HawaiiCon 2016

I’ve been absent for a bit. I think two people noticed and got concerned, and to them, I apologize. 

My last post was a week ago Thursday. A day before I attended HawaiiCon.

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Why the absence? Good question. The four days of the Con were busy, but not that busy. The last six days were mildly busy, but with plenty of time to post something, only I didn’t. 

I did read a lot (pretty much all of my fiction; flash, short, and novel-length). Plus, I read other stuff, both fiction and non-fiction. Plus, you know, snacks. Some people can do it, type with one hand as they stuff their face with the other. Not me. Eating interrupts my hunt-and-peck typing. 

Perhaps the biggest stumbling blocks are the sheer number of photos I want to share. They are overwhelming. Waves, Hawai’ian ruins, lava, sunsets . . . I don’t know where to start.

But, this post is about our experience at the Con. 

The first day, Thursday, started with our usual morning walk and a surprise visitor in the harbor. 
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Hawai’i – Saddle Road Part II

The first post about Saddle Road ended with this photo of the Pu’u Huluhulu Cinder Cone (not to be confused with the cone by the same name in Volcano National Park).

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My second purposeful trip to Saddle Road — as opposed to driving it just to get from one place to another – was to specifically visit the cinder cone and walk the short trail at the protected site. 

I deliberately took a circuitous route so I could photograph other points and sights of interest (to me). For reference, here’s the route.

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I drove along the coast on 19 to the bypass that took me past Waikoloa and onward to 190 where I headed toward Waimea instead of taking the shorter route to Saddle road. That took me into a portion of Saddle road that, while redone and resurfaced, maintains some of the hilly features of the original road as well as some of its one-lane bridges and twisty route. The numbers above reference the locations where I snapped the following photos. 

As usual, the photos can be found on the accompanying SmugMug Gallery HERE. Note that there are more photos on the gallery as some are close duplicates of each other. I could not be bothered to sort them (getting lazy in my old age). 

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Posted in Creative, Hawaii, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, The Big Island, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The better hummingbird

The main reason for yesterday’s post was to showcase the processing of a hummingbird using Topaz’s Impression and Glow Plugins. Sure, I added words in there. That’s because my readers are split into two camps. Some just come for the words and some just come for the photos. I think there are three who come for both, and one of the three might be me. 

Unfortunately, I picked a mediocre photo to play with. This time, I picked a better photo . . . 

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I also took better care in processing it, actually playing with the settings by throwing switches hither and fro and pushing sliders left and right.  

Now, I need to also up my game with the words I write. Not that I would know how to up my writing game. An amateur wordsmith, I be, and not even native born.

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Posted in Birds, Hummingbirds, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Some stuff, some other stuff, and odd stuff

Writing a generic post begins by choosing a photo. In this case, a hummingbird photo. This hummingbird photo . . .

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As I work with the photo, I’m quasi-simultaneously thinking about what I might write. I finish my first iteration . . .

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. . . and my mind is occupied with politics, religion, guns, food, writing, weather, people, socio-economic issues, and bemoaning the poor performance of electric stoves vis-à-vis the much better and more practical gas counterparts. 

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Posted in Birds, Hummingbirds, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Writing update apology

Yesterday, I wrote a piece on writing. From the comments, I gather some readers felt the need to encourage me, to shore me up, as it were. Perhaps they even felt sorry for me. While I appreciate their concern, I fear I might have inadvertently mislead my readers.

For that, I offer my apologies.

The piece was not offered as a voyage down the well of self-pity and I consider it a failure on my part if even a few readers took it as such. At best, it was an update of my current efforts sprinkled with what I thought was humor and sarcasm. Most, if not all, of my writing posts — and there are many — are sprinkled with the same. Some self-deprecation, some flat out humor, some Trump-like bragging (only I don’t mean it), and a bit of rumination about the art itself. It’s never saying “woe is me, the world done did me wrong.”

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Some might know I don’t take compliments well. It embarrasses me and I’ve only recently learned to just say “thank you” instead of stepping back from the compliment.  

Here’s something everyone should know; I’m even less comfortable taking commiseration or words of encouragement. For one thing, if it’s offered it means I complained about my life. I can’t say I’ve never done it, but I can say if it happens, it’s a slip.

The last thing I want is to mislead someone into thinking I’m in need of encouragement, or being told to I should “soldier on.” I especially do not want anyone feeling sorry for me. I mean, I can’t keep them from it, but I tend to discourage it.  There is nothing anyone should feel sorry about.

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Where am I going with this? For them concerned that I might be getting despondent and depressed because of rejections, let me clear up a few things about writing. Specifically my writing.

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Posted in Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Writing update

Nothing new on the short stories and the novel submissions. Rejections from the larger outfits come at a glacial place. Right now, all four of the September 2015 stories are out for submission. I play the lotto, and I can tell you I think the odds are better  that I will win the jackpot than actually having one of my fiction masterpieces picked up for publication. But, I took an oath to submit, submit, submit, and so I do, I do, I do.

Yes, that is one of them taunt-the-Universe statements made in the vain hope said Universe will prove me wrong. Think of it like praying but rather than a creepy malevolent deity being called upon to intercede in the workings of the universe, it’s the Universe itself, and its henchman, Chance, that is challenged to prove it deserves a leading role in the play fueled by the delusions of people.

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By the way, no new photos here. Processed differently, yes, but all have appeared in previous posts.

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Posted in Flash Fiction, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Hawai’i – Saddle Road Part I

Occasionally, when I have photos posing a processing challenge, I resort to using DxO OpticsPro 11. The program is excellent at post-processing photos, but I seldom use it because it is more time consuming than other software I have. In part, this is because DxO is a subtle and sensitive manipulator of RAW images. It’s what makes it such a capable post-processor. 

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The above is the as-shot RAW file from my July 16th foray into capturing some of the sights and scenes of Saddle Road. Before I talk about Saddle Road, let me point out the difficulty of the above shot. Sunny sky, bright clouds, backlit subject in the shade, and lava. 

I typically spot-meter the bright portion but do so close to the darker area. I do that because it’s easier to bring out detail from underexposed areas than coax any details from blown-out highlights. Lighting the underexposed areas usually produces artifacts (noise) that while controllable, degrades the details of the photos. DxO does a great job of bringing out the details and managing the noise. It almost makes me look like a capable photographer.

The following is the end result after processing the original with DxO, adding the frame (dark line) using OnOne, and gently tweaking the final product using lightroom.

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All of the photos in this post were processed with DxO before anything else was done to them, like, for instance, stitching them into panoramas using Photoshop. It’s not that all the photos required it, but since I was doing a number of them in DxO, I did them all. 

As usual, you can click on individual photos and a larger version will open up in a new tab or window. To see the original size photo, go to the SmugMug Gallery HERE. Be aware that while I usually post photos in the order they were taken, some of these are out of order to fit the narrative and for clarity. 

So, here we go . . . Saddle Road.

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Posted in Bee, Creative, Hawaii, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, Spiders and Insects, The Big Island, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments