Cool Only Your Test images

A few nice only your test images I found:

current palettes
only your test
Image by Julie Paradise1
why so many colours? well, they accumulated over times, a holiday here, some money there, a sale and a gift and the neverending search for the perfect colour.

now I would say that no one needs so many colours, but to make the best out of it and to use them all it seemed best to sort them all in palettes, in thought over and well balanced palettes that are usable as they are.

what does it bring? rotating and rethinking the palettes every once in a while has taught me mixing and getting to certain colours from various starting points. it can be amazing how differently you can achieve shadows or greens or moods with about everything you see here. (I am still no friend of pre-packed palettes as there are some colours I will never like and there just not use.)

I have sworn that once some of them will be empty I will not refill them or stock up again as time will show which colours I really and alway like to use for various purposes. no one needs THAT MANY colours 😉

warum soviele farben? hmnja, es sammelt sich eben soviel an mit der zeit, rabatte, gutscheine, unverhoffter geldsegen hier, ein geschenk da … aber letztlich braucht eigentlich doch niemand soviele farben, das gebe ich hiermit offiziell zu.

was nun aber tun damit, denn herumliegen lassen wäre bei aquarellfarben zwar grundsätzlich möglich aber doch zu schade. ich habe mich vor einer weile dazu entschlossen, aus allen farben sets zu erstellen, für verschiedene zwecke und gelegenheiten, alle paletten sollten in sich selbst halbwegs vollstandig sein, "coloristisch sinnvoll" (so heißt es immer im schmincke-katalog).

was bringt mir das? ich wechsle die paletten alle paar tage bzw. nutze manche eher für unterwegs oder meine skizzen und andere für "richtig ernsthafte" bilder. die jeweils verschiedene auswahl an farben bringt / zwingt mich dazu, aus unterschiedlichen ausgangsfarben ähnliche ergebnisse zu ermischen, einige paletten enthalten zum beispiel kein grün (rechts unten), andere beinahe alle meiner lieblingsfarben, manche keine davon und sie "funktionieren" trotzdem. durch das rotieren lerne ich nach und nach alle farben kennen und manche sogar noch lieben, die ich eigentlich bereits abgeschrieben hatte. das erreicht man natürlich nicht, wenn man die farben gar nicht zur verfügung hat. mir hat es also sehr geholfen — und wahnsinnig viel spaß gemacht in diesen farbmassen zu schwelgen — dennoch habe ich mir vorgenommen, einige der paletten nicht aufzufüllen wenn sie leer sind bzw. manche der farben nicht nachzukaufen. mit der zeit wird sich zeigen, was ich wirklich benutze. soviele farben braucht also kein mensch, aber schön ist es trotzdem mit ihnen. 😉

Brooklyn Home Office, Minimized, At Night
only your test
Image by mkosut
I’ve spent the past few months figuring out how to scale down many of the things i don’t need and keeping my home office very minimal. That included ditching the large 30" apple cinema display (it blocked my view out the windows!) and going back to a simple laptop with two headless servers (on old G5 osx server pictured, and one ubuntu dual core 2.8ghz hp proliant server hidden behind the desk)

I’ve hidden my speakers behind the desk and stream via an airport express station to minimize cord plugins. The two cables visible below the desk have been hidden (ethernet for the osx server and some other cable) didn’t see them in the photo til it was too late.

I’ve purchased an all-in-one scanner/printer that fits comfortably in the sliding glass door cabinet for easy access.

My old and faithful aeron chair finally made it’s return home from vermont. Thank you for the gift adam, it’s lasted me years!

For white board drawings, i use dry erase markers on the glass windows. I make sure i don’t write any sensitive data on them as they’re clearly visible from the street 🙂

This provides maximum desk space to work with while not being distracted. i work from home occasionally (i’m a senior linux systems engineer for mtv networks/viacom) so i wanted someplace enjoyable to work without losing focus on my tasks.

I didn’t have any stones to put in the vase for the flower, so i ended up using all the silver change i could find. This works great because it looks interesting, but also makes it easy to ditch extra pocket change into it conveniently. No pennies allowed!

Pre-cleaning: www.flickr.com/photos/mkosut/2583927058/in/set-7215759430…

Bristol Cinema Then & Now – The Kings, Old Market
only your test
Image by brizzle born and bred
The King’s Cinema in Old Market, Bristol BS2, once one of the city’s stalwart picture houses which after 70 years, made way for yet another office block? – in its declining years it was home to sleazy sex films and horror movies and dirty old men in rain coats just like The Tattler round the corner.

image top left: British Electric Theatres owned this small cinema, which was originally called King’s Hall. It was built on the site of a cemetery, between Old Market Street and Redcross Street, and when it was demolished, bones from the cemetery were discovered and removed. It was British Electric Theatres who put a test case for Sunday opening in 1910. The inspector went to another cinema, saw some nudity and a scene in which a vicar kissed a woman and promptly objected. The case was refused.

After the First World War, Ralph Bromhead, who was later a leading light in the Gaumont empire, took over the King’s and changed it beyond recognition. He purchased the shop next door and gave the building a new frontage, with a wide foyer and low canopy outside. Inside, the balcony area was decorated with ornate brasswork. In order to obtain planning permission, Bromhead had to employ fifty demobilised men as labourers. The work took less than a year and cost £15,000.

The King’s reopened in 1921 and became a landmark in Old Market Street.

The cinema suffered a fire in 1926 but soon reopened with new owners, Enrico Carreras and his son James. They had their own orchestra, the King’s Symphony Orchestra, consisting of twelve musicians. The orchestra played twice a day every day and were paid £68 per week between them, which was better than most musicians were paid at that time.

The King’s cinema’s biggest competitor was the Regent in nearby Castle Street. A gimmick was needed to put the King’s in front, so they took a gamble and tried the talkies. They were the first in Bristol to do this and changed the face of Bristol cinema for ever. In March 1929, they opened with the film The Singing Fool, starring Al Jolson.

The queues went all the way up Old Market Street and they packed in four performances a day for five weeks. They counted 50,000 admissions in the first two weeks, figures unheard of before. It was the end for silent films.

By the end of the 1930s, the ABC Group, under John Maxwell, had taken over the cinema and it continued to be popular. It survived the Second World War but the surrounding area and, following the redevelopment of the area and the building of the new road system, the cinema became isolated. It closed on 4 December 1976 with a double bill of Hot Dreams and Man Hungry.

image top right: c1968 The construction of the roundabout and pedestrian walkway system, in the 1960s. The Stag and Hounds is now the first building on the right. Note left of photograph: The King’s Cinema.

image bottom left: The cinema stood empty for a while, and was demolished in December 1981 for an office block named King’s House to be built on the site, located on the corner of Old Market Street and Bond Street at Old Market Roundabout.

image bottom right: "Yet another office block, just what Bristol needs?"

The Sad Decline of Bristol Cinema

The years after 1945 were hard for Britain. The country was in debt after the strain of war, and there was a severe housing shortage. Both of these factors affected cinema business.

The Entertainment Tax, which was added to the price of a cinema ticket, was raised. It was nearly 47% on the price of an expensive seat. At this rate people could not afford to keep up the twice-a-week habit of pre-war years. Smaller audiences meant that owners had to keep putting up the prices to make any profit.

Building materials, money and labour were channelled into house-building. This meant that very little was available for building new cinemas or even repairing old ones. No new cinemas were built in Britain until 1954. Old ones became increasingly scruffy.

Slum clearance and rebuilding programmes left many inner-city cinemas without a local audience.

From August 1947 to March 1948 US film distributors boycotted Britain because the government proposed putting a high import duty on imported films. Robbed of Hollywood films, British cinemas had to fall back on old copies and poor quality films. Cinema audiences never recovered.

There were only 15,000 television sets in Britain in 1945, but by 1955, when commercial television started, there were 5 million. By 1961 there were 11 million sets and cinema admissions had fallen by 75%.

All these factors together meant that cinemas were not able to compete very well with television. Who would want to go out to a cold, draughty cinema, with decor that had not been painted or repaired since the 1930’s, and pay prices that had risen much faster than inflation, when television could entertain you more cheaply in the warmth of your own fireside every night?

Filmmakers tried to fight back by taking on techniques that could not be copied on TV. 3-D films appeared, requiring the use of special projectors, screens and expensive glasses. It was a short-lasting gimmick. Cinemascope brought wide-screen ‘epics’ that only big cinemas could manage to show effectively. Some new cinemas were built, usually on the same lines as 1930’s cinemas. Some older houses tried to catch a paying audience by showing soft porn films which could not be shown on TV.

Cinema owners were sometimes slow to see that times had changed. The chain system, in which all the cinemas in a particular company would show the same film in the same week might have saved some money in distribution costs. However, the result was that the new car-owning public, perhaps wanting a change from TV and willing to drive across town to see a film, were faced with less choice than there could have been. Only later did owners think of splitting large cinemas up into two, or even three separate, smaller cinemas, thereby offering more choice and cutting running costs.

The rise of video hire in the 1980’s was a further blow to the cinema. At the lowest point, about 1985, there were less than 1,000 cinemas open in Britain.

What happened to the cinemas?

The two most common fates of old cinemas were demolition or bingo. The bingo craze started in 1961 and turning cinemas into bingo halls at least kept them more or less intact. The other fates of old cinemas are too many to list. They have become shops, carpet warehouses, chapels, bowling alleys, temples, even car showrooms.

Then & Now

Two photographs depicting the same view, one taken a period of time after the other, give us an instantaneous impression of ‘ then ‘ and ‘now ‘. Some comparisons show old views that are instantly recognisable, where the natural passage of time and technology has made only slight changes.

Other views illustrate major change and it can be difficult to comprehend that an area has altered so much. Unless you have lived through a change and can remember what was there before, there is often no reason to question what building was replaced or how the area functioned in the past.

Cool All Your Testing images

Some cool all your testing images:

Car Show Strobing with a Paul C Buff Einstein Strobe
all your testing
Image by Kᵉⁿ Lᵃⁿᵉ
For a higher resolution & COMPLETE video, check out this video on my YouTube page: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF48dzBro7I

Equipment: DSLR, tripod, strobe, battery pack for strobe, strobe trigger, light modifier, boom arm, wireless camera trigger. Setup: I put my camera on a tripod. My camera has a strobe trigger in the hot shoe and a wireless camera receiver/trigger on the side of the camera. I’m using a single Einstein 640WS strobe which is attached to the end of my boom arm, this helps me to position the light over the vehicle and gives me the ability to stand away from the car as far as possible. I have a wireless camera trigger in my hand and away I shoot.
So most car shows that I have been to are during the worst part of the day…NOON, bright sunlight and usually no cloud coverage. But no problem ! I find a vehicle I really like, setup the tripod, secure my DLSR on the tripod and frame up my shot. I focus on something near the front of the vehicle, or close to the camera, when I nail the focus, then I switch autofocus to manual. The camera doesn’t need to re-focus for every shot, it’s already set one time. Camera settings are usually shutter ~1/250 sec (max flash sync speed, although I have gotten away with 1/320 without the shutter lag/black stripe in my image) the faster the shutter speed, the darker the ambient lighting, right ? So the background darkness is your preference. Aperture setting has to be quite lower then I want, and I set it at f/4 minimum. I haven’t tried f/8 or higher yet, so I’ll probably try some new things this weekend, i got a couple of car shows I’m going to here locally. It’s all about trying new things and learning what works and what doesn’t. Getting back to the shutter speed, we both know that 1/250 sec will not get the ambient dark enough (maybe that works for you ?), but to make things even darker I typically use a 3-stop ND filter to block even more light (I guess this give the appearance of shooting at night, things get really dark). You can screw in your 3-stop ND filter and still use auto focus on bright sunny days. I have even filter stacked a 2-stop ND filter on top of my 3-stop ND filter, but lately I just stick to the 3-stop since it gives me favorable results, but you can try it out on your own and see if it’s something you like. Your couple of shots will be "test shots" and you’ll have to adjust flash power your your aperture from blowing the highlights out. You are going to take quite a few shots of the car, because your light modifier will not cover large areas, I usually have the strobe anywhere from 4 to 6 feet away on average, but I’m still new at this and getting a better "feel" of where things need to be in my setup/process. The more images you take, then the better your post-processing will be as you will have more choices in lighting to blend. It’s funny, my car strobing started with strobing flowers and statues, but I was curious one day about strobing a car and how it would turn out, unfortunately I used my off camera flash and softbox and found out that it was not enough flash power and that the softbox diffuser had actually reduce my light power by 1-stop. It’s all trial and error. Practice, practice, practice ! Learn and try new things.

Other thoughts and additional remarks (things I’m learning along the way):
My first few shots are actually without the flash on. I shoot 2 frames at 1/250s & 1/320s. One of these frames will serve as the "base image" or bottom layer in Photoshop. Just make sure that no person is standing in the background, if you can help it. It should be a clean shot with nothing moving in the background, but sometimes you can’t help it. This image will help set the tone for the ambient lighting level.
It’s sometimes OK if people are walking around the car, just as long as they don’t get between the camera and the area of the car you’re lighting. I always expect people and have had people walk right in front of my camera as I’m shooting. They have no idea what I’m doing and if there’s no one behind the camera, then they think you’re not taking pictures. Just expect that to happen, after all, it’s a car show with lots of people.
In addition to lighting the car, I find it adds more appeal to the image if you light up the asphalt or grass around the car and especially at the corners of the vehicle. I’m finding out that you can have a better image where the car naturally blends into the ground surface, otherwise you’ll end up with an image that looks badly vignetted.
You have to light up the interior of the vehicle, this really makes the image pop ! Just place your light right up to the window and fire away, and take several shots at different angles into the car. Shoot the interior of the car from both sides of the vehicle. It’s OK if you’re standing right at the window, just make sure your body doesn’t get between the camera and the interior.
It really helps to have an assistant help you out. By them standing at the tripod/camera, then most people will avoid walking into your shots, and they always have questions as to what I’m doing. Your assistant can show your portfolio to them to see the final images you’re trying to create. It absolutely baffles non-photographers of what images you can create it bright sunlight and using a strobe. Plus your assistant can help you carry equipment to the next car.
I found out that using the diffusion sock over my beauty dish was reducing my flash output, so I don’t use it.
Shoot the same spot of the vehicle but from different angles. This is because sometime you’ll find out that the light source shows up as a bright reflection of the surface of the car. You can use Photoshop "magic" to sometimes "erase" these unwanted reflections, but I’m still learning about how to eliminate or reduce this in the field.
The color of the car makes a big difference to flash output ! White cars tend to blow out easier, so lower the flash output. Black is impossible to show up at all, so I usually will think about doing a B&W image of it, especially if it has alot of chrome, Shows up good as a B&W image. You will find this out on your own.
Going back to the people and objects moving in the background…I found out recently with an image where there were people sitting behind the car and when I tried to bring in the lighted portion that I had ghosting come through, but I could fix it by making my brush size smaller with a higher hardness on the brush. Avoiding this situation all together is your call. I’m sure you’ll run into this problem at some point.
From Lightroom you’ll bring in all the images you want to stack in Photoshop by using the "edit in…edit images as layers in photoshop" selection. Once in Photoshop, all your images should be in one file, and then you should align the images by using edit…auto-align images.
Be aware of the sun ducking in and out of the clouds if the situation arises. Your light levels obviously won’t match from exposure to exposure. But I don’t think it’s a show stopper, you can adjust for that in post.
I haven’t tried shooting with a polarizer, not sure what it will do, but will try to see if it has any effect. Maybe it could eliminate or reduce the light from reflecting off the surface of the car ?

Here’s what I use:
1.) Nikon D800
2.) Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 lens
2.) Really Right Stuff tripod
3.) Wireless camera trigger [www.amazon.com/Sidande-Wireless-Intervalometer-D1series-D…]
4.) 3-stop B&W ND filter [www.adorama.com/BW77ND8X.html]
5.) Elinchrom Boom Arm [www.adorama.com/EL31049.html]
6.) Einstein 640WS strobe
7.) CST-2 CyberSync Trigger
8.) Vagabond Mini Lithium battery pack (I actually have 4 of them now)
9.) 22" beauty dish (Paul C. Buff)
10.) Photoshop (any version)

Of course the real magic happens in Photoshop by bringing all the exposures together, but I’d have to show you or you might be able to check out some videos on YouTube on how to blend exposures together. I’ve posted some video links in my earlier images online.

Give it try and ask me anything along the way. I think it would be cool to help someone and actually see their automotive photography go to the "next level", for me photography is just a hobby so I don’t mind passing along information, so I don’t mind help a fellow photographer (and automotive photographer at that !) how I shoot and process my photos. It’s all about learning.

These videos may help:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeRDHzVLulY
www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X5TJeABmtk
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe70LxtCrkc
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF9GRhxWbLU
www.youtube.com/watch?v=u197v9JXlhI
www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN2VY5xWGp4

Cool All Your Testing images

Some cool all your testing images:

J-2X Rocket Engine Last Test of 2011 (NASA, J-2X, 12/14/11)
all your testing
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
On Dec. 14, NASA engineers conducted their final J-2X engine test for 2011 — the 10th in a series — at the A-2 test stand at the Stennis Space Center. The upper stage engine is a key component of the Space Launch System, a new heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

Read the NASA press release:
www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/j2x/11-158.html

Image credit: NASA/SSC

More about the J-2X Engine Development:
www.nasa.gov/j2x

There’s a Flickr photoset about the J-2X egnine development, if you’d like to know more: www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/sets/72157625345364038/

_____________________________________________
These official NASA photographs are being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photographs. The photographs may not be used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by NASA. All Images used must be credited. For information on usage rights please visit: www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/MP_Photo_Guidelin…

Mt. Spokane Pano
all your testing
Image by Philerooski
Sorry I haven’t been around to comment anyone’s stream much. I just haven’t been digging Flickr lately.

A couple days ago I turned 16. Woohoo! Now I just have to convince my parents that I need to take my driving test ASAP… For my birthday I got a new keyboard. It’s got a whole 88 keys and it’s a beast. If you turn it all the way up and play loudly on it, it blows your mind. Like it literally blows your mind and you have to take a 5 minute break just to recover from its awesomeness.

So this weekend I headed up to the cabin again. No snow, and the lake is in mid-melt. So there’s not much to do. I went to see the USA Cross Country Championships yesterday and that was very cool. A lot of Olympic runners were there and I got to see them dominate all the college kids. It was good stuff.

Grrr… Another controversial stitching job.

Cool Only Your Test images

A few nice only your test images I found:

On the road, from Roswell to Riverside – Apr 1992, #1
only your test
Image by Ed Yourdon
After I had seen everything I wanted to see in Roswell, I hit the road again — and started driving west towards California, which is the direction that my family took when moving from Roswell to Riverside, CA in the spring of 1954.

We drove through the Alamagordo site of various missile tests, not too far from where the original atomic bomb test had taken place in the 1940s.

This photo was taken about 50 miles west of Socorro, NM — between the towns of Magdalena and Datil. You’ve probably never heard of those towns, but it’s also in the general vicinity, on the Plains of St. Augustin, of the Very Large Array (VLA) radio astronomy observatory. Of course, the VLA wasn’t here when we drove through this area in 1954: its construction did not begin until 1973, and it was formally inaugurated in 1980.

I know you’re thinking to yourself, "Where have I seen those VLA radar dishes before?" (There are 27 of them, in case you wondered, and each one weighs 209 metric tons.)

The answer, of course, is Contact — the 1997 movie starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. (Don’t tell me you haven’t seen the movie. Shame, shame! Go buy it or rent it or stream it right now. Here’s the URL to learn more about the movie: www.imdb.com/media/rm1260489216/tt0118884?ref_=tt_ov_i )

As for the VLA, you can read more about it in this Wikipedia article:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Array

*****************************

Most of the photos in this album were taken nearly 40 years after we first moved to Roswell, as part of some research that I was doing for a novel called Do-Overs, the beginning of which can be found here on my website

www.yourdon.com/personal/fiction/doovers/index.html

and the relevant chapter (concerning Roswell) can be found here:

www.yourdon.com/personal/fiction/doovers/chapters/ch7.html

Before I get into the details, let me make a strong request — if you’re looking at these photos, and if you are getting any enjoyment at all of this brief look at some mundane Americana from 60+ years ago: find a similar episode in your own life, and write it down. Gather the pictures, clean them up, and upload them somewhere on the Internet where they can be found. Trust me: there will come a day when the only person on the planet who actually experienced those events is you. Your own memories may be fuzzy and incomplete; but they will be invaluable to your friends and family members, and to many generations of your descendants.

So, what do I remember about the year that I spent in Roswell? Not much at the moment, though I’m sure more details will occur to me in the days to come — and I’ll add them to these notes, along with additional photos that I’m tweaking and editing now (including some of the drive from Roswell to Riverside, CA where our family moved next), as well as some “real” contemporaneous photos I’ve found in family scrapbooks.

For now, here is a random list of things I remember:

1. I discovered roller skates while I lived here — perhaps aided by the presence of nice, smooth, wide sidewalks throughout this whole area of town. Sometimes my mother sent me on a small shopping expedition to the local grocery store, about two blocks away, to buy a quart of milk or a couple of other minor things. The shorts that I wore had no pockets (I have no idea why), so I put the coins that my mother gave me into my mouth, for safekeeping. That way, I had both hands free in case I tripped and fell … but if I had done so, I probably would have swallowed the coins.

2. For Christmas that year (i.e., Christmas of 1953), I was given a .22-caliber rifle. Even today, it would cause only a shrug in many rural parts of the U.S.; and it was certainly unremarkable in the 1950s. My dad felt that every boy should have a rifle, and should learn how to shoot it, clean it, and take care of it in a responsible fashion. I think his intention was to take me out into the open area outside of Roswell, to shoot at rabbits or gophers; but we ended up shooting at cans and bottles in the local dump.

3. In 1953, Roswell had not acquired any fame or attention for its proximity to the alleged alien landing in 1947. Trust me: if there had been even a hint of a rumor, the young kids in that town would have heard about it. Whatever may (or may not) have happened there . If you have no idea what this is all about, take a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roswell_UFO_incident

4. For young boys, it was great sport to shoot at moving creatures. Dogs and cats were considered off-limits; and as implied above, we were not allowed to wander the streets with a .22 rifle. But we all had slingshots, and there were an infinite number of lizards in the area. Unfortunately, lizard were far too quick to hit with a relatively inaccurate slingshot (especially if shot with an unevenly-shaped rock; and it was only a year later, in California, that I began shooting marbles). Our greatest success was actually with slower creatures: horned toads, usually referred to as “horny toads,” or just “horns.” Indeed, they were slow enough that you could capture them with bare hands. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, so take a look at this National Geographic article: animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/horned-toad/

123/365 Deaf awareness week
only your test
Image by clogsilk

This week is Deaf Awareness week. In the UK there are almost 9 million deaf and hard of hearing adults of which nearly 7 million are severely or profoundly deaf.

1 in 1000 children are deaf at the age of 3 and currently there are around 20,000 children who are moderately to profoundly deaf covering the ages of 0-15 years old. Only 12,000 of these children were born deaf.

It is important to raise awareness, never underestimate how being Deaf can affect somebody’s life. Just learning the alphabet in sign language, or learning how to speak clearly, facing the person you are speaking to, can make a huge difference. Being patient, innovative and calm also helps.

The NDCS have announced that the theme for this year’s Deaf Awareness week is "Look at Me".

"This theme aims to improve understanding of deafness by highlighting the range methods of communication methods used by deaf children, such as sign language and lip reading."

The RNID provide a completely confidential "Check your hearing" test. Give it a go, it may be the best thing you did. See www.rnid.org.uk/howwehelp/hearing_check/take_online_heari...

For more information about what you can do to help Deaf people, or where to go if you’re worried about your hearing, see the following links:

www.ndcs.org.uk/
www.rnid.org.uk

Cool Test Yours images

Check out these test yours images:

DSC_8514_pp
test yours
Image by WalterPro
Ultra-wide-angle zoom lens test – Trying out the latest addition to my gear a AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR—an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens from my favorite online retailer Amazon.com. And what a deal at 6.95 made even better by deducting for opening an Amazon credit account. Now where else can you get genuine brand new Nikon ultra wide angle lens for 6.95 ! The nearest equivalent is the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 also on Amazon for 9 and that lens doesn’t have any vibration reduction compensation !

As a side note these images were taken while the Tampa Bay area was under a Tropical Storm warning due to Tropical Storm Emily transitioning the region, you just got to love Florida !

Testing the Lights
test yours
Image by Phil Roeder
I don’t know what it is about Christmas lights that they work fine last year but you get them out of the box this year and half of them don’t light up. So, we bought a bunch of new lights this year and went with the high-tech LED version. They supposedly last longer and use less electricity, but I think you need to have them on non-stop for a decade before you save enough to pay for them. We were testing them on the living room floor before taking them outside to hang, so I figured one more holiday bokeh opportunity.

Cool Only Your Test images

Some cool only your test images:

Tangled up in blue
only your test
Image by Rob de Vries,
Hello out there..

I got tagged, as they call it. On Internet one has an avatar, and mostly not for nothing. Now people started a game asking one to remove the veil as much as one dares. It is like the old game of Play Tag, so, "being it" I must tag some other recluse, who is undoubtedly going to kill me, so I picked someone who could only do so by using a bomb-letter.
Here comes my nineteenth nervousbreakdown, as Mr Jagger once said.

1. I was born in januari 1941, at about 01.30, after six month of marriage of my Christian born parents, weighing remarkably much for a premature. Nothing I could do about it and I did not question my name, Robert, in contrast to the rest of the family, who were trying to figure out who this Robert must have been in the past of my rather Victorian mother. No Faith was mentioned after that, the families’ reaction on the issue had not amused her.
My little sister, who could count, reveiled me the situation afterwards, when I was about 30.
I am maybe a little naive.

2. My first four years I lived happily with my parents, while the outside world was in flames. We lived in Deventer, which had two bridges, an attractive target for the Allies. There were no Smart Bombs then.
We moved to the centre in november 1944; the next day our old house was bombed, killing some collaborators, but not me. Our new house had shelter, I still remember the faces of the people hiding in our big cellar during the raids.
I knew what happened, I am not thát naive.

3. My kindergarten-teacher describes me as an intelligent kid, living in his own phantasyworld, sensitive, very honest, with a veil that could be seldomly lifted, difficult for himself and others, very exstatic at times, with a good sense of humour. I drew and painted a lot and had a keen interest in learning.
I was a little naive too.

4: After the usual quiet years before adolescense I went to secondary school, where, besides learning some languages, I got in touch with chemistry and became an Alchimist.
My father being a medical doctor, I could get almost everything I wanted with his prescription papers. Very fortunate. I had a lot of luck, nearly blowing myself up a couple of times, after which my parents asked me kindly to do other experiments. I did not, I was somewhat naive in those days.
I also met my Partner for Life. It was 1959. And I started with photography, and loved details and composition.

5: I was called into militairy service in 1960. The army and me did not quite match, as I had learned to reason at home and at school. My primary question was "Why?", not always acceptable for my superiors. I was kicked off from officerstraining after three month, under suspicion of sabotage. I was removed to an open prisoncamp for the rest of my service, wich tested my sense of humour somewhat.
But then, I always wàs a bit naive
I also got to be an Anarchist, theoretical, fundamental, not aggressive.
I kept painting and drawing and was interested in explosives. Photography was out of the question.

6: As my teacher found me a bit too impulsive and sloppy to study Chemistry, and my request for the Academy of Art bounced because of a Lacking Future (my father thought), I went to the University of Groningen to study Law, the idea being that that was easy and I could find out what I wanted. It was 1962. I had no ambition at all.
I got into a students-house in a starters-room of about 3x3m, without natural light fortunately, so I made it my Workplace and Darkroom too. My Other Half joined me there a year later. It was quite cosy. Later we moved into better rooms, but the 3×3 stayed as a darkroom.
She was a teacher, and combining students-hours with her job was rather tiring. I also made it a point to wake her up enthousiasticaly in the middle of the night with a new product.
Call me naive. We got married in 1967.

7: I became infatuated with the 60-ies more and more. I also got more interested in people than in black characters on white paper. My final degrees were in Penal Law, Criminology and Forensic Psychiatry.
I tried to continue my studies in criminology or the deeper parts of crime. I DID get to teaching Law and Social science at a secondary school.
Being anarchist by heart, I had my own way with my pupils, and my "dialogues" with my director and other colleges were considered to be a bit provoking, so, in spite of having delivered good grades to my pupil-friends I was removed, for doing my best, for the second time.
I felt naïve for the first time and went hopping mad.

8: Realizing that if I had these troubles in the relatively safe surroundings of an educational institute, I would meet the same people elsewhere, and being quite recalcitrant, I decided to go to the Academy of Art. This upset my Other Half because she had expected something quite different, and she left.
I left, that is, because the little house I had taken over for her from a squatting junk made her cry. Couldn’t have that happen.
The only fight we had dividing the stuff was over a Dylan-record (Subterrenean Homesick Blues) We have it double now.
I understood her perfectly too. Wished her well. Naive ass.

9: So I went to paint and took pictures, even professionally for a time, but my love for experiment and New Ways did not always lead to acceptable images at the times it counted.
I once screwed up a Wedding-job because I found a new developer and film that should work better. But of course it did not. Fortunately the marriage turned sour too, quickly.
I left the Academy in 1978.
I earned my money as a teacher, but every single job blew up for the same reasons as the first one.
Finally, in 1982, I ended up, at an Institute that accepted my ways, as an advisor in Art at primary schools.
My very first class consisted of pupils of 6 years old, whom I presented with a lesson about dots and lines, realizing halfway my introduction, that I looked at a lot of blank faces. I got quite warm.
To my surprise they took to drawing like wild animals, and I was presented, accompanied by a lot of proud grins, with 20 drawings of a very sweaty teacher, droplets all over the place.
That tought me not to be so naive.

10: The divorce went as wrong as the marriage, so we lived apart together for a long time. My Other Half loved travelling to far away places, while I see cutting off a corner in the wood as Adventure.
In the beginning she went on her own, Iran, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan. Later she tricked me into coming with her. I went as far as India, Nepal, Malawi and Tibet. Morocco came last.
I liked it all.
We bought the house I squatted in and started living together again. With a good workplace. It was then I bought a computer.
Can’t escape being naive.

11. The first Gulf War began and I went bonkers when the bombing started. I looked with horror, got bombed myself again.
Difficult times followed: depressions, manic periodes, hallicunations.
Lost my official job but stayed at the Institute as graphic designer, being payed partly by the Ministery of Health, partly by the Institute. In these times I got to Nepal and Tibet. It was difficult but comforting.
The mentality of the Nepalese and Tibetans and the principles of Buddhism were a lot like what I saw in my "Dreams". After 12 years or so, it all got better and better. I learned a hell of a lot during this period. Maybe not so naive anymore.

12: Then some old friend gave me the gift of Flickr. I like it a lot, it challenges me to no end and I am very fond of the comments and discussions. My Alchemists soul rejoyces in photo-editing.
I can feel my work gets better by observing and weighing the work and comments other people make. It inspires me, in short.
So: if you are still awake, thank you for your interest and comments. And your pictures.
If you want my unprotected face: I look remarkably like my buddy-icon (~_*)

横批:后果自负 || No parking
only your test
Image by _Ardu_
A funny couplet which is not representing any best blessing whereas it is only a WARNING: no parking in front the door. Because the ecnomic develops and the government encourages people to buy the cars in order to stimulate domestic demand, more and more cars appear. The side effect has gradually shown up: no parking area. Someone might take every little piece space to park without considering whether the location is allowing parking. It has a rumor Xiamen is going to restrict releasing the license of car. Someone has started panic asking me why I don’t buy a car after passing the driving test and having the driving license. Reason is simple: without buying a car, I only have a concern that is the license, but if I buy a car, I have several concerns: where to parl, money to run the car including gasoline, parking expense, some other regular expense, probably some small accidents… Of course, someone will argue you might extend your circle of live, yes, but now I am fine. Let me be a small frog in the well. Not yet time to jump out.

poor sweet prince
only your test
Image by praline3001
Prince is a 3-4 month old terrified boy. He isn’t feral as he bonds quickly to people but he is TERRIFIED. He was found at an Exxon station and God only knows what happened to this boy before he was rescued. He needs a very special person to love him. He rubs against me, climbs in my lap and wants me to scratch this ears. He needs a quiet non threatening home that is dog free. You will have to earn this boy’s love but when you do you will never regret it! I am half in love already. Best LAP CAT EVER

All kittens are vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and spayed/neutered prior to adoption. Also included is blood test for FELLUK and FIV as well as flea prevention. Adoption fee is for 1 or 0 for 2. If you are interested in adopting please fill out an online application here : form.jotform.us/form/50758343764160

Cool Your Tests images

A few nice your tests images I found:

The Sacrifice of Abraham
your tests
Image by Lawrence OP
Today’s 1st reading at Mass:
"God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’
Rising early next morning Abraham saddled his ass and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place God had pointed out to him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there; we will worship and come back to you.’
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together. Isaac spoke to his father Abraham, ‘Father’ he said. ‘Yes, my son’ he replied. ‘Look,’ he said ‘here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.’ Then the two of them went on together.
When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ he replied. ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.’ Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son. Abraham called this place ‘The Lord Provides’, and hence the saying today: On the mountain the Lord provides.
The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. ‘I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.’
Abraham went back to his servants, and together they set out for Beersheba, and he settled in Beersheba."
(Genesis 22:1-19).

My sermon for today can be read here.

Stained glass window from the church of St Jean-Baptiste in New York City.

Fate or Destiny?
your tests
Image by .niCky.
" You are the master of your own destiny. Use your strengths well.
They are the keys to your destiny and your success in life.
Once you know yourself and take action to realize your dreams,
you can unlock the doors to your own potential."
~ Neil Somerville

☆Fate is what happens if you never open the box and solve the puzzle of who you are.☆

★Destiny is what you create if you solve the puzzle and manifest one or more of the possibilities defined by your potential. ★

View On Black

©Nicky All rights reserved

Cool Your Tests images

Some cool your tests images:

a new recipe
your tests
Image by Yutaka Seki
Making your own bread is very rewarding, and I was inspired to bake a new recipe, seeing Eyewanders Foto‘s beautiful creation of buttermilk bread. Thank you for pointing me to the recipe at Restless Chipotle:
www.restlesschipotle.com/buttermilk-bread/

The recipe makes two loaves. I used my two bread machines to knead the dough, omitted the ginger and used all-purpose flour. Now I just need to wait for it to cool down a bit, before slicing and having a taste test!

testing my action camera
your tests
Image by ftrc
Fotostrasse visits the Porvoo Archipelago. You can read more about it on our blog: fotostrasse.com/porvoo-archipelago/

Cool All Your Testing images

A few nice all your testing images I found:

Where Do The Marshmellows Grow?
all your testing
Image by Viewminder
The funny thing is that they don’t even grow in marshes I heard.

Why the hell do they call them ‘marshmellows’ then?

The ‘mellow’ part is obvious.

But apparently they got nothin’ to do with marshes.

I learned that cranberries grow in bogs though.

And tapioca comes from the inside of trees.

Life is a strange journey like that.

I’m always askin’ myself questions.

I question everything.

I wonder about so much shit.

I was the worst kid like that but my parents were always cool with it.

They knew that once I started askin’ questions that I had to have the answer.

When I asked questions about the Sears Tower…

my dad’d take me to see the Building Engineer.

So I could ask him questions.

Did you know that the Sears Tower grows almost eight inches during a period of high tidal pull?

The building engineer told me that.

When we saw a plane crash my dad let me out of the car to go check it out even though I had to walk about six miles home after that.

Something he’d be arrested for today.

That was the day I decided that I had to become a pilot.

Because that pilot was so cool.

I was maybe eight or nine and I had to trek through about a half a mile of muddy field to get to the plane.

By the time I got there the pilot was gettin’ chewed out by his girfriend and duckin’ flyin’ suitcases and stuff.

He was really happy to see me.

I guess I provided a little ‘diversion’ for him and I noticed his girfriend cooled off right away too… I mean she stopped throwin’ shit at him at least…

although she was still pretty pissed about his losing an engine… his only engine… on the way to their vacation.

He showed me the inside of the plane and told me how everything worked.

His girfriend sat on a suitcase with her arms folded lookin’ pissed.

That’s how girfriends can be you know?

Dude saved their ass… glides his powerless plane into a muddy field… avoids the powerlines and barely dents that sweet Beech Bonanza… neither of them gets hurt… the guy’s a freakin’ hero…

and she’s all mad at him.

‘We should’ve just drove’ I heard her say… ‘I told you we should have driven.’

If she knew just what he’d done right there… by the time I arrived on the scene she’d have been making voracious love to the guy or otherwise demonstrating her affection for him in a more romantic way.

Bonanza’s are known to glide like a brick when the engine quits.

Her boyfriend done good.

Another hundred feet and he’d have plowed it into a treeline.

I think he deserved a real and sincere and generous ‘atta boy’ at least.

‘If this plane’s a rockin’ don’t come knockin’

She shoudda showed old boy some ferocious love right there I’m telling you.

Then I would have decided to become a pilot the next day.

‘Mom, dad… I’m dropping out of school to become a pilot’ I can see myself saying.

‘But you’re only in the fourth grade’ my mom would say.

‘It’s been my lifelong dream.’

I thought that guy was so cool… I mean… he just crashed a plane and he was talkin’ to me.

He did everything right because he kept his cool.

The only thing he didn’t do right is deal with the girlfriend properly but I didn’t know that then.

Of course now I understand that the proper reaction to the girlfriend would have been to say something like…

‘baby… I know that I’ve just saved us from certain fiery death and everything… but revelling in the moment would be selfish… and even though I’m totally pumped up and all jacked on adrenaline I can feel the emotional disconnect growing between us at the moment… which saddens me more than I’m probably letting on because of all of this excitement… and I really just want to reassure you that I love you and I care about you more than anything in the world… I want you to know that you are the most beautiful woman in the world to me… even sitting on a suitcase in a muddy field after we just crashed in a plane because of my arrogance and stupidity… that I’m sorry that the airplane’s engine quit… you didn’t deserve to be put through this… you deserve to be flown around in a plane that’s taken care of by a more competent mechanic… and I chose aircraft mechanics poorly and in a way that wasn’t considerate of you… I was wrong… I feel like I let you down… and I don’t like how that makes me feel inside… when the airplane’s engine quit my first thought was you… I was scared that I could lose you… I wanted to discuss how you were feeling inside right then and there but I had to fly the plane… I promised myself that the second we survived this crash that I’d address these issues together with you… that’s why I’m talking to you now… because I’m keeping that promise that I made with myself… I didn’t like how the whole episode made me feel… and it made me feel powerless and vulnerable and I’m going to need time to deal with those issues on my own… and I promise to reach out to a professional for help if I have to… I can understand why you’re angry and you’re right… we should have just driven… I should have listened to you… because every time I fuck up royally it’s you that’s there to tell me what I should have done… and I know it’s because you love me and it comes from a good place in your heart… it’s because you care… not just because you want to change me… I’ll take life more seriously from now on I promise and I want you to know that I’m totally focused on your emotions at the moment if you need to talk about it… just know that I am completely emotionally available to you at this very second… I’m sorry baby… I don’t even care if that piece of shit plane burns with all our luggage in it and I promise to kick that mechanic’s ass next time I see him… I’m just glad that you’re alright… this plane crash has changed me for the better and it’s made me look at everything differently… I feel like a whole new man… I’m so grateful to have you in my life… I promise you that as soon as we get home I will start thinking about all of that shit around the house you’ve been telling me to fix… and I really hope that as we grow old together we look back on this crazy little moment as something that we can laugh about… something that brought us closer together… and made our love stronger… who’s my hot little copilot huh… you are… c’mere you sexy little love nugget… somebody looks like they need a big hug.’

I think that covers all the bases.

Then… just to go the extra mile and because I’m a romantic at heart…

I would have walked back to the plane… grabbed the radio microphone and said loudly enough that she could hear me…

‘Midway Tower this is Beechcraft yadda yadda yadda… I just made that mayday call… I just want you to know that the most beautiful woman on earth… the love of my life and I are on the ground safe and sound… and that I was wrong and I should have listened to her… we’ll be driving next time… over.’

‘Roger that Beech yadda yadda yadda… we’re glad you’re safe and goodluck with the girlfriend… hope you didn’t FUBAR that’ I can imagine the tower would respond.

They should put that in the ‘post crash checklist’ under ‘dealing with your wife/girlfriend after the crash.’

Shit… they should have ‘pilot type’ checklists for girlfriends and wives.

Damn… I could make some money with that idea.

Laminated… with index tabs and everything… bullet pointed issues to address… key words to say over and over again and a sample script tested on female focus groups and approved by psychiatrists, marriage counselors, therapists and divorce attorneys for every scenario.

Things NEVER to say highlighted in red.

Every guy would need a copy of that.

Dealing with womankind without it’d be like flyin’ by the seat of your pants.

My instructor always said… ‘no matter how crazy it gets… stick with the checklist… when the shit hits the fan your head’s gonna be up your ass.’

And he was right.

That dude crashed eight times… flew like a madman-kamikaze wanna be… smoked a pack of Pall Mall filterless cigarettes a day… half of them in the cockpit with me where he’d fall asleep with them burning in his mouth… he drank whiskey straight like water… married an ex-nun and lived to almost ninety.

Lenny Prorok you were the best pilot I’ve ever known and certainly the most fearless.

You did things with airplanes that God, physics and the Wright Brothers never intended… and the FAA certainly objected to.

I miss you.

The guy knew what he was talking about.

If I ever doubted him he’d pull out his original pilots license and show it to me… pointing out that it was signed on the back by Wilber Wright.

Every good argument in the cockpit always seemed to end with ‘see this… this is Orville Wright’s gahdamned signature!’

The guy used to hit me in the cockpit if I messed up.

We flew through some crazy skies together me and that old bird.

Crankiest mofo I ever met.

But the dude could fly.

Man could he fly.

He proved to me that he could land a Cessna 152 in a football field once.

The little move he pulled at the end ‘to clear the goal posts’ he said… that was some scary ass flying.

Wing on a ‘knife edge’ in the craziest sideslip I’ve ever seen ten feet above the ground with the stall warning horn screamin’ as loud as I ever heard it.

That manuever had a ‘pucker factor’ of eleven and it probably took a week for my cajones to relax enough to come out of my esophagus.

I thought that was the end.

Pilots like to use acronyms and rhymes to remember stuff.

I stick with ‘BISYWaR’… busywar… it works in every situation… BISYWaR is an acronym for ‘Baby I’m Sorry You Were Right.’

The little ‘a’ doesn’t mean anything… it’s kinda just thrown in there to make the acronym more ‘wordlike’ and memorable.

The acronym makes sense too.

You don’t use it at the right time… you’re gonna be busy at war.

Put that in your mental pocket guys… right next to the place where you have instant and total recall of the date of your anniversary.

And don’t just use it a lot… use it every chance you get… make it a goal.

No… make it a ‘lifestyle.’

The secret to the phrase’s success is its simplicity and its honesty.

Sometimes a guy is sorry.

Sometimes a guy is sorry his girl is right.

Either way.

I’ve learned since then that women are far more complex than any flying machine ever built.

Even helicopters.

Sittin’ in the pilots seat as the pilot finished gettin’ all of their stuff outta the plane I wondered how I’d have done in the same situation…

would I have kept my cool I wondered…

would I have done everything just right so we could walk away from the ‘forced landing?’

I’m as curious about myself as I am about the world.

It’s all about curiousity I guess.

That’s what it is that I think drives me to get out there and get up close to people on the street.

I’m curious.

I always have been.

I want to know more.

I wanna know about everything.

That’s a good thing I think.

One day I swear I will find out where the marshmellows grow.

National Zoo’s African Lion Cubs Pass Swim Reliability Test and Explore Their Yard
all your testing
Image by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
In this Photo: Animal keeper Kristen Clark and lion cub Left Hip (male)

Photo Credit: Jen Zoon, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

May 6, 2014

Four African lion cubs took a brisk paddle at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo today and passed their swim reliability test. The cubs—three males and one female—were born at the Zoo March 2. All cubs born at the Great Cats exhibit must undergo the swim reliability test and prove that they are ready to be on exhibit. All four cats were able to keep their heads above water, navigate to the shallow end of the moat and climb onto dry land. Now that they have passed this critical step, the cubs are one step closer to being ready to explore the yard with their mother, 9-year-old Shera. The 10-week-old cubs will make their public debut in mid-June once all vaccinations have been administered.

“As keepers, it’s our duty to take every precaution to ensure the cubs’ survival,” said Kristen Clark, an animal keeper at the Great Cats exhibit. “It’s possible that a cub could be playing around and get knocked into the moat by a parent or sibling. We want to make sure that if they find themselves in that situation, they know how to pull themselves out of the water and onto shore.”

Both cubs took the test under Clark’s guard, as she gently guided them in the right direction. The shallow end of the moat is approximately 2 ½ feet deep, which could present an obstacle for young cats. The side of the moat closest to the public viewing area is about 9 feet deep and is an essential safety barrier that effectively keeps the cats inside their enclosure.

In an adjacent exhibit, the two lion cubs born to mother Nababiep Jan. 24 explored their outdoor enclosure after passing their swim test in April. Starting Friday, May 9, keepers will decide on a day-to-day basis whether Naba’s two cubs will spend time in the yard from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This decision will be based on weather and how the cubs adjust to being outdoors. The Zoo will continue to share the latest updates and photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Zoo received a recommendation to breed the lions from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for African lions. An SSP matches individual animals across the country for breeding in order to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining population. Luke, the Zoo’s 8-year-old male lion, sired all six cubs. The next step in building a pride at the Zoo is to introduce all nine lions into the same shared space. The first meeting between them took place April 24 and was captured on video.

“Introductions are always tense the first time you do them, but we always try to build on positive behaviors we’ve seen in the past,” said Rebecca Stites, an animal keeper at the Great Cats exhibit. “All lions seemed interested in one another and their interactions were positive during “howdy door” and face-to-face meetings. We’re gradually increasing the amount of time that the pride is together behind the scenes. Our hope is that they will all be on exhibit as one pride this summer.”

The pride social structure makes lions unique among the great cats, many of which are solitary animals. African lion populations in the wild have dwindled by 30 percent during the past 20 years as a result of poaching, disease and habitat loss. They are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.