REO Speed Wagon Truck
REO Speed Wagon Truck | Sunday 30 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1/400 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 3200

REO Speed Wagon

Monday

Nomad Pizza
Nomad Pizza | Monday 24 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 24.9 mm | 1/140 sec at f/11 | ISO 800

Except for two local online newspapers, most of the feeds in my RSS reader are written about cyber-security, photography, and Formula 1 racing. However, what I find interesting is how I sometimes stumble upon posts in photography related blogs that lead me to discover other exciting things to read. Although, usually, that blog would be The Online Photographer this morning’s discovery was unexpected.

I read an article in Steven Schwartzman blog that quoted another article by Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro professors at Northwestern University who wrote a thoughtful but short editorial about the value of free speech in a free society.

For the most part, our thinking should remain open to persuasion. Living in echo chambers where our views are only ever reinforced by friends and the media does a disservice to us all. Ideological segregation, like any other kind, promotes the demonization of the excluded.

Gary Saul Morson is the Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities and Slavic languages and literature professor at Northwestern University. Morton Schapiro is president and a professor of economics. Their latest book is Minds Wide Shut: How the New Fundamentalisms Divide Us.

Tuesday

Wild Geranium
Tuesday 25 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm | 1/125 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 3200

I looked at my calendar this morning and felt a pang of anxiety and dread. There is little to no room for thoughtful introspection and critical thinking. It’s all go-go-go. I could barely schedule a lunch break, and there’s no time in the schedule for an afternoon stretch and mental health break.

Our team was assigned more projects to assess this week, and I was given two more, bringing my total to thirteen. During our one on one, the manager commented that I was perhaps at capacity.


Tuesday 25 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 51.6 mm | 1/280 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 3200

Bhavna saw me struggling to finish up my last meeting of the day, which ended around 5:30 PM. I was mentally exhausted. While I ate dinner, she suggested a walk on the trail through Autumn Hill Preserve. One part of the trail starts on Blue Spring Road in Montgomery Township. It runs over into Princeton Township before splitting off and looping around. I was refreshed by being in the woods surrounded by trees, shrubs and ferns and the sweet smell of early summer. One of the things we like about this trail is that the trailhead on Blue Spring Road is within walking distance of our home.

Tuesday 25 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm | 1/110 sec at f/8.0 | ISO 6400

Wednesday

I have been thinking about 1980s film cameras and how they don’t record any meta-data about the photograph. Except for GPS coordinates, a modern digital camera will record everything about a picture. For example, my Fuji X-T2 records time, date, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, metering mode, exposure bias, pixel resolution, distance to subject, whether the camera fired a flash, make and model of lens, and of course, make and model of the camera. That information is written directly into the image file meta-data.

When I remove a roll of film from one of my film cameras, the only thing I know for sure is the film information and the make and model of the camera. I have three undeveloped rolls of film on my desk, and I have only a faint idea of which camera I used. Suppose I don’t save that information somewhere. In that case, whether it’s one roll of or three when the film scans are sent to me by the developer, usually online or via USB flash drive, none of the information about the film is included. All I get is a set of numbered images. As a result, I have had to rely on memory.

Alphie
Alphie enjoying a nap in his chair | Wednesday 26 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm | 2.3 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 200

I had used the Film Rolls iOS app to manually record, view and export my shooting data for each film roll and frame. But the developer has not updated the app, and it no longer works. iOS 14.5 was the last version of iOS where the app works. So I looked for a new app, but I have yet to find one that is as easy to use as Film Rolls.

I put a roll of Vision 250D in my Minolta a few weeks ago and starting shooting the roll as I please. With film, I never had an automated way to record meta-information. When I’m using the camera, stopping to record the shooting conditions interrupts my focus (no pun intended) on composition and lighting. I think I will be ok simply knowing which camera and what roll of film was used. I can live without documenting the rest.

I know we work in what can be seen as a very fickle, trend-obsessed medium, and it’s vital to stay relevant. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to work the way everybody else does. For example, currently, there is an obsession with shooting on film, which would make me run the opposite way.

Authenticity doesn’t come from the kit or technique you use but from your mind. So stay true to who you are. Professional photographer John “Rankin” Waddell in Amateur Photographer

Thursday

I have been thinking about quitting my new job. I’m putting in more hours than I want, and the pace is too hectic, and I no time for deep thinking. The manager added two new meetings to the weekly schedule for the security architects. I now have a conference call at 11 AM, one at noon, and one at 1 PM. Lunch? What’s that?

I sent him a short email explaining that with my diabetes, skipping lunch is not feasible and may have long term negative health impacts. Staying seated at a desk for long periods during the day may cause tension in muscles, pain in joints and can weaken hip and core muscles, which can, in turn, lead to other problems with muscles and joints. This also leads to increased stress levels from not having a break and from interruptions during eating.

Information security is a stressful profession. We need time to refresh to perform at our best.


Today marks eighteen years since the very first release of WordPress. ~ WordPress 18

I started with WordPress in 2003. Over the years, I tried other platforms such as Radio Userland, Moveable Type, Blogger, and LiveJournal, but I always returned to WordPress.

This is exciting news for Automattic.


Carnegie Lake
Carnegie Lake | Monday 4 May, 2015 | Nikon D5100 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1/160 sec at f/10 | ISO 100

This original image was captured on the Western side of Carnegie Lake in Princeton in May 2015. After tweaking in Adobe Lightroom, I pulled the image into Luminar AI and then used the Sky AI to replace the flat washed-out sky.

I love that the tool is smart enough to add the reflection in the water. The reworked image is below.

Carnegie Lake
Carnegie Lake | Monday 4 May, 2015 | Nikon D5100 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1/160 sec at f/10 | ISO 100

Friday

Electronic ballot return (EBR)–casting ballots over the internet–is known to be insecure and not securable by any known technology. Nevertheless, many people would like to vote, paperless, on their computers or smartphones–and if it were possible to do so securely and fairly and with equal access, I might want to as well.

Even though it’s impossible to make secure, the argument is sometimes advanced that we need EBR to accommodate voters with disabilities. But the Rutgers opinion surveys (quoted above) show that voters with disabilities are less likely than other voters to want this.

You might argue, nonvoters with disabilities need this to become voters. But the Rutgers opinion surveys show that nonvoters with vision impairment are less likely to want EBR than other nonvoters. And nonvoters with other disabilities are about as likely to want EBR as nonvoters without disabilities. So I think these arguments–that voters with disabilities wish to and need EBR—are unsupported by evidence. ~ Accommodating voters with disabilities by Andrew Appel for Freedom to Tinker.

Someday.

After reading the article, the first thing I thought was that “I’ve never seen this done at any bar or brewery tap room”.

Do you see all of those tiny bubbles attached to the inside of your glass? That is not a good thing. Those bubbles are alerting you that there is some foreign substance in the glass. It could be soap, food particles, oils from your fingers, or something more sinister. If you see bubbles, your glass is most likely not clean. Here is the best way we found to clean your beer glass to drink your favourite beer. ~ How to clean a beer glass


Since it seems I won’t be doing too much outdoor photography this month, I took a look back at photographs I made in past years. Looking back through the years, I see a pattern. I captured most of my favourite pictures during May and November during personal or group photo walks, and I was very much into landscape photography.

Ken Lockwood Gorge
Ken Lockwood Gorge | Monday 25 May, 2015 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 18 mm | 15.0 sec at f/14 | ISO 100

I captured the image above during a 2015 family picnic on the large boulders that line this four-kilometre stretch of the Raritan River’s South Branch through Ken Lockwood Gorge. This was not my first visit to the gorge. My first visit was in March 2014 during a late winter Photowalk with the Somerset County Photography Meetup hosted by professional Loren Fisher. If I remember correctly, I think Ed Velez was with me on that Photowalk.

The image is an HDR image created in Photomatix from three images, bracketed one stop apart. I imported the original images to Adobe Lightroom from frames captured on my Nikon D5100 and AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens. I pulled the existing HDR image into Luminar AI. I used the CompositionAI to automatically adjust the composition, crop, and perspective.

Sunday

Today is the start of Lens-Artists Challenge #150: Let’s Get Wild. Again, I think the intent is to showcase wilderness.

noun:
an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.

No part of Somerset, Mercer or Hunterdon County could be considered inhospitable, and very little of it is uncultivated or uninhabited. Like other New England states, New Jersey is one of the original thirteen European colonies and one of the most developed due to its age and proximity to New York City and Philadelphia. So, while I do have access to nearby woodland, it’s undoubtedly not inhospitable, and very little of it is uninhabited. In addition, the woods in this area are valued for their well-maintained nature trails and streams. On some trails, you may even find the remnants of early European settlements.

Only two areas of New Jersey classify as wilderness, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939, and Barnegat National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1967. In 1984 the National Wildlife Service combined refuges to create the larger Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Although the refuge consists of more than 39,000 acres, less than 7,000 acres in the southern division in Brigantine qualify as wilderness.

I visited the Brigantine section of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in January of this year and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in November 2016. From a photography perspective, both of these field trips were a disappointment. I was sure I would see more birds, but April to July are the best months to visit these wildlife areas, not January and November. The field trip to Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge yielded only a few photographs. The winter field trip to the Brigantine section of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge was similarly disappointing.

I’ll attempt to complete the blog post with my trip to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and post it for Lens-Artists Challenge #150: Let’s Get Wild.

It’s not quite a wilderness, but in the Spring of 2019, I was fortunate to photograph some of the migratory Warblers in the southern part of New Jersey.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler | Sunday 19 May, 2019 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 1/500 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 4000

I’ve known Tejus since he was born, and I knew his parents for several years before that. Tejus was born in August 1999, just three months after my eldest, Shaan, was born. He’s grown into a fine young man. The last few years, he has spent the summer with his grandparents, sometimes in Pune, India, and sometimes in Mauritius, so we’ve celebrated his birthday in late May, close to Shaan’s Birthday. The global pandemic precluded celebrating his 21st birthday. We are vaccinated against the VID, so even though Shaan and Tejus are 22 this year, we’re making up for time lost.

Nomad Pizza
Nomad Pizza | Sunday 30 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1/80 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 3200

Bhavna’s sister, Nilima, offered to host on her deck and backyard. Tejus mom, Ami, had arranged for catering from Nomad Pizza in Hopewell. When we arrived, the staff prepared the pizza in a wood-fired brick oven mounted on a 1949 REO Speed Wagon, the same truck that gave its name to rock and roll music quintet.

REO Speed Wagon Truck
REO Speed Wagon Truck | Sunday 30 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1/400 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 3200

Ami assumed warm weather for the end of May when she arranged for the pizza truck and didn’t consider many cicadas awakening after 17 years! Instead, Nilima’s deck was covered with the carcass of these giant insects, and a cold front brought cold rain.

Sunday 30 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1/60 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 6400

Nilima’s husband, Mukesh, opened up the doors to the garage and fired up the outdoor gas fireplace. Tejus and I made cocktails, alternating between Jamaican rum punch, mojitos and margaritas. I enjoyed a slice of pepperoni, but the hot soppressata slice was divine.

After the pizza truck left, we moved inside to sing Happy Birthday for Shaan and Tejus.

Despite the change in weather, we had fun. I think we all missed being together, and this event was an excellent kickoff to a summer filled with more family gatherings.

Left to right: Tejus, Shaan, Rahul
Left to right: Tejus, Shaan, Rahul | Sunday 30 May, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1/125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 5000

4 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your week – with its challenges and well as the joys. I can only imagine working seated in front of the computer all day is excruciating – I can’t sit still for more than 10 min.

    I love the family celebration – thank you for sharing the images and snippets of the time you had together. These are the very important things which we miss given the crazy situation we find ourselves.

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