Monday, October 31, 2016

College bound (we hope!)

We have just submitted Cris's first college application!

SUNY Purchase, New Media BA, early action (which means she should get an answer by the end of the year) using the Common Application online. Wow- what a weird feeling that a few clicks can be the start of a whole future! Fingers crossed that this goes well :)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Busy day!

Just finished cleaning up from the first funeral of the day, another one in an hour. And by the time I get that one cleaned up it'll be dark :(

It's a shame not to get to the woods today as it's so nice (54F and sunny), but I'll make it up to Holly.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Home-made fog chiller

Last year with dry ice, smoke and lasers

We have another "Pipe Screams" Hallowe'en organ concert this Sunday, and I can't find anywhere where I can buy dry ice for fog any later than Saturday morning- and it won't last until Sunday afternoon :(

But the internet to the rescue! I found a YouTube video on how to make a "fog-chiller" ( Basically you take a big tub and fill it with ice, make some holes at the bottom with a grill to keep the ice in, and direct the output of a smoke machine into the top. The smoke goes through the ice and is chilled so that when it comes out of the holes at the bottom it is colder than the surrounding air, so it stays on the ground like dry ice smoke.

I adapted the design a little (of course), but it's pretty much the same and works surprisingly well-

This was just with a single 7 lb bag of ice in the bottom, so it should work even better on Sunday with about 50 lbs of ice in it :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

One down...

... one to go.

Now they're replacing the cracked window in my office.

And it was on a Thursday morning...

... that I called the glazier in.

Replacing a very large and expensive sheet of glass- bloody architects, what were they thinking?

Friday, October 14, 2016

New Lens :)

So, it's a little early, but I've put together some money of my own, some from Jackie & Crisp, and some from my folks to get a new lens- I was going to wait to get it for my actual birthday, but the Canon refurbished website had a Columbus Day sale last weekend with everything 10% off their already excellent prices (I love the refurbished deals- I have bought a lot of stuff from there and have never had a problem, you really can't tell it's not new- in fact I reckon the lenses etc. from there are probably better calibrated etc. than new as they've been rechecked over by another technician), so I pounced while it was in stock and on sale :)

It's a Canon 70-200mm f/4 L,

generally considered to be the best value Canon "L" lens you can get (the "L" designation is for their professional series of lenses- better optically and more robust than their non-L cousins). It is not the "IS" version (anti-vibration technology that obviates lens shake when handheld), but that one is twice the price (and a friend of mine has the top-of-the-line f/2.8 IS version that I can borrow if I need to). This one is lighter to carry and use, and with the excellent high ISO capabilities of the 6D I can get away with pushing up the ISO when I'm in low light situations.

I've been lusting after this lens for a long time and recently I have been following the videos of a landscape photographer called Thomas Heaton from the north of England who uses this lens a lot, rather than the more obvious wide-angle, to take many of his images, and that pushed me to make this my next purchase. And from the performance I've seen out of it today in a just an hour or so in the woods I think I did the right thing :)

I took my tripod along as to really get the best out of this lens it needs to be allowed to work at a lower shutter speed as you want to use a high aperture for large depth-of-field, and the lowest ISO for the highest quality images- in fact I'm starting to look into using ND filters to allow me to do some interesting long-exposure photography, but that's for another day- this was just a quick walk around to see what this lens can do and familiarize myself with it :)

These were all taken with a circular polarizer to cut glare, and I hate the compression that Blogger uses to make the pictures a reasonable size- so if you're interested I've uploaded them to Imgur here in higher resolution where you can click on them to see them in all their glory :)

1/125", f/5.6, ISO 1250

1/640", f/4, ISO 100

0.4", f/18, ISO 100, panorama of 5 images stitched together 
1/50", f/14, ISO 100

1/50"-1/100"-1/200", f/4, ISO 100, HDR from 3 bracketed exposures

4", f/20, ISO 100, the water was very muddy and the long exposure makes it look very smooth

5", f/20, ISO 100

8", f/20, ISO 100

0.6", f/11, ISO 100

5", f/32, ISO 100

1.3", f/32, ISO 100

0.5", f/11, ISO 100, panorama of 9 images stitched together

1/6" f/11, ISO 100

1/160", f/5.6, ISO 2500

1/160", f/4, ISO 1250

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

And.... we're back on the leash for a couple of days

Holly was limping a bit when we got home from the woods yesterday. Oh course there is no sign of it now, but just to be on the safe side we'll take it easy for a couple of days.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Fall in the woods

Happy dog

Holly (who is now 9) is developing very distinguished grey/brown patches on her haunches

Dramatic B&W

Fall grasses

Even more dramatic B&W

Eyes (who could resist?)