The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Month: April, 2011

Think Pink

I’m from Leominster MA. I’ve lived here almost all of my life – I was born one town away, but my permanent address for 94% of my life (I did the math, poorly, but you’ll have to trust me) has been here. And we are proud of two things around here; Johnny Appleseed and plastics. If we could combine the two, I think the town would implode. The plastic pink flamingo was invented here. Enough other people have written about Don Featherstone and his fabulous gift to the world, so you can check out the Wikipedia entries. I just want to share this photo of the one in my mom’s yard. Earlier today there was an Easter egg under it, which would have made for a better photo, but the kids grabbed it pretty quickly.

Pink

I’ve seen real flamingos, and they seem like they’d be kind of a pain to keep in the yard, what with their need to constantly feed on shrimp and stuff. Sure, my back yard is a bit swampy every time it rains, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only got mosquitoes and ticks out there. No shrimp. So the flamingos would just be really ticked off at me. I think it would be much easier to own this kind. I might have to help them stand after a windstorm, but other than that, they’d be pretty self-sufficient. I like that in a lawn decoration.

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Playing With an IR Filter

“Oh no,” the readers cried out in unison. “Not another photography post!”

Ah, yes, you’ll have so suffer, my children. This one will be fun, though. I picked up an infrared filter for my camera for $25 on Amazon, because it seems like a very cool toy. It’s not the easiest thing to play with, so these first attempts are me, attempting to learn how to take an IR photo. For one thing, you can’t see anything when then filter is in place, so you have to focus and THEN put the filter on. This means if you move the camera later, you have to remove the filter and refocus, etc. And even then, it might not be quite right. Also, you have to do a lot of post production on these photos because they come out violently red/magenta. It’s the nature of the filter. Lastly, if it’s windy like it was today, and your tripod is not very sturdy, your camera is going to move during the 5-30 second exposures you need to take to get the photos. Next time I’m going to try with a higher ISO so that I can use a shorter exposure time. We’ll see if that makes them a bit crisper.

Okay, so now that I’ve set your expectations into the cellar…

I stopped by Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster to take a few shots. The first shot is clear – no filter, to set white balance and focus. The shot after that is the IR photo, post-processing with some of the red left in for artistic purposes.

CLICK TO VIEW LARGER VERSION

Now, shot using the IR filter, 15 seconds at f/8, 35mm lens

The movement in the trees is due to the wind.
This next photo is a straight, no filter, no processing photo.

Here’s that photo converted to black and white. Looks pretty good, but lots of shadows.

This is the one with the filter – it shows a lot more of the details from the shadows, and I think it would look a lot better if the tripod wasn’t all blowy-aroundy.

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I Am Special

I always knew I was special; my mom told me so, and she’s always right. (Trust me. You do not want to argue with her about this.)

HOWEVER, there are times when I don’t want to be special. Do. Not. Want. Today was one of those days. Some people might tell me that I should buy a lottery ticket (I assume they work for the lottery commission?) and some people will say it’s fate, because I’m special. This is the problem.

Today I took my car in for the 30k service, and to have them do the recall check. You know, I own a Mazda 6 and I got a letter about spiders. Spiders building webs in the fuel systems of beloved vehicles that might cause fuel tanks to explode or something. You know, spiders being spiders… being terrorists.

According to my dealership, I’m officially the first customer to bring in a Mazda 6 that ACTUALLY HAD THE SPIDER WEB IN THE FUEL VENT LINE!  I’m SPECIAL!!!!

Out of 65,000 cars recalled, I have the problem. As of a month ago, only 20 cars had a web. I assume there will be more, but what if I’m only 21 out of 65000? What kind of crazy is that? I should celebrate with, I don’t know, pizza and beer? I think that’s how you celebrate the horrible knowlege that a yellow sac spider has it out for you and wants your car to go up in flames. Stupid spider. Stupid being special.

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