For the benefit of Mr. Chuff

Whenever I’m in a thinking mood, which really isn’t very often after all, I try to “see” things that I think my fellow Flickrites might enjoy seeing. I concede that this paying attention thing hasn’t exactly paid off in spades for anyone other than trainmanchuff. And so it was a few weeks back when I was down in Dayton for a photography convention. After leaving the convention I grabbed my car-camera (the Canon Rebel XTi or 400D for you Euro-trash types) and did a walkabout of the city and snapped no small handful of pics, which I have yet to look through or process. Until today.


Chuff has made noise in the past about Dayton’s electric trolley bus system, so I thought I’d grab a few pics of them in action to help satisfy his pagan lust for all things bus and train related. But speaking of pagan lusts…


Apparently Chuff has this ‘thing’ for hi-viz wear. You know…the sort you find rail workers wearing. Or construction workers. Constables. I’m seeing a pattern here, but I shall not elaborate.

Hope you enjoy the pics Chuff!

(p.s. these pics were processed using a trial download of the software I typically use on my desktop PC, but done instead on my iMac. very exciting stuff you know)

I don’t yet know what it means….

So……I’m now the heir apparent to being an Apple fanboy.

Mac Attack!

I don’t yet know what this means. It is rather intimidating in its 24-inch, 2.93GHz dual-core, 640GB hard drive glory. It is, in part, symptomatic of our usual five-year update plan for our main home desktop computing device. But this year, unlike years past, I opted to not build nor buy a Wintel device, but to go Mac.

In no small part the decision was based upon the regular and frequent barrage of information about how photographers love Mac products. Well I guess I’ll find out, eh?

This also means that this particular blog will now also encompass some new dynamics; mainly and general that of my sojourn into the world of Mac computing and specifically how it impacts my photography thing.

In the mean time…….suck it Windoze users!

“We were never being bored”

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted much in the way of pictures of late. For some of you I imagine this comes as great relief, while others are probably beside themselves without a regular photographic fix from the ol Forkboy needle of imagery. Well fear not my friends……tie yourself off and prepare to be bedazzled……..


I know…’s a cat. Not precisely the subject some of you (who, for a switch, shall go nameless) get excited about, but I do. They are our children in no small way and when they are being nice, polite and quiet I find photographing them almost uncontrollable. However, the dearth of pictures of them of late should clue you in as to how nice, polite and quiet they have been……of late. The day I took this picture (as well as one of Maggie, which you’ll just have to see on my Flickr account) I couldn’t help myself as I just love the sofa/couch in the t.v. room. It has just fantastic colours and the cats look so good sitting or laying on or near the damn thing.

Maybe some of you recall the self-portrait thing I did for the 16-Things About Yourself bit a few weeks back. Well, I know at least one of you remembers it (wink-wink)……anyway…..from that same shoot I took a few pictures of myself, trying to work at the table, while our cat Aries decided it was far more important for him to park his ass on the table and demand homage from father as evidenced below:


Aries has this tendency to hate it when folks are paying attention to anything other than him, but this characteristic is magnified quite strongly when there is a computer/laptop involved. I don’t know why and the little shit won’t tell us. Never-the-less it tends to lead to conversations centered around sentences like “Get your ass down!” or “What are you doing?” or “Where were you twenty minutes ago when I wasn’t doing a damned thing?”

At the end of February I had need for another picture for the group project’s theme, Speed, and had journeyed to a local spot where I thought I might capture some good fast-moving train shots (which we all know didn’t quite turn out that way). While I stood about waiting for a train to come by there were two young lads enjoying some of the bike trail (paved) for the purpose of skateboarding. One was doing stunts at the top of the hill (located under a roadway overpass), while the other had brought his long-board for the purpose of “bombing” the hill.

The “bombing” guy (Chad, as I would later learn) stopped and asked if I were a professional photographer, which I thought was so nice to hear. Laughable, but nice regardless. Then again, I must have looked quite impressive out there with my fancy Manfrotto tripod, Canon 40D and Canon 70-200mm f/4L USM IS lens. Yeah, it was impressive looking no doubt.

I told him that I was just some “bozo” amateur out to grab a few pics of a passing train for a project. Satisfied with my response he turned to walk away, but turned back and asked if I might be interested in shooting some pics of him skateboarding the trail. “Interesting?” thought I, but I wasn’t certain how I felt about it after my attempts at shooting moving targets in the way of sledders on snow-covered hills. I told him I’d think about it and quickly realized I was just being stupid (surprise!) and told him I’d give it a go.


Apparently he is involved in some skateboarding magazine (I’m still not certain if it’s online or print) and said that if anything good came of the shoot he’d be glad to get them published with full credit. Aces! Of course I didn’t think anything useful would come of this particular venture, but in the end I am pleased to announce that there were a handful of pics that turned out reasonably well.

But the best part was that I learned something about my camera. Of course, I learned about it after the shoot, but I think it will help in future shots like this and I have made it clear to Chad that I’d like to try this again. We are, at this moment, trying to hook up so that I can snap a few pics and maybe, just maybe, they’ll be even better this time round.


I hate trains…..

One of my Flickr contacts, trainmanchuff, (as well as fellow group project member) has a passion for the British rail system. He often posts pictures of trains, rail workers and other interesting rail-related items.

Yesterday, after attending the Professional Photographers Association of Ohio event in Dayton, I strolled about downtown Dayton snapping some pictures here and there. This isn’t one of my more favourite things to do photography-wise, but I figured since I was already there…….you know…..when in Rome. I was on my way back to my car, which was parked at the base of an elevated section of rail track, when I heard and then saw a train rumbling along the tracks.

I thought how nice it might be for me to try and grab a few shots in honour of the Chuff Man, but when I raised my camera to my eye I quickly noticed that it was rather difficult to see much of anything of the train. The problems were twofold: (1) being elevated (about 25-feet) the angle cut down on the visibility of the lower section of the train cars, and (2) the train tracks were clearly a number of feet back and away from the edge of the elevated section, thus making even less of the train visible.

So what does one do under these circumstances? Simple: get in the car and haul ass after the train!

I quickly got into my car, buckled the seat belt, gunned the motor and spun around in the direction of the train and tracks. The downtown area of Dayton is rife with one-way streets, which made my mission more difficult as I would often have to travel an extra block out of my way just to be able to head in the correct direction. Add this to the fact I had no idea where the hell I was going (I’m not real familiar with the area) and things got a bit harried.

Eventually I found a road that ran parallel to the tracks, but the tracks remained elevated so that I didn’t have a perspective that was any better. I quickly ran into a new problem that also turned into a blessing. The Great Miami River (which it isn’t…”great” that is) cuts through downtown Dayton and I was quickly coming upon the river and the road upon which I was driving would be turning away from the tracks and then paralleling the river instead.

However, as I came to the point in the road where it turned away from the tracks I noticed that I could stop, park at some company’s now empty parking lot, and possibly climb the berm (built to hold back any potential flood waters) and snap some pics of the train as it rumbled across a train bridge.

Wow! Train bridge AND train! Won’t Chuff be thrilled?!

Well maybe not. You’ll notice that there is no picture embedded into this post and that is for a very good reason: I didn’t get a picture of the train. See, as I finally made it to the top of the berm (a steep and somewhat slippery climb of 15 or so feet) the last car of the train came into view and quickly disappeared across the train bridge.


Imagine the picture…..a mid-40’s man standing atop a berm in the late afternoon sun, camera in hand and yelling “Come back here you piece of shit! I gotta take your picture! Fucking crap!”

Not exactly a Norman Rockwell moment, eh?

Clubbing it….

I’ve done something unusual……I’ve joined a club. And not just any club, but a photography club.

I sent in my membership dues about two weeks ago and attended my very first meeting last night. The club is named Focus Photo Club and meets at the Five Rivers MetroParks Cox Arboretum, where I have been known to snap a few pictures on occasion.

I actually discovered the group via a picture on Flickr, which had been taken by a fellow Flickrite whose photostream I regularly check on. As a matter-of-fact, she was in attendance at last night’s meeting and I introduced myself. I don’t think my Flickr name (Photons_Fail_Me) really rang a bell for her, but it should when I comment next upon her photos, which are always lovely by the way.

As I wasn’t certain what the club does I can’t say that I had any preconceived notions of what I was hoping to get out of this new relationship. About the only thing of which I was certain was that I wanted to socialize within the photography community. Many of my Flickr contacts belong to photography-oriented groups or shoot with friends and/or family members and this sharing seems like a great idea. I’m not saying I want to always be out and about with other folks, but I would like the opportunity to do such on occasion. I think it will a nice way to both learn and teach about this great adventure.

Everyone I met was super nice and very eager to answer questions and the like. There are a number of upcoming events (including a meet-n-greet, a trip to a traditional Gothic cathedral in Kentucky, a wildflower shoot at a public park, a week-long trip to the Appalachian Mountains, etc.) and I sincerely intend to take part in at least one of these events, which are coming up over the next two months.

Exciting stuff, eh?

Grain or Noise?

I was looking over the comments attached to the following picture by my fellow flickr-ite Scombs:


In the comments one party stated “I like the graininess here,” which got me to thinking: should we continue to call it “grain” or change-over to “noise”?

In the days of processed film the term grain was quite legitimate as photographs were indeed made of small grains (crystals to be precise) of silver halide. Film was made increasingly sensitive to light by, in part, increasing the size of these silver halide crystals. This was why when one shot with higher ISO film (or, here in the States, ASA) one noticed what appeared to be a more grainy appearance to the printed pictures.

However, digital photography replaces silver halide crystals with an electronic sensor and the effect of graininess is a result of the increase in sensitivity to light by the sensor as it turns up its gain. The net result is the same as with film-based images: an image with more grain. Yet it really isn’t grain now is it? It’s noise.

The fact that the effect appears to be the same does not alter the fact that how this effect is created comes about via very different methods. So, what do we do? Do we continue to call it grain (of which I still do – at least for now) or do we start to call it noise as would seem more appropriate?

Tell me what you think!