Happy 2013!

AU0A7743 AU0A7645 AU0A7626 AU0A7547 AU0A7481 AU0A7462 AU0A7447 AU0A7381 AU0A7364 AU0A7330 AU0A7251I have just finished ringing in the new year.  For some folks, the new year comes as a surprise.  They were expecting the world to end on the 21st or there-abouts.  We were all supposed to be done before we had the chance to ring in the new year of 2013.

It’s my sincere hope that all those who thought the world was truly coming to an end will feel welcomed and included in the new “off-the-grid” year.  After all, I don’t care if you thought the world would end of not.  I only care if we can peacefully co-exist together.  You were wrong this time, but, who knows, you might be right next time.  I don’t wish to point the finger at you and ask if your mother was ugly.

On the flip side, I don’t want to miss out on toasting the new year, either.

I’m happy that the ball dropped and the new year came in just as it has for many decades now.  While the end of the planet might have been more dramatic, rolling over to a new year with a new lease on life seems a whole lot more promising to me.

Now, if only I could stay awake late enough to write something really meaningful about us  . . .

Since that doesn’t seem to be an option, here are some really cool fireworks shots that might help fill the gap when it comes to ringing in the new year:

Still Fireworks

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I am 6.5 in dog years.  Is that old enough to use “old dog, new tricks” as an excuse for how long it’s taken me to experiment with some of the features of Aperture?

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I still resist learning Photoshop beyond the occasional attempt to use layers in Photoshop Elements.  I think there is some sort of message about life in this avoidance of adopting a technology that would give me more control over my photos and allow me to do things like put multiple fireworks bursts into a single image.  (My photos of multiple bursts are because there really were multiple bursts.)

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I think I’ve come up with the main reasons I resist this next step:

  • I’m at the point of “good enough” on how much time I want to spend on post-processing.  The more I can adjust, the more lost I get in trying to decide which way it looks better.  This is much like a story some of you may recall about taking my aunt (who had dementia) bra shopping.  She would try one on, then the next, and I’d ask, “Does this one feel better than that one?” and she would look at me, puzzled, and reply, “Did I try that one on?”  I finally bought her some sports bras figuring they would be “good enough” and get us out of an endless loop in the dressing room.  Similarly, without seeing two different adjustments side-by-side, I have a hard time deciding.

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  • I spend way too much time with devices already.  I’m beginning to think of my computers as people.  I caught myself talking to my work laptop the other day.  It’s a Windows machine, so I wasn’t saying very nice things.  I accidentally left my iPhone in the car last night when I ran into a restaurant to place a take out order.  I had to wait 10 minutes for the food.  It felt impossible to sit for 10 minutes with no friend in my pocket.  I felt exposed and lonely.  I decided against running out to get my iPhone, though.  I thought it might be good for me to wait without the distraction for once.  I was soon hypnotized watching muted sports castors talk about football.  I have no idea what they were saying since there were no captions, but it gave a surrogate for my iPhone.  See what I’m saying?

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  • I’m not confident Photoshop would make a significant difference in how much better my photos look for the price.  It’s expensive software both in dollars and time to learn.  Would I really be able to do so much more with my photos and would I have time to actually do those things that I would think, “Wow!  I’m so glad I spent that $700!”

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  • I suspect Photoshop is really a black hole.  Once you’re in, you can never get out.  The truth of the world is altered and you can never get back to your original reality.

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Let Your Colors Burst

As it turns out, the next shoot I did after the Mainx24 Parade was yet another parade.  Since I’m not ready to blog about another parade yet, I thought I would jump to the end of the evening and go with the fireworks display that closed the holiday celebration.

I always see these fantastic fireworks shots that have zero smoke in them and just streaks of color shooting across the sky.  I don’t know how they get those shots.  I’ve spent a little time searching for tips on how to prevent smoke, but none of them seem to help much other than the possibility of doing something in post processing to darken the smoke so it blends in better.  I guess I will have to experiment.

As it is, the video was made from the 550+ shots with no post-processing.  I will pick a few for post-processing later.  Today, I was only up for making a movie.

The irony of me making a movie out of my stills is that my camera will shoot video.  I have used it to shoot a video once so far.  I didn’t think I could see well enough to focus manually and I found the autofocus function quite disruptive.  I also discovered iMovie, the only video editing software I have, removed the feature to easily capture stills from video, so you have to go through a couple extra hoops and use another application to get a still from video.  I find this annoying.  Since I generally want stills, it seems easier to shoot stills and make a movie later if I want a video.

I didn’t plan to shoot the fireworks.  I just happen to have a great view of them from my balcony and it seemed a waste not to shoot them.  I did several things wrong during the shoot.

First, forgive me for repeating myself, I didn’t plan to shoot the fireworks. As a last minute decision, I was rushing to get setup on the balcony and failed to notice in the dark that I had part of the top of the balcony in the frame.  This is going to result in more cropping than I planned for.

Second, about half way through the show, I couldn’t remember if I had focused at any point or not.  This is not the time to have memory failure.  Although, I suppose it is better than at the end of the show.  I couldn’t really notice when the focus changed in the video, but the background buildings look blurry.

Third, I forgot to change the ISO setting from shooting very dark scenes and trying to get a faster shutter speed.  This led to much shorter shutter speeds than I would have liked.

Finally, I also forgot to set it on aperture priority and I was shooting so fast, I didn’t check the images.  Alas, I blew out the images with really bright bursts.

Other than that, my shots are great.  🙂