Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Several things

I just remembered something today. The reason I hike as much as I do in the heat of the summer is because the air is clearer then. When the weather cools off, the wind doesn't blow as much. All the pollution generated in the valley just kind of sits there (or here, I guess). The brown cloud is much more noticeable.

Ever since my last attempt at getting to the Broadway cave, I've been thinking that I need new hiking shoes. Mine weren't worn out. They were just too flimsy for trails like the one to Broadway cave. I had bruises on the bottoms of my feet after that hike. When I hiked on the trail at the end of Meridian a day or two ago, it seemed like I could feel every rock and bump through my shoes, as if I was wearing thick socks instead of hiking shoes. I knew I had to get something with stiffer soles.

So yesterday I went to Big 5, my favorite store in Arizona. I looked through all the hiking shoes, with my only criterion for selection being the stiffness of the sole. I found some that seemed like they would work. The employee helping me even brought a golf ball over for me to stand on to test them out. I decided to get them even though they weren't on sale. This would be the first time I had bought shoes there that weren't on sale. This would be the first time in at least 6 years that I had bought any shoes that weren't on sale, but I needed them. I was using un-birthday money, so it was OK. I went up to the register and they rang up with the sticker price of about $80. Gulp. Then another employee standing there said something like, "Oh, let me fix that." He pushed some buttons and said, "Oh, look, they're on sale!" Now they were only $50. Wow, what a deal; my own personal sale! I like Big 5 even more, now.

OK, now I have these nifty new hiking shoes (Hi-Tec Odyssey, BTW). I have to try them out, and what better place than the trail that convinced me I need them? I didn't get to the Broadway trailhead until about 5, which meant I had less than an hour of daylight. It was enough for a decent trial, though. I really like the shoes.

When I got back to the house, I decided to try out the i-gotU trip documenting software. I discovered that it also allows you to shift the time of your pictures if you don't have your camera time set exactly right. My camera time was still very close to exact, though. So I created a "trip" using their software and uploaded it to their website. This is another case of me taking pictures just to be taking pictures, and not having done any post-processing, and putting all of the pictures, good or bad, in the trip. You can click a play button and a car moves along the trip track, displaying pictures taken along the way. I wish it was a hiker instead of a car, but you get what you pay for.

It was a very nice evening for a hike. Upper 80's (which feels cool in the desert because the humidity is so low) and not even the slightest hint of a breeze, which is why I started this blog entry talking about the brown cloud. See how these seemingly random things eventually come together? I took too many pictures of the brown cloud, but like I said, this trip shows everything, no editing. Click below to check it out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Picture geotagging solution

I don't know if you've noticed, but I don't always geotag all of my pictures. There are several reasons for that. Sometimes I've just forgotten exactly where I was when I took it. Sometimes I can't tell by looking at the map where I was. Sometimes (especially near the Superstition Mountains), Google Earth is low resolution and I can't tell where the trail is, much less where I was. Sometimes I stop in the shade somewhere and sit down and get my GPS receiver out and take a picture of it so I'll know where I was when I took the pictures at that spot. Anyway, I've had a lot of pictures that weren't geotagged or were not tagged with the correct position. I finally have a solution, though. It's called an i-gotU GT-120 GPS Travel Logger.

As you can see, I have it on the strap to my Rebel right now. I think I'll move it as soon as I think of a better place to carry it. It's a little inconvenient right there. It's small enough that I could put it just about anywhere. When I look at it, I think about the first GPS receiver I ever saw back in '78. That one was about 3 feet long, 2 feet wide, 1.5 feet high, weighed over 150 pounds, and the cooling fans screamed like banshees.

I went for a quick hike out at the end of Meridian road today to try out the logger. I was taking pictures just to take pictures. I didn't do any editing, and I put all of them on the web album, so don't be shocked. The purpose is to show how nifty the logger is. I could have refined the position of some of the pictures. Normal GPS error shows some of them having been taken a few feet off the trail when I know I was on the trail. Still, the accuracy will be much better than my guesswork in the low resolution areas.

The logger comes with software that can use the GPS track to geotag pictures. This time I used Microsoft Pro Photo Tools because it will allow you to shift you pictures with respect to the track if you don't have your camera time set correctly. I must have had the camera clock dead on, though; didn't have to adjust the time at all.

The logger software will also generate some kind of travel log with pictures to put on the web. I'll have to experiment with that. Sounds like it might be nifty. I noticed today, though, that you can view Picasa web album pictures on a map and "play" the pictures in sequence, so that you can see the pictures and where they were taken on a reasonably sized map. You can try it out with this album.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Three more...

After Suzanne saw those black widow pictures on my blog, she was too nervous to relax in her chair by the pool after swimming. (Yes, she's still swimming, even though the pool water is down to 69.) Can't say that I blame her. I stomped one of the spiders and couldn't find the body afterwards. I keep swatting my pants leg now. Maybe I should go back to using a flame thrower. Anyway, at the insistance of My Sweetums, 6 black widows have been eliminated.

In Memorium



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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Broadway Cave, second attempt

I started out earlier this time, and took more water. I would have made it if I hadn't made a wrong turn. Since I had lost the trail, I was kind of just wandering around. I couldn't see it when I got close, so I didn't know which way to go. I saw some pretty stuff and had fun, though, so it certainly wasn't a wasted trip.

I was on the trail a little before 2. That's a bad time of day for landscape photography. Everything looks so bland without any shadows.

From Broadway_2008_10_25

There's still a lot of smoke in the air. You can see it in several of the pictures.

From Broadway_2008_10_25

It was not hot (maybe mid 80's) and there was a light breeze blowing, but I got pretty warm being out in the sun. I drank all of my water, even the emergency backup water. Fortunately, there are a lot of saguaros out there. They provide much needed shade during rest stops.

From Broadway_2008_10_25

I'm sure I'll get to the cave next time. I'm not going out there again until the temperature drops about 20 degrees, though. Also, it looks like the trail continues up Monument Canyon. I'll have to go see what's up there some time.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween decorations...?

I went out the back door to take the trash out a little while ago and saw this huge black widow. They're all around the house. I kill them all every now and then but they always come back (I'd feel bad if they didn't). I don't like killing them but I would like it less if some little trick-or-treater got bit by one.

Our neighbors put fake spider webs all over their front yard. I thought these real ones would make good halloween decorations but my Sweetums doesn't see it that way.

You can usually tell when you've bumped into a black widow web. They're very strong. Fortunately, the black widow runs away when you do that. Well, all spiders do. People don't buzz and vibrate like bugs, so the spiders know it's nothing they want to mess with.


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Smokey sunset

I had some errands to run after work so I grabbed the camera, hopped on the bike, and was on my way. One of the neat things about being on a bike is that you smell everything around you. Well, sometimes that's a bad thing, but we'll ignore that for now. Anyway, riding around in the early evening when the weather is perfect really makes me hungry. People were grilling all over town. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, etc. I rode out Meridian road a little ways to watch the sunset and took a few pictures. There's a lot of smoke in the air today. Don't know where it came from. No, it isn't from all the people grilling. Here are some pictures.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Color, and a dead tree

A few days ago I was talking about how the color produced by the Rebel is better than that of the S3 IS. I take that back. Neither is better. They're different, and settings can be changed that have a drastic effect on the color.

I drove into Bulldog Canyon today and stopped to take a picture of a mountain with the Rebel. Then I looked at the picture and it didn't look like the mountain. The mountain was much more garishly colored (like somebody had turned up the saturation).

I decided to take pictures in RAW mode today, so that I would have complete freedom to adjust color, contrast, sharpness, and lots of other stuff. I've been playing with this stuff for a couple of hours and I haven't tried all the knobs and buttons yet.

Then I thought about how I might get a picture adjusted the way I like it, but it might only look that way on my monitor. And then I thought that maybe I should calibrate my monitor. And then I thought that this is starting to sound obsessive.

I took a bunch of pictures of a dead tree. Here are a few of them. It's late now, and I'm going to bed. I'll calibrate the monitor, oh, when I get around to it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Broadway Cave, first attempt

That's right; attempt. As I often do when I hike a trail for the first time, I started too late and didn't carry enough water, so I didn't make it to the end.

It's a little strange how I found this trail. As I was driving out to Peralta road yesterday, I looked over at the Superstition Mountains and noticed a large cave. I'm sure I've seen it before, but yesterday it caught my attention. About that time a guy on a motorcycle went past me. I wondered if he had ever noticed the cave, or if he had even noticed the mountains. He never even glanced over there. It seems sad to drive by something so pretty without even noticing it. Anyway, this morning I was looking at random places in Google Earth. I had the Panoramio layer enabled so I could see people's pictures of various places. Most of those pictures are along highways. I have put a few pictures on Panoramio but I try to stay away from roads. I noticed that somebody that goes by ikanode does that, too, so I was looking through all of his pictures. He has some of Broadway cave, and the trailhead near there. Wow, there's the cave I noticed yesterday, and the coordinates of the trailhead parking lot. I knew where I was going that afternoon.

In this picture you can see the Flatiron on the left. Broadway cave is on the right. If you zoom in and look very closely you probably won't see a young man standing at the entrance of the cave because after being re-sized during the upload to the web album, he's only 2 pixels wide and 3 high. He isn't wearing a shirt, and neither is his fellow hiker. I didn't know they were there when I took the picture. I didn't know they were in any pictures until I got home. Even in the full resolution pictures, you can't tell it's people, but they are in several pictures and they moved around.

From 2008_10_19

The first part of the trail is long and has a gentle slope. The cave doesn't look very far away in the pictures, but that's misleading. The trail is difficult to walk on, too. When people walk on that trail, they loosen the dirt. Then when it rains, the dirt washes away and leaves the rocks. The rocks are loose and make for difficult footing. I bet I used 20% more energy by staying on that trail than I would have a couple of feet to the right or left of it. If everybody did that, though, soon the whole mountain side would wash away.

Since it's such a gentle slope, you don't really feel like you're climbing. I turned around and was looking down on Dinosaur mountain, though.

From 2008_10_19

This picture is taken from where I turned back. It seems close, but it's still quite a climb to the entrance. It would have taken at least another half hour to get to the entrance, and I would run the chance of running out of water before I got back to the truck. I probably would not have gotten dehydrated, but when you hike alone you don't take chances. The thing I was most worried about was walking back on that trail in the dark. I'd be lucky not to twist an ankle.

From 2008_10_19

The sky was full of high, thin clouds. They're the kind of clouds that spoil landscape photography (in my opinion). They look OK in the HDRI's, though.

From 2008_10_19

Those clouds can also make for very good sunsets. I need to practice getting sunsets with this new camera.

From 2008_10_19

Click below to see all of the pictures.


Oh, I almost forgot. When I was about halfway to the cave, two young men passed me on their way back to the trailhead. They were not wearing shirts. They were not carrying shirts. I don't think they had shirts with them. I didn't see any water, either. One of them was on his cell phone and was saying, "I'm dying on this mountain". They didn't look distressed, though. They were smiling. There was only one other vehicle in the trailhead lot, and they were the only people I saw coming back from the cave.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

To the top (well, close enough)

Remember that small mountain I climbed up the side of last weekend? I went back today. The weather was perfect. Mid 90's, light breeze, clear sky. Before I left last time, I was looking at various possible routes to the top. I think I picked the right one today. I looked at some alternate routes on the way down, and they would not have worked. They wouldn't have worked for me, that is. Since I hike alone, I have to be very careful about avoiding situations where I could fall and get hurt. There's nobody around to help or even know that I need help. I didn't have a phone signal today, either.

The climbing was easier this week, too. I haven't replaced all those red blood cells yet, but at least I could climb for a couple of minutes before I was gasping for air. Another thing that made it easier is that the humidity is finally dropping. When I stopped to take a couple of pictures, my face was usually dry by the time I started moving again.

Here's a picture of where I went. If you see where some of the pictures are geotagged, you can tell that I didn't get to the very top. In the picture the summit looks like it's surrounded by vertical rock. It looks like that from up there, too.

From Peralta_2008_10_18

The Superstition Mountains look nice from this angle.

From Peralta_2008_10_18

It took about 55 minutes to get to the top. I spent some of that time deciding which way to go, or changing my mind and retracing my steps. There are spots up there that look like trails, but I think they are rabbit trails. You can follow them until they go under a bush. As I approached the top, the wind died completely. I was back out in the sun, too. Closer to the top, I could hear the wind blowing up there. That motivated me to hurry that last 20 feet or so. The breeze was great.

The closer I got to the top, the more determined I was to get there. The curiosity about what the view on the other side was like was driving me nuts. Here are a few pictures of the view from the "top".

From Peralta_2008_10_18

From Peralta_2008_10_18

From Peralta_2008_10_18

From Peralta_2008_10_18

I decided to get a picture of myself up there. I put the camera on the small tripod I carry in my back pack and pushed the shutter and came to a screeching halt when I realized it had already taken the picture. Oops, forgot to set the timer. Pushed the shutter again and didn't even get in front of the camera before it took the picture. Two seconds isn't long enough. I fiddled around with it for a little while trying to change it to 10 seconds before I decided I would just have to move fast. Pushed the shutter and "dashed" to get in position. Didn't make it. It isn't a good picture, but it is sort of funny.

From Peralta_2008_10_18

Click below to see all of the pictures.


Friday, October 17, 2008

A desert stroll

For the past 2 or 3 years, the air was looking noticeably more polluted than it did when I first moved out here (which was only 5.5 years ago). There were times I wouldn't go hiking because the air looked too bad to get any good pictures. I started to think it might be bad for my lungs, too. Either that or the cold I had was taking months to completely go away. This past summer, though, it's looked clearer than it has for a long time. I read in the paper that it's because of the economic slowdown. Construction in the valley has dropped off almost to nothing, and it must be construction that stirs up most of the dust. Without all the construction, we can see a lot better. So as we head into the worst recession since the seventies, at least we have a better view of the mountains now. Gosh, when will I ever get to have my cake and eat it, too?

It was a pretty day and I didn't have anything else (much) that I had to do, and I was missing the quiet of the desert, so I went out to the middle of Bulldog Canyon. It was very nice. No mosquitoes or little green bugs; just the usual flies and gnats. (I thumped a few flies.) The sun sets pretty early these days, so I didn't wander far or take many pictures.

Lately when I hike, I carry both cameras with me. They each have features that I like, or capabilities that the other doesn't have. I don't want to be out on a trail and wish I had the camera I didn't have so I could get a picture that I couldn't without it. It's that cake thing again, but in this case I can have them both. I just look like a dork. Oh, well, there's usually nobody there to see me, and I don't give a hoot anyway. But I digress. Back to the cameras. There have been times (usually just before sunset) when I just didn't like the way the pictures I took of the mountains with my S3 IS looked. Here's an example:

From BC_2008_10_17

I wasn't thinking about comparing results, so these pictures aren't of exactly the same thing, but they're pretty close. Here's the picture taken by the Rebel:

From BC_2008_10_17

I think it looks a LOT better. The bright spots aren't washed out, and in general the color is much better. The main reason I got the Rebel was so I could get better landscape pictures. Looks like that will pan out.

I made a couple of HDRIs. This first one is an example of trying to make a picture look good that just shouldn't be taken in the first place. It just turns out looking bizarre.

From BC_2008_10_17

The moral of the picture is that HDRI cannot make everything look good or interesting.

Speaking of interesting, I was talking about small particulate matter in the valley atmosphere a little while ago, which is not interesting but I used to take pictures of it. It's called the "brown cloud". I haven't seen it much this summer. I did see it today, though, as it blew north over Fountain Hills. Here's the best plain vanilla picture I could get of it with my best (depending on what you want to do) camera.

From BC_2008_10_17

Here is an HDRI of the same view. It isn't black on the bottom and white on the top. It's still a bad picture, but it shows what I wanted to show and you can see other stuff (like, uh, power lines...), too.

From BC_2008_10_17

OK, maybe that wasn't very interesting, but the tarantula was. It was not moving (I think it might have been hoping I hadn't seen it). I was wondering what a tarantula feels like, so I was moving my finger very slowly towards it. I was thinking that maybe I should be making a video and I wish I had, because it hissed at me. At least I think it did. A gnat was buzzing in my left ear at the time so it was hard to hear. Anyway, it started walking away and I did not touch it. I don't think it's a good idea to touch things that hiss at you. Cats taught me that at a tender age. And that reminds me of an article I read the other day that said that until they are in their late teens, people do not learn from negative experiences. Based on personal experience, I find that hard to believe, though it would explain why there are so many videos on YouTube of teenagers grinding down hand rails and then smashing their faces on concrete, even though their previous 20 attempts resulted in numerous small abrasions, contusions, and torn clothes. But, once again, I digress. It's the beer (not the cake). Click below to see all of the pictures, unless you can't stand tarantulas, in which case you'll just have to wonder what you are missing.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's always something...

I went out to Canyon Lake to get some pictures of the moonrise over the lake today. The moon wasn't in quite the right spot, though. I'll have to Google astronomy programs to see if I can find one I can use to find out when the moon will be rising where I want it to.

There was no wind today, and the temperature was perfect. It was gorgeous out there. Except for one tiny little thing. Well, actually a bunch of tiny little things. The only place I've seen more mosquitoes in Arizona is in the trees on the banks of the Salt River. There were other little bugs, too, but I didn't become aware of them until I got home. I still feel them crawling all over me. I may have to take a shower before I eat.

Anyway, enough whining. I've taken pictures of the moonrise out there before but the disk of the moon was always washed out, or you could see the moon but nothing else. I thought Photomatix would be able to solve that problem for me. I'm afraid it wasn't up to the task, though. Maybe I need to play around with it some more. I'll have to do that later. I'm going to take a shower right now. Here are a few pictures.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Just off Peralta Road

It's a beautiful day today, and cool. Only got up to the low 70's. I started out heading for Canyon Lake this afternoon but decided to go down Peralta road instead. I hadn't been out that way for a while.

It's been windy for several days now. It looked really hazy on the way out there from all of the dust in the air. I parked in a small cleared spot next to the road, near a small mountain that looked like it needed climbing. I noticed this morning while doing some yard work that I still really miss all those red blood cells. Seems like I heard somewhere that it takes about 6 weeks to replace them. Maybe the stress of hiking will convince my body to replace them sooner than that. I hope so.

I started up the mountain just to see what I would see along the way. I couldn't tell if I would find a route to the top, and didn't really care if I made it to the top or not. I was going in this direction.

From Peralta_2008_10_11

Here's the view of the Superstition Mountains in the other direction.

From Peralta_2008_10_11

It seems that you can always find something interesting in the desert. Maybe I feel that way because I'm easily amused. Maybe most people find my discoveries to be quite droll. Oh well, that doesn't matter as long as I'm happy. But I digress. Let's see, something interesting. Oh yeah, part way up I saw what looked like a seldom traveled trail. As I was trying to see where it came from and where it went, I heard a metallic rattling sound (remember the wind?). Looking towards the sound, I saw what there seem to be a lot of in the desert; a memorial to a lost loved one. The wreath and pieces of artificial flowers had been scattered by the weather.

From Peralta_2008_10_11

There was a small American flag folded up on the ground near the cross. Normally I don't touch these memorials, but seeing the flag made me thing of our troops in the middle east. I placed the flag in a plastic box full of rocks at the base of the memorial.

From Peralta_2008_10_11

You can see that his (or her) buddies drank some beer, and left some beer there, too. It was tempting, but it was Budweiser so I was able to resist.

The view from where I stopped climbing was nice.

From Peralta_2008_10_11

From Peralta_2008_10_11

The wind was really annoying, so I headed down. I drove the rest of the way to the Peralta trailhead. I stopped at the Lost Goldmine trailhead. This sign made me wonder about something. If they do a background check on people buying guns, why don't they also do a brain check? Maybe it's for the same reason that tobacco isn't outlawed; it would put too many people out of business and be a disaster for the economy.

From Peralta_2008_10_11

Click below to go to the web album with all of the pictures (no HDRI today).


Friday, October 10, 2008

Yesterday's hike

I didn't finish telling you about yesterday's hike. I wanted to get pictures of the sunset from the aluminum bench on the side of the mountains. There were puffy clouds around when I left the house and I thought they would look good. They were pretty much gone by the time I got on the trail, though.

It was very windy, which was pretty nice on the way up. Kept me from getting too hot. I made several stops to take pictures on the way up, so when the sun was about to set I still wasn't at the bench. I tried to hurry. I moved as fast as I could but I felt like I was crawling, and my lungs burned more than they had since running the 440 in high school. I finally realized that it probably had something to do with the double helping of red blood cells I had donated the day before. I was relieved to have a good excuse for the shortness of breath and pressed on.

I got to the bench 5 or 10 minutes before sundown. I snapped a couple of pictures, drank some water, and set up the tripod. Now the wind got a little annoying. It blew my water bottle off the bench. It blew my backpack off the bench. It blew the tripod over (but I caught it). It messed up my hair. I wanted to get more pictures of the city lights at night, but I got tired of battling the wind.

About the lights... I took those pictures with the aperature set from F11 to F22, but the lights still look blurred. I think I know why, though. The exposures were 10 to 30 seconds longs. As I stood there trying to keep the wind from shaking the tripod and watching the lights, I noticed they were twinkling quite a bit. I think that twinkling has something to do with the blurriness.

Speaking of blurred, The picture I took of myself by moonlight is very blurred. I couldn't figure out how to get the camera focused in the dark. I've figured it out now, though. I'll have to try it out some night soon.

I put some more pictures in the album, and geo-tagged a few.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another night hike

I was going to pick up a new pair of glasses after work today. One of the lenses was a little out of whack and needed to be re-worked. I have really missed having them because even with the bad lens, they were a whole lot better than the ones I've worn for the past 10 years or so. But we got away from work late, and traffic was bad. I didn't want to be racing to get there before they closed, so I did the next best thing. I headed for the Superstition Mountains.

I've been wanting to watch the sunset from the aluminum bench on the Jacob's crosscut trail in the Superstition Wilderness for quite a while. This seemed like a good day to do it. Turns out that wasn't completely true, but it was still very nice. It's too late now to get into all of that. Here's a few pictures until I have time to finish this.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Night critters

I've been meaning to use my ultraviolet light out in the desert for some time now. I didn't during the summer because it gets dark so late, and I'm usually falling asleep by 9. It's pretty dark by 7 now, though. I walked along a couple of trails looking for anything that fluoresced. I found a piece of plastic that glowed very brightly. A few steps later I found something else glowing just as brightly and started to pick it up. My hand was 3 or 4 inches away from it when I noticed that it had legs. I did not pick it up. It started running around and then it was easy to tell it was a scorpion. I took some flash pictures. I need to work on taking pictures at night

From Meridian_2008_10_07

I continued walking along and suddenly realized that I should have tried to get a picture of it using just the ultraviolet light. I headed back but couldn't find it. No problem. It wasn't very long before I found another one. This one was a lot smaller. I didn't have a tripod with me so I had to put the camera on my knee, and it wasn't steady enough for the 1 second exposure. Then the batteries in my ultraviolet light started going dead. The light clips on the bill of a cap, which leaves my hands free to mess with cameras or whatever. I needed to hold the quickly fading light closer to the scorpion. So I'm half laying on the ground with my face almost on the scorpion trying to get a picture. Yep, I'm taking the tripod next time.

From Meridian_2008_10_07

Monday, October 06, 2008

A trip to the Mogollon Rim

Suzanne and I drove up to the Mogollon Rim on Sunday. We went to see if we could find some fall leaves, but we found lots of other stuff, too. First, though, a word about people driving off cliffs.

I was thinking about how people might do that and realized that it probably has something to do with what I've been thinking about for a few weeks. That is, driving requires unbroken concentration on a single task for as long as you're on the road. Generally speaking, people are not good at that, especially if the task is boring or there are distractions. Anyway, I felt like I needed to say that because all those people that I made fun of for driving off cliffs probably don't deserve it, and if I drive off a cliff some day I don't want people making fun of me. I'm sure I'll have a very good excuse. OK, back to the rim.

Sunday was a beautiful day for a road trip. Once we got a few miles north of the valley, there were puffy little clouds all around, and a few somewhat ominous clouds here and there. We stopped for lunch at Pizza Hut in Payson. I've been feeling burned out on pizza lately, but that was a good pizza. It was in the low 60's in Payson.

It was another 30 mile drive to get up on the rim. Of course, I had to stop at the first scenic overlook and get a few pictures. It was windy up there, and in the mid 50's. It didn't take long for my fingers to get too stiff to put the lens cap back on. I didn't bring anything warm to wear. Silly me. Anyway, remember the clouds? I used to gripe about them to Richard. If you exposed a picture for the landscape, the clouds would be blindingly white blobs. If you tried to make the clouds look good, the landscape was almost black. Richard kept sending me info about high dynamic range images until I finally tried some software that solves this cloud problem and eventually bought it. If it hadn't been for Richard sending that info, I wouldn't have gotten any good pictures on Sunday, and I would have complained about it all week. Well, some people still might say I didn't get any good pictures, but I like them. Thanks, Richard. I'm going to illustrate, one more time, what I'm talking about. Here's the best me and Canon could do without Photomatix.

From 2008_10_05

Yucko. Here's what Canon, Photomatix, and I can do.

From 2008_10_05

Hey, you can see everything! I like that, at least for pictures like this. I took pictures at a couple or three scenic overlooks before we got to the turnoff for Woods Canyon Lake. There we found a few aspens.

From 2008_10_05

I took a few pictures of the lake, also. The pictures wouldn't be nearly as interesting without the clouds, and I couldn't have included the clouds without Photomatix. I suppose the people add some interest, also. They are also troublesome, though. In order to use Photomatix, I need to take exposure bracketed pictures. That's three pictures taken in quick succession. The Rebel is pretty fast and it takes those three pictures in less than a second, but people can move a lot in a second. I had to watch all the people in the picture and wait until they looked like they were going to be still for a second and then take the picture(s). Not easy, especially with kids. I got a few pictures in which the people aren't too blurred, though. I think this is my favorite.

From 2008_10_05

I was planning to drive further down the rim road, but it turned to dirt and it was a little too rough for the minivan (I didn't want to bounce off a cliff ;-) ), so we headed back. Of course, I had to stop at the scenic overlooks again. Suzanne got out at one of those to peek over the edge. She made me very nervous. I don't think I get that close to the edge. This picture turned out pretty good even though it isn't HDR.

From 2008_10_05

Click below to go to the album to see all of the pictures (or just watch the tiny slide show).

Hoo ha! I just noticed something funny in the HTML for that slide show. You'd probably have to be a nerd to appreciate it, though. Or a middle school student.