Sometimes I Get Obsessed


A few days ago I started fooling around (again) with Magic Lantern. ML is firmware for my camera which makes it do all sorts of things it wasn’t designed to do! Magic Lantern enabled me to get hummingbird close-ups. Now I’m using it for timelapse photography.

This is the norm for me. Once I get a new tool I use it obsessively until I’ve mastered it.

I set my camera up at the end of our street. Cloud timelapses almost beg for a wide angle photography. I used a 10mm lens tilted up to catch lots of sky. Magic Lantern took one frame every second, producing a video 30 times normal speed.

The hills in the background are part of the Loma Ridge, foothills of the Santa Ana range.

Here’s the result of my effort. Click the box to watch it full screen.

My Office

IMG_3047 office

Stef has come for the weekend. She and Helaine are out now. It’s Doppler, Roxie and me. They’re on the sofa. I’m in my office.

It sounds so presumptuous, my office. I’m sure Ward Cleaver had a study or library. Office isn’t that bad, but it’s close.

By office I mean a room that’s mine. My playroom. My den. My man cave. My office.

When we bought this house I had plans. This room is pretty close to what I was pondering.

There are a few small changes to come. Parts are on order. A little rewiring. Some cable lengths extended. Everything nicely wrapped behind the monitors.

Amazon is my dysfunctional shopping enabler. Click a button. Boom. It was once a hassle to get this stuff. Maybe it’s become too easy to buy!

Helaine helped me pick out the furniture. I sit at a large “L” shaped desk. There is also a bookcase, cabinet and chair to lean back on.

My room is full of screens: TV, computer monitors, tablet, cellphone, plus tinnier alphanumeric readouts on devices. Sensory overload comes with the territory.

This is the most comfortable room I’ve ever had. It’s as if it was fitted for me, like a suit.

The Hummingbirds Come Into Sharper Focus

Photographing hummingbirds has gone from experiment to obsession. That didn’t take long!

Yesterday I set up my camera with Magic Lantern firmware and shot away. Today I made more modifications. The lens is longer, bringing me closer (though these are still cropped images). The light is a little better.

My shutter speed still isn’t fast enough! 1/1000 second doesn’t freeze the hummingbird’s wings.

If I speed up the shutter and leave the aperture where it is I’m going to start adding too much noise. Where’s the balance? Still to be determined.

Here are the best four of 136.





A Decent First Try

A little while ago I attempted some motion triggered photos of my friendly neighborhood hummingbirds. Here’s the first small set. There are improvements to be made, but I’m happy so far.

Now, to recharge the batteries for the next try, tomorrow.




Awaiting Results

“Clicky” is on a tripod pointing toward my family room window. Its lens is focused on the hummingbird feeder that’s suctioned on. All the photo settings have been manually dialed in. The shutter is fast, trying to freeze wings that are always in motion.

“Clicky,” in real life a Canon 7D camera, has been loaded with aftermarket firmware called Magic Lantern. With its new extra brainpower it has been commanded to photograph the bird feeder only when something in the shot is in motion–like a hummingbird.

This is really a learning experience. There are many steps before a shot like this works. It’s doubtful all will be right on the first try.

Hopefully, some nice hummingbird shots before the day is through.

I Am The Punchline To An Old Joke

There’s an aphorism which begins, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach teachers.” That third one. That’s me. I’m the punchline. I’m about to teach teachers. It’s an interesting project with UC Irvine Extension. As some of their instructors begin to teach online they face a challenge. How […]

-read more-

When In Doubt, Blame The Weatherman… Again

When in doubt, blame the weatherman! Maybe there was a time that worked. It doesn’t anymore. The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, understands that better today than yesterday. Tuesday at 10:00 AM, as a crippling snow and ice storm was moving through the south, Governor Deal said, “At that time it was still, in most […]

-read more-

Flowers Are Blooming In Irvine

Here it is the end of January and I’ve just realized flowers are blooming in Irvine. There are a half dozen small gardenia bushes next to the patio. Last week they began popping pink and white. We haven’t had rain in a very long time. Authorities say there’s no need for restrictions… yet. I water […]

-read more-

My Hacker Spirit Remains Alive

The word ‘hacker’ has acquired a bad reputation. Hackers steal. Hackers deface. Hackers take down. I’m a hacker. Not that kind. As a kid I took apart our family’s telephones (and reassembled them) to see what made them work. When computers first arrived I bought one, even though it could do next to nothing. I’m […]

-read more-

On The Red Carpet With Stef

At its heart Los Angeles is built on entertainment. This is ground zero for TV, movies and music. It all gets concentrated this time of year. In LA, this is award season. We’ve already had the Golden Globe and SAG Awards. The Oscars are still to come. Tonight, it’s the Grammys. Awards are big business, […]

-read more-