Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Show Photos

Today's Photo - A Rehearsal Photo From SUNY Oswego's Production of "Grease"

When I was working, photography for the theatre department was part of my job.  After retiring, they had some difficulties finding someone to take their rehearsal photographs as well as shoot photo calls.  So, I'm back to shooting shows.  It is an interesting type of photography.  Very high contrast, particularly if the show uses followspots.  On top of that, lighting levels are often low, and, at least for rehearsals, shooting handheld is a must.  You need to develop good handholding techniques - shutter speeds are often under a 15th of a second. Flash is out since it destroys the work of the set, costume & lighting designers, and the colored lighting tends to cause metering problems. The good thing is digital cameras have come a long way, pretty much replacing film.  In the past I shot slide film at an ASA of 320. Last night I was shooting with a Nikon D700 with ASA/ISOs as high as 3200!  Another advantage is cost - I took over 1000 images last night, threw away over 1/2 of them because of actor movement.  Think about what that would have cost using film that, with processing, cost around $25.00 per 36 frames!

Anyhow, if you are interested is seeing some of the results, a link to the 1st rehearsal is at Grease. I'll add the final dress & photo call after shooting them. Again, for those interested, the pages are straight out of Lightroom's web generation module.  Saves a lot of time using it, and, since I usually put the page up immediately after the rehearsal, anything that saves time is great.  Hit the sack at 2:30AM last night, and will be doing it again tonight!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Same Old, Same Old

Today's Image - A Grey Jay along WA 20 in the Cascades.

Not much new happening so this will be a short post.  The only thing on the RV is I ordered a Progressive Industries  surge protector with voltage protection to add to the trailer.  I'm not really sure I need it here in the east, however many of the places I plan to travel have some serious thunderstorms - I guess it is better safe than sorry!

My daughter Karin is still on schedule to give birth to my second granddaughter on April 10th, so I'm making plans for a visit to Washington DC.  Looks like I'll be a little late for the cherry blossoms.  I've only managed to catch them in full bloom once (in 2005) but I've been to the parade & festival a couple of times.

Till next time!

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Pictures II!

Today's Photo - Jon's Trailer!

They are still building the trailer, and to complicate things, this weekend they are moving their factory.  Sitting above the window is my back up camera.  I'm not sure the RAV4 is wide enough that the standard mirrors will see around the trailer, and most of the add on mirrors I've read about vibrate, fall off, or otherwise are a problem, so I added a camera.

A couple more photos - note they are very small so you will have to live with the low resolution.

So, it won't be all that long.  I'm still figuring out what I want to take with me, what I'll buy after actually living in the trailer, and what I can do without. Anyone know of a small microwave that includes a convection oven? I never made up my mind on the choice between a microwave & a toaster oven.  I did buy a Coleman "oven" that sits on top of the stove - I'll see how that works.  

I know one thing that is staying home - a suit!  I'm a jeans or shorts kind of guy, and haven't worn a suit since my retirement graduation ceremony.  My ties are so out-of-date they are probably back in!

Till next time  - 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Official!

Today's Photo - Great Falls, McLean, VA.

The Escape 17B is officially registered in NY.  For those familiar with NYS DMV, it will be no surprise that it didn't go smoothly.

If you look a bunch of posts back, you'll find I went to DMV, waited in line for 45 minutes & asked what paperwork would be necessary to register the trailer.  Even though they told me one of the forms wouldn't be available until I entered the US, the people at Escape Trailer Industries solved the problem, coming up with the form. 

So, after getting all the paperwork they told me I'd need, I stood in line for 2 hours (never go to DMV on a monday) and when I reached the window the clerk spent 5 minutes going through the paperwork, handed me a form, said fill it out, then go to the back of the line!  At least this time the line was only 45 minutes long, but I ended up with a different clerk who took another 45 minutes to actually process the paperwork.  Part of the problem was not believing my conversion from Kg to lbs for the trailer weights (Canada uses the metric system & NY doesn't). The rest of the time was spent going from internal office to internal office trying to figure out how to do the registration.  Only good thing is they used the Canadian dollar amount to figure sales tax even though the current exchange rate makes US dollars more. 

They kept the originals of all the paperwork, but did make me copies.  I checked with Tammy at Escape Trailer Industries concerned that I'd need one of the original documents to get back to the states, and she let me know that they keep all the paperwork necessary to import the trailer so the various US DMV's can't keep any paperwork necessary to cross the border.  Smart woman!

On top of everything, I had pulled the plate off my utility trailer so I could use it on the travel trailer (the old plate is white & matches both the trailer color & the plate on my car) since they told me I could transfer the plates.  Guess what?  You can't.  So, I'm the proud owner of a brand new ugly orange plate, but at least it's official.  

Till next time...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome to Spring!

Today's Photo - Spring!

Officially, today is Spring.  It was 24°F this morning, and is only up to 37° now, but I have to admit there are signs.  The photo above is the tree line in front of the house.  I planted a couple of rows of daffodils between the trees.  It is time to dig them up & replant - they are crowding each other out, but I never seem to get around to it.  The do look great for a couple of weeks. but now they are just peaking up through the ground.  Hard to believe there is a lawn between the trees & the road.  With the heavy snow this winter the amount of salt & sand at the edge of the road is amazing.

I did one spring ritual - trimmed the grape arbor.  I have 6 plants of a Concord derivative I planted in 1975 that are still going strong.  I mostly use them for grape juice.  My method (which comes from the ball canning book) is to dump a cup of whole grapes in a quart jar, fill with boiling water & 1/2 cup of sugar, and boiling water process for 45 minutes.  I have to admit they look a little strange, but as long as you strain it as you pour, it is pretty good grape juice, and is awfully easy to make.

A couple more "Flower" photos:
The daffodils at the base of the grape arbor.  There are also some tulips that are just breaking through.
The first crocus.
We still have snow, at least where it has been shoveled off the front deck. Underneath the snow pile is my climbing rose.  I hope it melts in time for the rose to start growing!

Till next time!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The RAV is Wired!

Today's Photo - A Star Circle - a 4 hour exposure (on film) with the camera pointed at the North Star.

I've been using a Wilson Sleek to boost the signal to my iPhone in the RAV4, but decided today was the day to actually install it.  Before installing, there were antenna wires, power cords, etc running all over the car, and the phone cradle sitting on the passenger seat.  Since I'm usually the only one in the vehicle, it doesn't really matter, but since I was also planning to change the XM Radio over to a portable unit so I could also use it in the trailer, I figured it was time to bury the wiring for both.

My roof is beginning to look like an antenna farm.  In any case, all the wiring  is stuffed into the weather striping, kick panels, and under the dash and the cradles for both are mounted on the dash.  Much easier than running the trailer lights & brake wiring.

I transfered the XM radio from the RAV4's receiver to the portable (a $15.00 transfer fee) & it actually worked!  In fact, both radios are currently working.  I assume the RAV4's will stop soon.  It will be interesting to see if the portable antenna works as well or better than the one built into the RAV.  When using the built in, almost any hill blanks out the radio.  It can't be any worse!

Till next time!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Cold is Going, Going, Gone?

Today's Photo - The Salmon River, NY

Well, I haven't been communicating lately - I've been laid up by my cold's second coming.  I ended up coughing so much that I pulled a muscle in my stomach.  After a night with no sleep due to coughing every minute or so I gave up and went to the doctor.  Got a prescription for a stronger cough medicine than what's available over the counter, and actually slept last night. I feel much better today.

I added a bar code reader app to my iphone.  Works well so far; I'm running around the house reading the code off everything (just so I know what it is!)  After each scan it shows me web pages to compare the prices if I want to purchase the item.  The idea is when you find something you want at the store, you shoot the bar code, and see if it item is available somewhere else for less.

I also finally got around to making a QR code for my website.  This is one of those square "things" that you point your cell phone camera at & it connects you to the phone number or web site.  If you want to experiment, here is  Just point your camera (of course you need the QR & bar code reader app - I'm using RedLaser.)

That's about it for today.  I'm going to a Nikon "Advanced D-SLR Photo Class" tonight - probably just a way for the Nikon reps to show off their latest toys, but since I'm not doing anything, it is worth a trip to Syracuse.

Till next time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More Pictures!

Today's Photo - The LT-5, at the H. Lee White Marine Museum. The LT-5 is one of the few remaining vessels that took part in the Normandy invasion.  It is still completely functional.

Not a lot going on with the trailer.  I've had a few conversations with Rease about the rear view camera & mounting the cell phone antennas & amplifier, but other than that it is under construction. I do have a couple of new photos.  They are sent by Escape Trailer Industries, and are small images, so the resolution isn't all that good, but it does let me know how the progress is going:

I'm sitting home with my cold coming back. I guess I can't complain since I don't get all that many, but getting one back a week or two after it finally goes away just doesn't seem fair! Meanwhile, I'm gargling & sniffing salt water (I know this is an old fashion technique, but both my doctor & I swear by it) and drink lots of liquids.

Spring is definitely here.  The Red Winged Blackbirds are at the bird feeders, along with Common Grackles.  I can see most of the lawn - the only snow left is where it slid off the roof or was piled when shoveling.

I have been playing with my air card in the WiFi Ranger, but until I take the entire system closer to a tower, I can't really get a good idea of how well it works.  The card uses Verizon's towers, and my house is in  Verizon's no man's land. If nothing else, I'll get a chance to try it out when I go to DC since the WiFi coverage at the Quality Inn has always been poor.

Well, enough drivial.  Till next time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A New iPhone

Today's Photo - Rustic Falls, Moran State Park, Orcas Island, Washington

Well, I made the big mistake of going to the Apple Store.  I had a good reason - My 2 generation old iPhone was giving me problems.  Actually, the problem was of my own making, although I feel Apple is really at fault due their use of the english language.  I wanted to turn on the restriction for in-app purchases.  My problem is the meaning of "on".  To me, when a restriction is on, the term should be restricted.  Apple wants you to set a restriction to "off" for it to be restricted.  So, to make a long story short, I managed to turn off just about everything except on-line app purchases!  Since I updated a bunch of apps at the same time as well as changed a bunch of other things, I didn't realize what the problem was.

It only took the iPhone "Genius" a couple of seconds to fix it.  As long as I was there, I looked at the iPhone 4.  Big Mistake! More memory - they start at 16Gb (I have to remove music or apps to add any new ones since I've maxed out the 8Gb of my 3G phone) and the iPhone 4 is so much faster.  It didn't take too much to talk me into a replacement.  Good thing the iPad2 tablets aren't here yet!

The new phone was great until I got it home, and even worked fine with my Sony dock. That evening it crashed while running Pandora in the dock, and started rebooting every time I quit an app.  Back to the Genius Bar - this is the first of many apple products (been purchasing them since an Apple II) that was DOA.  No problem - they exchanged it for a new one & since I took my laptop with me, I was able to registered it & reload my apps while there just to be sure the original phone was the problem.

So, although the original plan was to wait to upgrade until the iPhone 5 came out, things changed.  Now I have to stay away from the store after March 11th (the day the iPad2 becomes available!)

Till next time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Today's Photos - A Little Flooding on Lakeshore Road.

As far as I'm concerned, the official first day of spring in Oswego is opening day at Rudy's, a lakeside fish stand. Unfortunately, that is still a few weeks off. Still, there is another that has been making its mark, at least in our neighborhood, the flooding of Lakeshore Road.

Lakeshore Road was originally called Snake Swamp Road (a much more interesting name to my mind and one I fought to keep) but  was changed to Lakeshore Road as expensive houses were built on the lake side of the road & the owners just couldn't live with the name.  In any case, there is still a swamp about 1/4 mile from my house.

Although it rarely flooded in the past, the town raised the height of the road over a foot, and also added additional 3' diameter drains under the road as new construction upstream increased the flow of water through the swamp.  Flooding has become at least an annual problem ever since a family of beavers moved in.

Like all beavers, they all hate the sound or running water, at least downstream of their lodge, and each night they cut down branches, trees & block the drains.  The next morning the town crew comes out with a truck & hauls away the branches & logs blocking the drain.  Each "crew" repeats their "job" every day! During the winter they both call a truce since neither likes working in the cold. With the combination of spring snow melt & the awakening of the beavers, the whole process starts again. A few years ago a shotgun would solve the problem, however that is frowned upon these days.

In any case, our spring snow melt was short lived - we are now at 192" of snow for the season, and 6" - 12" is predicted today & tonight.

Till next time...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Special Edition - The Egg is Hatching!

This Photo - My 17B has been born!

Had to add a couple of photos - I just received email from Escape Trailer Industries - My 17B has come out of the mold & is on it's way! Two births this spring - My trailer & a new granddaughter due on the 10th of April...

Here are a couple of photos of the inside - kinda bare so far.

CNY RV & Camping Show

Today's Photo - A r-pod 172 at the Central New York RV & Camping Show

Went to the opening day of the CNY RV & Camping Show at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY yesterday.  Since my main interest is in fiberglass egg trailers and since most of the manufacturers of eggs sell direct & don't do shows, I just went to see what was new.

Well, not much.  Very few motorhomes - a few C's,  fewer B's and even fewer Class A's.  Trailers were the big feature, with many sporting signs stating "I only weigh ______ pounds.  I suspect the latest gas prices have got the dealers scrambling for the lightweight end of the spectrum.  There were a couple of $200,000.00 Diesel Class A's, but not too many were looking at them.

There were a bunch pop-ups and a couple of r-pods, the closest thing to a fiberglass egg.  The r-pods are much less expensive than the eggs, however they have seams between the roof & walls, very little storage, and the finish leaves much to be desired.  I see many ads for 20 & 30 year old fiberglass trailers; although they haven't been around that long, I suspect there will never be a 30 year old r-pod except in a museum. Still, a lightweight option.

It was crowded - I don't know how many were buying, but it was the most crowded show I've seen in the last couple of years.  In any case, I got my chance to see what else is out there & am still happy with my decision.  I also picked up a bunch of campground brochures - none available for the southwest, but I did get some for local & east coast locations.

Till next time...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NY Department of Motor Vehicles

Today's Photo - A Tufted Titmouse

It has been an interesting day.  I decided to visit our local DMV to check which documents I need to register my trailer.  After waiting in line for 45 minutes, I finally reached the counter.  I explained what I wanted to do - register the trailer once I received the paperwork from the manufacturer, and take the plate to Chilliwack, BC with me.  Everything went well with the paperwork the manufacturer plans to send me  until the DMV stated I needed an import form CBP 7501 that I will receive when I cross the border from Canada into the US.  Only problem is I'm doing this 3000 miles from Oswego.  Since I plan to stay in the west for a couple of months, I'm not sure a temporary plate would be a solution (or even possible).

According to them there is no solution - I have to either bring in the form (not sure how I get the trailer from the west to NY without a plate) or mail the form to them, they will mail back paperwork, I mail it back to them & then they mail me the plate.  I'd only have to stay in one location for about a month for that to work!

I can't believe there is no other solution, but again, this is dealing with New York State. Sigh...