Archive for April, 2010


Last night, Rose and I went out to the monthly Albany Tweetup.  According to Urban Dictionary, a tweetup is “A group of friends on Twitter (social network) that are planning to meet up. A request by a user to meet with friends via Twitter.”  That is one of the definitions they list on their site.  I kinda like the nerd one the best.  Each month Cassie chooses a location and a bunch of us gather to hang out, catch up and make new friends.  It is a lot of fun, and so far, they have all been at great restaurants or bars.  My personal favorite was the Sushi Tweetup, but that’s just me.

While we were there, Cute Ella mentioned something that got me thinking.  I missed the beginning of the conversation because it was loud in the bar (and because my hearing is horrible), but I heard the part about ‘you’ve gotta know your readers’.  She was dead on and the lightbulb flickered above my head.  I am not sure how many readers I have, as a lot are just lurkers and never comment.  This made me wonder about some of you sitting there reading this and think – what do they like?  What are their hobbies?   Favorite color?  I have no idea.

So, I want to put you all on the spot.  I would like to know a few things about you.  Tell me a few things about you that I might not know, and I will in turn answer a question from you.  Please keep the questions work safe, as this is a family blog and I’d like to keep it that way.  I will do my best to answer your questions, so long as they are appropriate.  Ready?  Let’s go!

See ya soon!

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I am currently in the process of moving my WordPress.com blog over to my own domain at michaelthenry.com. I have had the domain name for years, and it has been sitting there doing nothing. So, I figured, let’s figure out how to use it instead of paying for it every month and not using it.

I consider myself somewhat computer literate, so I figured how hard could it be? With WordPress, it was pretty easy. I still have to set up my Blogroll and all my links, but I think it is pretty much set. So, please bear with me over the next few days as I get everything moved over.

So, if you have any tips or tricks for me, please let me know.  I appreciate any feedback you can give me.  See ya soon!

I have been a photographer for about 8 or 9 years now.  I am a self-proclaimed amateur, but sometimes I get some really good shots.  I missed out on the film era.  Well, I missed out as a serious shooter that is.  I have had cameras for years, but before I got into digital, I had only used little 35mm point and shoot cameras.  Sure, I remember the 110 and the Polaroid, but I never shot seriously back then.

Over the last few years, I have gotten pretty serious in my shooting.  I even started a Meetup group in the area to help others with their passion for photography.  I wont claim to be a great photographer, but I think I do OK.  But sometimes, I run into areas that I am just not good at.  Tonight was a good example.

The weather had been wonky all day.  It was very windy, rainy and gloomy.  Around 5pm it even spit some icy precipitation.  I assume it was sleet.  After the storm, the sun came out and the weather got a little better.  It was still only in the 40s, but it wasn’t as windy as it had been earlier in the day.  The sun was setting and it was a beauty, so I decided to go out on the back deck and grab a few pics.  They came out pretty well, even though there’s only a small area between the trees to see the sunset.

I came back in and got right to editing the pics I had taken.  I even posted one on Facebook.  A friend commented on one of the pics and asked if I had seen the moon.  No, I hadn’t.  I went to the window and looked out, only to see a beautiful moon.  I grabbed the camera and the tripod and back outside I went.  This is where the trouble started.

I got the camera set up on the tripod with the 70-300mm lens on it and set it on manual focus.  I set my f-stops and shutter speed and looks through the viewfinder.  A little blurry.  A little adjustment on the lens and it was nice and clear.  I took a bunch of shots and came inside to process.  Crap.  They are all blurry.  What the…

It wasn’t crisp.  It was not sharp.  What did I do?  So, I looked up some info on the net and bounced it off some people I really respect over at Movie Photo Forums.  I took the advice and tried it again.  The results this time were a little better but still not quite what I had hoped for.  Here is what I got.  Please keep in mind that this is a 100% crop.

Here is the same shot with a little bit of Photoshop tweaking.

I like this one a little better, but it still isn’t good enough.  I guess I need a much more powerful lens and a lot more practice.  Do you have tips for shooting the moon?  Settings you would like to share?  I would love to know what works for you.

See ya soon!

In the Summer of 2006, Rose and I went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Even though I grew up three or four hours from the Outer Banks, I had never been, but had always wanted to go.  We set off to see my family back in Virginia, and then on to the Outer Banks a few days later.  One of the main things we wanted to see were the lighthouses.  To our surprise, there are quite a few lighthouses there.

One of our favorite things about lighthouses is being able to climb them and take in the amazing views.  The hike to the top might get you a little winded, but the views make it well worth the torture!  Looking out over the coast makes you wonder about the men and women that kept the lighthouses running before there was electricity.  I can only imagine the monotonous climbs up and down those stairs on a daily basis to keep the light lit.

Most of the lighthouses I have been to have had a Keeper’s Quarters where the lighthouse keeper would stay so they were close to the lighthouse to maintain and keep the light on.  Most lighthouses have since been replaced with electronic navigation devices because of high maintenance costs.  A lot of the lighthouses have been sold to private parties.

We had a great trip, and would love to go back and see more of the Outer Banks sometime.  I have a ton more pictures from our trip, so I will post more in another blog someday.  If you’ve never been, please go and check it out.  I found a few pictures I took of the lighthouses we visited in the Outer Banks.  In no particular order, here they are…

See ya soon!

When the folks at LowePro asked me what camera bag I would like to try out next, I asked them for one that would be a little smaller so I could wear it on the motorcycle.  I spend a lot of time on the bike in the warmer months, and carrying a huge backpack is not only cumbersome, but also very uncomfortable.  So, they sent me the Flip Side 300 to try out.  Here’s what I think so far…

The bag seems to be the perfect size for the bike.  It is also a great fit for the equipment I need on a shoot.  I can fit my camera with a 18-70mm lens attached, a 70-300mm lens, a 50mm lens, and a 55-200mm lens.  There is also a pouch inside for chargers and miscellaneous other goodies you might want to carry. I took a pic with a little point and shoot last night and labeled it with what I had inside the bag.

So far, I am very happy with this bag.  I still have to get it out in the field and try it out to see how it functions.  I didn’t get to take a ton of pictures yesterday, as it was gorgeous out and the motorcycle took precedence.  Don’t worry, though – there will be plenty of pics over the next few weeks.  Until then, you will have to wait!

See Ya Soon!

“I wish I was a little bit taller, wish I was a baller…”- Skee Lo

Earlier in the week, I heard that Keeler Smart Center Latham was hosting a Smart Car test drive at Crossgates yesterday and today.  I found out about it through Keeler’s tweets encouraging people to stop down.  So yesterday, Rose and I stopped down to check it out.  I had always wanted to drive one of the Smart cars, but never had the chance.

I had seen them for years before they came to the states a few years ago.  In my travels to Europe, and at Lime Rock in Connecticut.  The car at Lime Rock was most likely brought to the states and converted to US EPA standards.  That was way back in the late 90s or early 2000s, long before they began importing them for sale here.

Recently, I had seen them on the road here and there in the Capital District, and even see one up the street at a neighbor’s house every day.  It is bright yellow.  You can’t miss it.

Two of the people at the event were marketing reps for Smart USA, and I also met John Sterrett from the Latham Smart Center.  He went with me on my test drive.  Great guy!  We discussed the Smart car as well as sports cars and motorcycles.  Who could ask for a better co-pilot?  I got to drive the Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet in Blue Metallic and Rose drove the Smart ForTwo Passion Coupe in Red.

Here is the common misconception about these cars – they are incredibly roomy inside.  The car had lots of legroom and quite a bit of headroom.  There was even a decent amount of storage behind the seats for luggage or groceries, whichever you may be hauling.  They come equipped with a 1.0 L, 71 HP, 3 cylinder engine.  It’s not the fastest car you will ever drive, but it will pay off at the gas pump, as they get 41 miles per gallon according to the Smart USA website.  With gas now back to over $3 a gallon, that plays a huge factor in many people’s decision of which new car to buy.

The other question a lot of people ask is about the safety of such a small car.  The Smart ForTwo cars have a very high 5-star safety rating per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  That is pretty impressive in itself.  I would feel very safe in this car.  heck, it can’t be any worse that being on a motorcycle in traffic.  At least people might see you in the car.

The event is going on tomorrow as well.  Make sure you stop down and check them out. Sorry about the crappy pics.  All I had with me was my cell and was shooting into the sun.  I tweaked them a touch in Photoshop to make them  little better.   See ya soon!

As Spring becomes more prevalent in the air, the trees begin to form buds and eventually the grow out into what you see here – beautiful, colorful leaves.  A few days ago, I was wandering around the yard watering some of the seeds I had planted the day before and I notice that the buds were gone.

So, I went inside to grab the camera, as the light was perfect.  It was about 6pm and the sun was making it’s way down into the horizon.  At that time of day you get what we in the photography field like to call “Golden light”.  It is known as the “Golden Hour” because of the beautiful golden light the sun casts on everything.  It is the best time of day to shoot.  Well, sunrise is the other time, but I just don’t get up that damn early.

I couldn’t help but take pictures.  I grabbed a small 50mm lens I found kicking around in some old camera gear and stuck it on the camera.  I had never played with it before, so I was anxious to see what it would do.  It is a low-light lens and I don’t have any other lenses like that, so I had to play with it and see how it works.  It was great!  It gave me a fantastic bokeh effect on all of the pictures I took with it.

As I looked around the tree, I saw groups of leaves growing.  The picture on the right shows a cluster of leaves beginning to grow on the tree.  Everywhere you looked there were more and more clusters.  It makes me smile to see things starting to bloom again.  As I have stated in the past, the desire to shoot kind of goes away when the leaves fall off the trees and it starts to come back right around this time of year.  It is amazing to see everything come back to life.

The influx of colors and warmth make me want to go out and capture everything I can.  Soon I will be heading to waterfalls and parks to get some colorful shots.  There’s nothing like the smells and the colors to make you want to get out and roam around in the warm sunshine.

What is it about Spring that makes you happy?  Is it getting over the cabin fever?  Walks?  Ice cream?  Tell me why you love Spring.  See you soon!

Photo courtesy of William Hook

I am sitting here thinking about this blog I read over at Gizmodo yesterday and I am baffled.  Over the weekend, someone ‘found’ a prototype iPhone on the floor in a bar.  They took it apart and put it on the web to show what the guts looked like and what it had that the previous version did not.  Some say it is a hoax and others think it is the real deal.  But Apple wants it back.  Now.

What gets me is that this one blog now has over 6 millions hits.  6 MILLION!  That is insane!  I can’t believe that one little post can generate that much traffic.  Send some my way, will ya?  It just confirms that there are a serious amount of Apple fans out there.  I hear the iPhone is cool, but this is a little over the top.  I don’t have one personally, because I am a Verizon customer and wont switch.  However, I have heard that it is coming to Verizon pretty soon, so I may check it out.

I have to be totally honest – I have never even held an iPhone in my hand.  Blasphemy, you say?  Perhaps.  I have nothing bad to say about them, but wont consider it until Verizon carries it and my two year contract is up.  I will admit that I am a little jealous of all the things it can do compared to my Blackberry.  There are so many apps that are made for the iPhone exclusively that sound really cool.

The next thing I think about with the iPhone is do I really want a phone with more stuff to do?  I spent ridiculous amounts of time on my Blackberry as it is.  I would never get anything done.  I get scolded all the time now for using the phone at the dinner table or while hanging out with friends.  I would be in trouble all the time even more than I already am.

What I want to know is was this a hoax?  Did the guy who ‘lost’ the prototype lose his job as so many assumed he would on Monday?  Is this a clever marketing trick from Apple?  What do you think?