Lighting

I’ve always been a fan of the strobist and just a few days ago I decided to actually try & practice his Lighting 101.

It was pretty easy to get started as over they years I, Eric & Scott have accumulated all the necessary gear, and it just happens to be currently in my closet. We share a nice Manfroto tripod with a good head. I have a Canon 600EX-RT flash and Eric has a Canon 430EXII flash, so I’m good for a two light setup. Eric also has a Cowboy Studio kit with 2 stands, multiple umbrellas, and all the bits and pieces to mount the flashes and umbrellas to the stands etc. A while back I bought a 50′ flash cable for connecting the off-camera flash to the camera and the two Canon flashes can be configured for wireless triggering as well. Yahoo! I’m ready to go!

So, following  the first part of Lighting 101 I set up for the one flash off-camera at a 45° angle and 45° up configuration and get it all jammed into my office. Here is what it looked like.

After a few test shots and some flash power level adjustments I’m getting some pretty nice results IMHO. I’m hopping up and down to check the image on the back of the camera after every shot as I’m using a timed release to shoot myself as the subject, sitting in the office chair. Then I remember that Lightroom will do tethered capture. I have a cable for that and the computer is close, so a new experience using the tethered capture which is pretty sweet.

Part of the tethered capture allows you to apply a bunch of presets so here is a black and white look.

A bit of a dark grunge look.

Then there is a more normal unprocessed look.

So serious, but friendly looking.

Even Shirley got in on the action.

Happy

Looking forward to more experimenting and learning with the rest of 101 and then 102, 103.

Retirement Conundrum

When your efforts are not directed at a cause or a purpose, how will you know what to do day in and day out?

“Let all your efforts be directed to something, let it keep that end in view. It’s not activity that disturbs people, but false conceptions of things that drive them mad.” —SENECA, ON TRANQUILITY OF MIND, 12.5

Encouragement when things are dark

Even in your doubt. Even in the brunt of life’s bitter blows. What’s ahead far surpasses your greatest expectations. Really.

Because when your expectation is tied to Jesus’ bigger mission, your future reality will be better than anything you’ve hoped or prayed for. Fix your eyes on Jesus and keep on. The joy is still ahead. 

From day 8 of the @YouVersion plan ‘One On One: 100 Days With Jesus–Ministry Years’. Check it out here.

Christmas 2018

I had a fabulous Christmas with family and friends! An awesome Christmas Eve church service, a long standing Christmas Eve party with friends and a very special Christmas Day with family. 

Here is a little video of the Christmas Day highlights.

Christmas 2018 Highlights

Christ came to be our peace

Extracted from a devotional I’m reading.

Yet Christ came to be our peace. Everything—our hopes, worries, fears, doubts, dreams—are met by him and found in him. He can put our worries to rest and surround us with an everlasting peace that calms the raging storm in our lives.

Let’s set aside quiet time with our family and more importantly ourselves to reflect on God’s promises and let his peace wash over us. Through the good and bad, through times of laughter and tears, Christ came to be our peace.

An encouraging reminder.

 From @YouVersion plan 'The King Is Coming'.

Zwifting

Always getting hooked on these “Tours” in Zwift. I did the Tour of New York last month and just finished the Tour of LDN (London) today. They send you a nice little email for all your hard work.

Hey Garry,

You crushed it! You finished all 5 stages of the Tour of London. That completes the series.

You’ve done what you had to, to unlock the special Tour of London kit! It will take some time before it reaches your Zwift closet. Expect to find it hanging and ready to wear by December 31st, 2018.

Ride On.

The Team at Zwift

I also had a bit of fun with another rider near the end. They were drafting for a while and then came by and I decided to see if I could stay out front, which I did. But, every so often they would hammer on with 250-300 watts and pass me, which I of course I chased down.  We exchange elbow flicks and waves and then I decide to draft for a while. As we near the end they are behind me a bit, and I’m half expecting a sprint finish but I can’t exactly see how far back they are. Sure enough, right at the wire I get my doors blown off as they fly by at the wire. Congratulations Sarah Lovejoy, 51 from the USA. 😉

Rullu pylsa, or Rúllupylsa

The annual (sort of) tradition of making Rullu Pylsa is living on this year with a bit of a first ever twist.

In late November we called Thor’s Meats in Selkirk, our normal supplier of boned lamb flank, and were told it was unavailable and we should have called in September to secure this hard to come by cut of meat. This was a little disappointing, which led to some  googling which led to some “other” recipes where they used beef flank. So, that’s what we did this year, same recipe, different cut of meat. It will be interesting to find out how it tastes! So different, beef vs. lamb, lean vs. quite fatty, but we got them done and are now in the 5 day marinating period. Here is the prep stage.

I started with 3 beef flanks and managed to split two in half to make a thiner layer for rolling. The third flank had “issues” so its in the original thickness and resulted in a much fatter roll. End result, 5 Rulla Pylsa for Christmas.

The “official” recipe from my mom.

If all this is too complicated, time consuming etc. there is a Canadian made option! Order it from vinaterta.ca, and while your there get a Vinaterta too! My wonderful sister made me a Vinarterta and shipped it from Saskatoon for my birthday, yum!

On a more tech/blog note I was looking at the site stats recently and while the site traffic is very low, the most popular post ever is Rullupylsa in the Raw and visits peak in December, prime time to make your Rule Pylsa. Happy cooking!

Night Photography, the 1st attempt

I’ve never attempted night photography or astronomical photography, until last night. 

A while back on Black Friday I bought an app that I’d had my eye on for a while. Its Photopills, a very cool tool to assist in planning all kinds of shots involving the sun, moon, milky way and meteor showers. I’d highly recommend this very sophisticated app. There is a bit of a learning curve, but there are lots of video tutorials, manuals, blog posts etc. to get you started.

So, last night was the height of the Geminids meteor shower and I thought this would be a great opportunity to try to capture my 1st night shot. There is a lot to learn and think about to get good shots and a lot of post processing to get the spectacular images like this. After last night, I’ve got a lot to learn and practice. Let the adventure begin!

The peak of the meteor shower was to be between 2am and 4am.  This is a little late for me so we head out to Birds Hill park around 1am and hope for the best. Turns out it’s not near dark enough and there is still some significant light pollution from Winnipeg and the town of Birds Hill etc., lesson learned – research a darker location. Thankfully, its warm for this time of year at -1C and only a light breeze, which at 1am seems plenty cold.  I set up the tripod, cable release and the manual exposure settings and get ready to shoot.

Using the Photopills app and its Night Augmented Reality (AR) capability I figure out which way to look and point the camera. Almost immediately we see a couple of meteors or “shooting starts”, very cool. It seems that the approach is to shoot frequent exposures, each one being 25 sec. and hope that a meteor happens during that timeframe and the camera is pointing the right way. I have the lens set at 10mm (16.1mm effective on my crop sensor camera) so it’s covering a pretty big chunk of the sky. However I’m likely not pointing the camera in quite the optimum direction. I’ve left the Photopills app set for a slightly different date & time, so the Night AR view is not quite right, but it’s sort of close. Lesson #2 learned, check you app settings.

After taking about 30 photos and not too sure if any of them have captured a meteor I’m getting cold and we pack it in.  After looking at all the photos two have meteors, one is very faint and the other is nice and bright! Success! And here is it after a little quick Lightroom magic.

My first meteor capture, can you find it?

So, not only was there a lot of light pollution the white snow cover and the scattered clouds in the sky didn’t help either. Still, not too bad for the 1st effort. Just in case you can’t find the meteor or want a little info on what part of the sky you’re looking at here is some help. I’ve connected the dots for the Big Dipper and an arrow to the meteor.

Look for the red lines,

One other surprising thing was how many people are in the park this late at night! Three or four cars drive by our location and on the way out we see another 3-4 cars parked doing who knows what. 😉