Ok…So I Am Going To Deviate.

I was going to use this post as a follow-up to the last one. I was intending to get into the technical aspects of geotagging pictures. Either by using the HoudahGeo program (very easy, cheap, and excellent results),or by using an attachment I place on my camera (on the expensive side, but great results and instant as soon as you take the picture) connected to my Garmin GPSr.

But, while spending a little down time relaxing in the yard (the weather in my part of Western North Carolina was great) I gained a new friend. While sitting on the porch, I noticed a Praying Mantis had walked up next to me and appeared to be “hanging out”. I thought it would quickly run away when I moved, but, to my surprise, it did not.

So, in true photographer form, I ran inside the house and grabbed my camera. When I got back, it was still there! I took about 50 pictures from several different angels. I have never had any contact with a mantis, so I did not know how it would react to me getting close to it.

Well, not only was I able to get close to it, I think it was actually hamming it up for the camera! After the impromptu shoot, I decided I had enough to have at least one good picture.

I ran inside, yes…actually ran, and quickly downloaded them to my laptop. I wanted to quickly scroll through them to make sure I had a keeper. If not, I was going to go back out and take more. I had a good one, so I was/am happy!

Ok, next time I will post the previously promised post.

Until then, Hang Loose!


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Where In The World?

I have always been infatuated with the Global Positioning System. Yeah, it follows allow with my whole tech nerd thing.

So, it should not be a surprise that I like to combine my love of GPS with photography; in the form of geotagging. You have never heard of it? Well, let me give you a quick intro.

You can add the latitude and longitude of where a picture was taken to the pictures EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) file. Even if you don’t know what EXIF stands for, or even how it works, don’t fret. It is not as hard as you think, even if you don’t know the mechanics. There are programs out there that will do the work for you.

Just because you have a Mac, you are not left out in the cold. There are programs out there, good ones at that, made especially for Macs. The one I use, and love, is called “HoudahGeo” and is made by Houdah Software in Luxembourg.

They allow you to download a trial copy. If you like it, and I know you will, you can purchase a license for a modist $30. It is well worth it, trust me, and gives the programmers an incentive to keep releasing updates…which you get for free.

Why even take the time to do this? Well, when you upload your photos to services like Flickr, it will show on a map exactly where the picture was taken. I am not positive, it has been a long time since I set-up my Flickr account, but I think you have to change a setting in Flickr to allow the EXIF data to be viewable. It does not even have to be a Pro account.

So I don’t make this too long, I will make the next post one that shows you the equiment I use to make adding the lat/long data to the EXIF file a snap.

Until then, Hang loose!!


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Meet the Neighbor

Here is the picture I was lucky enough to get of one of my backyard neighbors. She was a fast little devil! I pulled up the picnic table about 10 feet from the feeder, and waited, and waited…two hours to be exact.

The biggest problem? All of her friends wanted to play, and would chase her away as soon as she got to the “petal”.

Something I expected would happen, is that the picture would have some noise. The feeder is located under a lot of tree canopy, so it was in the shade. I had to have a large f-stop and high ISO (shutter speed: 1/2000, ISO: 1000, f/5.0).



Click here to see a larger copy.

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Hurricane Weekend

It was kind of a slow weekend for us. I am sure, like most people around the U.S., we were captive to watching the progression of Hurricane Irene. Thankfully, NYC did not receive nearly as much damage as they predicted. Unfortunately, a few people lost their lives.

I was able to get our website updated with our new opt-in form that allows you to subscribe to our newsletter. You can find the form on any of our site’s pages. Simply input your name, email address, and the word in the CAPTCHA Verification. You will then receive a confirmation email confirming that you wish to subscribe. Then, each time we send out a newsletter, you will automatically receive a copy. Simple!

Oh, I did get something accomplished over the weekend. On Saturday, I was able to get a picture of one of my backyard neighbors…the hummingbirds. I pulled the picnic table up close to the feeder, and sat there for TWO straight hours before getting a picture I feel is worthy of keeping. Can you say, “farmers tan”?

I will add another post and include a small thumbnail of the pic including a link so that you can see the full size.

Until then, Hang loose!


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I never in a million years thought I would be saying this, but I am now running at 7Mbps!!

Dnet, my local ISP, is moving line-of-site customers to their new frequence to free-up their 900Mhz frequency for those that are, you guessed it, non line-of-sight.

Thankfully, I am a line-of-sight customer!! So, no longer am I running at 2.3Mbps, but 7Mbps!! What does that mean? I can now upload and download our pictures faster!

I know, I know, it is still pathetic. But, at least it is not AS pathetic as before. Oh yeah, I am still stuck with the HughesNet Satellite service since I have a 2 year contract. I am only 1 year into a 2 year contract.

So, to save the penalty fee, I had them drop me down to the lowest tier. Besides, I think it looks cool to have the dish in the yard. That, with the DirecTv dish, kind of gives me the pleasure of telling everyone I have a satellite farm. Again, I know, I am a tech geek.


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What Causes People To Do Something Evil?

In Franklin, N.C., we are lucky to have the Little Tennessee River Greenway; a trail, and collection of parks and playgrounds, that run through town.

One of the ways I try to give back to our community, is to volunteer time working on the Greenway. I clean the restrooms, and surrounding playgrounds/parking lots at both Big Bear Park and Tassee Park. It only takes an hour or two each morning. One of the biggest rewards is when a visitor goes out of their way to find me, and thank me for everything I do to help keep the Greenway maintained.

When I arrived today, I thought it would be just another day of maintenance. It was not long before I was informed that one of the restrooms had been vandalized. It turned out to be one of the two restrooms at Tassee Park. Someone, during the evening, had ripped the porcelain sink from the wall, and smashed it to pieces.

I guess we will never truly know why a few people can be so full of hate to destroy resources designed to help visitors enjoy nature, and the beauty around them.

We will just clean up the mess, replace the sink, and take another leisurely stroll down the Greenway 🙂


Tassee Restroom Tassee Restroom 2

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Enjoying Nature – The Kind That Flies

After last night, and the huge downpour, it was nice to have a great morning to spend time trying to get a few shots of our local hummingbirds.

It took me about 20 minutes to get everything set-up, then, about two hours of waiting for them to visit the feeder. In the end, I was not very happy with the results; I was not using a fast enough lens, and got too much noise. Needles to say, I deleted all of them after seeing them on the computer screen.

But, not all was lost. I enjoyed the sun (can you say farmers’ tan?) so I was able to leave with at least something for my “efforts”. I borrowed a camera from the homeowner, hence the bad quality, but it was good enough for me to remember the nice Saturday weather; until the afternoon when it poured rain. Thankfully I already had everything broken down and sheltered.

If the weather is nice tomorrow, I will try again.


Hummingbird Shot 08.20.2011

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