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march 2006

St. Paul Walk

August 18, 2006 10:35 AM

The other day I went to lunch in the food court with Bill, then we walked back to the building on Kellog Blvd, next to the Mississippi River. I've been playing with some plugins that I got from some great guys over at the Manual Focus Forums for converting images to black and white. The results are in the St. Paul Walk album, link to the left.

All the pictures in this album were talken with the Canon 10D, equiped with an M42 screw mount adapter and a 1969 Pentax Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Runnin' Double

August 7, 2006 4:15 AM

Years ago while working on a large contracting project for the State of Minnesota, I had the worst possible thing happen: A complete meltdown of the hard drive in my computer. It was a 45GB IBM Deskstar, which has earned, quite deservingly, the moniker of IBM Deathstar. These particular hard drives are prone to failure, and unfortunately, I was one of its victims.

The contract worked turned out OK. I had a web server running with several hard drives all striped together as backup, where most of the real meat and potatoes was. I also ended up with a new machine, because Dell could ship me a brand new PC faster than a hard drive. Eventually, the hard drive was replaced, but still it was a pain in the ass.

Ever since, I've had a perfectly good PC sitting around doing nothing. It's not anything all that special, but definitely enough to handle most any "regular" PC task. As a second precautionary measure, I even bought an IDE RAID controller and two matching hard drives to mirror that I'd put back in the older machine. So, about five years, two houses and one apartment later, I've decided to take action.

A few months ago, a friend of mine gave me a 4-station KVM switch. He was going to throw it away because he lost the AC/DC converter for it. I forgot all about it until I had to move my desk at work last week and "rediscovered" it. Well, a trip to Radio Shack and $16.77 later, and it works like a charm. So now I can run two PCs with one K/V/M...Hmmm...

Now that I've been burning hard drive space like a madman with these RAW format images from the Canon, I've decided I need to do something. I finally got the other machine running again WITH the Deathstar mirrored to another 40GB drive. Why not use the matching ones? Because I stole one of 'em to put in my regular machine due to overzealous disk usage. But I digress...

Anyways, she's FINALLY running, just now formatting the second partition of the mirror. Once it's done, I'm going to finish installing Office on it and start un-installing a bunch of stuff from my regular machine. That way, it can be optimized for high CPU usage, such as Photoshop, Flight Sim, etc. It's got so much crap running when it boots up, it's starting to get a little doggy. See ya later Groupwise! Toodles Office! Oh, good things are on the horizon.

Except for one massive problem that has nothing to do with anything above this: I cannot sleep. I can't. I want to, badly, but can't. I wake up every day so tired, but can't sleep. I'm a venerable zombie right now, but I seriously can't fall asleep. I haven't gotten more than a steady 6 hours of sleep since CUE in April. I average about 2-3 hours, then I wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the ceiling until I decide to toss and turn until the alarm clock goes off. Tomorrow is going to suck. Even if I sleep through, I'm only looking at just over four hours of sleep. For those smarty-pants looking at the timestamp on this and thinking that's B.S., remember the server that this runs on is having issues with NTP. (Regular readers would know, but I don't have any of those.) The timestamp is actually 1 hour, 56 minutes too slow.

It might be doctor time.

Still Isn't Right

August 2, 2006 3:20 AM

No matter how much I goof with Photoshop, I still can't get digital conversion black and white to look anything like my favorite black and white film: Kodak T-Max 400. It's an ISO 400 film but isn't too grainy with amazing contrast and dynamic range. It's also a "cheaper" monochrome film, which is good.

Above is the latest of my attempts. The shot in color is probably better with the greens and browns on the leaves, but I think it's a good black and white candidate.

No matter how much I tinker with it, the contrast and range just don't seem the same as if I took it with good ol' T-Max using my old Ricoh.

Of course I start to wonder since you never actually get to see what color a monochrome film spit out (since there isn't any color), you don't have a color comparison. Maybe it's just your mind "fooling" you since you've seen a color version of what you're trying to convert. I dunno.

Anybody out there with any suggestions?

Edit: On second look, this isn't too bad. The only real issue I see is some blown highlights. CMOS and CCD shooting is like using slide film - Much more "delicate." Print film won't blow out highlights and washout shadows as bad as slide film. Unfortunately, CMOS/CCD does.


This is the word barf of a guy named Bob (Ethics major turned Software Engineer) who lives in Minneapolis.

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