Monday, November 20, 2017

Last Splash Of Color


Last weekend, I shuttled a group of kids to Little Grassy Lake for a church youth retreat.  Of course, I had to take a little time to wander the grounds, and take a few pictures (here and here). Same as I did last year.   So, this year we got to the camp just a few minutes before a storm was to blow through.  The light was pretty even and flat, no harsh shadows (even though it was mid-day).  So I hustled to grab a few shots before the storm.

Anyway, the image above turned out reasonably OK, but not until there was a LOT of tweaking.  Below is the original SOOC (stright-out-of-camera) version:


So, what did I do?  Well, I don't usually track my workflow real carefully, but this is close:

  1. Try to fix the exposure:  Duplicate layer, set blend to multiply, drop opacity until it looks optimum.  This is a cool tool, think I learned it from a Scott Kelby book.  
  2. Flatten layers
  3. Fine tune levels.
  4. Crop to 4x6 aspect ratio.  Just because I generally prefer 4x6, unless there's a reason not to...
  5. Create a new layer for effects
  6. Apply Topaz - Impression filter.  I'm pretty confident I used the "Edward Hopper I" preset.
  7. Apply Topaz - Simplify filter.  I used the BuzSim preset, but tweaked the Simplify function way down, (<0 .10="" li="" nbsp="">
  8. Adjust colors.  I selectively dropped Reds (to de-emphasize the dead leaves) and boosted the yellow a little, to make those leaves "pop"
  9. Resize for publishing (I usually use 1024 px on the wide side for 365project.org).
  10. Flatten and save.  

Sounds like a lot, but not really.  Maybe 10 - 15 minutes of time.  I'll spend that much easily dialing in a B&W conversion.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

When The Golden Leaves Begin To Fall



"When the moon shines on the Blue Ridge mountains,
And it seems I can hear my sweetheart call,
How I long to be near to my darling,
When the golden leaves begin to fall"
-----------------
Title and lyrics from the Bill Monroe song, but the Wayfaring Strangers do a nice version, toowhich I was listening to while finishing this....

Isn't It Ironic?

No, not the Alanis Morissette  song, which uses non-ironic situations...

So...  one of my pet peeves is when people shotgun emails to huge groups of uninterested people.  Although it only really bugs me when I'm one of the uninterested people.  For example, at work today, somebody in one of our non-US offices added the group "US Field Employees" to an email response.This appears to include everybody in the US, but not in  the main office.  Probably a couple thousand names.  Text of the message was:

.Buenas tardes
[redacted name] sera el lider electrico de este proyecto
Gracias!
Saludos!


OK, not really that great a sin, probably not really worth getting too wound up about....  especially wound up enough to blog about it.  Except the inevitable response, the next sin:

Almost immediately, folk start to respond with comments like:  "I believe this email is for someone else other than myself ", and "I don't know what this is about" or "I'm confused why I received this".  All sent using reply-all.  I think this is a much worse sin, as it geometrically expands on the original sin. I'm pretty sure I've ranted about this before, even.

Which brings me to the ironic part.

The gentleman who, after three folk hit reply-all, sends out his own request:  "Can we please stop replying to all US FIELD EMPLOYEES?".  Which, of course, he sends via reply all.  

 I have to admit, I actually smiled a bit a that. And it didn't stop the replies, either...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Early Sunset


It has been almost a week since we switched away from daylight savings time, and I'm still adjusting. Just after 4pm and the sun is racing for the horizon... Oh well, 6 weeks and the days will start getting longer.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Crosby Lake, St. Paul, MN


This is a rarity for me....  The image is "straight from the camera" (SOOC).  And from my iPhone, even.  Usually I some SOMETHING to every image, recrop, level...  convert to B&W.  But I decided to let this one out in its untouched glory.

Pretty cool little park I found on the way to MSP airport last week, posted to 365 project straight from my phone.

I still might do some tweaking.  I generally prefer 4x6 aspect ratio, rather than the iPhone's 3x4...  A shorter 4x6 crop could take out that distracting log in the bottom corner... but would also take out the ice (and some of the depth of the image)...  And there's a slight blue cast, and looks like some purple fringing up in the tree branches...  And the bottom left is a little dark...  And, and, and.

Or should I leave well enough alone?


Friday, November 10, 2017

7 Days...

So, there has been a challenge floating around Facebook, to post 7 Days of black and white images.  One per day.  The guidelines seem to vary but as challenged to me state:

Seven days, seven black and white photos of your life.  No people, no explanations.

Well, that's pretty much right in my wheelhouse, so I was happy when my oldest daughter challenged me.  I did add a couple of personal twists.  All of the images were shot with my humble iPhone 7.  All (well, 7 of 8) were processed on my iPhone.  And all feature minimal adjustments.

Here's the 7 photos I posted:

Day 1:  Thursday, November 2

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Day 2:  Friday, November 3

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  - - - - 

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 - - - - 

 - - - - 

 - - - -

So there you have it.  Seven days (+1) and Seven B&W photos.  Hopefully each says a little something about me.  I'm torn about adding explanations, but for now, I'll not.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The truth is in the eyes 'cause the eyes don't lie...


"(Beware) beware of the handshake. 
That hides the snake (can you dig it, can you dig it?), 
(I'm a-tellin' you) beware, beware of the pat on the back, 
It just might hold you back"


- - - - -

Today's song is from The Undisputed Truth, with their one Top 40 hit, "Smiling Faces Sometimes".   Thios gem peaked at #3 in September of 1971, stalling out behind McCartney's Uncle Albert and The Bee Gees' How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.  Tough competition.

Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrent Strong, this was first recorded by the Temptations.  But this is the hit version.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

In Trouble And Strife...

Doing alright
A little jiving on a Saturday night
And come what may
gonna dance the day away

- - - - -


- - - - -

This in one of those songs that just grabs you when you hear it on the radio.  Or at least grabbed me.  One of those "who is that?!" kind of songs.  Yes, a one hit wonder, peaking at #15 in the fall of 1979.  Fall of my sophomore year of college.  Of course I bought the album, and it is very good.  Highly recommended, if you can find it.

Yes, we're talking about the song "Driver's Seat" from the band Sniff 'N' The Tears.  


Friday, November 03, 2017

And that's all right with me...



"I put her out, in a town that was so small,
You could throw a rock from end to end,
A dirt road main street, she walked off in bare feet,
It's a shame I won't be passing through again...


- - - - -






Another one hit wonder, and one I'v always liked.  Chevy Van from  Sammy Johns.  Peaked at #5 in May of 1975.   Ah, the days of the custom vans...  Of course, this song peaked just a bit before my 15th birthday, so it's not like I had a van.  I was just slumming in the back of my dad's Buick...

Thursday, November 02, 2017

It's such a fine and natural sight...

Everybody here is out of sight
They don't bark, and they don't bite
They keep things loose, they keep things light

- - - 


- - -

From one of my all time favorite songs, 6 on a scale of 5.  Dancing In the Moonlight, by King Harvest.  Peaked at #13 in early 1973, when I was in 7th grade. Happy to see this one make an appearance in Guardians Of The Galaxy 2... 

Several other folk have have remade this, but I haven't found any that come anywhere close to the original (IMHO)
here, here, here, here..  but not here...   Anybody know of other (good) versions?

Aside:  If you listen to the song, I believe they sing "They keep things loose, they keep things alive", but I really prefer the published "light".

Monday, October 30, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

So, last night I was watching the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Detroit Lions football game (Go Steelers!).  And at some point I was remembering the old Silverdome, the former home of the Detroit Lions.  I had an opportunity to visit the Silverdome back in the 1990's (but not during an event).  I remember thinking it was pretty far from Detroit......  Which got me thinking about teams that are near and far from their "homes".


So, ever the engineer, I decided to do an analysis.  Using google maps, I checked the driving distance from each team's stadium to the city that is home*.  What did I find?

Well over 1/3 of the teams (12/32 = 38%) are within 1.5 miles of city center.  That's within measumemnt error, IMHO.  Over 1/2 the (18/32 = 56%) are less that 5 miles away, and over 2/3 are within 10 miles (22/32 = 69%).  pretty good.

So, the most local are:
Vikings, Browns, Lions, Saints, Bengals, Colts, Panthers, Seahawks, Titans, Jaguars, Steelers and Ravens.  Interesting, that includes all of the AFC North Division.

And the least local?  Well, there are currently 6 teams that are over 15 miles from home.  And one of those (Chargers) are onlt temporary.  So, here's the bottom 5:
  • San Francisco 49ers - 42.7 miles
  • New England Patriots - 27.8 miles
  • Dallas Cowboys - 18.3 miles
  • Arizona Cardinals - 16.6 miles
  • Miami Dolphins - 16.3 miles
Now, you may ask me "so what?"....  And I don't really have an answer. Besides I rather like it when a team is closely aligned with their town.....


* -  Some teams have regional names, like New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers.  But we all know that's really Boston, Nashville and Charlotte).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sometimes You Can Put It Out - Genius!

I have a Love / Hate relationship with my iPod's genius function.  I don't really use it very often, and the results can be hit or miss.  But letely it has been doing pretty well.  I'm part way through a playlist today that is based on the song "Sometimes You Can Put It Out" by Rossington Collins Band.  I'd say that's moderately obscure....



Here's what it came up with (in the random-by-song):

  • Sometimes You Can Put It Out - Rossington Collins Band, from Anytime Anyplace Anywhere - 1980.  The first album from the remains of Lynyrd Skynyrd...
  • Where A Country Boy Belongs - Marshall Tucker Band, from Where We All Belong - 1974.  nice selection, not one of their "hits"... 
  • None Of Us Our Free - Lynyrd Skynyrd (post crash) , from Twenty - 1997.
  • Feel the Heat - Henry Paul Band, from Feel the Heat - 1980.
  •  Red Hot Light - Artimis Pyle Band, from Nightcrawler - 1983. 
  • Welcome Me Home - The Rossington Band  -1986.  d.
  • Fall Of The Peacemakers - Molly Hatchet, from No Guts No Glory - 1983. 
  • Getaway -Rossington Collins Band,  from Anytime Anyplace Anywhere - 1980.
  • So Long - Henry Paul Band, from Grey Ghost - 1979
  • No More Dirty Deals - Johnny Van Zant Band, from No More Dirty Deal - 1980
  • One In The Sun - Steve Gaines, from One In the Sun - 1988 (recorded in 1975)
  • Commitments - Allen Collins Band, from Here There And Back - 1983
  • Baby Blue - Blackfoot, from Strikes - 1979
  • Chicken Tarin - Ozark Mountain Daredevils, from The Ozark Mountain Daredevils - 1973
  • Lover Boy - Outlaws, from Bring It Back Alive - 1978 (originally from Lady In Waiting - 1976)
  • Hearing My Heart Talking - Outlaws, from Hurry Sundown - 1977
  • Road Fever - Blackfoot, from Strikes - 1979
  • Grey Ghost - Henry Paul Band, from Grey Ghost - 1979
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sky -  Marshall Tucker Band, from A New life - 1974
  • Big Apple - Molly Hatchet, from Molly Hatchet - 1976
  • Searching - Lynyrd Skynyrd (pre crash), from One More From the Road - 1976  (originally on Gimme Back My Bullets - 1976)
  • Makes More Rock - Artimis Pyle Band, from A.P.B. - 1981
  • Fla. - Lynyrd Skynyrd (post crash) , from Edge Of Forever - 1999
  • Next Phone Call - Rossington Collins Band,  from This Is The Way - 1981
  • Ready To Move - Allen Collins Band, from Here There And Back - 1983

I've actually seen just about every band on here, or at least members of the band in other versions ()

So I've seen:
Blackfoot
Henry Paul Band
Johnny Van Zant Band
Lynyrd Skynyrd (original)
Marshall Tucker Band
Molly Hatchet
Outlaws
Rossington Collins Band

I did not see these specific bands, but did see the key folk in other bands:
Allen Collins Band
Artimis Pyle Band
Lynyrd Skynyrd (post crash)
Rossington Band
Steve Gaines

I've not seen, any any context:
Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Martavis Bryant

I'm not sure I've ever posted a sports rant here, but I'm going to now...

Folk who know me know that I'm a die hard Steeler fan.  From the glory days of the 70's through some lean years...  and back into recent success.  And the Steelers sit atop the AFC North today, with a 5-2 record.

But there is drama.  Their wide receiver, Martavis Bryant is increasingly vocal about his dissatisfaction.  He doesn't feel that he is getting sufficient opportunities, and that the Steerlers need to use him more or trade him.

Well, ever the engineer, I decided to see what the numbers say.  Using ESPN as my reference.  To keep it simple, I looked at the stats for the top 5 receivers (by yards) for each of the teams with a 5-2 record or better (KC, LAR, MIN, NE, PHI, PIT). That's 30 receivers total.   Not an inclusive sample, but these are the top guys with the top teams.  And what does that tell us?

1) How often are you thrown to?  I looked at each receivers number of targets vs total pass attempts for the team.  By  that measure, Bryant ranks 18 of 30.  And 3 of 5 for Pittsburgh.  Hmm...  While I can see a player wanting to be higher than mid-pack, it's not like he's at the bottom.  And within the context of the Steelers, he's behind 2 of the best offensive weapons in the game (Antonio Brown and LaVeon Bell).

2)  How about yards per catch?  Well, Martavis ranks 17 out of the 30 players...  again, mid-pack.  But his 13.0 yds/catch isn't so much worse than Antonio's 14.7 yds/catch or JuJu Smith-Schuster's 13.6 yds. per catch.

2) So, why isn't Bryant getting more chances?  I mean, other than the fact that he has two superstars ahead of him...  Well, I think a key here is effectiveness.  How well does he do when the ball is thrown to him? And I think there's two big measures of that:

2a)  First, let's look at Catches/Targets.  And by that measure, Martavis Bryant ranks 29 of the 30 players I looked at.  He has only caught 50% of the balls thrown his way.  By contrast, Antonio Brown has caught 62% of the balls thrown his way and LaVeon Bell has caught 79%.

2b) How about Yards per Target?    Her, Bryant ranks 25th of the 30, at 6.5 yds /target.  Brown is at 9.5 yds/target, JuJu Smith-Schester is at 8.6... 

Really, if you're the Pittsburgh quarterback, who are you going to throw the ball to?  The guy how is going to catch it.  The guy who is going to accomplish the most with it. Seems pretty simple to me.

Last game, Martavis Bryant got the first offensive touch of the game, on a reverse run.  He gained 2 yards.  Subsequently he was thrown to twice.  He gained 2 yards on a red-zone catch, and seemed to give up on a long bomb (perhaps he lost it in the lights?)....

If Martavis wants to see the ball more, he needs to get open, make plays....  And perhaps be a good teammate. 

He's not helping himself.  He's not helping the team.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Quotated - In October, a maple tree before your window lights up your room like a great lamp ...

How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

John Burroughs

- - - - -


This is from the film days, pre-digital.  Scanned from a 4x6 print.  If I recall correctly, this was taken in the parking lot of the Girl Scout campground on the north-east side of Edwardsville, off Fruit Road.  Way back in the 90's.  Not sure if it is still there or not.  It's absolutely a Girl Scout campground, though.