Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MacWorld on Film

MacBook Airs in the Air

MacWorld 2008 on Black and White Film
Even though I have a great digital camera I still like to shoot film. I do not know why, I just seem to see that way. Black and white film has a timeless look about it. My camera is 25 years old and it still takes pictures I like. Since I am no longer a pro, I am the only one I have to please. So, here are my film camera photos of MacWorld 2008.

[Click here to see photos on Flickr]

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays...

Wet sidewalks

Rain on Monday
Today started out as a rainy Monday, not my favorite way to start a week. I took the light rail into work this am. I like that a lot better than driving. I'v already had to deal with issues with my class first thing this morning and the help desk is hopping. We needed the rain, we got it and we keep getting it. Sue and I had a good weekend though, despite the rain. A month from now the blossoms will return and Spring will start in California, my favorite time of the year!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Raccoon Riles Pixel

Raccoon in our yard

Raccoon at home in our backyard?
Last night Sue and I were sitting in our family room when our brown indoors only Burmese cat, Pixel, got very agitated. Pixel puffed up (related picture) and went near (not too near) our back door and hissed. Sue said, "what is going on, is there a Raccoon in our back yard?" She went to the back door and screamed, "oh my God! It is at the back door!" This is not the first time time Pixel has seen a raccoon, we had them in our house once (related story.) This raccoon seemed quite at home. The critter stuck around with plenty of time for me to go get a digital camera and take its picture. Then, when it was ready, the varmint climbed one of our redwood trees where I suspect it lives.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Puddle Season

Rain puddle

Movie night with Kenneth

Kenneth and Sue having wine

Kenneth came over last night
Kenneth came over last night and we had dinner, wine and watched a movie. We saw The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a totally silly Wallace and Grommit movie. It was a lot of fun relaxing, watching a movie and hanging out with Kenneth.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Old trains new venue

SP RSD15, DL600B, Alco Gator shoving up the Eugene Hump

Old trains on Flickr
I love trains! I have been scanning some of my favorite old train photos and placing them on Flickr. This is a slow process as each photo has to be scanned and then spot removed, color balanced and exposure adjusted in Photoshop. It is worth it to be able to share some of these gems. They don't serve much purpose sitting in boxes!

[Click Here to see more on Flickr]

Monday, January 21, 2008

The MacWorld Edge

MacWorld 2008 photo

The interesting stuff is often on the edge
Last week I had a great time at MacWorld and I have not even yet began to write about it. One of the things I have learned about this show is some of the most interesting stuff is on the edge, or in the "outer" hall. This where some of the folks with great ideas but little money hang out. I like to spend time here because here is where you hear of ideas that have not yet made it to the mainstream. The guys at this booth were making software to use Macs with telescopes to guide and image with.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The return of Jericho

Jericho Returning

Jericho is coming back!
Kenneth and I really got into this series. Well, it is finally returning starting on Feb. 12. It will be shown Tuesday's at 10pm.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Off To MacWorld

Today I am off to MacWorld. To me this is like Christmas, my birthday and Winterail all rolled into one! This year Apple got thin in a big way! I think I can safely leave my MacBook at home. I do believe my iPod Touch and my Treo can do almost everything I need to do. I can use a reporter pad to do the rest, If you want to follow my geek posts on MacWorld they are on my Geek Blog.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rick Steves

Vernazza Italy, Cinque Terra

We saw Rick Steves
On Saturday travel writer Rick Steves spoke at a talk hosted by the Commonwealth Club. It was a great presentation. We were in the second row. He spoke about the politics of travel. We really enjoyed the talk. He is a very articulate speaker. After his talk, the local PBS channel had a Rick Steves marathon. Part of the marathon showed Cinque Terra, Italy. I took this picture in Vernazza, Italy when Sue and I went there in 1999. We celebrated our fifth anniversary there, Ciao!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Stephen Johnson Photographer & Author

Johnson: The Ansel Adams of Digital Photography
Johnson started taking digital landscape photographs in 1994 and is a pioneer of the medium. Last night I went to the most recent meeting of the local Photoshop User Group. The meeting was at Adobe Headquarters in San Jose not far from SJSU. It featured Stephen Johnson and it was a real treat. Johnson blew me away. He is to digital landscape photography what Ansel Adams was to black and white film landscape photography. I was not prepared for the awesome quality of his work. I was amazed. This guy really knows his stuff. I learned so much from his free talk:

  • He talked in depth about the Camera Raw format and what it really is. He said, "a RAW file is not a photo it is a data stream." His comparison of Camera RAW, film and the Zone System (made famous by Ansel Adams) was something I have never seen before.
  • He talked in depth about camera sensor technology and particularly the Foveon X3 sensor, how it compares to Bayer sensors (and film) and what makes it so special.
  • He brought huge photos taken with his BetterLight scanning camera, talked about his decade long photo project and his new book.

Johnson's work is lovely, it was almost melodic. His work has a masterful combination of art and craft that is magical. I do not know if Johnson is a musician like Adams was, but his photographs were like a song, like Adams's are. I am not a landscape photographer. That is not what my heart and my eye see's. I will never shoot like Johnson, and that is okay. His book by O'Reiley , Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography, is a must buy for me. Just listening to him has changed my photography. That was a real treat!


Lick Observatory in Snow

The lovely storm
Recently we have had some heavy storms. Heavy rain, lightning and snow have been seen in our area the last several days. This photo is off one of the webcams on Mount Hamilton. It is from January 5th. The mountain and surround hills got a dusting of snow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kenneth is 21

Kenneth at Christmas

I can now go out a bar and have a beer with all my sons!
Yesterday Kenneth turned 21. He is a fine young man who has a heart of gold. All my kids are quite grown up and the little ones in my life are grandchildren now. We have not yet been able to celebrate with him. He has a cold and we hope to be able to celebrate with him soon. We are lucky to have such fine sons!

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Winter Storms

Portola Webcam Photo

Three Winter Storms
Shortly after this photo was taken it clouded up in the Sierra town of Portola and started snowing more. As for us, we escaped damage in the first two of the three storms to hit our area in as many days. Yesterday's storm came with hurricane force winds and heavy rain. Today the last of the three storms is due. This storm is supposed to bring less rain or wind, but it is a cold storm and our local peaks should get snow. Here is the current view on Mount Hamilton.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Good Night, and Good Luck

Edward R. Murrow
My wife Sue and I just watched the prescient 2005 movie Good Night, and Good Luck. This movie is about Edward R. Murrow's battle with Joe McCarthy, but despite the fact that it is set in the 1950's it seems quite timely given our so-called battle against terrorism and some of the actions of recent years, especially the Patriot Act. The movie opens and closes with Murrow's speech in 1958 to the Radio and Television News Director's Association convention in Chicago. The speech makes timely reading today.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.

I recommend this movie to all students of Journalism, Political Science and to all students of our times. To all America, good night and good luck.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The best video podcast I have ever seen

Stewards of the Valley, Grape Radio

If you do not take video podcasting seriously, think again!
This is the best video podcast episode I have ever seen. It is lovely and succeeds on so many levels. This episode of the Grape Radio Podcast shows what happens when folks who are working in this medium take their medium seriously and make a commitment to quality. In a word, it is lovely. This video podcast episode tells a story elegantly, throughly, romantically and accurately. It is a fine example of new media journalism, as fine as I have ever seen.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve Party Group

We celebrated New Year's Eve
We went to a great dinner at Candy's house then to a party at the Golden Oak Restaurant in Morgan Hill. There we heard Dave's band Touch-N-Go play. They were great! We had a lot of fun.

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