Blogography Logo
spacer

   

Lightroom Part One

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Dave!This is the first post in a two-part entry that will be discussing digital photo storage. Not a topic that most people will be interested in, but I very much want to document my process just in case somebody else out there on the interwebs is in the same boat as I am.

But, before we begin, a disclaimer.

I am a huge, huge, massively huge Apple Aperture fan. When it comes to working on photos, it's lagged behind Adobe Lightroom for years... but, when it comes to cataloging photos, it's pretty much the cat's meow. And since it's the cataloging that's of primary importance to me and my tens of thousands of photos, that's where my heart has been since Aperture debuted back in 2005. I will never, ever forgive Apple for canceling the app, and consider it just one of several stupid moves for the company as of late. But anyway...

Apple did cancel Aperture, so I am forced to migrate elsewhere.

My choice ended up being Adobe Lightroom. I am still not convinced it was the best choice, but I do think it's the right choice... for me anyway. Yes, I preferred the way photos looked using the RAW import on Capture One Pro better than Lightroom... and there were features in Darktable (among others) that were appealing... but it just seemed easier all the way around to go with Adobe since I know they're not going anywhere. The last thing I want to do is to have to go through this crap all over again if another app closes up shop. On top of that, the tight integration with the Adobe apps I use every day (Photoshop and Illustrator in particular) is too alluring to ignore. As if that weren't enough, I get Lightroom as a part of my Adobe Creative Suite subscription at no extra charge. Sure I could wait and see what Apple's replacement app, Photos is all about, but it looks unlikely to include the professional features I need.

So here I am.

And now a little background so you know who that is...

I have been into photography for as long as I can remember, and I've loved it all that time. So when it came time for a high school graduation gift in the mid-80's, all I wanted was a professional camera. My parents got me a Canon A-1, which was the most advanced camera of its day. The "Killer Feature" being the first SLR camera to have a digital autoexposure controller. Something I took advantage of frequently as I was learning how to properly use shutter and aperture settings. The A-1 was both a joy and a revelation over the fifteen years I used it as my primary camera, and I shot as much film as I could afford to have developed.

Then in the mid-90's the digital age was upon us. I was an early adopter, buying an Apple QuickTake 1 the day it was released in 1994. By modern standards, it was a pretty shitty camera. 640x480 pixels max and, unless you had flawless lighting, the images were pretty terrible. But... it was new. And it was cool. And I kept investing in digital technology despite not taking it very seriously. Why should I when what I was getting from my film camera was so much better?

Then the year 2000 came along and I got a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-D700.

Suddenly, my digital photos were getting close to what I was getting on film, all without the pain (and expense) of developing the images. All summer long I went back and forth, testing and re-testing, contrasting and comparing. I was lugging around two cameras everywhere, not fully trusting the Sony after over a decade with my trusty Canon. But then the moment of truth arrived... in October I took a trip to Asia and the only camera I brought was my DSC-D700. The results were so encouraging I went ahead and did the same for a trip to Rome that December. By 2001, I was 99% digital, only dusting off my film camera when I had a project that required it.

Cataloging my photos in 2001 was a pretty simple affair. I stored all my photos on a Zip Drive, making two copies each on separate cartridges, one of which was kept in a bank safe. As image size kept climbing, I would eventually switch to Jaz Drive cartridges. Every project had a separate folder, which got a bit complicated after a while, so I then started creating Master Folders titled by year to sort them into. It worked just fine, and I didn't even think about the need for cataloging software until that infamous day in 2005 when I purchased Apple's Aperture.

And it was glorious. Especially during those heady early years when Apple was updating the thing. They added "Places" so you could tag all your photos with a location (if they didn't have one already). They added "Faces" so you could automate tagging the people appearing in your photos. And then there were the Vaults... dead-simple ways of backing up your catalogs and precious photo information which was quickly becoming every bit as important as the photos themselves. Everything in Aperture was so convenient, easy, and powerful. I quickly organized all my photos into Projects by year and Folders by project, since that mimicked the file structure I had been using for five years. Apple's amazing app made dealing with my huge library of images almost effortless.

Until they decided they didn't want to any more.

Enter Lightroom.

At first I thought the migration would be a piece of cake, because the Aperture import plugin I had been waiting for was finally released. It was a huge relief to know that all the hours/days/months of inputting photo data into Aperture wouldn't be lost. Except I could never get the plugin to work. It would hang after a while no matter what I did.

And so I gave up and decided I would just start over completely from scratch. The first step was to extract all my images from the Aperture catalog and convert them to "managed" files so I could access the individual, original photo files, which subsequently transferred to a spare 1TB drive I had laying around.

I then purchased a new 8TB Thunderbolt RAID unit from Western Digital which would give me 4TB of mirrored storage to work with. The old Aperture RAID drives were removed and popped into my bank safety deposit box just in case I ever need them.

And then the horrendous chore of importing all my images into Lightroom began.

The first years were easy. In the year 2000 I had a measly 250 photos, and they were all JPEG files that were either 2048×1360 or a tiny 1600×1200 pixels in size. NOTE TO YOUNGER SELF: Always shoot at the maximum resolution of your camera. I know that 1600×1200 seemed like a huge amount of pixels back in the day, but in the future that will be insanely inadequate for just about every purpose.

As we move forward in time, the number of photos increases considerably from year to year (especially when I decided to start bracketing most of my shots). And, because the size of the photos keeps going up as well (especially when I started shooting RAW), the storage space needed (hence the amount of time to import them into Lightroom) increases exponentially. NOTE TO YOUNGER SELF: Always shoot RAW. I know they're a lot bigger files, but if you could experience the pain of having to look back at your trip to the pyramids of Egypt with all that JPEG artifacting, you'd know the extra size is well worth it. And it's no small amount. In 2007 I shot one trip RAW. In 2008 I shot half of them RAW. In 2010 I was shooting all RAW all the time. Just look at what happens...

  • 2000 • 244 photos (320MB)
  • 2001 • 338 photos (456MB)
  • 2002 • 633 photos (782MB)
  • 2003 • 399 photos (691MB)
  • 2004 • 2,489 photos (6.2GB)
  • 2005 • 2,706 photos (7.1GB)
  • 2006 • 386 photos (861MB — no vacations this year!)
  • 2007 • 2,803 photos (7.5GB)
  • 2008 • 7,342 photos (36.4GB)
  • 2009 • 9,167 photos (63.2GB)
  • 2010 • 16,561 photos (149.8GB)
  • 2011 • 15,422 photos (135.8GB)
  • 2012 • 15,788 photos (140.1GB)
  • 2013 • 16,038 photos (149.6GB)
  • 2014 • 18,532 photos (184.2GB)

Now, to be honest, most of the photos I took in later years are not keepers. As memory cards kept getting bigger and cheaper, I was a lot less selective in what I shot... and I would shoot the same thing several times so I could pick the best image and delete the rest... except I never seem to delete anything. Perhaps one day I'll have the time to purge all the bad/redundant shots, but it ain't happening any time soon. Good thing hard drive space is getting so cheap!

Okay then. Now you know about me and what I shoot... I guess it's time to start importing everything into Lightroom!

Which I will be talking about in tomorrow's entry.

   

Lightroom Part Two

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Dave!Yesterday I talked about my photos and how the death of Apple's Aperture has forced me to move to Adobe's Lightroom. This entry talks about how that all went down.

Since the Aperture import plugin didn't work and I was starting from scratch, there really was only four decisions to be made in building my Lightroom catalog and new photo library...

  1. Will I be converting all my RAW files to Adobe's open DNG format?
  2. What size previews will I be rendering for when my library isn't available?
  3. Will I be creating "Smart Previews" for all my images?
  4. How will I organize my photo library?

To DNG or not to DNG?
When you shoot RAW, odds are your camera is saving the "digital negative" in a proprietary format. My Nikon D90, for example, saves them as .NEF files, which is proprietary to Nikon. My Sony A7, for another example, saves them as .ARW, which is Sony's version of RAW. I shot on a Canon for a while, and they use .CR2 for their RAW format. I also have .RW2 files from a Panasonic underwater camera I used and .ORF from an Olympus that I borrowed. What a mess. Unlike JPEG which is standardized, RAW formats rarely are. Which is why Adobe created the .DNG format. But, unlike what's used by camera companies, it's not proprietary... it's open, and anybody anywhere can read the specs that Adobe provides for free. This does two very important things...

  • Future-proofs your files. If Sony closes up shop or kills the .ARW format tomorrow, eventually this version of RAW will die out and stop being supported. And because it's proprietary, you would have to hope that somebody out there would reverse-engineering the format in order to read your images twenty years later.
  • Establishes and open standard. Because the specs are publicly available, no reverse-engineering is needed to read the .DNG format. And anybody can use it. Some camera manufacturers have already abandoned their proprietary RAW formats in favor of .DNG and I am hopeful all other manufacturers will follow suit.

There are other advantages to .DNG as well... my favorite being that it doesn't use external EXIF sidecar files, but instead stores the information internally. The fact that the files are also validated by an internal checksum means that you can tell when bits of a file go missing or are corrupted. The list goes on and on (did I mention that .DNG files are also smaller?).

So, ultimately, I totally embraced .DNG and had all my RAW image files converted upon import. Yes, this adds significant time to your import, but the benefits are worth it.

   

Alas yon Preview, What Size Art Thou?
When my 8TB external hard drive is connected to my laptop, all my photos are available to me at full resolution. When it's disconnected and I'm half-a-world-away, however, my photos are not available, and all I have to look at is whatever preview Lightroom has available in the catalog of my local drive. Lightroom's "Standard Size" preview is 1024 pixels along the image's longest side. That's fairly decent for looking through your images and won't take up too much space. Except Lightroom stupidly doesn't default to "Standard" but instead renders "Minimal" previews which are pretty much worthless (so be sure to switch to "Standard" in the Catalog Preferences or else you'll have to re-render all new previews!). You also have the option for 1:1 previews, which will speed up your workflow and look great on-screen... assuming you have room on your hard drive. As for me? I compromised. I changed the "Standard" size preference from 1024 to 2048 pixels and left the quality on "Medium." That's double the size of what you usually get, but generally ends up smaller than 1:1. My reason for taking the hit to my hard drive is twofold... 1) I have a Retina Display, and larger images display better... and, 2) If my library drive AND both backups are lost for some reason, I can probably live with 2048 as my only image size, but would be devastated if all I had were 1024 images. In the end, it's up to you... but with display resolution climbing and hard drive sizes escalating, it seems as though the bigger you go the better off you'll be.

   

If Thee Be Smart, Where Be Your Brains?
A couple versions ago, Adobe came up with "Smart Previews" which opened the door to all kinds of cool things. Primary of which is that you can EDIT images with Smart Previews... even if you're not connected to your library (usually, you can't do this). Once your library gets connected, the edits will be written to the original photo file's dataset, and it's just as if you had changed the original all along. As if that weren't enough, Smart Previews can also be viewed and worked on with an iPad via Creative Cloud. Pretty cool stuff, right? Except... "Smart" Previews are not exactly "smart" in that you are still required to have "regular" previews as well. So, effectively, you've got an entire catalog of previews taking up valuable hard drive space... twice? Or at least that's how I understand it to work. I don't have that kind of space available on my laptop's SSD, so I skipped stupid "Smart Previews." Hopefully one day they'll make it so you are only required to have ONE preview per image. Until then, it's nice to know that I can build Smart Previews for those times I plan on editing photos on the go.

   

But Soft! In What Organization Through Yonder Library Breaks?
With Aperture I never had to worry about the physical organization of all my image files. I created projects and folders within the app and let Aperture worry about where the files went. With Lightroom this is not possible. So what I ended up doing was mimicking the structure I was used to... a folder for each year and a sub-folder for every event/trip/session that was preceded by a date. If you take a lot of photos, it's a pretty good idea. The drawback being that if you've visited Milwaukee twenty times and want that photo you took of the Milwaukee Art Museum, you have to know when you visited in order to track down the photo. If that's a concern for you, might be better to not organize by date... but to instead organize by subject. Regardless of how you choose to organize your images, it's critical to keep organizing the same way. Once you get tired of the effort and just start dumping your photos wherever, you never be able to find them unless you spend a lot of effort applying keywords to each image. That takes considerably more time than organizing from the get-go... though, if your import groups are small enough, you might be able to apply keywords when you import to save time. Still, given Lightroom's inability to manage your photo files, you really need to come up with something yourself and stick with it.

   

Now that I've made my decisions... we're ready to import.

Getting your photos into your local Lightroom catalog and writing out your .DNG files to your external library is pretty easy. You click the "import" button, choose what you want to import... choose where you want them to go... add your settings for previews, keywords, and such, and away you go.

Since I was converting to .DNG and rendering rather large previews, my later years took a very long time. Five hours or more. And the bad news is that there's no way to pause the import and resume it at a later time... at least not that I've found. Yes, you can cancel and then re-do the import (Lightroom will run through everything again and skip the images it's already worked on) but this is a far from ideal solution. Even worse, absolutely no estimate on how long the import will take is given. You get a progress bar and that's all. Thankfully, you'll (hopefully) only have to do massive library imports once in your life, but it would sure be nice if Adobe were to allow you to pause the process. My suggestion? Break your imports down into more manageable chunks. You can uncheck folders you've already imported to keep Lightroom from doubling up (though, inexplicably, Lightroom will still go through all your photos if you have "Don't Import Duplicates" selected... whether you've checked or unchecked the folder in question).

It took me five days to get everything cataloged/imported. Usually I would import a chunk before going to bed and find everything completed when I woke up.

So how am I liking it now that I'm a Lightroom guy?

To be honest, I'm not liking it at all.

Lightroom is a massively confusing program that makes practically no sense. Compared to the elegance and ease of Aperture, I'd go so far as to say that Lightroom is crap. I hate just about everything about it. The interface is a complete mess and takes up way too much of the screen. Even simple things are difficult. Want to zoom in on a photo? I still don't understand how it works. Click once you zoom. Click again and you don't zoom in further, you zoom back out to some totally random percentage? Crazy. Instead of an intuitive, fluid zoom tool that operates like every other zoom tool in every other program (including Adobe Photoshop!), with Lightroom you have to click on a drop-down menu and choose 1:4, 1:2, 1:1, 2:1, 4:1, etc. etc. in order to get closer to/further from an image. It's about the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen. I'm trying to use gestures on my trackpad for zooming, but it's so clunky and spastic that I can never end up where I want to be. And that pretty much defines everything you do in this program... clunky and spastic. There are times I make adjustments to an image... increase the saturation or sharpening or whatever... and nothing happens, even though the sliders are showing I've made the adjustment. WTF? It's enough to drive me insane. There are times I have to step away from the program because I'm getting so frustrated and angry that it feels as if my head is going to explode.

I'm hoping that eventually I'll get used to the shitty way Lightroom works, but I sincerely doubt it. The program is a hot mess of epic proportions, and I simply don't understand how anybody manages to get anything done with it. Yes, it's usable and I can (eventually) figure out how to do what I need to do... but it has a long, long way to go before it's as beautifully intuitive as Aperture is. Was. Whatever.

But, thanks to Apple being complete assholes and canceling one of the most wonderful apps for organizing and working on photos ever made, this is where I'm forced to be.

Maybe there's a better solution out there... maybe I should take a second look at Capture One... but the thought of having to go through all this mess again makes me want to stick my head in an oven.

I'm probably better off not using a photo cataloging program at all. I'll just go back to files and folders on ZIP drives and call it a day.

So much for progress.

UPDATE: More problems popping up every day. The worst of which is that Lightroom crashes... a lot.

Lightroom Crashes a lot

Yeah. Definitely don't understand how people are using this thing.

   

Restoration

Posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Dave!Every year for the past decade I've been sending in bunched of old photos to be scanned. I finished with my own photos after a couple years. My mom's photos took an additional four years. After that, I've been going through my grandmother's extensive photo collection, which will keep me paying for photo scanning services for years to come.

It's a lot of money.

But it's well worth it.

Mostly because there's hundreds of gorgeous shots of my mother when she was little that are more artistic than anything you'll find in any museum...

Mom on a Log

And by "artistic" I should say "accidentally artistic" since they were never intended to be art... they were just everyday snapshots that happened to turn out incredible.

Not everything is accidental art though.

Like this photo of me with my hand down my pants...

Little Dave with His Hand Down His Pants

Some things never change.

Tags:
Categories: Photography 2015Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Restoration 21

Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2015

Dave!Yesterday I mentioned that I've got another batch of family photos that are getting scanned.

This morning I started reviewing the scans in process at ScanCafe. As these are my grandmother's photos, I don't know most of the people that are showing up. I assume they're mostly images of my extended family, but they could be anybody.

All I really know for sure is that there's some crazy-interesting stuff popping up...

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

And it only gets stranger from here...

   

Bullet Sunday 419

Posted on Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Dave!Don't let the Grammys get you down... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Rescue! Here's the best thing I saw all week...

Meerkats by Will Burrard-Lucas

Heroes come in all shapes and size. Heroes are around us every day. Heroes inspire everybody to be heroes too. Heroes like this make the world a better place with their actions... no matter how small.

   
• Ravaging! Somebody finally said it...

LOL! ROTFL! LMFAO! I'm guessing this will be all the excuse ignorant morons (and FOX "News") need to restart their idiotic rants on quarantining Africa thanks to an ebola outbreak happening in a tiny piece of the continent.

   
• Super! Ever since I returned from safari in Africa, I've become a little obsessed with African wildlife photography. My favorite images yet come from Will Burrard-Lucas, who managed to get some of the most amazing shots you'll see...

Meerkats by Will Burrard-Lucas

Meerkats by Will Burrard-Lucas

Meerkats by Will Burrard-Lucas

Leopard by Will Burrard-Lucas

Lions by Will Burrard-Lucas

He has a YouTube video up that shows some behind the scenes footage that's pretty great...

Will has a blog that is well worth checking out.

You're welcome!

   
• Cuusoo! Two new LEGO sets I'll be adding to my collection...

   
• Bad! My entire weekend was made when a guy commented and told me that his kid's school lunch menu was recalled after it was discovered that somebody put a DaveToon of a gun-toting Bad Monkey on it...

Bad Monkey on a School Lunch Menu

Genius. And then it hit Reddit where a disturbing yet somehow beautiful insanity ensued.

   
• Sirens! When the show Sirens debuted on USA Network, I read that it was a shitty remake of a UK television series, so I didn't even bother tuning in. Then, every once in a while, somebody would mention how funny it was and how much they loved it, and I regretted not giving it a chance...

Sirens from USA Network

And then I noticed that it was recently added on Netflix.

Nothing groundbreaking... a situation comedy built around three EMTs in Chicago... but I actually find it kinda funny. So now I'm addicted to the show and binge-watching the ten episodes from the first season while adding the just-started second season to my DVR. If you're looking for a distraction from daily life, this might be worth a look (NSFW language included).

   
And... we're done. More bullets in a mere seven days.

   

Bullet Sunday 422

Posted on Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Dave!Don't let the drone surveillance get you down... because Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...

   
• Vaccinate! Classic...

And yet... the measles epidemic rages on. Thanks, Jenny McCarthy!

Jenny Stupid Fucking McCarthy

You're a horrible, horrible person.

   
• MURICA! Because nothing says "freedom" better than being able to scream "YOU'RE FIRED, FAGGOT!" when you find out that one of your employees is gay, and being 100% within the law... Arkansas has passed an anti-non-discrimination bill SB 202...

Odd Couple Promo

I've heard of legislating morality... but legislating immorality? Way to go, Arkansas. There's some terrific things about your state, but this is a fucking embarrassment. Shame on everyone who had a hand in dragging "The Natural State" back to less enlightened times.

   
• Widow! The hype machine for Avengers: Age of Ultron is really amping up, with individual character posters being released this week. Could not possibly be more excited to see this film come May...

BLACK WIDOW, BABY

Looks like Black Widow may finally... finally be getting some tech that ups her game. They showed her using a built-in taser in the last Avengers film, but that's a far cry from the "Widow's Bite" blasters she sports in the comics. I certainly hope it comes to pass, because it seems completely illogical that Tony Stark wouldn't give her some advanced weaponry to make her a stronger part of the team.

   
• Laugh? The Matthew Perry version of The Odd Couple finally debuted and it's far, far worse than I imagined. Mostly because they're using a frickin' laugh track. This idiotic and antiquated method of attempting to make unfunny crap seem hilarious is just pathetic, and only serves to underline how funny something is not to modern audiences...

Odd Couple Promo

What kills me is how Matthew Perry can't seem to find a lead role in a vehicle that's worth his talent lately. He was essential viewing in Friends, he was a revelation as Joe Quincy on The West Wing, he was bordering on genius on Studio 60, and he was terrific on The Good Wife... I even liked his movies okay. But when it comes to finding a new show, he's been rolling in shit. Mr. Sunshine was abysmal. Go On was horrific. And now there's this hot mess? Sad. Just sad.

   
• MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA! Hot on the heels of Snicker's awesome Brady Bunch/Danny Trejo mashup comes this epic art installation...

I love it when companies create ad campaigns you actually want to see. In case you missed the original commercial, here you go...

The teaser ad was equally filled with awesome...

Yep. That's advertising done right, right there.

   
• Photographic! I used to carry a pocket camera with me everywhere I went to capture those unexpected moments that are begging for a picture to be taken. Then the iPhone 4 came along with its terrific built-in camera, and I started leaving my pocket camera at home more often than not. Why bother when I can get shots like this...

Wenatchee River Fall Colors

Then the iPhone 5 was released with an even better camera, and suddenly I found myself ditching the pocket camera completely. Now that I've got an iPhone 6 with its amazing camera, I've been doing something I never thought I'd do... go on some of my travels without taking my DSLR with me. It's a mind-boggling prospect, but the shots I can get out of a frickin' camera phone are so good that it's not a much of a sacrifice at all.

This week Apple finally realized what most of us already know... the iPhone is a really good camera. And they've started a nifty ad campaign to let everybody else know it too. They've also added an amazing "World Gallery" to their website...

Shot with iPhone
Shot by Silke W. in Bali, Indonesia

A lot of people are carrying smart phone with them everywhere they go now-a-days. Which means a lot of people have a camera on them all the times. Which means a lot of photo opportunities that were once missed are being captured. It's an amazing time we live in.

   
And... I'm wrecked. See you next Sunday.

   

Photoshop One

Posted on Friday, March 13th, 2015

Dave!Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was released on February 19th, 1990 and I was there.

Lo those 25 years ago.

Well, not at the product launch, but I had a copy of the program after release which I received with a scanner I purchased in the Fall of 1990. I played around with it a few times on a Mac that was at my local library, but I was an Atari computer guy at the time, so it went largely ignored. I didn't really get into Photoshop until I first bought a Mac of my own in the Spring of 1993 (a Quadra 650). Photoshop 2.5 came bundled with a new scanner I purchased shortly thereafter, and I have been using the program ever since.

Almost daily ever since.

With the possible exception of Adobe Illustrator (which I have been using regularly since version 1.7... A.K.A. Illustrator 88), Photoshop is the single most important app in the existence of my universe. It has permeated both my personal and professional life, and I have serious trouble trying to imagine my world without it.

Which is why it's always fun to step back in time to experience Photoshop's humble beginnings. Which I do from time to time, as I have a library of old computers with their original software installed. It's even more fun to watch others give it a try... especially those who were not around at the beginning...

ONLY ONE UNDO?!?

Hah. Those were the days.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Adobe Photoshop!

   

Beale

Posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Dave!After an amazing visit and an even more amazing dinner with the amazing Faiqa and her amazing family last night, I decided to wander around Beale Street after dark... something I've never done before. And I have no idea why I've never done it before, because it's exactly the kind of thing I love to photograph.

Maybe I was waiting for the Sony A7s camera to exist, which does such an amazing job of capturing night scenes? I dunno. But with a press of a button I'm in "Vivid Color Mode" and shooting everything in sight...

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

And now I suppose I should pack my stuff and clean up before the hotel kicks me out... most possibly literally, knowing this place... so I can grab lunch and head to the airport.

Many thanks for the brief visit, Memphis. We shall meet again.

   

Lakeview

Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Dave!A much nicer day today than yesterday.

Probably because I had to leave this morning!

Since my "lakeview" room at the Hard Rock didn't have a view of the actual lake, I stopped off at a "viewpoint" along the way to see if I could get a photo of Lake Tahoe. Sure enough...

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

And here's a pano of the whole schebang...

Lake Tahoe

Beautiful, right?

But before I drove back to Reno, I returned to the Lucky Beaver for a fried egg and avocado breakfast sammy... which was amazing. Even though I had to get up at 7:00am to get one...

Lucky Beaver Fried Egg Breakfast Sammy

Anyway...

The drive was fairly uneventful. Though I did run across somebody who loves A) Scotland... and B) Clifford the Big Red Dog... very, very much...

Scotland and Clifford the Big Red Dog

Much to my surprise, I ran across a Back to the Future slot machine at the airport. I refused to waste more than $10 on the thing, so I didn't get to see much... but it was very cool just the same...

Back to the Future... THE SLOT MACHINE!

Back to the Future... THE SLOT MACHINE!

What are you lookin' at, butt-head?!

Annnnnd... so much for my trip to Reno and Lake Tahoe.

   

Alaska

Posted on Monday, May 25th, 2015

Dave!Alrighty then.

My Memorial Day was spent taking the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Whittier so I could take a glacier cruise. Something I've already done before in Glacier Bay, but that was on a cruise ship. This time I'd be on a smaller boat which can get closer to the action.

The train ride was fairly uneventful... except there were loads of noisy, obnoxious people on it, so it wasn't quite the experience I was hoping for...

Train from Anchorage to Whittier

My cruise included a vegetarian option lunch, but I've gone down this road too many times to think it's going to be something I actually want to eat. Fortunately, the train had a really good cheese pizza onboard, so I went for it as a precaution...

Train Pizza

In order to not lose my sanity from having to endure screaming kids and people in general, I mostly hung out in the gap between cars where I could take photos without any glass to obscure the scenery.

And it's some pretty nice scenery. Mud flats, forests, mountain views... it's all going on...

Alaska Railroad Journey

Alaska Railroad Journey

Alaska Railroad Journey

Just before you arrive in Whittier, you go through a couple of tunnels, the second of which is the longest railroad tunnel in North America. It has a set schedule for train and car traffic that switched direction every half-hour. The second tunnel is so long that takes about 5 minutes to get through... but when you look out the side of the train it seems much shorter because you can always see the light at the end of the tunnel. That's because it's dug so straight that there's never any obstruction...

Whittier Tunnel

Arriving in the city of Whittier, there was no time to waste. The boat was already mostly loaded by people who drove a car instead of taking the train (which is slower)...

Whittier

We were definitely not the biggest boat on the water. Princess Cruises has spent millions creating a port in Whittier from which their ships can explore Alaska...

Princess Cruises Whittier

As expected, the lunch was not my cup of tea. For one thing, it had mushrooms on it, of which I am allergic. And since I'm not a coleslaw person, that was also off the menu. The pudding wasn't chocolate, as one would hope, but instead some kind of runny rice pudding...

Boat Lunch

Fairly quickly we ran across some porpoises (or dolphins, I'm not sure which) swimming at the bow...

Flipper!

Not quite as exciting as my dolphin experience in Fiji, but pretty cool just the same.

Next up was a whale playing around on the shore line...

Shamu!

And just when you think you've seen the last of cool wildlife for the day, some bumps in the water appear...

Otter Bumps

OTTERS!!!

Otters

Otters

But what we're really here for is the glaciers, so Captain Carl wasted no time rolling right up to one...

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Being Memorial Day, the boat was at capacity, but it was never a problem. People were pretty good about taking turns getting their photos, and Captain Carl made slow sweeping turns at all the stops so everybody on both sides of the boat could take a look...

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

I never once had trouble getting to the rail to get some terrific glacier photos, which was nice...

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

All in all, the cruise I took advertised "26 glaciers in one day"... but most of them must have been off in the distance, because I only recall seeing about a dozen of them.

I could bore you with the hundreds of glacier shots I got, but they all start to look the same after a while so I'll spare you. Suffice to say I had a great time getting lots of beautiful photos.

You end the glacial tour with a stop at a trio of glaciers in one shot...

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

The trip back was pretty good too, because the scenery is so great. Waterfalls are everywhere...

GPrince William Sound Waterfall

And, if you look at the bottom of that photo, you'll see I got more than just a waterfall in the shot...

Mountain Goat of Alaska

Just chillin' for a bit. Thank heavens I bought my massively expensive zoom lens!

The weird thing about Prince William Sound is how the weather changes -literally- minute to minute. You can go from overcast and dreary to sunshine and vivd in the blink of an eye...

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Captain Carl had one last surprise before pulling back into Whittier...

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

Is that spotty rocks, or...

Glacier Cruise Alaska Prince William Sound

BIRDS!!!

Glacier Cruise Alaska Birds

Thousands of them.

And that was that. The boat docked at Whittier and my cruise was over. I had a few minutes before I had to board the return-train, so I walked through the town for a bit. Not a lot to see, but it's a beautiful place...

Whittier, Alaska

For the train ride home, the less expensive "B Car" was almost completely empty, so I gladly gave up my pricey dome car seat for some peace and quiet in the cheap seats. Usually, I would expect beautiful sunset views this time of day. But since the sun doesn't start setting here until 11:30, I had the same trip back that I had coming...

Mud Flats Anchorage

And that's a wrap.

Not a bad way to spend Memorial Day, I must say.

Hats off to Captain Carl and the crew of Klondike Express for a great five-hour tour! If you'd like to take your own "26 Glacier Tour" from Phillips Cruises, you can get more information here.

   

Bullet Sunday 437

Posted on Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Dave!Your life just got a little bit more complicated... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Married! I'm a huge fan of Murad Osmann and Natalia Zakharova's Instagram artistry. Osmann's series of photos featuring his girlfriend leading him all around the world is captivating...

Follow Me To...

Follow Me To...

Follow Me To...

Follow Me To...

Follow Me To...

Follow Me To...

And now they've gotten married!

Follow Me To...

There's plenty more of these amazing shots over at Instagram.

Congratulations to you both! I look forward to where you'll be taking us next.

   
• Dingbats! I was saddened to learn that Hermann Zapf, world-famous German typographer had died. He created some of the most beautiful typefaces ever crafted, and left a body of work that will be admired as long as we still communicate with letterforms. As noted in the article above, Zapf's favorite typeface he created is "Optima," which is one of my favorites as well. Most people probably know him best for Palatino and Zapf Dingbats, which are fonts that have been installed on a lot of computers over the years. Your artistry will be missed.

   
• Two Bits! Refusing to let a gay man to cut your hair is like refusing to let a Michelin Three Star Chef make you a sandwich. Sublimely stupid. But nobody can accuse homophobic bigots of being smart.

   
• Robertson! What a dumb fucking asshole...

With that logic, how can Pat Robertson be against abortion? Maybe abortion doctors are just an instrument of God who wants to stop the next Hitler from happening. Just die already, you heartless, vile, hypocritical, disgusting turd.

   
• GAH! Guess I'm going to be getting Alzheimer's any minute now: Poor sleep might be the mechanism that triggers Alzheimer’s memory loss.

   
• Moose! Probably the best thing I saw all week...

Hopefully more Alaskans will show some kindness for animals caught in the middle of record high temperatures.

   
So long, bullets.

   

Bullet Sunday 447

Posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Dave!Don't touch that back button... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Fighter. Before we get started... a huge thank you to the firefighters battling the very serious wildfires that have been plaguing us here in Central Washington State. The most serious being the Okanogan Complex fire, which is now the largest ever in state history (maps courtesy of the NIFC)...

Okanogan Complex Fire Map

Most of the smoke plaguing the valley where I live is from the Chelan fire, which is threatening a lot of people...

Chelan Fire Map

Three firefighters have already lost their lives. Hopefully these horrific fires will be contained before more lives are lost.

   
• Catastrophe! If you have Amazon Prime and don't mind a little adult-oriented humor, Catastrophe had me laughing all six episodes. When an American working in London accidentally gets an Irish woman pregnant, both their lives are turned up-side down...

Catastrophe Still

The show's page is right here on Amazon.

   
• Naptime! Could the solution really be this easy?

Damn. Banned in Washington State!

   
• Noiseless? I've been a huge fan of the Imagenomic app called "Noiseware" which does a pretty darn good job of removing noise from photos. Now there's a new game in town... Macphun's "Noiseless"...

It seems to get me great results with little hassle. I don't know that it can completely replace Noiseware, but I'm sure glad to have it in my Photoshop toolbox. Here's an old photo of me, BEFORE and AFTER at 200%...

Noiseless Demo

Noiseless Demo

Yeah, it looks a little soft... but at 100% it's actually useable. Here's another...

Noiseless Demo

Noiseless Demo

Night shots don't fare quite as well as photos that have enough light... you get some clumping in solid areas... but still, pretty nice work for a one-click fix.

HELPFUL HINT: If you want to save 20% on Noiseless Pro, just put the app in your cart then abandon it. Eventually you'll get an email with a 20% off code. I got one... AFTER PURCHASING THE PROGRAM... which is kind of shitty, but my loss is your gain.

   
• In-App. Looks like I'm not the only one pissed off by all these apps having stupid-ass "in-app purchases"... Apple has been running ads featuring games with NO in-app purchase...

NO IN-APP PURCHASES!

NO IN-APP PURCHASES!

I wish there was a way to turn off apps with in-app purchase so they don't even appear in the iTunes Store. I never download them.

   
• Freedom. If I ever have the opportunity to kick the ever-loving shit out of Donald Trump, please look at it NOT as a heinous act of violence, but as me making America great again.

   
And... it's too hot for more bullets. BS out!

   

Heads

Posted on Monday, August 24th, 2015

Dave!Just some random heads spotted while at an antique mall this past weekend.

SUPER CREEPY RANDOM MANNEQUIN HEADS!!!


Creepy Head Mannequins

Creepy Head Mannequins

Creepy Head Mannequins

Creepy Head Mannequins

   
AND A SUPER CREEPY CLOWN HEAD PHOTOBOMBING A BABY DOLL TOO!!!

Creepy Head Mannequins

SUPER CREEPY!!!

And now you know what will be living in my head as I ty to sleep tonight...

   

Lizard

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Dave!This was an awful day in so many ways.

I don't even want to talk about it. Instead, here's a picture of a happy lizard I took while in Australia...


Happy Australian Lizard

   

I need a vacation.

   

Weather

Posted on Friday, December 4th, 2015

Dave!I got home in the nick of time.

The weather here is getting a bit crazy.

Kinda pretty though... if you can ignore the crummy road conditions. Looks better from the air though, which I found out as I was flying home yesterday morning...

Snowy Redneckistan is Snowy

Happy Friday.

   

Bullet Sunday 455

Posted on Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Dave!Time to put the holidays behind you, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• COMICS! Ordinarily, today would be filled with my favorite comic books of 2015. But I've drastically reduced the amount of comics I'm reading because I'm just not finding the compelling reads I've found in previous years. The biggest disappointment being that we didn't get more installments of Jupiter's Legacy, whose first volume ended in a massive cliffhanger back in January. I dunno. Maybe I'll find my comic book renaissance in 2016, but I'm just not feeling it this year.

   
• GAH! As if I weren't already excited enough for the upcoming Doctor Strange film...

Doctor Strange on Entertainment Weekly

Less than a year away!

   
• FOOD! Food costs are going through the roof. Even a meager bag of groceries will cost $25 or more. My average trip to the store is running around $75. With this kind of cash involved, you can bet I'm trying to get the most for my money. Which is why I am getting sick and tired of having to throw food in the garbage because the quality is in the shitter. Latest example? I bought a box of Eggo Waffles only to find that once again they're covered in crystal frost. Even when you scrape as much as you can off, they still end up wet in spots. Gross. And a total waste of money. I can only guess that they are partially thawing at some point, then getting re-frozen. But it's not me. I'm seven minutes from the grocery store. From now on, I'm going to start seeing if I can take the shit back for a refund. If not, I'm done shopping there. Or done with the product.

   
• WINTERY! The weather has been pretty shitty this past week, but it made for a beautiful couple days this past week once the sun came back out...

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Not bad, Mother Nature, not bad at all.

   
• HOLIDAYS. It's not been a very good holiday season for me. The days from from Thanksgiving right through Christmas has been filled with sadness, loss, and more challenges than I would wish on anyone. With less than a week left in 2015, I'm ready to move on. So... let's wrap up the year with entries looking back at my favorite movies, television shows, and music... followed by a recap of the year here at Blogography, then get on with a fresh start in 2016.

   
And... the bullets have landed.

   

  Home  

spacer
Welcome:
Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Flickr Gallery:
Dave Contact:
dave@blogography.com
Blogography Webfeeds:
Entries Feed
Comments Feed
Dave Social:
Blogography Tumblr
Blogography Instagram
Blogography on Pinterest
translate me
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
free iphone app
Ask Dave iPhone App
Put Dave in your pocket with this FREE app for iPhone and iPod Touch. All life's answers await you with the Ask Dave app!
dave tweets
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
mobile photos
Visit my Flickr Page
Subscribe to my Mobile Feed
badgemania
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
license
All content copyright ©2003-2017
by David Simmer II
   
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.