Friday, January 30, 2009

Amazon Error - 8 Manfrotto Ball Heads Too Many

Being inspired after reading Rich Legg's article about his new monopod set up, I ordered a new Manfrotto 334B Automatic Monopod and Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ball Head with RC2 Rapid Connect System from Amazon. Today a kind of heavy package arrived from Amazon. My initial thought was that this was pretty strange since I knew the ball head was not very big and the monopod would be a long box. So anyway, I opened the box and this is what I found.

A large box labelled 486RC2. OK, cool this was the ball head I ordered. But why so heavy. Was I really going to want to lug this thing around being this heavy?

So I opened the Manfrotto box and found this:

Yes, that is right. 9 individual boxes each containing a ball head. They sent me the 1 Manfrotto ball head box. The box that held the boxes, not the box with the ball head itself. I just about hit the floor. And clearly someone had carefully removed 1 of the ball heads from this box itself. Maybe I will get that missing sibling in the mail next week.

So now I have a box of 9 perfectly new Manfrotto 486RC2 Compact Ball Heads with RC2 Rapid Connect System.

It is like in Monopoly - bank error in your favor, collect $599.92, which is the retail price of the other 8 ball heads that I don't need.

I know what I am going to do. But I am curious what you would do.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow-Covered Town

We had a nice extra coating of fluffy snow last night and then the Sun came out today. It was very pretty around here. I noticed a photographer out in front of our house early this morning taking pictures down the hill to the downtown area. I was quite jealous but I had to get the kids off to school. At lunch we walked down to our baker's for some yummy soup and sandwiches. Again I noticed how nice it all looked, but still I did not take any pictures. Late in the day, I happened to get distracted by the light coming in my office window. Finally, I picked up my camera and took some shots.

When I went up to the attic, I was surprised to find the window without any ice. Usually this winter it has been almost completely covered over, which has been disappointing since the view is pretty nice. I imagine that this view has not changed very much over the nearly 100 years the house has been here. The attic window is probably original and therefore is old and wavy. If you look closely you can see a number of spots where the window added some interesting distortion to the image.

My thoughts on processing this were to 1) run the high dynamic range stuff and then 2) give it an old time feel.

In other news, my camera's "odometer" clicked over today. The last time it did that was 4/1/08, which means that it was a fairly slow year for me. I hope to roll this over again faster than 10 months in 2009.

Image of the day: View from the Past

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice Spike

One of our recent late afternoons, the Sun broke through the clouds in a brilliant clear way that you only seem to get in winter. I ran through the house looking for various shots to try because I really like the view of downtown Cortland with the hills in the background. The attic window was iced over so I tried our bedroom window. The ice spike was an added bonus and frankly I am not sure I would have taken the shot without it.

Coming from VA, we never had icicles like we get here in CNY. I cannot recall that we ever had them since it just did not stay cold long enough for them to really get going. This winter we have had them all over and some have been quite large. The snow has not yet gotten old for us. We still enjoy it and it really makes for a beautiful view. We had quite a snow today. I finally had to get out there and clear off our driveway (had been only keeping a small part of it clear since we returned from vacation). I spent 30 minutes this morning and an hour this even snowblowing in order to get the driveway and walks clear. Nice exercise and I have to say it was fun. Felt good.

I think I have finally settled on some branding. I got some good feedback on my first attempt and feel this works better for me. This seems to work for me as it ties my interests in photography (shooter) with my years studying medieval history (archer) into something that is different. I really did not want a logo with a camera. Let me know what you think.

Things are crazy at work but I will keep on posting as often as I can.

Image of the day: Freezing Mist

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Metropolitan Block

While in Alexandria back in early January, I had the opportunity to hit one of my favorite spots, the Washington Sailing Marina. This time the tide was out pretty far, so I decided to wander along the shores of the Potomac. I was struck by the vast quantities of old bricks and parts of walls that lay along the shore. Some had very interesting names and other things stamped into them, not like our industrial blank modern bricks. I decided to try to get some shots of these various kinds of bricks. I remember seeing a show about a guy whose passion is collecting old bricks.

As you might have noticed, I am working on some new branding for my site. I think I have settled on this logo and color scheme, but I am still not sure. What are your thoughts on this?

Image of the Day: First Look at Night

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busy Airspace

Now that we are home, I am getting back into reviewing my images and getting some things posted here. This image was from a solo photowalk I did one afternoon along the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA. I liked the view of the gull looking at me and the triangle he made with the other gull and the airplane. I feel the placement works (other images show them closer, etc), and I like the straight wing of the upper gull to emulate the wings of the plane. I had another shot with the gull's wings bent, but it did not seem to work as well for me. I considered cropping out the gull in the very bottom corner but decided to leave it because I felt it added something. I might change my mind on that though.

As for processing, this is a HDR image but taken from a single photo. I processed it both over and under exposed and then brough them all together. I needed to do this to keep the moving birds and plane frozen. The image is very noisy because of the high ISO needed for the shot but I like it as it gives the image some "crunchiness" to my eye. In post, I used Michael Gray's Lightroom preset Fuji Neopan 1600 Curve. (Michael has been building an incredible library of presets to emulate films. Check out his blog LifeInDigitalFilm.) I really liked the feel of this preset. It really made things pop for me and gave the sky a nice moody feeling, even though it was a partly cloudy blue sky. I then toned the image to give it a bit of blue and added a slight vignette. Oh and I lightened the gull on the post a bit.

Image of the day: Along the Tracks #1 (Chromasia)

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I just wanted to say howdy and thank you to everyone who has stopped by this past year. I appreciate your support and comments on my images. They have been very helpful.

2008 was a year of great change for me and my family. My wife got a new job. We move to New York. The kids are in a new school. But we are now back on what feels like an even keel so I am looking forward to 2009 with great enthusiasm.

Thanks for stopping by. I should be back to putting some images up in about 1 week or so. I'll explain why then. Best wishes.