Why I love Google Image Search

I love Google image search because it provides contrast, e.g. a search for “Kit and Kaboodle” will deliver both this:
Purina Kit & Kaboodle
and this:
National Lampoon's Kit and Kaboodle cartoon

To read the whole classic Kit and Kaboodle cartoon from National Lampoon from 1981 go here. To think that all these years since I’ve remembered it as:

“Blegh… my spine…”
Or you could just buy the complete 246 issue set on DVD here:
[amazon-product align=”center”]B000VPNSJY[/amazon-product]

What I’m Listening to this week: 06-15-2013

Those kings of Romangst, Jimmy Eat World, have a new album out full of finely planted hooks and tight riffery

The reigning Kings of Romangst, Jimmy Eat World, have a new album out that’s full of finely planted hooks, well crafted lyrics, and tightly riffed turnarounds that’s well worth a listen; I suspect some young adults will be putting a few of these tunes into heavy personal rotation after that crushing break up comes later this summer.

My Friend, Jim Aiken, is doing a song list which in turn reminded me how long it’s been since I’ve burned a new CD for the car. So I’m setting off to do that – the working title is “Virtual Implements of Allegorical Destruction”, and it starts with “Microphone” from 98° and it’s going to end with “Whistle” from Flo Rida, can you guess the theme?

At 9 bucks for 32 tunes, Monstercat 013 is a freaking steal for fans of Dance/Electronica:

“Tap Out” from Comedown Machine by the Strokes is infectious – and several other tracks get under your skin and burrow in.


And to finish off the superb new CD From Bowie:

Fitz and the Tantrums and Vampire Weekend both have May releases that you might want to check out as well, neither one has a tune on my ‘pod yet, but perhaps they will grow on me.

Successful Photo

A while back I explained why it was necessary to experiment to get good photos (see here.) Here’s the proof of the pudding, where by using the same settings while adding camera stabilization I was able to capture a good photo. This shot took stabilizing the camera by resting the lens on a cross strut of a pedestrian bridge while holding the body down on the handrail. If I had not done that then the wood would have been blurry due to a slow shutter speed coupled with unavoidable camera shake because few people outside of a few brain surgeons have hands steady enough to keep  a camera still for a long exposure like this one.

F/32 ISO 100 1/5 second 80mm
F/32 ISO 100 1/5 second 80mm

Failed Photo

To get good photos you have to experiment a lot, to try different things and to stretch the bounds of your camera’s light capturing abilities. This experimentation means that you will have many failed shots initially for every good one, and that over time with practice you will learn the edges and bounds. Here’s a photo where I bumped up against a few.

camera shake
Failed photos are one of the prices of learning the art

What I was attempting to do was take a long exposure of running water to give it a dreamy blurred motion effect instead of the “frozen” look you get when you set the camera to auto. This is because the auto setting will always attempt to get you a reasonably high shutter speed for the available light and aperture, which usually means glassy looking still water with all motion frozen in time. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want, but for a scene like this you hope to capture that sense of the water’s motion instead.
I’ve tried this same photo at the same spot a few times, and I’ve never really gotten the aperture / lighting / and shutter speed combo in the range needed. The day I took this it was dim so I thought I’d finally arrived while the lighting was right. It worked but it didn’t because of camera shake.
So to get this I set the ISO to the lowest (100,) the aperture to the highest this lens would go ( f/32) which gave me the desired slow shutter speed of slightly over a half second. The water is almost right, however if you look close every thing else has a slight blur from camera shake because the shutter speed is just too slow to avoid that with a hand-held shot.
So the next time I take this I will have a tripod to prevent that. That will cause the rocks and everything not moving like the water to come out crisp and sharp. Some pros cheat scenes like this by forcing the shutter speed with a neutral density filter, but that’s putting the image through another piece of glass, which ultimately makes it less sharp. So I doubt I’ll ever get a set of ND filters, but who knows.

Best Photo from Yesterday’s Walk

Kasey tends to scare off the wildlife when I walk with her, but yesterday towards the end she got tired and was just walking instead of ranging back and forth in wide swaths, so this brave little bird didn’t flee and hung out while I got a few shots with a 70-300 mm lens.

bird picture
300MM 1/400th @ f7.1 ISO 250 – click to embiggen

The lens I used is below, remember that I have a cropped sensor APS-C camera, so at 300 mm I effectively get 450mm which is great for shots like the one you see here.