Photography..Then and Now

gh3I “got into” more serious photography in 1973.  I got married in December of 1972 and I think one of my motivations was to have a photographic record of our new life together.  The other reason was that I had always wanted to get a good camera and learn all about photography.  I ended up with a Nikon FTn with a 50mm f1.4 lens.  Over time, I added a Micro Nikkor, a third party tele zoom and a Soligor 28mm wide angle.  Armed with that arsenal, I set out to learn as much as I could as quickly as I could.  We were living in Grove City, PA and renting a nice little apartment for $55/month.  It had a kitchen, living room, bedroom and a bathroom that that served as part time bathroom and part time darkroom.  That required some careful planning!   Grove City College did not offer any photography courses, but one professor set up a couple non credit photo seminars that we eagerly attended.  I was somewhat responsible for that professor selling off his collection of German Exacta cameras and buying a couple Nikons.  There was no Internet in 1973, so all my photography education came from reading Popular Photography and Modern Photography cover to cover each month and buying those Kodak How To books at the local camera store.  We shot a LOT of film, mostly Kodak Tri-X Pan, but also quite a bit of Kodachrome.  I bought Tri-X in 100 foot rolls and rolled my own.

In those days, there were only a handful of people on campus who knew which end of an SLR to look into and fewer still who could produce usable negatives.  I had joined the Yearbook staff and I had to process many of those negatives, often trying everything to get a printable photo from a virtually unusable negative.   The good thing is that I learned a lot in a hurry.  The yearbook staff had hired a “pro” to shoot student photos and organizations.  Problem was, he was newer to his Nikon than I was and he produced some of the worst photos of those submitted.  He was getting paid and I was rushing around retaking photos of organizations so we would have something to put in the yearbook.  Sadly, we didn’t get to redo all of them so the 1974 Grove City College Ouija has my wife and me listed as Photo Editors and there are some terrible photos in there.

Fast forward 40 years and now digital is king.  Go on campus and everyone has a digital camera in some form.  Usually a cell phone, but also a lot of point and shoots and some DSLR’s.  I can’t imagine what it is like to be the photo editor of a modern day college yearbook.  The quality of the the submitted photos has to be so much better that what I saw in 1973.  Even a pretty basic cell phone can produce a usable photo.  This has led to another phenomenon…everyone is a photographer!  George Eastman was the one who wanted to put photography into everyone’s hands, but digital is what finally did it.  When I was walking around campus in 1973 carrying my Nikon and shooting candids, it was pretty obvious that I was a “photographer”.  Today, everyone has a camera, whether it is a cell phone or a DSLR or what have you.  When I bought my first Nikon, they made only three cameras and one was an underwater camera.

Today, we have at our disposal a huge array of camera choices.  We have cameras that are essentially image making computers with exposure systems that analyze each scene and making hundreds of decisions in hundredths of a second.  When I started, it was a challenge to just get a properly exposed and focused image.  Today, you can let the camera do that, freeing you to concentrate on the image itself.  It’s different and it has brought a lot of people into photography who would not have been able to do so in the past.  It has changed what it means to be a “photographer”.  I’m still trying to figure that out…

Windows 10

win10I upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 yesterday.  So far, I really like the new Windows.  I had been running some of the preview versions of Windows 10 so I had a fair idea of what to expect.

The upgrade didn’t go as planned.  Weeks ago, the Get Windows 10 appeared in the taskbar as part of one of the Windows Updates.  Clicking on it allowed me to reserve a free update to Windows 10, so I reserved one.  Release day came and went with no notification that my update was ready, so after two days of waiting, I decided to look at my Windows Update logs and found that the download of the update had failed a few times.  Right clicking on the line showed me the error report and an error code.  I Googled the error code and found that a number of others had experienced the same issue and a workaround was found.  I did the workaround and restarted the download of the update.  All files seemed to download OK but it failed again, this time with a whole new error code.  Back to Google and I once again found a lot of posting about the new error code, but this time there was no real workaround.

Next step was to go to the Microsoft site and download the Media Manager and try that.  It downloaded the update and began the installation.   This one worked perfectly from start to finish.  About an hour later, I had my PC back up running Windows 10.

I have run every version of Windows except Millennium Edition and Vista and I think this new version is easily as good as Windows 7, probably better.  All of my must have applications run well and I keep finding new things in this version that I like.

The Great Keyboard Hunt

I remember the great IBM keyboards with the mechanical key switches and the Northgate Omnikey keyboard with its ALPS key switches. These were great keyboards for typing, but a little noisy. For the past 20 years, I’ve put up with the cheap alternatives so I decided to try some of the new generation of mechanical keyboards. So far, nothing but bad luck!

First try was a CM Storm Quick Fire TK, a compact keyboard with Cheerry MX Brown switches. The Brown switches are supposed to have the tactile feel of the older ALPS switches, but I found it to be pretty disappointing. I still would have kept it if everything actually worked. This is a backlit keyboard and two keys didn’t light up. So, it went back.

Next, I found the Matias Tactile Pro. This one uses key switches actually modeled after the ALPS switches. This one actually feels right, but my E key is bad. It either doesn’t actuate or it produces a double EE that I have to go back and delete. So, it is going back as well.

This would be a good place to whine about cheap Chinese quality because both of these keyboards are made in China. It’s more than is just poor quality control and a desire to maximize profit by cheapening thee product. There are plenty of products that we use daily that are made in China that are of decent and even excellent quality. I just happened across two that weren’t.

Now, time to box up this piece of junk and hoof it over to the UPS Store for return. I am grateful for Amazon’s return policy.

I don’t know what keyboard to try next.

A Shout Out

Great evening at the barn tonight!

I got got to spend some more time with Lily.  Tonight, we continued with the target training.  Lily picked up where she left off.  I was able to get her to touch the target further away from her than the other night.  She touched the target down by her front feet.  She also got a good brushing and a few hugs.

A shout out to our hoof trimmer, Jeff Eddy.   Jeff’s knowledge and his love of the horses he works with is a great asset to his clients.  Tonight, we got to see one more of Jeff’s miracles.  Mary’s mule Maddie paid us a visit tonight and she looked wonderful!  Just a few weeks ago, we were across the street helping Mary to just get Maddie to stand.  She had a severe case of laminitis and had been down for weeks.  To see her tonight, walking easily, being her old self and then having Jeff tell Mary that she no longer needs the Easy Boots.

Another shout out to Kim Strauss for providing such a great place for us to learn from the horses and treat them in a non coercive, positive manner.  Have a great vacation, Kim.  You’ve earned the break!

And Clyde..thanks for the purrs!


Target Training with Lily

So, who is this Lily, you ask?  Well, Lily is a 22 year old Thoroughbred mare who is owned by Kim Strauss.  Last week, Lily came back home to Renegade Wind after spending a couple years as a pasture mate for a friend’s horse.  Now that Lily is back, Kim has graciously given me permission to work with her.  I really like this horse, especially because she reminds me so much of Anna, my last horse.  Both are Thoroughbred mates and both have Bold Ruler bloodlines. Both are very sweet horses as well.

The first couple of times that I did something with Lily, it was very low key, basically I groom, she grazes and everyone is happy.  I should add that Lily has Kissing Spine so she cannot be ridden, so we are going to do groundwork games.  Tonight, I started with Target Training.  The Target is simply a dressage whip with a tennis ball stuck on the end.  What I want her to do is touch that yellow ball with her nose when I say Touch It.  Lily has done clicker training before, but not target training.  I had a pocket full of carrots, the Target and a clicker and we were ready to begin.   I held the target a few inches in front of her nose and said Touch It.  Nothing.   I could wait until her curiosity gets the better of her and she touches it, but I’m in a stall with her and competing with a pile of fresh hay.  So, I touched the ball to her nose, clicked and gave her a treat and a Good Girl!  All the lights went on…  Next time, target a few inches away, Touch It, she does, click, treat.  Fast learner, this girl.  I was able to get positive results asking for some lateral flexion to each side.  I soon spent all the carrots so it was a good place to end this first lesson on a positive.

I’m really interested to see how this progresses, but tonight was an excellent first step.  Did I mention how much she reminds me of dear Anna?


Jewel in the Creek

Unusually warm temperatures for early May, so it was a nice day to take a walk in the woods with Jewel and head down to the creek.

Three Years With Jewel

December 4. Third anniversary of Jewel’s arrival. She’s just a great horse who has taught us much. She will be the first to acknowledge that there is still much for us to learn. We owe debt of gratitude to so many people. Fran Pilato, for this great facility and for creating a great environment. Kimberlee Strauss for training, encouraging and inspiring us to seek a non coercive method of working with horses. And, to all of our fellow boarders and students for the support and accepting us into the family.

When I’m 64

June 1, 1967…Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club was released!  I was 16 at the time.  The album was way ahead of its time and has had a long influence on popular music and how recordings are made.

October 29, 2014..I turned 64.  Back in 1967, this seemed so far in the future, kind of like reading 1984 in high school.  Because I have always been a huge Beatles fan, this day held a lot of meaning for me and the song When I’m Sixty Four from the album had been playing in my head for weeks.  As things turned out, it was a very special day for me.

Photo Oct 30, 10 21 16 AM

I started my day by walking a mile and half to the ice rink and spending the next 75 minutes skating and chatting with friends.  For me, it is so nice to still be physically active and to be in this group of people, most of whom are around my age.  Wonderful feeling gliding over the ice, feeling the ease of movement with very little friction holding you back.  A bit like flying low over the surface.



daveMy afternoon was spent with a friend I haven’t seen since 1980.  There are some special people in life where you instantly pick up where you left off, even after many years of separation and that’s exactly what we did.  It didn’t take long to fill in the 34 years but we went beyond, talking about new and different directions in our lives, sharing things that have become important as we lived life.  Things that we weren’t ready for back then when we were young and a bit crazy.


My wife and I went to dinner at a very nice restaurant that we had never been to.  The whole experience was wonderful.  We had a pretty private booth in an alcove, a wonderful meal and time to be away from the constant running we do.  A perfect way to wind down birthday 64.

I came away from that day with a renewed sense of belonging and a sense of purpose.  At 64, there’s is still much to be done and much to look forward to.  And so very much to be grateful for.

Looks Like Fall

This week’s lesson in the online photography course that I am taking has to do with color.  Different colors evoke different moods.  Since I an red/green color blind, my favorite colors are blue and yellow.  This morning at the barn, I walked out to the gate on a overcast morning and looked up to see a bright blue patch of clear sky.  It stood in stark contrast to the gray, monochrome that filled most of the sky.  I reached for my iPhone and grabbed a couple shots and ended up with something to submit for this week’s homework!

fall morning


Windows 9, umm 10

win10I downloaded and installed the Windows 10 Technical Preview in a VMWare virtual machine.  I was greeted with a Start Menu!  Welcome back!  I didn’t install or run any applications in this preview version, but I went through most of the menu options.  My initial impression is positive.  I was an early adopter of Windows 7 and Windows 8 and have been running Window 8.1 since it became available.  While it seems to be popular to hate the current Windows version, 8.1 has been very good for me.  I do some photo editing, video editing and remote web site maintenance and 8.1 has treated me well.  My PC is beginning to show some signs of age, but that’s not Windows’ fault.  I think this version will make those who really disliked Windows 8.X happy again, much like Windows 7 did for those who really disliked Vista.