Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Reason of the Season (or complete lack thereof)

It is that time of year. I went in to pay my property taxes, which of course increased over last year. And for that increase I get a Governor who wants to slash all funding for the Arts (which I value) and health care services (which I value) and huge cuts to public schools (which I value) all while giving tax breaks to large corporations who reward We The People by relocating jobs to Mexico or China and giving their executives huge bonuses. Feel free to work from the assumption that I am not a fan of the current Governor. Let's recall him, shall we?


While downtown, I visited my local bank (which pays its taxes unlike Associated or M&I) and then stopped in to the state Capitol to witness the annual non-religious display of "holiday" decorations - because Christians are so marginalized in today's society. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)


Therein I found a 36' tall Christmas tree, clearly labeled as such. And lest one think that was an affront to separation of Church and State, the tree was dedicated to Veterans. After all, how unpatriotic would it be to criticize a state-sponsored religious icon in the state Capitol if it is dedicated to veterans? Yes, I am well aware that "Christmas Trees" are actually an ancient Pagan tradition co-opted by Christianity. But try and tell that to them.) One floor up was this, one of several "alternative view" presentations:


Nothing says separation of Church and State like a nativity scene! There was also a menorah, but since it was in the midst of a Red Cross blood drive (OK, that was cool) I could not see if there was a sign with it.

As a direct response to the religious pandering of our state government, the Freedom From Religion foundation has also placed a sign for the past decade or so.


The first few years it was routinely vandalized by "good Christians". It is not enough that churches are exempt from taxes while clearly involving themselves in the political sphere, they need to be certain that it is only Christianity that is advocated and all other beliefs (or facts) be marginalized. While it is true that there are many Christians who do not behave this way, they do little to quell the static from their brethren, and thus get lumped in with the noisy jerks. Too bad, really. There is room for us all, and no one's religious beliefs need be publicly displayed in the center of our state Capitol and thereby marginalizing all others. It can, and should, remain in your church, your yard, and your mind.

Happy new year!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Loss, and Gain

I had an interesting experience today. I met family members I never knew existed. Sort of.

It starts with a death in the family.


My dad had a million siblings - OK, not a million, but enough to be confusing when one is the youngest son in a large family whose father was the youngest in an even larger family. Most of my cousins are almost old enough to be my parents, and those closest in age to me are their kids, my second cousins. So my dad's sister passed recently, aged well into her nineties. My dad died at 53 back in the Seventies when I was eleven, and I sort of lose track of his side of the family.

Two of my sisters and I were at the memorial service today where we expected to offer condolences to our cousin Steve and Dad's last remaining sister. Imagine our surprise to read in the obit that our aunt was "survived by her son Steve, daughter Lee, and granddaughter Octavia". *blink-blink* Who?

It turns out my aunt had a close companion, friend, and caregiver who was with her through thick and thin for more than 15 years. Like a daughter she was, and her daughter, in turn, became a de facto granddaughter. They are both lovely people and we were baffled that we were unaware of them. We all made our introductions, swapped information, and I expect we will be hearing from them again. I hope so.

After the memorial my sisters and I went to lunch and talked some more about information we had gleaned. It seems my aunt had not shared info about her chosen daughter and granddaughter with the family because they are African American and some of the family is, umm, less accepting. As I said, I do not know them (my relatives) well enough to make any harsh judgement, and the root might lie less in familial racism and more in more simple sibling antipathy between my aunts.

Today I lost an aunt and gained a cousin and a second cousin. Interesting day...

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just because they wanted too

I partook of the usual seasonal activity today: I went shopping. I took Reena to work downtown and figured I would hit State Street, our local seven-block long pedestrian shopping/restaurant district. I hate the malls with their big-box department stores and try-too-hard kiosks. If I want to be like everyone else, I go to the mall. I was looking for a specific something for Reena, and I was pretty sure I would find it at one of the quirky shops on State. I was also supposed to find a little something for myself and tell Reena about it. I succeeded at the first task and failed at the second. What do I want? I have plenty of *stuff* so I do not want to request just any old thing. Well, I guess I have to keep thinking about it.

Carolers on State Street (DS3_1763)

One of the pleasant distractions of the day was a group of carolers singing Christmas songs. They were pretty good, too, so I suspect they were part of a choir somewhere, likely at a local church. They were having a lot of fun - smiles all around - and were not soliciting donations or anything. Just singing because they could and because they wanted too. I listened for a song or two, then continued on with a smile on my face.

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Friday, December 16, 2011



What do you say that enhances a photo like that?

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sous Vide For Cheapskates (Like Me)

If you have dined at a fine restaurant in the past year or so, you may have encountered the idea of sous vide ("soo veed") cooking for meat. The general idea is to slow cook the meat in a hot water bath that uniformly brings the meat up to the desired temperature. It does all the same things as cooking meat in more conventional ways except browning. Supposedly the meat comes out more flavorful and tender. Being self-employed, I have not been dining in fine restaurants for the last couple of years. And a boné fide sous vide cooker that keeps the water circulating at a precise temperature runs $300-500. Too rich for my blood. Enter the DIY mindset.

Cheaper cuts of meat

Articles on this topic that I read suggested buying a cheaper cut of meat. It seems that the more expensive steaks are cut for tenderness rather than flavor, so less expensive cuts like hanger, arm, or flatiron which are tougher but more flavorful were desired. I like that. My local grocery only had arm cut so that is what I bought. Some reading about the "cooker" pointed at a simpler solution. A picnic cooler is nothing more/less than an insulated box. If it is effective at keeping things cold, then it should be as effective at keeping things hot. Off to the thrift store!


'Fran' had donated her lunch box cooler to the local Salvation Army store. I bought it for $2.09 and scrubbed and bleached it. Cooking meat doesn't require a high temperature. For rare, it needs to come up over 120 degrees. Medium-rare - my preference - is 130. My tap water tested out at 125 degrees (F) so it was nearly hot enough to do the cooking job.


I brought a kettle of water to a boil to bump the tap water temperature above 130. In the meantime I individually bagged each steak. The real method is to vacuum seal the meat, but I made do with a zip seal bag. I read somewhere that 'Ziploc' brand is a smart choice because the plastic did not contain/release BPAs. I used what I had on hand. If I become a devotee of the process, I will buy Ziploc bags. I dunked the bag in the hot water before sealing it because it softened the plastic and let me get closer to vacuum sealed.

Ready to cook!

The time to cook meat this way is much longer than grilling or broiling. What I read led me to believe that a minimum cook time was 45 minutes to bring chilled steak to a consistent 130 degrees. I brought the water in the cooler to 125 from the tap, then used the boiling water from the kettle to bring the temp to about 135 figuring that it would slowly drop over the cook time. And it did. Quickly. We keep our house at 64 degrees (F) this time of year, and so when I checked after 15 minutes the water had cooled to 125. I added more boiling water. I had to add water three times over the cooking time. A better cooler or perhaps an insulated wrap would make it more effective. There is no possibility of overcooking the meat using this sous vide method as the meat cannot come above the water temperature. Longer cook times (a few hours) are apparently desirable as the meat gets more tender.

I have things to do, so I did not fuss with the cooking for hours. I left the steaks in for about an hour, then prepared my side dish and salad. I did a quick check with Reena about 'serve as is' or do a quick sear when the meat was ready to be served. Color of the meat is still reddish because there is no high temperature to brown or char the surface. It looks ... not right. I opted to do a fast, very hot sear in a cast iron skillet with an oil suitable for high heat (not olive). 15-30 seconds per side was all it took to give the meat a more normal appearance (and texture).

I have to say the meat tasted excellent. It was very moist (only 4% moisture is lost this way at this temperature) and mostly tender. This cut of meat had some very tough gristle running through one edge that had to be cut away while we ate, but everything else was superb. I will do it again, and add some aromatics to the bag to enhance the meat while it cooks. Possibilities include salt, pepper, garlic, or perhaps a herb medley such as Penzey's Bonnes Herbes 'Parisian'.

I got so interested in eating that I never took the final photo!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Green Eyes

Most beautiful. Cat. Ever.

Nala (DS3_1748)

The green eyes
Yeah, the spotlight shines upon you
And how could
Anybody deny you?


The green eyes
You're the one that I wanted to find
And anyone who
Tried to deny you must be out of their mind.

(from "Green Eyes" by Coldplay)

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Sun Stands Still, or, You're Right and I'm Right

Ahh, bringing a tree indoors, decorating it with lights and shiny ornaments, hanging evergreen boughs and wreaths, and of course mistletoe, are clear indicators of the "reason for the season". I refer of course to Yule, the pre-Christian winter solstice celebrations that were absorbed into and co-opted by later Christianity.

The first step was to hunt down the perfect tree:


Being 'tree-hugging dirt worshippers', as detractors frequently call Pagans and other environmentally concerned people, we felled our tree with dignity and respect. The space in our small-footprint home is not large, so we chose a tall, skinny tree. Next we brought it indoors and strung it with lights to remind us of the solstice, the longest night and literally meaning "sun stands still", and the promise of returning Sun. The sun is often represented religiously by the newly (re)born horned God of the hunt, or Christ. For Jews, the proximity of Hanukkah celebrates a different, but magical, experience. Historian Flavius Josephus narrates in his book Jewish Antiquities XII, how the victorious Judas Maccabeus ordered lavish yearly eight-day festivities after rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem that had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes: "Now Judas Maccabeus celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms."


Magic begins to transform both us and the tree as we carefully unwrap ornaments. Some date back to our early childhood half a century ago, or even earlier in the case of inherited family ornaments. Tales of holidays past warm our hearts and remind us of family and our connection to the past.


And at the same time we forge our own traditions and create our future.


We celebrate with friends - Pagan, Jewish, agnostic/atheist, and Christian - in the true spirit of the season.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

MY VW Beetle Sneezed Out An Eyeball!

My 2001 VW Beetle sneezed yesterday and blew it's eyeball out!


No, not really. It did blow a headlight bulb though. I had just paid someone to replace the driver's side headlight bulb a couple of weeks ago. One look at a how-to video assured me that "pay the man" was the right solution to that challenge! While having my brakes redone I had them tack on the headlight bulb change for $40 (of which $32 was labor) and I assure you that was a bargain. This one seemed pretty straightforward.


First I identified which bulb I was changing. Smart, but apparently I mistook which one I was replacing and so made it harder on myself. Dumb! As the photo above shows, I first pulled the hard-to-get-to bulb which turned out to be the still-OK high beam. Ah well, five minutes wasted. Swapping the correct one took about two minutes. As you can see in this next pic it was easy to see the difference between the new and old bulbs. Even if it were not chilly outside, the cotton gloves are important because you are advised not to get finger oils on this sort of bulb as it (theoretically) shortens the life of the bulb by creating hot spots.


And, having learned my lesson from prior work like this, I made sure to test the new bulb before replacing the headlight nacelle in the car body!


Right, then. All is well so I buttoned everything back up. Elapsed time was about 20 minutes, but some of that was wasted on going after the wrong bulb.

I changed the wiper blades too at the same time and that was a lot more frustrating. It seems VW does things differently than most car manufacturers. Those who own VW's are nodding and saying, "No kidding!" I am guessing it took just as long to swap the wipers as the headlight bulb. Next year I hope I remember that VW blades pull down where everyone else's pull up to get them out of the arm.

Time spent: Under an hour. Money spent: about $30 for the wipers and bulb. Money saved doing it myself: Over $100. Go me!

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Monday, November 21, 2011


When I was a kid, I used to build little forts everywhere. Indoors it would be sofa cushions and chairs with a blanket thrown over top. Outdoors it would be under a low tree or deep in bushes, with scavenged plastic or cardboard upon which to sit. It seems Nala takes after me.


We knew that she loved to play with the blue sheer fabric. As the weather speeds towards winter she is spending less time outdoors, and is getting a bit stir crazy. One day this past weekend I was busy and she needed a diversion. I dug her fabric back out (it is now clearly hers) and tucked it into the mini-blind leaving her window perch partially covered. She sits up there, either wholly behind the fabric, or partially as in this photo. Whether she is keeping tabs on the backyard through the window, or facing in towards our office, she is clearly content.

No doubt, she is "daddy's" girl. *grin*

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Saturday, November 19, 2011


I spent a few hours today at the Capitol in Madison, WI, with tens of thousands of my closest allies working, marching, and generally having a good time in our effort to recall our unpopular governor.


Official estimates from the Dept. of Administration (who generally estimates well below police figures) put the crowd at 30,000. There was much frivolity and an overall mood of happiness. We were glad to be back in the street protesting our new ALEC-tool governor. There were lots of smiles and the running joke seemed to be that "Wisconsinites only protest when it's cold outside." Temp was a balmy 45 degrees (F).


Lots of friendships were forged this spring during the protests of the newly-elected Guv. Now that he's eligible for a recall drive, the state is on fire to collect 540,208 (minimum) signatures. In the first three days 105,000 were collected. I am certain another 10,000 got added today at the rally.

Not everyone was there in support of a recall. This tiny group of about 75 people were supporters of Gov. Walker. One sign called him a "Great American". Mostly they seemed angry to me. And wrong, of course.


I am thrilled. To paraphrase Pink, let's get this recall started!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nala From Below

It's been a hectic couple of weeks working on client related photography. I chided myself yesterday for not having fun with my camera much for the last month. I have not gone there-done that as I have been doing work. Good work, and enjoyable, but not unabashed play. So for today...

Nala From Below (DS3_1272)

I was playing with Nala this morning as she tore around the house making 'Mrrrp!' noises. She leaped up onto the back of the couch while I was still on the floor. The camera was within reach...

*big grin*

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Celebrating the Male Form 2

Wow, it has been a whole week since I posted last And what a week it was. In the last week I attended the SOFA show (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art) in Chicago, did three photo shoots, went to four aerial dance rehearsals, three parties, and taught a beginner class in trapeze. Add in the post-camera editing that needs to happen with each shoot and it starts to take a bit of time. Oh, and did I mention that a restaurant/lounge with an art space asked me to put up a show by this Friday, Nov. 18th? Talk about having to put the pedal to the metal and run full speed!

Well the images for the show are selected and printed, and 2/3 of them are framed. The rest will bet framed momentarily and the show laid out with the expert assistance of my wife. Tomorrow we hang the show and the opening reception is Friday at Bandung Indonesian restaurant in Madison, WI.

It has not been all hard work, though. Editing one of the shoots has been enjoyable. The male nude I shot a few weeks ago came back for a second round, hoping to capture some specific looks.

Nude With Chair (DS3_1114_2)

This one really works for me. I like the defined muscle, the light shaping the buttocks, the slight twist in the torso, and the not-quite black and white coloration. There are dozens of good ones in the collection, and as I am limited to only sharing images that contain no face, there are only a few I can or will share. Some will go only to my Boudoir page on my business web site.

It is fantastic to be so busy. I hope it continues unabated.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Nala Senses Winter in the Air

It has been a while since I posted a gratuitous photo of my cat, Nala.


She loves being outdoors as the temperature descends. She did not go out last winter, so I do not know if she will still enjoy being outside once the snow flies, but for now she is a happy kitty.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hair in the Air

A little Saturday morning fun and frivolity! I had a young woman come in to the studio for (very last minute) Senior portraits. In the process of taking standard portraits, I realized that she was relaxing, being more "real", and that she fussed with her hair a lot as a normal habit. Okay then, let's get the hair involved!

Hair! (DS3_9719)

I love that this only took two attempts to capture. The first one was a tad early and the hair was not fully fanned out. Attempt number two was spot on!

As it turns out, this was the image she selected for inclusion in her high school yearbook. I love that she indulged her playful side and let that be the image sent out for her peers to see.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Celebrating the Male Form

Earlier this week I had a photo shoot that is elusive: A male nude. It seems women are much more accepting of their bodies than men - in general, of course. So it was with great pleasure I did this session. He and I shared a sensibility; we were proud to be celebrating the male form.

Male Nude 1 (DS3_9907_2)

There are many great shots but this one really stood out for me. I love it.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Rogue at Fifteen

Fifteen years ago I got an itch to have a motorcycle custom built for me. Not one of the current crop of outrageously expensive, impractical, nearly undriveable cruisers that are little more than butt-jewelry. No, I wanted a light weight, single-cylinder, back-road pocket-rocket. A bike made for the tight, twisty, hilly roads of western Wisconsin. The fine staff at Motorcycle Performance had just the thing in mind. Based on one of their existing track bikes, they proposed something similar and suggested $5,000 as the build price. Sign me up!


And here it is! I badged it as "Rogue", as in, apart from the herd. (No Sarah Palin jokes, please.) For the most part it does everything it was designed to do. It is not all that fast, perhaps an honest 120 mph if I am all tucked in. But it surely unkinks those twisty roads, flicking lightly from side-to-side in the corners. Mmmm.


It is a 540 cc, single cylinder engine originally from a Yamaha SR500. Base horsepower was a paltry 28, and this one does 42 at the rear wheel. It weighs around 350 pounds. The chassis is mostly a Suzuki GS500, with upgraded suspension and breaks. Body work is either stock or from Airtech (the solo seat conversion) and the fairing is from a Yamaha YSR50, extensively modified.

I changed the oil today, and washed and waxed it. I was observing that it looks pretty darned good for 15 years old! I hope you agree.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

In the "Second Glance" post last Friday I indicated that I would have more to share. The new page is up for you perusal.[LINK]

Comments are welcome...

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Neon Glow

I have a new project to occupy time around other studio shoots. I have been asked to collect samples of various neon signs around town, especially some of the more iconic examples. This shot of Sardine's sign may not be part of the final set, but I like it quite a lot

Neon Glow 1 (DS3_9296)

The glow of the sign itself, the partial reflection in the window, and the flare from the nearby light all add up to a photo to linger upon. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Second Glance Faux Cover

I have had a number of faux covers in my head for a while. Here is the second, done up this time as a book jacket.

Second Glance Cover

I created an opportunity to put myself in front of the camera for a change. It was an effort to put myself in the shoes of my boudoir customers. So I allowed a friend and fellow photographer to (wo)man the camera and be in charge of the shoot. What is it like to be nude in front of not just the camera, but another person, a person of the opposite sex? What is it like to be directed and posed, perhaps in ways that are unfamiliar or even outside one's comfort zone?

I will explore all of that in detail soon! In the meantime, this is one of those images mocked up as a book cover that explores some of the conversations I have been having with (mostly) women lately. Interesting knowledge is gleaned when you stray outside your comfort zone into the relative unknown.

UPDATE: the link to the aforementioned material is HERE.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Faux Cover Shot

I took a recent image and envisioned what it might look like as a magazine cover. Let me assure you that graphic design is not my forté, and will not be any time soon. I wanted the cover to be a bit staid; not a high-fashion glamor magazine like Harper's Bazaar Cosmopolitan nor as cluttered as Rolling Stone. I was aiming for a look a bit more stark, like Harper's.

Beauté Magazine Cover

Click HERE to view large on a white background.

This is just for fun, and I would enjoy your comments. On a geek note, the QR code, should anyone photograph it with a camera that reads such things, will direct them to my web page.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Boudoir Peek

Here is a rare opportunity: Take an extended peek into a boudoir photo shoot with Nataraj of eyeDance Photography. Read about what happens and the experience of the process. See a variety of images from the shoot, not just one. Read what the subject herself has to say. Your feedback is welcome, here or at the page. [Rated R - Parental Guidance recommend]


Here is the LINK.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Fresco's "Big Top Opera"

I am performing an aerial dance piece in a production tonight and tomorrow at Overture Center, Madison's premier performance art space. The piece is a trio using a lyra with two other members of Cycropia, and we were asked to create a piece specifically for this show. And what a show it is. Fresco's Big Top Opera opens tonight.


It is a fusion of old school circus acts and opera. Most of the performers are regional singers who take various circus roles while singing classical opera bits. It is a bit like "What's Opera, Doc", and I mean that in the most flattering sense (heck, my formative knowledge of opera was inspired by Bugs Bunny). There is the strong man, the bearded lady, the conjoined twins, the tightrope walker, and more, with a few other related non-singing acts (like ours) added in as intersticia.


The show is suitable for all ages, and there is matinee pricing for the Saturday early show. Come on down and catch the show. The singing is good, the concept is amusing, and the transitional pieces are spectacular (wink!).


The photos are from last night's dress rehearsal, and there are a whole bunch more here in a SLIDE SHOW. Enjoy!

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Fun Toy

I have not been impressed with most of the (free) apps I have for my iPad. In particular, the Photoshop app is frustrating, crashing virtually every time I use it. So I was not expecting much when I downloaded the Pixlromatic app (stupid, unpronounceable name). Turns out it has some fun toys that actually make some photos more fun.

Magical Disa

The sparkly swirl is not manipulatable, so it was pure luck that this photo of a leaping dancer fit in it so delightfully. But that seems to be half the fun of the app: What can I do to *this* cool photo? Ultimately it is just a toy, but it is a fun toy.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bike Parking Displaces Car Parking?! Ride on!

After meeting a client for coffee this morning, I decided to mosey up King Street to see what was going on at the capitol. (Any 50,000+ protester rallies today? No? Dang. Oh well - Recall!) At the top of the street I spotted something I have never seen here before.


No, not a psychedelic bicyclist zooming down the street. The first parking spot had been bounded by posts and bumpers, and two bike racks were positioned within. A CAR parking space re-purposed for bikes. The meter was bagged, implying free parking. Wha..?

On-Street bike parking.  King St, Madison WI (DS3_7338)

The intent is clear: Make it desirable to bike downtown rather than driving your car. At the moment I spotted the rack, there were only two bikes in it, and one had a flat. The shopkeeper I spoke to outside of Tipsy Cow seemed thrilled because she likes to bike to work. +1, I guess.

Here is the skinny, straight from the city. [LINK] Basically it says,

The bicycle corral provides space for the parking of 10 bicycles in what had been one car parking space. This is a pilot project to see how well accepted the concept of on-street bicycle parking is in Madison. This approach is useful in areas of the city where there is not enough space to provide bicycle parking in the terraces and other off-street locations. Businesses in the area were consulted on this project and agreed to the trial. Saris Cycling Group donated the bicycle racks to the city for this project. The racks will be removed in November to allow for winter snow plowing.

So bike riders, I urge you to use these racks even if they are not the obvious choice for where you are going on a given trip. IF they get used, the city will do more of this, and if not, they will assume no interest and yank them for good.

Ride on!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ginger, or Maryann?

Very seldom do I revisit an older photo to "process" it differently. I have been thinking a lot lately about Ansel Adams and how much time and effort he put in to the darkroom end of photography. Not just choice of paper and supplies, but the dodging and burning to produce exactly the photograph he wanted to produce.

I shoot digital. I do not use a darkroom. I do use Photoshop. I use it quite sparingly.

And then one day I shot a circus, and the sky was crisp, deep blue, and the colors were all vivid. That photo seemed very manipulated to me despite that it was pretty much 'straight from camera'. I like it, and keep going back to it. It was the vividness of it that drew me. Then today a friend poked me with a question about some of his photos: Color, or B&W? I got to thinking about that photo again in this context. Would it be better in color or B&W?

Your call. I reprocessed the RAW image in Photoshop converting it to B&W with an infrared filter affect.

Infrared Circus Rides (DS3_9244)

Here is the original. I did have a circular polarizing filter on the camera.

Waiting For the Fair to Open (DS3_9244)

Which works better to YOUR eye?

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Friday, September 23, 2011

USB Keyboard Connected To My iPad

This post is a first. That I am writing it from my Apple iPad is not the news. Blooging with the iPad is a bit of a pain, especially if you want to attach photos (which is, of course, what this blog is al about). No, the first is that I am composing it via a mini USB keyboard. Yep, you read that correctly: I have a USB keyboard attached to my iPad. Impossible you say?

Mini USB Keyboard with iPad

Think again! Apple sells a "Camera Connection Kit" for the iPad that contains two dongles. One is an SD card reader for importing photos and video to the iPad. The other is a USB port for direct connection of cameras that do not use an SD card (like my dSLR that uses a CF card). While it is true that most USB keyboards draw waaaaay too much power for this connection (the iPad gives an error that the attached device draws too much power) there are a few no-frills keyboards that will work. The one I bought cost $15 at Office Depot. For the occasional use I think it will get, that is a perfect price!

Mini USB Keyboard works with iPad

The brand is "Gear Head" and it was the last one in stock at my nearby store. When I looked online, it seem like it was readily available at Walmart and other stores (probably Amazon). Look for the "Windows Mini USB Keyboard". If they make one for Mac, I did not see it.

The keyboard is cheap: The action is not great, and coupled to the iPad it is really only good for typing. You will still be doing your navigating and volume control sort of tasks on the iPad. It gives me an "Unsupported Device" error when I connect it. Just ignore it. That is OK with me. For this price I can live with that trade. The keyboard is small enough to get stashed in my always-with-me bag that contains my camera gear and iPad, so the whole coffee shop experience just got a tiny bit sweeter. This post was done in my favorite coffee spot: My kitchen, with a cuppa and a cookie while I listen to my own tunes.


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Eos Ushers In The Dawn

Eos, goddess of the dawn, renews herself and greets her brother Sol. Upon rising from her rest, Eos extends rosy fingers to the gates of heaven, opening them so that Sol, the god of the sun, can ride his chariot across the sky. From the Iliad, "Now Dawn rose from Her couch from beside lordly Tithonus to bring light to Immortals and to mortals." (Iliad XI.1)

Eos Greets Sol

Origins and Genealogy: Eos was daughter of the Titans Theia and Hyperion. She had two close siblings Sol/Helios (the sun) and Selene (the moon). With Aeolus the keeper of the winds, she bore four sons these became the winds of the cardinal directions. The dew was said to be her tears.

This Goddess is most noted for her insatiable appetite for young men. This desire is said to have been the result of a curse, placed upon her by Aphrodite , when she discovered her affair with Ares. She also kidnapped four lovers: Cephalus, Clitus, Ganymede and Tithonus. The later was a Trojan prince whom she begged Zeus to grant immortality. What she forgot to ask for was eternal youth. Eventually he shriveled up with old age and she turned him into a grasshopper. Her love for Orion was unrequited.

Strengths; Passion.
Weaknesses: Insatiable desire.
Sacred Plant: Saffron.
Roman Equivalent: Aurora.

This photograph was taken on the shore of an idyllic lake with a lovely dancer as the model. Keeping with my custom, the model fits Emerson's apt description: "The years teach much which the days never knew." This befits a Goddess who deserves a bit of gravitas. After all, Eos has borne four godlings, and made mistakes and suffered consequences at an epic scale.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
- Rumi

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Best One Of The Day

This weekend was the World Music Festival and Willy Street Fair here in Madison. The weather was cool yesterday, and rainy today, so attendance was not what it could have been. Nevertheless, there were people out and about, determined to enjoy the final festival of the summer. I take a lot of photos because it is a target-rich environment. Everywhere I look there is a photo to be taken. And, sometimes you simply KNOW that you took the best photo of the day. This one is that photo.


How do you top that?

I will have more later, with a slide show.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two Disappointments and a Bike Pic

I had some free time yesterday so I thought I would go check out - and photograph two State Natural Areas I had never been to. I loaded up the trusty Honda 919 and set off for points north near the Wisconsin Dells. The first was Lemonweir Bottomland Hardwood Forest State Natural Area. It looked interesting from Google Earth. In real life, not so much. This time of year it was all dried up (except the river itself) so it was really nothing more than a hardwood meadow. *shrug* On to Hulbert Creek Woods State Natural Area. Another bust. There is a road indicated on the map, but if it is there it is totally overgrown. So at that point I did the only obvious thing: Take a photo of the bike!

My Honda 919 (DS3_6898)

I took a break, drank some cold coffee and munched a Snickers, then headed for home. Traffic was really boogying on the Interstate: Posted 65, and at 80 I was being passed by almost everything.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another Great Night Thoroughly Seized

I went to a pretty fine party last night. Hosted on a farm just outside of Madison, in a small valley, there was plenty of room for tents and a small stage. I think a total of five bands played, with Reena's band, Al Khemia, opening. The setting was really beautiful, and as Al Khemia finished the sun was just setting behind the homestead farm.


It was a potluck meal, so there was a mixed bag of food to be had. We chose to eat en route so we did not partake except for a few chips. There was beer on tap, and we had our own selection along, so it was a party. The bands were set up on a flatbed trailer with power running from a nearby house. As the full moon rose over the valley, it made for an awesome setting.


About the time the second band finished, and Madison's popular Handphibians were about to play, the bonfire was lit. I have been at a lot of bonfires, and I am quite certain that this was the largest I have ever witnessed. Amazing.


Note the person in the foreground. That is a BIG fire!

We camped next to friend, and had numerous other friends and acquaintances around, so the evening was quite enjoyable. We spent the night in the tent, and this morning had some coffee, a couple of hard-boiled eggs (prepared ahead) and headed for home. Another great night thoroughly seized!

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