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A visit to JMU…

April 12, 2016, 10:36 AM

Recall that on March 30 and 31, my friend Elyse and I went on a road trip to Stuarts Draft and such.  On the 30th, we visited Afton Mountain, my ex-store in Waynesboro, and Staunton Mall, among other things.  On the 31st, we visited JMU, as the plan was to show off a bunch of vintage elevators and fire alarm systems on campus.  Plus JMU was planning to build a new dining hall to replace the current one, so a final visit to D-Hall was a must.

The first order of business on our trip to JMU was a visit to Zane Showker Hall.  I took many classes in that building over the course of my college career.  We came to Showker to update a very well-known photo in higher resolution with my Nikon SLR.  Specifically, this one:

Wheelock 7002T at Zane Showker Hall, March 22, 2003

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Categories: Elyse, Family, Fire alarms, JMU

The only constant is change…

April 5, 2016, 6:06 PM

On March 30 and 31, I went on a road trip down to Stuarts Draft with Elyse, where I showed her a whole bunch of stuff.  I showed her the mountain, we visited my ex-store, we went to Staunton Mall, and we saw JMU.  All in all, a fun trip.  The lesson to be learned from this trip, however, is that change is inevitable, as many things that I had hoped to show Elyse had changed, and other things were going to change.

Coming down from Maryland via US 29, we visited Afton Mountain.  I have photographed this area many, many many times before.  So I more or less know what’s there.  I did spot a few new things in the process of going about things, like this vintage television:

An abandoned RCA XL-100 television set

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Where has the time gone?

March 23, 2016, 10:00 AM

So today, March 23, 2016, marks Schumin Web’s twentieth anniversary.  Twenty years ago, the Internet first got to know Ben Schumin.  I was 14 years old, and a freshman in high school.  This was the photo that I used to introduce myself to the world:

The photo that I used to introduce myself to the Internet.

This photo was taken of 13-year-old me at my old middle school in 1995, about a year prior to my starting the website.  We took it with a Connectix QuickCam.  Back then, after all, getting photos on the computer was a little harder to do.  Digital cameras were expensive, so were webcams, and so were scanners.  And the resolution was kind of low on all of them.  After all, it was the nineties.

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Exploring an abandoned house…

March 20, 2016, 7:21 PM

This past Thursday, Elyse and I explored an abandoned house in the Elkridge area of Howard County.  This was my first “real” venture into urban exploration, and also the first “operational” photo shoot with the new Nikon SLR.  I have had at least a casual interest in urban exploration for a long time, but never did a full-on exploration before.  The closest things to urban exploration that I had done prior to this were visiting the buildings on Afton Mountain on several different occasions (but not penetrating them very much, if at all, on any of these occasions), and also that relatively brief visit to Lorton Reformatory last year.  Elyse, on the other hand, has a good bit of experience over a number of years with urban exploration.  So I was in good hands here.  After all, Elyse clearly looked and acted like she knew what she was doing in Lorton, while I was more the clueless sidekick, as I didn’t know what I was doing, and was more or less unprepared for that one.

This time, I was ready.  I had a headlamp like Elyse had at Lorton along with a few other flashlights, plus, remembering the strong smell of mold at Afton Mountain, I brought a respirator that I used to carry in my backpack to protests back in my activism days, but never used in that context.  I also brought some rubber gloves so that I wouldn’t have to actually touch anything with my bare hands.  I didn’t know what had been growing on anything at that house, so the gloves gave me more freedom to actually touch things that I wouldn’t otherwise be willing to do.

We had to do a short, but mostly uphill, hike to get to the house, and here it is:

The house.

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So I rode the DC Streetcar on Thursday…

March 5, 2016, 3:30 PM

I took my first ride on the DC Streetcar this past Thursday, with Elyse.  We took Metro down to NoMa, and then walked from there to the Hopscotch Bridge, where the Streetcar’s western terminus is located.  We boarded one of the US-built United Streetcar vehicles (202), and rode it down to the western terminus at Oklahoma Avenue.

And here are some of my photos from the ride:

The end of the track on the Hopscotch Bridge, viewing the streetcar head-on.
The end of the track on the Hopscotch Bridge, viewing the streetcar head-on.

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Testing out a new camera…

February 28, 2016, 2:44 PM

So I finally got a new camera, with its arriving at the beginning of this month.  I got a Nikon D5300, and got a zoom lens along with it, as well as a new camera bag (i.e. I’m not going to use Big Mavica‘s old bag anymore).  I didn’t test a D5300 when I tested a whole bunch of cameras with Elyse, because it wasn’t available.  But I tested a number of different models around it.  While this one did everything that most SLRs do, this one also had a fliparound screen like the D5500 that I tested, but being an earlier model, didn’t have the price tag of the D5500.  It also had built-in GPS, which I find extremely useful, and that none of the cameras that I tested earlier had.

In case you weren’t aware, I contribute quite a bit to Panoramio.  You know how you see photos in Google Earth and Google Maps?  Panoramio is how a lot of those photos make their way in there.  You upload photos, and then you tag the location on a map.  The problem comes when I’m shooting a lot of photos in an area that I may not be very familiar with.  I’m talking about things like my trip to Richmond in 2013, various trips to Chicago, High Rock, and the like.  In those cases, the way I would typically shoot photos would be to take whatever photos with my real camera, and then grab my cell phone and take a quick reference shot.  The reason for this was that the phone had GPS, but my real camera didn’t.  That worked well enough, but it created extra work both onsite and in post-production.  Onsite, I had to take an extra photo with a different camera, and ensure that GPS had gotten a lock on the position.  Then in post-production, I had to coordinate the two photos, reading the tag on one photo in order to manually place the photo that’s actually getting published in the right spot.  If it sounds like a pain, it’s because it is.  Now that my real camera has GPS on it as well, everything has a location tag on it, which makes my life that much easier.

Also, since it’s come up before, a point of clarification: just because the camera has onboard GPS does not mean that the camera will give you directions.  GPS is a network of satellites operated by the United States government that provides location and time information to users with a GPS receiver.  It is not inherently a navigation system, though the way most people talk about it, you would think that it was.  Just thought I’d put that out there.

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Yes, that is a green lock up there…

February 21, 2016, 10:12 AM

So in case you haven’t noticed yet, I would like to bring something to your attention.  Up until this past Friday morning, Schumin Web appeared like this in your address bar:

Schumin Web over HTTP

Now it looks like this:

Schumin Web over HTTPS

Yes, Schumin Web is now being served over HTTPS, i.e. the site is now encrypted.

I consider it kind of funny that the site is now encrypted, because in the grand scheme of things, Schumin Web is rather inconsequential as far as things worth encrypting.  After all, it’s primarily a blog and photography site.  You can’t buy anything directly on Schumin Web, as all of the areas in the Store section are outsourced to third parties.  The content is also very one-way.  Other than the email contact form and the comment sections on Journal entries and such, it’s basically whatever I want to show you.  Oh, and the aforementioned two areas are also outsourced to third parties (Bravenet and Disqus, respectively).  Therefore, I wasn’t about to shell out money to get a certificate and go through the trouble of installing it and all of that.

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No DriveCam to set off this year…

February 2, 2016, 6:46 PM

This past Wednesday, Elyse and I went to the Washington Auto Show.  We checked out the cars, and then went down to see the Metrobus display.  This year, Metro had an Xcelsior artic on display.  Remembering last year where I inadvertently set off the DriveCam on the demo bus, I was surprised to see that there was no DriveCam on the demo bus this year:

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Categories: Elyse, Events, Washington DC, WMATA

Snowzilla!

January 24, 2016, 10:55 PM

So the “Snowzilla” (as named by The Washington Post) storm has come and gone, and it left a large pile of snow in its wake – enough to kill part of the roof of the Safeway in Bel Air, Maryland, and the roof of Wayne Lanes in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Thankfully, I came through this storm just fine, and it was just a matter of digging out.  This storm dropped light, powdery snow (as compared to wet, heavy snow), and there was a lot of it.  I got more snow on my balcony in this storm than I did in 2009 and 2010’s major winter storms, for one.  Check this out:

The reach of the snow on my balcony: all the way in!

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Categories: Kia Soul, Winter weather

Getting a “big boy” camera…

January 20, 2016, 1:44 PM

Last Thursday was a lot of fun.  I got together with Elyse, with the intent of getting some sample material to evaluate for the future purchase of a new camera.  This new camera will be a digital SLR, as I am quite confident that I have outgrown the “prosumer” level of camera that I have operated on since Big Mavica in 2002.  I discovered that in 2014 when I photographed Brighton Dam and Triadelphia Reservoir with a borrowed Nikon Coolpix P510.  The photos with that camera came out well enough, but other than a few extra pixels because of the higher resolution on that camera, I didn’t get any better features than my existing camera.

But first, after Elyse and I got together, we had lunch at Jimmy John’s.  I had a sandwich, and Elyse just had one of the day-old rolls that they sell:

Elyse eats one of the day-old rolls.

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A lesson on where not to store soda…

January 14, 2016, 1:26 AM

…and apparently, the place where not to store soda is the refrigerator.  Seriously.

I put a bottle of diet root beer in the back of the refrigerator, and apparently it was too close to the vent where the cold air came out.  The contents of the bottle froze, and the additional pressure found a way out through a small weak point near the top of the bottle.  That created this overnight:

Aftermath.

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Categories: Food and drink, House