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Replied to Tuesday Photo Challenge – Stones by Frank Jansen (Dutch goes the Photo!)
Welcome to Week 75 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge. Many of you joined the dark side of the challenge last week with great entries that had creativity to spare! For the 75th installment of the Tuesday photo challenge, I noticed that it’s getting harder to come up with fresh, new themes. But fear...
  NIKON D5100  @ 24mm  , ISO 1250  , 1/250s  , ƒ/4  on 24 September, 2017  Copyright © 2017 Khürt L. Williams 

What is a stone?

It’s a unit of measure. The stone or stone weight is an English and imperial unit of mass now equal to 14 pounds (6.35029318 kg). My body weight (Earth) is approximately 11.4 stone.

Stone also refers to a solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids. Rocks are stones.

It may also refer — in the plural — to the assemblage of English musicians into a rock and roll band or the assemblage of pages and images into weekly periodically about music and popular culture. Was that a pun?

Stone silence on that question. Wait, that was a pun?

My town of Skillman in Montgomery Township lays at the base of the Sourland Mountain, a 27km long ridge extending from the Delaware River in Lambertville to the western end of Hillsborough Township, through Montgomery Township, and into Hopewell Township.

The Sourland Mountain and the area around it are full of hard igneous rock called diabase. The diabase is a type of highly erosion resistant stone known as trap rock.

In the sixteen years that I have lived in Skillman, I have photographed many various sections of the Sourland Mountain including my favourite spot, the Rock Brook. But there are other areas that I wanted to explore for this photo challenge.

Stones Stones 20170924 4  NIKON D5100  @ 24mm  , ISO 5600  , 1/250s  , ƒ/4  on 24 September, 2017  Copyright © 2017 Khürt L. Williams 

On private property along Rileyville Road in East Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, a series of three large rocks sit on top of another boulder large enough to hold them. Legend claims that many years ago three brothers decided to meet the Devil, overcome him and rid the area of his presence once and for all. But, as it turned out, they were no match for the Evil One who surprised them, turning them into stone on the spot where we still see them sitting today at Three Brothers Rock.

The European’s who settled the area shared a penchant for naming areas after the Devil himself, for example, the boulder fields called Devil’s Featherbed and a collection of huge boulders along the hiking trails in the Sourland Mountain Preserve called Devil’s Half Acre.

Bhavna’s was tired from attending the Bruno Mars concert last night. I was hoping she’ll join me in hiking the eight-kilometer (~ 5 miles) Ridge Trail from the trailhead at Eastern Mountain Road in Hillsborough Township, along Maple Flats and up the boardwalks into Montgomery Township toward Roaring Rocks, then continue along the Roaring Brook trail over the Texas Eastern Pipeline toward Devil’s Half Acre before heading back down to the trailhead.

Instead, I contacted my friend Prasanna who was happy to get out on a hike with me. We hike hikes for just over two hours. We didn’t stick to the planned route. We skipped the outbound trail to Devil’s Half-Acre and instead returned to the trailhead via the pipeline. It was just a bit too warm and humid for us. We were sweaty and sticky.

Stones Stones 20170924 3  NIKON D5100  @ 24mm  , ISO 4000  , 1/250s  , ƒ/4  on 24 September, 2017  Copyright © 2017 Khürt L. Williams 

Stones Khurt Williams black hiresdesktop copy 1

Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.

Shooting with the Tribe

After the last few months of winter, I am happy the weather has turned warmer and brighter. The landscape has also turned more colourful with fresh shades of green. I am taking the opportunity, despite severe allergies, to be outside. With my camera. The family and I have been on two hiking trips and by myself, I have wandered off into the woods with my tripod and Nikon. But, for me, being outside and about with fellow photographers, talking shop, exchanging tips and learning from each other; nothing beats that. This is my tribe.

This morning I spend two hours walking through the beautiful grounds of the Leonard J. Buck Gardens in Far Hills. I car-pooled with Anjana and John. And of course, Terry showed up. I can’t wait for the next one.

I decided to get down low for this. I shot mostly with my Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 but captured a few things with my Nikkor 85mm f/1.8. The rest of the photo set is on my Flickr.

My Photo in a Juried Photo Exhibit? NIKON D80 20120512

I submitted three of my images for a juried photo exhibit to benefit the Adult Day Center of Somerset County. The organizer for the Somerset County Photography meetup, Loren Fisher, is organizing the exhibit. Loren suggested a donation of 20% of the proceeds to the center.

The exhibit will open May 5, 2015 and photos will hang through July 31. The night of the show opening ( 6-8 p.m. ), light refreshments and appetizers will be served. Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Matt Rainey will be the guest speaker.

Finding an image to submit was not easy. I have captured a lot of images over the last five years and while my photography has improved with time, I have some favorites that may not be “my best work”. These are images that I enjoy myself but may not be the best from a technical perspective. In any case, I set aside my reservations about being judged and after several days and hours I selected three images and send them off for consideration. The image above, Water Skimmer, was the one chosen to be framed and hung at the center. It’s an image I captured back in May 2012 using a borrowed Nikon D80.

That was the easy part. Loren emailed me letting me know which image was selected and reminded me of the deadline for providing a framed print. I panicked but then remembered that Loren had written a blog post with guidance on preparing my photo for the exhibit.

Loren recommended a 16″x20″ frame with a 11″x14″ mat and 11″x14″ print. He recommended some inexpensive options for obtaining and framing but I wanted to do it “right”. I have only framed print for use at home. The results I would produce may be fine for a home but I felt I needed to step it up a notch for public viewing. I wanted to offer potential buyers with my best. I settled on two options, a print from Mpix Pro and framing by Michael’s.

I called Michael’s and they gave me a framing quote for a 16″x20″ frame with a 11″x14″ mat. The price quote assumed they would mount the image for me. The price I was quoted was $160 if I had the right coupons or $399.00 without coupons. Yikes! I was hoping to sell my image for $150. Either of these options would lead to a loss. Take out 20% for donation to the center and the loss is significant even with the discounted framing costs.

I then tried Mpix Pro. I have an account with them but rarely used it. I think I’ve placed one order with them since 2013. I recalled that their software, ROES, wasn’t easy to use and I was right. I couldn’t get the ROES software to install on my Mac under my standard account. After reading the documentation on Mpix’s web site and several failed attempts I decided to follow a hunch. I attempted to install the ROSE software under the OS X administrator account. ROES installed and ran with no issues. I uninstalled ROES, upgraded my standard OS X user account administrator and attempted to install the ROES software. That worked too. So it seems the ROES software will not install or run on OS X 10.10.3 unless the user account has administrator rights. That stopped me right there.

<rant>
What sort of piece of shit software is Mpix pushing on people? Why, in 2015, is professional desktop software being written in Java? Please add some funds to your R&D budget so that customers can upload TIFF or DNG image and order prints or other products directly from your web site. If you can do it for Mpix.com then why not for Mpix Pro?

</rant>

I was so irritated by using ROES that I even though I had already added several items to the shopping cart, I closed the software and ordered a framed print from Mpix (not Mpix Pro). I ordered an 11″x14″ E-Surface print with a black flat frame, white mat behind non-glare glass. I spent just over $78 — $65 + tax + shipping. The package should arrive early next week.

Fingers crossed and I am hoping some of my readers will drop by and support Somerset County’s photography community.