Reflecting On A Day

This is my lovely Sera, playing with her ball in a field while we were on walkies. Like Ki before her, she is the love of my life and a joy to be with. Shot with my iPhone 13 Pro Max without post processing.

One of the things I like about my weblog is that it is a diary or journal of sorts. I have posts going back to 2001, although those from 2001–2012 (or so) are off line for reasons described elsewhere. Last year I found an On This Day plug-in for my CMS and got it installed. It pulls entries dated on the access day (like today) and puts them on the left sidebar.

This morning I checked my weblog and found this entry. It is a description of Ki and I walking the ridge at Hidden Valley Regional Park on the east side of Reno. At that time, we were housed in a La Quinta in Reno while I worked and figured out what was next for us.

Some mornings we walked in town. That was not very interesting as I really do not care for city energy and Ki had to be on leash. Once I discovered the park, we went there nearly every day until I moved us to Carson City, where we live.

I really loved reliving the tale told in the entry. I remember walking that ridge with Ki and how much fun she had running out and back searching for lizards. In that regard, she was much like Sera is today and I love them both for it. They are/were so engaged with life and such good life lessons for me.

Today, The Girl (Sera) and I will get out and have a nice outing. I am thinking that some radio play might be in order.

I am grateful. Life is good.

The Complexity of Modern Cameras

The above YouTube video is by a favorite content creator, Alex Kilbee. He is an excellent photographer and a great teacher. It is definitely worth the watch. If you have not watched the video, then I suggest you watch it first. Then the following will make more sense.

Although I think I am a bit older than Kilbee (heh), I grew up with a simple mechanical camera and film. I was young and had little money to spend on equipment, so I made do with what I had… A body, a 50mm lens, and two aftermarket lenses — a 35mm and a 135mm. That was my kit.

I shot semi-pro back in the 90s with a pair of Canon AE-1 bodies and a few lenses. I made a few bucks, helped out some students and bands, and had a blast. Then I moved into the digital realm and got sucked into the quagmire of increasing cost and complexity.

I set my cameras aside nearly 10-years ago and used the iPhone for snapshots. Last year I was so busy I decided to pick up my cameras again so I could do something creative while hiking with my dog. I upgraded the Fuji X-T1 to the X-T5 and was astonished at the increase in quality and complexity, although the latter camera was far more refined than the former. I also picked up a Fuji X100V and found that to be the camera I carried most of the time… because of its simplicity in comparison to the more capable and more complex X-T5.

And therein is the key, I think, to Kilbee’s thesis for the video. I (we) need simplicity to focus on what is important, the image and working the subject. Digital is nice because the incremental cost of shooting is minimal whereas film is a real expense for each frame.

So, now I find myself with three old (but new to me) cameras: A Bronica S2A, a Nikon F2, and a Contax TVS point and shoot. Why? I have two reasons… well, perhaps three reasons.

First, I really like film. I am not shooting for hire or for publication; I am shooting to please myself. It is a creative outlet.

Second, there is a simplicity in the cameras. The point-and-shoot has some settings, but the camera mostly handles everything once you drop the film cassette into it. I find it an easy way of having a film camera handy when something interesting shows up. The Bronica and Nikon are simple, but capable cameras. The Bronica has no metering system — an external meter is required. The Nikon has a metering prism that uses a center-weighted meter. Both require the photographer (me) to set the shutter time and aperture. This is how I learned when I picked up a camera all those decades ago.

Third, I am learning to ignore the complexity of my digital cameras. The X-T5 will do a bagillion things in any number of ways. The X100V will do half a bagillion things in few ways. I find that setting them up for auto-ISO and auto-shutter speed, setting up back-button focus, adding one or two favorite custom settings (film simulations), and then running the aperture to create the depth of field I want is sufficient. I then forget about every other capability of the camera and just run it.

Aside: I run a black diffusion filter on my X100V — the smallest amount of diffusion possible. I find that this filter, coupled with a film simulation (Reggie’s Portra 400 and Tri-X are my favorites), provide a filmic look to the resulting JPGs. The filter also makes the X100V weather resistant, which is a bonus. I also keep the RAW files handy (sometimes) in case I want to experiment with different film simulations after the fact.

Kilbee is absolutely correct about the complexity of modern cameras and how that complexity can interfere with making photographs. It is one reason I am experimenting with film once again. But I also know that I will continue to use my digital cameras because they are capable of great images. I can dumb down the images with appropriate filtration and post processing, although I do not enjoy post processing.

The bottom line is to stop fiddling with all the camera options, pick a few to set up the camera so it works for you, then get busy looking at the world around you and making photographs.

The Waffle House

An iconic American diner, the Waffle House. Shot with my Contax TVS on Kodak Gold 200. Exposure details not recorded.
Some decades ago, probably in the 1980s, my practice of long road trips began. They were mostly associated with traveling from where we lived to visit family in Missouri. However, with time (and age), they have morphed into long travels for a variety of reasons. I still visit my family, but have added to that list old friends. Then there are trips added to visit work sites and just because I want to go.

What I found is the Waffle House. I have eaten breakfast at these places all over that part of the country that the franchise serves. The food is decent. It is not bistro-quality, but the short-order kind of food. I really like the waffles, the batter they use is very good. And I found that pecans in my waffle is an added tasty treat.

There is a Waffle House a few miles north from Ozark, Missouri. I am here visiting with my kids and waiting for the camper to be repaired after the blown tire tore s#*$ up. The parts are in and the camper is in the shop. Before the next leg of my trip, it will be good to have the little house restored. I really prefer sleeping in my own space.

My most recent bout of GAS1 I wished I had brought along a couple of my film cameras. Specifically, I had a Nikon FA kit partly assembled and the Pentax 645 kit was mostly assembled. But, I ran out of time to get everything done before I needed to leave. So, I left my film cameras behind.

This I regretted enough that I bought a Contax TVS point-and-shoot. It is a little Vario-Sonar zoom based 35mm camera that is very good. I wanted the T2 version, but the wannabees have driven up the price of the prime-based Contax that they are no longer reasonable. The TVS is a kind of sleeper that makes solid images at some cost to control. It is a point-and-shoot, after all.

I have always wanted a mechanical Nikon camera. When I was a young man, I wanted a Nikon Photomic. It was a tool of the professional, with prices accordingly. I could not afford one. I can now, so a F2AS joined my inventory along with a couple of lenses that are not in my collection.

I have lusted wanted a Hasselblad 500-series camera for a very long time. They were always out of my price range. I might have been able to buy one four- or five-years ago, but then the prices were driven up because of the Hasselblad reputation, I suppose. I have a couple of the V-mount lenses in my collection. I suppose it is now time to sell them… because…

After substantial research, the Bronica S2A is an acceptable substitute for the 500-series Hasselblad. No, it is not the equivalent. But it is close, close enough. It will provide the 6x6cm experience (and challenges). The Nikkor glass for the camera is quite good. It is a mechanical camera that should run the rest of my life. If it needs repair, it is repairable.

One wandered into my life a few days ago. I still need to introduce it. I will.

So, now at the end of my mental wandering, the image can be explained. I was running a test roll through the Contax TVS and saw this scene. So I turned off the flash and made the capture. I love having access to a Waffle House from Ozark. I am often up early, so I can get out for breakfast at a favorite place. It can be an interesting place to make a few captures as well.

I like it. Life is good.

1Gear Acquisition Syndrome, an affliction of lust that many photographers succumb to that causes an increased load and a reduced bank account.

Eleven Years — 19 January 2024

Older Son and I were actually at the B-29 Cafe, in the same center. However, the light on the sign does not illuminate the B-29 part of the sign. Irony? Shot with the Fujifilm X100V 23mm f/2 at f/8 with the Regie’s Portra film simulation.

I woke early this morning (or late last night) and was awake for an hour or so. There is nothing unusual about that — it happens often enough. Instead of picking up my iPhone, I picked up the MacBook Pro (such a lovely size for a laptop computer!) and opened the shell. It woke immediately and a light touch of my fingertip to the sensor unlocked it.

The day had already turned and I noticed the date. When I opened my weblog page, I saw the list of On This Day entries on the left. This served as a substantial memory punch that Wife left us1 11-years ago.

That realization was not the gut punch that it was several years ago. I did the work necessary to be healed. But, I felt that cold grasp around my heart that serves as a reminder of a substantial loss. I think that is part of the suck my friend Jim referred to so many years ago.

It sucks. It will always suck. But it will suck less as time passes.

I also noted that I did not post on several of the anniversaries. I will look again in the morning to see if I posted the day after. I am not one to back date my posts. I have also been extraordinarily busy the last few years.

My 2019 post was filled with dread of Ki’s coming death. She was very sick the end of 2019 with a brain tumor and I knew she would leave soon. That was also a difficult time for me2. Ki was a strong connection to Wife because of how well Ki watched over her when she was sick. It was hard losing her, too.

But, here I am 11-years later, remembering what happened this day. It was awful saying goodbye that last time. I feel a heaviness right now as I recall those last moments, her attempt to say something, and her departure from this life. To say it is a memory that will haunt me the rest of my life is not melodramatic; it is truth.

I am so thankful we had some good months together between the time her first treatment regimen ended and the second began. I am thankful that I insisted we use that time to do those things that were important to her, not knowing what was coming but preparing nonetheless. I am thankful her family and dearest friends came to see her before the end to bring their love and positive energy to her.

I am thankful for all the years we had together, for the life we shared, for all the laughs we shared, for love we shared.

I will not spend the day in mourning. She would chastise me for that. I will, however, remember her several times this day as I go through the tasks required of me. I will be grateful for the day and for the life that we shared. I will play with The Girl and get her out for a short walk, even if the temperature is heading toward 0ºF. (Yes, it will not be a long outing!)

I am grateful. Life is good.

1I use the euphemism left us for died sometimes. I am not afraid so say/write died. It is the descriptive word and it is completely true. But, sometimes I think that a less powerful word makes the language work a little better. But the truth is that she died, just as we all do.

2Do not dare tell me she’s only a dog. That will get you punched in the face without hesitation! I will then say “That was only a love tap!”


This is my new MacBook Pro notebook computer. Shot with iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Late last year, I bought two new computers. The MacBook Pro shown in the image was bought just before Apple announced the new models (my bad). It is a 14-inch model with the best processor, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD space. It replaced the aging i7-based MBP that I bought back in 2016. It also replaced an aging i5-based iMac I bought in 2015.

The latter two computers were showing their age, the MBP less so than the iMac. But the MBP was nearing the end of its useful life.

So, I replaced two computers with a single unit. When I return home I will add an external monitor to it for desktop work.

The second machine is an ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop. It replaces the aging desktop tower that I bought several years ago (2015? 2016? earlier?) and upgraded a couple of times. This computer is based on a Ryzen 9, plenty of RAM and SSD, and a solid NVidia RTX display adapter. It will handle the numerical modeling and GIS work chores very well.

In fact, it is handling them very well. Having a strong notebook computer released me from the house for work. I can now prepare and operate my numerical models while traveling.

Now, I left a 15-inch MBP for the 14-inch model and I really (really!) like this change. I find the 14-inch machine to be a perfect size (the Goldilocks size!) for portable work. The 15-inch unit was fine on a tabletop, but always felt too large when operating with a lapdesk or on my lap. I am currently writing with the 14-inch MBP on a lapdesk and it is as close to perfect as I can get.

The smaller screen is not a bother; it works. The computer is big enough that the keyboard does not feel cramped. The new Apple processors are speedy, run cool, and are stingy with battery power. My computer’s battery is currently about 50% and I have been running it for two days since the last charge.

The G14, though, is a power hog. That Ryzen 9 and the NVidia RTX use a lot of power. That machine will run for a couple of hours on a charge. That, however, is good enough. I do not expect to do a lot of work away from mains power.

Aside: I also have a relatively large Lithium-Iron-Phosphate based power bank that can run the G14 (and other things) long enough away from mains power.

The bottom line is that my changes to my computer stable enabled me to leave the house and go mobile over the holidays. I am still able to work and take care of my clients while visiting family and friends. I really like that freedom.

I recently started thinking about my hobbies. It is clear (if you have been watching my weblog), that I picked up my cameras again this summer. Photography is something that has been part of my life for more than 50 years. i was thinking about my first real camera a few days ago — an Argus-Cosina manual SLR. The only thing electric in that camera was an internal averaging meter than ran on a silver oxide cell. The camera was completely mechanical but for that meter and used M42 screw mount lenses (Pentax mount).

In the 1970s, when I started learning about photography, a new friend (photographer) took me under his wing and taught me the basics. I remember being a little envious of his Canon F-1 camera, which was a suitable object of lust.

He taught me Ansel Adams’ Zone System. I still have a scanned copy of my notes from that time. He taught me how to develop my film and how to make a print. I cannot remember his name for the life of me. I wish I did. (Maybe I will, who knows!)

At the time, I wondered about the real applicability of the Zone System to roll-film based cameras, like my Argus. Adams shot mostly sheet film, which he then developed one frame at a time. So, he could tailor his development times (and chemistry) to the exposure he made when he visualized and metered the shot. In other words, he worked each frame one at a time, both in the field and in the darkroom.

That does not work for roll film, unless one dedicates an entire roll to each subject. I do not.

What I finally came to understand was that for me, a user of roll-film cameras, the Zone System is a very useful tool for visualizing a scene and metering the scene so that whatever is important to the frame (highlights, shadows, or both) will have detail for the process (film, digital, print, all or none of the above).

So, I retain my interest in the Zone System for exposure control. It just does not work as Adams used it for field and view cameras and single-frame processing. The use of the Zone System also increased my awareness of the expose-to-the-right (ETTR) emphasis of the digital age.

I retain my interest in amateur radio and continue to work Parks On The Air whenever I can get out. I recently activated Compton Hills SRA a couple of times and there are more new parks in the area. It is just so cold at the moment that it is dangerous to be outdoors for the dog and for me.

I still want to pick up my guitar again. That is the last thing on my list of hobbies that feeds my soul. I intend to do that this year.

I recently listened to Stanley Yates’ arrangement and performance of Mozart’s Fantasy in D-minor. He displayed the score as he performed in the background. I was able to follow the sheet music as he played, which pleased me as it has been years since I looked at notation. This made me want to pick up my guitar and work my fingers again.

I do not do annual resolutions. That has seemed to me to be a trivialization of goal setting for as long as I can remember. It might be a fun social activity, but it is not a useful tool. However, setting goals and intentions are powerful tools.

So, I am setting an intention and a goal to pick up my classical guitar again and do some work. In fact, I have Yates’ playing in the background as I finish this rumination.

It is cold here in southwest Missouri. It will be a good day to stay indoors, as much as I want to get out.

Life is still good.

New Years Eve 2023

My campsite at Lake Texoma — The Johnson Creek Recreation Area that is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Shot with my iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Today we mark the end of another year. There will be celebrations tonight and probably fireworks. The Girl is not particularly bothered by the fireworks, which is a good thing. So I will not have to be worried about her. When they happen, we will just play around it and she will ignore them.

I am here in Ozark, Missouri with Older Son and DiL. It has been a good visit. He has a couple of days off and will work a short week so we will have a couple more days, and the weekend, to spend together. The weather is cold, but not hard winter (yet). We are able to get The Girl out for walkies and play.

Yesterday we took the cassette from the camper and dumped it. While at Camper World, I asked about a repair for the camper. This is a long story.

The short version is that just west from Albuquerque, NM I blew a trailer tire. It was sudden and unexpected. I had checked them the day before and they were fine. I did not notice anything that morning when I recovered the camper and did my walk-around. One Interstate 40 eastbound, a passing motorist honked just as I noticed the camper was listing to starboard. A glance into the starboard mirrors determined that I had a flat and I watched (as I pulled to the shoulder) the carcass shed from the rim.

This was my first catastrophic tire failure, ever. Fortunately, I brought both a floor jack and a bottle jack along. The floor jack is preferred because it is more stable. But it took a lot of effort to get everything to work.

And then there is the lug wrench. I bought one of those cheap Chinese #$*t cross spinners from Harbor Freight. The sockets are too thick to fit properly into the alloy wheels of the camper. It took a lot of work to get the lugs loose as they were very tight. The jack had to be reset several times and I had to use blocks to get the rim off the ground.

But I got it loose. I retrieved the spare and checked it (again). I had to use a shovel to dig so I could mount the spare. Then I struggled with the lug wrench (again) to get everything tightened up.

This required an hour to get done. I was spent when I finished. I checked the pressure in the tires and then drove to the next exit. I had also discovered that the carcass had ripped the quick disconnect for the exterior grill from the supply hose, so I had turned off the propane (which serves the refrigerator).

I made a few calls looking for a propane repair house. I found one in Albuquerque and headed that way. The tire remained to be dealt with. The clerk at the propane house could not (both physically and by order) get under the camper. So, once again I wriggled under the camper, loosened the hose from the copper supply line, and retrieved it for him.

He went searching for a blind cap while I had the workers refill the propane tank. It took four gallons of fuel. The clerk gave me a fitting that would permit me to turn the propane back on.

I think picked a repair shop from the map and made a phone call. Phil said he was going to run some errands and would come retrieve me.

I waited about 20 minutes and called again. Just as I got off the phone with his office, a big white pickup pulled in and I was greeted by Phil. He led me to their shop and we started looking at the damage.

The wheel tub was gone. One of my spare boots was gone. One of my house shoes was gone. All of the electrics in the starboard side cabinet (where the wheel well was located) were gone or wrapped around the axle behind the brake drum.

In other words, I was F*#$($D. I had no heater, no hot water, and the igniter for the range was out. But, the pump was working so I had water and the range and refrigerator were still working, even if I had to light the range with a match.

Phil and Larry worked very hard to clear the electrics (so I would be safe) and fabricated a temporary wheel tub to keep things dry inside.

That took the remainder of the day and into Thursday morning. I was delayed a day.

But Phil took good care of me. He got me back on the road and I had a workable, if crippled, house. I spent the night in a Hampton Inn and headed out late Thursday morning. We spent the night at the Amarillo, TX KOA (recommended) and proceeded on to Mead, OK on Saturday.

I was able to spend the holiday with Younger Son, DiL, and her family. It was a good visit and well worth the trip.

I spent a couple more days there, got some work done, and then headed for Ozark, MO on Thursday. The goodbyes were hard, as usual. But, God-willing, I will be back for another visit.I got away late, so it was just getting dark when I arrived. We unloaded the few things I needed to sustain us that night, and went inside.

So, here we are in Ozark, MO. I filed an insurance claim and hope that the insurance company will pay for part of the repairs. I was going to do it myself, but in looking at it decided that it might be better to have a technician make the repairs because it looks like diagnosing the electrics might be a challenge and I have plenty of paying work to do.

There is the backstory. The image I captured was of the camper at the JCRE campground. We are safe, warm, and loved here in Ozark, MO. We will celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of another with family.

Life is good. I am grateful.

Daily Image: 09 December 2023 — Smurfette

Smurette shot with the Fujifilm X-T5 and the Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 macro at f/2.8 using the Tri-X film simulation with red filtration.

Over the last few weeks I have been watching quite a few videos on YouTube about photographers and photography. A favorite channel is The Photographic Eye run by Alex Kilbee. His videos are all about learning photography and are top shelf.

In a recent video, Alex teaches against the notion that a photographer has to go somewhere, and particularly go somewhere exotic to find photographic material. He then talks about training the photographer’s eye, which is something that resonates with me.

Long, long ago, Wife and I were looking over some photographs that I made. She remarked to me “You see the world differently.” I admit that I was a little flattered at first. But, on further reflection, there was some truth in what she said.

I have referred to the book before, but Robert Foothorap’s book, 35mm Photography, was a favorite book — is a favorite book. It was written in a light, approachable tone and had plenty of his photographs. It is now old and out of print (sadly), but I consider it part of my education as a photographer. The other part being a more experienced amateur photographer who taught me a lot about the technical aspects of shooting and film. But, I digress.

Foothorap and my mentor taught me to look at things. After I bought my Argus-Cosina 35mm SLR, I carried it along quite a lot with a roll of Plus-X or Tri-X loaded. Although I did not always make the shot, I brought the camera to my eye many times to frame and focus the shot. That taught me to see what the camera saw, a bit of three-dimensional space smashed onto a two-dimensional surface (the film).

I learned that I could do the same without the camera… I was training my eyes to see like a photographer. And that brings the story around to what Wife said — I learned to look at the world a little differently.

Although I have had long periods when I was not actively making photographs, I retained that way of looking at the world around me. I remember any number of times looking at something and thinking, “That’s interesting. It might make a good photograph.” This year I started carrying a camera again, quote often. The Fujifilm X100V is an easy carry and makes good images.

But, that was a story-in-a-story… The outer story is about Kilbee’s admonition to look around and see what there is around you, there are many photographs to make if you take the time and energy to see. (And I paraphrase that, but he said as much.)

And so, I noticed Smurfette skating across the top of my multi-port hub. The Fujifilm X-T5 was handy and so was the Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 macro lens. I had a film simulation set and did not bother to change it. I rested my elbows on my desk and made the capture.

Alex Kilbee made a good suggestion. He also suggested an exercise to make 36 images of a subject. In the old days, that would be a 36-exposure roll of 35mm film. It is now just 36 actuations of the shutter of my digital camera. (No, I am not going to shoot film for this exercise.) This sounds like a good exercise to do a few times every week. It will have the side benefit of getting me out of my head and away from my work for an hour.

Thanks Alex and thanks Smurfette! Life is good.

The Attention Economy

She’s always looking at her phone. Captured with MPro app on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

I am working my way through Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. I picked it up again after I quit reading again a few weeks ago. But it is an important book for me to read. I want to finish it. I want to learn from Newport’s thoughts and experience. I want to spend less time on technology and more time doing things that nourish my soul.

The latter is something that has been in focus for a few weeks/months now. I took a sabbatical from Instagram several months ago, went back, caught myself doomscrolling, and deleted that IG app again. After my first IG sabbatical, I found and started reading Digital Minimalism and got to the point I was convinced that there are certain appetites I should not indulge1. I also deleted the Reuters new app from my iPhone, but left it on my iPad.

I check FB once or twice a day. I want to see if my kids posted anything, commented on one of my postings (I cross-post my weblog entries there), or if I received any DMs that need a response. Then I close the browser window.

This addiction is designed by the tech companies that produce the devices and the software that runs on them. IG, FB, X, and the others are all designed to provide that temptation to keep on scrolling. (Ooohhhhh… a sparkly!)

I now see that I will likely need to limit my YouTube access as well. I do not want to do away with YT; it is too valuable a resource to eliminate entirely. But I need to eliminate my use of it to occupy my mind with a nearly endless supply of fluff. It is not exactly doomscrolling, but it is close enough that I do not want to do it.

I usually check the Reuters news app on my iPad before I sleep. I spend a few minutes scanning the headlines and then reading a little if I want to know more. But I do not spend a lot of time on it.

I started noticing this addiction to our devices a couple-three years ago (maybe a bit more). Everywhere I went, I see people glued to the little glowing screen. They notice nothing of what is going on around them and see none of the beauty in the world. They are looking for that next dopamine hit, that “like” on a post or comment on a FB page.

When I visit my kids I see them doing the same thing. We sit in the living room, the three of us focused on the little glowing screen. I stopped much of that the last time I was there.

Instead, I got out my Kindle and worked on reading. I have a couple of books going on, usually. One will be a novel and the other something to learn from.

The Kindle has its own issues. There are too many books on my Kindle. I collect lots of samples of books I want (or think I want) to read. I usually push finished titles back to the cloud.

Yet, there are still too many books on my Kindle. I sometimes get stuck in a loop trying to decide what to read.

That is not a good thing.

I might need to go through my Kindle and delete the bulk of the content there. But that is another problem and another topic. At least I do not doomscroll through the Kindle. At least, I do not do that yet.

I made the capture Sunday afternoon at the restaurant in Bodine’s Casino. I went there after The Girl and I had a great hike out at Silver Saddle Ranch. I was hungry and could not decide whether I wanted a bar-burger or a Reuben sandwich.

The Reuben won the decision. Bodine’s has a decent sandwich. So we drove out there. I parked the rig in the sun and cracked the windows for The Girl. I went into the restaurant.

Yes, I had my iPhone with me. I did a quick check of email and then checked my open search lists on fleaBay. I then set my phone down on top of my hat. I decided not to use the phone as a distraction.

I noticed the people around me. There were several of us singletons there for a late lunch or early supper. I watched a couple in a window booth taking to each other. A woman across the aisle from me was working on her meal. Then I noticed the woman sitting alone in a window booth. She was fixated on her smartphone.

She made one of the captures I shot with the MPro app on my iPhone. The MPro app is a black and white camera application that only makes black and white images. It also produces high quality TIFF files as its output.

As I watched her, I thought about my own struggle with the digital black hole. I think I need to start carrying a small kit that has my Kindle, my journal (and a couple of pens), and a camera in it. The iPhone can serve as a decent camera, but I prefer a purpose-built tool for photography. But the iPhone will do in a pinch.

In the end, I believe that such a strong connection to a smartphone is not healthy. It takes us away from being present in the moment and in the place. It denies us the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and the breath of life.

I think there is nothing morally or ethically wrong with use of the devices. But I think they present a risk to intellectual and spiritual health. I have decided to be less connected to my device and spend that time on things that nourish my soul, such as reading, looking around when I am outdoors, interacting with The Girl, and my inner spiritual life.

The iPhone will be there. But it is the servant, not the master.

1Hat tip to A Beautiful Mind.

From the Past

Wife, circa 2004, doing what she loved best… interacting with her family. Shot with my Nikon D100 and a Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8, probably wide open.

As I woke yesterday morning, the thought passed through my mind that “it was a bad week.” That made me pause for a moment and consider my inner dialogue.

“No,” I rethought, “it was a hard week.” I then nodded to myself, slipped on my moccasins, and rose to go make a coffee and run through my morning regimen.

Wife would have turned 71-years old this week. I always take a few moments on her birthday to remember her. In the evening, I lift a glass to the east (which I often do anyway) to salute her and remember our communal life. The day is always a mix of happy and sad (maybe the definition of “nostalgia”), but I am OK with that.

In addition, my maternal grandmother, “Nana,” would have been 108-years old this week. She lived to be 100-years old before she wore out and died. She was one of the sweetest people you could ever meet and complemented my grandfather well. They were good people, God-fearing, and unselfish.

It was my grandmother who took me to buy my first book. I was about five-years old. The book was a 7th grade science textbook.

Work has been challenging the last few months; Hell, the last couple of years. There were many deadlines (still a few out there), lots of pressure, and requirements to do things I have not done or not done in a long time.

Pressure and deadlines are the life of a consultant. I accept that. But there has been little room to eddy out between and it is wearing on me. In fact, I am pretty worn down at the moment — to the point of considering to chuck it all, sell everything that I cannot carry in my rig/camper, and drive off.

So, after my thought on a bad week passed and was corrected, I made my coffee and returned to find The Girl had been licking her wounded toe. I hate to leave the collar on her all the time, but she knows when I am distracted and cannot help herself but to lick the wound, stripping the scab from it and delaying the healing action that goes on under the cover of the scab.

So, the collar went back on. With the collar on, she exudes misery and is very careful to tell me just how f*($*#g miserable she really is. Yes, she works it.

So, she added a little fuel to my internal fire.

I sat at the computer and took care of those things that demanded my attention. I then dressed, removed her collar, but her tracking and control collars on, repaired the control module for her control collar (broken knob), made sure I had water and a snack, and we headed to Silver Saddle Ranch to walk.

We took an alternate route to keep her off of the access road. It is hard and rocky and hurts her foot. We took the trail to the powerline trail, walked up the hill through the mass of sand burrs, and back through the Ranch compound. It was almost a three-mile walk. The sun was good for my soul and the exercise good to wear her down.

As we approached the rig and the end of our walk, I thought “I’d like a chili dog… I’m hungry.” So, we loaded up and headed north to the Sonic where I satisfied my craving. I shared the list bite of chili dog and half of the tater tots and the last bit of my strawberry shake with her. Then we headed home — for her to rest and me to finish my work for the day.

I also had a short nap with The Girl and then loaded her back in to the rig for a grocery run. She might as well go with me as stay at home. It was an expensive run at about $300, but it had been awhile since I last went. So, it was no surprise.

I ended my day with a bowl of chicken chili (from the crockpot) and a gin and tonic. I also fed The Girl and she got a bit of meatball left over from my last Olive Garden run.

At the end of the day I was tired and having The Girl snuggling next to me was good. The day ended with me in a better headspace and grateful for the day, grateful for The Girl, and grateful that I had Wife in my life for so many years.

The capture was made almost 20-years ago with my Nikon D100 (my first dSLR), a Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom, most likely at 200mm and f/2.8. She was doing what she loved best — taking care of her family.

She is most definitely missed. But, still, I am grateful. Life is good.

Daily Image — 07 November 2023

Captured on walkies using the Fujifilm X100V with its lovely 23mm f/2 lens at f/8. I used Reggie’s Portra 400 film simulation. Minor post processing in Iridient Developer (contrast, saturation, curves).

I am working on the hydrology for one of my projects. The weather is cooler and more windy, so I do not want to get out as early.

Once I made some progress on project work and the markets, The Girl and I headed out to walk Silver Saddle Ranch. The weather today was cooler than yesterday, but also less rainy. Still, I could see rain to the north in Washoe Valley and behind Mt. Scott. A curl of rain clouds pulled south to the east of Mt. Scott, but did not seem threatening.

The Girl continues to worsen the condition of her toe with the missing nail. If I am distracted for just a moment, I will catch her licking. So, she slept in the cone-of-shame last night, wore it all morning, walked without it (but limping), and is now wearing the cone. She will get to sleep in it again tonight, although I might remove it when we sit on the sofa to relax and snuggle.

I carried the Fuji X100V with me again today. Last night I read a bit on Ritchie Roesch’s website, Fuji X Weekly about those film simulations he recommends. He has a list of seven because most of the recent Fujifilm cameras have seven custom slots. I am already using several of his recommendations, but I have some empty slots to fill and will add his recommendations. Then I will use them.

Today I used Reggie’s Portra 400 simulation, which is intended to produce results similar to the Kodak Portra 400 film stock. One of the things Reggie did was to set Auto White Balance instead of using the Daylight balance of the regular Portra simulation. This adds a little to the flexibility of the simulation. There are other details as well, but I consider them relatively minor.

I came home with a couple of decent images. That is, images that I like. I make images for me — that is, I am the only one who needs to like them. If others like them, that is good. I appreciate the acknowledgement.

Alex (The Photographic Eye) recently did a video on the subtle impact of social media on the photographs we produce. This resonated because I left Instagram a couple of months ago (again) because I was tired of doomscrolling through things I did not want to see to find those that I do. On my IG account, I sometimes posted photographs I knew would gather more “likes” partly as an experiment. It is a nice dopamine hit to see that my work is appreciated.

What Alex made me think about is the who and why of my photography. It is good for me to do something creative and that is why I do it. The photographs are for me, because there was something about the subject that attracted my eye (and my mind).

So, what I share here and also on FB are images that somehow spoke to me and caused me to pause, find a composition, and make the capture (usually several). I do not always like the end result, but I usually learn something in the process.

OK, so I do indulge a little and share a lot of Doggo images. Those are for fun (and I do love the subject) and for my dog-loving friends.

So, I like this capture of Mt. Scott and the weather over Carson City. The fall colors are mostly gone, with just a few hangers-on. We’ll soon start to see snow and some gray days and certainly cooler temperatures. But I still love the high desert and I am good so long as the sun is shining.