02 Mar

Setting up FreeNAS

I recently put together a new system for FreeNAS. The physical build of the setup went extremely smooth and, as far as I can tell, the hardware’s working perfectly. I did run into a few initial problems detailed below. Read on if you’d like to know about my FreeNAS journey Read More

17 Feb

Feels Post

I’ve had a couple of feels posts floating around in my head. Well, they’re mostly just loose ideas.

This one is going to be about time and maybe coping.

There will be more, I’m sure. About death and nothingness and also about marriage and feminism. And other things. Who knows?

Time is kind of a given. It’s also a human thing, our attempt to quantify a part of nature because we like quantifying. I consider that a good thing. Assigning labels to time and imagining rules that for the most part govern how time appears to work are good things. They mean we can understand a lot about our universe physically.

We can also use these concepts for more abstract purposes – such as coping. Coping, to me, is pretty much handling a situation. I know the definition includes “effectively” but we don’t always do things effectively so I’m just going to omit that part. Instead, coping seems more like a variation on waiting: you wait for an outcome to a situation. You may be involved in determining an outcome or you may not.

So, when we cope, we measure time out in increments. We can see our progress or lack thereof in dealing with something. We can set goals and we can acknowledge changes about us and in us.

A fair amount of things in life involve us having to cope with stuff. Because that’s kind of what life is: one big cope-fest measured out in birthdays and holidays and work weeks and weekends. Seconds, minutes, hours. We can’t really do much about it because these events just keep happening. All we can do is try and keep up and deal with situations as they arise.

Sometimes time might seem like an enemy, sucking away your youth and throwing obstacle after obstacle your way but I think time is just a constant: it doesn’t have an intent or goal. There is no time endgame of vendetta. Time doesn’t owe you anything and it really isn’t on your sides.

Instead, it just keeps on being time.

There’s so few constants in our world. We can’t even be sure of ourselves. We can’t trust the weather or our cars or our jobs. We can’t even really trust our spouses. But we can trust time. No matter what goes on, it will drag you with it. You might kick and scream or you might ride it joyously or you may just get swept away, but no matter what it will not stop for you and therefore you simply cannot stop.

When it comes to coping, trying to “take your time” or “deal with things in your own time” is kind of moot. You don’t have any time, time has you. So sit there and puzzle and mull and dissect situations. Have fear and anxiety over what hasn’t yet come but will. These things really don’t matter. A bad situation will pass, whether or not you conquer your emotions. Time will see to this. It’s a promise.

Go on and cope, but know that while you wait for the situation to be resolved, time doesn’t care. And before you know it, you might have missed out on some really awesome seconds, minutes, or hours.

11 Feb

Updates…

So I’m gonna be adding some fancy photo galleries. They are going to include new photos as well as old ones. I’m going to keep the blog posts from the past untouched, though. Because science!

Or laziness. You pick.

15 Aug

Roar. Grr. Rawr. IR.

So, infrared photography.

Cool stuff, right?

I KNOW!

But man, what a bitch.

Wait, what is infrared photography?

Pretty much, you take a photograph of infrared light. WHICH IS TOTALLY COOL! Our eyes cannot (virtually) distinguish infrared light so when you photograph it, you get some pretty interesting images. Things that are familiar take on new casts and previously nigh-invisible things pop out.

The most notable bit is that after post processing, green things turn white resulting in a surreal landscape of powder-puff trees and snow-grass fields. The sky darkens into this rich blue – so different from the standard “blue sky” shade that we are used to. It is very alien.

To illustrate my point, here is what a properly processed infrared photograph should look like:
http://img.weburbanist.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/naomi-frost-infrared-photography-4.jpg

Feel free to google more if you find yourself interested! I know I did hence the despair and rage at failPhotos.

To illustrate that point, here are a few of my [failed] attempts. Note: they have not been post processed! But trust me, no amount of Photoshop will save these puppies. They are dead to me.

Oh god, my eyes...

Oh god, my eyes…

This is totally normal.

This is totally normal.

This is NOT normal!

This is NOT normal!

Awww, cute...

Awww, cute…

This would be a very interesting photograph... IF NOT FOR THE RED DEATH AND PEE-COLORED CLOUDS!!

This would be a very interesting photograph… IF NOT FOR THE RED DEATH AND PEE-COLORED CLOUDS!!

What am I doing wrong?!

I didn’t exactly jump into this subject, mind you. I spent some time reading and trying to understand it before I decided I would take a shot at it. Granted, in a rather un-Birdy like bit of sporadicness I went and bought an inexpensive but highly-reviewed IR filter off of Amazon. I figured for $15 + free shipping, I didn’t have much to lose. I still don’t! Even the time I spent out trying to get the shots was fun. I got to hang out at the park in the sun and feel like a neat photographer with all of my gear. I AM LEGIT BECAUSE I CARRY A TRIPOD!

… only not so much.

Anyway, from what I gathered, here is what I should have done:

1) Get an IR filter or IR-modded camera. I got the filter because I’m too poor to mod my camera and I wasn’t willing to give up my ONLY DSLR to the mod gods for something that I hadn’t even tried yet.

2) Know your settings! Low ISO to keep the noise down, big aperture to keep the focus neat, sloooooow shutters speed to make sure you get enough light through the dense IR filter, and compose your scene BEFORE you put your filter on your lens. Oh, and tripod.

3) Set your white balance to something fancy that I don’t understand and this is a really important part I guess I should figure it out!

See that step 3 right there? Yeah, that’s the kicker. That’s the one that ALL of the knowledge bases just slide right by like you should automatically know what the fuck is going on because since you’re JUST STARTING OUT with IR photography and reading things and watching things you obviously don’t need any further explanation on custom white balance.

Rawr.

The first batch of red death happened without using a custom white balance. I pretty much derped about in Cloudy because that’s what I do since I like things warm. That should work, right?

Nope…

So after I destroy all of the cones in my retinas, I come home and  read read read read read.

OH! It seems I have to set a custom white balance. That seems straight forward enough. I just take a picture of something bright green, like grass in full sunlight and then set that picture as the source for my white balance. Easy enough! A quick YouTube video showed me how to do that with my T3i.

Time for photograph excursion #2!

FAIL AGAIN! ROAR!

The first two images shown were from Day 1, with no custom white balance. The next two are from Day 2, with a custom white balance of some bright tree leaves. Why so ugly? WHY?!

It seems that I am supposed to take the custom white balance photo of the bright, green something WITH the IR filter on! GENIUS!

It took a forum thread from 2008 with someone having the exact same problem for me to figure this out. Woo

I can’t tell you how many tutorials I read before that tiny yet very immensely important snippet of information appeared.

Shoot your custom WB photo with the filter on. Magnificent!

Tomorrow is another day. I’m hoping for some sun. I’m going to do it right this time. The aperture is right. The ISO is right. Bulb mode is locked and ready to go. The tripod is quivering with expectation (but will stand totally still when I need to use her). The filter is practically jumping on my lens… and with god as my witness, I will never shoot with the incorrect white balance again!

Then you get to read me rage about post-processing. :3 YAY~!

06 Jul

Fireworks: 2014

Without much doubt in my mind, my favorite holiday is the 4th of July. Every year, I try to capture the beauty of the fireworks as best as I can and generally come up short in some way.

At the very least I’m stuck wielding an awkward device trying to snap pictures while I should be enjoying the show. The pictures I get are usually lacking in some way and I sometimes resort to video which is a bad idea. I scream during the show. A LOT! And then the device usually runs out of memory. SIGH.

This year, I was determined to try with the T3i and did ample research before the show. I went on the second night to test my theories so that I could go during the final night fully prepared.

Tripod, low ISO, big aperture, and bulb mode for manual shutter control. I shot the second night mostly in portrait mode and the third night in landscape. The second night really saw some GREAT results, though I do regret taking nearly all of them in portrait. The third night also had some spectacular images but there was a bit of a hullabaloo with setup a few minutes in and then DUN DUN DUN! The T3i’s battery took a poop. The poor thing had been running with the LCD screen on the whole night and what more could I expect? Lesson: learned.

Enjoy!

Night 2

IMG_4102

Probably my favorite even though there aren’t any fireworks!!

IMG_4137 IMG_4123 IMG_4117 IMG_4116

Night 3IMG_4364 IMG_4355