Today we’re having a pretty rare occurrence here in NC – a snow day! I won’t get into all the hyperbole about how we’re a bunch of weather wimps that don’t know how to drive in the snow, because everyone else has that covered. For me, I’m just glad I have a job that allows me to stay home and watch it out the window. There are few things more frustrating than having to make a decision about going to work. Although one of them would be being at work and having to make a decision about when to leave! Fortunately, Kathy & I both have computers that allow us to work from just about anywhere, and managers that are willing to let us. We have about 5 inches of snow on the ground here, and although the road in front of our house was plowed earlier, it’s going to be dicey going for a few days.
I seldom feel inclined to get out and take pictures in the snow, although once it is finished and the sun comes back out, I might decide to get out for a walk. I’ll admit to being a wimp when it comes to snow…why freeze my a$$ when I don’t have to! 🙂
A recent Charlotte phenomenon is the proliferation of something called “dockless bike-sharing programs.” By using an app on your phone (of course) you can pick up one of these bikes, ride it wherever you want, and leave it there. It unlocks automagically using the app, then presumably locks itself when you are finished.
It’s kind of an interesting concept, and I kind of hope it catches on, but I have to wonder just how many people are actually going to ride these things. A recent news article indicated the city council had authorized four different companies to have up to 2,000 bikes in town. That seems like a lot.
Maybe on the first 70 degree day we should have a Bike-In, and everyone head out at lunch time, ride a bike to some central location and leave them all in one place. Seems like a lot of trouble but what the heck.
As much as Kathy & I love to travel, we often talk about the fact that there are a lot of interesting things to do right here in Charlotte. Things that people come from all over the country – and even the world – to experience, and we have never been. So a few weeks ago we decided to try something new – to be tourists in our own town and start checking out some of the things we take for granted.
After a nice breakfast we headed to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art for an exhibit of photography that includes work by Paul Strand and of contemporary Mexican photographers. The office where I work is directly across the street from the Bechtler, and our bank gives us free admission once a month, but we had never been!
Next we rode the light rail out to visit Doc Porter’s Distillery, where we took a tour and sampled their products. This little distillery is cranking out bourbon, rye whisky, rum, gin, vodka and soon, malt whisky. Nice people and a good story, and well worth the effort to get there.
So a day of photography and booze – how hard is that?!
One of my favorite things is to sit by a mountain stream, especially in the fall, and watch the leaves falling from the trees overhead then being swept downstream by the current. Some leaves travel straight down the middle of the steam, tossed gently by the movement of the water. Many more leaves get caught up in the pools and eddies on the side of the streams, staying there until the current changes then moves them along to the next obstacle. Occasionally the leaves are swept over rocks and sometimes even swamped by a cascade. The courses of these leaves are a metaphor for our own lives and represent how little control we have over whether we stick to the center of the stream or get caught up along the sides. Mostly, I think they reflect how pointless it is to stress and obsess over things that we can’t do anything about and remind us to go with the flow. One of the many reasons I love to spend time in nature.
Here is a sampling of my photos from the 2017 Folkmoot Festival Parade of Nations in Waynesville, NC. My success rate was compromised a bit by a less than ideal location (about 20 yards from the main performance area) and less-than-ideal lighting conditions, but I managed to get a few photos that tell the story. After seeing the parade for the first time, I’m now determined to go back and capture the festivities from before the parade to after. I think it might make a good project and would be good practice at telling a story.
An annual event in Waynesville, NC is the Folkmoot Festival that takes place at the end of July. We typically get to Waynesville during the month of July, but for all our trips there we had never made it to the Folkmoot Festival or anything that had to do with it. This year, while planning our July visit I happened to notice that some of the performers would be participating in the annual Street Dance in downtown on Friday night, and that the Parade of Nations on Saturday would be right down Main Street That was too easy to pass up, so we went.
At Friday’s Street Dance, the Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia (Siberia) were featured. They put on a great show with several groups of performers. These photos are from that performance. I also got some photos from the parade the following day, but those will need to wait for another post!
Kathy & I spent some time at the NC coast in early July, visiting Belhaven, Washington and Ocracoke. While I took my camera with me, it seemed like whenever I saw something interesting all I had with me was my phone. Out of a total of 93 photos, 77 were taken with my phone and only 16 with my camera. These are all from my phone.
In my Computer Update post I noted that the one remaining item (and unexpected expense) from my recent computer conversion was the decision to replace my aging printer. This past weekend I received and set up my new printer – a Canon Pixma Pro 100. It has a lot going for it – most notably the price. With a $200 rebate the net cost to me was under $200, and it came with $50 worth of free paper. And I sold my old iMac to Gazelle for $150, so the out of pocket cost is practically $0! Of course I immediately reinvested some of that savings in a second set of ink, but at $125 for the new printer instead of $900 for ink for my old printer, it was an expense that is far more easily digested.
Some would say that it was foolish to get rid of a functioning printer just because I didn’t want to spend the money on consumables. In some respects those comments would be correct, and that was something I seriously considered in weighing my decision. The cost of said consumables was substantial, especially for a printer that got only occasional use. Every time I turned that thing on, it had to go through a long startup and cleaning cycle, and it felt like I was replacing an ink cartridge (at $75 each!) every time. Certainly the cost of ink is less per drop (or milliliter or however one chooses to measure ink cost) for a larger printer than a small printer. And the cost of roll paper is less than the cost of sheets. Regardless of those factors, it was hard to ignore the low initial and operating costs of the smaller printer. That, combined with a smaller footprint in my office, the promise of improved technology and a newer generation ink set made it a no-brainer.
The negatives are few, but include the fact that this printer uses die inks instead of pigment inks. Die inks are traditionally thought of as being less archival than pigment inks – they might only last 100 years…gasp! But pigment inks are generally thought of as being more prone to clogging than die inks, and for a printer that doesn’t see daily use, that was somewhat important to me. Importantly, color accuracy is similar between the two ink types as long as they are set up properly, and I think I’ve just about got that nailed.
The ability to use the Soft Proof function in Lightroom has been a welcome addition and has been leading to more accurate results without wasting a lot of paper. Since I wasn’t able to print from my computer when it was impersonating a Mac I never had a chance to use Soft Proofing. But now that I can use it from Windows, that improvement alone was worth the cost and effort of the change.
The fact of the matter is that my needs have changed since I bought the large printer. I rarely need to print anything larger than 13×19, and more often than not I would need to print larger than the old printer could print and would have to send the file to an outside print lab anyway. I have a couple of excellent choices for outside printing, so as long as I know I have an accurate file I have no problem sending the file to someone else to print. The smaller printer gives me a “good enough” proof for those purposes. For my own use, I have a lot less wall space now than I used to have, so I don’t do as much printing for my own use. Most of what I print for myself is for décor purposes, and printed on wood, canvas or metal. So I’m sending that work out anyway.
Probably the biggest challenge was figuring out how to get rid of the old printer. No one wanted it, for the same reasons I didn’t want it. I could take it to the county recycling center, but it weighed 120 pounds and wasn’t something that Kathy & I were going to move ourselves. I could have asked the kids to help me but decided against it. As it turns out I called one of the “Junk Hauling” companies, and two guys and a truck came on Saturday morning and hauled it away for under $100. It probably made our neighbors curious but was well worth the cost. Done and gone!
So there you have it. I think the transition can be called a success, and I am still way ahead of that $3,000 bill that I would have had with a new Mac. And I didn’t have to buy all those dongles!
Kathy & I had occasion to pass through Lake Lure, NC this past weekend. I was interested to see that the lake levels and the supply of resident boats have returned. Some may recall an earlier post in January where the lake levels were lower for the winter. It looks like things are ready for spring at Lake Lure!