Blog entries from April, 2010

From the backlog: Blue Lotus Water Garden

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 09:59pm

On the first Sunday of 2010 the Waverley Camera Club went on an outing to the Blue Lotus Water Garden in Yarra Junction. I have lost track of how many photos I took on the day, but I have completed processing them down to 34 images.

Obviously most of them are of flowers. Solitary…

Blue Lotus Water Garden (06)

…in groups…

Blue Lotus Water Garden (11)

…as a bud…

Blue Lotus Water Garden (30)

…or somewhere in between.

Blue Lotus Water Garden (08)

There were also some bridges of interest…

Blue Lotus Water Garden (24)

Two of the images are HDR, the one above for example, but for the others I first cropped, tweaked levels to increase contrast (a lot of tweaking for a couple of the images) and finally added a slight vignette.

All can be viewed in their Flickr set.

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Experimenting with macro

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 09:57pm

At the camera club last night we were discussing macro. After a discussion on what macro is and the various ways of achieving it (macro lens, extension tubes, a close up lens, reversing the lens, etc) we broke out and started to shoot the variety of items that were brought along.

I don’t have a macro lens, but I was able to borrow a set of Kenko extension tubes which I used with my 50mm lens. I didn’t keep many shots from the night, but I started out shooting a Dandelion clock lit by an external light:


With the extension tubes using autofocus was pointless so I switched to manual and focused by moving the entire camera back and forth. I also quickly switched to using and off camera flash (triggered by an ST-E2 so I had TTL)

Dandelion clock

However, I found that shooting the flash through the object from below gave more interesting results:

Clock lit from below Feather
Tiny flower Open the pod bay doors, HAL

Although these are quite interesting and deserve further experimentation, my favourite shot was more conventionally lit:

Mmmm... Gooey.

Of course to experiment further I will need some more equipment. While I cannot justify an actual macro lens, a set of Kenko extension tubes are quite affordable…

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One week into the decimation

Sunday, April 11th, 2010 at 08:35pm

A week ago I decided to decimate my computer collection. What have I achieved so far?

The Ikea shelves (like GORM, but older) that I have for the collection gives six main spaces, plus the top of the unit. It is in the six main spaces that will contain the focus of the collection.

After reoganisation, the spaces contain:

Yes, that is only five spaces. I have yet to decide what occupies the sixth space, and then I still have the top of the unit.

One question that has been bouncing around in my mind is whether or not I keep any Macintosh computers. In 1988 the Apple IIgs was our first family computer and I used Apple IIs at school, so there is a connection there. But until I bought a Powerbook in 2004 I didn’t have a Macintosh. The only reason I have so many is because there were so many and at one point my goal was to have one of each type. We know what becase of that goal.

In order to allocate these five spaces, I needed to first remove what had previously been there. At the same time I also made an initial pass at what was on the wall shelves, mostly manuals, old software and peripherals such as external hard drives.

So what happened to what got removed? Some went into the rubbish bin, others went into the paper recycling bin, a few are in a pile downstairs because they are now listed on eBay, while the remainder is in another pile at the top of the stairs.

Items in that last pile include the PowerMac 6100s and the PowerBook Duos. I have yet to decide whether to keep these.

Before I started I took some photos that will be able to be stiched into a panorama. Once I have done some more cleanup I will take another set and post two panoramas for comparision.

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Landscapes in portrait

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 at 11:04pm

Tonight at the camera club was the judging for the April “Landscapes” competition. Three of my four entries were actually portrait. By this I mean that the entries were of the landscape topic, but were framed in the portrait orientation.

I had difficulty finding images as I don’t shoot that many landscape images. In fact two of the entries were from a day trip along the McDonalds Track in Gippsland, while the other two were from the road trip to the Snowy Mountains over the Australia Day weekend.

This late afternoon shot up the Snowy River from Jacks Lookout received a merit:

Snowy afternoon

Processing three exposures as HDR really saved the bottom half from being too dark and I was sure that the judge would point out that the change in light broke the image in two. He didn’t.

A midday shot looking north from the McDonalds Track at Mount Worth received a merit:

From Mount Worth

HDR came to the rescue again as the sun was quite harsh. When picking this image it was a close call between this and one in landscape orientation that showed more to the right. I went portrait with this one to try and have the viewers eye follow the trees in the valley up the image.

My other printed image was from surge tank looking over Lake Jindabyne:

Reaches of Jindabyne Lake

The judge pointed out that the sun reflection was blown out. As this was also HDR I should have noticed that before printing and manually brought back detail from the -2 exposure.

My other printed image was from earlier in the morning on the McDonalds Track:

Rolling hills

At this time the clouds were a bit more defined and were casting shadows over alternate hills. Again this is HDR from three exposures and in hindsight I should have actually gotten out of the car to take this shot as I would have been able to leave out the fence at the bottom.

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“Decimate”, not “downsize”

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010 at 05:30pm

Recently the Daily Writing Tips blog had a post about using the word “decimate” appropriately. So while the modern usage no longer means to remove one tenth, it should only be used to mean the removal of a large proportion of something, not use to refer to the total destruction of something.

In the past I have used the words cull and downsize in regard to the future of my computer collection.

They are not strong enough.

It has been years since I begain to cull and six months since I last downsized. So now I am going to decimate the collection in order to make space for lego and camera gear.

By the end of the current long weekend I must make headway. This will include any item that has sat in the cupboard for too long or that I don’t have any emotional attachment to. In reality that second criteria only covers the Apple IIgs, my first computer.

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I have control of Lego Technic

Friday, April 2nd, 2010 at 03:58pm

Twenty years ago one of the Lego Technic sets I dreamed over was the Control Centre. Thanks to eBay I now have that set and over the last couple of days I have assembled two of the models.

The robot arm:
Lego 8094 Control Centre (2)

Crane truck:
Lego 8094 Control Centre (4)

The actual control centre allows you to control three 9V lego motors (although only two come with the set) and it even allows you to program in two sequences that it can play back. Of course, this is nothing compared to the cababilities of the modern Mindstorms NXT. But for something from 1990, this is great.

For now this set is back in its box as I really need to return to downsizing the collection as I need the space.

Now this isn’t the only Lego that I have been playing with in the last week. On impulse last Saturday I picked up the “limited edition” Racing Truck:

Lego 8041 Racing Truck

I wasn’t quite happy with it and once I assembled the B model it was clear which model I preferred.

Lego 8041 Race Car (1)Lego 8041 Race Car (2)Lego 8041 Race Car (3)

This set also marked another first for my lego sets, I applied the stickers. The stickers in this set really make the model as they transform what would otherwise be big chunks of black.

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