Macro test

Let’s look at some macro pictures I took with my 105mm lens!

The subject: a Griffin Technology PowerMate.

The following images were taken with a Nikon D80, using a Nikkor AF-S VR Micro 105mm lens. Lighting is from the camera’s built-in flash and a SB-800 Speedlight, set to remote fire, laying on the desk and pointing up at about 135 degrees from the desk. I just handheld the camera, since I had flashes.

1/60, f/3.3, ISO100

1/60, f/4.8, ISO100

1/60, f/4.8, ISO100

Things I learned:

1. Always do a preflight check of the camera. While looking at the EXIF data for these images, I found that I still have an exposure compensation of -1 set from shooting in the snow at the beginning of February!

2. Clean the subject. It isn’t visible without getting very very close, but dust and dirt on the subject becomes apparent when using a lens like this with a flash. Yuck!

3. Remotely firing flashes are awesome!

Site changes

I’ll be making some cosmetic changes to this blog throughout the weekend.  I spent several hours trying out many different themes, and couldn’t find one I liked even a little bit more than the current theme.  The changes will include a larger header image (done), a wider post column (to support a larger image size), and a reorganized sidebar.  Plus, I’ll add some more pages to the top navigation bar.

Eventually I’ll be posting a new site to, which will be the hub for whatever freelance work I do in Alaska.  Wait until you see the logo my friend Katie made for me!  There’s a tiny version of it in the header image, but it doesn’t do justice to the full sized one.

Clarity In Writing, or “How To Tell If You’re Not Giving Enough Information”

My Macbook just informed me I have a software update that needs to be installed, one Keyboard Firmware Update 1.0. Being a systems administrator for a large number of computers means many things, one of which is paying attention to what new software updates actually do.


Here is what the update description has to say (emphasis mine):

This MacBook and MacBook Pro firmware update addresses an issue where the first key press may be ignored if the computer has been sitting idle. It also addresses some other issues.

Apple has always (at least since the introduction of OS X) erred on the side of too little information, apparently in an effort to protect their users from the complexity of the machines. Just ask me to describe the contortions I put the OS through every year to get clients and servers integrated into our environment, then compare that to the OS X Server documentation posted to Apple’s website, and you’ll get an idea of just how much Apple leaves unsaid.

This, however, is not some obscure way to make a client machine authorize users on an Open Directory server while authenticating their passwords on a separate Kerberos server. This update will be seen by nearly every person who owns a Macbook or a Macbook Pro. Someone in the technical documentation department at Apple didn’t put enough effort in on this one.

Lazy Sunday in February

Yesterday was Tyra’s 34th birthday. Her party was on Saturday, so yesterday was mostly recovery. I spent the day reading about how to build things, like a cheap steadycam mount, a cardboard solar dehydrator, and a greenhouse. Skippy spent the day sleeping. We finally managed to get up around 6, and wandered over to Tyra’s to help polish off some of the leftovers from her dinner party. The weather here was crap, with high winds and rain all day.