He was looking at something…

It was a year ago… actually a bit more than a year ago. I drove out to Denver from Carson City, leaving Carson on Nevada Day and heading east on U.S. 50.

The purpose was to visit the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Center in Denver for an interview. I made the cut for a senior position in the center and so was scheduled for a face-to-face interview.

While there I spent a few days with my kids. One afternoon Older Son and I walked around a bit. I carried a camera for some street photography (or whatever). I managed this capture that afternoon.

I don’t know why I am just now processing this image. Well, actually I know… 2017 was a pretty busy year. After the USGS job didn’t happen, I moved into a small place in Carson City. The move and setup took a bit of time. Then 2017 brought plenty of work that kept me busy.

As 2017 comes to a close and 2018 looms, I know that I will work through the bulk of this work and have time to devote to the photography and other things that are important to me.

So, I’ll leave a wish for a safe New Year’s Eve and a Happy 2018 to those who wander by.

Coopers Hawk

I think this is a Coopers Hawk, although it might be a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I am not good at distinguishing them.

A couple mornings ago we had a bit of sun. That made the daily walkies much more pleasant. Even if it was a little cool, the sun warmed me and made the walk very pleasant.

I often see raptors while on my daily walks. I carry a pair of binoculars with me on all walks now so I can see them (plus other birds). I would not call myself a birder, but I enjoy them and love to make photographs of them when I can.

I think this is a Coopers Hawk. They are very similar to the Sharp-Shinned Hawk and I am not yet adept at distinguishing them. In any event, with the good light I was able to get a sharp capture. I like this image quite a lot.

Crystal, Nevada

On the road to Pahrump, there is a little town called Crystal, Nevada.

On the road down to Pahrump, Nevada, we paused for a leg stretch and to watch the Sun set. Everyone else was hurrying on their way to wherever they were going. We watched them rush by while The Girl and Older Son puttered around the desolate landscape.

There are some odd places in this part of Nevada. Hoy’s “Lovership” appears to be one of them. [shudders] No, we didn’t stop there.

This morning it will be time to head back to the house. I think we accomplished what needed to be done here. Now it is time for me to work on the project and finish it up.

I’m going to enjoy the drive home. I love Nevada.


After a fun play, The Girl posed for me.

Work once again brings me to Pahrump, Nevada. I’ll have field work to do for the next couple of days. Then we’ll head back home again.

The drive down was uneventful, for which I’m thankful. The weather was good and the Sun felt good on my body. The Girl snoozed most of the way here, which means she slept most of the day. We did take a couple of breaks to get out of the rig and move around.

But she had quite a lot of pent-up energy. So after getting settled into our room (Older Son is with us), we had a big-old play on the floor. She bounced between Older Son and me, and we roughed her up really well. She was mildly mouthy, which is unusual for her, but she was so gentle that I couldn’t bring myself to admonish her.

In the end, she posed for me before I got out her food for the evening. She was hungry, having forgone breakfast in the nervousness of impending travel.

We then walked over to the sports bar and got supper for the big dogs. I really enjoyed my salad.

I had to correct several personnel there about how to *not* deal with a service dog. Everyone seems to think they can just approach a working dog and engage. So, once again I found myself having to train service personnel on the proper way to (not) interact with working dogs.

I’m pretty good at it. I’m not one of those handlers who loses their mind if someone looks at their dog. (There are many who will.) So I’m a good one for untrained service personnel to interact with.

It was good.

After a long time, our server finally reappeared with the check. She said “Sorry it took me so long. I had to break the bartender.”

I looked at her, raising my eyebrows, “Break the bartender,” with visions of her actually *breaking* someone. I began to laugh.

“No, no, no… I gave the bartender a break,” regardless of me giving her a hard time, she remained (mostly) nonplussed.

I laughed quite a lot. “You look pretty strong… I’ll bet you could break the bartender.”

I was still laughing about this as we paid the bill and headed back to the room. Normally, someone “verbifying” a noun makes me crazy. In this case, I thought it was hysterically funny.

I still think it’s funny.


This young hawk posed for me on morning walkies.

One of my favorite captures, either in-camera or just by observations, is a raptor. I see them often on walkies; sometimes in town but more frequently when walking near the Carson River.

One Sunday morning The Girl and I were walking over to the old state school (now a doggie park) and I noticed this hawk near the old flume. It flew up into the top of a cedar tree as we approached, then transitioned to this grove of willows near the DPS headquarters.

That gave me time to mount the 6-inch Wollensak on my Olympus. The Girl waited (mostly) patiently while I made the captures. Then snorted and danced when we moved on.

She always tells me what I want.

A Bit of Fluff

I came across this bit of fluff on morning walkies.

I have not written much lately. My time has been consumed by exercise (for me and The Girl), work, and playing a little World of Tanks (in the evenings after work and supper).

The energy used in working has not left much for writing of photography. Yet, I carry the camera along with me on walkies and sometimes find interesting things to capture. The pun title is a reflection of my recent thoughts as well as the disintegrating cattail The Girl and I found on recent walkies.

After experimenting with the Wollensak and Kern-Paillard 16mm movie camera lenses, I decided to retire the Panasonic Lumix G3 and replaced it with an Olympus OMD E-M10 I found on FleaBay. The Olympus was a surprising big upgrade in camera. The build quality is quite a bit better than the Panasonic. Both the rear screen and viewfinder are much better. The camera contains in-body image stabilization, which is the real upgrade for shooting legacy manual focus lenses.

The latter was my reason for upgrading this experimental camera. I have no intention of acquiring a lens system for it, although there are many excellent Micro-4/3s lenses. I might change my mind, but for now I prefer the Fuji glass for APS-size sensors and the Nikkor glass for full-frame.

I’ll probably write more about system decisions later. My system evolved substantially over the last couple of years.

I like the vintage image quality that the 16mm movie camera lenses bring. I have an Angenieux 20-80mm zoom that has an excellent reputation and needs to be used with the Olympus. As the opportunity presents, I’ll probably add a few more vintage movie camera lenses to the collection and use them to create some images.

These lenses are less sharp and bring less contrast than modern lenses. They are mostly 50-years old or more. Optical technology changed quite a lot during that period of time. But they bring an interesting quality to the captures. The results are less sharp, contain less (raw) contrast, and are subject to flare. But they are interesting.

So this will be my area of photographic exploration for awhile. I’m looking forward to working a little less in 2018 and having more time to work on personal projects. That will include writing and photography, which I will share here.

The end of the year approaches. With it will come my annual period of reflection and thoughts for the coming year. Even though there is sadness that Wife is no longer here to share the season, I look forward to remembering the birth of the Christ and the celebration of an ending and a beginning.

Life is good.

An Old Truck

This old truck was abandoned next to the Carson River many years ago. Now it serves as a point of interest to walkers along the river.

Between taking care of my body and taking care of my projects, there has been little time to write or make photographs. The lack of good light during recent days has not been encouraging me to make photographs. When the light is flat or gray, possible subjects that might interest me just do not appeal. Therefore, although I carry a camera, I find myself not motivated to make captures.

However, one day over the last week we were walking out at Riverview Park along the Carson River. I stop at this old abandoned truck often. The place is an interesting overlook of the river. There are often waterfowl nearby and I like to watch and listen to them.

The truck proves an interesting subject sometimes. I wonder how, why, and when it was left here. Most of the assemblies are long gone; only a shell remains. I wonder what interesting life that vehicle might have had.

Hanging On

We had a hard frost a few day ago. However, it did not kill all the roses… yet.

A couple of days ago we got out early enough in the evening that there was still a little light. On our way around the old state orphanage, I came across a few “hangers-on” — a few roses that the frost has not killed. They’re distressed, but hanging on. I thought the combination of light and color was interesting, so I made the shot with the Switar 25mm f/1.4 I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll have to post a photograph of this lens. It’s really rough on the exterior and has a funky slip at a certain portion of the focus helicoid, but the glass is good and the aperture works fine. It’s a classic 16mm movie camera lens that produces interesting images. If I’m ever at a loss for things to do, I’ll disassemble it and clean the helicoid. I think that will fix the focusing weirdness.

Nonetheless, the image is worth sharing. The roses have not yet given up.

LaTeX and XML

And now for something completely different…

It is no secret (at least to those who know me) that I use Leslie Lamport’s LaTeX as my principal tool for producing written output. LaTeX is based on (one of my heroes) Donald Knuth’s TeX typesetting system. TeX was developed to support Knuth’s writing of computer science texts. Because of TeX’s beautiful output (especially of maths), others soon took up the tool.

(I despise Microsoft Word… and in general any word-processing software.)

Some time later Lamport wrote a set of macros that make TeX typesetting easier for those of us unfamiliar with the intricacies of TeX, which is decidedly low-level (but provides extreme control over output). I took up LaTeX in the 1990s while working with/on hydraulic models for U.S. Geological Survey. I loved the ease of producing very nice looking text, textbook quality maths, and working in a non-WYSIWIG environment. (Windows was just coming along at the time and I hated it.)

During that time, I actively supported something called Literate Programming, which was another Knuth creation in which both source code and documentation derive from the same file. I used the literate paradigm to produce several programs and maintained the Literate Programming FAQ list for the mailing list associated with users and interested parties of literate programming. Because there was a need to publish the FAQ in a variety of formats, I ultimately cast the source in an XML (eXtensible Markup Language) variant called Docbook. I had tools that converted the source to HTML and LaTeX (and plain text as well).

There are times when I’d like to publish maths here on my site. Yes, topics that involve mathematics still interest me and will continue to do so while I draw breath. But publishing maths in HTML is problematic. There is no standard approach that can produce beautiful mathematics rendering.

I just learned about a project, PreTeXt (, that is based on XML and can produce EPUB, PDF, and HTML from a single XML source. TeX is used to set mathematics. I have not yet experimented with the work, but the prospect of producing e-reader formatted output, as well as HTML, that contains TeX maths is very interesting to me.

Therefore, once I finish working through my backlog of paying work, I think some experimentation with PreTeXt is needed. It might change the way I approach writing work. It will be interesting.


On our walk along the Carson River Friday, we came upon these red berries or buds. I’m not sure what they are, but they provided an interesting contrast to the white rocks in the background.

We walked later than usual on Friday. I decided to do the strength workout before walking, so after taking care of some work and feeding us, we left the house about 1100h and headed for Silver Saddle Ranch. I really enjoy walking the Mexican Ditch Trail.

We parked at the usual staging area and humped down the hill through the ranch complex. I noticed an North American Kestrel that I first saw a few days ago, sitting in a tree. He flew off down the lane a hundred yards and perched on a fence post. As we continued walking the lane, he spooked and flew off across the hayfield. That made me smile and I spoke to him as he flew away.

I so enjoy seeing birds along the walk. I carry binoculars in my kit so I can watch them. I have an application on my iPhone that helps me identify them. My logging of my sightings is used by the Cornell Ornithology Unit to track populations, I’m certain.

I also identified a Northern Flicker as we walked the trail. I often hear woodpeckers working as we walk, but they are furtive and do not want to be seen. But Friday I spotted one and was able to observe him long enough to get an identification. His call confirmed my identification. He didn’t stay on his perch long, however. But I also spotted a female at the same location, and she was very spooky. She used her camouflage to hide against the bark of a cottonwood tree she occupied. I was amused and thankful for seeing both birds.

There was a lot of flow in the Carson River that afternoon. I supposed we had enough rain and snow in the mountains to raise the flowrate substantially. We paused at the dam to watch and listen to the water flowing over the weir. I noticed some red buds or berries on some scraggly brush along the Mexican Ditch, so we paused a few minutes for me to make an image.

There we met Linda and Austin. Linda is a tall, slender woman about my age. She’s clearly taken care of herself. Austin is her rambunctious black dog. Austin teased and irritated The Girl until she chased him. They were a hoot to watch. We all shared the path back to the ranch buildings and then parted ways, each on their path.

It was a good day. The walk did me good. The birds provided some intellectual stimulation and joy. The exercise is always good. A tired dog is a happy dog. So is a tired old man.