Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wandering Again

I'm in San Jose for my real job. I got a chance late Saturday to go to Half Moon Bay on the coast for a bit. My main purpose was to look at a lighthouse I found a link to. An interesting light house, but I wasn't able to get a good photo of it. Wandering around the area, I came across a lot of parks, and beach access. I'm going to try to get back there one evening before I come home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

At The Beach

The local camera clubs had a combined workshop Sunday. A modeling session at Hoffmaster State Park, just south of Muskegon. We started out about 4 pm with a picnic and then headed down to the beach. I didn't get an exact count, but there were more than 20 photographers and 6 or more models. Some of the models were friends and family of the photographers, a couple of the others were semi-professionals that came along. While all the models that came where female, we ran into a group of guy wave boarders who were more than willing to let us photograph them. They started doing some runs down the beach, but they were quickly co-opted into posing along with the others.

It was a hot, muggy day, but once we got down to the beach, it was great. The beach was crowded, but we were able to find room. The crowd also started to thin out later in the evening, but I was surprised how many people stayed until dark. The water was warm for Lake Michigan, up into the 70's. Which was good for the models, because they ended up in the water a lot. It was good for me also, since I was in the water a lot, especially when I was working with the guys.

I dragged my new light and battery down to the beach once it started getting later in the evening. This was the first time I had used it outside the house. Overall I was happy with it, but I still have more to learn on lighting people, especially with just one light.

One of the models brought her wedding dress. I got a couple good photos of her with it on standing on the beach. She then went in the water with it. Unfortunately it was dark by then, and I really didn't get any photos I liked after that. She's going to trash the dress later in the year, and I'm going to try to photograph that also.

A good way to spend an afternoon, with a lot of great people and pretty scenery.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Wandering around Wilderness State Park, I came across this family.
I wasn't really sure what kind of bird it is, though it has been suggested,
that they are Sawbills or Red-breasted Merganser. I tried to get a photo
without disturbing them, but it was not to be. They ended up in the water, even
though I started backing up when they stood up. The last I saw of them,
they were swimming around a small point.
I would have liked to get some more photos.

Since we were in Mackinac City, I had to get a photo of the bridge.
A 3 minute exposure from Wednesday evening at 10 pm.

The old Mackinac City Lighthouse. It's too bad
they don't light it up anymore, but the ground
lights make some nice shadows.

We spent a few days up north in Mackinac City. Even though it is a prime tourist trap, we still enjoy it. My back was giving me problems, so it was a quiet trip. I got out a little bit with the camera, but not near enough as I normally would.

I spent a couple hours driving around Wilderness State Park, scouting out locations for the next time I came up. I did find a few spots I want to go back to, when I can spend the time. On the way to the park, I stopped at the new lighthouse open to the public, the McGulpin Point Lighthouse. Recently bought by Emmet County from a private party, it's been opened to the public while it's being restored. A pretty building, but surrounded by trees. It will be difficult to photograph, and I didn't get a chance to go back and try.

Since I could sit on the beach, I did get out a couple evenings to photograph the bridge. While it is over photographed, even by me, I still like to try to get a different take on it. Plus sitting by the water, listening to the waves, while the stars come out, always relaxes me. One evening, I watched a thunderstorm across the water for a while after I was done with the bridge. The storm stayed north, across in the Upper Peninsula, but I could see the glow of the clouds and hear the thunder. For some reason, thunderstorms and the rain are soothing.

We made it over to Mackinac Island for a few hours. I took it slow and was able to enjoy the trip. I had my camera with me, but nothing really struck me, and I didn't take many photographs.

An enjoyable few days overall, even with me having to take it easy. Now it's back to the real job again tomorrow. Sigh...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Maker Faire - Detroit

The kit at the "Learn to Solder" station. For a buck, you got a small
set of parts, which when put together was a blinky led badge.
It was popular, especially with the kids, but a lot of grown ups
had them also.

Seen at the giant mousetrap art show, I assumed he was
taking stereo video. There were a lot of cameras around.

A swing set with a water bar at the top.
Very popular, even though it wasn't really hot.

Another performance art piece. Volunteers were pulled
out of the crowd to pedal or just ride. It played music that
sounded like an old record on a turntable. The music varied
in speed corresponding to the speed they were pedaling.
They then had to pedal backwards...
There were flames also.
Vehicles were popular. Pedal, electric, solar or gas.
They were all there.

Saturday I let my inner geek out. I attended the Maker Faire in Dearborn at the Henry Ford Museum. When I mentioned I was going, I was asked what the Faire was. It's hard to explain. Think technology meets art, meets learning, meets community. A celebration of the hackers ethic along with a big helping of do it yourself. Not I mean hacking in a good way, like taking apart something you own or repurposing it for a use the original manufacturer never intended.

There were not a lot of vendors selling things, probably ninety percent of the booths were just people and schools showing off projects they were working on. There were projects for kids, like pvc marshmallow guns, or the learn to solder station. There were demonstration for adults, like a laser etching station or cnc woodworking tools, some homebuilt. I saw my first 3d printer, a homemade device that prints small parts out of plastic.

Music was popular, there were a lot of homemade music devices, some acoustic, some computer controlled. There was a stage where bands played the whole day.

There was also a lot of geeky style performance art. From the ride pictured above, to a full sized Mousetrap game that dropped a two ton safe on a car to the Coke Zero - Mentos performance.

A lot of robots, from small table tops to a Nerf machine gun area protection robot.

The only photography display I saw was Bill Schwab from North Lights Photography. He was doing a brisk business selling wet plate collodion portraits. I didn't get a chance to say hi, he was pretty busy. It was interesting to see an old process be so popular.

As part of the admission, we had access to the Henry Ford Museum. I didn't see much of it, except to go in the building to see the displays inside. A full, tiring, but very fun day. I hope they do it again next year, I would be back.