Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Timber! Pt 3

That didn't take long.

The only problem now is that that was the tree Sasha used to sharpen her claws. Hope she doesn't start using the furniture instead ;)

Timber! Pt 2

And this poor, dead thing is coming down completely.


Doing a little cleanup of the dead sections of some trees in the parking lot.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Storms a-comin'

At Saxon Woods with Holly... I think we just got back to the car in time. Lots of thunder getting closer, I think there's a big one coming!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Party time :)

While Crisp is at the rehearsal for her graduation tomorrow, Jackie and I have spent a happy morning shopping, cleaning, and making salads etc. for the celebration lunch that will follow :)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Now that is the way it's supposed to work- we applied for the Excelsior Scholarship on Friday, and we just got an email saying Crisp has been approved. 4 days and 2 of them were weekend!

Awesome job NYS Higher Education Services Corporation!!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fame at last ;)

So my blog post about my new midi/open source Lightroom controller from the other day has been picked up by the renowned photography website PetaPixel :)

I had also posted it on r/photography on Reddit where it had gained quite a lot of comments, and this morning I got a nice email from one of the PetaPixal editors asking if they could repost it- and of course I said yes. Above is a screenshot of their home page with it as the top post (as they post newer articles it will get pushed down), and the article itself is here.

I usually write these photo-and-other-geeky-stuff how-to's for myself really, it's like a combination of a diary and notes in case I want to go back and see exactly what I did and where I got the info etc., so it's nice to have it recognized for a wider audience :) ...but it does make me realize that I need to do something about getting my website finished (the main url, www.crispian.org, just goes to a placeholder with a link to the blog right now), and kinda makes me wish I'd taken better pictures for that post instead of using crappy cell phone ones. Oh well...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Open source does it again :)

*Warning, extremely geeky photography content ;)

There is an extremely talented landscape photographer called Thomas Heaton whose YouTube videos I find very instructive and entertaining. Recently he featured a new product he was sent to try out- the Loupedeck, a physical console that lets you control Lightroom (the main software I use to sort, catalog and edit my photographs). It gives you knobs and buttons to press and twiddle rather than pointing and clicking with a mouse- which makes editing much more natural and allows you to be looking at the picture you're editing rather than the controls as you make your changes.

Anyhow- I looked at it and was extremely interested! It is being released for sale in the middle of July and so I floated the idea that my nearest and dearest might like to chip in towards it as a Father's Day gift (it ain't cheap- $415!) and they seemed amenable so I pre-ordered it

But then however I started doing some further research, and found out that the same functionality can be obtained using open source software and a much more reasonable midi controller (a controller made to control electronic musical instruments and digital audio). And as well as being much cheaper, it's much more configurable in that you get to choose exactly what each knob and button controls- so you get control of the Lightroom features you use most and get to put them where it makes most sense to you. And even better- it's a project I have to research and put together myself rather than just buy and plug in- much more fun and satisfying :)

So, I cancelled my Loupedeck order and found this very reasonable midi controller for $65 from Adorama and ordered it instead (my lovely daughter is going to pay for it for Father's Day- it's so nice she's earning her own money), and downloaded the open source midi2lr software (midi to lightroom, get it?).

The X-Touch Mini controller arrived yesterday, much quicker than I was expecting, and I was very naughty and couldn't wait, so I started playing with it ;)

With the help of some very helpful websites (especially this post on a Google Group), a few hours, some trial and error, and lots of P-Touch labels, I think I have it configured the way I want it- but the best thing is that if I don't like the way it is set up I can just move things around and print new labels :)

This is going to make it so much easier and more "organic" to edit pictures in future- to be able to make adjustments without having to navigate to the tiny toolbars with the mouse, but to do it with physical knobs while keeping your eyes on the changes as you make them will be great. While it only has 8 knobs and 16 buttons, it is a "dual layer" setup, so each knob and button can be configured to do at least 2 things (and even more with "profiles" enabled- but that's way more detail than you need).

This couple of videos helped me while I was setting this up, they're a bit long if you're not a photo nerd, but they give you a better idea of why I did this and why I'm so excited...

This guy sets it up with two- which I think is a little overkill...

So, happy early Father's Day to me (thanks Monkey!), I can't wait to use this new set up to edit the church picnic photos I take tomorrow- I will report back with how it works :)

Summer's here :)

It's finally warm enough for me to make my annual awful joke about installing the air conditioning in the church :)

Friday, June 09, 2017

We've just finished submitting Crisp's application for the Excelsior Scholarship :)

Thanks Mr. Cuomo- if the USCIS will get moving on my naturalization application you've got my vote!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Senior Recognition Ceremony

Just spent a very pleasant evening at Rye High School at the Senior Recognition Ceremony where Cris picked up not one but two scholarships! And one of them is renewable as long as she keeps her grades up :)

Many thanks to the Parents' Association and the Mary Friese Lowe Memorial Scholarship Fund!

Monday, June 05, 2017


I've just been working through the pictures I took on Friday night at the Fanwood Prom- and I found these of the Photobooth that I particularly like :)

This one of a girl taking pictures while everyone else is eating is particularly striking, but these two are much more indicative of the crowd around it for most of the evening...

They really had a blast with it, and they will all get a CD with all the formal pictures as well as the candid ones I shot, and the individual pictures the Photobooth took- some of which are awsome :)

Come and be my new boss

Our Parish Profile is finally live :)

It's up on our website here (and in case something gets moved here's a direct link to the file).

It was put together by a committee, written by a parishioner and assembled by a professional designer, but it looks really good (though I say it myself)... the photos are mine :)

Now we wait and see who it attracts...

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Saturday, June 03, 2017

I can see you

So I bought myself one of those little, wireless pan-tilt-zoom video cameras to fool around with- it connects to the internet and you can access it from anywhere with your phone. I had it set up at home to test it last night and had turned on the feature where it would send me an alert and record a few seconds when it detects movement. We were out at the Fanwood Prom, but here is the video it sent me when Cris got home from work at the club :)


And here is the video it sent me when she used it to let me know she'd taken Holly out to pee :)


The plan is that eventually we will set up the camera by Dipper (the Leopard Gecko)'s tank so Crisp can check in on her from the dorm when she's away at school, but I think we'll have some fun with it first ;)

Friday, June 02, 2017

Fanwood Prom

And now we switch to photo-booth mode :)

Prom Photographer

We're at the Trump International in Briarcliff Manor (ugh), but notice the cool pin Jackie got me to wear :)

Doing the Prom Photographer thing...

... for Jackie's school again.

Formals, candids, and then the photo-booth will come out :)

Blast from the past

Crisp got a letter in the mail today from her 11 year old self, written 6 years ago with details of her friends and hobbies, and drawings she had done :)

What a cool thing for her English teacher, Mrs. Wells, to have done and followed through with! Cris is going to write a new one and put it on a USB stick with some pictures and give it to me so I can mail it to her in 4 years time :)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Summer begins :)

It must really be summer- I've just dropped Cris off for her first shift of the summer at the "snack bar" at the Coveleigh Club, her third year there. Hopefully she'll have as much fun as she usually does (and get some money saved!).

Now she just needs to get her licence so I don't need to keep driving her..!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Excellent news :)

Sorry not to have posted for a while- it's been crazy busy at work what with the Bishop's visit and 4 funerals in the last week and a half (and another one tomorrow!).

Anyhow, Cris has begun her internship at the funeral home next door and is having a great time; she's been helping with their computers, setting up printers, sorting old files, alphabetizing cremains (ashes), registering death certificates at city hall and more! She seems to have fitted right in and I think she's actually being helpful.

But the best news is that she got an email this morning to say that she's been accepted into the Summer Success Fellows program in July at Purchase :) This is a program for first-generation students to help them get used to the idea of college life (although Jackie went to college, she was a commuter student so I guess they feel she qualifies as a first-generation dorm-living college student). She will go to her regular orientation on Wednesday, July 19 (everyone goes to a one-day orientation on one of 4 days, July 17-20), but then she stays on campus, living in a dorm room with a room-mate, going to a few classes, learning the ropes and where everything is, for three days and nights until Saturday.

She had to apply specially for this program, and part of it is that she will then use her new-found knowledge to help others once term starts. I think this will be really good for her, as she is a single child who has never had to share a room with anyone, and I think the chance to have this "trial run" before moving in for real in August will help a great deal with some of those anxieties about starting her college career- yet another reason why I'm so pleased with her choice of school :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Church pictures...

I am shooting a few extra pictures around the church for the Parish Profile that will go to prospective applicants to be the new Rector. Today we got the Queen Anne chalice from the safe and I shot a few pictures on its own, and then with Dorothee. And then I took a few more of a couple of the windows for good measure :)

First a quick check of the calibration of the focus of my lenses

Here's the set up with the lights

Given to the church by Queen Anne in 1706

Inscribed Anna Reginae

Made by the London silversmith William Gibson

And here's Dorothee to give it some context

She has small hands, but it is quite large

I think this is actually my favourite

And another few...
...of the main Tiffany window... 
...in all its glory

And the oldest window, given for Sarah Bulkley who died in the sinking of the SS Ville du Havre in the middle of the Atlantic in 1873