Wasting the day

It seems as though the state of new jersey is closed on days when all my friends are working. They are at work and I have a day to do whatever I like except spend time doing fun things with friends. Like, drive down to a lighthouse early in the morning to take photos at sunrise.

My original plan for an early morning trip to the East Point Lighthouse in Heislerville. Photographing the lighthouse has been on my to-do list all summer ever since I found a photograph on Flickr. I think the lighthouse would be great during the morning and evening golden hours. My plan was to get there about 30 minutes before the start of the golden hour, shoot for about an hour, and then go find breakfast. It would have been an interesting way to spend the morning.

Instead, I drove my son to the high school for “senior sunrise”. I saw the sun come up as I drove home. I just didn’t want to go if I didn’t have anyone with me. Thinking about it left me in a funk.

That feeling worsened as I sat at the computer reading email and checking out social media. I felt I was wasting the day. But of course, I was. I was just sitting here when I could be “doing” … something.

Bhavna called while I was out shooting in Kingston. We had lunch at Midpoint, a newish Middle Eastern restaurant in Skillman. We had a good lunch and chatted for a short while. I’m now sitting on the couch watching cheesy science fiction.

Maybe later, I’ll drive out to Clinton. I’d like some evening images of the Red Mill Museum Village. Maybe I’m wasting the day. I wish I had someone with whom I wish to share my day. I wouldn’t feel like it was being wasted.

Sunday Reading List

The internet of things (IoT) is polluted.

The market can’t fix this because neither the buyer nor the seller cares. Think of all the CCTV cameras and DVRs used in the attack against Brian Krebs. The owners of those devices don’t care. Their devices were cheap to buy, they still work, and they don’t even know Brian. The sellers of those devices don’t care: they’re now selling newer and better models, and the original buyers only cared about price and features. There is no market solution because the insecurity is what economists call an externality: it’s an effect of the purchasing decision that affects other people. Think of it kind of like invisible pollution. Security Economics of the Internet of Things

The last mambabatok is over 99 years old. How will she preserve her culture?

I don’t have an office.

In the 1990s I worked in an office with an open floor plan. No walls. Shared desk space. Glass conference rooms. I quit after 11 months. It was the most stressful place I’ve ever worked.

Here’s why I work in an office: when I’m around other people — it doesn’t matter who they are — I feel a constant low-simmering level of anxiety. And I find it extremely difficult to be productive when I feel any level of anxiety at all.Source: inessential: Open Floor Plans

Water pump

Our family have been members of the honey brook organic farm CSA for several years. I think it may be over a decade. When the kids were younger, we thought it was a good way to teach them where food really comes from. That it wasn’t something that comes wrapped in a cellophane or a cardboard box. We wanted them to learn that farming was difficult hard work. They learned that by being out in the heat and humidity of summer picking berries and tomatoes. And they disliked being buzzed by bees and other insects.

I have photographed the farm for almost as long as we have been members. I have photographed everything including the fields, flowers, the kids picking in the fields, the farm stands, etc. At least so I thought.

I captured this image of the water pump this Sunday. I have seen this water pump many times before but I think this is the first time I have focused on capturing it in some form. There was water dripping from a hose attached to a pump in the back. I took three exposure bracketed images which I combined into and HDR image in Photomatix Pro. I then applied a preset which I created earlier this summer.

The priest is the following.

  • Contrast to 100
  • Highlights to 100
  • Shadows to 100
  • Whites to -39
  • Blacks to 24
  • and Vibrance to 33

I just like what it does to images. I created the preset while people king around in Adobe Lightroom. It really pushes the colours. What do you think?

  • Aperture:ƒ/10
  • Camera:NIKON D5100
  • Focal Length:11mm
  • ISO:100
  • Shutter speed:1/125s

Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row at Night

One weekend this summer, I was on a photography field trip to Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Our guide, Richard Sherman, obtained private access to Boathouse #4 and, early in the evening, to a launch boat (the little boats used by coaches) from which two photographers at a time were able to shoot the boathouses and Philly skyline from a different perspective.

Philadelphia’s iconic “Boathouse Row” offers photographers a variety of colorful and interesting subjects, including the restored Fairmount Water Works, skyline shots of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the 19th-century boat houses and rowing shells along the Schuylkill River.

We had private access to Boathouse #4 and, early in the evening, to a launch boat (the little boats used by coaches) from which two photographers at a time will be able to shoot the boathouses and Philly skyline from a different perspective. From the launch boat, I got a unique water view of the boathouses. Some members of one of the boathouses were celebrating with dinner on the veranda.

The launch boat took us along the Schuylkill toward the lighthouse on Turtle Rock. This lighthouse was built in 1887 to aid traffic on the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The view of the lighthouse from the launch boat was awesome. I was capturing some images of the lighthouse and zoomed in for a close-up when I noticed this couple basking in the glow of the late afternoon sun.

It seems that some debris came down the river and collected in an area in front of the boathouses. It formed a small island which has become inhabited by some ducks. The island also blocks the flow of water leading to the growth of a greenish plant. The ducks seem to like swimming in it.

I love this image. The instructor came running over to me. I had my camera pointed toward the Fairmount Water Works. He said, “Khürt, look up to your left”. I wish I had a pano head.

Boathouse Row, Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.??The instructor came running over to me. I had my camera pointed toward the Fairmount Water Works. He said, "Khürt, look up to your left". I wish I had a pano head.

The class had opportunities to exercise all our photographic muscles, from photographing people to shooting architectural details, from wide panoramas to close-ups, from high F-stops to shallow depth-of-field, from dynamic hand-held street shots to using tripods during “blue night” to capture the boathouses and their reflections on the water.

Boathouse Row just after the sun went away for the day. I was trying to expose for the foreground and the sky.

Boathouse Row just after the sun went away for the day. I was trying to expose for the foreground and the sky.

When the sun had disappeared completely for the day, the lights were turned on at Boathouse Row on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, just north of the Fairmount Water Works and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

  • Aperture:ƒ/6.3
  • Camera:NIKON D5100
  • Taken:20 August, 2016
  • Focal Length:300mm
  • ISO:100
  • Shutter speed:1/320s

Using Instagram WordPress Embeds

WordPress makes it easy to embed Instagram content. All I have to do is to copy the Instagram URL of the media page and paste it on its own line in the WordPress editor. For example:


This will display the following image.

By default, the URL embeds the largest size of the image available, which is currently 1080px. However, I can also use a WordPress shortcode with modifiers to remove the caption or manually specify the width. The benefit of using the short code is that I don’t have to use it on a line by itself. For example:

[instagram url=https://www.instagram.com/p/BJKqKAnBKdo/ hidecaption=true width=960]

The WordPress documentation has more information on how to use and customize embedded posts.

Here are more examples using some of my recent images.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York #NewYork #Saugerties #Lighthouse #Brick #Sky

A photo posted by Khürt Williams (@khurtlwilliams) on

The Rock Brook During a Flash Flood The Rock Brook During a Flash Flood. We had a lot of rain fall in a very short period -- about 1 HR -- this past weekend. A few of the streams filled to capacity and were on the verge of overflowing their banks. The iPhones in the house were screaming as various apps displayed a flash flood warning. Of course this provided the perfect opportunity to drive out to one of the Rock Brook along Hollow Road in Skillman, New Jersey and grab some "moving water" shots. I met another woman out with her camera near the bridge from Grand View. I admit I put the tripod in a "difficult" spot to get this shot. NIKON CORPORATIONNIKON D5100 15.0 sec at ƒ / 10 ISO 100 Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8 #skillmanNJ #MontgomeryTownship #NewJersey #Water #Trees #Leaves #Branch #LongExposure

A photo posted by Khürt Williams (@khurtlwilliams) on

The Red Mill Museum @psarma was justified in staying home. The heat and humidity were exhausting. The outdoor temperature soared to about 98ºF but with the humidity, it felt more like 104ºF. But Ed and I persevered and got some good shots of the Red Mill Museum from multiple angles. We attempted some street photography but we succumbed to the heat and ended up at a local cafe for ice coffee and scones. I created a pano with my Nikon mounted in portrait mode and swiveled the base of the ballhead. I'm surprised it came out as well as it did. I expected a lot more distortion. The Tokina has some slight distortion when shooting at 16mm ( ~ 24mm full frame) and I was shooting of the axis of the camera body which added some additional distorting. Nothing that could be fixed in Lightroom. NIKON D5100 4.0 sec at ƒ / 10, ISO 100 16 mm (Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II 11-16mm F2.8) #Clinton #RedMill #Museum #Summer #Sky #Blue #water #rocks #njisntboring #NewJersey #ClintonNJ #Red #HunterdonArtMuseum

A photo posted by Khürt Williams (@khurtlwilliams) on