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.

Impediments to my Video Life…11/07/2018

I’ve always had an interest for shooting video and pictures. In the past, I didn’t always have the resources to complete it. Whether that was a video or film camera, or an editor, I just didn’t have a way to do it well. Then DSLRs began to get better, and there were ways to edit on your computer. So about 4-5 years ago, I began this slow journey of learning.

How to mix sound and get good sound was one of the first things I learned. It came by accident. I learned about mixing live sound for our church, which I continue to do. Then I learned that sound, in video and film, was probably the most important part of the process. If people can’t hear you or the sound is poor, then people won’t want to see your video. So I began to acquire low end, but decent recording devices to supplement the point and shoot that I began shooting with. 

I seemed to be advancing rapidly, until recently. I began to notice that my advancement was slowing down as I tried to shoot things. It wasn’t the physical impediments of resources. I learned you can shoot with anything, as long as you had a story to tell. 

The impediment was me. 

I’ve always had some sort of anxiety. A general angst that would worry me about my relationships with people. I’m not sure when it started. I’m not sure there was an instigating incident that kicked it off. However, somewhere during my early life, I began to not feel safe, unless I was with people that I knew accepted me. Even then, it seemed, that I would still regress in conversation, not sure what I would ask or talk about next. I was afraid of the awkward silence. 

That fear began to expand into my film and video life. I’m always not wanting to seem to intrude on people. Yet, I want to record moment for people that are important. It causes me to hold back. Not that there aren’t times that inappropriate to take pictures or video, but to remain safe, I hold back more than I probably should. Especially, if you need to take lots of video and pictures to get the great moments to create your story. 

What brought this realization? A family celebration of life for my cousin. I was often torn between take video and pictures, and talking. Not wanting people to feel ill at ease. Of course, my anxiety of who to talk to, not to be too obtrusive, began as well. I started to get my mind into a knot. I would sit down somewhere, not in the way, but on the fringes. Eventually, someone would sit, and talk to me, or I would force myself into someplace that was a part of a circle, and begin to talk, or just listen…

(pause to take a shower and begin cleaning my office(about an hour))

Now that I have that out, I think my answer is in the last sentence. Just keep forcing myself to get into it. So besides cleaning the junk out of my office, I need to finish a few projects. 

As Luke Cage says,”Always forward…”

And just like that, one of my favorite YouTubers, and probably the one I’ve learned the most from, puts this video out…

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…

Christmas Goodies, Filmmaking and my Heart…01/01/2018

Santa was good to me with several “toys” that I got. The big won was the GnarBox. Short description, imagine iMovie, and a hard drive, that will down load your memory cards, with a WiFi spot to connect your phone or tablet to do the editing. I wanted it before we went to Disney, but with the bypass surgery, I was surprised I got it now! Another was a new pair of headphones, a base for my monopod, and a new camera bag/backpack.

I’ve converted my SlingBag (which is still great) into my sound and accessory bag. After paying off some bills this winter, I’ll see about buying some of the lighting gear that I’ve wanted.

With that all said, I continue to make progress in filmmaking. I’ve noticed that while my composition is good, I need to work on keeping things in focus(meaning wearing my reading glasses more to see if I am in focus) and working with the white balance on my camera. I noticed that several pictures and video that I took over Christmas were very blue, so I had to color correct them in post production. It’s better to do it in camera, than post, but I see why some people say, “we’ll fix it in post.” It would save time to keep the colors true in camera.

I’m also working on making sure that even when I have things in chronological order that I’m still telling a story. Instead of we did this, then this, then this etc… I want to keep things interesting for people who watch my stuff.

I’m also working on the 30 day Film School video that D4Darious put up a while back. It has helped me immensely to get on track. It may take me more than 30 days, but I’m working through them.

If you want to see any of the things I’ve filmed (most of it is family), check out my YouTube channel.

One last thing is an update on my heart. I’ve been in Cardiac Rehab for the past month. I asked how long I would need to be in it, and was told I’m cleared for 36 sessions, but at my current progression, I could be out after 24. I’m working on that, and what to do keep this work out habit going.

Trying to Redevelop my Writing Skills…11/5/2017

Open Heart Surgery (OHS) + 6 days…

Here I am at home, 6 days out from my surgery. I’m trying to rediscover the things I knew when I was in high school and college. In high school, while I didn’t like them, I could write a short story, with some imagination. My prose isn’t very descriptive.
In college, my writing turned toward a science, since I was a science/earth and mineral science major. I took a class in science writing, for magazines. I think I got a B in my class. 
About 12 years ago, I began blogging a bit. Again, nothing special, but it seems I’m okay with it. In the meantime, I write technical discussions for my on a daily basis. I struggle with that the most. Again, I’m okay, I could do better, but I think I do better writing non-technical things for the layperson. 
That seems to be where the NWS is heading. That’s okay, as it seems from my yearly reviews, that my strengths lie along these paths. There is one more path that is related to all of this, film.
As some of you know, I have been having a fascination with film making. I’m working on figuring it out over the next 10 years or so, as I work toward retirement. I have been pushing this; especially, the last three years. Even more, this last year, since I got my Nikon D5500 DSLR.
I have been using iMovie as my editor, which works okay, but I’m starting to feel constrained by it. I’m thinking it is time to move up, editing wise. Not that a new editor will mean I’m more awesome. I’m running into technical things that limit my work. Although, there is a sense, that I may be overcomplicating things to tell the story. So that is where the redeveloping my writing comes in.
I realized a few weeks ago, that I need to stop fretting over trying to write a script yet, and write the story. So I may try over the next few weeks of convalescing writing and rewriting the story, and then see if I can write script. This is all a learning process. It will take some time. I’m hoping to have a rough screenplay done by my 4 weeks of convalescing here at home. I’ll hope that I’m past the dull, achy pain, left by the surgery, to be able to shoot with my heavier gear, especially my prize possession, my D5500. I’m hoping that by spring my short film will be out. I’m trying to put deadlines up so that I can get this done.

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.

Let’s rock out!

VID_20110820_130003.3gp Watch on Posterous

I like his taste in music. 🙂

The Gaylord Drought Looks Like It Will Continue

Of course, with those words, that’s when the sky splits open and it pours. However, if you look at this picture:

Then you see that the main rain has again gone by to the north and the south. This is also the case of Boyne Falls, where I am typing this morning. I know many will say, “But Jeff, look at that mass of rain to the west of you. Surely that will bring some relief?” Well as I have been watching it on the radar the heavier rain has been heading south and the weaker area is beginning to open up.

To see how we got into our drought, watch this video below put together by Nick Schwartz (aka Shaggy), a meteorological intern at our office.

The Forecast from the NWS Gaylord, MI

The graphic and the link are such that the forecast will be updated all the time. So if you need a forecast click the picture, it will take you to the Hazardous Weather Briefing, from there you can go the NWS Gaylord, MI homepage and click on the map at your house and get a forecast just for you. Also, check out my page of weather links here on my web site.