Archive for August, 2011

The Butterfly Pavilion — Revisited

In May of 2000, when the kids were just wee sprouts, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. It was during that visit when I took what I still consider to be the best photo I’ve ever taken, especially considering that it was shot with a 2 megapixel point and shoot. Fast forward over a decade, and we went back again. This time I was loaded with a DSLR that cost 10 times as much, and I was sure that I’d come out of it with a masterpiece. I was wrong. I got a few good shots, but overall, nothing great. Looking at the images I shot, I can see at least three clear problems. The first was that I insisted on getting way too close. I wasn’t happy unless I was near the minimum focus distance for the Tammie macro I was using. With the resolution of the T3i’s sensor, getting that close is unnecessary and only makes focusing unnecessarily more difficult. The second was that I had the aperture open too wide. I have shots where one antenna of the butterfly is in focus but the other is not. Finally, I was shooting at too slow a shutter speed. I had a great number of shots with motion blur, even when the butterfly was only barely fanning its wings. Well, I learned a lot, and I can’t wait for my next visit.

The shot from 2000…

Butterfly Pavilion 2000

Shots from 2011

Butterfly Pavilion 2011

Butterfly Pavilion 2011

Butterfly Pavilion 2011

Cool, But a Little Scary

I was over at Thayer’s and I saw a bunch of yellow jackets flying around near a cinder block that was laying on top of the outdoor fireplace in the back yard. I couldn’t see into the hollow portion of the block, so I just held the camera up and clicked. Eeks!

Yellow Jackets

Hey, I Got It!…Oops…No, I don’t…

I was playing with the continuous shooting mode on my T3i a while back, and shot a sequence of Gianna trying to surf in the pool. It was pretty amusing, and made a good animation. The picture is pretty big so I just linked the thumbnail to it. It will open in a new window.

Splash

The Significance of the Duck

Why, you might be asking, does a site with the rather odd name of Techniverse, have a duck as its main page header. Well, here’s the story…

Wildlife photographers just starting out will very often find something convenient and close by for their first shots. Seeing as how ducks are plentiful, not too ugly, and are often sufficiently tame that they can be approached, they make an outstanding subject. On the POTN forums, there is a running joke, or half-joke anyway, that a duck picture is a sort of rite of passage among bird shooters. Since I am just starting out, I thought that my first birds should be ducks, so I walked over to a nearby pond and shot me some ducks. I kinda liked them, so one became my site mascot of sorts. Anyway, here’s another duck…

 My Duck

You’ve Been Mooned

My first shot with the EF 100-400 f/4-5.6L

400mm | 1/250 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 100

Almost Full

What a Dumbass

So this guy, Paul Tassi, is a “contributor” to Forbes Magazine, and today he posted an article entitled “A Eulogy for Google Plus“. In it, he announces that in spite of appearances, and in spite of garnering 25 million users in about a month, that Google+ is actually dead. He then blathers on for two pages about why. The only problem is this…HE NEVER FUCKING USED IT! The idiot signed up for G+…then nothing. No posts…no pictures…not a damn thing. The he explains how disappointed he was to see that nobody worthwhile had added him to their circles, and about how his feed was a desert. When I’m out looking for someone to add to my circles, I don’t give a shit who they are or even how much I like them — if they have never posted, I’m not going to waste a space in my circle on them.

–UPDATE
Evidently this moron got handed his ass on a platter, courtesy of the comments on his article, as he has posted a rebuttal of sorts, defending his position by claiming that Google+ was misrepresented to him.

Ya know, Paul, it’s called SOCIAL for a reason! ugh…

The Squabs Take Pictures

Who’d a thunk it? Turns out both Cammie and Jenna actually like taking pictures, especially with the macro lens. Cammie particularly likes shooting mundane stuff around the house, while Jenna likes going outside. I thought it would be fun to put up a couple of their efforts. Hell, they already have a better eye than I do…turds…

Jenna’s Ladybug
Jenna's Ladybug

Jenna’s Bulbs
Jenna's Bulbs

Jenna’s Flower
Jenna's Flower

Cammie’s Psalm
Cammie's Psalm

Cammie Art Pencils
Cammie's Pencils

I Have Created a Monster, and He is Me

Back in mid-1940’s Chicago there was a serial murderer named William Heirens. He was dubbed The Lipstick Killer because at the scene of his second murder, police found a message scrawled in lipstick on the wall.

For heavens
sake catch me
before I kill more
I cannot control myself

Now I’ve never killed anyone, or wrote on the walls in lipstick (I did piss my name in the snow once — how’s that for talented?), but I’m beginning to feel like I know how he felt. In the last week I’ve dumped another two grand on camera gear. It’s an addiction that I cannot resist. This time it was two more lenses, a new tripod, and some other miscellaneous stuff. I’m going to have to scrawl a message on the wall of Mike’s Camera…

For heavens
sake stop me
before I buy more gear
I cannot control myself

Maybe a 12 step program is in order…Hi — My Name is Howard and I’m a Lensaholic…

Ok – Now I’m Really Pissed…

If you’ve hit the site any time in the last week or so, you’ve either seen a jumbled mess of broken images and missing pages, or nothing at all. Here’s the lowdown…

A month or so ago, I wrote a post mentioning the problem I was having with the image-and-thumbnail-generating script packaged with the ANAN WordPress theme I was using. In that instance, it turned out that the script file had been renamed, ostensibly by systems people at my host. Well, last week that problem returned. I came to the site and found no images again, so I went straight to my control panel and checked the TimThumb script. It had not been touched this time. I checked a few other things, then called tech support. Their assertion is that they did nothing, and that it’s my problem because they don’t support WordPress theme issues. Typical…

I tried everything I could think of, but TimThumb simply refused to work. Now, the ANAN theme I was using is biased toward image and gallery posting, but not regular blog posts. To accommodate this image manipulation stuff, ANAN takes much of the image handling completely outside of WordPress itself, so fixing this was not a matter of simply changing to a new theme. Essentially, the images were broken, and applying a new theme meant everything was broken.

For the past week I’ve been working on rejiggering the entire site to work with a more traditional theme. That process included deleting every image on the site and re-uploading them in a new size and to a new location (not good – I already had several hundred images in the galleries) as well as touching almost every post to remove bad links and references to the now-non-existent galleries (thank goodness there weren’t too many posts).

So that brings us to where we are now. As you can see, the site has a new theme and the galleries are gone, replaced for now at least with links to my SkyDrive site as needed. It really is a bit cleaner, not to mention easier to read AND maintain, since the ANAN theme was so image-centric that it made normal blog posts inconvenient and certain routine tasks more difficult than they need to be. You might also have noticed that comments are disabled globally. The reason for that is simple — with the exception of 1 (count’em) single comment, every comment on the site was spam. Screw that.

Anyway, I’m still pissed at my hosting company because I think they somehow created this issue for me, and I’m out the money I spent for the theme, but all in all I’m not altogether displeased with the site. I WILL be looking for a new host when my contract is up in November (hint – there’s about a 95% chance that it’s going to be SquareSpace), but in the meantime, let’s hope I have seen the last of my technical issues.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Heh – I got my Google+ invite…

Funny enough, it had nothing to do with my shout the other day. I logged into POTN this afternoon and some kind soul had posted an open invite to the first 150 people who read the post. I was one of them, and now I’m in!

G+ 256x256

For anyone interested, here’s the link to my G+ profile…

https://plus.google.com/1074…