Archive for January, 2007

One of the gifts my sister gave me for Christmas was a book called A Father’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words. It is a book filled with thought-provoking questions and space for the reader to respond to them. The idea here is that you fill out the book and years later your kids (and possibly grandkids) will be able to look back at what you’ve written and get some idea of what kind of a person you were.

I’m not an overly sentimental type of person, but for some reason this appealed to me. Would I read something like this that MY father had written? You’re darn right I would, and I’d thoroughly enjoy it. So while I (and possibly most of you) think my life is pretty darn ordinary, my kids might someday be fascinated by the outstanding ordinariness of my life enough to want to read about it.

The other thing that popped into my mind as I flipped through the book was that this might just make for good blog-fodder. For somebody who struggles with topics for their blog, this might be just the thing. I’m not sure how much personal information I want to post here (too late?), but I might just select a topic or two and post about it here. So some day Simon can just come to my site, select the “legacy” tag, and read all about his dad.

I was doing the dishes last night, thinking about what I was going to put in my lunch for the next day. Kate and I had a conversation that went like this.

Me: Is there any chicken salad left?
Kate: No, and if there was, it would be a week old!
Me: Okay. Hey, wait. You put chicken salad in my lunch yesterday!
Kate: Well it was only six days old then.

It’s a fine line between lunch and food poisoning. . .

I’ve been experimenting a bit more with the light tent that I made a couple weeks ago. The past two nights I’ve tried to take pictures of these pillows that Kate made (which she obviously got better pictures of in the daylight). I’m flat out embarrassed by the pictures of the pillows in the tent, so you’re not going to see any of those. I think they might be too big for the space I’ve got to work with. So after much frustration with quilted items and vintage toys, I picked a new subject.

iPod Nano

I lowered the shutter speed to 1/13 and that seemed to help a bit, although I might need to go even slower. I’m frustrated with the “grayness” of this picture. If I touch it up much more in Photoshop to get the whites brighter, it washes out the corners and the wires blend with the background. Any photographers out there have suggestions in how I can get my light tent photos nice and crisp like this one by Jeffrey Bail? Feedback of “buy a DSLR” is unacceptable.

LifeHacker, which I mentioned in my last post, pointed me to the Digital Photography School, a blog all about. . . er. . . digital photography. Go figure. It has a lot of great information for an amateur photographer like myself. And when I say amateur, I mean that in the most amateurish sense of the word amateur.

For Kate’s business, we have to take pictures of her products outside, because the lighting in our house is terrible. So when I found an article on how to make an inexpensive light tent, I was all about giving it a try. So two weekends ago, Simon and I went out and bought all the supplies, and I spent several hours on Saturday and Sunday putting this guy together.

Homemade Light Tent
So naturally I wanted to give it a shot. Since this will hopefully eventually be used for product photos, I tried a couple of eyeglass cases Kate made.

Light Tent Test - Eyeglasses cases.
If I were using this as a product photo, I’d crop it tighter, but I left it as is to show the problem that I’m having with vignetting. It’s just one of several problems that I need to solve. In addition to lighting the top of the tent, I think I need to add some light on either side, as well. While my camera is great for a point-and-shoot, I think that I really would need a DSLR to get the kind of photos that I want out of this setup. However, I’m going to mess with the setting some more and see if I can’t get more satisfactory pictures.

The eyeglass cases weren’t the only test subject of the night. I also decided to give Laserbeak his five minutes of fame. Incidentally, this one was cropped, so the vignetting should be less noticeable.

Test Subject in Light Tent

The Internet is a wonderful and dangerous place. Not dangerous in a “watch out for the weirdos” way (although it is sometimes that too), but rather in the way that the plethora of information can suck you in and not let go. So my stumbling upon LifeHacker is probably both a blessing and a curse. The description that appears in the sidebar states:

Computers make us more productive. Yeah, right. LifeHacker recommends the software downloads and web sites that actually save time. Don’t live to geek; geek to live.

This isn’t entirely accurate, as the subjects at LifeHacker deviate from this quite often. It might be more accurate if they simply said:

Stuff that interests Pat

In other news, Apple today announced the iPhone, and boy does it look cool. I won’t be buying one anytime soon, as I don’t have my own cell phone (Kate and I share one). I’ll go out on a limb and bet that Ken will be the first person I know to own one.

I read this article on Washingtonpost.com about the Fairfax County public libraries, their limited shelf space, and the sacrifices that they must make in terms of which books they keep. It’s a pretty interesting read, and while I don’t feel strongly about it one way or the other, I can see how some people would.

How do you feel about a public library purging older, sometimes “classic” books/authors from their collection to make room for more popular items?

I’ve switched to the new version of Blogger, which has a couple of features that I’ve been hoping for, the biggest of those being the ability to categorize posts. I’m not super-thrilled with how it’s being implemented for non-blogspot hosted blogs like this one, but something is better than nothing.

Update: Oh and look at that, already something I don’t like. I thought that I’d figure out where I wanted to incorporate labels into my posts on my own, but apparently Blogger decided to put them in for me. How thoughtful of them. . . grr…