Putting my best foot forward

Putting your best foot forward, even mother nature has makeup by Dan Jurak's (Dan Jurak's Alberta Landscape Photo Blog)
When taking photos, my eyes are always scanning the horizon, framing and composing in my mind. If something clicks, I stop on the side of the road and often have a half dozen DIFFERENT photos within the space of a few minutes. Would my photos be any better if I took longer and deliberately thought out and planned purposefully what I was doing? I will probably never know because while planning for one shot another three pop into my head and just as quickly they disappear.
Camera : iPhone 6, Focal length : 4.15mm, Aperture : ƒ/2.2, Shutter speed : 1/180s, ISO : 32, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 10 February, 2016,

I get the attention deficit thing. I discovered that listening to music on my phone and wireless headphones can help focus my mind. But wearing headphones means being unaware of my surroundings in situations where sight and sound are important.

One thing that frustrates me about where I love is that I see these beautiful scenes on my way to and from the office or while driving around town but the narrow-one-lane-no-shoulder country roads don’t allow for stopping and we don’t have any sidewalks here either. It can be a strange site for other motorist watching a car slow-down and stop briefly while the driver rolls down the window and stick out a DSLR camera and lens. It works only when traffic is light.

Putting my best foot forward Princeton Battlefield State Park in the Fog iPhone 6 20141029

Princeton Battlefield State Park, Princeton, New Jersey

Camera : iPhone 6, Focal length : 4.15mm, Aperture : ƒ/2.2, Shutter speed : 1/60s, ISO : 800, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 29 October, 2014,

Sometimes I get lucky and the scene unfolds before me, traffic is light, and the road actually has a shoulder. But still, there is no time to pull out a DSLR, set up a tripod, compose the shot, set camera settings etc. Sometimes, there is just enough time for a grab shot shot on the iPhone. It’s the best I can do in that moment.

Putting my best foot forward The Hudson from the HIghline iPhone 6 20140928

The Highline, New York City, New York

Camera : iPhone 6, Focal length : 4.15mm, Aperture : ƒ/2.2, Shutter speed : 1/10000s, ISO : 32, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 28 September, 2014,

Being without my Nikon1 has forced me to use my iPhone 7. The camera on the iPhone 7 is much better than the camera on my previous iPhones. But I am less happy with recent images taken with the iPhone 7 and less willing to use it in general. But by using a DSLR for most of the images I captured over the last few years, I seem to have forgotten how to compose and think through capturing images with the iPhone. Looking back through my catalogue over the last few years, I have many old iPhone images of which I am proud.

Putting my best foot forward Rodanthe Pier iPhone 20150903

Rodanthe Pier, Rodanthe, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Camera : iPhone, Focal length : 4.15mm, Aperture : ƒ/2.2, Shutter speed : 60s, ISO : 32, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 3 September, 2015,

Why am I so stuck now? Why am I not even trying? Why am I struggling to put my “best foot forward”? Have I become one of those people who think that a good photo can only be captured on expensive high-end equipment. I hope not!!

Putting my best foot forward Sunrise at Carnegie Lake iPhone 20151105

Self Portrait, Carnegie Lake, Princeton, New Jersey

Camera : iPhone, Focal length : 4.15mm, Aperture : ƒ/2.2, Shutter speed : 60s, ISO : 32, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 5 November, 2015,

For the last few weeks, while driving along Mapleton Road on the border between Plainsboro and Princeton Township, I have observed the beautiful morning sun that illuminates the expensive homes on the western side of Carnegie Lake. There is no place to stop and take a photo. But I am determined and perhaps tomorrow I will arise before dawn, drive to the southern end of Mapleton Road, park my car at the entrance to the Delaware and Raritan Canal Park Trail, and walk the trail, with the tripod and iPhone 7, north toward that area. I expect the walk will be quite cold.

Putting my best foot forward Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve iPhone 20151031

Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, Princeton, New Jersey

Camera : iPhone, Focal length : 4.15mm, Aperture : ƒ/2.2, Shutter speed : 30s, ISO : 32, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 31 October, 2015,

  1. Dropped! Broken! 
Putting my best foot forward %name

Husband, father, information security professional and avid photographer living at the junction of Princeton Township, Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill.

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Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Quotidian (Dutch goes the Photo!)
As we approach the New Year, I thought about what could be new, which led me to what we call New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Dutch: Oud en Nieuw; literally, this translates to ‘Old and New’. So, I thought that it might be interesting to take something Old and give it a new treatment.
Camera : iPhone 7, Focal length : 3.99mm, Aperture : ƒ/1.8, Shutter speed : 1/500s, ISO : 20, Captured : 30 December, 2017,

Blame it on the cold weather.

When I woke up Saturday morning there was a light snowfall with little or no snow accumulation. I had promised my wife I would take here RDX to the local service centre for an oil change. After breakfast, I drove it over to the local service centre. I had planned to leave the vehicle and ask for a ride back to my home. But when I arrived at the service centre around 9 AM, it was busy. The waiting area was full and the person taking down my information suggested it would be a few hours before the car was ready. It would take me about 30 minutes to walk home so that’s what I decided to do.

Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian Quotidian iPhone 7 20171230 8

Three Jeeps parked at the ATA Princeton Martial Arts Center.

Camera : iPhone 7, Focal length : 3.99mm, Aperture : ƒ/1.8, Shutter speed : 1/350s, ISO : 20, Captured : 30 December, 2017,

It was snowing as I walked. I decided that I could use this walk as an opportunity to complete this week’s photo challenge. I was sure I would pass many quotidian objects, some of which might be made more interesting with a cover of fresh snow.

My Nikon is broken1 but I had my everyday — quotidian — camera. The camera I always have with me. You know what they say about that. So, yes, walking home in the cold, using my quotidian camera, to snap photos of the quotidian.

Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian Quotidian iPhone 7 20171230 3

Is 1985 the identification number or the year of installation?

Camera : iPhone 7, Focal length : 3.99mm, Aperture : ƒ/1.8, Shutter speed : 1/125s, ISO : 20, Captured : 30 December, 2017,

I stopped a number of times to take photos of pine cones, footprints — mine and one other — on the sidewalk, fire hydrants, etc. Whatever I encountered. My hands started to get cold. I reach into my coat pocket for my gloves. Not there. I had left them in the car. I thought that I would be ok but as I walked along, my hands started to burn; frostbitten. But still, I kept taking photos.

I sometimes wonder if because Silicon Valley is located in California, the engineers can’t identify with use cases in other environments. When I think about how challenging it is to use a touch-only device in the winter, I wonder if any of these engineers know what it is like to be out in sub-zero weather.

Winter is the time of gloves and coats and layers. The type of gloves that provide insulation and warmth from winter air can’t be used to operate a touchscreen. The user must expose at least one hand to the biting winter air and use one cold finger to unlock the device to operate a software-based camera.

Pay attention to the Apple or Google ads. Almost all of them are filmed in situations where the weather is like spring or summer.

Most rechargeable batteries are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which don’t perform well when it’s cold outside. According to my research, batteries are like humans in that they operate best at room temperature. Performance drops along with temperatures, and most batteries stop functioning at minus 4 degrees.

According to Apple, iPhones and other iOS devices such as iPads operate most efficiently when the ambient temperature is between 0ºC (32ºF) and 32ºC (95ºF). While Cupertino temperatures or Silicon Valley in general, may never exceed this range, it is well within the realm of possibility for New Jersey.

The battery meter is calibrated assuming warmer temperatures, the reduced capacity in the cold can cause the battery to be unreliable. This is one of the reasons your phone may die while still showing 30%.

When the temperature falls below freezing — the way it has been all week in New Jersey — even charged phones can power off without warning.

Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian Quotidian iPhone 7 20171230 4

I saw many dead fallen small thin branches. I liked the way they looked in the snow.

Camera : iPhone 7, Focal length : 3.99mm, Aperture : ƒ/1.8, Shutter speed : 1/1000s, ISO : 20, Captured : 30 December, 2017,

It was -7ºC when I started my walk home. I was using the camera in my cold ungloved hands to take photos for the weekly challenge. My battery was at 92% when I started walking. My iPhone unexpectedly shut down twenty minutes into my 30-minute walk. Trying to power it back on was futile. I had managed to snap about a dozen images. Those would have to do.

I walked the remaining distance to my home in silence. Pondering about the shoe print in the snow. Next to those shoe prints were paw prints. Someone walking a dog.

The shape of the shoe print, narrow and tapered at the top, makes me think it was a woman’s fashion shoe. I wondered why a woman would go out to walk her dog in the snow in fashion shoes. It seems impractical and potentially dangerous. I saw signs that she may have slipped a few times.

Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian Quotidian iPhone 7 20171230 5

Why would anyone wear fashion shoes out in the snow to walk a dog?

Camera : iPhone 7, Focal length : 3.99mm, Aperture : ƒ/1.8, Shutter speed : 1/460s, ISO : 20, Captured : 30 December, 2017, I pondered other things.

I often see this Apple Watch commercial which shows a man jogging through a park in what appears to be excellent weather, using Siri to update his appointments. Have Apple tested Siri on a subway platform or a busy Manhattan or Boston or Philly street. Ambient noise levels are high, Siri doesn’t do well.

Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian Quotidian iPhone 7 20171230 2

Salisbury Road

Camera : iPhone 7, Focal length : 3.99mm, Aperture : ƒ/1.8, Shutter speed : 1/1500s, ISO : 20, Captured : 30 December, 2017,

I tried telling Siri to update my appointments in the way shown in the ad and Siri could only tell me that the appointment could not be found. It seems I have to be very specific. “Siri, reschedule my 9 AM appointment on Sunday, December 31st” may work but I have to know that I have a 9 AM appointment on a specific date. How would you do that without looking at your calendar? You can just ask Siri. I wish I could just say, “Siri, reschedule my appointment with the service centre”. Does Google do a better job? I don’t know.

Yes, I know it’s early stages of this stuff and that it will get better. That one day, Siri will be quotidian software.

Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian Quotidian iPhone 7 20171230

This is most likely the most quotidian object I saw on my walk home from the service centre.

Camera : iPhone 7, Focal length : 3.99mm, Aperture : ƒ/1.8, Shutter speed : 1/1500s, ISO : 20, Captured : 30 December, 2017,

Today (Sunday) I repeated the experience. My Honda also needed an oil change. I dropped my car off at the service centre and walked back home. The outdoor temperature this morning is -16ºC. I didn’t use the camera.


  1. It works intermittently if I shake it, but it is broken in a way that makes it unreliable. 
Oud en Nieuw and Quotidian %name

Husband, father, information security professional and avid photographer living at the junction of Princeton Township, Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill.

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Electric Boogaloo

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Pets by Frank Jansen (Dutch goes the Photo!)
Enough warmth to melt snow!
Camera : X100F, Focal length : 23mm, Aperture : ƒ/4, Shutter speed : 1/220s, ISO : 12800, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 24 December, 2017,

Growing up in the West Indies we always had pets. We had dogs, cats, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, and turtles. We were a pet loving family. When my wife and I were first married I had several fish tanks with Discus and freshwater Angelfish. Both are from the South American Cichlidae family. I love Cichlids. I think they are among the most intelligent fish. The tanks — I had two — were set up with high volume biological filters and live plants. I lost both tanks — lingo for all the fish died — while on a weekend vacation. Despite my explicit instructions on overfeeding, the person I left to care for my tanks couldn’t resist. “They looked so hungry”. Sigh.

My daughter has had some recent traumatic experience with pets of her own so we were pet free until recently. Then we bought a fish. A Betta splendens that she has named, Electric Boogaloo. I think Boogie is good therapy for her. She fusses over him, making sure his water is clean, that he only eat what’s needed, and get the right amount of light.

It is challenging to take photos of a fish. Especially through the glass. The auto-focus worked against me.

Electric Boogaloo Electric Boogaloo X100F 20171224 2 1600x1067

Kiran’s fish, Electric Boogaloo

Camera : X100F, Focal length : 23mm, Aperture : ƒ/4, Shutter speed : 1/110s, ISO : 12800, Credit : Khürt L. Williams, Captured : 24 December, 2017,
Electric Boogaloo %name

Husband, father, information security professional and avid photographer living at the junction of Princeton Township, Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill.

Montgomery Township, New Jersey, United States of America

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