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A few quick things…

April 24, 2007, 1:02 AM

First of all, the photos of the now-demolished Skyline Parkway Motel are officially in the can, and I will be posting those on Wednesday, after I get back from apartment hunting in DC on Tuesday.

Secondly, does anyone have a good recipe for green slime? I want to do a homage to You Can’t Do That On Television for the splash page, and so I need to make some slime. In making the slime, the finished product can’t be clear. It needs to be opaque and somewhat thick, and it also can’t be completely smooth. I want something authentic poured on my head when I say “I don’t know.” And of course, to get clean again after getting slimed, you just have to mention “water”.

Meanwhile, to be truly authentic, I’d need to find an old-style metal jungle gym to do the shoot at.

Attention, YouTubers: May I suggest…?

April 21, 2007, 1:29 AM

For all of you who post videos on YouTube, may I make a suggestion? If you’re going to be posting videos of yourself demonstrating something, please do one of two things. Please either get someone to do the filming for you, or alternately, please use a tripod or something else to put the camera on.

Why? Because people who are demonstrating something with one hand while filming with the other so often produce videos that will make a person seasick. The videos are so often also out of focus because they’re too close or moving too fast. Such videos make it hard to follow what’s going on, and it takes some of the human element out of a video, since all we see is this disembodied hand.

If I had prepared more thoroughly for this entry, I would have made multiple videos for you of the same basic thing ahead of time to show you what I mean. One where I filmed myself doing something, and the other while having another person film me doing the same task. Then I could have you compare the quality of the two videos.

But you won’t get to see this, because I came to this entry utterly unprepared. So let me pick a few videos out of YouTube to demonstrate what I mean in lieu of filming my own demonstration. My apologies up front if any of these videos that I am about to use were made by someone who is familiar with my work and may eventually read this.

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Protesting leaves you SO sore…

January 29, 2007, 2:07 AM

Marching around DC for six hours at a relatively fast pace leaves you sore the next day. Specifically, my legs hurt. Whatever muscle runs along the outer sides of the thigh must have gotten quite a workout, because it’s aching today. Going down the stairs has been hell. Going up is no problem. Go figure.

Otherwise, I thought it was interesting to read this in this ABC News article:

The rally on the Mall unfolded peacefully, although about 300 protesters tried to rush the Capitol, running up the grassy lawn to the front of the building. Police on motorcycles tried to stop them, scuffling with some and barricading entrances.

I was part of that group of 300-some protesters. And it was quite an event, as this picture attests:

The J27 demonstrators at the southeast corner of the Capitol

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Categories: Anti-war, Cameras, DC trips

Sometimes, the way I set up a shot is amusing…

October 22, 2006, 1:02 AM

I’m looking at the photo feature I’m running right now, described as “Headlights illuminate a sign marking the Buena Vista overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.” What I find amusing is how I used practically everything I had with me except for the Blistex that I keep in my camera bag in order to get this shot. Seriously. Even the Sable got into the act. Where do you think the headlights that illuminated the sign came from? Sa-a-a-a-a-able…

I was actually trying to get a nice long-exposure shot of the sign, which is how this all came about. The sun was down enough to where the shot would come out dark, but light enough to where it would be blue. So I fiddled with things, and also, since I was parked right in front of the sign, I fiddled with my headlights to get things how I wanted. In the shot I ultimately used, I timed things. I set the camera up at an eight-second exposure, and then using the remote, unlocked my doors (which makes the headlights come on) with two seconds to go. I used other exposures and length of time with the headlights on as well, but that’s the one that looked the way I liked.

I also had some fun taking some long-exposure shots of the Sable while I was up there in the dark, with the tripod all set up. I reached into the car and hit the switch for the interior and door lights. Then I fired off a few long-exposure shots of that. Thus we have the Sable, an island of light in the midst of darkness…

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A photo of my camera bag’s damaged shoulder strap…

October 13, 2006, 9:00 PM

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and so here’s a photo of the broken strap on my camera bag, originally referenced here:

The broken strap on my camera bag, temporarily repaired with a rubber band.

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Categories: Cameras

I visited Foamhenge, and it was…

July 1, 2006, 6:25 PM

I visited Foamhenge in Natural Bridge today. It was interesting. Realize that Natural Bridge itself is something interesting. It’s a little collection of roadside attractions on US 11 in basically the middle of nowhere. There’s the natural bridge itself (for which Rockbridge County gets its name), plus there’s Natural Bridge Zoo, a wax museum, and probably other stuff I’m not remembering.

But this is Foamhenge:


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Categories: Photography, Places

You know, I could finish this right now…

June 28, 2006, 7:13 AM

If you’ve looked at my site updates, I just released a new photo set in Life and Times called Night March. I wasn’t planning on finishing it this morning, but I got to working on it, and I realized that I was very close to completing it, so I just decided to go ahead and finish the set, and get that out there. So now you can view that protest against the World Bank and IMF that I went to on April 22, where a black bloc snaked through the streets of DC. It was fun.

My only issue with the set is that the dark and the rain, combined with the constant motion of the camera, led to pictures that I don’t consider my best work. Of course, Life and Times is there to showcase events, where capturing the action, rather than creating beautiful photos, is the point. Still, I’ve done better. A16 and the Million Worker March are two Life and Times sets that I consider to be really nice photography-wise. On this one, with the camera having water issues during the event and the need to heavily retouch some of these photos to show the action, it leaves me wishing that the photos had come out better. Still, though, I do like the set, and the photos certainly demonstrate the hostile environment in which they were taken.

For the next set to go up, it’s either going to be one about downtown Waynesboro or Breezewood for Photography, or the “No Armageddon” rally in DC for Life and Times.

That was fun…

May 4, 2006, 10:07 AM

I had fun while I went out on Tuesday. As I kind of implied in the last entry, I went to Breezewood, Pennsylvania, which as it turns out is feasible to run as a day trip.

Going up, I took I-81 to I-70 just south of Hagerstown, Maryland. Then I took I-70 straight into Breezewood. First thing I did was to drive up to the east end of the strip and reset my trip meter to get an idea of the length of it. Turns out that it’s a half-mile from the first motels to the last. Then, finishing that, I couldn’t find a place to turn around for several miles. No one told me that US 30 becomes a divided highway west of Breezewood. Getting back into the subject area, I first went to McDonald’s, which had been remodeled since I was last there in 2003, and had their Asian Salad for lunch. Then after lunch, Starbucks let me use their lot while I did the photo set. Then from there, I walked back up towards the Ramada, crossed, walked back down to the other end, crossed again, and then returned to Starbucks.

And I took over 400 photos in the process. We’ll see how this turns out as a photo set.

Since I was working along a very busy highway, much of it with an Interstate designation (I-70 follows US 30 through Breezewood), where there were no sidewalks, and for that matter no facilities at all for pedestrians, I used my FliteStar vest to make sure people could see me. It worked out. In fact, I think I accidentally fooled a Turnpike employee into thinking I worked for the PTC. A turnpike worker in his car waved hello to me. I waved back.

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Categories: Photography, Places

What a beautiful day!

May 2, 2006, 6:19 AM

Wednesday, May 2 is looking to be a beautiful day in the neighborhood, just like the last time I went photographing. This time, though, I’m doing a little traveling, as I’m going to cover something I’ve been discussing for a while, but have, for various reasons, been unable to do yet.

Compare this to the last time I went and did some photography, where I traveled to the far-off land of Waynesboro, which is actually the town where I work and also the next town over from where I live.

It’s funny, though. Yesterday at work, a customer came up to me and asked me if I was a photographer. Turns out that they’d seen me doing the photo shoot downtown last Thursday. That kind of caught me off guard, since I usually don’t photograph near home, and thus customers don’t see me doing my photo sets. I do most of my work in DC, and in other cities that are a ways off from home. So fun stuff, indeed.

Meanwhile, today looks like it’s going to be fun, as it’s also laying groundwork for a future photo set at a similar location.

Categories: Photography

I photographed downtown Huntsville, er, Waynesboro, today.

April 27, 2006, 3:53 PM

For those of you who are movie buffs, the upcoming movie Evan Almighty (sequel to Bruce Almighty) had some scenes filmed in Waynesboro, specifically downtown. You won’t find me in the film, but you will see the city. For this, downtown Waynesboro is dressed up as “Huntsville”.

It’s interesting what they did to Waynesboro, too. First of all, banners hanging from the lampposts say “Huntsville Festival of Fine Arts”. Then the Waynesboro Heritage Museum, which is very much under renovation, was done up as a coffee shop, with tables and chairs outside on the sidewalk. The Charles T. Yancey Municipal Building, which was a Bank of America before it became a city building, was disguised as a church. The building’s real sign was concealed by trees, and a fake church sign was placed in front. It said, “Obeying God: That means you, Evan.” The sign was covered by a tarp when I did my shoot. And finally, there were all kinds of fake plants attached to the real ones, and placed in various other places. The trees had fake blossoms tied on with wire. There were also piles of mulch on the sidewalk, with fake flowers stuck in there. All in all, downtown Waynesboro looked pretty good. It makes me want to see the movie, if nothing else but to see how Waynesboro ends up looking in the movie, done up as Huntsville.

And I now have a photo set of it all, which you may very well see in Photography.

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Categories: Movies, Photography, Waynesboro

I make do with what I have, what can I say?

April 9, 2006, 5:59 PM

Some people may be surprised by this, but I have been using the same CDs with Big Mavica over and over for the past two years.

Seriously. I use rewritables. Though it’s a little more interesting than you think. I actually have two sets. The set that gets the most use is my “regular” set, that I keep in little jewel cases in the camera bag. These are for regular photo sets. I can carry my regular camera bag with me, and I’m usually moving at my own pace. This is the one I use most often.

Then there’s the other set, which is the “protest” set. These are the ones that I take along when I’m at an event, such as a big demonstraton, when things might get hairy. What’s the difference? Packaging. These CDs live on little tiny spindles rather than in jewel cases. Thus they take up far less space, allowing me to shed the camera bag.

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Categories: Cameras

Ever get that feeling like you forgot something?

March 15, 2006, 4:29 AM

Somehow, I’m getting that feeling when went to top off the camera batteries for today’s DC trip when the batteries took a lot longer to charge than usual. I get this feeling that I never charged them from the last trip to DC I took on the 28th. This is not a “fatal” error, though. I’ve charged the camera’s batteries en route before using a power inverter, most notably on June 23, 2004, where I ran the batteries dry the day before in Charlottesville, and then fell asleep that evening without charging anything. Then I got up in the morning, realized, oh, crap! and went to work charging them, and ended up taking my charger with me to Washington. That’s also the reason I have the power inverter in the first place. I bought it to charge with on that trip. Thankfully, Washington was far enough away so that by the time I got there, I’d had a chance to charge everything to full power.

And I was going railfanning that day with Oren and Jersey Mike, so I needed a full charge, too.

Of course, that’s similar to this trip, where I’m going railfanning with Matthew Tilley.

Categories: Cameras, DC trips

I would be very flattered if Wal-Mart refused to print my photos…

December 13, 2005, 8:21 PM

Let me explain that for a moment. Wal-Mart’s copyright policy on their Web site states:

“ will not assist in the copying of a photograph that is signed, stamped, or otherwise identified by any photographer or studio as copyrighted material, or any photograph that appears to have been taken by a professional photographer or studio, even if it is not marked with any sort of copyright, unless we are presented with a signed Copyright Release.”

This Christmas, I’m getting gift cards for the family once again. It’s far easier than getting gifts, because I’m not a great shopper, and my family is hard to buy for anyway. So this year, I’m getting the custom gift cards that Wal-Mart sells. I can put my own photo on there instead of the cheesy ones that come preprinted.

I consider myself to be a photographer by hobby, and do take some real gems from time to time. So I picked some photos that I’m particularly proud of and uploaded them to and saved them. I’ll actually order them right before I leave for work the next time I work, which will be Friday.

And if our photo lab refuses to print them because they look professional, I will be quite flattered, to say the least. Then I’d likely have to fill out the bloody release saying that I took the photos myself. But still flattered nonetheless.

Meanwhile, I’m going out tomorrow…

Categories: Photography, Walmart

It’s GOT to be around here SOMEWHERE…

November 5, 2005, 8:21 PM

I am taking a break from hunting for a moment to speak to you now. For the last hour, I’ve been hunting for the CD that contains the original for this image of a Wheelock MT horn/strobe. I want to use it for the photo feature. Why I can’t find it, I don’t know. I obviously knew where the CD was on June 14, when I uploaded it to Wikipedia. As I mentioned, I don’t know why I cannot find it. I’ve practically turned this place upside down looking for it, too. It’s got to be around here somewhere.

And by the way, if you’re reading this, and that photo of the MT is in the photo feature, that means I found it.

Tuesday may have been a wash, but things still went quite well!

August 25, 2005, 10:39 AM

Tuesday was mostly a wash, unfortunately, with rain causing me to scrap most of my outdoor activities. Sad. But I did get to peruse the strip, and got “part 2” of the holier-than-thou attitude of the management of the Holiday Department Store at the corner of 19th and Atlantic (diagonal from my hotel). I photographed a sign on the door of the “boy’s stockroom”, which is just as bad as the one I got last year on the back door about boxes. The writing is readable, and I shall transcribe it when I get back home (I’m at the library again).

Anyway, though, the strip was good, and I made a discovery. To discover the strip, you really only need to walk maybe six blocks in either direction from your hotel (if that), because the strip repeats itself. You have a few classes of stores on the strip. Stores that sell souvenirs and beach crap, stores that offer henna tattoos, oxygen bars, little convenience stores, and restaurants for seafood or pizza. Then they start to repeat. Seriously. Even the same stores. I went a ways south on the strip, and found another “Holiday Department Store”. I found three “Sunsations” stores. It all repeats.

Since it was still raining quite hard by the time dinner came around, I pulled out the umbrella and took a walk down the strip in search of the food that struck my fancy. I walked a LONG way south and didn’t find anything exciting. Not wanting to walk all that way back, I took a VB Wave trolleybus up to about 24th Street and then walked south again. I found a seafood restaurant, and had dinner there. Quite enjoyable, though I hate restaurants with mirror walls. I don’t like looking at a mirror image of myself eating while I’m eating.

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