Tag Archive: sun


After last week’s rain and this week’s abundance of sun, my plants in the garden are really starting to take off.  I decided to start measuring them once a week to chart the progress.

The tomato plants seem to be doing the best.  There are about four of them that have tiny little tomatoes growing already.  I was shocked when I looked and saw them on the plants.  One of the Grape tomato plants has five tiny tomatoes growing.  I am thrilled!  It wont be long now.

After I measured them, I built a chart to show how tall the plants are.  My goal is to update the totals next week, and every week thereafter so I can see just how well (hopefully) they are growing.   I will also try to get pictures of the tomatoes as they grow.

Here is the chart I made today;

As you can see from the chart, the tomatoes are growing much more quickly than the others.  The Green Peppers and Banana Peppers are taking forever to grow.  In case you are new, this is my first time growing a garden.  So far, it has been a lot of fun.  I can’t wait to see what grows and is actually edible.

Did you plant a garden this year?

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I spent the Saturday yesterday shooting waterfalls and chasing storms.  I found a small set of falls in the town of Berne, about 30 minutes from Albany.  I was a little weary leaving to go there, as it was raining on and off.  Just to be on the safe side, I brought another set of clothes, a bucket hat and a second waterproof jacket. The sun came out just as I was getting to the falls.  At one point while shooting the falls, however, it started pouring.  I was under some trees at the time, so I wasn’t getting very wet at all.

I took off the bucket hat and put it over the camera so I could keep it dry until I got to the car and grab the waterproof jacket.  Once I had the jacket, I put it over my head and the camera, looking sort of like the really old 1800s cameras where the photographer went under the curtain and took the picture.  I am sure that if anyone saw me doing it, they were probably thinking I was a little crazy.  Boy, are they wrong.  I am a lot crazy!

Here are a couple pictures I got at the falls…

Later that day, I ended up in Thacher Park a few times as I was exploring back roads and finding out where they went. It was a great deal of fun!  On my last trip to Thacher Park, I saw an amazing scene. The storm had moved past the mountain and was now over the valley and passing the city of Albany. There were these huge puffy white clouds and then some darker sky off in the distance.  So, I decided to try a panorama shot.  When I got out of the car, I had no idea I was going to do a pano, so I had no tripod.  I just did it handheld instead.  I am including the original and the Topaz versions so you can see the difference.

What do you think?  See ya soon!

For a few weeks now, I have been promising tulip pics from Washington Park.  I’ve put up some pics I have taken in years past, all in an attempt to make you want to see fresh ones from this year.  Well, today is that day.  This morning, I got up extra early (for me anyway) and went down to Washington Park with a few members from my photo group and I got some fresh pictures to share with you.

When I got to the park around 7am, there were a few other photographers milling around and a bunch of State workers putting the final touches on the grounds for this weekend’s Tulip Fest.  They were taking down the temporary fence around the fountain and scrubbing the fountain down, preparing to fill it up.  A few other workers were mowing the lawn around the fountain.  After about 3 hours, the park became pretty crowded with people walking and taking pictures.  I left around 10am as the sun was getting pretty harsh and the dew drops were starting to dry up.

I took about 400 pictures in my time there this morning.  I’ll probably only post about 20 or so of them on the internet, as I am highly critical of my work.  Probably much more than anyone else.  I really hope you enjoy them.  I can only hope that some of the photos I take make someone smile.  That would make it all worth it.  Ok, enough babbling from me.  Here’s what you really came to see…

If you’d like to see more, please check out my Flickr.  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!

And by that time, I mean Spring time!  The sun is shining again and the trees are starting to sprout buds.  Rose and I rode the Harley down to her parents house in Rhinebeck for Easter dinner, and on the way down I saw a ton of brilliant yellow blooms.  There were also seedlings growing in her parent’s backyard.  The birds are chirping in the mornings and insects are starting to come back around.  Here is a dragonfly I found one Spring trying to blend in with a stick.

Spring coming around is a huge relief to me.  I am sure I have mentioned before that I go into a sort of (self-proclaimed) “photographic depression” after the leaves fall off the trees and Winter rolls around.  It’s not until those first blooms of Spring that I get the urge to shoot again.  Seeing those first flowers and buds just starts to inspire me.  Here’s a shot I took last year as the flowers were just starting to grow.

But, here’s the problem – now that the weather is getting better, I get torn on what I’d rather do, go riding or go shooting.  Tough decision to make for me.  Between Thursday and Sunday, I put about 150 miles a day on the bike.  It’s been five months, so it was way overdue.  Now, I am ready to do some shooting.  I want to gather locations in the area that I haven’t shot before.  I’ve done Washington Park and Tulip fest a million times.  Been to Plotter Kill falls and Ka’aterskill falls is a favorite of mine.

What I am looking for are places that I can take my photography group, The Capital Region Photography Meetup Group, and have interesting subjects for them to shoot.  I would love suggestions in the Albany, NY area.  I don’t mind traveling, but would like to keep it within an hour or so of Albany because members will need to travel and carpool.  I appreciate any suggestions you can give me.  Thanks in advance!

See ya soon…

I am hoping to start writing more about motorcycles in the near future.  I want to try and help raise awareness as much as possible about bikers and clear up some of the stereotypes out there.  For this blog, I wanted to let people know about the good things bikers do for the community.

Over the last few years, I have been a part in many fundraisers as a biker.  Most of the fundraisers are Poker Runs.  Poker Runs are when a large group of bikers get together and ride to raise money for someone in need.  It may be for a fallen biker, a child with a rare disease, or perhaps a biker’s child that has cancer.  A Poker Run is a ride where each biker pays a fee for the rider and a passenger should they have one.  They then go to three more stops before returning to the starting point.  At each stop, they get a card.  At the end of the ride, whoever has the best hand wins a prize.

Last year, a group I ride with every Wednesday night during the warmer months did a poker run for a member’s daughter.  She was diagnosed with cancer and the ride was to raise money to help with medical bills.  In the months leading up to the Poker Run, members of the group went to local businesses looking for donations to help raise money by entering those prizes in a silent raffle.  There was also a 50/50 raffle the day of the ride.  If you are unfamiliar with a 50/50 raffle, tickets are sold throughout the day.  At the drawing, 50% of the money from tickets sold, goes to the fundraiser, and the person with the winning raffle ticket gets the other 50%.

After the ride was over, we met back at our usual meeting place and had dinner and a band played for us.  People entered into a silent auction for the prizes that had been donated, hopeful they would be the winner.  At the end of the night, the money was tallied up.  The group had raised nearly $8,000 dollars for this young girl’s medical bills.  It is an amazing feeling to be part of that.

Riding in a group that large takes focus and cooperation.  Everyone should know the rules of riding in a group.  There are guidelines and hand signals that you must know to keep everyone safe.  The bikes behind the lead bike are blockers (if used).  The blockers stop traffic that could come from side streets and split the pack up, keeping everyone safe.  The riders behind the blockers and through the rest of the pack must ride in a staggered position.  If the riders do not stagger and ride side by side, it could be dangerous.  Should one of the bikes have to swerve to miss a pothole or dead animal in the road, there is a chance they could take out the rider next to them and then cause a chain reaction.  Because of this, the bikers are to ride one bike on the right, and one bike just behind on the left, then one just behind that one on the right and so on and so forth.

In the back of the pack, there are a few sweepers.  The job of the sweepers is to pull over with anyone in the pack should they have an engine problem.  The sweeper will then assist them in getting back on the road, or calling for help.  If all of these things are done correctly, the pack will be safe and no accidents will happen.  Here is a chart I found with the proper hand signals for riding in groups;

Group Riding Hand Signals

Group Riding Hand Signals

Imagine this, if you will.  You are in a pack of 100 motorcycles, riding to raise money for someone in need.  In front of you, you see bikes for a mile.  When you look in your mirror, the same thing.  It is a feeling I will never forget.

I want to make the public more aware that all bikers aren’t bad guys.  Sure, there are some that are.  But a good portion of the bikers that participate in these events are Vietnam Veterans who risked their lives fighting for our freedom.  They deserve a huge thank you for all they do for the community.  If you see a Vet, please thank them for the freedoms we have today…

**Image Courtesy of Group Riding Hand Signals

My Harley

My Harley

Yesterday, this large bright thing appeared in the sky.  What was it you ask?  Well, it was the sun.  I sort of forgot what it looked like.  It’s been so gloomy for so long that I almost didn’t remember that warmth and the happiness that comes with it.  It’s like a natural high.

I was milling around the house for a bit and then I decided to go fire up the bikes to make sure the batteries had lasted through the winter.  I keep them on Battery Tenders that keep them on a trickle charge, but sometimes they still fail.  I moved everything out of the way and rolled them out of the garage and fired each one up.  They both started with no problem.  I let them run for a little bit to make sure everything seemed OK.  I was about to put them away, when I decided to take the Harley out for a spin.

I grabbed my helmet, gloves and jacket and off I went.  What a rush.  It’s like a little dose of therapy.  The sounds of the engine and the freedom of riding with no windows or doors is amazing.  There isn’t much that tops that feeling.  I only took a short ride, as there is still way too much salt and gravel on the roads, so riding isn’t all that safe.  Soon enough, it will be spring and much more riding will be done.  Until then…