Just Getting Things Caught Up…09/06/2022

A lot has happened in the last several months. Mary and I decided to sell our house on the east side of Gaylord back in March. We began to investigate places to live. Turns out that’s when the country was coming to grips with the lack of housing issues. However, we decided to do something radical.

We decided to buy a 5th wheel, and live in it. So, at the end of June we paid off all of our debts, and ended up with new truck (to pull the fifth wheel) and a 5th wheel camper. Other than a major issue with the construction of the camper (see Mary’s Blog here), most of the rest have been minor, or just us “learning the ropes.” This all has caused things to fly by.

So currently we places to live into November. This stresses me a bit, since the reason I got out of contract meteorology work 25 years ago was not always knowing where my next pay check was coming from. Not knowing where we are going to live is a bit of a stressor. However, the fun of living outdoors (I choose not to call it camping) has been great.

Issue that needs to be resolved…a reliable internet connection. Back when we owned a house, Spectrum was an okay ISP, and we had great speeds. Enough speed online that Mary and I could livestream at the same time, with no issues. Well, since we are relying on a 4G hotspot in the camper, We have slower speeds, and we have data caps. Currently, we have 100 GB of data per month. So we make sure that we are only using it for our computers (when I have mine operating), or the AppleTV 4K box that we have used the last 3 years while living in the house on Clearview Lane. There are some other problems with the hot spot box as well, but I’m not going into that. Maybe in a future post.

All that to say, that I’m working on getting back to livestreaming my Coffee and a Weather Map with Jeff series. I’m also planning on working on a vlog, too. I’m going to try and do it easy. A little filming each day, and then getting more done with it as time goes on. I really want to do this, since, we are trying to make a travel channel. I really enjoy what we are doing, even though there is a lot to learn.

I’ve Started Shooting Raw Photos on my “Big” Camera…04/26/2018

It was a long time coming. When I got my D5500 (Nikon) camera, I had all sorts of format options for shooting. Unsure of what to do, I went with the hi-res JPEG option that you find in a lot of websites.

However, as time went on, I realized that with the raw files(usually very large) you can edit the photos. I don’t mean like Photoshop, where you can add things that are there, but like Lightroom (also an Adobe product) which to me, hearkens back to my black and white film days, when Dad taught me how to shoot and develop my own pictures. Now with the modern advances, I can take the raw files and tweak them to look their best.So first, I shot dual, JPEG and .NEF (Nikon’s raw format) but after figuring out that I was editing my photos and then sending them and posting them, and not using the JPEGs, I decide to shoot only the raw files.

One of the other things that helped this decision was when I got my GNARBOX, it allowed me to edit the photos (and videos) from the camera with my iPad or iPhone. So I can do a bit of quick turn around with my pictures and video. Also, I found that the iOS version of Lightroom is free and allows me to for with them on my iPhone. So, now, I shoot raw.


Where I am with photography/cinematography…04/12/2018

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything. So while I’m sitting looking through YouTube, on a dreary day before my first of a string of night shifts, I thought I would catch everyone up on where I am. Since starting this quest a couple of years ago, I have learned a few things.

First, that the story you tell is more important than the way it looks. It’s easy for a tech person, like me to look at the cameras and think, “Ooo, I want that one so I can make pretty pictures.” Well, that is important, but no one wants to watch a boring story, no matter what the picture looks like.

Second, sound is even more important. Somehow, when I learned of this, I thought, “Well that’s cool. Good thing I learned how to mix live sound at church.” Not that I’m great at that, but I’m competent enough to keep learning new things, and it’s spilled into my filmmaking.

The third is related to the first. I may not have the best gear in the world, and that’s okay. I’m figuring out how to do things right with what I have. Maybe in the future, I’ll get some of the new gear, but right now, with my D5500, iPhone X, the old Canon point & shoot that I started with, and my GoPro Hero (early 2000s not the new one), I’ve been able to put together some okay videos for my experience level.

I realize that my composition for  video is coming along, and that my photos are better composed than my videos. I also note that I need to be more patient and sometime learn to to do everything manually on my “big camera”(D5500) instead of some things manual and other things auto.

I’m also at a point where I need to write things, instead of the edit with what I have. That’s okay for some things, but it isn’t very challenging.

I also want to shout out to all of the YouTube people that have been training me from the beginning…

There is one more that I have learned the most from, just because of the type of videos that he puts out, and that’s D4Darious! His 30 day film school, that someone put into a Google spreadsheet is the bomb! Not to mention his tutorials. That’s not to short change any of the others, but D has broken things down in a way that helped me with my skills.

I’m hoping with the new schedule rotation at work, I can sit down and work more on this. I have a long way to go…

Developing my Writing Skills Part Deux…11/6/2017

Not sure that this will be a daily thing, but at least a weekly thing as I try to figure out my voice within a writing space.
I’m sure that most of the writings will fill a vast set of subjects. I’m planning, over the next month, of putting more on my Northern Michigan Rec Weather site, as the weather warrants. So the weather will mainly be there, and written in plain language form.
Here may be a mish-mash of religious and political opinion pieces. We’ll see, with all the opinion stuff out there, I’m not I want to venture back out there.
Most of all, I do want to write some short stories and keep my mind active as I convalesce. The short stories will be for my working on short film projects that are not documentary type films. I may do some weather docs, over the next few weeks as I gain the strength, and I grow bored with sitting at home.
I may try to document my recovery process. We’ll see about that too.

A Video and the Beginning of Something New…01/17/2017

I looked back over my blogging and realized that I posted once here last year. I’m hoping to start back, although in a bit of new way. In this case, as some know, I’ve become interested in film making. So to learn how to perfect this art form, I have been working on the various aspects. In this case, I have been posting videos on YouTube and Vimeo.

So to help with the blogging, I’m going to post them here. If I do the color commutes or weather videos, that will go on my weather blog. Here are two recent vacation videos from Mary and me.

The first is our September vacation during our anniversary week in Myrtle Beach, SC.

The second is when we visited Kaleb and his girl friend Kaitlin in New England.

Star Wars 7…12/17/2015

No spoilers, No spoilers…

When I read a headline from a reviewer that said something like “the magic is back!” I was hoping for something like that…and it was!

There was a formula that called back to the originals (4,5,6), especially 4, “A New Hope.” However, that was the only thing I saw that some may quibble about. However, no matter what you see that is a call back to the old movies, there is more, and it leads you down a trail, guessing what happens next. With all the speculation from the teasers and trailers, I was wondering when something would happen and when it would appear.

There is a shocker. I don’t want to spoil that.

If you are a big Star Wars nerd like my wife and I, then you will love this story.

J.J. Abrams did well.

New Toys? or Tools?…09/05/2014

IMG_1047As the technology of various fields has improved, eventually, the tools come down in price and up in quality. This has especially been true of the video/film field. I’ve always wanted to film things. I loved having my various still cameras over the years. I’ve always wanted a good digital stills camera, that could take really good video. Well, the time has come. I’m still a little short for the time being of funds for what I want, but in the meantime, other things, less expensive options have appeared.

1. My Samsung Galaxy S4

2. My wife’s (well its become mine now) Canon Power Shot

Both shoot great 1080p video, although the audio suffers a bit. One thing I have found is an app that lets me shoot time lapse video. However, it is a pain to stand there with the phone in hand trying to hold still.So tool number 1. My adjustable Glif (pictured above left). It allows me to put the phone in to the little clamp on one end, so that I can put it on a tripod (which I have a couple) so that I don’t have to hold it anymore. The other end works as a nice stand so I can watch stuff on it.

IMG_1046Tool number 2 is my Zoom H1 Audio recorder (pictured to the right on top of the handle looking thing). In the future I would like to get the H5 with all of its options, but for me to get started and not learn anything I decided that this would fill the gap. Also the little lav mic that I picked up for my smartphone works with an adapter with this recorder. So my audio quality is now going up!

Tool number 3 is the handle looking thing. I needed a way to put this all on one rig so that I can record the audio and video at once. It reminds me of a similar handle rig that my dad used with his camera and flash unit when working as a freelance reporter, when I was a kid.

So between the Power Shot and the phone, can do some basic video and audio recording. The next investment is a better computer so that I can edit the video and audio clips together without so much jerky motion or freezing (That happened tonight.). So my wish list grows a bit more.

So what am I doing? Well, I have about 15 years left in the NWS, so I figured that I might as well take a hobby that I really like and see if I can eventually convert it into a second career. So I have been trying to learn all that I can on how to shoot, light, record, and edit properly so that can create artistic pieces of film. I’m liking some documentary for now. We’ll see what God has in store.