Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I’m a little late to this T-ball thing

My son had no interest in T-ball.  Given that he’s nearly 21 now, I thought that was water safely under the bridge, over the dam and long gone out to sea.  And then back through the water cycle a few dozen times.

But Evan, Andrea’s youngest boy, is playing now, and so I got my first high-intensity dose of it this weekend.

Baseball (and softball) and I have only recently come to terms.  Thanks to some serious dexter/sinister confusion (and liberal sprinklings of “you throw like a girl”, etc.), I never got too excited about that family of games as a kid.

My brother was quite good at it, but either he, too, came late to the game, or T-ball hadn’t yet been dreamed up when we were of the proper age in the early ‘70s.  Back then, the ball was pitched.  Period.

The ball was pitched, and there was a standard complement of nine players on the field.  The outfield tended to play within fart-joke-telling-distance of the infield early on, but otherwise the lineup looked pretty much the same as you’d see on TV.

T-ball is different.  Way different.  I’m not making any judgments here… just saying that it takes some getting used to.


Little League ball can be pretty intense.  The whole “screaming insane sports-parent” subspecies grew out of it, after all. 

T-ball’s a lot more laid back.  I’m starting to think of it as a mass play-date for 30 kids at a time that doubles as family-friendly comedy for those too old to participate.  Oh, and the only consistent formation of scrums outside of rugby that I’m aware of.

It’s an adjustment.  There was a lot of cheering, a lot of laughter and no barking at the kids… even when the center-fielder wandered off in the general direction of Scappoose because that’s where it looked like the kite that had caught his eye might be headed.

My camera’s memory card runneth over with cute, so I can’t include it all here.  This is a seriously pared-down smattering of what went on.

MissedStop First try off the tee.BetterStop Learning fast.

Evan1 Between batters.  Evan’s a pretty serious dude.

EvanAtBat1 As noted above…


BatterUp1 Yes, there is a batter in the box.

ItsALook Fashion improv.

EvanAdjusts Evan adjusts for the ball, Mason practices his Pledge of Allegiance.

Intensity I mentioned the “serious” thing, right?

ArrrThat’s what you want to see!

OnBase Don’t lose that helmet!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Experimenting


Along the Catherine Creek trail on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. 

The color original was not bad, but I was seeing the composition in monochrome all along.  This section of the trail is visually busy.  Lots of oaks, rock, grasses etc.  The monochrome conversion let the shapes of the trees and the collapsing corral stand out.

I had taken a series from the same vantage point with the intent of working in HDR with Photomatix, but I liked this result from a single frame better.  A lot to learn there, for certain!

1/4 second @ f/22, polarizer.  ISO 100, tripod mounted.  Developed from RAW and then adjusted for monochrome in Photoshop.  (I should have taken the polarizer off… it functioned solely as an ND filter in this case, and was unneeded.)


Andrea, stalking wild fern fronds.  Just an educated guess, but I think I see the purchase of a “real” macro lens in her future.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Now and again…

…the crusty old champagne-gold Minolta underachiever will step up and at least get on base, if not put one out of the park.


I guess I needed to be reminded that cheap lenses don’t perform badly all of the time.  Given enough light, things can look pretty good! 

Unfortunately, in these latitudes, the conditions are wrong more often than they’re right by a large margin.

Several factors were working in its favor for this shot.  Bright light, low ISO, “sweet-spot” aperture, and middling focal length worked to strong advantage.  Sharpness was good where it was intended to be, and CA is minimal.

Still… I’m jonesing bad for that G-series lens that Sony shooters are raving about. 

ISO 100.  Minolta 75-300mm @ 180mm. 1/160 at f/8.  No crop.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Just Playing

I made a spur of the moment trip to the Tillamook Air Museum last Saturday.  I didn’t think a lot would have changed in the year and a half or so since I was there last, but quite a bit did.  The entire display has been reorganized and a couple of mainstays are missing.  I hope they’re in the process of being restored.

The 159-series F-14A is still there… looks unlikely that it will ever be airworthy again… but it no longer has headliner status.  The Tomcats that I worked on were all in the 161 series, but this one is as close to one of those as I’m likely to see again.  Looks slightly forlorn, what with the holes on the cockpit where the formerly-classified components used to be.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the lack of light for photography.  With the crown of the old blimp hangar being just shy of 300’ above ground, the inverse-square rule for light falloff seems to be magnified.  So, taking pictures always results in compromises.

I shot a few knowing that they were pretty much going to stink the place up on their own… the aim was to have something to mess around with once I got back home. 

The P-51D shown here has been repainted to match the “Redtail” design used by the Tuskegee Airmen.  It’s a simple but striking scheme, and this particular example looks like it would only take a couple of hours of cleanup to make it Smithsonian-worthy.


Original image: ISO 400, f/4.5 @ 1/30 second, 26mm (with kit lens)

Altered in Photoshop with masking and multiple layers, background desaturated and blurred to leave “suggestions” of the hangar structure but de-emphasizing the clutter.  Thank goodness for digitizer tablets!


Shot as above, except shutter speed was all the way up to 1/60th.

More messing about in Photoshop.  Was it worth it?

Bright Spot In a Very Messy Day

Friday had something of everything in it, weather-wise.  I stopped briefly in Arch Cape on my way back from Nehalem as a small patch of sunlight poked through the storm clouds. 

The wind was so strong that I kept having to point the lens away from the waves in the gusts to keep from getting spray on the front element.