Friday, September 22, 2017

Getting Ripped

 (image from my gallery at 365project)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to a lot of vinyl.   Some of the “stuff” I’ve been playing:

  • Alan Parsons Project – Turn Of A Friendly Card - 1980.   (via Jerry’s)
  • Stan Kenton – Artistry In Jazz - 1971.  (not sure where I picked this up, possibly from my father's collection.  it has been in my record stack fro a while)
  • Frank Sinatra – Swing Easy -1954 (via Jerry’s
  • Frank Sinatra – Songs For Swinging Lovers - 1956 (via Jerry’s
  • Frank Sinatra – Only The Lonely - 1958 (via my brother)
  • Triumvirat – Illusions On A Double Dimple - 1974 (via Jerry’s
  • Various Artists – Bluegrass – The Greatest Show On Earth - 1982 (I’ve owned this one for ~35 years)
  • Billy Joel - 52nd Street - 1978 (I've had this one for years, originally from mywife's record collection)
  • Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets - 1974) I’ve owned this one for many many years)

 It is a kind of eclectic collection, but all good stuff.  Some from our trip to Jerrys, one from my brother, One I inherited when I got married (34 years ago!), a couple I bought new and one I'm not quite sure about.  And some very nice album covers, as well…

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Made In The Shade

I was taking a lunchtime walk this week, at one of the local parks, and came across this bird. On a hot and humid day, he (she?) was smart enough to hang out in the shade.

I only had my iPhone, had left my Compact Digital in the car.

I believe this is a Great Blue Heron, but I'm no expert on birds.  This was as close as I could get, I didn't want to disturb him (her) too much:

(click image for larger version)

And an overview of the location, at O'Fallon Sports Park:

Our friend is on the far left of the image below:

The title is from Lynyrd Skynyrd's song....

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Say there's nothing pointless about this gig ... the thing is . . . you see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear - dig?

The Rock Man from "The Point" by Harry Nilsson

- - - - -

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ready To Move

So....  we're expanding our office at work, and I'll be moving my desk this week.  So I've been working out of boxes for a bit.  I'm ready to be done.

How about some "Moving" songs?  Here's a few from my iPod, I narrowed it down to 10:

What're your favorite "moving" songs?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Arthur, Illinois.

Took a afternoon drive with the wife Saturday, to Arthur Illinois. Arthur is billed as the Heart of Illinois Amish Country, and we've talked about visiting there for many years.  A little over 2 hrs each way, but a nice afternoon for an excursion.  Only a couple of photo keepers, but that's ok, too.  

We saw quite a few buggies on the road, but I wasn't sure what the protocol was about photographing the Amish, so I didn't.  But they did have these fun buggy parking areas behind the main street, and the horse didn't seem to mind me taking a few shots!

I tried to make it kind of "old-timey" looking....

Below is the main street through Arthur (Vine Street).

The plaque on the first building says:
Arthur Lodge
No-742 I.O.O.F.
Instituted 1883

I'm presuming I.O.O.F. is Independent Order of Odd Fellows....  It's the Arthur General Store:

This is someplace we want tp visiti again, probably make a full day of it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Who knew?

Did you know there is a hippie memorial in Arcola, Illinois?  Did you even have a clue where Arcola Illinois is?  I didn't.

So yesterday (Saturday), my wife and I decided to go on an excursion to Arthur Illinois, to Illinois Amish country.  On the way home, we were passing through Arcola IL, which is wehre we jumped onto I-57.  My wife saw something interesting and suggested a turn.  After passing a grain elevator, we came to Main Street....  for some reason I decided NOT to turn, but go keep straight.  And lo and behold, we stumbled across the Hippie Memorial.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.

Henry Ford

- - - - -

Monday, September 04, 2017

When Love Gets you Twisted

I don't post a lot of B&W here, I usually push these over to Happenstance.  But I decided to do a "before and after", so that means LSquared.....

So, this was taken Saturday, during a quick visit to University of Kentucky.  This is one of the stairways at the WT Young Library.  I like the lines, and decided to take a photo.  Even though it is far from a unique concept.


Anyway, you've seen the final product, what did it look like SOOC (straight out of camera)?  Not a lot different, but there is actually more tweaking than usual...

So, how did it get to the final image?  Well, if I was good I could walk you through the steps precisely.  But, I tend to take a more "Jazz" approach, working from a general concept that is likely to evolve during the process.  I'll try and remember the general steps:

1)  straighten the image based on the horizontal rail that runs about 1/3 up   It's not far off, but for the graphic feel I wanted, I figured to make it "perfect"
2) Crop.  I usually shoot just a touch wider than I want, just to be safe.  I had too many times in my film days where I messed up and cut something off... So everything gets cropped.   Also, Crop to 4x6 aspect ratio.  My compact digital shoots  4:3 ratio, but I mentally default to 35mm standard (which is 3:2). 
3)  Levels...  Every image gets something done in levels, or at least checked.  It is brightness/contrast on steroids, one of the core digital adjustments.  In this case, I really wanted to boost the whites/blacks, and wash out the mids.

Here's a comparison of the before and after histograms to give an idea.  It does reflect additional changes as noted below:

4) I really wanted to make the railings "pop", so I played around with Topaz Simplify to create a layer that was just the lines.  I don't really remember what I used, but I'm pretty sure it was the "Quad Tone Silhouette Dynamic" filter in the Topaz B&W collection.  As usual, I applied the effect to a layer, and blended it in (about 30% multiplied IIRC).

5) Convert to B&W, again, using Topaz.  I think.... pretty sure...  I used one of the High Key filters.

Anyway, something like that.  If folk find this interesting, maybe I can do more of these...  and take better notes on my work flow.

RIP - Walter Becker

Walter Becker, one half of the duo that defined Steely Dan, passed away yesterday (9/3/2017).
He was only 67.  I know it is natural that all these names from my youth would be passing away, as I'm pretty far from young myself.  Still sad.

I was not a huge Steely Dan fan, they always seemed a little "highbrow" when I was in my teens.  But they had some excellent music, and are they're solidly represented in my record collection.

Here's my hits and Favorites" Steely Dan playlist:

From Can't Buy A Thrill (1972)
Dirty Work
Do It Again
Midnight Cruiser

From Countdown To Ecstacy (1973)
My Old School

From Pretzel Logic (1974)
Pretzel Logic
Rikki Don't Lose The Number

Katy Lied (1975)
Black Friday

From The Royal Scam (1976)
Kid Charlemange

From Aja (1977) 

From FM Soundtrack (1978)

Thursday, August 31, 2017


So...  not quite two weeks ago, I posted that I had walked 791 miles in 2017, about equivalent to a drive from STL to Washington DC suburbs.  That's all fine and dandy, let's shift to the musical spirit that's more common here.

As of this week, I've walked the equivalent of travelling from my home to Allentown, PA.  That old steel-town that's a bit north of Philly, and only known to most people as the subject of the Billy Joel song.

Billy Joel's Allentown is from the 1982 album The Nylon Curtain.  Propelled by a music video, back when music videos were the "new thing", it reached #17 on the Billboad charts...  One of 23 Top 20 hits he released between 1977 and 1993...

 I think it has been more than 25 years since I've been to Allentown...  I've only been there on business, don't really have strong opinion one way or the other.....  But I was never a huge fan of the song.  I guess the comparatively upbeat music clashing with the quite depressing lyrics...  But I've warmed to it over the subsequent years.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


a little something from a Saturday morning walk to the Greenspace North Park in Glen Carbon, IL.   These thistles were attracting lots of butterflies, but they wouldn't tolerate me getting anyplace close. So I took it a different direction.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Point

Just one of those little moments I tend to notice.  Walking back to our car from Soulard Farmer's Market, along the sidewalk by Soulard Park.... That's the spire for Trinity Lutheran Church. 

I liked the parallel of the steeple vs the fleur-de-lis patterns on the fence...  framed by the overhanging trees.   But I suppse it is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it didn't work.  Whatever, I rather like it.