Thursday, November 29, 2007



I thought before this past weekend that I had experienced some pretty terrifying examples of bad driving. I think that the taxi driver in Lima who got us to the airport in ten minutes, a trip that usually takes over half an hour, was the previous winner. But on Thanksgiving Torrey and I rode with a friend of Torrey’s Grandma to the house where we had dinner (and back again), and it topped all previous rides. This old woman was all over the road, missed a number of turns and made hair-raising u-turns to get back on track, never looking anywhere but straight in front of her, expressed a desire to make a left turn off the freeway where there was, of course, no exit, and all the while talked about how she is such a better driver now than she was when she was young. Ay ay ay. Watch out for Rossmoor drivers.

And so began our visit to Rossmoor. It was very nice to get away from LA for a few days, even though the road was probably as full as I have ever seen it. We drove up to Walnut Creek on Thursday morning, arriving just in time to head off for Thanksgiving dinner at Torrey’s Grandma’s housekeeper’s house. Friday we slept in and enjoyed the break from our normal busy lives. Friday night we went out for dinner and were treated to the beginning of the Christmas season in a small town. The main street was closed down, and restaurants were serving hot chocolate on the street and groups of people were caroling as the rest of us strolled through the town getting into a Christmassy mood. Saturday morning I woke up early, and after enjoying an apple fresh off the tree, chilled by the night air, I hiked around a bit, mostly to take pictures.

Treasure of Gold

Beauty in Death

Shine a Little Light on Me

Later on Saturday we drove to Berkeley to wander around and see the campus. Torrey’s Grandma used to work at the school, so she was excited for us to see it.


Peek a Boo

I tried to get some studying done while we were away, but of course, I ended up getting very little done. So I planned on doing some when we got home, but after a long day of driving in traffic I felt less like studying than I had over the weekend. Here is a shot from our drive home (on the freeway, naturally).

Moving at the Speed of Traffic

Fortunately, my studies have been coming along well this week, and I have just two more weeks before the semester is over!

Monday, November 26, 2007

What a Mess

I just noticed this morning that the website I host most of my photos on is having some serious technical difficulties. I hope this gets set straight soon, but until then, the photos on here are quite badly tweaked, and most of them are not even my pictures. Oh well. We'll see what happens.


The mixup stirred up quite a commotion in the zooomr community, and it was quickly set right. There are now no more strange Japanese pictures on my blog. Thanks, zooomr.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Torrey's Birthday

CO 42

This picture is a bit old, but I am posting it because Torrey likes it. It is from last fall when we drove up to Colorado for one day to join Torrey's parents at the tail end of her Dad's hunting trip. Her Dad didn't get anything that time, but her uncle shot an elk, which we got to help cut up after driving through the night to get there.

CO 11

But I digress. Yesterday was Torrey's birthday. The day started out nicely, since Torrey is in the process of jury selection and didn't have to show up at the courthouse until 11:00. Tuesday is a school day for me, but my first class isn't until 10:30, so I got up to do some studying while Torrey slept in, and then I woke her up with breakfast in bed. Then last night we went out for dinner - a rare treat for us. Since it was a special occasion I chose a nice little place in Uptown Whittier that serves crepes, which were positively amazing. Even Torrey, who doesn't usually get very excited about food (I know, I know; I don't understand either), really enjoyed our dinner. Other than that the day wasn't terribly exciting since we were both out all day, but we will make up for it this weekend, since we are going out of town for Thanksgiving. It is always nice to get away from LA for a few days, so we are really looking forward to driving up to the Bay area to visit Torrey's Grandma. I'm sure that by the time we get back I will have some new pictures to put up. For now I have to go finish my last day of work before the break. Chao.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Old Strobes


Just in case anyone out there may be contemplating using an older flash with their new digital camera as I have been doing, I thought I should pass on a caution I recently was made aware of. Apparently I got a bit lucky with my experimentation, as this web site reveals. I ran across it on the Strobist's blog (a very nice site for learning about using strobes in photography). Anyway, the first link there is for a list of a whole slew of flashes with their trigger voltages. Quoting from that page,
"Some strobes (and infrared strobe triggers) use high voltages in the trigger circuit. For mechanical cameras, this is fine — but many newer, electronically-driven cameras (especially electronic 35mm SLRs like the EOS or digicams — or for that matter, EOS digicams, like the 300D) can be damaged by excessive strobe voltages."
If you can't read the flash in the photo above, it says that it is a Canon 188A, which, according to the trigger voltage page, uses 4.1V in the trigger circuit - less than the allowable 6V. This is an old flash that I had in my closet from my manual camera collection, and fortunately it is safe to use with my digital camera. Many other old flashes are not less than 6V, and are therefore not safe to use. So, consider yourself warned. Always check to make sure that equipment not made for your camera is safe to use with that expensive new piece of digital technology.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Bite Me

The above picture is the product of a study break. I am enjoying playing around with off-camera strobing, and this is my favorite of the images I came up with during my break. I have a Hebrew test today, and I have been studying a lot for it. That is really unusual, because typically with my language classes I keep up with everything well enough that I don't really need to study for tests. Hebrew has been a bit different though, and I am way behind on my vocab and paradigms, so I study. This weeks is the annual Evangelical Theological Society's conference, which many Talbot professors are participating in, so I had no class yesterday afternoon or this morning. Yesterday I was able to pick up our 'new' car, and today I was able to study Hebrew. Ah, what fun. It is certainly nice to have another car though and to have that burden no more. Torrey doesn't like the car because it is black. I do like it because as far as I can tell, everything that is not working in our old car does work in the new one. Of course by new I don't really mean new. It is a '96 Camry with 110,000 miles on it - quite a step up from our '92 Camry with 260,000 miles on it. It will somehow be sad to see the old car go, though I'm not really sure why. Oh well, life moves one. Here is another 'study break shot' in parting.

It's Greek To Me

Friday, November 2, 2007

Cars, etc.


A couple of weeks ago I build a gizmo that allows me to fire a flash off-camera. It is a wired device, so I can only be as far away from the flash as my dollar store speaker-wire allows me to be, but it does enable me to take some cool shots I couldn't get otherwise. Take for example the bouganvilla flower above. This nifty shot was taken with a sheet of white paper arched over the top of this scene, with the flash fired at the top of the arch from the left side. Pretty cool if you ask me. I also used it to add some fill light to these crazy purple guayabas that I found while jogging around the block (no, I don't go jogging with my camera. I went back later on a walk with Torrey).

Purple Guayabas

For the last couple of weeks we have been looking for a new car. Our present one has nearly 260,000 miles on it, and a mechanic told us that it shouldn't be on the road and that it isn't worth putting money into. So, we are looking for another ride. That has proved to be quite a pain in my estimation, and I am growing to dislike salesmen very strongly. If at all possible, I will not buy a car from a professional salesman. I guess it can't really be that bad in the end, though. The car we have now has served us well, and I bought it from a one-eyed Mexican with a pirate style eyepatch. Torrey can't believe I did that. But it turned out well.