Jul 30, 2012

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a photographic method I, personally, have never been very successful with. But tonight I thought I'd give it another shot. If you'd like to see some really great HDR, pop over to my friend Mr.Seinberg's site. For now, I give you my jeep in HDR. This image was compiled from five exposures (metered, -1 stop, -2 stops, +1 stop & +2 stops), taken with my Nikon D700, merged using Photomatix and finally processed using Light Room. I believe I will be making more HDR images in the future...

Rubber ducky

Saturday a friend and I went exploring north of Gettysburg, in Caledonia State Park. It was great to take the jeep off the beaten path and explore some of the gravel roads around the park. I foresee some backpacking at Caledonia in the near future. We stumbled upon a small rubber ducky in the woods and decided he'd look best photographed in his natural environment, so we set him a float for a little while. He's now found a permanent home on the dash of the jeep.

Jul 29, 2012

Suburban decay: Farm house

I had an itch to get out with the camera again this weekend so I grabbed my gear, hopped in the jeep, and just started driving. Ten minutes later I passed an old farm house left unmaintained and nearly hidden entirely by overgrown grass, shrubs and trees. I drove in as far as I could on what was once a paved driveway, but is now completely covered by tall grass and small trees. I spent a couple hours crouching behind my tripod shooting interesting scenes in rooms on all three floors. A lot of the plaster has fallen from the ceilings and random pieces of broken furniture are strewn about the interior. Floors sagged and creaked underfoot and wallpaper flapped in the breeze blowing through the old house through the numerous broken windows. Perhaps the creepiest scene throughout the house were the raccoon tracks which went everywhere; even inside a toilet bowl. The images below were shot with my Nikon D700.

Jul 28, 2012

Storming through Westminster

Thursday evening a menacing storm rolled over Westminster, yet I only lost power for a few minutes. I walked out to the street and took some footage of the strong winds shaking the pines around the house and snapped this picture of silhouetted signage and pine trees. Just past the storm cloud rolling in from the right, is a section of quickly vanishing blue sky. It was only 6:00pm. I love a good thunder storm.
Around 7:30 I stepped out on the back porch and captured this footage of a seemingly endless barrage of lightening. Manually focusing I did my best to focus on the treetops in the back yard, yet couldn't quite find the sweet spot. Regardless, it was a site to see and I think this mediocre footage suffices.

Jul 23, 2012

The first sign of Fall

Well, not really, but I can't wait for this Fall. Looking forward to a lot of time in the woods, either hunting, hiking or biking!

Jul 22, 2012

Fencing Company

I spent about an hour and a half today rooting around an abandoned fencing company here in Westminster. There wasn't a whole lot to see inside; the structure was mostly empty, but I did find a couple of scenes interesting. It was nice to be out with the D700 and I had fun with some long exposure shots. Now that I'm back in Maryland, I think I may have to revisit some of the old urban decay spots I used to explore.

Jul 11, 2012

Damn kids

On top of being up all night spewing from both ends of my body (I will not be ordering the bacon-wrapped scallops from Maggie's again anytime soon), I was bummed to find my jeep ransacked this morning. Apparently, even when you live way out in the sticks, like me, you are subject to juvenile delinquents. I guess I'll be locking the doors of my jeep from now on. They made off with my nice Oakleys, a cheap pair of mirror shades and my ear buds. Thank you my little neighborhood hellions. I truly wish ill fate upon you. What I can't understand is why they didn't take the other items kicking around in my truck. Here's a list of the goodies they chose not to take:
  • My tool bag which was sitting on the floor in front of the passenger's seat which is loaded with a complete set of Snap on tools and other goodies
  • My fly rod, Velcro strapped to the inside roll bar & my box of dry flies
  • The small duffel behind the seat which has an entire change of clothes, sneakers and a really nice Marbles sheathe knife.
  • the 2 USB sticks which are chock full o' MP3's

When I was a kid, I did some bad things, but I never stole from people. If I had to name the worse thing that I did when I was a kid, it was probably skipping school with my buddy, stealing my parents car and heading off for a day of mountain biking at Highland Forest (though we did do this several times).


The Oakleys will be missed. They were a pair of Jawbones which fit really great and wrapped nicely around my noggin. I overpaid ($300) for them at the Charlotte Airport last year and even splurged and spent an extra $55 for a set of yellow lenses for riding in the woods. They were the first "real" glasses I've ever bought and I swore I'd take care of them and have them forever; I never even scratched them!

Damn kids.

So, today I picked up a pair of glasses (those "copper" specs shown above) for everyday use and driving. I bought a pair of Smith Serpico's from REI for $90 and they're great. They have a nice wrap to them and feel really well made. They're perfectly symmetrical and don't slip down on my nose. These won't cut the mustard for mountain biking though, so I'll probably order another pair of Jawbones online, since I really liked them and I have the yellow lenses kicking around anyway.

Life goes on. Watch the scallops.

Jul 8, 2012

Oil Change

Today was a pretty productive day, despite the high temperature and humidity. It's only 3:00pm and I've already taken three showers today. Yowza. Yesterday the temperature reached 101 here in Westminster, and today, though the high was only 89, swamp-ass was inevitable. (Not pleasant) I washed the dishes, mowed the lawn, whacked the weeds, ate a delicious BLT, downloaded some new music from M83, The Eels & The Silversun Pickups, and changed the oil in my jeep. I thought I'd throw a little oil change tutorial up on the ol' blog here just for shits & giggles. I haven't owned a vehicle in years and today's preventive maintenance was just what the doctor ordered. Changing the oil in your vehicle is important and easy to do. Mine was mighty dirty. For my jeep, a 6 cylinder TJ, I needed 6 quarts of 10W-30. Here's what I needed to get the job done: a 5/8 socket wrench for the drain plug, a funnel (I used an empty quart sized oil bottle with the bottom cut out), an oil filter wrench (I used a tent stake & hammer), a drip pan and 6 quarts of "ohl".

Above: All the goods to get the job done (Minus filter wrench & funnel). (1) Park your vehicle on a level surface for this job. (2) Place the drip pan under the oil pan of your vehicle to catch the oil that pours out after you remove the drain plug. (3) You'll want to put some news paper down under the area where your oil filter is located as some oil will drip out when you remove the filter.

Above Left: (4) Use a 5/8 socket to remove the drain plug. Above Right: Try not to drop the drain plug into the oil; it sucks, but it's OK if you do. ... I did. Let it drain.
Above Left: (5) Remove the existing oil filter. If you don't have an oil filter wrench, you can drive a stake/screwdriver through the filter and break it loose for unscrewing. Above Right: (6) Install the new filter. Before installation you should put a light coating of oil on the seal and then spin it on by hand. (7) Add new oil to your engine through the fill port. (8) Reinstall the drain plug and torque to manufacturer's specs. (9) Transfer old oil into a container and bring it to your local recycling center. Most auto parts stores will recycle this for you.

New favorite song: Midnight City - M83

I heard this song on the way home from work the other day and fell in love with it. I love songs with 80's tones. Midnight City by M83.


Waiting in a car
Waiting for a ride in the dark
The night city grows
Look and see her eyes, they glow

Waiting in a car
Waiting for a ride in the dark
Drinking in the lounge
Following the neon signs

Waiting for a roar
Looking at the mutating skyline
The city is my church
It wraps me in the sparkling twilight

Waiting in a car
Waiting for the right time
Waiting in a car
Waiting for the right time
Waiting in a car
Waiting for the right time
Waiting in a car
Waiting for the right time
Waiting in a car
Waiting for a ride in the dark