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Doing Nothing

I didn’t get anything done today. I was going to write an article about focal length on camera lenses, but I ended up spending five hours reading about it on dpreview.com, Wikipedia, this great explanation of f-stops, etc. It was interesting, and I learned quite a bit, but I still didn’t write anything. Writing about photography doesn’t feel like writing about personal development, because it seems like I can write whatever I want with the latter. With photography, I spend more time researching and worrying about technical details than writing. General ideas are more important. Really specific articles are beter than all-encompasing ones. That’s contradictory, but I’m sure it’s true. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll certainly fail. I can’t write an article called “The State of Digital Photography,” because there’s way too much to cover and I’ll never get started.

I was home with my parents and we had dinner together (sort of), which was nice. No turkeys were involved. I wonder how turkeys become food for us. It’s cruel and unusual. I ate a salad with lettuce, dark green vegetables of some type, cucumbers, black pepper, sea salt, and garlic dressing. It was delicious. Salad won’t nourish you much because your body can’t digest much of it, but it provides great vitamins, keeps your system clean, and tastes good.

I slept till 9 A.M. this morning. That messed me up. If you spend two hours getting out of bed and three hours reading nothing, then the rest of the day is shot. Being in college almost every day does build discipline. Having a job does too. You end up getting more done in the gaps between work than you would if you had all the time to yourself. Personal development is all about using your own time and resources efficiently, rather than relying on other people or businesses to schedule your life. To rely on yourself, you need discipline. When you have self-discipline, being bossed around by others is no less than silly.

Today, I learned how to play the song I composed for the piano on Monday. I’ll post it tomorrow. I’m going to spend a couple days with my grandmother starting tomorrow. She’s 102, so she needs my support. :silly:

I shipped out lots of packages from my eBay auctions yesterday, and more are going out tomorrow. A lot of stuff didn’t sell, and what did didn’t make too much, except for the Kodak ink cartridges and miniDV tapes which profitted me $50. Counting Craigslist, my total profit is at $150. Plus the $65 I made on ads on this site this month, and the stuff I sold earlier, I’m over $300, which is more than my old job.

I applied for a job at Office Depot. Dad and I go there so often to use the ink cartridge recycling coupons I mentioned in Selling Stuff, that I may as well work there. Working has a lot of perks, after all. Applications are really funny these days. There’s all these threats and psychological evaluation questions. I don’t take them seriously.

The best way to have a job is to not care at all about being fired or reprimanded. You can do that when you make money from other things or you have few bills to pay. Stay out of debt. Having a normal job can be fun for a time, especially if you have no fear. Then, you can do whatever’s best for yourself or the company rather than looking over your shoulder, limiting your dialogues with customers to two minutes, and memorizing details of policy. In fact, these are the people that do best in the workplace because they don’t take crap. They also do the worst and get in trouble, but it doesn’t matter. If you have a job which you cannot walk away from at a moment’s notice, you’re a slave. It doesn’t matter if it’s for your rent or your cable t.v. bill or your car. Being a slave is inescapable for a while, but you do want to constantly be working to get out of it. Taking Thanksgiving off is inexcusable. :grin:

Tomorrow I’m getting up at 5 A.M. and I’m going to take some cool photos and get stuff done, even if it kills me. I will not be participating in Black Friday. There was some guy camped out by the Daytona Beach Best Buy on Wednesday, tent and all, but I think he was just there to be a public spectacle.

Good night all. It’s okay to get nothing done once in a while. You can even get depressed about it if you want. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s therapeutic. :cool:

Photo: The Tired Tree

The Tired Tree

I crouched in the dirt below this barren winter tree, camera pointed straight up, to capture this shot. The sky was white and overcast. The tree is old and tired from all that heavy Spanish moss weighing it down. :silly:

This looks like something from a horror movie, where the tree falls on you and kills everyone… I had to be careful framing this, as there were more youthful palm trees to the left and right which I had to exclude. This is often a great perspective, and it was critical not to cut off the branches at the top of the frame or else the tree wouldn’t seem complete. The branches to the left don’t matter. The trunk at the bottom-right doesn’t extend much passed the frame, but by not including its edges, the tree seems more impressive.

I converted to black and white and added a slight amount of contrast in Photoshop. No vignetting needed at the top, though I darkened the bottom corners. If you look at the source file, you’ll find it’s remarkably similar to the final. The sky really was bright like that and the tree was black against it. I shot in color mode (always do that for versatility), but the source file looks black and white because there was little color in the scene. I think I set the camera to cloudy white balance, appropriate for the bluish clouds. If it was sunny out, the neutral gray point would be closer to yellow, necessitating a lower color temperature (5200 K vs. 6000 K) to match the scene. If I shot this at tungsten white balance (3200 K), it would look really blue, but if I was under incandescent or tungsten lighting (yellow), the scene would look normal. Lower white balance temperatures are for yellow scenes, higher white balance temperatures are for blue scenes, because color temperature represents the color output of an ideal black body radiator at that temperature. 273.15 degrees Kelvin is 0 Celsius, 5200 Kelvin is 4926.85 Celsius which is 8900 degrees Fahrenheit. A black body radiator gets bluer at higher temperatures, say 7000 K, and yellower at lower temperatures, say 3200 K. When you set your camera’s white balance to 3200 K, tungsten, you’re telling it to set the color a black body radiator at 3200 K puts out as neutral gray (yellow). At 7000 K (shade), blue colors are neutral gray. So something that appears blue at 3200 K white balance will appear yellow at 7000 K white balance. An object that would appear blue at 7000 K white balance will be much bluer at 3200 K, and an object that is yellow when the camera is set to 3200 K white balance will be much more yellow when the camera is set at 7000 K white balance.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/500, F5.6, 30mm, ISO100, 2008-11-04T11:53:02-05, 20081104-165302rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Bizarro World

Bizarro World

In bizarro world, everything looks like this…

Alternate title: Fun at the Cemetery.

Dad and I stopped off at the cemetery to take photos. I didn’t find the tombstones as interesting as this white railing near the pond, though. From this vantage point, the center crossbeams and the beams of the railing on the other side of the walkway line up, but the ones on the left and right are divergent. An interesting effect.

The railing also appears to be slanted, or maybe I tilted the camera a little. Nothing seemed level in this cemetery. I had to watch out, because I almost fell in the water taking this.

I converted to black and white because I liked the look better. Black and white seems a lot more appealing lately.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/125, F5.6, 28mm, ISO100, 2008-11-04T11:55:00-05, 20081104-165500rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Hello Grasshopper

Hello Grasshopper

Ashley says hello to a 17×11 print of Yellow Grasshopper. That was hard to carry around, but it was worth it so they could meet. She’s funny and cute. The grasshopper is too, but he’s more the serious type. :wink:

She was smoking (see her left hand), and I rested the print on the ash can nearby. It was the only way to get them both in the shot looking at each other. Smoking is still as popular as ever.

I added brightness and vignetting, and corrected her skin tones. I set my camera to sunshine white balance, but it was a bit too bluish for this light.

Next time you see a grasshopper, say hello!

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/125, F5.6, 112mm, ISO100, 2008-11-12T13:02:11-05, 20081112-180211rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

You can use the model's likeness for anything not defamatory. You are one of my "licencees."

Photo: A Thousand Eyes

A Thousand Eyes

Holes in the red-brick wall, by the theater (bldg. 220) at Daytona State College. They made the wall like this because it looks interesting.

I converted this to black and white because the color wasn’t working. The repeating pattern plays tricks on your eyes, if you look at it long enough.

For editing, all I had to do was add contrast and vignetting. The image isn’t perfectly level, but it’s as close as I could get, and I got complete holes on the sides which makes the image aesthetically stronger (because they’re dark).

Think of this wall as a thousand eyes, all staring you down…

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/640, F5, 33mm, ISO100, 2008-11-21T13:55:13-05, 20081121-185513rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Blizzard

Blizzard

It’s a blizzard! A snow day, at least.

This was a downpour of rain that started while the sun was still out. The sunshine reflected all across the newly fallen water in the parking lot, making it look like snow. I shot this car backing out of a parking space, at 132mm from about thirty feet away.

I made the water look like snow by over-exposing and adding contrast in Photoshop. I also converted to black and white. I didn’t even notice that Adobe Camera Raw 4.0 has a vignetting slider under “Lens Corrections,” but I’m using it now to darken the corners rather than burning in manually. It turned out nice here.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/500, F5.6, 132mm, ISO100, 2008-11-13T14:07:11-05, 20081113-190711rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Out of the Frame

Out of the Frame

Rachel, pointing out into space.

She has the same name as my seven-year-old sister, who doesn’t post much.

This was the only pose I could think of. I’m running out of ideas…

Anyway, I took color out of the background so the focus is just on Rachel. She’s pointing up at a squirrel or something.

I also darkened the background a lot.

Rachel is a photographer and has her own photographs here: photographsbyrachelwhited.com. She’s a great model too. I’m only good at photography, fortunately. :grin:

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/200, F6.3, 38mm, ISO400, 2008-01-13T12:04:27-05, 20081113-170427rxt1

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Photo: Velvet Flowers

Velvet Flowers

Light blue flowers, like velvet in the sun.

This was framed well. There are a whole bunch more flowers on the left and below, a dark plant on the right, and deep turquoise sky above. It wasn’t quite like that in reality, but I changed the color of the sky and made the flowers lighter in Photoshop, by manipulating curves on the a and b channels in the Lab colorspace.

These flowers are near bldg. 300 at Daytona State College. I had to sit near the ants on the sidewalk while pointing my camera up to get this shot. I tried one with the flowers in the background, but preferred a lower angle with the clear blue sky as the setting.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/1000, F5.6, 135mm, ISO100, 2008-11-21T12:52:09-05, 20081121-175209rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Road into the Night

Road into the Night

Sunset on the highway at dusk. Into the dark clouds…

The cloud formations caught my eye. There are dark clouds across the whole sky, with sunshine underneath. This was right near dusk, so I had to hold the camera still with a 1/30 second shutter speed at ISO400.

For editing, I added some contrast, darkened the corners, and toned down the clouds that were over-saturated from adding contrast in an RGB colorspace. This one is fairly grainy.

Leave me some comments, loyal readers / viewers. :grin:

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/30, F4, 47mm, ISO400, 2008-11-14T17:47:49-05, 20081114-224749rxt1

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: White Christmas

White Christmas

Christmas is here early! The trees are frosted with ice.

Actually, this is Daytona Beach, Florida, where it doesn’t get cold enough to frost the trees over. I saw this tree in the parking lot at the grocery store; the stark contrast with the background caught my eye. There was a streetlight right near it.

I didn’t have a tripod with me, so I had to hold the camera. The first thing I tried was setting the camera on the ground pointing upward, but I couldn’t get the right composition. My 28-135mm lens only goes down to F3.5, and I didn’t want to go above ISO800 to avoid too much grain, so I held the camera by hand pointing upward, really still, and fired off ten shots. This was the best one. It came out clear even though I had to use a 1/3 second shutter speed due to the darkness. The image stabilization gyroscopes in the lens helped.

Most of the leaves have fallen off this tree. Winter must be here!

Merry Christmas everyone. It’s just 34 days away.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/3, F3.5, 28mm, ISO800, 2008-11-19T18:04:58-05, 20081119-230458rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

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