Back to Work – UHG!

By the time 5pm rolled around, I was beat. Dead. Exhausted. Pooped. I just wanted to go home, have dinner, and go to bed.

Going back to work after a vacation is always dreadful.  Today was no different.  I get to work and my computer cannot access anything on the network.  It has an IP address, but I cannot get to anything.  So, I pickup my IP Phone and guess what?  It cannot either.

Oh, yes, I can hear you, “You’re a network guy.  Fix it.”

Different network.

Well, they got it fixed and then it was hours reading e-mail messages.  Hours.  In fact, it took most of the day.

By the time 5pm rolled around, I was beat.  Dead.  Exhausted.  Pooped.  I just wanted to go home, have dinner, and go to bed.

So, how was your day?

Good Morning Philadelphia

I got up and took a walk around the old part of Philadelphia.  What a beautiful area.  So much history!

As I walked behind Liberty Hall I was overcome with sadness.  It really hit me hard.  I guess I was sad because so much of what those men and women in the 1770s fought for has been lost.  We have judges and elected officials that have just trampled the U.S. Constitution.

There was a sad irony of a banner that announced an exhibit about spies and “traitors”.  There are men and women serving in Congress that would have been tagged as traitors in the 1960s.  Yet, today they waste our money spending us in to bondage.

I cannot describe the degree of sadness I felt.  I remember visiting Philadelphia in the 1980s.  The feeling I had then when I visited the hall where our forefathers sat was one of reverence and peace.  Today, it was one of fear and sadness for what might be coming our way.  I didn’t even want to stick around and sightsee; I just wanted to get away from there.   And, interestingly, that sadness left as soon as I passed the last Federal building (the Philadelphia Mint).  After that, I was fine.

Interesting, eh?

We left Philadelphia and headed back home.  We pretty much drove straight through. 

It’s been a long day.

PNE – Day 4 – Last Day

PNE started off with a panel discussion between  Michael Grecco, Jason Group,  Neal Clipper and Tom Contrino and moderated by Bob Bowdon.   It was a very good discussion and Bob did a great job moderating it.  From it I learned we’re just in another cycle and technology is more to blame for tough times for photographers than the economy.  (That’s my view too.)

We left the hotel and drove to Philadelphia.  We had time to go see the Liberty Bell and the plaza. 

Our hotel was really nice.  It was quaint and cozy, but had some nice modern amenities (like a jetted tub).

PNE – Day 3

Another day at PNE.  Classes started at 8 a.m.  I went to a class by Don Chick on lighting.  Don really knows his lighting.  It was great.

Then, I went to a class by Michael Grecco about lighting.  Michael has a different style than Don.  Don is great for the portraiture stuff.  Michael’s stuff is more edgy and more up my alley.  Both were great.

I skipped the parties and stuff in the evening.  Again… not my bag.  I really wish they would either have an opening party, or a closing party, and use the time gained for more classes or workshops.  But, that’s me.

PNE – Day 2

Although today was day 2 of PNE, I decided not to participate.  Instead, I did what I should do on Sunday – I went to church.

We started to head to a ward in NJ, but missed the turn, and by the time we figured it out, we were still 30 minutes away and we would have missed Sacrament Meeting.  So, we drove in to Manhattan and attended a ward at the building across from the Lincoln Center.  It is also the same building as the temple. 

The ward was a singles ward that had about 8 girls to every young man.  (Hey, return missionaries… Manhattan 8th ward has a LOT of young single ladies.)

After that we walked across the street to the plaza in front of the opera house, and then back to the car.  Elizabethe was feeling anxious about being in NYC, so we drove back to our hotel in NJ.

We spent the rest of the afternoon napping.

PNE – Day 1

Photo North East (PNE) started today.  I started off going to Pat Luke’s presentation.  Pat did an EXCELLENT JOB !!!  From Pat’s presentation I went to Heather McKay’s presentation.  Another excellent presentation.  I learned quite a bit from both.

During the dinner break, Elizabethe and I went for pizza at Angelo’s.  They young man working there was your stereotypically New Jersey guy.  We got a kick out of listening to him talk.  We had calzones, but they were no comparison to Nima’s.  Nothing beats Nima’s calzones.

We came back to the hotel and I went to another presentation by a camera man for Saturday Night Live – Alex Buono.  It was pretty interesting.  I realize that I really don’t want to invest in what is really needed to do HD video.  I’ll concentrate on photography.  I might do a few short clips of video, but the cost of a good cine lens and all the software, and the learning curve… well, I’ll leave that for the videographers.  My art is photography.

We’re Off to New Jersey

We hit the road this morning around 9 a.m.  We stopped at Sauder’s to purchase a few snack items (mostly candy).  From there we drove across to Syracuse and then south. 

We stopped at the Oakland Township (formerly Harmony, PA) so Elizabethe could see the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration site.  I stopped at the old Hale homestead and took some photos.  It appears the church might be excavating the old foundation.  They had it taped off so people would not disturb it.

From there we headed south through Scranton, PA, and then over to New Jersey. 

We arrived in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, around dinner time and found there was hardly anyplace close to the hotel for food.  We found an Olive Garden and ate there.

New Snow and Counter-Steering

Don’t practice counter-steering on the freeway during rush hour.

This morning started off cloudy and cold, and as the day progressed, we started getting snow.  By lunch time, there was a decent amount of snow, but it wasn’t sticking to the street.  By end of the day, it was sticking to the streets, and traffic was moving really slow.  It took me two hours to get from Rochester to home.

I made the mistake of stopping at Lowe’s on the way home.  The traffic was a steady stream on 31 and getting out of Lowe’s appeared to be an impossibility when making a left turn on to 31.  So, I turned right, went west for a while, and then turned left in to a parking lot so I could loop back around and turn right on to 31.  That worked, but it still took a while to find a break in traffic.

If you ever saw the movie Cars, The old Hudson Hornet tells Lightning McQueen that when driving on dirt you need to turn right to go left, and left to go right.  It’s called counter-steering, and it is true at high speeds on slippery surfaces.  (Cars over simplified the technique, but it is true.  There is a point when you must steer in the opposite direction of your turn.)  I saw a great demonstration of this on I-490 tonight.  The roads were really slick, and some lady in a bright yellow Mazda comes up on my right blind-spot trying to merge in.  When she noticed me, she gunned it and turned right to move away from me.  Her car went left.

I let up off the gas to allow room for her car.  She gave her car more gas.  Now, her front wheels are aimed to the right, but she is now moving quickly to the left and her accelerating is causing her car to move more to the left.

I wish I could have got that on video, it was such a good example of two things.  1) stupid driving (because she obviously did not mean to cut me off, but she did), and 2) counter-steering.

Eventually, she let up off the gas to avoid hitting the car in front of us.  Once her car dropped to a speed below the coefficient of the friction of the ice, her tires bit and she moved in the direction her tires were aimed.

Don’t practice counter-steering on the freeway during rush hour.  For that matter, don’t practice it on the freeway.  I learned in a huge parking lot set up for the California Highway Patrol.  It was the practice course.  My buddies and I would sneak in at night with my parent’s Ford Pinto.  And, even at that, I came real close to sliding in to a lamppost a time or two.

Here’s a reference for you to read about the technique:


Another Man’s Treasure

The saying goes, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Those who know Elizabethe know how much she loves garage sales.  Me?  I’m more in to surplus parts and gadgets.  I used to spend hours as a teenage at California Electronics in Rio Linda, California.  They had all sorts of surplus electronics.  Now, I find interesting stuff on-line. 

I recently found some surplus lenses.  I bought 3 different ones as I didn’t know what to expect.  Two were magnifying glasses mounted in their holders.  The third one was just a lens – no mounting.  They cost $2 to $3 each.

I discover one piece of PVC pipe was the perfect size for a Canon EOS body cap.  It fit just inside the ring of the inner  part that bears the Canon logo.  I got another piece of pipe a little larger to slide on the outside.  The outer pipe was perfect for one of the magnifying glasses.

Body cap + two short pieces of PVC pip + cheap magnifying glass = a homemade lens.

When I get it done, I’ll post pictures from it.  Right now, some pieces are being glued together.  The finished product is going to be about 2.5″ long and about 2.25″ in diameter.  It will focus by sliding the outer barrel.

Yup, one man’s junky magnifying glass is my treasure.


Being Tuesday night, Elizabethe and I worked in the temple.    It was a fairly busy evening.  I think people are starting to come out of their hibernation now that spring is officially here.