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   Mill house, Midway Village & Museum Center, Rockford, Illinois

1 comment has been made.

From Kristy


May 23, 2006 at 11:48 PM

Thats just awesome. I want to live there. It looks so peaceful. Capture that feeling in a jar and leave it on my desk please.
Dark skys

Dark skys

   A challenging bike ride today.  Our original plan was to make a very long trip, but looking at the weather radar we decided against it.  So, I plotted out a 15 mile circuit, ate an energy bar, drank a bunch of water, loaded up the bike and got underway.  There was a strong wind coming out of the north, so we started heading north first.  Although it was sunny, I could see dark clouds on the horizon.  We began heading west when the sun disappeared into the clouds.  Then, one of the strongest guests of wind I've ever encountered hit me.  I had to stop along side the road and try to keep standing-- it was really something.  It died down pretty quick, but the stronger north wind prevailed after that, creating a strong slide load as I continued west.  After a few miles, I began heading south, and with the tail wind was sustaining speed of 20+ MPH.  However, a set of dark clouds was coming at me.  I knew it wouldn't be long before it started to rain.  My journey south went very quickly with the assistance of the tail wind, and I hit 30 MPH on flat ground at one point.  It's when I started heading east I began feeling regularly sprinkles.  About half way through my west stretch, I was being steadily pelted with rain.  But, there wasn't much water— it just hit hard from the strong northern wind.  Just before County D meets County Q, I saw some sunglasses laying on the side of the road.  They were the type that curve around your eyes, which was precisely what I needed.  I grabbed them and although they are a little dark, I'm happy I found them— especially for the end of our trip.  Our last leg of the trip would be a few miles back north.  Luckily for me, this was sort of in town, and a had a lot of tree cover to help break the wind.  The last mile of my trip, I was more in the open and the rain was increasing.  I was pretty damp, but I wasn't soaked.  It rained for an other 20 minutes before the sun came out again.
   My speeds today were much higher then normal.  The total trip was 16.3 miles, which took about 70 minutes.  That means my average speed was almost 14 MPH.  My total travel distance for the day is 19.3 miles.  Before taking the 16 mile trip, I went to Rockford to have the tire liners installed I ordered.  I'm hoping they will assist in cutting back the number of flats I get.  Then, I had to get a new cellphone, since mine broke close to 2 months ago.  They said it would take 20 minutes to transfer my phone book from one phone to the other.  I don't know how it takes this long do to such a thing, but I decided since I had my bike in the back, I'd take a ride.  I started off in a residential area and came across a park with a paved walking/bike path.  It was part of Midway Village & Museum Center and a nice random find.  So I did 3 1/4 miles there, only to find out they couldn't get my phone book to transfer to the new phone.  (I highly dislike needing a cellphone, and this experience only emphasizing that dislike.)

2 comments have been made.

From Kristy


May 23, 2006 at 11:49 PM

This makes me miss my storm chasin' days down south!

From Zen

May 24, 2006 at 8:32 AM

if you still have both phones, transfer the phonebook yourself. it's way quicker and free. just get a usb cable (~$5 on ebay and you can charge your phone via usb as a bonus)
   Tazz and I traveled to Rotary Gardens for a drizzly photo-shoot.  The weather the last several days have been chilly, overcast and rainy.  None the less, we thought we'd try getting some shots of raindrops on flowers.  Of the 195 shots, I saved only 13.  The overcast skies did not make for good landscape shots, but the macro photos turned out alright.  Color correction was an issues.  Most of the time the sky was overcast, but there were occasional breaks in the clouds.  Getting good color was just not wanting to happen.
  For the shoot, Tazz let me uses his EF-S 17-85mm F4-F5.6 IS lens. This is a really nice lens and I wouldn't mind having it as my primary lens in place of the EF-S 18-55mm. You loss .5 f/stops, but the benefits of the lens out weight the loss in speed. Tazz was shooting with his new EF 24-105mm f/4L IS.

May 13, 2006

2 years of digital SLR photography



   It was precisely 2 years ago today I started doing digital photography using an SLR camera. I've now taken more then 35,000 pictures using two SLR cameras; the Canon D300 (aka. Digital Rebel) and the Canon D20. Of those pictures, I've made almost 3,500 proofs-- so about 10% of the pictures I take are used. 
   In August of 2002, I bought my first digital camera.  It was a Aiptek "PenCam", a 1.3 megapixel camera a little larger then a pack of gum.  Pior to this, most of the pictures I had to work with came from scans of photographs, captures off video and other people.  Compared to some of the digital cameras I'd worked with in the past (cameras that only had resolutions of 640x480), this little camera took great pictures.  The PenCam really caught my eye—high pixel count and dirt cheap ($70 at the time, which was amazing for a digital camera).  It was so cheap, buying it was a no-brainier.
   I took over 1,100 shots with this tiny device.  In June of 2003, I started riding bike regularly, during which the PenCam road along.  This is where I started stitching several pictures together to make large panoramic shots.  It worked and I remember being pleased with the results.  Ever since I had my first computer, I had done graphic work and it's has always been something I've enjoyed doing.  Taking pictures was then just a source of images to manipulate—especially for my fractal site.  It was biking around that summer in 2003 when I started becoming interested in doing more photography.
   The more I shot with the PenCam, the more I knew I was out growing my toy pretty quick.  Each picture took about 5 seconds to capture and almost everything had to be shot panoramic.  You pretty much had to have daylight and battery life wasn't great.  But above all, a large amount of work was required to clean up the resulting pictures.  There was a lot of noise and the colors were often way off.
   Most digital cameras at the time were going for around $300 or more, and I was willing to spend this.  I wanted something that would take good pictures, but I wasn't sure how dedicated a photographer I would become.  I started looking into various cameras and the Canon Digital Rebel grabbed my attention right away.  It was the site dpreview that sold me.  There, I found not only a good description of the camera, but test pictures it had taken and comparisons to other cameras.  I knew the Rebel was what I was looking for, but it'd take an other 6 months of mulling over the idea before I decided to spend $800 for this purchase.  I'm still very happy I did.
   Pictured is Amanda, shot 174, taken the day my Canon D300 arrived.