Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From Peru to Ottawa

I was in Peru the other day. Not the country Peru, the city, as in Peru, Illinois. Anyway, I had a little extra time, and drove the road along the Illinois River, over to Ottawa. Not Ottawa, Canada, but Ottawa, Illinois. It’s a pretty cool drive, I enjoyed the frozen river. I saw a few Bald Eagles, but none close enough to photograph.


12 Degrees and breezy, no place I’d rather be than a cement factory.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

St. Louis Auto Show

My son and I went to the St. Louis Auto Show yesterday, a nice little father-son excursion.

His favorite car was this 2007 Mitsubishi Boeing Spyder
Mine was the 2007 Dodge Challenger concept car. I'm still drooling over this one!


Along with the hot and fancy, they also had a full range of "normal" cars. Here's the current Toyota Camry, which doesn't look very much mike our 1998 model (which is still going strong!)


And we got our photo taken in front of the Jeep concept "car"....

Good stuff!


Good, Good, Water…. Some songs with “water” themes:
Water – The Who
Perfect Water – Blue Oyster Cult
You Don’t Miss Your Water – The Byrds
High Water – Uncle Tupelo

And there’s dozens more….

Friday, January 26, 2007


I was really struck by this scene, of geese settling down in the shadow (reflection, actually) of a major electric power transmission corridor. This was actually taken from the parking lot of the Fairfield Inn in Hammond, IN. It’s not nearly as peacefull as it looks, I-80/94 runs right next to the hotel on the other side!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, 2007 Inductees

Somehow I missed it, but the RRHOF announced its 2007 inductees a couple of weeks ago. The class of 2007 has 5 new members:

This year’s losers were Chic, The Dave Clark 5, the Stooges and Joe Tex.

Frankly, I’m not very familiar with Grandmaster Flash, but I can’t argue with this year’s choices (including the overlooked). I’ve only seen 2 of the 5 inductees personally, R.E.M. (in early ’83) and Patti Smith (in mid ’79, IIRC). But both were outstanding.

Awesome Photograph:

Check this out, it really caught my eye. John's a recent addition to one of the Yahoo Photo-Groups I'm in, he does some great stuff:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blue Monday

According to the internet, today is "Blue Monday", the unhappiest day of the year. Well, to brighten the mood, here's a blue photo:

This has been one of my most successful photos, and was recently named one of Photoshowdown's "Best Photos of 2006". Pretty cool, and not a bit depressing!


I’ve been experimenting at branching out lately, beginning to dabble in the area of microstock photography. It'll be interesting to see how it goes, but it has inspired me to work with RAW files, with full size files, and anti-noise-software. Plus, there's a quality expectation for commercial work that forces a discipline I need to practice.

After about a week with a couple of agencies, my earnings are $0.00. But I'm still building my portfolios, in between everything else in life. This certainly won't be a big bucks kind of thing, for me, just playing with my hobby. Check out the links (on the right edge of the blog), I'll be adding a set of Microstock links. My favorite site so far is Shutterstock, which seems to be the "big hitter"

stock photos, royalty free stock photography, photo search

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Derby Day!

As a dad, my biggest fear going into the pinewood derby was that my son would end up “a loser”... That his car wouldn’t do well, or not even make it down the track… But it turns out I shouldn’t have worried. In 8 heat races he had 6 wins and 2 seconds, to place 3rd overall (out of 17 Tiger Scouts). Phew! Of course, the top four in each Pack move on to “districts”, so we’ll get to do it all again in a month.

Coming in for a win!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ready to Roll!

Tomorrow morning is my son’s first ever Pinewood Derby. Pretty exciting, tonight was the registration / weigh-in. With an additional dime, we clocked in at 4.97 oz, pretty close to the maximum of 5.00 oz. I suppose we should've found a way to get that last 0.03 oz, but we're in it more for the fun. And we had fun working together on the car, I just hope it does ok. Wish us well!

Rest Stop

Yesterday’s post talked about the little bit of nature I discovered behind a Rest Stop along I-55, just south of Pontiac, IL. Here’s some shots of the creek and area. A very resorative place, even on a cold grey day!


Thursday, January 18, 2007


Nascar legend Benny Parsons died Tuesday, after a 6 month battle with cancer. BP was a great driver and then a great commentator. Sorry to see him gone.

Restoration Area

Along the highways of the US, we're trying to restore small parcels of land to their former glory. But in the deep midwinter, there's not a lot to see, except the promise of a colorful spring. It was cold and windy yesterday, when I stopped at the Limestone rest area along I-55. But I couldn’t resist wandering around, along the banks of a stream that ran behind the building, and over to one of the restoration areas. Brrrrr….

Crosstown Traffic

"All you do is slow me down, And I'm tryin to get on the other side of town" (Hendrix)

"Drive round London in a car, Don't really want to go far , So many cars fill the streets, Wonder why we bother at all. " (The Jam)

Just trying to zip from Downtown Chicago to Lansing, IL, 30 miles, almost all interstate. Over an hour and a half by the time I got there. This is on I-94 East, not far from the Indiana line, but it is pretty representative of the whole drive. But don't fret about the dangers of taking pictures while driving, this is a dead stop.

Monday, January 15, 2007

High Voltage

This is part of the 69kV equipment at a electric power distribution substation. Directly below this gridwork is a 69kV circuit breaker, to the left is a 69/13kV transformer. I live for this stuff… By the way, kV is kilo-volts, as in 69,000 volts. Don't Touch!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Classic

My grandfather’s camera, an Argus C3 Matchmatic. This is a 35mm rangerfinder camera, I believe this version was made between 1958 and 1966. It sits on my bookcase these days.....

Friday, January 12, 2007


I made my first trip to Celina OH, recently. Yep, Celina, OH. I had to look it up, too. This little lighthouse sits at the west end of Grand Lake St. Marys. It's not really used for waterway navigation, though.


One of my favorite posessions is this watercolor painting, of a house in the WV hills. It hung in my parents' house for years. I always liked it, and it came to me after my Mom passed away in 2004. IIRC, this was painted by a friend of the family, who used to be involved with Sunrise musuem in Charleston, WV (where I was born). The signature reads Marion Lehman, but I'm I don't remember the name. It's 18 x 22", not including the matting. Really nice, I thought I'd share it!!

Ain't Nothin' To It

A scan of my library for songs w/ AIN'T. There's quite a few, here's a handful:

Ain't No Good Life - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
Ain't So Bad - Outlaws
Ain't That A Shame - Cheap Trick (via Fats Domino)
Ain't That Lovin' You - Eric Clapton
Ain't Too Proud To Beg - Rolling Stones (via Temptations)
Ain't Wasting Time No More - Allman Brothers
It Ain't Easy - David Bowie
Livin' Ain't Livin' - Firefall
Love Ain't For Keeping - The Who

Thursday, January 11, 2007

For God and Country

Most anyone who has spent time on the American highways has seen the Christian Crosses erected by the Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer. I'm not sure these are his, but they're the same idea. I liked the juxtaposition of the US flag.... Seen along the roadside, Indiana Rt. 67. Eastern Indiana, between the towns of Portland and Redkey. This is actually at the Jay County landfill.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Too Much Excitement...

I got to witness a roll-over accident today, up close and (almost) personal. Not far from my house, I-270 merges with I-70, a bit outside St. Louis. 270 merges from the left, while 70 is working through a right hand turn.

Anyway, as I'm merging onto 70 (at 70+), the car just ahead of me (an SUV) apparently didn't realize that the lanes ended, until, well, the lanes ended. Problem was, there was another car in the lane she needed to be in. So there was nowhere to go, and she ended up with the left side wheels all the way in the grass. A quick overcorrection to the right sent her towards the far side woods. Another quick overcorrection back to the left turned her sideways, and rolling down the highway. Right in from of me. Fortunately, I had started to slow before she was even in the grass, and was able to stop, but for that brief moment, I thought I was going to be part of it. A car slows pretty quickly when the wheels are points other than down.

Fortunately the occupants seem to have escaped serious injury. It turned out to be a mother and daughter, driving across country (the SUV had Hawaii plates). They were shaken, a couple cuts, at least, but both were able to crawl out the back window. The father and son were driving ahead of them, and got to watch it through the rear view mirror (I can't even imagine). I made my first ever 911 call, helped direct traffic till the police showed up, and told the state troopers everything I'd seen. It wasn't until 1/2 or so later that I realized I had my cameras with me. I'm glad I didn't think about it at the time, I might've been tempted to snap off a few.

An important reminder to all of us, a moment's miscalculation can change your life in big (and bad) ways. Let's be careful out there!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

One Hit Wonders....

I got an email message from my friend Phil in Alaska today, asking if I remembered Sausalito Summer Nights by Diesel. Well, I hadn't thought about that one since 1981, when Diesel had their one glimpse of US success. It's now in my iTunes shopping cart, though!

It got me thinking about 1-hit wonders, or at least obscure hits. I came up with 2 really quickly, which are obscure enough to NOT be available on iTunes. Both songs led me to buy the albums back when I didn't have tons of disposable income...

Brian Protheroe - Pinball - I'd be shocked if any of y'all know this one, except I've blogged about it before.... From 1974 or so, it got played on the radio (in Pittsburgh, at least). It took me until 1978 or so to actually find a copy of the album (from a music collecting mail order catalog). But it was recently released on a compilation CD...

Herman Brood & His Wild Romance - Saturday Night - Anyone remember this one??
From spring of 1979 IIRC, my freshman year of college. There's a hits compilation on, but the 30 second snip reveals a remade version slightly different from what I heard on the radio.... Here's a Youtube version:

Oh, and here's another one, I have it on 45 rpm: Kayak - I want you to be mine... IIRC this one's from spring of 1976 or 1977, when I was playing JV Baseball in high school..... This one's not great so great 30 years down the road......

SO: what are your favorite obscure "hits"??

Gray Day

Another oldie. This is one of the really early shots from my Nikon D70, within the first couple of weeks after I got it. A rainy January day at the local park. I reworked it a bit from the 2005 original, but it turned out almost the same as the first time….

Friday, January 05, 2007

Honeymoon Island

I’ve been going through images from previous Januarys lately, as evidenced by recent posts here. Well, the trend continues. In January 2004, I went to a conference in Tampa. I took my trusty Kodak LS-443 pocket camera, and found a couple moments during the week to escape and see some "natural" Florida. First was Weeden Island, then I found a few hours to discover Honeymoon Island, just NW of Tampa. Here’s some photos, most of which have never been published before now (wow!)

Out at the end of the island, I hit the jackpot, finding a hiking trail!! And the perfect length for a late afternoon excursion. IIRC, I only got a little lost… Aside: one of my favorite things about digital is that you can snap a quick shot of signs and such, to help keep track of where you are. This is particularly useful when reviewing those quick stops in a busy week, from 3 years ago!
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There were lots and lots of Osprey on Osprey Trail. But none got close enough to allow my poor point’n’shoot to capture well.
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The pelicans would cruise along the shore, not as distant as the osprey…. It still takes a pretty agressive digital zoom (or in my case crop) to get "close"
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Throughout the walk, I kept hearing rustling in the underbrush, as I was scaring off critters. Finally I saw one, it was an armadillo! I never knew they were in Florida! I saw lots of them on this hike. They weren’t very good at posing, though, this was the best photo, as most were rear views as they scurried away.
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I had high hopes for this when I shot it. Coming out of the "woods", where the trail turned to sand… over the dune to the water. But the harsh lighting is a killer....
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The moment was spoiled just a touch for me when I reached the beach, and could gaze across the water to the buildings of the Gulf Coast… But only a little. It was a really nice break from the grind, I’d recommend it to anybody who makes it through the Tampa St. Pete. area.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Just a simple shot of the restroom at Glen Carbon’s Minor Park. But I thought it was interesting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Still Reworking

Another re-worked shot. This one is from 2005, but was taken with my really old Kodak DC210 Point’n’Shoot. Another PSRC meeting, this one in San Diego. Our hotel was just a couple of minutes from Torrey Pines State Reserve, and easy side trip. I was really struck by this scene, a set of contrasts between the sandstone cliffs (reflected), the white rocks, and the dark sand. But the DC210 just didn’t do it justice, with the inevitable sharpness problems of a tiny lens. This is a more subtle reworking than yesterday. I adjusted the lighting/contrast a bit more (with Levels), and cloned out some distracting elements…

Previous version:

For further comparison, here's what it looked like straight from the camera. As Ansel Adams said, “The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance.”

Unedited version:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I took some time yesterday to rework a couple of old images. This one is from January 2004, 3 years ago. This is Weeden Island Preserve, in the Tampa / St. Pete area, taken during a business trip to the Power System Relay Committee meeting. I saw a brown sign headed to dinner one night, and stole a few minutes after the conference the next day.

I went back to the original file to rework, this is cropped differently, doesn’t have any effects, and I flipped it horizontally. I like it better…. How ‘bout y’all?

Previous version:

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007!!

Wishing everybody the best, out there in blog-land!

A reflection shot, taken at the same time as Saturday's post.

Mouse update: 4 caught in 3 days, but no mousie today. Could we be done?? We'll leave the traps out long enough to be SURE!