Thursday, December 1, 2016

AirBnB for cats

A few days ago, I was weeding in our back yard when I sensed a motion beside me. I turned and saw a large black cat coming toward me. It brushed against me, got petted and then jumped up on my legs. I was kneeling with one knee on the ground, so neither the cat nor I was very stable but he persevered. A real attention junkie. I didn't get much weeding done. The next morning we discovered that the cat was sleeping across two chairs on our covered patio. (Large cat!) It stayed there sleeping well into the afternoon. More petting was needed after it got up. It spent the next night sleeping in the same chairs. When I opened the garage door, it conducted an extended inspection of our garage. We began to get worried that it didn't have a home and wasn't getting fed. After a couple of days of posts on the NextDoor website, I got a lead on a possible owner. Their cat had been gone for several weeks. I called the phone number given and the cat's "mom" arrived. The cat was indeed her Dickens.

Dickens wasn't that interested in jumping into her car. Under the car was fine, in front of the car was interesting and the read of the car needed checking out. Dickens then went for another trip around our back yard. I disappeared into our house so that Dickens mom could be the focus of his attention. After 5-10 minutes, she coaxed Dickens into the car.

We enjoyed having Dickens around even if we didn't get much weeding done. However, we were worried about him and were glad to have him returned to his family.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blown highlights and exposure Compensation

On a neighborhood walk, I photographed a white flower backlit by bright sunlight and against a dark background. As usual, I took a shot at 0 EV compensation and then with some negative EC. I decided to keep taking shots with increasing EC. Those shots were taken with center weighted metering. Then I switched to spot metering. All pictures were taken with a Panasonic FZ1000 bridge camera in P mode and Automatic white balance. I'm posting these OOC Jpeg images  as visual examples of how EC changes the final image.

EC values: 0, -0.33EV, - 1.00EV, -1.66 EV, - 2.33EV, - 3.00EV, -3.66EV.  The last image with spot metering has 0.0 EV with the cross hairs on the bright part of the flower.

As I added negative EC, I reduced the blown highlights.  However, I also reduced the sense of light on the flowers.  With too much negative EC, the image doesn't look like what I saw through the viewfinder.

Changing to spot metering takes a bit more time (and I have to remember to switch back to center weighted meting) but for a difficult subject like this one, it is often the most reliable method of dealing with blown highlights.

Friday, April 15, 2016

I read a post about the joys of "vinyl" and its superiority over digital music formats on a mostly photography blog site and felt the need to express a different opinion.

After decades of experience with LPs, turntables, phono stages, tapes and tape drives (starting in the mid-60s, I had vivid memories of the practical problems with tape and LPs. I was happy enough to see a new medium with far fewer problems and much better real world sound.

Tape noise, LP surface noise, warps, wow and flutter, hum picked up by the turntable to phono stage cable, scratches and defective pressings are still vivid memories. I have no need to experience them again.

All my music collection has been on a computer hard drive (with backups) for about 10 years, indexed so that I can find and play what I like without effort. As always, sound quality is a question of the care with which the recording and the subsequent steps were made and the skills of the people involved.

Most of the recordings that I own has never been available on vinyl. I buy used Cds on Amazon and have few problems getting perfect transfers. I buy Flac downloads and find that ever easier. I listen on YouTube to music that is not available via commercial recordings. I can download concert recordings from that last few decades.

I miss nothing about LPs and the associated gear. This talk about how wonderful "vinyl" sounds like old guys talking about how wonderful film and darkrooms were.