Free Markets, Free People
We had to go do a photo shoot at the Vietnam Memorial on Coronado Island. While we were there, we also took the time to do some sightseeing, and took our boxer, Apollo, along for the ride.
The pics are below the fold, and you can click on each picture for a more hi-res version.
Chris and I went down to Oceanside today, and I took along the FZ200 to take a few pictures. This time though, rather than fill up the front page, all the pictures are below the fold. All the pics are clickable, so you can see a 1920×1280 larger version.
In the comments of yesterday’s photoblogging thread, Looker asked why, when he takes photos of plain old stuff, it looks like plain old stuff. My answer is that he’s probably looking at the actual photograph he took, not the photo it could be.
For instance this is a crappy photograph:
This is better:
Unlike the photo on top which is a an uncorrected RAW export of the full original image to JPG format, the photo on the bottom crops out all the extraneous stuff possible, uses the rule of thirds to put the barred window on the bottom right, steps the exposure down about half a stop, warms the color temperature about 500°, and alters the color balance.
If I really wanted to spend the extra time to make it dramatic—and, now that I’ve done it, I wish I would have—I could’ve done this:
This, by the way, is why you shoot in RAW format. You can fiddle with stuff as much as you want, and fiddling around in RAW is non-destructive. You can always recover the image as it was when it came out of the camera, no matter what you do to it. The only drawback is that the RAW image is about 6 times larger than a JPG, which, at 12.1 megapixel, translates to about 20MB per image.
So, I carry 4 32GB SD cards, and shoot as much as I want. Disk space is cheap.
Here are some more examples of dishonesty, when compared to the photos in the previous post. Here are the originals of two more images from the previous photoblogging post:
Chris and I went downtown to take some pictures. This time, instead of lugging around an SLR, I took my new Panasonic Lumix FZ200. It’s a 12.1 megapixel bridge camera, with a 28mm-600mm superzoom lens. I wanted to see how it would do as a walking-around camera. I think the answer is, "very well."
The Star Of India, docked in downtown San Diego.
Downtown mall corridor
San Diego County Jail
A little bird
This odd building looks like an optical illusion
Chairs in a residential courtyard
A homeless man’s dog, downtown San Diego
LED marquee at the Balboa Theater
Trains at Union Station
Architectural detail of Union Station
Architectural detail of a restored Victorian-era building
The Gaslamp District
Lobby, Sempra Energy building
Mosaic Wall, Horton Plaza
Park and skyline
Each window of this building has a screen that can be lowered to cover the glass
Architectural detail, Sempra Energy building
Restored Victorian-era building in the Gaslamp District
The Moon and Venus
And finally, to show you how powerful the zoom and video capabilities of this little camera are, I give you The Dog Walker.
I love stuff like this. From a Nikon D200 camera set to take a picture every 5 minutes between 5-6 February in DC. 328 frames at 12 fps.
Watch the trees bow, the teddy bear disappear and a “white flame” grow on the tiki torches.
We spent the 4th of July in Ocean Beach. Below are some pics of the fireworks display and other…festivities.
The fireworks show was pretty, as these sorts of things usually are.
Immediately after the fireworks show ends, another OB tradition begins. The 4th of July Marshmallow fight. It started 40 years ago as a friendly marshmallow fight between some OB neighbors, but every one else quickly took up the tradition.
It’s now become like a soft-candy-based Festival of Landru.
Happy Independence Day, everyone.
Yes, we did do a podcast. I have the recording and everything. he reason you don’t see it because right after I finished recording it, I had to take Apollo to the emergency vet hospital.
Apollo had an “inverted prepuce”, causing Paraphimosis. I’m not going to tell you what that is. Look it up. (Be aware though, that if you look up “Paraphimosis”, you’ll probably get a NSFW result. Even at Wikipedia.) Apparently, even though he was neutered as a pup, when Contessa goes into heat, he has…urges. Which led to today’s complication.
So, I’ve spent the last 3.5 hours at the vet’s. But they got his thingy put back in, and he’s resting now. Any by “resting”, I mean stoned to the gills on a Valium and opiate cocktail. Here’s pics of the little stoner as of about 15 minutes ago.
He’s zonked out with a cool compress between his legs, to keep the swelling down.
Anyway, I’ll try to get the podcast up tomorrow.
More recent pics of the dogs from last week below the fold, for those who are interested.
I dropped by the Escondido Tea Party this afternoon. I got there about 15 minutes before the official kickoff, and there were about 100 people there already. I had to leave at 6:30 to do a telecon with a client, but before I left, there were probably 300-400 people there, which is really more than I expected for a little town like this.
KUSI was there, as were a couple of other media outfits. However, they got there before the 5pm kickoff, and they had cleared the scene before 5:30. That means they missed the vast majority of the crowd.
My photo gallery of the event, all taken via cell phone, is below the fold.
Today was a good day. I got to go to a place of wonder, and beauty, and exceptional craftsmanship. A place that Bruce will weep for not being able to visit.
There’s no hint of what this building is from the outside. The building itself has a modern, updated look reminiscent of a 19th-century factory building. But there’s no name on the outside. No signage. Only if you look in the service parking lot, and see the name painted on the sides of the delivery truck, would you have any idea that this is, in fact, the Stone Brewery. Stone is a microbrewery here in Escondido that makes a number of fine lagers, stouts, and, of course, their flagship product, Arrogant Bastard Ale.
The tour was organized through an online photography group that Chris belongs to, and we were lucky to get into it, because it’s a tour that fills up fast. Not only is it free, but there’s a special treat at the end. About which, more in due course.
The first think you notice is how spotless the production floor is. Everything is cleaned and shined, including the two-story stainless steel brewing tanks. They must go through a fortune in Windex.
“Barrels,” you think. “so what? Seen ‘em my whole life.” Well take a last look, then. Because you probably wont see many of them in the future. Cooperage is a dying art now, and Stone is having a devil of a time trying to find suppliers of oak casks for their casked ale. Think about the skill and craft that has to go into making watertight containers for storing liquids for months, when your only materials are wooden planks and iron hoops.
The number of people who know how to complete that task has declined precipitously. The replacements for the oak cask are made of aluminum or plastic. Functional. Efficient. But utterly unable to infuse an ale with the woody taste of oak.
Soulless, in other words.
Stone doesn’t use much to make their beers. Just barley grains, some dried hop pellets, and water. Somehow, they magically make the water deliciously flavored and frothy.
Each of these two-story brewing vats contain thousands of gallons of beer in the making. You can smell the yeasty, hoppy essence of ale all through the production area.
In addition to their fine bottled product, Stone ales are also available on tap.
This is a refrigerator. It may not look like it, but it is. The king of walk-in refrigerators. Filled to the ceiling with cans, bottles, ponies, and kegs of beer, ale, and stout. It’s the best refrigerator I’ve ever seen. By the way, that’s Chris, over on the right, sneaking into my shot with her camera and tripod.
The Irish vs. The English. Who wins? I don’t know. I only know I enjoy the competition. It may take many, many more years–and beers–of competition to tell.
You can’t go to a brewery and leave empty-handed, so I picked up four bottles of Stone Imperial Russian Stout. It comes in big 1 pint, 6 ounce bottles (at five bucks apiece, natch). It’s also 10.8% alcohol by volume. You gotta give it to those Russians, boy. They never miss a chance to put extra alcohol in…well…anything.
These are cases of of a very fine product called Dale’s Pale Ale. My repeated insistence to the tour guide that these were, in fact, mine, because “they have my name on them” was met with polite laughter, and barely concealed disdain. (Chris took this photo.)
At the end of the tour, we all got to go to the brewery’s draft bar for free samples of the various Stone products. Chris shot this picture of me as I was working my way from left to right across the line of taps. I believe I’m enjoying a delicious Smoked Porter in this particular shot. At least, I think that’s what it was, but, frankly, my memories of this portion of the tour became increasingly indistinct as time passed.
Wish you coulda been there, Bruce.
UPDATE: As I write this, I’m drinking one of the bottles of Stone Imperial Russian Stout I bought at the brewery. It is fantastic!
The different ales I drank at the brewery, in their intolerably small sampling glasses were good. But I’m a stout man. I enjoy and ale; wouldn’t turn one down. But I’ve been a Guinness man for years.
This, however, is better than Guinness. I feel a frisson of fear for being blasphemous by writing that…but it’s true. It’s thicker, and more robust than Guinness, yet it lacks a degree or two of the bitter hoppiness. It’s there, but more subdued. The Stone product is smoother, richer, and less bitter. Epic Win for Stone on the Imperial Russian Ale.
I also have a bottle of the Bitter Chocolate and Oatmeal Stout. I’m now really looking forward to trying it to compare and contrast.
UPDATE 2: Having finished a bottle of the Russian Stout, I’m now having a bottle of the Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.
This is a degree less bitter than the Russian, but, if anything, equally–or perhaps more–thick and robust. Very smooth, and another win for Stone.
If only it wasn’t $5 a bottle, it might become a regular tipple.