New York City V: The Empire State Building Strikes Back

I’m glad I made the trip to the ol’ ESB. The new(ish?) Observation Deck and museum is really nice, and well worth the $30-$60 you’ll spend for a trip to the top. I went at sunset, and I was not disappointed with the view. And of course, since I can’t take high-ground photos without tilt-shifting everything to death, I was able to process to my heart’s content. I also got to post the Flatiron photo on Facebook and post my standard gag about building a model of it on my table. Two or three of my Facebook friends always fall for it.

I should feel bad when I do that. But I don’t.


New York City IV: A Day at the Museum

I’ve wanted to visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York since I was 8 years old and could name for you not only the dinosaurs, but all of the periods of the Mesozoic Era and probably a few from the Paleozoic, too.

After finally getting to check it out, I learned that 1) an afternoon wasn’t enough, and 2) they need to update the astronomy exhibit. I ditched dinos for space the day after seeing Star Wars for the first time, and I’m a little disappointed that my newer love wasn’t well represented. The dinosaur skeletons were amazing. Meanwhile, the exhibits in the Hayden Planetarium look like they were last updated in the early 1990’s—relativistic jets emerging from quasars, for example, aren’t attributed to supermassive black holes, they way we now know they should be.

That’s right, Neil Degrasse Tyson, I’m calling you out! (I’m kidding! Ha ha! You’re smarter and tougher than I’ll ever be please don’t kill me.)

New York City II: Yankees Win

On my first full day in New York, I Ubered out to the Bronx to catch my first Yankee game. They still alive for a playoff spot, with only a couple of games left. I got to see Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka strike out 15—the most ever by an Asian pitcher in the Majors—and flirt with a perfect game until the fifth inning. The Yanks won 4-0, and even though I’m a Red Sox fan (if I’m anything at all), it was a nice day at the ballpark.

New York City III: Central Park

What can I say about Central Park? It’s big. It’s a park. If you go looking for it, it’s in the center of Manhattan.

Hence the name, people.

Hence the name.

Bethlehem Art Walk

Me at the beginning of the show, before hours of sitting through the slow slog of mercantilism crushed my spirit.

Just returned from the Bethlehem Art Sit Walk, where I had my first ever booth, from which I tried to sell photographs and fine photographic accessories.

For my first time, it was a good outing. The rain stayed away and I sold many cards, sets, and even one print, which I didn’t expect.

Below Average White Balance

Tree in field outside Bethel, Maine.
Tree in field outside Bethel, Maine.

I was shooting some little stuff at the dining room table last night, using my new 100mm Canon macro lens. I didn’t want the overhead light to turn everything yellow, so I adjusted my camera’s AWB settings for indoors. I forgot to change it back, which is unfortunate for what it did to an otherwise lovely photo opportunity. I saw this tree driving to Falmouth this afternoon and made a note to try and shoot it when I was driving back.

The bad AWB setting screwed with the color. It’s kind of interesting in an off-world way, but I would have much rather just captured the light that I saw. (I tried using Photoshop to fix it, but the video tutorial went over my head; I have no idea how people figure that thing out.)

Still, the macro has some really sweet capabilities. The narrow depth of field makes it hard to focus, of course, but I like how I can blur backgrounds now without cheating on the FocusPro app.

I really, really like my new lens.

New Glass

Last night, Mrs. cpb made me open my birthday present two days early. She got me a 100mm Canon macro lens, which will allow me to take closeup photos of small objects without having to use my zoom lens. The zoom served me well, but that kind of focal length can lead to distortion and blurred images, especially if you can’t keep your hands completely still.

I knew an honest-to-God macro would improve my closeup stuff, but wow, was I unprepared for the difference. I have a lot to learn—the depth of field is about the diameter of a hydrogen atom—but even these crummy photos are light years better than the stuff I was taking before.


Harvestman in the snow, Randolph, NH.
Harvestman in the snow, Randolph, NH.

There are over 4,000 species of harvestman, a type of arachnid often called daddy longlegs. We spotted this individual while snow hiking around Durand Lake. He was chilling out on the crest between two cross-country ski tracks. My son nudged him a little and sure enough, he was alive and probably doing fine. We left him alone and went on our way. Any tiny black critter confident enough to hang out on a cold, white background deserves our respect.

By the way, it’s a myth that these creatures have the most poisonous bite in the arthropod phylum, but have fangs that are too weak to penetrate human skin. None of the species in this group has fangs or poison. They have to pounce on their prey and pry it apart. This is unlike their soulless cousins, the spiders, who employ more cowardly methods. Like poison, webs, and lurking in my bathtub.

Les Fleurs

IMG_0004IMG_0003This is a pretty marginal photo, as photos go, but it’s the first one taken with my new Canon DSLR, which I’ll be using for astrophotography.

I could go on and on about the stars being the flowers of the sky, or something, but that would be stupid.