2017 Photography Review

Photo posts on this blog are a common sight. I’ve put up 78 different posts tagged with “photography” in the past year alone. Sometimes it simply because I don’t have anything creative to say with words, and I want to share something I have found to be beautiful. Other times, it’s because I’ve worked hard at shooting an event or a place and I want to share what I’ve accomplished. No matter how, it’s obvious that photography is a big part of who I am, and has been for decades.

IMG_1502.jpgIn 2017 I managed to do a few different races, and shot a lot of great photos for those. I really enjoy getting shots of runners out on the field and offering them up to them at no charge. When I was a beginning runner I loved seeing the photos of me out on the course, only to get a sinking feeling when they would ask for a ton of money for a single digital shot. I realize I could charge for this, but I enjoy doing it enough that I’d rather just keep giving it away for free.

DSC04687My wife’s love of birds means that I’ve also gotten a bunch of good bird shots this year. I enjoy the challenge of trying to get a nice pic of a moving object. Often times I don’t know if I’ve gotten anything good until I get back and get a chance to analyze the shots. I usually can also get some good landscape shots at the same time while we’re hiking around in the woods.

DSC04339Over the past year I’ve learned a bit more about what I need for equipment. Namely, I want a couple different lenses. To start I want to pick up a nice prime lens with a nice wide aperture. Sony currently has a nice 35mm f/1.8 that would be amazing for getting good action shots of runners. On the other end of the spectrum, I really would like something closer to a 450-600mm lens that I can use for shooting wildlife. Many of these lenses are very, very expensive though, especially with a nice wide aperture.

DSC05418I’ve also been playing around with where to store and share my photos. I’ve experimented with Flickr and Smugmug, and I’m not 100% sure where I’m going to land. Adobe keeps upgrading it’s Portfolio option, which comes free with my Lightroom subscription, so that is another tempting option. I think one of the first things I need to do is get a DNS name so I can move my pics around to different sites without always having to notify everyone I’ve taken pics of before, where their stuff has moved to.

dsc05013-x3Needless to say, I’ve had a great time shooting in 2017, and I’m excited to get out there right away in 2018. In fact, I have a special shoot that I want to do close to the new year. I’m hoping it turns out and I can post it very soon after taking it. We’ll see if weather and time are on my side. Until then, hope your photo dreams all come true, and you get perfect shots every time.

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Need to alter the homebrew strategy

The other day I went downstairs to get a beer from my keezer and realized that I’ve been pouring the same two beers for a LONG time. I went back to my homebrewing software and checked, and sure enough the two 5 gallon kegs have been in there since April of 2017. One of them isn’t even half gone yet. I simply don’t drink enough homebrew to make it worthwhile having 10 gallons of beer around. I also don’t entertain enough people to chug through that much beer.

Therefore, I’m going to make a change in 2018, and start brewing smaller batches. I’ve got one 3 gallon keg now, and I’m going to pick up another one after the new year. I could certainly use my big 5 gallon kegs for smaller batches, but that’s a LOT of CO2 to fill up the top of the keg for carbonization. It just makes a lot more sense to get a smaller keg and then fill it with smaller batches.

I feel like making smaller batches might get me more excited about brewing again as well. A 2.5-3 gallon batch is just over 20 pints. That’s a more achievable quantity, in a 3-6 month time period, to go through. I could even do 2 gallons of a small experimental batch and the keg size won’t be as much of an issue.

So now I just need to decide what I want to put on my brewing list for 2018. With winter still sticking around for a few months, I’m thinking a nice Scottish mild would be good. Especially with St. Patrick’s coming up soon.

Merry Christmas 2017

It’s Christmas time again and at times it feel weird that the year is almost done. However, it also feels like 2017 has been dragging along forever. This year Christmas is a mostly quiet affair for us. We’re hitting the Chinese buffet for Christmas Eve dinner, and then Christmas Day is visiting the casino with my mother-in-law. Most of Christmas Eve was spent quietly playing with new toys and gifts.

It’s weird to see the tiny amount of gifts under the tree this year, but in general the kids are all interested in things that are small. I’m kinda happy for this, since that means a lot less stuff to clutter up the house. I did manage to put together some cool stockings stuffed with candy and treats. I even toss in some lightsaber pencils.

I’m thankful for quiet holidays. It forces me to slow down and rest a bit, because there’s little I can do or get done. I have to just be quiet and let the day happen. My plan is to write some blog entries to finish out the years with, and try not to eat all the sugary items in the house right now. I have a feeling there will be a weight loss resolution in 2018.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Need to figure out this sleeping thing

One of the difficult aspects of trying to get in running while working at the job that I have is balancing what time I get up in the morning. I’m looking to get back to a 50K distance race next year, and that means that I need to start getting in a lot longer weekday runs.

Currently, I start work around 7am. This means that to get in a solid 7-10 mile weekday run, I’m looking at getting up by 3:45-4:00am. Once I get ready to run, do the run, cool-down and get cleaned up, it’s time to head out to work. Usually, I’m rushing, even with such an early start time. I’m fine with getting up early to exercise, but the issue is that my body starts to expect those early mornings, even on days when I don’t need to get up early.

Just this past Friday I was wide awake at 4:20am, despite being a rest day. I fought getting up for a while, but eventually, I just went into work early. I could switch my running to after work, but often times I just want to get home as my brain and body are pretty taxed from working all day. I miss the lunch run club that I had at one of my other jobs, however, I had a much more flexible schedule at that place and could take big chunks of time off in the day.

So, I’m at a dilema. Do I start going in to work later? Do I shift to being an afternoon runner? Do I try and work some magic to get in a long mid-day run? Or, do I just suck it up and start going to be early all the time and accepting that I’m going to be up and at ’em early every day? Not sure what the answer is yet, but I know it’s something that I’ve fixed before. I just miss some of my work flexibility that I had which made it easier to deal with.