Bryan's Little Corner

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Heaven on Earth

OK, I threatened to do this but just never did get around to it.

Earlier in the year SignGurl introduced me to a truly wonderful park. At the time I had no idea how wonderful it was.

This past week I finally got around to visiting the park. I spent a little over 2 hours just wandering. Here are a few photos I took that I thought I would share with you all. Give me a week or so that I can exercise a little SignGurl and I will take you up and a trip to the park. I would love to see some of the treasures you have discovered. I bet they are incredible.

Lets start out with some flowers. They were very beautiful. I only took a few pictures of about 3 different flowers. I am still trying to get use to my new point and shoot camera. There will be more to come in the future for sure.

Look at the Pritty Flower

Now here we have a new project of mine. I want to get a nice close up picture of a flower with a buzzz, buzzz, buzzz bee on it. Bees bother me so I am sure this will be a major challenge. Here is my first attempt. Yes I have a long way to go.


Next up we have a view of the dock that extends around a large part of the man made lake. In it's former life it use to be a quarry. Here we see the dock and the lake. For some reason I fell in love with the cloud reflections in the water. I have a lot of this pictures. I thought this was the most interesting because of where I was holding the camera when I took the picture.

Clouds and Water

This cardinal was one of about three different types of birds I saw. Apparently one of the others I saw was from the canary family. They were fast and very yellow. I wanted to get their picture but there just was no way. This cardinal just would not cooperate and come out to where I could get a clean picture. Oh well, it turned out OK anyway.

Look at the Pritty Birdy

This is so typical of what you might see in Michigan, usually up north or maybe the upper peninsula. But here we have an awesome sight all right near home. This is incredible as as is Michigan in general. Come winter, spring, summer or fall Michigan rocks. At one point I needed to find my own path as I came to the end of the docks and I wanted to find the paved pathway. So I saw this gate in the fence and decided to head on through. This is the view from the other size of the fence. Of course they must expect people to do this as look at the nice dirt path I had to walk on. Now take a moment and take in a nice deep breath of MICHIGAN. Note Michigan does not corner the market on this, several other wonderful northern states come to mind, but Michigan sure does it up proud.

A Little Off Roading

Here at last you see a small part of the nice 1.5 mile paved path around the lake, through the woods and past some of the parks attractions. This path is awesome. I saw people walking, jogging, blading, biking ... just about anything that does not have a motor is fine here. The quietest person on the path was this one roller bladder. Well when she was not on her phone that is. I am sure that SignGurl has put on many the mile on these here paths. And no that is not SignGurl up ahead but you already knew that.

The Path

This is one of my treasures I came across. I could not believe it. I was going down the path and then I heard this loud cracking noise. Now when I was growing up I used to hunt deer so I was very familiar with that sound. I looked around and sure enough there was a deer. I decided to try and get a picture but it turns out it was very blurry picture. Then the deer moved and that is when I saw the second smaller one. The Mom deer (I assume) went over to be protective of the littler deer who never even looked at me. That is when I got the shot I am including here. I can not believe I was less than 25 feet from the deer and they let me take their picture. I wanted to do more but I did not want to spook them so I moved on.

Oh Deer

OK, this next picture is fun. At least it was for me. I saw this tower while I was in the woods. Now I say woods but I really am not real deep in the woods when I stay on the track but anyway... I could not believe that I was seeing this tower poking through the clouds. What an awesome picture. But I was not somewhere that I could capture that picture. So I hurried down the path peeking at on occasion until I finally got to somewhere I could capture the picture. By then the clouds had moved on. Now when I looked at the tower when I got home I discovered that is was painted red then white than red then white then... so I never did see the tower going through clouds but it sure did get me excited thinking it was. But here is the one fun side benefit. It is not much more than a blur. You could paint it with a paintbrush in one quick stroke. But there in the upper left corner is a hawk. At least I am pretty sure that is what that is. Yea. I did not see it until after when I was looking on the computer. I wonder what else I missed?

Hawk Tower

This is just a sample of the awesome skies that day. They were incredible. I wish I could have done them justice. I am working on that. HDR and polarizing filters are coming to a camera bag near me soon.

Some Nice Cloud Action

Now here you have my attempt at an HDR photo. Now this is just a beginner doing this. If I really knew what I was doing it would be incredible. What sets this apart from a regular photo is both the skies and the landscape look wonderful. HDR uses multiple exposures to get the best of all worlds in composing the photo. This picture is a lot more grainy than I would like but it is a beginning. You can not use this technique for everything but I can see pictures of the skies and other darker items are just made for HDR.

A Nice Summer's Day

And there you have it. The promised walk about SignGurl's park. there is more I did not show and probably tons I have not found. Sadly this is not a good place to take a sunset or sunrise photo, I checked a couple of days ago. The trees just are to tall in the area. But there is a lake not that far away that, at least from the satellite view, looks like it will be a great place for a sunset and sunrise. As a matter of fact I found someone on flickr that had the same idea and posted the very same picture I want to take.

Thank you SignGurl for introducing me to a nice little slice of heaven on earth.

Friday, July 25, 2008

55Flash Fiction Friday

You usually take a moment
letting people know they're appreciate
But some how today
You just don't have it in you.

Then a miracle occurs.
Someone tells you
How much difference you made
And you're flying on cloud nine.

Life is good when you do unto others
As you would have them do unto you.

Ok so I am breaking the rules but I just had to do this. I had two things happen in the past week that really was nice. First I put together some CDs for a handful of people. It took a bit of work and a little money but I got it out to people. This past week I had this person email me and say how professional everything looked and they really appreciated the keepsake I put together for them. Wow, talk about a nice feeling inside.

Then this past few days I left a comment for someone about a picture they had taken. I went out of my way for this person because I knew they were a kid. I thought they would appreciate it. You know what, they REALLY APPREACIATED IT! His Dad ended up saying something at one point. It is tiny little moments like that that really make things worth while. Somehow the 55 just needed to head in that direction.

Over the weekend I will be posting some pictures I took at SignGurl's awesome park she shared with me. I am stoked. I see I am going to have to spend a lot more time there. Well I will as long as I bring a case of off or something. You will see why later.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


Friday, July 18, 2008

55Flash Fiction Friday

You have been stalking
this person forever
They hold all your attention

You notice every little detail
of what they are doing
Hoping somehow for an edge

You are all poised to strike
but still you get closer
hunker down and finally
Make You Move
as you pounce

Ah the life of a playful kitten

Wow it has been a while since I did one of those. These 55 flash fiction Fridays are fun. If you would like to try your hand at it they are simple. Just come up with a simple little story with somewhat a plot and at least one character in 55 words ish. That is it. Some people are so darn cleaver with these. Some love to have the final little gotcha at the end. Over all it is a fun little exercise.

I tried it, yes I did. I made a batch of Michelle's (Lime) grammy's German Potato Salad. You can find the recipe here on her blog. I tell you it is yummy but I made a few mistakes. I shall have to try this again.

First when I added the eggs to the bacon grease I was not stirring and I ended up with egg bits in the recipe. I hardly noticed but that simply will not do. Second I did not boil down the dressing far enough. I think a little more reducing would have made things much better. It would have been a little less runny and just a little more flavorful. Don't get me wrong, I love this recipe and will do it again. I followed most everything but used green peppers instead of celery. Next attempt it will be celery as Michelle called for. Other than that I cooked the bacon properly, made the roux, used the proper vinegar, left the skins on the red potato's... in short Michelle (and grammy) would have been proud. Thank you Michelle.


Monday, July 14, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation

I was invited to a cottage the end of last week. I took them up on it. It was lovely there and the boat ride spectacular. I had no idea the lake was a huge as it is. So here is a picture of some of the fun to be had at Gun Lake.

Splish splash I was taking a bath...

On 4th of July I went to see the Wyandottee Parade.

I just always get a kick out of this parade float. Who would have thought this was a Shriner float?

Wyandottee 4th of July parade

Growing up in the Detroit/Windsor area this always has special meaning to me.

Wyandottee 4th of July parade

Cute car.

Wyandottee 4th of July parade

I don't know about you but I am getting sick of all the politics that are are going on. This parade seemed stuffed with politicians or politician wannabes. I think we need to charge them to be in the parade just like they need to pay for ad tie on TV. What do you think?

Wyandottee 4th of July parade

Wyandottee 4th of July parade

Later in the evening I went to see a concert.

Clarinet at the ready, poised for action

The concert was followed by fireworks but these are picture of the fireworks in my neck of the woods from the night before.

Mid Michigan Fireworks

Mid Michigan Fireworks

Mid Michigan Fireworks

Mid Michigan Fireworks

Well other than that there was catching up on work at home like cleaning the house, cutting the grass, getting my license plates (I was late but did not get fined, yea) and other equally fun stuff. Oh and playing with new software and taking a few (read that is hundreds of) pictures here and there. Sorry I have been more or less missing over the last little bit. Time to get back to work.

Have a wonderful week.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Today is her Birthday

Oh dear, I am so behind the times but I have been non stop running.

Today, yes today is our dear friend GABS birthday. Yep, a 4th of July baby. I was suppose to be born oon the 4th buck snuck in a few days early. Any way...

Happy birthday, to GAB
Happy birthday ,to GAB
Happy birthday, dear Gale,
Happy birthday, to GAB

If you have a chance how about wishing her a happy birthday at

She is always wishing everyone a wonderful birthday, now it is her turn.

Happy birthday Gale.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Photographing Fireworks

Have you ever thought of taking pictures of fireworks before? Did you do it? Did they turn out?

I have taken pictures several times but I have never got all that serious about it, that is until this year. So I did a bunch of research and, in the nut shell here is what I learned.


You will be taking a picture for anywhere between 2 to 8 seconds or so. If you do not have a tripod or at least something sturdy then your fireworks will wiggle all over the place. I do not care who you are or how steady you are, use a tripod.


To further keep from shaking things use a shutter release to take the picture. If you do not have that or if you have a camera that can not have a shutter release than use the cameras timer. Set it to 2 seconds if you have that option. Now using a timer is harder because you need to anticipate when the firework will go off.


Auto focus cameras do not do well in dark situations. For the most part they advice to set the camera on manual focus and focus to infinity than back it off just a little bit. Then focus the camera on the first firework and leave it there for the rest of the show. For those Point and shoot you can also set your camera to Landscape or Fireworks if you have that setting.


Most suggest to turn you camera vertical as fireworks go and then they float back down. They usually do not move left to right very much. Holding the camera vertical gives you more room to capture the movement of the fireworks. There are advantages of leaving the camera horizontal but most pictures are better served with the camera vertical. I myself will be shooting pictures using two cameras with one turned vertical and on left horizontal.


Especially if you are going to take a picture that shows buildings or shoreline or anything that establishes what is level, you will want to make sure your camera is level. Some tripods have levels build into them. You could use a portable level or just look through the camera, possibly taking a picture, and make adjustments if the camera does not look level.


Lights will show up and make you pictures either terrible or much less interesting. Try and avoid street lights and other lights that are near by if possible. Trees can just distract from the fireworks or even hide them. Be careful if there is a tree near by.


If possible avoid the crowds or at least be a little ways away from them. I giant head in the picture will not make a nice firework photo. Also they can bump you tripod and add a very interesting movement to your fireworks. Also try to be upwind of fireworks. If you are downwind then the smoke from the fireworks will fill the sky and make things less then sharp. Also be sure to get pictures of the first fireworks shot as they will be your clearest ones.


If at all possible shoot manual. This will allow you to have better control of what you are shooting. If you can not do that than look for settings on your camera like Fireworks or Night Shot to help set you camera settings. While you are taking pictures be sure to check some of the photos to see how they are doing and make adjustments to make the pictures are more pleasing to you. Be careful not to spend every second checking you photos however because fireworks are suppose to be fun unless you are a pet. They tend to not like all the booms.


Set the ISO as low as possible or if you are using film, get as low an ISO speed film as possible. Most of what I saw was based on ISO 100 so lets go with that. If you set it lower you will need to use a larger aperture setting.


For ISO 100 they recommend using an aperture of between F8 and F16 so maybe start out at F11. If you are using ISO 50 you will want to use F8. Be prepared to vary the aperature a little if the fireworks become brighter especially for the grand finally. If that happens then use a higher f-stop number like F16.


Here it depends on your taste, also on how bright the fireworks are, how close you are, etc. For the most part they recommend that you have a shutter speed between 2 and 8 seconds. The longer the shutter is open the more the fireworks will rain down yielding a pleasant affect. Also if you do not keep it open long enough you will not get the full affect of the firework. You can start taking the picture as you see the streak as the firework heads skyward or you can wait until just before the initial explosion. Be sure not to leave the shutter open to long or you will over expose the fireworks and no one wants that.


The more you zoom in the more accurate you will need to be as to where the firework actually explodes. Otherwise you may not have it in your frame. I think you are better to be zoomed out a little and crop your picture afterwards. Don't be zoomed back to far. Zoomed in and not being able to get the entire firework in the frame can be interesting however after all variety is a good thing.


Bring plenty of memory cards (or film) as you will be surprised how many pictures you take.
Also be sure the batteries are charged and you have spares if possible.


Bring a small flashlight like those maglights so you can see to make adjustments to your camera.


There are tons of articles on the Internet about this. That is where a lot of this came from and I kind of blended it. Some of it was from my own experience. Also practice, practice, practice and take notes afterwards for the next time you shoot fireworks. Why listen to what the Internet or I have to say about this. Why not get better based on your own experience.

Well that is most of it. It sounds like a lot but I think a lot of it is setup before you start. After that it should be a piece of cake. Hopefully I will have some nice pictures to post after July 3rd when a nice local fireworks display happens.

Have a wonderful 4th of July or, if you are not in the states, work on having a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This Day in History

Two events happened on this day.

Today is Canada Day. I am still confused exactly what Canada Day is. It is not exactly the Birthday of Canada although many consider it that. It is not the same as many countries Independence day. I guess it is actually “marking the occasion of the joining of the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867” (from Wikipedia). Tell you what, I am going to go on considering it the birthday of Canada if you do not mind.

The second thing, today is my birthday. I was born in Michigan way back on July 1st in 1957 at 5:16 am. I was suppose to be born on July 4th but I guess I was in a hurry. This will be one of the last times I was so early for something however... I was a rather small baby at 6 pounds 10 ounces. My Mom had a semi private room and the person that she shared the room with had a daughter, Lynn Bryan. Lynn passed away several years back. I try to remember her every year on our birthday. Anyway my name came about because of their last name. One more note, a very famous person shares our birthday. Princess Diana was also born on July 1st only she was born several years later in 1961. Gee, that is another person that is no longer with us. I am starting to get worried.

I normally just pretend like it did not happen and keep it quiet but I thought I would mention this time. I am not trolling for birthday wishes, I just always like to bring up Canada day and ... well it seems like I should mention ... Anyway thank you for the wishes I have received. You guys rock.

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