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And if you can’t get your hands on a real waterfall…

January 2, 2013, 7:19 PM

Yes, the old method still holds true.  If you can’t get your hands on the real thing, build your own.  I went to Great Falls with Mom last week (photos to come – don’t worry), and I was a bit disappointed in how the photos came out.  I knew I wasn’t going to get fabulous photos (I usually don’t when I’m with people that aren’t also photographing), but I was still less than impressed with them.  They won’t be the next Schumin Web Photography set, that’s for sure.  I guess that if I were to put it nicely, I would say that they looked a bit amateurish.  But you can judge that for yourself when I post them later.

Acknowledging my lack of great photos from Great Falls, though, I practiced a little bit in the kitchen this evening.  Thus I present to you my “waterfall”:

My "waterfall"

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Categories: Photography

One of my photos goes viral… sort of.

October 24, 2012, 11:12 PM

So apparently one of my photos has gone viral.  Remember this photo?

Code Pink demonstration on July 4

I took this photo on July 4, 2006 in front of the White House.  It first appeared on Schumin Web in a Journal entry posted July 5, 2006 about a trip I made to DC on July 4.  It also ran as the Photo Feature later in the same month.

Then a few years later, in 2009, that photo got morphed into this:

IF OBAMA DOESN'T END THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, CLOSE GUANTANAMO, AND STOP BOMBING PAKISTAN, WE SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD WE'LL VOTE FOR HIM WITH SLIGHTLY LESS ENTHUSIASM IN 2012."

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And the fruit is photographed…

August 5, 2012, 9:00 PM

At last, it is done.  I went down to Eastern Market earlier today and did something that I said I’d wanted to do for a while: photograph food.  I visited most of the food vendors over there and photographed the fresh fruits and vegetables that were out for sale.  I photographed so many different kinds of tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms that it’s not even funny.  I certainly got a lesson in foods, though.  I didn’t realize that tomatoes came in so many different colors.  First, there’s this one, which looks pretty conventional, at least to my grocery store shopping eyes:

Red tomatoes

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While preparation is good, I really don’t want to have to use it…

July 16, 2012, 11:19 PM

So I’m going to Chicago with Mom in a little more than a week.  Like every time we go to Chicago, we’re taking the Capitol Limited both ways, and we’re going to be taking the “L” to get around the city.  So far, it looks like it’s going to be a fun trip.

And then of course, you’re welcome to place your bets on how long it takes for a CTA employees with a chip on their shoulder to harass me about photography in the system.  Recall that last year, a CTA employee at Fullerton station made a scene about photography.  Additionally, I was harassed about it at Howard station in 2010.  I occasionally get the same crap from WMATA employees in DC, but I have learned that I can shut them down fairly easily just by standing up to them.  I have found that CTA employees are a little tougher to crack than the DC folks, but my lack of access to Chicago transit (living in the DC area and all) makes it harder to figure out what quickly shuts them down.

Now going into this, I have two things in my favor.  First, I have the official CTA photo policy from their website.  It states:

The general public is permitted to use hand-held cameras to take photographs, capture digital images, and videotape within public areas of CTA stations and transit vehicles for personal, non-commercial use.

Large cameras, photo or video equipment, or ancillary equipment such as lighting, tripods, cables, etc. are prohibited (except in instances where commercial and professional photographers enter into contractual agreements with CTA).

All photographers and videographers are prohibited from entering, photographing, or videotaping non-public areas of the CTA’s transit system.

All photographers and videographers are prohibited from impeding customer traffic flow, obstructing transit operations, interfering with customers, blocking doors or stairs, and affecting the safety of CTA, its employees, or customers. All photographers and videographers must fully and immediately comply with any requests, directions, or instructions of CTA personnel related to safety concerns.

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Categories: Amtrak, CTA, Photography

Fun with muffins!

July 13, 2012, 2:05 PM

Remember how I said that I want to go photograph food?  Well, I got to do that a little bit today.  I went over to Metro Cafe, a little sandwich shop in the office complex where I work, for lunch.  And while I was waiting for my sandwich, I had a little fun with my cell phone camera and the muffin case.  And here was the result:

Muffins.

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Campus candids…

April 19, 2012, 12:46 AM

File this under “the amusing things that the camera catches”:

File this under “the amusing things that the camera catches”.

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Categories: Amusing, JMU, Photography

A new geeky shirt and a 30-minute Metro ride inspire me to have some fun…

March 16, 2012, 10:02 PM

Today, I wore my new Power Rangers shirt out for the first time:

Power Rangers!
Photo: Mykia Mahan

This is similar to the Power Rangers shirt that I owned before, except that this new one is a smaller size, and has slightly different styling. I am quite proud to place the old Power Rangers shirt in with my “second tier” clothes. It’s too big for me, which is just as well, because I am getting smaller, after all. Then on different styling, this shirt, unlike the first one, falls victim to an error that many Power Rangers toys and such had: emblems on the center diamond.

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So I got to ride Metro in the dark tonight!

November 16, 2011, 1:03 AM

First of all, yes – it is in fact 1:00 in the morning as I write this. Right now, I am sufficiently pissed off to the point that I can’t sleep until I get a few things off my chest.

So after a wonderful evening out with my coworkers in Adams Morgan, I headed over to take the Metro home. Because of where I was, I walked over to Woodley Park. By the way, now that I’m in so much better shape, the walk through Adams Morgan and out to Woodley Park station was like nothing. It used to be quite a hike.

So I got my Red Line train to Glenmont at Woodley Park, and to my surprise, the third and fourth cars in the eight-car train, Rohrs 1261 and 1260 respectively, were in service and dark. I boarded 1260. There were only two lights on in the entire car – over the left-side end door at each end of the train when facing the bulkhead door at each end, i.e. over the 5-6 door, and the 7-8 door. In other words, Rohr 1260 looked like this:

Rohr 1260 with lights out.  Most of the light you see here is from station lighting at NoMa-Gallaudet U station.

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Why on earth did I photograph…?

September 30, 2011, 10:35 PM

In my work in restoring the site content for the upcoming WordPress conversion, I’m currently working on Photography sets from 2002 – everything done after “The Schumin Web Photo Essay Blitz” that was done in March 2002. That means I’m working on Old Town Alexandria, Protesting the World Bank, Autumn Leaves, The Iwo Jima Memorial, and Botanic Garden. So this encompasses the last of the material from the original Mavica period, and the beginning of the Big Mavica period.

The last two photo sets that I mentioned – Iwo Jima and Botanic Garden – were both done a DC trip that Mom, Sis, and I took on November 29, 2002, while I was home from college for Thanksgiving. Big Mavica was still really new to me, so apparently I was taking more photos than usual just to get used to the equipment during the time home. I came back to the CD that these files were on when locating the source material for those two photo sets for purposes of restoration, and got lost in all of the other photos from my time in Stuarts Draft in late November 2002. I apparently really went to town on photos, and some of them, particularly at my parents’ house, were ones where I was looking at them and thinking, why in the hell did I take this photo? I just have to remember that this was the work of a much younger man, and with nine more years’ experience, well… there you go.

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Well, I’ll be darned – Metro passed the test.

September 10, 2011, 9:08 PM

Well, I did exactly what I said I was going to do in my previous Journal entry. I did some railfan photography on the day before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, expecting to be confronted so that I could give ’em the smackdown about not following the WMATA photo policy. And (surprisingly), Metro passed the test. 176 photos later, I left the system for the day at Glenmont without a single negative word from a Metro employee.

I was impressed. And I was being really blatant about my photography, on purpose. At one point, I was holding the camera in the air above my head and snapping photos on the platform while going through Gallery Place. I even specifically photographed the kiosk at all of the stations I visited – Glenmont, Fort Totten, and Gallery Place. Take a look:

Glenmont kiosk on the way in, photographed from the elevator.
Glenmont kiosk on the way in, photographed from the elevator.

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Categories: Photography, Security, WMATA

It is time to put WMATA’s knowledge of its own photography policy to the test…

September 9, 2011, 8:02 PM

Let me tell you… tomorrow is going to be fun. I’m heading into DC tomorrow for a Wikipedia meetup. On the way over, I’m going to be doing a little railfan photography.

The railfan photography is going to look something like this, I’m sure:

Gallery Pl-Chinatown station

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Categories: Photography, Security, WMATA

And I now have a point-and-shoot camera…

June 6, 2011, 11:56 PM

So I now have four active cameras in my arsenal. I have my real camera, a Canon Powershot SX10 IS. Then I have my waterproof camera, Duckie, a Vivitar ViviCam 6200W. Then I have my cell phone, a Motorola Droid. And now I have a fourth: a point-and-shoot, a Canon Powershot A800. It’s there for when I want to take pictures of stuff in instances when my main camera is unavailable or impractical, like when I’m commuting to and from work, etc. This is something that I can put in my work bag or my pocket, and won’t need its own bag like the Canon. This is the kind of stuff that I would otherwise use my cell phone camera for (making this more of an upgrade over the cell phone camera), but I want to do better quality and have a little more control. This new camera is 10 megapixel, which is the same as my real camera. Thus this one slots between my real camera and Duckie.

And the acceptance testing went as well as one might expect. I’ve used Canon point-and-shoot cameras before, and so this was simply a matter of testing the camera to verify that everything was indeed as I thought it would be, and then declaring the camera ready for operational use.

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Categories: Cameras

People don’t step back and observe enough anymore…

May 14, 2011, 9:42 PM

No one ever seems to step back and just watch things happen, and I noticed myself doing exactly that today. I was at the Barnes & Noble store in Montrose Crossing shopping center in Rockville today, and in walking past the windows on the second floor, I caught myself just watching the traffic through the parking lot of this rather busy shopping center on a busy Saturday afternoon. Then I filmed some of it, because we all need to kind of step back and observe. Enjoy:

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Categories: Photography, Rockville

Obviously, the date and time would be too useful to display…

December 19, 2010, 1:59 AM

Coming back from a Christmas shindig in Northern Virginia this evening, I encountered this sign on the Beltway:

TERROR TIPS?  CALL 1-800-492-TIPS

Basically, the sign encourages people to report “terror tips” to the authorities at the aforementioned number. A little research indicates that the number goes to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, a state counter-terrorism agency.

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“What do we want? BEER! When do we want it? NOW!”

October 3, 2010, 10:32 PM

On Saturday, I was one of tens of thousands down in Washington DC, attending the One Nation Working Together rally at the Lincoln Memorial. My plan was to join the youth and student contingent that was marching to the rally site from Freedom Plaza.

Let me say it up front: I was disappointed with the way the One Nation Working Together rally came off. For the radical community, the whole rally was a bit of a non-starter. We’re the kind of types that thrive on direct action. Take your message to the streets, and do whatever it takes to get the word out and force change. Sitting on the grass listening to speeches for four hours is not how you get things going. I have made fun of the Tea Party for this, and unfortunately, this event was essentially “Tea Party Left”, meaning it was the same type of event, but with left-wing ideas, none of the racism, and correctly-spelled signs.

Thus for me, the most effective part of it all was the feeder, taking it to the street on the way to the big rally. When it comes to speeches, you are very much preaching to the choir. And this was a made-for-TV event, as the only view that many attendees got of the speakers was from the television monitors set up at intervals along the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. Well, hell – for that, I could have just watched it on C-SPAN in my pajama pants, and used my own toilet rather than a port-a-potty.

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Categories: Activism, Photography