On This Date: Photo taken 12/29/2014

This photograph’s the December image for the calendar I made for friends and family members this year, so they’ll find it familiar. Except my calendar’s printer added a whole bunch of orange to the mix.

I don’t object to their version, but it ain’t my version.

One of my dad’s coworkers did custom photo processing for customers of Kalamazoo’s camera shop, Norman Camera. Can’t say I understood the need until I started scanning negatives, and discovered how much control the photo lab has (had?) over the final print. For most photographs it doesn’t much matter, but I’ve learned that a lab tech can ruin–or save–an image by making decisions about cropping and exposure. The best lab staffers were very good about this; others seem to have treated the job as basically mechanical.

Obviously this is still true, though the media’s changed.

Number of pix taken on various December 29ths: 132
Year of oldest photo: 2007

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 11
  • 3 Stars: 99
  • 4 Stars: 16
  • 5 Stars: 5



On This Date: Photo taken 12/28/2007

Ten years ago today my Nikon D300 arrived. I shot the traditional photos of Joan and Taffy–Oreo, too. I got some (lousy) pictures of the Christmas tree ornaments. Then I wandered around the house taking images of things on shelves and walls.

I discovered my software couldn’t handle the D300’s RAW format. So I reset the camera to shoot TIFs and repeated the process.

Here’s one of the RAW photos I took after I unboxed the camera. I don’t think I’ve posted one of those before.

I forget what software I was using at the time–perhaps PhotoImpact. I could–maybe should–have switched to Photoshop, but I’ve an aversion to Adobe products. Finding suitable software that supported the newly-released camera soon led me to Bibble Pro, a product I learned to love. (It’s hard not to notice that Corel acquired both PhotoImpact and Bibble, and both times I went elsewhere. I’m not certain that’s significant. I did use Corel’s AfterShot Pro–Bibble’s successor–for a couple years. And long ago I owned a copy of PaintShop Pro.)

These days my main photo processing tools are made by DxO and Serif.

It’s not that I dislike Adobe. It’s more that Adobe controls enough of the infrastructure I use that I consider it important to support their competitors.

Number of pix taken on various December 28ths: 338
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 6
  • 2 Stars: 47
  • 3 Stars: 232
  • 4 Stars: 50
  • 5 Stars: 3

Taffy in the Window #1

Taffy in the Window #1

On This Date: Photo taken 12/18/2002

This, folks, is the first photograph I ever took with a digital camera. It’s a bit over-exposed, but my first photos are rarely this good….

Fifteen years ago today I wandered into Best Buy to check out the digital camera selection. I took home an Olympus C-50. Can’t say how I decided to buy that specific camera, though the enormous 5 MP sensor was doubtless a consideration. So, probably, was the fact that the camera wasn’t fully automatic.

My expectations were low, but it turned out to be a pretty good camera–I took about 5000 pix with it. Like all my pocket cameras, it eventually broke; its last outing was to Lake Michigan in the spring of 2005.

Much of what I remember about the Best Buy trip is that a friend from work was also looking at cameras that day. His National Guard unit had just been notified that they’d soon be called up, and we talked about that while we shopped. Jeff expected he’d be maintaining the same sort of electronics networking equipment for the army that he’d been doing for us.

A few weeks later he was gone to the Gulf and we never saw him again. For all I know he’s still running an army computer network.

More often than not my first photograph with any camera is of Taffy. This is largely because I unbox the device in our living room, where Taf’s generally sitting in the picture window. She’s convenient, in good light, and photogenic. I frame the photo and snap a few frames.

Joan’s my next-most-common first-photo subject, for much the same reasons.

For the record: My first digital photograph was taken with a flip-phone. Photos taken with that “camera” seem not to have survived.

Number of pix taken on various December 18ths: 117
Year of oldest photo: 2002

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 31
  • 3 Stars: 66
  • 4 Stars: 15
  • 5 Stars: 5



On This Date: Photo taken 11/27/2012

Near Pleasantview Church on Lacey Road in Barry County; apparently this is a Dowling address.

I’ve posted this photo before, in monochrome as part of my 2012 Outtakes set. The photo invites creative processing, because you’ve got to do something about the pic’s general busy-ness. Last time I just washed everything out; this time I tried to emphasize the colors. I like both versions.

My notes had the location wrong on this photo, something I recognized immediately last night when I was sorting through my 11/27 pix. So this morning’s first task was finding this farmyard.

Five years ago today I took photographs in or near all of these Barry County towns: Prairieville, Delton, Hickory Corners, Pine Lake (not a town), Dowling, and Nashville. (Also the Eaton County towns Vermontville, Mulliken, and Grand Ledge.) I was a busy guy that day. (And that accounting leaves out whatever I did in Kalamazoo that morning.) Anyway, finding this barn’s site required reconstructing the trip, then making an educated guess about the location. I was helped by the fact I took another photo of the farmyard, with more details. I found the farm by comparing overhead photos with the layout features I could see in the other photograph, then verified it with a not-very-helpful Streetview image.

Number of pix taken on various November 27ths: 321
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 83[!]
  • 3 Stars: 152
  • 4 Stars: 64
  • 5 Stars: 11

Many of the 83 two-star photographs were of an uncooperative subject at the 2014 Thanksgiving party in Schoolcraft. Gage started spinnin’ every time I pointed my camera his direction….

It’s Always About Light and Shadow

It's Always About Light and Shadow

On This Date: Photo taken 11/14/2010

I’ve posted this photo before. This version’s a bit more vivid.

There’s still another version. The comments on that one have some discussion about framing that someone might find interesting. My thanks, again, to Jeff and Matt for their feedback.

Number of pix taken on various November 14ths: 84
Year of oldest photo: 2010

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 9
  • 3 Stars: 48
  • 4 Stars: 25
  • 5 Stars: 2



On This Date: Photo taken 11/13/2012

Four years ago I posted a very similar photo that I took a few seconds after this one.

Under that image I said: “We got our first snow a year ago. Even a bored photographer should be able to make something of new snow.” Still true….

That pic’s commentary goes on to talk about my Nikon 1 V1, and offers the opinion that I’d have likely preferred an Olympus OM-D system. Which bears mentioning because I purchased an OM-D just last week.

I’m still using a (different) Nikon 1, though, and plan to keep carrying it. The Olympus is replacing my D500.

Number of pix taken on various November 13ths: 231
Year of oldest photo: 2004

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 4
  • 2 Stars: 18
  • 3 Stars: 164
  • 4 Stars: 39
  • 5 Stars: 6



On This Date: Photo taken 7/20/2004

Babcock State Park’s a pretty place in West Virginia’s New River Gorge where Joan and I have often vacationed. On various trips we’ve camped in a tent, camped in a popup trailer, and stayed in cabins. Obviously we enjoy the place.

The park’s mostly a rather steep wilderness on the side of the gorge, but its most famous feature is Glade Creek Mill. This is that mill, as the sign testifies, but it’s none of the usual pictures. I’ve taken those photographs, too, but….

This is the only digital photograph surviving from that vacation. I’ve film pix from that week, but I can’t confidently date those.

I’d bought my first digital camera in late 2002, and while I was still predominantly a film SLR photographer it was clear by the summer of 2004 that I needed to back up my digital images. So I began burning the pix to CDs. After a false start or two I came up with the system I still use, though it’s been augmented over the years. I began with the oldest digital pix and worked through 2003. At that point I took a break.

Then my laptop’s drive failed. The only digital pix that survived that failure were duplicated, for one reason or another, and stored away from that computer. This photo was one of those. But the larger reality is that I lost most digital images I took between Christmas of 2003 and October 2, 2004.

There’s a lesson in there….

And a new camera note: One year ago today I bought my D500. It’s been fun, but I’m still figuring it out….

Number of pix taken on various July 20ths: 1266
Year of oldest photo: 2004

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 91
  • 3 Stars: 934
  • 4 Stars: 206
  • 5 Stars: 35



On This Date: Photo taken 4/28/2007

A decade ago I spent the noon hour wandering around our yard, playing focus and depth of field games with various lenses. Many of the day’s 116 images are quite odd; some are rather striking.

Even the time stamps are interesting. The first photo was taken at 12:15:26; the last at 13:15:25. Exactly an hour.

I do this. I change some settings on whatever camera I’m carrying and make those settings the day’s subject.

F’rinstance: A couple days ago I took a new-to-me setup to the ballpark. While I wasn’t happy with the session’s results, I definitely learned stuff about the D500’s capabilities. Next ballpark trip I’ll put the lessons to work. Or perhaps I’ll apply those lessons to bird-at-the-feeder photographs this afternoon, while I experiment with my new tripod. Regardless, it wasn’t a wasted day.

Number of pix taken on various April 28ths: 292 [includes one by my brother]
Year of oldest photo: 1998

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 14
  • 3 Stars: 224
  • 4 Stars: 51
  • 5 Stars: 2

The photo by Richard was of me, at the ballpark in 2006. I also took one of him.

Roxand Center Schoolhouse

Roxand Center Schoolhouse

On This Date: Photo taken 1/24/2015.

There once was a settlement at the center of Roxand Township in Michigan’s Eaton County. This old schoolhouse is all that remains.

The Post Office called the place Centre, but mostly you find it called Roxand Center. I expect if I hunted hard enough I’d find a reference to Roxana Centre/Center, but I’m not interested enough.

While I’ve taken a handful of pix in other years, the bulk of the January 24 pix date from the 2012 daily photo project. I was clearly bored; I tried a little bit of everything. There’s a pic taken at my dentist’s. Another couple came from where I ate breakfast, and I caught some more on my way home. Then I took random images around the house. There’s even a rubber ducky photo. And a cat, of course. Eventually I posted one of ’em–of a bird feeder, which I actually like.

For the 2015 daily project I took only 8 photographs. All were framed well; all had technical issues. I set to work in AfterShot Pro (ASP) and was able to rescue most of ’em. In the end I posted a photo of an ancient lawn tractor, sitting by the road in the snow.

OpticsPro accepted the ASP changes from that session for this photo and we’re going with those today.

Number of pix taken on various January 24ths: 62
Year of oldest photo: 2007

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 3
  • 2 Stars: 15
  • 3 Stars: 38
  • 4 Stars: 6
  • 5 Stars: 0