Saturday, December 31, 2005


I have many articles that I posted quickly and did not edit. I am currently editing old articles and even sometimes adding new pictures to them to re-build my site so that the mistakes and errors can be corrected. Hopefully my efforts will be noticed! I have left my early posts a mess for a long time and this is probably one reason I don't get as much attention as I wanted to. I really did not know how bad the errors were! --G.Beasley 10/9/2011

HAPPY NEW YEARS-- I wish to thank everyone for your compliments and enthusiasm for my work and my website. As an amateur freelance photographer I am very glad to hear my work on this site is being seen and read. Forgive me if I don't always get back to questions or e-mails. I will generally get around to it when I have time. I like taking pictures more then spending the nearly hour per picture it takes to post them here. (when all is done) Anyway--check these out. Keep emails and comments coming-- I'd like to know more about anything so that my work and my name gets out there. I thank everyone who has sent me a comment and hope you all had a great Christmas. Questions, comments, are all welcome. Also don't forget--these pictures are for sale or use by certain public organizations--contact me about any of that.

I took this just before I left The Dalles--it was snowing like crazy here. That's one thing I really like about living here. This much does not happen every year, but it's allot of fun when it does. A couple years ago I did video sledding, before I got sick. Not a good idea for me now days.

WINTER before I left--beautiful snow all over. We got over a foot here in The Dalles and it stuck around for a few days. I took A LOT of shots and will keep going through the 100s of pictures 35mm, 120 and digital pictures I took during the holidays. This was the most photogenic holiday season I've ever had. I had allot of fun and even got a wildlife lens (300mm) for my Pentax 35mm cameras. My mentor and uncle Ron Beasley I have to thank for this awesome lens. I'm in the market for a $25 spot-o-matic or Pentax lens SLR clone. If you live in The Dalles and have one that works--drop me an e-mail with a phone number and we can make an arrangement. That's a pretty good deal--the going price on used film SLRs is about $10 bucks to free. If I write the exact address those auto-programs will copy it and send me tons of junk mail. The "dot" is just a period and the AT is of course the @ sign.

This is a female Pholcus phalangioides in my basement nearly ready to lay eggs. These were some of my first best macro shots taken with a 'point and shoot' 4mp camera. Outfitted of course with a home made macro lens specially attached and devised by me.

This is the male of the same species, commonly called the 'Daddy long legs'. You can see his enlarged palps which show that this is a male. This trait of "boxing glove" look to the front of all spiders shows that the spider is a male. Contrary to popular myths this does NOT mean they have more poisons and also--the Daddy long legs is NOT the most poison spider in the world by any degree. It is sad that many myths are proliferated about spiders. I have been looking for years and never found a single brown recluse in Oregon. Yet people keep claiming to be bit here. It is not likely they have any substantial populations here. I have met people who truely were bit by the brown recluse spider and seen there scars. The small marks that common species can sometimes make are no complaisant. Hysteria runs ramped and leads to the needless death of way to many species.

Life also goes on in my basement. I plan to write a story about this and the extra-ordinary finds I made about in-door spiders. We need them. The safe ones such as the daddy long legs play a key roll in keeping harmful insects frightening ones such as ear-wigs and furniture eating beetles away from your home. I have the pictures of their webs to prove it. An article for another time.

If my grandma said she could grow a money tree--or a new digital camera--I would believe it. Most all of the flower pictures on my website are hers. She should have her own website but is just not all that interested in computers. My uncle and I do it for her. Despite the cold weather outside and recent snow--her garden patio is climate controlled and she can grow or bloom almost anything. I've never been too interested in flower shots or plants--but I gained a fascination with the complex patterns that flowers have to attract the insects that pollinate them. Some are so selective that only one species of insect can fertilize another flower. The chain of life is fragile. We must continue to increase ways to live on Earth without destroying nature. Other pictures of her flowers are back under "all pictures"

Another Orchid grown by my grandma Beasley in 2005.

And so finally I'm getting home heading towards The Dalles. I was heading past at 60+Mph when I snapped this picture. I only had one chance and got lucky this time to get one of the many incredible falls in the Columbia gorge. I had a great time with my family and enjoyed that very much. Getting home I was able to finally start processing the 100s of holiday pictures I took from several 120 frames to 100s of digital shots. Finally I'm getting some film back tomorrow or so.

I took this a few weeks ago when I had a foot of snow here which still lingers in some small piles. I went out late at night in the VERY COLD air and shot a large number of long exposures. I'm still going through allot of them. Walking for blocks I looked for some of the nice places to catch snow. I have more of these snow and Christmas light shots I wish to share. All of them were taken at 6.1mp res. I took most of them at 200ISO around 1/4 with a mini-tripod.

And soon there were ice cycles on my house. Looking at them at macro I found them to be very full of "junk" from the roof and runoff. I won't ever eat an ice cycle again as I realize this material consists of a great deal of bird crap. I got more pictures of ice cycles and snow-bound plants but here are a couple I recently converted for my site.

I got two species stranded at my grandma's house. This juvenile crab spider. Because it is literally only one millimeter long the pictures I took of it were difficult. This is nearly microscopic image. The hairs being a highlight of this hunter which I found hatched too late in the year. My dad first found close by another juvenile spider, a jumping spider (below). It too was small. It is the same species on the graphic of my website. I think. It's to small yet to know. I let it go but as yet it will not leave to specimen jar I left outside open. Too cold. These late-hatched spiders are common but the rarely live. It is incredible there are any at all in frigid snow and temperatures. But these were found in Portland where it's a bit less harsh. Still, most of these late-hatch-lings probably die due to lack of food or cold.

Although it is too late to ignore we have a special place in this world, no other animal has ever had. To respect even spiders we need only to recall our own brutality to ourselves and our own desperation's. We are a paradox-- humans are the most giving and compassionate species on Earth but they are also the most horrible and dangerous. Children need to learn from the beginning to respect the natural world. How important and fragile it is. This has never been more important. I've seen research on spiders. How kids react when spiders are shown to kids at different ages. It turns out that we probably have NO genetic disposition to fear spiders. Despite many people saying so. On the contrary, snakes provoke a reaction in small children. The fear of spiders is probably a learned thing engrained from childhood. And we use them to represent our greatest fears and darkest ideas. I often wonder why when we are so much worse if you know the facts. We should view them as they are--part the natural plan. And compared to most things dangerous-- almost harmless-- yet we continue to harm them, and in so doing, our selves. Many more people are struck by lightning every year then are bit by dangerous spiders. Using gloves while working the garden and keeping doors shut can eliminate most problems people have with spiders and there stinging/biting kin. Wasp and bee stings are almost always more dangerous--yet the spider still gets the brunt of our aggression. WHY?

A LYNX spider (Oxyopidae) --New photo added in 2011.
One of many harmless species often MISTAKEN for a brown recluse due to it's sometimes brown body and wondering nature. This spider is yet another garden dwelling species which is not considered dangerous to humans. I myself have been bit by one, it was again not even as bad as bee-sting. This one was found in a garden. The brown recluse has a specific look which can be seen on many websites. If you are trying to identify one you need to not only make sure of the body looks but count the eyes. They have 6 eyes only--and this is one of the critical means that they can be partially identified as there are not very many species of spiders with only six eyes. If you think you have a brown recluse--DON'T jump to conclusions--email me and I should be able to identify it for you. DIRECT

(Lynx spider) (Oxyopidae) Face on view--click on picture to see eyes in center of screen and use back arrow to return to site.

Treat all spiders with respect, but do not kill them just for the sake of fear. There is a disturbing trend of websites which show pictures of common local brownish spiders and calling them the "brown recluse" to attempt to get you to buy there product with scare tactics! This is false advertizing and WRONG. I have written one of these companies but they have yet to respond to my comment and willingness to provide them with a picture of a real brown recluse. THIS IS NOT A BROWN RECLUSE it is a common beneficial species important to the environment.

More people die of bee-stings each year then spiders. It turns out that the honey bees are dieing out due to new types of pesticides put into the crops and seeds as well as the use of mono-crop agriculture. This is what has caused honey bees to get (CCD) colony collapse disorder. When will we learn that pesticides are not the answerer to dealing with 'pests' and that we must live with the natural world? Poisons snakes, sharks, lighting, you are all more likely to die of that then you are of spider bites. No matter where you live. Yet the honey bee is hardly ever an object of fear and does not usually make our "skin crawl". Why? Because it is vital to our survival as humans obliviously, we do not fear it so? What we often don't realize is spiders are just as

A tiny trash spider (Cyclosa) (Probably in this case a Cyclosa conica)
A serious mosquito eater of the Northwestern forests and many other places.

It is a known scientific yet hard to believe fact that if all spiders were to suddenly largely die off, I don't think humans would last more then about a decade or two. Insects and there diseases would be as big a crisis if not worse then fears of the loss of pollinators like honey bees. Some scientists have calculated that if all spider species were decimated, we would literally be knee deep in insects! And even moreover, cannibalization is not nearly as common in the spider world as most people think. Many species as my recent pics show can get along and reproduce almost with a tenderness. Most species just mate and part ways. Several species actually commit suicide, and in only a few do the males become food for the females to provide extra protein so that she can lay her eggs. Most people have no idea that there are many spider species who live in communities that resemble those of many higher species.

This was one small crab spider. I spotted it only because it was near the web of this larger jumping spider my dad pointed out above the table just before Christmas dinner. They were clearly headed for a fight together like this when I found them. One of them nearly had it's own version of Christmas dinner.

IN A STAND OFF and or BLISSFULLY UNAWARE- Both spiders are hungry and clearly before I separated them they could have attacked each other for food and territory. The crab spider had found the jumping spider's silk hiding spot. It may not have detected the jumping spider inside--or this could have been a silk-coincidence- probably the hungry and powerfully equipped crab spider was ready to launch an attack on the jumper inside. Since they can release there
limbs at will (legs fall off under stress)--the fight's outcome is by no means certain. Both have a insect/spider-toxic venom. The flower spider probably has the most toxic. But what would have happened here I don't know. I honestly don't know enough about spider on spider attacks as they are rare to see in the wild and unlike some people I refuse to force them in captivity. One thing is clear--crab spiders can bring down bumble bees in flight that are almost four times as large as they are-- and dangerous. The crab spider (flower spider) despite it's small size is a formidable advisory. I doubt the jumper has any immunity to it's venom. This is a forced situation of hunger and not usual pray. We look down on spiders for such savagery. But as a species have we really been much better? Humans on the other hand, in many countries, eat the meat of Primates such as chimps. This is are closest living ancestor. Often this is called "bush meat". Same difference here I figure. I have been to many distant countries and seen the human realty as well as suffering on a terrible scale for myself. I think that it is what humankind does to itself and does not do to help all to often-- makes us the most dangerous, and violent species of animal there is. Yet we judge animals and even other races of humans as being "savage". You know, the latest evidence says that everyone alive today has 600 common ancestors. As hard as that is to believe, it seems a scientific fact. This shows how close we really are to each other and to me is further proof of why compassion and forgiveness--non-violence--should be the attitude for almost all situations. We may be destroying the natural world but we do have an innate ability to see past wrongs we do and others do to us with compassion. We are able to cooperate and somehow and achieve greatness. My favorite countries are the Buddhist ones and I myself have recently become more and more interested in Buddhism. I'm not a pessimist. Someday I hope we go to the stars when we have many things figured out here first. I have no doubt, spiders will find some way to hitch a ride with us.

The daddy long legs--a male. One of the most beneficial and harmless spiders in the world.

Spiders also have a strange caring side. One species I recently read about actually becomes the ultimate mother by committing suicide so that her young can eat her body. Now that is gross--but only one species I know of does it. Several species of male spiders commit suicide for the female by thrusting there abdomen into her fangs! Every time, on purpose to mate and in fact will not even start mating until they have forced there body into the females chrlicera! There is an estimated 35,000 species of spiders and only a very small number of them practice any kind of regular cannibalism. We like to demonize what we fear. Often for good reason. But if we are to survive in the long term we must admit our own history to ourselves and accept all species and there rights to this planet as well. I was absolutely shocked when I found out how cattle are treated. That they never see the light of day--everything is artificial--even sex--and is so discussing I can hardly eat beef. The treatment and slaughtering methods used on cattle and most other animals in western society is far more disgusting then any spider species could ever create or devise.

THE BLACK WIDDOW is a dangerous species. I have pictures in this site in other places as well as a video. Despite her reputation as being a killing widow, she does not have much choice in the matter. If she lets the male free, or he simply goes free, he will die in a matter of hours. Male black widdows are born without feeding organs, thus they live for one reason, to mate with the female and provide her with a meal. Yeah, it being a guy can really suck if your a spider. A great many species harmlessly lock jaws in a display that resmbles kissing to show submission and mate. Even if disterbed I've seen them come back together in what I can only call spider passion! Theres no agression, and little or no danger of a mate becoming a meal.

Two 'money spiders' going at it! This lasted for as long as I had time to shoot. My camera scared them a couple of times and they broke up only to get back together and go at it again! Catching spiders mating in the wild is a rare thing I have only done twice.

HAUNTED HOLIDAYS? ? You know those shows about ghosts on the Sci-fi channel and the Discovery channels and stuff? Well--here's a photographer's analysis of one of the biggest claims they make. I do believe a bit I guess, in ghosts (or something) for several reasons. Most of it however, is BUNK. The Lockness monster, Bigfoot & UFO abductions are things I have kept an open mind in but don't just believe in because. I'm an open-minded skeptic. I believe that people want to believe so much they miss the fact that they are playing tricks on themselves or having them played on. People love to play pranks or make wild claims about things that they have little or know knowledge of-- like photography-- in this case of so called "orbs". They are usually bugs but often snow or dust particles caught by a photo flash or bright lights are everywhere making them common in photos. I'm not sure where the term came from but it has NOTHING to do with spiders. This is a totally different subject here. My opinion of the un-explained is very skeptical. I usually respect believers. And I don't call people liars. I just know the mind can play funny tricks on you. My travels around the world to over 14 different countries has shown me lots of strange things, some of which I cannot explain. I fully think most people are being truthful about there experiences. It is often actually a trick of some kind or a condition of some kind that they don't understand or know about. An important note here--the picture below is COMPLETELY un-touched by any photo-editing program. I can see how these strange things that appear in pictures could be mistaken for supernatural effects by people who do not know the principles of optics and photography. Get educated before you make a claim about something!

I pick up "orbs" on film and digital all the time. Sometimes they are even a nuisance. My video camera in night-vision mode gets them as well when dust particles move around a dark room. As a serious amateur photographer---I know exactly what they are and see them in places you would never think to be "haunted". In fact they are quite easy to make on purpose. Particles, sometimes in the air as dust (in this case small snow flakes out of focus) and sometimes on the lens when the cameras depth of field is right. Either that--or this shot in my neighbors yard is one of the most haunted spots in the world!!!!

You might want to know how to take pictures of snowflakes. It's VERY easy--even though your flash is useless when taking landscapes or large pictures--it is still good for real close up stuff in it's effective radius both at night and during the day. That includes snow. So as in this picture- a semi-long exposure shot (1/4th-1/15th) a second is added with 1 foreground flash that catches the snowflakes. Most point and shoot cameras have a 'flash always on' mode. This is marked with a lightning bolt. Just turn it on and use normal settings and you will see them. For DSLRs Just turn your flash on and keep your manual settings the same as if you were shooting the trees, house or lights you wanted to get and lock the focus and fire the flash! Also set your f-stop auto or how you want it (larger setting the less your flash will illuminate but the more flakes you may see). I have several shots I've not published yet taken in daylight of snow and as long as it's snowing ok--you can catch the flakes. Basically, you just set your flash to fire when the camera says it's not needed during the day. It will catch the flakes. Happy new years.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

120 Negitives in a cheap scanner


I call it "gradent map photo-filter" process so I don't forget what commands I used in Photoshop to do it.. Sometimes I am fascinated not by new and cool images--but by old rare images produced with modern equipment, old & new or both. Using a simple 1200dpi inexpensive
scanner which does not have transparency capabilities, I created this image and a number of others with these 120 negatives as well as 35mm pictures I took last year. I took the pictures with my 120 film camera this winter in The Dalles. I had the negatives scanned but then
thought--well, I can't scan negatives with this non-transparency capable scanner?

This is what I got with a very DUSTY scanner I forgot to clean. This shows how useful the adjustments can be. Gradent map provides fine adjustments to bring out colors that otherwise can't be seen and contrasts. The middle picture has only been cropped,,
inverted from negative form and balanced with the levels control. The last image is a black and white one created with the Gradent map and a photo filter. This is as crude as it gets--I slapped the negatives in this dusty old scanner I've not used in months and scanned them. At first I was not going to do a show of 35mm but I thought since most people only have 35mm ability. It would be right to show what can be done with it and that you don't need an expensive 120 camera to do this stuff. The dust could seriously have been omitted here. I left it in, almost on purpose.

Being one who defies convention and the word "can't" I of course, I had to give it a try. I knew Photoshop had enough tricks to do something with a scanned image of negatives. And I knew light had to react to the negatives somehow. So I did it. First at 200dpi then at a much better 400dpi. When ever you are scanning negatives--you usually want lots of dpi. 120 roll film is usually scanned at I believe thousands of dpi--it takes a lot of time. My simple scans were quick and made for no more of a print then a 20x30 at most or whatever--but this is art, not science
photography--so who knows how big prints could get and be worth printing. If it is worth printing at all.

I thought this was another cool strange process I came up with to defy convention yet again. As I often have, or tried to, do because of a low budget and to see how far I can go on it. Had I been born a rich photographer I'd probably be "in the box" with my creativity, limited to copying what is supposed to be "photography" with massively expensive gear to die for but little understanding of the mechanics and what it's like have to push the limits or to find new things and figure out the technical end of things for myself. Had I done so many of my pictures may not have been possible. I'm glad in a way that I was forced to start out on a low budget because
it started a thinking in me that I doubt will end no matter how much gear or money I have in the future.

To be on the budget I am and have no other choices and thus create options that apparently are impossible because I had to, started a thinking machine in my mind. Creativity is not just in your abilities, it is also connected to your limits. In other words--I might well have been a far more dull photographer and not had nearly as much fun had I had everything I ever wanted. But now it's time to get all the gear I ever wanted. (I WISH)

Anyhow--This old scanner was about 20 bucks at a thrift store--new in the box. I was surprised at what I found when I did some playing around in Photoshop. After I scanned these 120 negatives. I also scanned 35mm negatives and got similar results--they were good--but for purposes of preferences and ease here I chose to use the much larger 120 format. Below is thescaned 120 negatives with no editing at all. They have not even been flipped so they look correct.

Once the negatives are scanned of course you see only a slight trace of the image even if the negatives are under-exposed. You have to do some work in Photoshop to see anything, crop and rotate to view, and then the levels control was first on my list. I finally chose this sepia
chromatic look to it because it was a side effect--not done by me. The color scanner had trouble distinguishing colors (at least with my first few tries here) in the transparent negative. I believe it is not very possible to get color positives out of this due to the intermix of light
which happens inside the scanner itself. (I'm not sure about this) This scanner was not built to scan negatives, or course. To do that you need a very different more expensive scanner with a light on both sides to get the transparency rather then a backwash of light
from the reflective lid.

What I did with Photoshop was pretty simple--I went to levels control and then photo-filter default and I was able to obtain a tainted but good image from the negatives which had accumulated a ton of dust from this scanner I pulled out of one of my gear piles--
making them look nice and old. I did not clean the thing before I tried this. I just scanned. And got a strange mix of reality and film and technology which made me think of early
photography and strangely shaped long prints. So I chose to take the entire sequence of 120 negatives that could fit in my scanner and make it into one file. I then reduced it for my website and there it is. I used a neat tool in Photoshop called "Gradient map" and "photo-filter" to produce clear positive images from these color negatives. Using other processes I was able to produce semi- color positives. It's a simple matter of inverting the scanned image of course and then adjusting levels and possibly a few other things. I think with even more tweaking if I really wanted too--I could scan these at several hundred dpi and produce a printable clear image
which has retained some of it's color and most of it's sharpness. It's hard to beleave these picrtures were taken only a couple of weeks ago when it snowed here in The Dalles.

(120 finished)


I WAS ABLE TO PULL THIS MUCH DETAIL IN LESS THEN AN HOUR. HOW MUCH COULD YOU REALLY GET EXPLOREING PHOTOSHOP (or Photoshop Eliments?) (this image was not enhanced and by drawing or adding anything to it--it's straight from the negative source negative.

It is clear that trying to scan your negatives with a simple document scanner is not something you will get great results from. But sometimes you can be surprised at what results you do get--and the expressions you might get from them. At best--I could have cut and re-positioned
the positives I made and made nice B&W pictures out of it with more then expected detail. I think this trick is far more for the art and an interesting thing to play with then to practically try to use. But if you are in a bind--it is possible with Photoshop to scan your negatives with a CLEANED cheap one-sided scanner that "can't do transparencies" and pull out your image as well as make it a positive. If you scan it at very high DPI then you could get at least a reasonable picture although it would be the same mix of Frankenstein parts and processes I've used to
make the other strange pictures I've done here. Definitely not your usual nice 120 portrait- or even close! However, when scanned at higher res a surprising amount of detail can be found and pulled out of the image with some Photoshop work.

Have fun--if you got a scanner--even a really old one--you can do this too--just up your dpi and it can be done with 35mm negatives as well. Be sure not to scratch your negatives and just dust off your scanners DON'T use Windex! So yes--a regular scanner can scan negatives and
make a positive print. You might find at best to get a two color or more of a black or sepia like image. But it can be done--and quickly. This is mainly an artistic process--definitely not a way to get anything out of your 120 or any other pictures. A note here--these 120 images
I took just a couple weeks ago turned out very well in print form so you can reference that to the quality displayed here. I could have done a lot more to sharpen and highlight this image or crop into at high dpi. There are countless variations on this and I would not surprised if long experiments got ok color images from negatives. But you will never get close to doing what a real transparency scanner can do--so don't get your hopes up thinking you can make prints
with this that are anything more then experiments or fun projects.

Don't forget though--you can't start any of this stuff without choosing the "invert" option in Photoshop so that your negatives become positives, more or less. I used "high quality color scan" with this 20 dollar simple scanner. Have fun-


HAPPY NEW YEARS---Glad to here from all of you and hope you all had a great Christmas. I got started on a project here and I could not stop until I had it on my site. This is a technical idea I came up with that's another expression of old and new technology art created just to say it could be done. There are more snow pictures from here and I have about literally 5000 pictures backlogged for this site. Literally. I got a lot of work to do on this so give me some time. If you like my site be sure to come back in a couple weeks or so and see if there is new stuff. I'm surprised at how many people think it's just "finished" and is not a growing thing. No--it will not be "finished" probably ever. A Blog and website like this is a growing added too thing that just gets bigger as I add new photos and articles. Also--go back to the first four months or so for the most new pictures--I've seen that it can be confusing as you see the same shots at first when clicking on the all pictures menus. Take it way back in time to see new stuff right away.

I have a ton of pictures to put on my site. Give me some time. I had a lot happening during the holidays and finally got back. Now I’m going to California again but I plan to post a whole bunch of new shots before then. I'm getting back in the grove. NOTICE TO PSE USERS--if you use Adobe Photoshop Elements and it ever gives you an error message about the "Styles" file being "bad or corrupt". DELETE THE PREFS and ALL THE PSE marked directories in files. It is easy if you know your way around Windows. This nightmare message that does not respond to-re-installing the software has been brought to my attention and I found the fix. This problem may not be limited to PSE and may well extent to CS & CS2 as well as earlier and newer versions of PSE. SPELLING PROBLEMS- Spelling has been an issue I've been working on here. I was not much of a writer before I started my website. Therefore I've kind of re-learned how to do it. My spelling when I first started this site was horrible and I know it. Please ignore that for now. I'm more interested in future pictures then I am cleaning that up but I may get around to it someday. Sorry about that. My spelling has gotten better and better as I write more and use a more advanced spell-check program then I had back then. I graduated in 1996. It's been a long time since I did anything like this or written much so thanks for your understanding. Please ignore it as this site is mainly about pictures, and not words.

I got allot of winter pictures!!!! First this-

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Snow Train

In addition to being able to sit in the 110VAC provided car in the back with the crew, and shooting out the very back of the train, we had many stops for a number of reasons. There was very cold weather, and many freight trains we had to yield too. This delays most people got mad at. I was very pleased. Our snow-speed was only about 25-40mph. My GPS worked most of the way. Because of the stops and slow speeds, I was able to capture unique pictures I am amazed at getting. I also have to thank the Cannon A520. If it were not for it's speed, reliability, accuracy and flexibility while taking pictures--I would not have gotten many of them.

I was running two digitals, my DX-for the big details and the A520 and two film cameras. One I'm testing. I had enough time to get in shots with all of them. Usually this is a stupid move. You should devote most of your time to one or two cameras. If you try to capture the same shot with several cameras you will probably get garbage pictures. At least my mind, can't handle all those settings and conditions.

RECOMMENDED COMPACT DIGITAL CAMERA (Above A520 shot-low light) This little pocket-rocket manual digital camera comes highly recommended by me for those of you who can't afford a digital SLR. With a 1gig card I get around 400 pictures, a computer remote link standard which lets you take time-laps and even have complete manual control over the camera on your computer, and great shots with almost no shutter lag. To top it all off the price is now under $200. Have some trust in a 4mp camera with a kick. 4mp at 180dpi is pretty good. You can make a sizeable print if your smart about it. Lots of color modes, histograms and other features puts this camera close to some of the DSLRs. Complete with lenses for macro, teli-photo-and several others. It's the best adapter system I have ever seen. It is an ultimate snapshot camera with a serious twist. It's Cannon's newest.
There is a high and low end model. The A510 is 3.2mp and I don't know if it has as many features but I'm guessing it does. It runs for about $130. And the A520--a near-35mm comparable 4mp system you can put in your pocket. Heck, they even make an underwater housing for both of them! I can't think of all the features this powerful compact has. Right now I see it in most of the stores--if you got 200 bucks in Christmas money--check it out. Many of the snow shots in motion where shot with this camera. I'm tired--so I did not touch any of these pictures with Photoshop other then add my mark. These are all straight of the camera as most of my shots are. (Below A520 shots--low light and in motion)

What you see here will be film and digital--6mp and 4mp. I downsize my on line files considerably--but my new system of doing this permits better close views. Don't forget to click on the pictures for larger view.

With the outlet I could proof right on the train. It was a great setup. The whole trip up took about 28 hours. About half in the dark and half in the day because of delays this time. Up in the very frozen mountains--all the way to central Oregon, there was tons of snow--breaking into high desert which made for fantastic landscapes at a distance with my DX.

A quick reminder of the dangers in such travel--an entire number of freight cars that went over the side. Some of those turns were pretty frightening up over the mountains. I kept imagining the early days of rail--when 1000s met there death in horrific crashes up here. Back then--lack of communication and technological factors made any train wreak about as survivable as today's jumbo-jet crashes. Usually only a handful of people of 100s lived, much of this was due to fire
and wood. The wooden cars made over 100 years ago were death traps of fire and splinters. They shattered like matchsticks and killed everyone inside. If you were not dead out right--you were sure to burn.

A quick reminder of the dangers in such travel--an entire number of freight cars that went over the side. Some of those turns were pretty frightening up over the mountains. I kept imagining the early days of rail--when 1000s met there death in horrific crashes up here. Back then--lack of communication and technological factors made any train wreak about as survivable as today's jumbo-jet crashes. Usually only a handful of people of 100s lived, much of this was due to fire
and wood. The wooden cars made over 100 years ago were death traps of fire and splinters. They shattered like matchsticks and killed everyone inside. If you were not dead out right--you were sure to burn.
Now days--the chances of going off track or hitting another train is very un-likely. I don't like to fly. Even when I half too. My camera gear is a hit with security. They want to see anything and everything I've mcgivered together. It makes air travel for me an extra 4 hours long at least. So if I can take the train where security is not so extreme--I do! Not only that you can usually find a seat you want. Two seats
to yourself or at least one with a view or outlet. The observation car is great for pictures sometimes, and there is food and plenty of time to stretch your legs. The night-train is a couple hundred less then they day-time version because of the scenic situation. I recommend it to anybody who does not want to deal with airports, lines, long searches and other such things that drive you crazy.

Every time I go into a plane I wonder how the hell this can happen accurately every time. Had I not flown all over the world--I would not believe it. Despite the fact that it's statically more dangerous to take the train, I like being on the ground--especially now days. The night train is cheaper then flying from Portland to San Jose. It's real name is the Cost starlight, the night-time version of a day-time I have several rare shots of the tunnels up in the mountains
I got out of the back of the train as above--some of them very old. I have not converted them yet for my website.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I'm back, from a really nice trip to San Jose California to see my dad and step mom. I shot over 9GB of pictures on the trip, including a rare opportunity to be in the back of the train with the crew, capturing the tunnels up in the hills as we went through them. And getting un-restricted access to take pictures through the cleanest glass on the train as well as open windows in some cases. I've never seen such incredible snow. That is only one of the incredible things I got to find on this trip.

Common name-zig-zag spider, garden spider, Banded spider and The Banded
Argiope (above) Argiope trifasciata

It will take me a while But many more pictures are coming--I shot thousands. Here is a taste of a few things I'd like to show you. I want to show is the shots I got here in The Dalles and then in San Jose of the weather--the train trip was most incredible. I took Amtrack from Portland to San Jose and back. The return trip was well worth it for the pictures many times over.

It was sunny the entire time there, making a fantastic lighting setup. I used
both 35mm film and digital on this trip. This was one of the most productive and exiting photographic trips I have had. The chance to shoot scenic shots of places that many people never see--as you will see--and finding a diverse number of spiders living in San Jose--really gave me a lot of reasons to shoot nearly 10GB of digital pictures alone!

This is Big Basin. In the Redwoods, only a couple hours outside San Jose.

From the sun on the way down and on the trip to the snow storm that started when I got home--this was an incredible trip, personally and photographically. It's hard to believe these pictures were shot just a few days and even less apart.

I got a lot of work to do--so give me some time to get all this on my site…coming up as I get the pictures processed for my site. I did not chose the above as my "best" shots. The database is two huge. But keep checking if you want to see more---I have enough to keep me busy all winter with more coming over the holidays when I go to Portland again.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


This picture was taken from the train on the way to San Jose to see my dad & step mom. I'm going to go again here soon. Although the train is moving and the windows are not always perfect, with a good eye you can take some ok pictures from a train. Even if you are a very experienced photographer, I'd recommend that you take a long train trip with
Amtrak the next time you travel. It beats the airport mess. No security lines and all
that crap, you usually get too large seats to yourself. it’s a bit cheaper then flying and MUCH better then the bus. There is no comparison to the bus. You always can move if
you don't like the person your sitting next too. The Cost Starlight to California and Seattle is a great scenic trip--you can get a small cabin room for more money. I don't fly anymore
unless I have too. The photo opportunities are sometimes really nice because the train
slows down and stops often. There is an observation car you can stay in the whole trip if you want. With a dome making photography easy. Shooting from a train is much easier then
a car. You would be surprised if you have not tried it.

I'm not sure exactly where this was, it could have been in Oregon but if I recall it's
more likely to be Northern California. I have a GPS but to mark every picture would be impossibly hard. The whole trip was a race between the train going 80miles an
hour and myself trying to catch a decent picture. Not easy- but you start to get
used to it--kind of like shooting clay pigeons, you have to line up with what's coming
and shoot as you pass. (Above)

There is one highlight of being in The Dalles, a network of old roads or allies big
enough for cars is interlaced with the true roads. These dirt roads are usually
not private and you can walk on them and take pictures. It is sometimes difficult
and you might get the cops called on you--when someone did that to me all I had to
do was show them I was photographing insects and not planning a robbery or
something. But if your going to take pictures you have to be bold sometimes.
There are tons of natural bushes and flowers that grow on the sides of these ally
ways with lots of photo opportunities. Just around my house walking down several
I found grapes growing naturally, and this huge beautiful tree(above) which I could not get
far enough away from so I had to use my wide angle lens to shoot it. I had to go as
wide as I could to even think of capturing this very tall tree. It is easy to get
pictures like this and usually I don't get any trouble--often people say high and
ask "are you getting some good pictures?" Even when I am shooting in or over there
yard. You got to be careful what you shoot however.

It has recently been raining here. After hunting insects un-successfully on a cool
afternoon I found this grass right in my own yard covered with great water.
These were difficult shots because it was getting late and these kind of pictures
cannot usually be done with a flash.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

There are large trees near the bridges, I was on a very dangerous bridge on
a wet street and I was getting honked at for being so stupid, so I did not think
to put my wide angle lens on for this shot. I may go back in a couple of days
when I go to the store and get some more comprehensive tree shots. It is
really amazing here.

The trees in The Dalles here are Beutifull. I took this on a walk down town.
This strange flower had polen grains falling down. It's large and wont last long.
We are not far off at all from our first freeze.

And finally--I just happened to be-friend a flicker and put my macro lens on in time to
get a number of pictures of it.

I want to thank all the people who have e-mailed me recently. I like to here from people.
I'm sorry if it took a while to get back to you on stuff, I forget sometimes. If you have
written to me and did not get a responses please e-mail me again, I had a computer
crash and I cleaned out everything. I can't be sure even now what caused the
crash but it seems to be ok now. Please e-mail me again if you wanted a responses
or something and I did not send you one. More pictures soon. This is a great time
of year.