On Monday, a coworker recommended I visit Edge River, New Jersey and take pictures of the New York skyline so I contacted Teejay Green and Sam Lodise and we left around 6:30 PM to capture the skyline.  This was our trip:

Le Trek

Or first stop was at KFC where we went through the timeless bonding ritual of eating a doubledown and then having to stop an hour later to use the bathroom.  We hit Hackensack and started going south until we hit a nice spot in Union City with both a Ben and Jerry’s and a Starbucks and a health peppering of well-dressed people with tiny dogs.

We took pictures and these were my best:

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We drove a bit further south, and then into Brooklyn, and then through Manhattan, and then home.  Some time past Jersey City Teejay started googling New York City Skyline and we found that every shot of the skyline is pretty well taken from the same inaccessible spot below the Manhattan Bridge.  Having driven by that spot, and seeing that it’s surrounded by construction, we agreed that we either needed to rent a helicopter, or gain the ability to scale chain link fences.  The former is far more likely.

This weekend’s shooting challenge with Sam and Teejay was lightpainting where one uses a long exposure and various photo-emitting and/or blocking tools to create an image in camera.  I arrived at Teejay’s house after attending a TF2 event where someone got inebriated in under 10 minutes and they were cutting out cardboard of a stormtrooper with what I describe as the Pringles guy moustache.


Sam taking it in the pooper from a stache-having light-based stormtrooper.

The above was done in three parts, first using an off-camera strobe to generate the stormtrooper through a cardboard cutout with the light being funneled with a cardboard hackjob, then drawing the figure, and then a pilot flash to capture Sam .

Another technique was light-writing which is kinda shown above but what is better shown below:


So close. Just one dot outside the wings.

This was done with a long exposure (like 22 seconds) while Erin stood in place as Sam did work with a restricted flashlight to do the wings  Erin was filled in with two pilot flashes from another strobe.

My creative contribution was the odd aura-ish crap below:


He blinked, jerk.

This was done with the flashlight shining directly on the person with a dinner plate behind it to be a reflective surface to generate the whitishness (is that even a word?) of the outline.  If I did it again, I would have added a bit of a fill flash.

Sam left around 4 AM and Teejay and I twaddled for a few hours.  He realized that we didn’t  really accomplish anything in particular and drew up a list of crap to get for next time.  This has happened before with graffiti-ing magic cards and it may happen again: I’m going to go into a Claire’s.

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Teejay Green was hosting a LAN party and, generally enjoying his company, I visited.  The gaming started with Killing Floor a supposed co-op survival horror except that the enemies lacked both physical and psychological elements of gore.  Silent Hill was able to do much more with much less.  Gaming then moved on after a bit to Starcraft which managed to re-activate neurons that hadn’t been tweaked in a year.  Zerg rushes, tech trees, and a thousand failed nuclear blasts flooded back and I had a strong urge to play again.  I started researching tactics but lacked a direct way to play so I just tooled around and watched the pixellated sprites wage war.  The age of the game struck home with an observation from Teejay: The program that runs the clock on his keyboard’s tiny LCD monitor chewed up more resources than Starcraft.

Many moons ago, Teejay Green and I made a list of things that nag us as fat people. One of them was “cloths that fit that are purchasable in regular stores” or Fat Reason #28. To that I add an addendum of “be able to buy special print run shirts that only go up to vintage cut 2XL” for the following reason:



The 3 Hippopoticorn Moon shirt… until they all come home.

Sam: Where’s Terry running?
Teejay: I think he heard something.
*Sam and Teejay emerge out of woods onto road I was panting*
Me: Damn.  I thought I heard an ice cream truck.

Me to Teejay while walking up a hill: Is this what exercise feels like?
Teejay: I hope not, it feels suspiciously similar to effort.

Teejay had a wonderful idea.  Let’s take our cameras, and take pictures of nice things.   So, he, Sam Lodise and I went to Churchville Nature Center and attacked it with photographic vigor.  Teejay, having more latent skill and inclination than either Sam or myself took a number of quality shots.  Interestingly, the best photo he took of the day was in my driveway waiting for Sam and I to figure out if we wanted to bring our tripods.  Here it is:

Teejay's various-877-20090523

I printed it out as an 8.5″ x 11″ and it looks swell.  I desaturated the background a little to make Max stand out and punched up the red a bit to compensate for  a loss of brilliance on printing.

Teejay also took my favorite shot of the day, catching me in my “aggro-photo” pose that’ll I use as my stock icon for things from now on:

Teejay's various-984-20090523

I think it conveys my theory of photography whereas the photographer should have a warcry, mine being “ROTATE, CROP TO WIDESCREEN, PUNCH UP SATURATION.”  I was mocked for this tendancy in post processing but the new site banner is a result of this.  The picture I’ll giggle at for sometime is this gem:

May 23, 2009-79-Churchville Nature Center

If you blow it up to full screen, Teejay looks a spot like a Faulknerian Idiot Manchild or saying “my feet hurt” and Sam’s preoccupation with his uber-mega-macro-telephoto-portrait-widescreen-pano-lens.  He used it in manual for most of the day resulting in a very nice close up shot of blur.  If Sasquatch ever had a photoshoot, that’s what I’d use.

The day also triggered two Moments of Fatness.

The whole album:

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Teejay Green and I initiated Operation:Fat Bet today. We’ve each set a monthly weight loss goal and will owe the other person $200 each month we fail to meet it. Teejay rightly pointed out that there’s a spot of a Prisoner’s Dilemma to the thing. If either of us finds ourselves hopelessly unable to meet our goal, there’s a strong imperative to make the other person fail as well. Should June 10th roll around and my success should prove fleeting, I’m going to need to find a way to either hypnotize or master Jedi Mind Tricks to force Teejay to eat an entire turkey.

A few weeks back, I purchased a painfully bright, used-as-a-clean-up-rag-in-the-Chernobyl-sarcophagus loud dress shirt.  I unleashed it on an unsuspecting public today.  And here it is:

The vignetting really brings out the hideous in the shirt.  The shirt’s brightness extends into the UV spectrum and can probably blind bees, possibly causing Hive Collapse Syndrome.  The party went well otherwise and the hosts could return the lights to a normal level after I changed into something less gut-wrenching.

I held a brunch today and went through about 6 lbs of potatoes, 4 lbs of meat, a dozen eggs, and the equivalent of 4 sticks of butter for 6 people.  This is a bit of an exaggeration as I have sizeable leftovers.  Anyway, most of the butter went into dutch baby bunnies that quickly became called dutch baby butter bunnies as the recipe called for 1/2 a stick a piece.

The start of the recipe is to melt the stick in a skillet and then to dump the batter on top of it.  I think the recipe overstated the need for butter as the bunny wasn’t lifted from the skillet so much as slid from it with about a tablespoon or two of butter puddled in the middle like a confectionary kiddy pool being dropped from a drop deck trailer.  Based on the grunts and groans, everyone had their fill and I wasn’t too enthused about cleaning up so I left the butter soaked pan to rest until after nap time.  I returned and pan had been licked clean based on the tongue marks and the rest of the butter had been absorbed by the pan, nicely seasoning it.  Behold the power of butter.

Joe and I decided to get better at Scrabble.  We’ve played a bunch of practice games and started to memorize the two and three letter words.  Despite this, Chris Fosmire pwned us, partly due to his invented word “THROTLE”, I saw the tiles go down and assumed there was a third T.  I’ll never trust my boss again.

Anyway, after an amazing game of three-at-once words, Q’s on triple letter scores in two directions the scores still barely broke 200 (intermediate players should hit 500 to 700).  In a last ditch effort, we lasted two hours at Teejay Green’s playing two enraging games.  I had the tiles AAEIRTS and I knew there was a seven letter word in there.  After three minutes of staring, I played ATRIA for a whopping 12 points only to find today that ATRESIA would have have net me 76.  If someone had pointed it out to me, Joe and Teejay would have been picking wood out of their teeth.

Words hard.

Joe and I are looking for something new to become obsessed with, preferably something easier to become skilled at like sepak takraw (great video) or Sanskrit (good comic).