Monday, July 18, 2005


What I Did This Summer.

My bird feeders were empty when I got home last Thursday because I hadn't been home for a month. Within a day of replenishing the sunflower and thistle seeds, visitors including a cardinal, a rose-breasted grosbeak pair, plenty of goldfinches, a clever chipmunk, and a large bluejay returned to the feeders. I haven't done a photo session through my back window this year, but the page Backyard Habitat has images from previous years.

I managed to get my Photoshop chores done and most of the Summer 2005 photos have been posted, including Western Missouri, Blue Angels, St. Louis, Colorado, and Milwaukee/Green Bay. I also thought the color was weird on this year's Braintree Hawks photos so I redid those. I still have another month to go in the Kansas City area so there may be some more photo ops that will end up on the Western Missouri page. Below is one of the photos from the St. Louis trip that was shot as Canon RAW and processed in Photoshop. I would rather shoot RAW unless there's a reason not to because there is more leeway for adjustments. If you don't like processing digital images, then shoot JPG and delete the bad ones. But when shooting an unpredictable subject such as wildlife, I would rather have a chance to save an image where the automatic white balance and exposure aren't quite perfect. This one didn't require much adjusting.

Humboldt Penguin, St. Louis Zoo

Gadget of the Day: Children are our future. They also can be annoyingly noisy. Such was the case with one little "darling" on the flight from Providence to Kansas City today. Fortunately I had my new Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise Cancelling Headphones. By themselves, the headphones will completely blot out such background noise as a home refrigerator or furnace, and will substantially reduce louder noise such as a jet engine. It's a weird experience the first time you put them on, like you have to pop your ears. But they need to be plugged into something like an MP3 player to cancel a five-year-old kid, or any sound other than background noise. Fortunately I had both the headphones and my Flashtrax in my carry-on. The Lizard King blotted out the relentless jabbering.

During the time when cell phones were still allowed prior to takeoff, I noticed that the headphones picked up some interference from them. (With the cell phones off, there was no interference. 2+2=4.) There are other brands of noise-cancelling headphones that are less expensive, but Bose seems to be the standard setter in this area and I went with my brother's experience with this model.

And in case anyone doesn't know, "The Lizard King" is another name for Jim Morrison of "The Doors."


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