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Getting back on the horse

It’s April. That means the first quarter of 2018 is finished. Does that thought freak you out? Time is flying by, it seems to me. At the end of December I started my new job, I took on responsibility for the Birdathon committee for SCVAS, and things rapidly became a...
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Review: Warby Parker

One thing I did early in 2018 was get new glasses. My prescription was more than overdue, and I was definitely noticing the change, both in sharpness while trying to take pictures and eye fatigue while reading. I probably shouldn’t have waited that long, but for...
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William Neill, Photographer: A Retrospective

William Neill, Photographer Buy on Amazon I grew up visiting Yosemite National Park on a regular basis, and so that location is a favorite of mine, and as a landscape photographer, it's iconic scenery is of great interest to me. I've done my share of photography...
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Monday miscellany…

A bunch of little topics this week, from the state of the office to blockchains to Google and a rant about how broken Facebook is. Enjoy and let me know what you think… The Office So, in the last week… the carpet should have arrived in the warehouse Friday and I’m...
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When your definition of good changes

Now that the work on my new office is moving to contractors for a while, it’s letting me start thinking about photography again, and I’m starting to work on the Youtube channel again. One of the things I plan on doing for the channel on a regular basis is showing how...
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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

Grunt Buy on Amazon In Grunt, Mary Roach takes a different look at our modern military through an investigation through the kind of research being done on how to keep soldiers alive. The enemies they’re fighting aren’t the ones you’re thinking of, either: it’s heat...
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Storm Front (A Dresden Mystery) by Jim Butcher

Storm Front Buy on Amazon His name is Harry Dresden. He is a wizard. No, seriously. You can look him up in the phone book. He finds things. And people. And occasionally helps out the police on murders when certain things can’t be easily explained. No love potions,...
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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway Buy on Amazon In Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire wants you to imagine. Imagine that Alice in Wonderland wasn’t a children’s story, but actually happened. Imagine that the Egyptian Halls of the Dead weren’t a myth, but an actual place....
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Mom’s Christmas Cards

Over the holidays I spoke of a few secret projects, and now I get to tell you about one of them. When my mom retired, she took up painting and enjoyed it immensely. Being who she was, she decided to start hand painting the family Christmas cards every year, and to...
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Thoughts on Jim Goldstein’s Best of 2017 project

I decided to once again look at all of the submissions to Jim Goldstein’s Best of the Year list to see what I could about trends in the images and in site design for displaying them. I’ve done this two times before, but not for a couple of years. You can take a look...
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25 photos that define me

The other day I was having a conversations with some photographers and I suggested one way to track your progress and get some insight into your photography would be to sit down and select 25 images that you think define your photography. I thought it was an...

It’s all about the eyes

I was having a chat with someone about photography the other day when I made the comment "It's all about the eyes", and while that's common wisdom with people photography, it's just as true with birds and wildlife. The eyes become an immediate and important focal...

Dawn at Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Dawn breaks at the Merced Refuge. The Geese see it before you do, and the sound of the morning chorus echoes through the fog. The sun vainly tries to lighten the sky, but for a while the tule fog beats it back, leaving it a faint cold smudge. Then the geese roar to...

I hated History in High School

Books in this article Alexander Hamilton A People's History of the United States Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong The First World War: A Complete History The Second World War: A Complete History I think I'm like most kids in...

The challenge of pervasive health monitoring

My piece on Apple’s glucose monitoring project spawned a number of interesting discussions, and that’s led me to think there’s another chapter in this story to discuss. That’s the downsides of our move into constant biometric monitoring,...

My Emergency Kit

Like most intelligent people, I keep an emergency kit in the car. Since we live in Silicon Valley, we also have to worry about that next significant earthquake, and the authorities recommend everyone set up an emergency kit in case bad things happen. I've kept that...

My Birding Field Kit

This is the list of of gear I carry with me when I go out birding. What's the bare minimum you need to carry to go out birding? A good attitude and a comfortable pair of shoes. Just go out and walk, look around, and see what you see. As you get more interested in the...

2016 Favorite Podcasts

I’m compiling a few lists of favorite things as I exit 2016 and look forward to 2017 because I want to share these things with you in hopes that you’ll discover some new things that might make your favorites list for 2017. These lists are in no particular...

How and Why I write for the blog

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blogging, and I’ve had a couple of people ask me about how I decide what to blog about (or more correctly, “why did you write about that but haven’t talked about this other thing?”) And the first thing I...

Apple’s 2016 in review

This has been the winter of our discontent. 2016 was the year the tone changed. There’s always been a lot of criticism and griping about anything Apple does (and doesn’t do — it can’t win) but in 2016 I feel like the tone of the chatter about...

Free Wallpapers for your desktop

I decided I wanted some new wallpapers for my system, so I created a set that I'm also sharing with you. These are available in both 1440x800 and 2560x1080 sizes. There are currently a total of 18 different images. These should work on most monitors today. My favorite...

My Best Photos of the Year for 2016

Welcome to my annual display of my best/favorite photos of the year. I've been doing this since 2007 (you can see all of the sets here) and it's always interesting me to go back and take a look at how my interests and technique has changed over time. 2016 was a big...

Working on and supporting a virtual/remote team

A couple of my recent jobs — Palm and Cisco — involved working on teams where most of the members were remote and spread across the country, and in some cases overseas. There are advantages and challenges to remote teams. A huge advantage is that members...

Good Enough Defeats Great

It’s been fascinating as an observer watching the disruption and transformation of the camera industry. As a photographer in the middle of it, it hasn’t always been fun. Around 2000 I bought a Canon Powershot pocket camera to take on vacation and the bug...

Everything you know about eating is wrong

One way I get my head going on a new project is to ingest new information about the topic; it seems to get the brain chewing on the problem and gets me motivated to move forward. Often, I do this by finding a book or two on the topic to read and use that to kick...

Some Thoughts on Lightroom Keywords

For most photographers, adding keywords and other meta data to their photos is a necessary evil. Many of us prefer to take photos, and putting in the time and energy to describe them during post-processing isn't -- fun. So we tend to do a minimal job of it. The...