Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cool cat...

... instead of hot dog ;)

Holly is trying out her new Ruffwear "swamp cooler" coat I got from Geartrade (it was cheap as it's last years model, but I don't think Holly minds). You wet it down beforehand and as it dries it keeps her cool through the magic of evaporation (I got the human version that you wear around your neck for me as well). One of the nicest things is that I don't have to put her in the stream at the end of the walk to cool her off... I always feel bad for her when we get home and she comes into the cool apartment when she's still damp.

It wasn't crazy hot today (84F), but it seems to work very nicely- I think we will keep it for 90F+ days though.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Back at work

Crisp started back at the club today, got right back in the swing of it and had a blast. He put in a full day today... and this year they've given him a name tag- and spelt it right :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Holly the hunter

There's a chipmunk safe in that hole, but Holly thinks if she barks loud enough she'll scare it out :)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fanwood Prom

I'm guessing from the constant crowd around it that the photobooth is a big hit :)

Photographer weekend :)

All set up to take pictures for the Fanwood Prom, and this year we've added a photobooth :)

And tomorrow I'm off to Long Island to shoot a wedding...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rats nest

When we tried to watch a movie on our big, drop-down screen the other night we realized that the old Denon receiver that has been at the heart of our 'home theater" system for many years must finally be replaced- it no longer switches video correctly, and the audio cuts out every 20 minutes and the whole thing has to be turned on and off to get it working again.

So, off to Amazon to order a replacement. I picked a fairly cheap Pioneer unit (only 5.1, instead of the old one which was 7.1, but it sounds very good and I'm still using the extra surround speakers to widen the sound out at the back) that has multiple HDMI inputs, and decided to add a new, powered sub-woofer to the mix as well.

Boy- I love hooking up HDMI cables!

Here is the wiring behind the TV unit before-

Now, I will admit, I like to have everything hooked as flexibly as possible to everything else, but that's ridiculous!

After hooking everything up to the new receiver using mostly HDMI cables, but still some component and composite to feed the projector and the DVD recorder- and the VCR (yes, I hooked it in so we can finally transfer our old stuff to DVD), here are all the cables that I had left over from the old set-up-

So, it's all hooked up and working, Jackie's and my remotes are programmed , and it looks so much cleaner :)

Now I just have to enter in all the speaker distances, set the individual channel levels with the cool SPL meter app I found for my phone, and play around with the cross-over frequency for the new sub, but that's a job for tomorrow...

Monday, May 09, 2016

In harness

Just got my new dual-camera harness so I can be light on my feet and shoot with 2 bodies so I don't have to keep changing lenses at the wedding in a couple of weeks. It looks a bit silly, but I think it'll look less conspicuous against a black shirt :)

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day :)

This is my new favourite picture of Jake and Cris.

You can see more from our afternoon in the usual FB album here :)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

First world problems...

Warning- extremely geeky camera/android subject matter follows- get out while you can!

So, my new phone seems to be working out very well. It does everything I need it to, and, at 3:30pm and having been unplugged at 7 this morning, the battery is currently at 80% and it's telling me there is still 1 day and 7 hours of battery life left :)

However I ran into an unexpected glitch yesterday- I post pictures from my phone to this blog and my Saxon Woods blog via email, I email the picture to a special Blogger email address and it takes the subject line of the email and uses it as the blog post title, formats the picture and puts the email text below it as the body of the post- nice and easy and I've been doing it that way for years. But the Blogger email system will only accept picture attachments up to a certain size (it says it's 10MB, but in reality it seems to be closer to 7-8MB), which was never a problem with the 8 Megapixel camera on my Nexus 5, but the camera on the new phone is 13 MP, and while most of the time pictures are around 5-6MB, if the subject is particularly busy (like, say, the woodland picture I send everyday to the Saxon Woods blog) the size can shoot up to 8-9MB.

Now, part of the problem is the Moto Camera app that Motorola has put on this phone- it has no way to reduce the resolution of the picture you take (other than to choose a 16:9 format that is 9.7MP rather than the 13MP of the standard 4:3 one I like to use). I could use another camera app (I have been fooling around with the excellent Open Camera, which I like a lot and does indeed have the option to reduce the MP of the picture), but I kind of object to having to reduce the size and lose some quality- and the Moto G has a very cool feature that when you hold the phone and double-twist it (like you're opening a door handle) it will automatically open the camera app, even if the phone is asleep. It's not a huge deal to wake up the phone and choose a different camera app, but this has already become one of my favorite features of the new phone- and it saves seconds if you're trying capture a candid moment.

I posted the problem on Reddit (of course there's a MotoG subreddit) and I think it's been solved :)

One person suggested saving the pictures to Google Photos and seeing if that would reduce the size a bit (it does if you use the free storage), but to save bandwidth I have my phone set to only back up my pictures to Google Photos when it had a wifi connection- so that's no good while I'm out and about.

Someone else suggested a gallery app called Piktures, which is just the ticket :) It's free, and when you hit share to share a photo by email or whatever it shows you the size of the original picture and offers you 3 other options at Full HD, HD and VGA sizes- each one smaller than the one before. I have set it up so that when I take a picture and swipe from the camera app to see it, it open in Piktures. Then I just hit share and it shows me the size so I can see if it needs to be reduced, and then it will open my email with the picture (reduced if necessary) attached- simple, easy and fast :)

But what of the reduction in quality you ask- well, Blogger reduces pictures when you post them anyway, but this way I still have the original, full resolution picture on my phone in case I decide it's good enough to pull off and edit in Lightroom or something, Google Photos will save it at a slightly reduced quality, and it really doesn't look much different on Blogger :)

Here is today's picture from the Saxon Woods Blog 3 ways- full resolution from the phone (8MB, 4160x3120)), slightly reduced by Google Photos (5.33MB, 4160x3120), and reduced to Full HD by Piktures (3.57MB, 1920x1440). Each of these will have been further compressed by Blogger (to 1600x1200), so I'd be very surprised if you can tell much difference, even when you click to embiggen them-

full resolution from the phone (8MB, 4160x3120)
slightly reduced by Google Photos (5.33MB, 4160x3120)
reduced to Full HD by Piktures (3.57MB, 1920x1440)