In mockchick news, we haven't seen either chick for quite some time,
but until yesterday we were still hearing regular cheeping from two
directions. Today I'm only hearing cheeping from one tree; it may
be that Alpha has graduated to bug hunting, and even Beta doesn't
seem to be begging quite so often.
Update: a few minutes after I wrote that, I saw one of the chicks
up on a wire, cheeping to the parent sitting next to it.
The chick is almost as big as an adult (and fatter), has a tail
that's almost as long, and flies quite strongly now (flew off before
I could get to my camera, alas). It didn't look like the parent
actually fed it anything; I suspect they're mostly hunting their own
[ 20:00 Jul 04, 2004
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Dan's party was last night,
including an group which was giving an informal workshop
on night photography.
The presentation was a little disappointing, just people
showing slides of recent photographs.
No discussion of techniques or interesting ideas for night
photography, things to try out that night.
It was mildly fun for the couple of us who were Linux users
to watch the Windows people fumble with their
JASC slideshow program trying to get it to present photos at a
reasonable size. Whenever I wonder why I bother to keep maintaining
I look at what Windows and Mac people have to go through to look
at photos and am amazed all over again.
But strangely, before heading off to Marin yesterday, I did some
searching for other linux image viewing programs, to see if they'd
solved the window manager problems I've been wrestling with for pho.
Amazingly, I couldn't find a single free program in Debian that did
what pho does (namely, view a list of images serially, at full size
or screen resolution). I had to search for xv source (not in
probably licensing issues), which requires a couple of tweaks to get
it to build on linux, and which has the same window management
issues pho has. I guess I'll keep maintaining it after all!
After dark we trooped up the hill to photograph lights (Richmond
and the Richmond-San Rafael bridge were visible, along with parts
of Marin) and wait for moonrise. I took an SLR and the Minolta,
and wish I'd taken the Olympus -- nearly everyone else had digital
SLRs (Canon) and I wished for something with a decent zoom which
would still give me exposure feedback. It's not as if bay area
skies can support long star-trail exposures anyway. Moonrise was
lovely, a sliver of moon emerging above a thick cloudbank centered
over the San Rafael bridge, and growing into a full-sized moon.
I hope some of the film photos (on old expired PJM multispeed film!)
Most of the photographers there knew each other from previous
classes (I wasn't clear how many are students versus
instructors) and most of the group spent the hour before moonrise
clustered together taking turns taking the same shot, a person
silhouetted against the lights of Richmond while someone else fired
a flash from behind the person, back toward the camera, giving an
"aura" effect around the silhouette and lighting the nearby grass
a bit. Not really knowing anyone, I hung back and instead worked on
photos of the various photographers silhouetted against the sky
(which may or may not come out; I was shooting from 10 sec to about
3 min, betting on the Marin sky being too bright for longer star
trails, but we'll see. One of the other solo shooters was shooting
10 minute exposures and people kept walking into her frame.)
Dave shot a few Canon digicam images before the sunset light was
completely gone, then the wind got to him and he went back to the
house and didn't wait for moonrise.
I'd wondered about maybe taking one of their regular workshops,
but this outing was a bit like the couple of other photo workshops
I've done: no real instruction or sharing of ideas, basically just
a bunch of people wandering around taking photos. If you have
specific questions or know the instructors already you might be able
to get questions answered, but as a person new to the group, I felt
like I'd probably do just as well just going somewhere on my own and
taking a lot of photos.
It may be that their multi-day pay workshops involve more
instruction, and more feedback the next day on images taken at the
workshop. I'm curious about that; the few photo seminars and
classes I've taken have also promised feedback afterward, but
had much, if any.
Sometimes I think that the ideal format for a photo workshop is an
online class: give assignments, then people post their photos a few
days or a week later, and everyone discusses them, then you go off
to the next assignment with what you learned based on the feedback.
The important parts are the discussion and the feedback, not being
in the same physical place during the shooting (since not much
instruction seems to take place then, for most participants, and if
it does it seems to be of the type "everybody line up and take
exactly the same photo").
It's hard to do feedback in a several-day workshop at a place like
Valley when people are shooting film and you can't get it developed
quickly enough; a digital camera might be a prerequisite to getting
much out of that sort of workshop.
[ 11:00 Jul 04, 2004
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