Sunday, March 30, 2008

CRG Pre-Season Party

Battling BandOn Saturday night I went to the Cincinnati Rollergirls' 2008 pre-season party at the Cincinnati Gardens called the Rock-n-Rollergirls: Battle for the Bouts. There were several local bands at the party who were looking for the honor of playing at half-time during the home season opener on April 12th. There wasn't a huge crowd, but it was a nice event with stuff for the kids early on, a derby match demo, and a full contact musical chairs competition. I took a few photos that you can see in my Flickr set here.

The most animated event was the full contact musical chairs -- in short, the traditional musical chairs game but in roller derby style. There were Lamb Chops and chairs tumbling all over the place. You get a sense of that in this shot from one of the early rounds. Fireman Bill had his hands full judging the competition.

Musical Chairs 3

The Librarian and Roseanne Scarr had a struggle for one of the last chairs of an early round. This diptych shows a bit of the battle.

Roller Derby Musical Chairs

In the end it came down to Arche Enemy and Roseanne Scarr vying for the last chair.

The Last Chair

Roseanne came out on top -- although Sk8 Crime tried to foil her victory. Here is Roseanne taking a victory lap.

Victory Lap

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bathroom Items

This week's Macro Mondays project theme was "bathroom items." Here are a few shots I ended up with. I was experimenting with reflections and a lighting technique I recently read about on the Strobist blog -- illuminating a bottle from the bottom. I used that on the Noxema bottle photo.

Sparkling Gel


Foaming Cleanser

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday in Indy / Cincinnati Rollergirls

Di at IMAAfter getting our taxes done and running some errands, Dianne and I drove to Indianapolis for the day. We started out looking around at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Here is Dianne looking at a painting in the European exhibit area. According to their website, it is the fifth largest art museum in the country. It is a huge facility with lots of work on display. Except for special exhibits, there is no charge and parking is free. Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area. We spent a few hours there and didn't see the whole place. I'd like to go back when it's warm and check out the gardens and outdoor sculpture on the grounds.

We drove downtown to catch an early dinner. Downtown was pretty dead on a Saturday except for a few block radius around the Monument Circle area. That was hopping with people! We didn't have too much time to look around, but we saw lots of beautiful buildings driving around.

After eating we went to the Toyota Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to watch the Cincinnati Rollergirls' Black Sheep team take on the Naptown Roller Girls in the "Lucky Harm" bout. It was the first match of the 2008 season for CRG and I was excited to see them back in action. We were sitting with a small group of CRG fans in the bleachers that included Mama Sac -- Sista Sacralicious' mom. I didn't take many photos, but Jeff and Jason were both there taking photos and Miss Print had a video camera. Look for bout photos and videos from them.

I have to say I was a little worried after the first two jams of the event. The Naptown team came out strong and started out 10-0 over Cincinnati. But that must have been first bout jitters for Cincinnati. After settling down, the CRG team got into their groove. With tough blocking to slow and often times prevent the Naptown jammer from getting through the pack, an amazing effort from the jammers, and some good strategy calls around when to stop the jam, the CRG team chipped away Naptown's early lead and ended up 9 points ahead after the first period.

The second period was all Cincinnati. They started out strong to widen their lead and continued their strategy to shut down almost all Naptown scoring. The CRG blocking was truly a team effort to control the inside line and make it almost impossible for the Naptown jammer to pass. Blu Bayou and Sk8r Kinney were fantastic as pivots and Panterrorize and Juwana Hurt are amazing starting at the back of the pack and moving up when necessary. But all the blockers in between contributed and worked as a team to both shut down the Naptown jammers and help the CRG jammers through the pack. The pack was skating extremely fast which must have been a heck of a workout for the skaters! That speed made the jammer's job all that much harder to get through the pack and then sprint to catch the pack again. Kudos to Sadistic Sadie, Hannah Barbaric, and Roseanne Scarr for their jamming effort. There were quite a few grand slams.

I didn't take many photos since we were sitting back from the track. Here are a couple grainy shots. The first photo below shows CRG skaters (in black and white) Hannah Barbaric wearing the jammer star along with Juwana Hurt and Ruffn' the Passer ahead of the Naptown skaters in red.


This photo shows Sadistic Sadie jamming with Panterrorize blocking in front of a Naptown skater. I like the background of that photo showing coach Pale Rider squatting down in front of the CRG bench.

Jam 2

Me and Sk8r KinneyNaptown was able to score some in the third period, but so did Cincinnati to the extent that they were able to keep their score almost twice that of Naptown. Don't get me wrong -- the Naptown skaters are no slouchers. Naptown was skating hard and fast and there were lots of CRG skaters receiving solid blocks (although I have to say they didn't all look legal :^) ). Most notable for me was the tall Naptown pivot Touretta Lynn. Cincinnati ended with a strong 59 to 32 win over Naptown. Congratulations to the Cincinnati Rollergirls for a great win! It's going to be another exciting season of derby action in the Cincinnati Gardens.

Me and PanterrorizeAfter the match I was able to talk to a couple folks and Dianne got pictures of me with Sk8r Kinney (first pic) and Panterrorize. Sk8r Kinney did an amazing job blocking -- especially for a couple jams when CRG had a couple skaters in the penalty box. She was able to hold back the Naptown jammers for most of the jam by controlling the inside line. A great effort! Panterrorize was the team captain and as always did a great job blocking.

Don't forget the Cincinnati Rollergirls' pre-season party / kickoff event this Saturday at the Cincinnati Gardens. The home opener for the CRG is April 12th. Be there to cheer them on and catch the derby fever.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Book Macros

The theme for last week's Macro Mondays group on Flickr was books and pages. Stephanie very kindly loaned some interesting old books for the project. I also took one of Dianne's out of the box ideas and incorporated our old Mac Powerbook into a photo (the last one below). Turns out that photo made Flickr's Explore. Each minute there are thousands of photos uploaded to Flickr. Prime time can be 3000+ per minute. Explore somehow magically looks through photos and factors in comments and favorites to make a list of the top 500 photos of the day in Explore. I'm always thrilled when I get a photo listed in Explore.

The Kman joined the Macro Mondays group and contributed photos this week. Read his blog post and see the photos here. This photo was my favorite of his set, but this photo made me laugh out loud. Good job, Kyle!

Since I'm just doing this for fun, I post most of my photos for use under a Creative Commons license. The author of The Panelist blog took advantage of that and included one of my old money macros in a recent financial story. Pretty cool too! Glad they could make use of it.

An old book from 1902. I like the texture on the spine.

Queen Victoria

This book has a red velvet like cover. I used hard flashes to illuminate the cover and a softbox from the right to illuminate the pages.

Best Loved Poems

I like the curves on this shot, but I should have put some shadows on the page.

All's Well that Ends Well

This Sherlock Holmes book has a rough, uneven cut on the pages that gives an interesting texture.

A Study in Scarlet

Finally, here is the photo with our old Powerbook in the middle.

Some Books

Monday, March 10, 2008

Game Pieces and a Softbox

The theme in the Macro Mondays group on Flickr was "game pieces" this week. We don't have too many games around here anymore. Most all of the games we play are electronic, so there aren't any physical pieces to photograph.

I've been looking around for better ways to light my subjects. I've been thinking about getting an umbrella and/or reflector. While doing some research and looking at other people's photo, I noticed that soft boxes are popular for light. I forget where, but I read one article about making your own soft box. I decided to give it a try. I took a shoebox and lined it with aluminum foil. I cut a hole in one end just large enough for one of my flash units. I covered the top of the box with some tracing paper to diffuse the light. I used that as the main light in the macros below.

I couldn't resist using Scrabble tiles to spell out the name of the group. I'm sure there will be a lot of people doing something like this.


I thought the colors of the pieces used to keep track of your armies in the game of Risk would make an interesting shot. I think this photo best illustrates how the soft box placed to the right gives a soft illumination but still casts a bit of a shadow to the left of the game pieces.

Battle for Europe

Finally, here are two photos of some Hanafuda cards.

Hanafuda Cards

Part of the Deck

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Calm After the Storm

The snowstorm that hit the Cincinnati area ended late afternoon on Saturday. The official snowfall measurement at the airport beat the previous record from 1968 by a tenth of an inch -- just over 10 inches for the storm. But places on the East side of the area that were closer to the low pressure system got up to 15 inches.

The wind died down and I went out to take a couple photos last night. The lights reflecting off the fresh blanket of white snow made for some interesting subjects.

The black and white photo of the ridges formed in the snowdrift was illuminated by a low light that is one of many on the path around a nearby pond. Since it's only a couple feet off the ground, the grazing light brought out the ridges of the drift.

Edge of the Drift

This photo was taken from our steps, looking down on the outside light between us and our neighbor. Dianne pointed out the interesting pile of snow on top of the light. It's an HDR image constructed from several exposures.

Outside Light

This HDR photo is one of the lakes in our complex. You can just see the lighted fountain in the distance.

Pond at Night

This HDR photo is the entry drive into our complex. The snow plows hadn't visited us yet, so the snow just got packed solid by the cars coming in and out. You can see the tail lights of one car that came in while I was setting up for the photo. I like the way the reflected light illuminates the trees that overhang the drive.

Snowy Entry

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Winter Storm

The Cincinnati area turned into a winter wonderland in the past 30 hours. We have had 10+ inches since the storm started yesterday. Both of us came home from work yesterday at lunch time. It was a good thing as the there were only a couple inches of snow on the ground then, but the roads were starting to get slippery. The snow just kept coming and the wind picked up last night so we had some drifting too. We woke up this morning to at least 10 inches and it is still coming down. It’s going to take awhile to get all the roads plowed. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the white blanket that we got.

Here is Dianne shoveling out around our cars.

Dianne Shovelling

Our neighbor’s steps don’t even look like steps anymore – just a ramp of snow.

Instant Winter

Another couple in our neighborhood was out for their usual morning walk, even though the snow was still coming down. You can see some of the snow blowing off the roof of the garage.

Going For a Walk

The ruler on my car shows 8 inches of snow after I got home! You have to look at the large version on Flickr to read the ruler.

8+ Inches

Finally, I saw this robin sitting in a tree when I was walking around taking pictures during the storm. It’s either a mixed up robin or a sign that even though we got hit hard, Spring is right around the corner.

Crazy Robin

Thursday, March 06, 2008

CRG Event and a New Blog Find

I noticed on Miss Print's blog the poster for the Cincinnati Rollergirls' pre-home season opener event. It's a battle of local bands and the winner(s) will be playing at the home bouts. A great idea for an event and also for entertainment at the bouts. Read MP's blog or the poster to see the other activities planned -- as well as a chance to meet the skaters. Sounds like fun.

My Google alerts turned up a nice surprise today. Brian, the proud husband of Skates With Fists, has set up a blog for Skates With Fists fans. Skates is one of the Cincinnati Rollergirls skaters that did some good jammer work last season. I'm looking forward to reading Brian's local derby blog. Here is a photo from last season of Skates as a jammer sprinting around the track. I also like the photo below showing Skates at the starting line, waiting for a jam to get organized. I like the way that both her and the ref, Poliza, have the same pose.

That find pushed me over the edge and I finally made an overdue update of my blog rolls on the right side. Check out the links to some great blogs of many frequent visitors here.

Hands on Hips

Junk Drawer Items

My macro photo project for last Monday was an easier theme -- items from your junk drawer. Everyone has one of those. I pulled a few things from our drawer and took a few quick photos. Here are the results. Click on an image to go to Flickr to see a larger version and read the captions.

Hard as a Rock

Curiously Strong

Candle Companion

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Crosswind Landing

Crosswind landings can be tricky. When I was learning to fly, the day came for my first solo cross country trip (a journey and landing to an airport more than 55 miles from your starting point). My instructor (Mike) and I had talked about it for several days and we picked out an airport with good navigation aids. I had the trip all planned out. When I arrived at the airport, Mike and I talked about the weather and the flight. It was kind of windy and the forecast was for a fairly stiff crosswind at my destination. Mike suggested planning an alternate destination that was only about 10 miles away where the wind would be blowing right down the runway in case I couldn't land at the first airport. It was a wise thing as I tried 3 approaches to land at the first airport and realized the crosswind was too much for me to touch down. I went to the alternate, landed, and completed the return flight without any trouble.

When landing you want the axis of the fuselage lined up with the runway to minimize the stress on the landing gear and the likelihood of veering out of control when you touch down. But if you set up an approach that way when the wind is blowing across the runway, it also blows the plane sideways away from the runway. So to stay lined up with the runway in a crosswind, you point the nose into the wind (a crab) just a bit to compensate for the drift and keep the plane moving along the extended runway centerline. There is a good diagram of that approach here. However, that means the fuselage isn't lined up with the runway. One method to land from that approach involves using the rudder and ailerons to remove the crab and align the plane with the runway just before touching down. That way the plane's landing gear isn't stressed and the configuration needed for this is done at a low altitude. It's tricky and doing it well takes some practice.

The other day we saw this video of an airbus trying to land in a crosswind. Luckily the pilot did a go around at the last minute. It's a tough landing even for the commercial pilot!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Contemporary Arts Center

Checking InToday we ventured to downtown Cincinnati to visit the Contemporary Arts Center. We've lived here 15+ years and had never been. Funny, but generally we don't take advantage of things in our own backyard. Part of the impetus for going was a photo contest at work in conjunction with the local Fine Arts Fund drive. The photos are supposed to show people enjoying the arts at one of the places supported by the fund. It's been going on for several weeks, and unfortunately participation in the contest is minimal. I thought I'd enter a few photos.

Aside from the lobby (the HDR image at right -- click to see a larger version in Flickr), there is only one area in the CAC where you can take photos (which is pretty annoying -- why can't you take non-flash photos?) and that is the UnMuseum gallery on the 6th floor. That gallery has several interactive exhibits.

This is Dianne peeking in the drawers of "Sight Unseen: The Sensory Elephant" by Eric Brass and a host of other artists. Click on the link to read a detailed description of the work.

Opening Drawers

This is me in the work "Above and Below: The Hypar Room" by Allan Wexler. For a math geek, the floor in this work was really cool. The perspective in the photo looks odd, but that's because the floor was a steep curve in this part and the tables and chairs were tilted where I was sitting.

Me in the Hypar Room

My favorite shot was Dianne at "Zeloso Paavo's Hands" by Anthony Luensman. She's a good sport to serve as a model. Sensors in the frame recognize your hand movements and cause orchestral music to play. The camera exposure was set for the sunlight coming through the skylight in the stairwell behind the glass. To get Dianne exposed properly, I used two flashes (one low and left and one held at shoulder level to the right. The light is balanced nicely and you can see the neon sign light at the top of the exhibit. The only thing I'd change is to raise the left flash much higher to get rid of the shadow behind the neon sign. So much to think about, but all the reading on the Strobist Blog is helping out.

Di Conducting

Overall, we weren't too impressed with the museum. There wasn't a lot to see, and aside from a couple of the works in the Space Is The Place exhibit, I wasn't wowed. Nevertheless, got some OK shots.