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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Amazing Flying Abigail

Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks

It's been too long since I've really written a post on here. (even longer for some people... :cough:Erin:cough:) The Abbyversary post doesn't really count, since it didn't really involve any writing. I have lots of ambition and ideas for posts, even some that I've started but I'm a busy/easily distracted person and completing things that don't really matter isn't exactly my strong suit.

Back to the topic: Erin has been teaching Abby to jump through an exercise hoop that we got a while back. (Side note: 2.5 lbs is not easy on your midsection when hula hooping. or your legs when you fail at hula hooping) The hardest part was convincing Abby that it was safe to go through the hoop at all. After that, she was happy to jump through it for a treat.

Keeping her eye on the prize

When we got Abby a little over a year ago, she had some arthritis issues with one of her knees in her hind legs. The vet recommended that we put her on Cosequin, and the relief it's given her is really quite amazing. She used to limp on it all the time, especially badly after laying down for a while. Now we rarely see her limp, usually just after longer walks. And she just generally seems much more comfortable with that leg.

The whole slideshow is below.

And now to geek out a little:

This one's really noisy because it was over 5 stops under-exposed (flash didn't get enough time to recycle)

The picture above is really quite impressive. Not because it has any real merit, other than the rather hilarious expression on Abby's face (click to enlarge), but really just because of the detail that was able to be recovered from a picture that was pretty much black, all thanks to RAW. I think it could even be cleaned up more if I was a little better at post-processing. Here's the original with the levels untouched:

If you look at the zoomed in view you can just barely make out Abby's shape

And just for the sake of comparison, I exported a 100% quality JPEG from the unadjusted exposure and brought its levels up in Lightroom.

Still a little detail there, but nowhere near what the RAW file could recover and most of the color is lost

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Abbyversary!

Today, it's been one year since we got this sweet dog. Happy Abbyversary!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Well Crafted Music Fest

The Lineup

First post in a while, and now I've stayed up way too late working on it. My backlog of posts I want to make is huge, with some things over a year old I'd like to get out there. I keep thinking I'll post more frequently but then I get busy and it doesn't happen. Of course, before I know it winter will be here and I'll have too much time on my hands.

Erin and I recently attended the first night of the Well Crafted Music Festival at Shaker Village, thanks to our friends Jamil and Suzanne, who had won tickets for Friday night. This was the first show I've been to in some time, and it was a great reminder that I should get out and enjoy a show every once in a while.

Friday, May 30, 2014

European Starling Battles

Chaos! (I count 9, maybe 10 in this frame)

One day back in January I found the motivation to fill our suet feeder. This attracted the attention of a bunch of European starlings, and Erin and I got to see (and hear) a lot of crazy antics by our visitors. Of course, every time I stepped out the door to take some pictures they would scatter and it was really cold so I gave up. About a week later, the starlings "rediscovered" the suet and a ton converged on the feeder. This time around, I set the camera up on a tripod and used a remote trigger to take pictures. Below are a few of my favorites.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Camelopardalid Meteor Shower

Just an airplane, unfortuately

Friday night/Saturday morning was the Camelopardalid meter shower. Predictions said that it could potentially be spectacular, and the weather was cooperative so Erin and I headed out on our back patio a little after 2am to watch. Well, it wasn't as awesome as hoped, but still not bad. Erin spotted 3 meteors, while I didn't spot any. That's what I get for fiddling with my camera.

Of course, the best ones happened before the projected peak according to Astro Bob, which is a shame. I suppose the lesson is to just get out early and enjoy the clear skies (and set my camera up early too...). The good news is that I did capture some pictures of them since I left the camera out capturing continuous frames. None of the meteor pictures are really any good though, and the volume of meteors was disappointing. Making lemons out of lemonade, I did make a startrail so at least there's that. I think this is my best startrail yet. There's even a meteor pretty clearly visible in the lower right.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Trip to Yuko-En

Over Easter Erin, her parents, Abby and I went to Yuko-En on the Elkhorn, a local Japanese style walking garden. We were hopeful the cherry blossoms would be in full bloom, but came away mildly disappointed. Some of the cherry blossoms had started to pop, but for the most part it wasn't quite time. The Judas trees were in full bloom though.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Red-tailed Hawk and Blue Jay

All this spring at work, I've been seeing a couple of red-tailed hawks out my office window. A couple of times I've also seen one on a light post on my way home. Up until today, I either didn't have my camera with me, or had the camera and just plain failed. Today I finally had some success!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Startrails

I wrote about Startrails last year on my old blog, which I think I'm going to either abandon or transition into just posting an occasional picture.

Last night I captured another, this time with Polaris in the picture (it's the bright trail near the center of the concentric circles) over the course of 4 hours. I think it could still use a few more hours, but this one definitely is more filled out. This time I used my 6d with the 17-40 attached, ISO 100, f4, 75 second exposure.

Friday, April 4, 2014


I was a little late in deciding to take a picture of their sign

Well, drive-thru safari. In Texas.

I'm separating this into its own post because it is lengthy and picture heavy. If you find any incorrect identifications please let me know. I spent way too much time on it already, and may have gotten a bit sloppy as time went on. We probably should have spent a few bucks on the guide book they had. Oh well, identification is a challenge that I enjoy.

Anyway, back to the post... I have to say, Erin is the vacation planning master. She found a drive-thru safari, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, just outside of San Antonio. It is a 400+ acre ranch, with about 6 miles of roads inside. It took us about 45 minutes to get there from Sean's place, then we had to wait about an hour and a half in the car line to get in. Luckily we were prepared for the wait (they had a warning on their website since it was spring break), and had candy and drinks and we found some music to set the mood via Songza. After the long wait we finally got in, and spent about 2 and half hours on the drive-thru portion and another 30 minutes in the walking area.

This only scratches the surface... but it was worth it. Picture by Sean

I took a little over 1300 pictures, (Lots of continuous drive), which perhaps makes for an appalling keeper rate but it was a rare opportunity so I didn't want to miss a chance to at least have a decent snapshot of every animal. I also went super camera dork, putting both my DSLR's to work (6d with 100-400, XS with 17-40) and scooting back and forth across the back seat.

Index Links

I've indexed the individual animals since this post is almost 60 pictures. Also note that each animal heading is a link to the corresponding Wikipedia article. My favorite photos are of the addax, ring-tailed lemurs, reticulated giraffes, emu, rhea, ostrich, kob and sika deer.

Addax | American Bison | Arabian Oryx | Bactrian Camel | Barbary Sheep | Blue Wildebeest | Bongo | Bull | Dama Gazelle | Damaraland Zebra | Donkey | Emu | Fallow Deer | Impala | Kob | Llama | Longhorn | Nile Lechwe | Nilgai | Ostrich | Reticulated Giraffe | Rhea | Ring-tailed Lemur | Saanen Goat | Sable Antelope | Scimitar Oryx | Sika Deer | Springbok | Waterbuck | Watusi | White Rhinoceros


Some of the addax were quite bold (friendly?) and would accept food straight out of the bags of food or even people's hands. The ranch says to drop it on the ground. People listen good. Oh and it looks like a little boy with a bowl cut. Or maybe Moe.

It does make for a cute photo