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Don’t Tell Anyone

Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

I have three fly rods.

I have a nice selection of flies.

I know how to fly fish.

Now and then I’ll go use these tools and skills.

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Even on those sluggish pond bass.

And the occasional little bluegill.

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I’ve been thinking about using nothing but fly rods on the creeks this spring just to see what happens.

Of course, I’ll have to lie about it.

If I do well, nobody will believe me if I tell them I’m fly fishing.

Other fly fishermen only seem to appreciate struggle and missed opportunity.

So, keep this to yourself.

If word gets around, it will ruin my reputation.

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Perception Versus Reality

Apparently I wrote Perception Versus Reality on August 22, 2009, then did nothing with it.

On my computer desktop is a folder called Articles To Write. In it are 43 things, some text files where I apparently started writing something, the rest are folders organized in the way I do things when getting ready to put up a post here. For whatever reason, lack of time, interest or anything all that interesting to say, they never got done. I went through a lot of trouble picking out images to use since they are all manipulated and sized correctly. And there they sit.

In an effort to clean things up in my life this year, I’m going to make these go away and put them up here where they were intended. If there were no words to go with the images, I’m not going to bother writing any down now. If there were just words and no images, unless I can find some in less than 5 minutes, I don’t see any purpose in spending any more time on them.

I might put one up a day, or one a week, or I might dump a handful of them up here in one day. We’ll see.

I got bored with them once, I could see that happening again. So after putting up a handful I might find better things to do. Like fishing. Or taking a hike. Or napping.
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Perception Versus Reality

There’s how things look and then there’s how you see things.

Or how you think you see things.

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Back when there were no digital cameras you would have to bring in your roll of film and then wait a week for the 3×5 or 4×6 pictures. Duplicates if they were offering them for free.

Then you would pull open the envelope and thumb through the pictures.

Usually the first thing you think of is “that’s not how I pictured it.” Or, “why did I take a picture of that?” And then you would stash the envelope in a box or a drawer and forget about it.

Then some day you’ll die and some family member will find the pictures you took and start thumbing through them and the first thing they’ll think of is “why the hell’d he take pictures of this shit?”

And they’ll throw them all in the garbage.

That’s why I took photography years ago and had a black and white dark room setup. There was what I saw and what I wanted to see. Take the picture and then manipulate it till it matches what you thought you saw.

Or felt.

What I don’t do is mess with lenses much. Any idiot can slap a fisheye or wide angle lens on a camera and get an interesting shot. Same with telephoto lenses. Everyone makes a big deal about close up nature photos when in reality the photographer is a quarter of a mile away shooting away with a lens over 3 feet long.

Snap shots, stock lenses in the 35 to 55 mm range.

Makes you think differently.

How you going to get that close up nature shot now?

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Well What the Hell is That

I believe the words well what the hell is that were the first ones to come to mind when I saw what I saw.

During the day, when at home, I take cigar breaks outside. Where depends on which way the wind is blowing. Today the air temps say it’s 18 degrees out with 15 MPH winds out of the NNW.

Which means I go out the back door, which faces south.

For some reason I went around one corner of the house, something I don’t normally do because there’s no reason to. This corner, protected on two sides, is one of the few spots that’s not covered in nearly a foot of snow.

This corner gets sun half the day and the vent for the clothes dryer is here. I’m sure these two things combined has helped keep this small corner snow free.

As I stood there I couldn’t help but notice, there’s green shit coming out of the ground.

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I had to run back in for the camera.

Nobody is going to believe this.

February so far has not even come close to having normal temperatures. Just three days ago we set an all new record low for both night and day. The next 10 days show what has been happening all month. Temperatures struggling to get near 20 degrees.

Most days that’s failed miserably.

I had to check my records, I know I photographed this same phenomena last year.

Records show it was March 15th and there was just as much snow on the ground then that there is now.

I don’t want to take this as a sign that things are shaping up and spring will be here soon. The 10 day forecast shows more of the usual barely 20 degree days.

It’s just a fluke, a rare coincidence.

I see no point in getting my hopes up, but damn, I see green things.

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There was a Point to This

There was a point to this, all these pictures, but I’ll be damned if I can remember any more.

When I head out fishing, taking pictures is somewhere in the back of my mind, but they happen hopefully between catching fish. Or maybe of the fish if the fish is picture worthy.

When I head out wandering around with my camera, the point is to take pictures. Sometimes that’s a failure and I’m totally uninspired.

Usually I wander around with a running dialogue in my head that gets filled in by pictures. Or maybe the pictures start the running dialogue. Or some combination of both.

This goes back to my painting days 30 odd years ago when I would write on my paintings. A little description or dialogue I guess that I thought went well with the painting.

The problem with walking around taking pictures and having a running dialogue going is that I tend not to retain words very well. It all sounds so good while I’m out wandering around, but by the time I get home and find the time to sit down and do anything with all the pictures, I’ve pretty much forgotten all the words.

Sometimes I can’t remember what I had planned on doing with the pictures.

If I find the time to do something with words or pictures within 24 hours, things seem to go okay. Last week within 24 hours I put together the panorama shots I had intended and put up a post. The other 130 or so pictures sat and languished all week. I had already gone through and picked the ones I wanted to use, no doubt these had words associated with them last week, but this week, I got nuthin’.

Nothing but the pictures.

Best I can come up with for words is that it was sunny out on a weekend, which is rare.

Temperatures were tolerable.

The sunset was better than I expected.

That pretty much sums it up.

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Sunset Panorama Test

I’ve played around a little with making panorama’s in Photoshop, but never one of a sunset. So I thought I would do a sunset panorama test.

I already knew the software could handle sharper, brighter images, but I was curious if it could handle the more muted tones and less sharp edges of a sunset. While out Saturday evening watching the sunset at Silver Springs State Park, I took a few shots with making panorama’s out of them in mind.

So far so good and I’m pleased with how they are turning out. Of the six that I tried, only one failed. The software couldn’t find enough of an edge on one I guess in order to merge them correctly.

Once the images are merged and I figure out how to crop them, on three of them I wound up with images that are 13 X 29 inches and 240 ppi. That means I could double it’s size to 26 X 58 inches and still have enough resolution to get a decent print out of it at the bigger size. Only seems appropriate to go bigger on panoramic sunsets, but I could see them working at 6.5 X 14.5 inches or even smaller.

Ideally I want to see them at 26 X 58 feet, but that’s a different story and sunset panorama test.

The three images that wound up at that size were all shot with the lens at 18 mm. It’s an 18-55 mm lens.

The other two shots you’ll see in the gallery below were shot with the lens at around 30 mm. If I try to get as much image as possible out of the merged images, that gave me final sizes of 14 X 24 and 13 X 26. Not enough width to my liking, especially when shooting here in Illinois out over an expansive area of basically prairie. They still look decent, but some of the expansive feel is gone.

I’ve always known that my horizontal peripheral vision goes beyond 180 degrees and I recently heard that peripheral vision can go to almost 210 degrees. I haven’t looked up what it is vertically.

Which will eventually bring me to my next sunset panorama test. I know I’m losing a lot of sky vertically, my vertical peripheral vision is much greater than what the camera can do. So next time I’m going to shoot vertically and pan for 5 shots. I already know the software can merge 5 horizontal shots with pretty good end results. Now to try it with vertical shots. I’m hoping to wind up with final shots that feel like how I see things. I’ll probably have to use a tripod to accomplish this. The times I’ve tried before shows that it’s a bitch to try to pan evenly horizontally over 5 shots.

The math in my head is telling me that shooting vertically and merging five shots will give me a final image of about 20 X 60 inches and 240 ppi. Which means in theory I could do a print of 40 X 120 inches and still get decent results.

Of course, I want to do a print of that at 40 X 120 feet. I have that all figured out with even more details, but that’s a different story I’ll tackle later.