Friday, July 31, 2015

Concrete Poured on Driveway Entrance

Taken from the front window of my home, the Public Works crew are finishing the job by pouring the concrete.  Here's hoping they do a good job so we won't have standing water after a rain in front of the driveway!  The asphalt still needs to be fixed on the street in front of the driveway, so they aren't fully done.

(Edit Note: The street crew came by today - August 10, 2015 to repair the asphalt.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

United States Seal - Lodge Cast Iron

My latest addition to my Cast Iron collection.  This one is destined to be the next "collector's item" because they sell out very quickly when available.

I got this one at the Cracker Barrel in Gurnee, IL. It's a 10.25" model and was "on sale" too! Couldn't pass it up at $17.24!  I've looked for a while to get one of these, but they were always sold out. But on a whim after going fishing in Racine, I stopped by to check on my way home and lo and behold, they had a couple of the 10.25" models in stock!  The 10.25" size seems to be very similar in size to my old #8 Blacklock skillet that was made between 1896 and 1910.

Sorry for the "fingerprints" on the cast iron.  I was too anxious to take the photos and so I did not re-season the skillet first.

A Hole In Front Of Our Driveway

I was awaken this morning by noise that I thought was from our lawn maintenance crew.  But after checking out our front window, this is what I saw!

The Public Works department had put a huge hole in front of our driveway!  With our cars still on the driveway and in the garage, you would think that the workers would have at least knocked on our door to ask if we wanted to get our cars out first!

I called the Department of Public Works to complain and they sent their foreman out in 10 minutes.  He asked the guys working, "Didn't you think to knock on their door first before putting a huge hole in front of their driveway?"  The workers just looked at him.

He apologized and said that we would have to drive over the grass between our neighbor's home and our home and if the grass were to be damaged, they would replace it.  It would have been better had they told us first so that we could have driven our cars out before they ripped a hole at least 6-8 feet in diameter in front of our driveway!  Before they poured some gravel into the hole, it was deep enough for an adult to stand in and the hole would still be over his head.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

They're Not The Same - White Balance Targets

For many years, I have been recommending the Photovision 14" One Shot Digital Target for use in performing Custom White Balancing for digital cameras.  While other custom white balance tools are available, this particular device allows you to correct your camera's white balance and then also confirm AND FIX again the white balance in Adobe Lightroom.  This is something many other white balance tools can't do.

But at a selling price of $39.95 on the B&H website, it's often more than some photographers are willing to pay.  Personally, I think it is way overpriced as well, but well worth paying to get perfect color balance.

Recently, I decided to see if I could find a less expensive alternative for my students.  I found one device on and decided to buy it to test it out.  The cost was only $9.28.

While it looked promising, after testing it out, I found that it was close, but still off.  The 18% grey seemed darker and slightly "off-grey" compared to the Photovision target.  It still produced a much better color balance than auto white balancing did on my Nikon D750, but it wasn't perfect.  The Photovision target produced a much truer color.

So while it's better than not having anything to produce custom white balanced images, it's not the same as the Photovision target.  I'd recommend it if you were on a budget and wanted something to use for custom white balancing your camera, but I would not recommend it if you want truer white balanced images.  It seems so far, the Photovision target is still the way to go.

There may be other devices out there that can compete against the Photovision target, but I'm not willing to purchase them all to try to find it.  For me, the Photovision target seems the most reliable.  Plus you can set your white and black levels too in Lightroom using the white and black panels.

The image above was taken with a Nikon D750 and Nikon 24-120mm f4.0 ED lens.  Custom white balancing for the shot was done with the Photovision target.

Sunset at Sister Bay Wisconsin

Sunset out on Lake Michigan near Sister Bay, Wisconsin - Door County.  Image taken with a Canon 70D and Canon 18-135 f3.5-5.6 IS lens.