Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pirates Chasing Giants

Well the riding season has arrived. Oops, there still is snow blocking the entrance to the garage where my FJR is located, however with the temps finally rising, it will succumb to bike wash soon enough.

I will be participating in 2 Grand Tours this year. First one is the GLMC Talk Like a Pirate Grand Tour. I have participated in GLMC's GT for the last 5 years and finished in the top 10 in four of them. 

grand-tour-logo-2015

In addition I will be heading out to see some Whispering Giants this year for Team Strange. I have participated in a bunch of TS tours, including Smoke Chasing (BBQ Joints), President places and their 40th Anniversary Tour. Team Strange sponsors the organization Eddie's Road.

Whisper Giants


The sandboxes

Whispering Giants
2015 Whispering Giant


Talk Like a Pirate Towns. There are 674 opportunities this year. I might get to 1/3 of the them.
2015 GLMC










Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Save Money by Spending Money

Last week I received my Nikon D7100 camera and it was this past weekend when I really got to use it. When I got home and downloaded all the files to the computer I started working some of the bracketed photos I had taken.

In the sky of 2 of the photos was a dot. Easy enough to clone it out, but I didn't spend all this money on an upgrade to test my post processing skills. I suspected I had something on the lens sensor that just didn't show up before this. I posted a couple sample photos up on the UglyHedgeHog forum asking opinions. I got varied opinions but 90% of the folks felt it was probably dust on the sensor. One person said it could be mold in my lens.

I haven't had this camera for even 3 days yet. I have had my D5100 for about 3 years and never a hint of a dirty sensor in any of my pics. How could this be.

I eliminated the lens as the problem by switching lenses, having the same problem with both.

Into the menu system to find that menu option that will shake, rattle and roll the sensor to knock the dust off. Didn't work.

Up to the B&H Photo site to order a Giottos - Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool (Large, Black) which is essentially a camera turkey baster. Take the lens off, turn it so the opening is pointing down, lift the mirror up and blow some air in to hopefully knock the dust off the sensor. No canned air is ALLOWED.

The Giottos - Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool (Large, Black) is 9.95, plus an additional 2.29 for shipping. I hate paying shipping. If you look to the right of the picture of the product there is something about FREE SHIPPING


Giottos


Do you see where this is going. Not only is it FREE but EXPEDITED. I got to thinking, the new camera is heavier than my old one, and it is a bit more costly than the old one, the strap that comes with the camera is pure crap, so maybe I should stroll over to the Strap Section.

Ordering a camera strap is akin to ordering RAM mount parts for the bike. There is this option and that option, prices range from 15.00 to 100.00. So up to the UglyHedgeHog site again to find out what I need to know about straps. Quick research indicate OP/Tech brand is well thought of and a good value for the money.

What parts do I need to make a sling type strap. Call up Customer Service via Chat. Tell the person what I am trying to do and within minutes I get disconnected. Sigh. Well low and behold B&H Customer Service detected the disconnect and sent their recommendation to my eMail.

So I now have 40.00 or so in my shopping cart and need 9.00 more for FREE SHIPPING. I then noticed that OP/Tech products have FREE shipping.

Op Tech

Sure enough, my shopping cart indicates that shipping is covered for all items, not just the Op/Tech stuff. One more item was ordered to convert the above strap from around the neck to a sling type strap and we are good to go. I stopped looking for another 9.00 item to complete the purchase.

Oh I didn't get the expedited delivery since I didn't spend the extra 9.00, but the stuff is due to arrive tomorrow. That's 2 days in transit time.

So I spent an additional 30.00 to save 2.29 and that's how you Save Money by Spending Money.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Frozen River

On Sunday, MeAsWe and Me headed up to Hampton Beach for a birthday party. I wrote about that event here. We headed up I495, then I95 and got off the highway on RT 107, 1 exit before the toll. From there we headed up RT1 north to our destination. As we were driving along US 1 we passed a spot that I said to myself we should stop on the way back and take a picture.


The party was a blast, the food over the top and folks couldn't be friendlier. But as parties do, they end. On the way home we headed out to RT 1A to see if we could get a shot of the ocean with the sun setting. No sun and the snow was piled so high, no view of the ocean. Still a nice ride but hung a right and headed back to US 1.

Well that spot came up, I looked to the right and there was the scene. Same as it was on the way in. Didn't slow at all and keep going. About 2 miles past the spot, I turned around and headed back, saying to myself, stop being so lazy.

So here's the 2 shots I took of Drakes River, which merges and converges with a lot of other brooks, ponds, stream and rivers to make it's way out to the Atlantic Ocean. The texture of the ice on the banks of the river is what grabbed my eye. To me it has a look of bitter cold desolation.

D71 1940_5


D71 1955_5 R


Old Salt and a Young Woman

Yesterday, MeAsWe and Me headed up to Hampton Beach for a friends 60th birthday. The birthday was at Old Salt Eating and Drinking Place in Lamies Inn.  The core of the inn was built in 1740 and acquired by the Lane family, which kept it in the family until 1911. The Inn has been a regular stop for presidential candidates in New Hampshire, including Dwight Eisenhower that stayed here for a couple of days in the 60's.

D71_1811 E


I walked around outside snapping off some shots, even one with MeAsWe struggling with the snow and ice laden sidewalks. I walked in the street, forcing the cars more to the center. The one problem with my path was the lack of a shoveled entrance from the street to the sidewalk. As I walked up the street I watched this one lady in a Cadillac texting someone not realizing the light had turned green and continue her furious pecking away at the keyboard as everyone patiently waited to complete the task at hand. I did grab a picture, but after she realized she was holding up traffic. Nice sneer she gave me.

D71_1812 E

D71_1814 E

I found an entrance into Old Salt and was blown away by the number of people waiting to get in. There was a line to get into line, which doesn't include the line to get food. You would think it was an Easter Sunday or some other holiday. Nope just Sunday Brunch at Old Salt.

D71_1822 E1
The line to get into line which does not include the food line
Crappy picture that kind of works in black and white, eh ?

Old Salt has this Sunday Brunch that without a doubt is the best buffet breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner I have ever had. Not cheap, but worth the experience. Walking to where the partiers would be seated you are greeted by the food folks.

Some are friendly and all smiles.

D71_1833
still getting use to back button focus....my excuse for this one being soft.
Some look at you like they want to carve you up, in a friendly manner thou. Note the thumps up.

D71_1832

This room has the folks that want some libations to go with their meals.

D71_1824 E2

At buffets I tend to try to sample everything in a wanton manner, piling stuff on the plate, disregarding calories, absolute no compassion for my heart and if I die at the end of the consumption phase, well at least I didn't die hungry. Another advantage of this method, if you don't like something, just push it off to the side and go back and get something else. You have to get a clean plate anyways.

So what did I fill my plate with. Let's see; bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, hash, some kind of potatoes that were smashed, Chicken Florentine, a beef stew. There wasn't  one thing that wasn't great. Went back for seconds, and did some more Florentine, a blueberry crepe, sausage (there was just something special about this), some more of the beef stew stuff. I probably consumed at least  50% of my calories for the week in this one sitting.

D71_1874 EX

This really was about Pat's Birthday, here she is coming into the room and Andy (her husband) actually pulled this off as a surprise.

D71_1852

I am generally uncomfortable and out of my element photographing people. I simply don't know what to do, how to balance the photo, post process them, what to add, what to subtract,the subject moves creating blurry photos, etc etc. We got to sit with this little girl that simply made it easy to pull off a shot. Meet Joyce.

D71_1923

Joyce's brother and cousins also make great subjects.

D71_1906

There was alot of conversation, laughing, some crying, kids running around (Old Salt had a wonderful dessert table chock full of sugar), stories about growing up, and even a presentation of Pat's life. It was a great party and really good to get out of the house and go someplace other than Hannaford's. Thank you Andy for inviting us. This started out as simply a story about a Frozen River, but I decided to separate the two stories. Stay tuned for the next part.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

f Stop Blues

Yesterday my new D7100 camera arrived. I unpacked the box, inspected the camera body, and pulled the battery and charger out. My objective was to simply get the battery charged up. I placed the body back in the box, with all the manuals and other stuff that came with it. I said to MeAsWe, that I needed to think of a good first shot to inaugurate a new era of photography for me.

This morning I got up at 5, took a shower, put the coffee on and grabbed the battery that had been charging all night. It was time to put the camera all together. I had 2 32g cards still in the packaging and would be perfect for the camera, it takes 2 cards if you want. Grabbed my D5100 taking the 35mm prime lens off, put the kit lens on that came with the d5100. Grabbed the D7100, spun the body cap off, snapped the 35 mm prime in place, inserted the charged up battery and inserted the cards.

Turned the camera on and all I see is Japanese characters on the screen. Oh I have to set the language and other stuff. Set the date, time, time zone. Camera is ready.

Played around the knobs and then realized, even though I had read the manual a little bit, all of the controls are  very different from the D5100 and I pretty much forgot what I had read. Tried to put into Aperture Priority mode and the wheel wouldn't spin. Tried again and nothing. Oh you have to press the lock on top of the wheel to get it spin. Very nice !!. I don't how many times while out on the bike putting the D5100 in my tank bag that the camera wheel turned setting the camera to Shutter Priority from Aperture Priority, snapping off a bunch of pics, to found out I had to take them all over because the wheel turned.

Changed a couple of other settings like Auto Focus Mode, Image Quality, how to configure the 2 SD slots, and how to name the JPG and NEF files. This all went pretty smoothly since I was familiar with the look and feel on the Nikon Menu System.

I have still not figured out what the first picture is going to be. I put the camera up to my eye, with the intent of only testing the focus by pushing the shutter release button 1/2 down to see how it works. I hear the beep and a clunk.

DAMN I just took a picture. SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHH. So much for that special first shot.

DSC_1643


Great pic eh. The feel of the shutter release was totally different than my D5100. I immediately set the camera up for Back Button Focusing, which moves the focus function from the shutter release to another button on the camera and makes the shutter release only for grabbing the picture.







Saturday, February 21, 2015

Eat Mor Chikin

On Saturdays I head over to Giffs Garage to hang out. When he closes we generally head out for lunch to talk bikes, politics, books and other such guy stuff. We have our regular spots to hit, such as the Valley Café, Mendon Diner or Miss Worcester. Lately we have been branching out and trying different places so we don't get to set in our ways, a factor at our age. We have tried The Willowbrook, China Pacific, which have become part of our repertoire of go to places.

Today we were heading to Sammy's in Northbridge. This place has gone thru multiple owner changes in the last several years. Traffic was a bear in Whitinsville (part of Northbridge), We turned left, taking the long way to the restaurant to avoid traffic. When we got to the intersection of Hill St and Sutton, Giff said, hey I know another place we could try. Of course, this is just to add confusion to the quest and complicate the matter with too many choices. Instead of making a right onto Sutton, we go straight and head for Rick's Hilltop Restaurant and Lounge. On the way we passed a diary farm that caught my eye. I said I really should take a picture of that, having my camera with me. Figured I could grab some snow shots. Like all of the streets in this neck of the woods, they have become narrow from multiple plowings and there is really no where to park other than in the middle of the road. I have been known to do this, but only when I am by myself or MeAsWe is with me.

We get to Rick's and the place looks closed. I don't even think the OPEN sign was on and there was only one truck parked in the lot and not really parked like they were in the place having lunch. So we headed to Larry's the original choice. Heading back we had to pass the diary farm again, so I looked for a pull off. Well the driveway entrance to the diary farm looked as good as any and it would be just a short walk to the spot for a good picture.

DSC_5363_4_5 EC 2


What this reminds me is a bunch of people standing at Dunkin Donuts having coffee and a donut before going to work. Maybe this is where the cows get their signs put on for Chick Fil A. have something to drink and eat, head out for a day of work.

A wider view

Milk

Monday, February 16, 2015

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow - GIVE ME A BREAK !

I think most of us who live in New England would like to draw and quarter Sammy Cahn. He came up with the lyrics. This past weekend we got some more. Where's Judy Garland when you need her. The Beatles come to mind too, even Donovan and the Cream.

Nevertheless it was time to break out the camera.

A picture looking down our street. I hear there is more on the way.

DSC_5295_6_7 E1