He’s Always Watching You, America

Josh Romney sees into your soul and he has found it wanting.











Open Thread

Here are pics of some hops vines that I plan to harvest this week and turn into beer. Don’t bother asking what kind of hops it is. I have no idea. A neighbor had them because a friend of his gave him rhizomes as a housewarming present but forgot to mention that hops vines run riot over any bed that you plant them in and once established you CAN NOT get rid of them. We transplanted some rhizomes to the side of his garage, put up some nylon rope for the vines to climb and now we have a good thing going. Of course the first vines that grew exploded out of the ground last year and produced a magnificent crop of not-brewable male pollen anthers (bottom pic), but this year we added some gender-normative vines that have produced bajillions of appealing and (we hope) tasty flowers.

hops flower

hops vine

hops pollen

Details of the pic are more or less the same as here.

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Open Thread

No dogs today. A free subscription to the blog for whoever identifies this critter!


How I took it will take a little explaining, so find that below the jump.

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Open Thread

Speaking of not-sucky pictures of my dog.


A brief description of my thinking behind this photo:

I shot with a medium wide 40mm-equivalent lens because I like to go out with one prime at a time, and as my second favorite lens the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 sits on my GH2 quite a lot. I could have just as easily taken a few steps back and shot it with my #1 favorite lens, a medium-long manual OM 50mm f/1.8 from the 1970s. The wide aperture let me fuzz out the background a bit, creating an illusion of depth between the scenery and Max, the subject. The late-day sunlight is hitting him at a low and oblique angle that is almost head-on. This throws every hair and blade of grass into sharp contrast. Light from a setting sun has to travel through a lot of atmosphere, giving it a warm look (dust scatters blue more than red) and making for a more pleasing portrait. One touch that I particularly like is how the darker background isolates Max in an obvious but natural-looking way. One of the hardest tricks in photography is finding a way to set the picture’s ‘subject’ apart from the scenery. People buy wide-aperture lenses in part because selective focus is a great way to isolate a subject (they also make it easier to shoot in low light). However, IMO, people can go a bit overboard. If one eye is in focus and the other eye is not then you should probably stop down a little.

To me the composition is only so-so. It kind of respects the rule of thirds and definitely leaves space in the direction that the subject is moving/gazing, to the point of being rather unbalanced in that direction, but nothing about the framing makes me say ‘wow’. It is just a nice pic of Max that will go into my regular screensaver rotation.

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Early Morning Open Thread: Unfolding

Many thanks to commentor Shari for something cheerful to start the day.

What else is on the agenda?