Day 11 – I Was A God…with a camera

Took my car into the garage to have a new knock sensor put in my car. I don’t have a clue what that is…maybe something to detect engine knock and maybe do something about it…like say something like, “Hey engine…I see you knocking. Stop it.” Something like that.

Anyway, my old friend, Mike, who owns the garage tossed a set of keys and pointed out the window and said, “Take that out and we’ll call you when it’s done.” He was pointing at a Jimmy.

A Jimmy.

And I had my camera and tripod with me.

I walked slowly and reverently to the Jimmy, got in and…

I was a god.

I was a god with a Jimmy and a camera. I could go anywhere with my camera. I looked at the dash and saw the four wheel low button.

Oh, yeah.

Now, where was I? Right…I was a god with a camera and four wheel low.

My car, the one that was getting a new knock sensor is a Hyundai Accent. Sometimes I’ll come out to the parking lot and find trucks accidentally parked on top of it.

Today though…I was a god. With a camera. Get the picture?

I thought, “This will be a fine day to drive around and take HDR photos. High Dynamic Range. Camera’s can only capture the highlights or the shadows. Not both. At least not really accurately. They focus on one or the other and then average out the other. In HDR photography, you take three (or more…I take three) pictures. You overexpose one image, underexpose another, and get the next one at the metered exposure. Then you merge all three in Photoshop and get an image that’s evenly exposed for the highlights, the shadows and the mid-tones.

And this allows you to do some pretty cool stuff because the image has a dynamic range that goes through the ceiling.

First stop…the river, to take pics of my fav clump of trees. I’ve been taking pictures of these trees for over a year. It’s good to do something like this because you really get to know the location and where to look for the best shots, with the aim of getting better each time. You know, perfection. I used to be perfect, but the 60s ended and all the good drugs dried up. Now I’m stuck with reality and sometimes that can really suck. Like when they tell you that the lottery ticket you just bought is the winning one and just when you think you’re about to buy that Lamborghini you always wanted, they draw somebody else’s stupid numbers.

Reality. Sometimes it sucks.

Next, I took to some of the back roads through farming country, looking for some old buildings with lots of character and detail. This is where HDR really shines. Detail. I found this old garage with lots of character detail and, since my car was in a garage, I figued…yeah, sure. Why not?

Piece of advise: When you’re taking HDR pictures of old garages with lots of character and detail, don’t stand too close to the road, especially where curves are located. Almost lost my derriere to truck. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I was a god with a camera and a Jimmy. The driver might not have known that, but the truck did. I still have a derriere.

And then I just took off to places with swamps and trees and old buildings with character and detail, wooded areas…a mini lake. I took over 200 pictures, barely avoided a skunk, and drank four cups of coffee. All of this stuff I just wrote…took me 30 seconds.

Got the call from Mike. My car was ready. Four hours, plus the new sensor. I thought…around $300…$350. It was $200. Beer money. Pool money. Maybe a growler at the studio.

Back home and back to being just Biff with a camera and an Accent (talk about a crash), I narrowed the images down what I thought were the three best. I eliminated one, but couldn’t make up my mind about the remaining two. So this will be another two picture day.

Lesson learned: When you park your Accent, stick a red flag on the roof. Maybe trucks won’t accidentally park on top of it.

Scene 1 Scene 2

Day 7 – Freddie Beach Has Alleys – With Drooling Muggers

Ventured out tonight into the alleys of downtown Freddie beach for some low light, slow shutter speed HDR photography. Just the kind of thing to attract muggers and unmentionable sewer dwellers. But that’s OK…I was wearing my Don’t Fuck With Mr. Clean t-shirt. I was safe.

I usually go for one stop between exposures, but tonight I thought, “Go big time. Go two stops.” What the hell, it’s Monday and I was on a caffeine high. I set the camera and tripod up at the end of the darkest alley I could find and used the remote to fire the shutter. The first exposure clicked. A few seconds later, the second exposure clicked. I think I waited about two years for the third exposure.

All that waiting and the images sucked.

“Screw this,” I thought and moved on to another alley. This one wasn’t as dark so I figured it would take less time for that third exposure to do its stuff. I was right, just one year.

But that gave me lots of time to think as the muggers drooled in the darkest spaces of the alley, just out of sight and not messing up my shot. Considerate drooling muggers. I thought about time and space and the nature of the universe and biology and the coffee I shouldn’t have had earlier and the stuff I read in the news and…


Got my shot and didn’t have to think anymore.

And go figure…first try.


Lesson Learned: Never…ever…settle for the first picture. The next one is almost always going to be the one you want. Even if you get mugged for it. Just don’t let them make off with the card.