Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Could This Just Be A Coincidence??

While making the rounds on the 'net the other day, I stumbled across a couple of pieces of information that just kind of make you wonder.

Earlier this week, Adobe announced the release of Lightroom 2.0 (Software for editing pictures), so, I was browsing some Lightroom / Photoshop related sites looking for reviews, videos, etc...

One site that I looked at was Photoshop User TV. It's a weekly video program put out by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and the guys that host it are Scott Kelby (President of NAPP) and Matt Kloskowski. Both of these guys are well known Photoshop / Lightroom guru's, authors, and workshop instructors. Anyway, one of the things mentioned in this week's show is a Worldwide Photo Walk that Scott Kelby is organizing. Basically, a photo walk is simply a group of photographers organizing a meetup and going on a walk to take pictures of the given area. The same kind of thing that the Peoria flickr group does on occasion. For the Worldwide Photo Walk, you can either join in on one in your city, or you can register to be a group leader and organize one in your own city if there isn't one already.

Completely unrelated to anything Adobe or photo walks, I was also browsing the forum at when I ran across a post that mentioned "National Go Topless Day". OK, you've got my interest. :-) :-) There is a website called GoTopless that is organizing major rallies in cities across the US. Their basic premise is that if men can walk around topless, then, women should have the same constitutional right. Yet, women are frequently arrested, fined, humiliated, and criminalized. So much for equal rights, huh??

So, what do these two seemingly unrelated items have in common? The date!!!! Both of these events are happening on 8/23/2008. Coincidence???? I prefer to think of it as genius!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bummer of a Concert Lineup

What a bummer! I heard a few days back that Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift are coming to town. Now, I'm sure it will be a highly attended concert. Rascal Flatts is very popular and Taylor Swift, even though she's relatively new on the scene, is pretty popular herself.

The problem is, I really don't care for Rascal Flatts. I don't know why...just don't care for most of their songs. Sure, they have a song or two that I do like, but for the most part, I could easily pass on them. I like a lot of country music...but, generally the more upbeat stuff. Not the slower / sappy stuff, which seems to be what Rascal Flatts specializes in. But, Taylor Swift I really like. Even her slower songs aren't your typical slow ballad and most of her stuff is more upbeat / fun.

So, an opening act that I really like with a headliner I really don't...for $48.25 / $63.50 that's a tough one to drop the coin on.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Windfarm - Second Attempt

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I was going to try to hit the windfarm north of Peoria under a full moon and see how that worked out.

This past weekend, I went out there (missed the full moon by one day..but close enough). I was watching for the moon and it seemed to be a late rise. I didn't get out there until about 11:30pm. As luck would have it, there was a storm moving in to the North, and within about half an hour, enough cloud cover moved in that the moon was obscured the majority of the time. Of course, when I headed out, it was perfectly clear..figures!!

I did have enough time to get a whole 3 shots! Yes..3!! Ugh!!

With this shot, I was playing with an idea I had the previous outing, but, since there were several of us, I didn't want to mess anyone's up shots. But, this time, I was on my own and free to screw things up as much as I wanted! :-)

I set the tripod up at the end of the access road and tripped the shutter. Then, walked up the road near the windmill and manually triggered my flash on full power trying to light up the blades of the windmill. I did this several times, then headed back and stopped the exposure to see what I had gotten.

Windmill At Night

If you look closely, you can see ghosts of the blades. So, the idea was right, but, I didn't have enough power to really get the job done the way I wanted. I have another idea on making it work, but, will have to wait to try it out. The real solution is more light, but, I don't have any sort of flash head that will put out more light, and anything that does, probably would need portable power packs or a small generator!!

Oh well, it was fun to experiment. :-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Camping and (not) Canoeing / Turkey Run

This past weekend was the annual Camping and Canoeing trip for the Peoria Jaycees. There were around 22 or so campers that went on the trip. Of these, exactly 0..that's right ZERO of us got any canoeing in.

We started off Friday afternoon. I saw the front moving in, and was hoping to get on the road before the rain hit. No such luck! I was in Heavy rain until about half way to Bloomington, then it let up a bit, but didn't get clear until past Bloomington. Fast forward an hour and a half or so and we get to the camp site.

It's freakin' steamy!! We weren't the first there, but, the 4th tent to go up..and we left before the big caravan. So, I didn't get my spot this year. Usually, I set up in the same location on the edge of our area. Jeff got his usual spot, and Tucker swiped mine! Bastard!! ;-) Honestly, I don't know if we would have fit this year as we used Connie's old-school tent which is much larger than my "3-man" tent that actually fits 1 comfortably.

So, we get the tent set up, and crack open a task - Fire! Fire! Fire!! heh heh!! Got the fire going so we could cook dinner, let the wood burn down a bit, throw some burgers on the grill and................. Rain!! Damnit!! Oh well, they still cooked, and weren't bad at all.

The rain let up for a bit, but, we got a nice storm during the night which finally put me to sleep. The next morning, the campsite was a virtual mud-pit! Breakfast was awesome, though!! Mary, Kate, Rick and Beth, Ritter, and David (and anyone else who pitched in) did an outstanding job cooking! Biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, bacon, was a feast!!

Calling the canoe livery to check on our reservation and the status of running the canoes turned out to be a bust. The water was too high. Most of the camp decided to go swimming at the pool at Turkey Run State Park. I hear they had a good time, but elected to stay back at camp myself.

That night, you guessed it...more rain! So, most of Saturday night was spent with everyone huddled under a couple of canopies...we made the best of it, but, the weather definitely put a damper on our usual camp-fire stories.

By Sunday morning, the weather had cleared out and it was beautiful blue skies and puffy clouds. The only problem was that's when we were leaving. :-(

Connie and I stayed back and were going to go hiking at Turkey Run State Park. First, after the final clean-up of camp, we went to the lodge at the state park and had breakfast. Barely! When we pulled up to the gate of the park, I asked about breakfast and the girl told us that they served breakfast until 10:00am and started lunch at 11:30. It was 9:51am....we had 9 minutes to park and get to the lodge and hope that we could still get in. Luckily, we made it! Since breakfast was almost over, we both elected to get the buffet. Normally, buffet food isn't my first choice. But, this was probably the best breakfast buffet I've ever had!

With our bellies full, we headed out to walk a few trails. Four of the trails were either completely closed, or had parts that were listed as "impassable" due to the water levels. When we got to the creek, I understood why the canoeing was shut down. What is normally a lazy little creek with nice clear water was moving quite fast very muddy, and about twice as wide as normal.

High Water

The stairs below the suspension bridge in the background were even partially under water! They usually stop renting canoes at 3ft (2ft is normal depth). This picture
was at about 4ft, and it had already dropped 1ft since that morning!

The hike was good, we saw several of the named features, but, missed a few due to time, water levels, and just plain being worn out!

Here is a picture of Connie and I in an area called Boulder Canyon.

Tim and Connie in Boulder Canyon

The bright mid-day light made it difficult to get any good shots of the landscape (where were all those clouds from the past two days), but, I did get a couple of nice close-in shots.

A fern growing on the sandstone:
Illuminated Fern

A mushroom (or toadstool..not sure) on a hillside:
Backlight Fungus

After that, we headed back home and another year of Jaycees camping and (not) canoeing is in the books.

I'm hoping to get back over there for pictures later this year, and maybe even a canoe trip. :-)