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HDR Addiction
Happy Annika Day
More HDR's
Howe Road Farms - HDR
Gorge Hike
Treehouse Preschool Mother's Day Brunch
Alaska
Hammy Time!
Andy Warthog
Fake Dioramas Page & StumbleUpon
GFS Folk Dancing, Now Everyone's Doing it!
Heart Rate Monitor
Easter Egg Hunters
Happy Easter
Farewell Aunt Mary
GFS Card Party/Raffle
Bungee Bouncing
Brigitta's Concert
Atom the Bunny
Mirror Sold - Taking Orders
Steam Punk
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4-26-2009

Blog #260

David

 

HDR Addiction:

   I took the girls for a row at Mogadore Reservoir today.  It was very windy and I had a tough time getting anywhere during the big strong steady gusts but they slowed and we made our way across the lake.  Everyone had a good time and we saw many nesting geese; goslings should be hatching soon.  Afterward I took a few bracketed sets to HDR. 

 

Here's a few photos that demonstrate what HDR can do.  This first photo is an unmodified photo; note the lack of detail in the clouds, driveway and shadows:

 

This second HDR photo combines an image exposed for the sky and another exposed for the shadows.  Moderate tone mapping has been applied.  Note the detail in the clouds, driveway and shadows as well as the reflections on the side of my faded, dirty beater car:

 

This third photo also is HDR and has been heavily tone mapped and the colors are very saturated.  I don't think my old Volvo looked that good when it was brand new:

 

 

 

 

 

4-25-2009

Blog #259

David

 

Happy Annika Day

 

   Today we celebrated Annika's Swedish Name Day, which was really April 21st.  We had a picnic and gifts at her favorite park.

 

 

 

More HDR's

 

   I made a couple more HDR's today and used the fisheye for one:

 

 

 

4-25-2009

Blog #258

David

 

Howe Road Farms - HDR

 

   I took a few pictures of farms on Howe Road near our home early this morning.  This week I found a free high dynamic range (HDR) program that I wanted to try out.  To use the program I needed pairs of identical (tripod mounted) shots with different exposures; one shot exposed for shadows and the second for the sky and highlights.  The program combines the two overlapped images showing details that are normally lost in photography.  Our eyes do a much better job of seeing details in extreme contrast of light than any camera.  HDR photos also can have a unique, surreal, painterly look when heavy tone mapping is used.  In addition to HDR I applied the Orton Effect to produce the two images below.  For my first try I am quite happy, especially since the only HDR software that I knew of was very cost prohibitive.  Be sure to click on each image to view a larger 1600x1200 copy.

 

 

 

 
 
 

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4-18-2009

Blog #257

David

 

Gorge Hike

 

   Thursday evening we went for a hike at The Gorge.  It was our first hike in awhile and everyone had a great time.  Annika did the hike without requesting to be carried.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the night hike we ate at Taco Bell and then went to Home Depot to pick up a new tub faucet/control/shower head and associated plumbing.  By the time we checked out it was late and Annika was burnt out.  I snapped this picture of her waiting semi-patiently:

 

 

Treehouse Preschool Mother's Day Brunch

 

   Each year Treehouse Preschool has a brunch for the mothers and grandmothers.  The children prepare and serve breakfast and perform songs.  It is so much fun to see the three year olds' excitement at the simple act of bringing a plate of food to their mothers.  I have gone to two for Svea, two for Brigitta and one so far for Annika and have enjoyed them tremendously.  I also received a very pretty decorated plate as a present from Annika.

 

 

 

Alaska

 

   We bought our tickets to Alaska and will be visiting my parents from June 25th through August 3rd.  We have to fly out of Chicago which is a seven hour drive, but the price of our tickets is fantastic thanks to Dad's Alaska Airlines Companion Coupons.  Thanks Dad!

 

Hammy Time!

 

   We promised the girls that if they could keep their room clean without being reminded we would get them a hamster.  They did, so we did.  How well they take care of the hamster "New Moon" and their room will determine if and when they are ready for a dog.  So far they just love the hamster and play with him quite a bit.  One game they play is to form their legs into a triangle and let him run around in the middle.  They also play hide-n-seek by letting Moon "hide" in his hamster ball and then they search for him.  This works surprisingly well since he seems eager to explore the house in his ball.  I'm amazed as to how much control he appears to have in his ball and how he seems to understand how to navigate down the hallway and turn into rooms.  Perhaps he's just terrified and just wants to run for his dear life.

 

 

 

Andy Warthog

 

   To humor the girls Papa put on a wig the other day.  Joan commented that he looked like Andy Warhol; Annika repeated that he looked like Andy Warthog.

 

 

Fake Dioramas Page & StumbleUpon

 

   My "How to make Fake Dioramas" page is probably the most linked to page on our site.  At the beginning of the month the page made it onto StumbleUpon.  I've heard of StumbleUpon, but never really looked at it.  StumbleUpon is a random but customizable search engine that, for the most part, takes you only to pretty cool websites and pages.  After looking at the quality and WOW factor of pages and sites that I've visited through StumbleUpon I'm humbled to have a page in their inventory.  I think my Fake Dioramas page is rightfully-so ranked low and not likely to get hits as often as many other much more amazing pages; even so it has received over 11,000 hits so far this month through StumbleUpon.  After exploring the net though StumbleUpon over the past week I've completely altered my "Internet for entertainment" time.  I've also bookmarked more amazing and useful sites in the past week than ever.  I highly recommend you check out StumbleUpon, create a free customizable account and explore the web by viewing "pretty darn cool only" sites and pages.

 

 

GFS Folk Dancing - Now Everyone is Doing it!

 

   Joan and I finally joined the Adult Tanzgruppe (dance group) at the German Family Society.  So far we've made two practices and have enjoyed them quite a bit.  Joan's learning curve is remarkably fast; mine on par with a club-footed circus monkey. 

 

Heart Rate Monitor

 

   I've done some research on exercise heart monitors and bought what I figured was the simplest, least expensive but accurate and reliable model (Polar FS1).  Iíve never used one so before, so I was surprised that I was working as close as I am to my maximum. I would have guessed that I bike at around 70% but was actually working at about 80%. There are parts of my regular ride (up hills) where Iím usually disappointed with myself because my speedometer reads so low, but when I saw that my heart rate was over 85% of max I was more content.

 

   There are a few ways to determine your maximum heart rate.  The old/basic formula is 220 minus your age.  Since I'm 44, that suggests my max should be 176.  This formula has been disputed and many suggest that maximum heart rate varies among individuals and only declines with age when people are relatively sedentary for years at a time.  A better way is to go for a run and build up at the end to a hard finish.  When I did this I saw the monitor hit 182 while I was O2 deprived and lightheaded.  My run was less than eight minutes long; if went for a longer run, pushed it a bit harder or timed my hard finish a little earlier I think I could get it even higher. 


   When Iím sitting at the computer at night my resting heart rate is in the low 50ís. When I focused on pure relaxation I got it down to 47 once.  I've worn the monitor all day a few times and was surprised to see that my heart rate often hovers in the mid 50's while driving.  This is a bit lower than my normal out-and-about active heart rates.  It seems that driving relaxes me.

 

 
 
 

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4-12-2009

Blog #256

David

 

 

Easter Egg Hunters

 

   The girls hunted for eggs at the neighbors houses this afternoon:

 

 

 

 

OK, I admit it.  I staged the girls for these pictures after the first hunt, but they are still great:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-12-2009

Blog #255

David

 

Happy Easter

 

   The girls hunted for their Easter baskets this morning.  We had a nice breakfast, went to church and then the girls decorated an Easter cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-6-2009

Blog #254

David

 

 

Farewell Aunt Mary

 

   Joan's Aunt Mary Wilsterman passed away this last weekend.  We went to the funeral home on Monday night and Joan was able to talk with cousins she hasn't seen in a long while and meet second cousins for the first time.  As a true sign of the times, Joan learned of Mary's death from a posting on Facebook before anyone had even called the house.  Mary was a sweet, talented lady who had seven children, 26 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

 

 

GFS Card Party/Raffle

 

   Last Friday we went to the GFS Card Party raffle.  This is the main fundraiser for the German Family Society's youth groups.  Although only 12 of our family's 96 raffle tickets had my name on them, four of our family's six winning tickets drawn were mine. 

 

 

Bungee Bouncing

 

   Svea, Brigitta and I stopped at the mall earlier this week.  Near the carousel there was a "Euro Bungy", which is basically bungee cords attached to a harness suspended above an inflatable trampoline.  The bungees assist the trampoline bounce dramatically; it looked like a lot of fun.

 

 

 

Brigitta's Concert

 

   IHM's Spring Concert consisted of first and fifth grades performing 20 minute programs each.  Both grades did a great job and it was a good concert.  Britta had a speaking part and had a great, clear, unrushed delivery.  We are proud of her.  She just "glowed" all evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Atom the Bunny

 

   IHM's junior high science teacher has a bunny named Atom who lives at school on the weekdays and goes home with students on weekends.  We brought him home a few weeks ago; the girls enjoyed him greatly.

 

 

Mirror Sold - Taking Orders

 

   Joan and I attended the IHM Auction a few weeks ago; the 3A mirror sold for $450.  Several people expressed interest in having Joan make custom mirrors with specific color palettes and themes.  Joan enjoys working with the medium and is interested.  Contact her at: joan@hallbuzz.com if you are interested.

 

 

Steam Punk

 

   Joan's latest art focus has been "Steam Punk" which is a mixture of natural and mechanical elements like this butterfly necklace bellow.

 

 

 

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