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NOTE: 29 August 2005.

I have come to the conclusion that photo blogs are somewhat pointless and even distracting. Flickr is the best place to keep and view photos. Please see my Flickr photostream. You can view photos by tags or by groups or by scrolling through the pages. You can comment or read the reactions of others. You can see the photos in a variety of sizes and even message me through Flickr.

I will no longer update the photo blogs, though I may create new blogs for special occasions or to highlight a certain place, like the Cleveland Botanical Garden, for instance. Nightsiders remains as it is less a photo blog than a work blog.


INRODUCTION | STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I've had a camera since grade school, but I never had a good one until I was 40. That's when I got a Nikon 8008s with two lenses for a desktop publishing business I was "involved" in. There's a dreadful story behind those quotes, but it's not worth going into here. Let's just say it sucks to have the wrong partner.

AN AFTERTHOUGHT

Perhaps I should add that I took pictures for the Ohio State Lantern for two quarters and was photo editor fall quarter of 1973, and that I took a photography course at that time and used OSU's Nikon cameras for a while. I was serious about taking good newspaper pictures then, but maybe not too serious, as this episode occurs to me as something of an afterthought.

NIKON D70, 2005

So, I didn't take photography seriously until May 2005 when I bought a Nikon D70 and quickly added extra lenses and accessories. Now it feels serious, and I am intent on taking a good picture. Just one. Some day. Until then, I am going to keep trying and putting my attempts on various Web sites. As my friends the postmodernists say, "Experiment in public!" So that's what I'll do.

HERE'S SOME INFO ON THE VARIOUS SITES

VISIONS OF ORDER: THE MAIN PHOTO SITE

The main photo site, Visions of Order, is a play on words from my main philosophy site, Rumors of Order. If one can't find order in the world of competing ideas, perhaps one can find order in nature or the human world, even if it's only a temporary and arbitrary order. That gave me a theme.


Here's a vision of order from Superior Avenue.

It seems that order is everywhere. Or do we simply order the world every time we look at it? Yes, no and maybe. I see a link between philosophy and photography, but I can't guarantee it will result in interesting pictures.

SMALL WONDER: THE MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY SITE

I had an AF macro lens left over from the 8008s, and then I bought some macro extension tubes last week, which increase the magnification even more, and that's when I realized I needed to build Small Wonder, my macro photography site. The dragonfly picture below was shot on my first day of off-property shooting with those rings, and it was a wonderful afternoon, even if most of my pictures were out of focus.


Here is a vision of order from Schoepfle Garden.

I should say that those rings also function with the telephoto lens, and that's what I used to get my dragonfly shots. This is another way photography and philosophy are alike: each helps you see far away and close up at the same time.

NOTE: I didn't bother to move all the existing macro shots from the main photo site to Small Wonder. Search my Flickr tags for "macro" for the entire set.


Here's a macro shot of a baby sunflower; the center
area is about as big as dime. It was shot with the macro
lens, all three Kenko rings and the SB-600 flash, which does an amazing job with macro photography. I used the same setup
to shoot the coral bell in the art banner of this page.

LOMOBLOG: THE LOMOGRAPHY SITE

The second photo site, LomoBlog, came into existence after Bill Lammers sent me a link about lomography. You can read about lomography here. I was excited because it emphasizes enthusiasm over technical mastery, which is the very state I am in now. I think things turn stale when that equation gets reversed, but I will probably never know, not being one for technical mastery. I think lomography is to photography what Neil Young and Crazy Horse are to music: not polished but exciting, and I wanted a site for goofy pictures. Plus, you can learn a lot about Photoshop by trying to make pictures look weird.


Here's a crossover lomograph/Nightsider illustration
that is supposed to look like it's hanging among
the other artworks on display in The Plain Dealer
lobby. Want to get your artwork on a wall with the
professionals? Take some pictures of an actual display
then create your own fantasy gallery.

NIGHTSIDERS: JUST PLAIN FUN AT THE PLAIN DEALER

Let's not forget Nightsiders! That's mostly a snapshot site, where I sometimes use photos from Google's image datebase. For example, I have never taken a picture of Lil Kim, so if I need one I just go out and find it. I also have some fun with Photoshop composites, as the gull picture above illustrates. Also, many of the photos on that site were shot by Bill Lammers, and any of the contributors are welcome to upload photos. So Nightsiders is less a photo site and more an anything-goes site.

RUMORS OF ORDER: A WORD ON ILLUSTRATIONS

One more thing to mention in regards Rumors of Order are the art banner illustrations. I put them together using images from various sources. Maybe some day I can use my own photos exclusively, but I doubt it. Most of them were built totally in Photoshop.

The photo-site illustrations use my own photos, of course. Here's the one I am currently using for my main photo blog:

CROSSOVER

Sometimes photos get posted to two sites at the same time. When I can't decide where something belongs, I just double up on it.

Here's an example of a photo that ended up on Nightsiders — as a Fourth of July "virtual flag" photo — and on the main photo site because I like the composition; it also could have been put on the lomography site because the slight shift in color values throws it into the realm of weird fun.

THE HOSTS: FLICKR, BLOGSPOT AND BRIGHT.NET

I built my philosophy site years ago from scratch using Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Word. I stored everhtying — the artwork included — on Brightnet, and never had any interest in blogging ... until I realized it was easy, fun and free!

Now I use Blogspot to host the blogs and Flickr to host the blog-oriented photos, and since they work together, it makes photo blogs quite easy. Rumors of Order is still a stand-alone site, residing on Brightnet.

Flickr is, in a sense, a photo Web site in itself. Here's a link to my Flickr photostream and another to my tags, which is a good way to see the group of photos you're most interested in. As mentioned, Flickr offers free photo storage and other services, but if you want some extras, you can pay a small fee and get a pro account, which is what I ended up doing.

THERE'S MORE: SOME OTHER SITES

I almost forgot to mention that I also did a site for The Newspaper Guild. This site is still alive and official, but it doesn't get much attention for a variety of reasons too complicated to discuss here. I also did a newsroom Web site a few years ago that I gave up because of certain Guild/management issues. I am not sure if it's being kept up to date, but my version is still worth looking at, especiallly for interns or new employees. It lives on Bright.net and is somewhat different from the site that lives on the PD computer.

STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

This page is still under construction. Check back for more camera and lens info ... and future updates. Who knows, maybe I will feel the need to add yet another site.

THE SITES

FLICKR

Nightsiders
Philosophy
fobes.net home

THE CAMERAS

Nikon D70
Nikon 8008s
Nikon Coolpix

THE LENSES

AF-S Nikkor
18-70mm
1:3.5-4.5G ED

AF NIKKOR
70-300mm
1:4-5.6D

AF MICRO NIKKOR
60mm
1:2.8

AF NIKKOR
28mm
1:2.8

FLASH UNITS

SPEEDLIGHT
SB-600

SPEEDLIGHT
SB-24

ACCESSORIES

KENKO
AUTOMATIC
EXTENSION TUBE
SET DG
FOR NIKON
AF LENSES

NIKON CREATIVE
LIGHTING KIT

REMOTE SHUTTER
RELEASE

VARIOUS
TRIPODS

THE COMPUTER

Mac Mini
Tiger
Photoshop CS2
iPhoto

iMac G4
iBook G3

THE WISHLIST

Looking for a
better Nikkor
macro lens,
but I am not sure
there is one.
This is probably the one I need:

Nikon Telephoto AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4.0D ED-IF Autofocus Lens.

It gives lifesize reproduction at 19.4 inches, which would greatly enhance lighting possibilities for macro photography. But it costs more than the camera itself, around $1,400.

Of course, it would retain much of it's value over the years. And there's always eBay.

Also, it would be nice to have a D70s camera body. But that might be overkill.

NECESSARY:

I need a sensor-cleaning kit. I started out with one dust smudge; now I have two. This looks like a good deal. Tutorial and product in one handy site.


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