosed with diabetes over three years ago. It was so wonderful. 🙂
Bolstered by my new-found confidence in negotiating the subway system, I told Jeanne I could get us back to within one block of our hotel. She was skeptical but went along. I got the right train but I failed to take note of the “Express” on the train placard. Jeanne tried to tell me that she didn’t think this was the right train but I insisted it was. Well I found out what “Express” means. It goes fast and it doesn’t stop very often. We soon found our selves on 136th Street so we got off to get our barings. Ironically it did stop at our stop but I was waiting for 49th Street, which of course there is no stop on 49 Street. 😦
So, about an hour later and after many questions to other confused travelers we found the right train and arrived at 50th Street exit.
I don’t know what was going on but they had some heavy-duty equipment on hand and a Battalion Chief. It’s really interesting the way the Fire Department responds to a call. they have this low growling siren (used to be called a Q2) It was the loudest motorized siren around when I was in law enforcement. They never use it at its full capacity but have the loudest air horn I’ve ever heard. They get your attention. 🙂
We decided to go back to the hotel to rest and refresh and then go out to Times Square after dark.
After dark the “street vendors come out and they spread their wares (purses and handbags) out on traps. I never saw a woman walk by without looking at the purses and the men had their eyes straight ahead trying to keep walking.
We were having a nice dinner at TGI Friday’s and there were two street vendors right outside our window. All of sudden they packed up there stuff and moved away in less than 45 seconds. Watch the video below to see why. 🙂
Did you notice the woman with her cart? As soon as she saw the mounted police officers was not interested in her she set up again as fast as she had packed up. The guy standing with his cart did the same thing.
Watch this video below of this artist making an image. I bought the image for $20 and he gave me another for free. I do not have them framed yet but intend to.
I was never surprised by the humanity we encountered. But at night there are some crazes that get out. Jeanne and I were sitting at outdoor area on Times Square and she said to me, “I wish that lady would stop singing.” I couldn’t hear her so I asked Jeanne to point her out to me. You should watch this. 🙂
After a while I notice this guy sitting at one of the tables playing chess with another guy. He is the guy on the right in the image below.
What drew my attention to him was that after every move his opponent made he would go through a very animated series of hand gestures and you could hear him talking to himself. I couldn’t hear what he was saying but he was talking about the situation of the pieces after the last move.
I watched this game for about 20 minutes and finally the guy on the left knocked over his king (resigned his position), stood up and shook the gentleman’s hand and walked away. I didn’t hesitate one second but quickly walked over to engage him in conversation.
His deal was that you could play him for $5.00 and if you won the second game was free. love chess. I have played since my neighbor taught me the game when I was 12 years old. I played all though high school, college, and all my life really. Jeanne brought me two electronic chess boards over the years and I wore them both out.
Now I play every day on my iPhone, iPad or my computer. I’m not bad but playing against the computer is not as good as playing a live person. I’ve gotten complacent in my strategy and developed a form of tunnel vision in my play. It’s good enough to win a high percentage of the games I play but not grow and develop as a chess player.
I am excited that my Grand Son, Josh has become interested in chess. He will grow to become a worthy opponent.
Turns out this guy is a chess master. he teaches at the Chess Forum (http:\\www.chessforum.com).
The first few moves I made were pretty good and I was feeling pretty confident with one of my favorite openings. I was just getting ready to make my “kill shot” when he took one of my key pieces. I looked up at him and he was smiling. He said, “You didn’t really think I was going to let you do that did you?”
He pretty well kicked my butt after that. But he was a gentleman and he explained the flaw in my strategy, which I really appreciated. It was worth the $5.00 fee to play him.
Back to the hotel well after midnight for a glass of wine and then to bed.
This is the last photograph I took in New York. There is a lot of suffering that goes on in that city.
Thanks for staying with me while I finished this long post. I don’t think I would ever want to go back to New York but as I told a friend the other day it was kind of like when I rode RAGBRAI some years ago. There was never a day that I could say, wow I’m having a great time but the experience was remarkable and will stay with me for the rest of my life. That’s how I feel about New York.
Enjoy your day and be careful.