Friday, March 29, 2013



By 7:45 this morning we knew it was going to be a hot day as we made our way around the block.  Seemed to be the pleasant aroma of orange blossoms in the air.  We pass the old Cowboy gate leading to the desert but know we cannot take a chance walking Pheebs out there now because of active Rattlesnakes.  Too bad because I really miss those quiet walks on a waking desert morn.  Not likely we’ll do any more desert Jeep jaunts before we head out next week either.  Time to install the tow gear back on the front of the Jeep.



Not much I can blog about today.  Kelly was off to Wickenburg to check out a ‘going out of business sale’.  Same place we bought much of our furniture this past winter.  Pheebs & I hung out inside staying cool.  Think we hit 80F today.  Still working on our going home Sunseeker packing.


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For you photography buffs out there wondering how to take better photos & tweak your camera settings for better quality photography I recommend this fellow’s site.  KEN ROCKWELL.  I bought my Nikon D90 through the ADORAMA link on this fellows site back in 2011 after dropping my D50 DSLR on a concrete slab:((   Ken Rockwell’s site is the only place I go for anything to do with photography.  One stop & you’ve got it all.  Personally, if you are seriously interested in photography I wouldn’t settle for anything less than a DSLR camera.  (Digital Single Lens Reflex) I especially liked Ken’s take on, THE BEST CAMERA FOR EVERYTHING.  And be sure to read on down that page to, ‘Forget Resolution and ISO’ plus ‘Best Pocket Camera.’(it’s a Canon)  Now, If I could only do what it is he tells me to do as well as he tells me to do it………

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And in case any photo folks missed pro photographer Gordon W’s note in the Shout Box, he says…. ‘I usually underexpose by 1/3 stop, Al, mostly to reduce blowing out highlights, but nothing’s free. By underexposing, image noise is increased when increasing brightness to compensate for the underexposure and it lessens shadow detail and dynamic range, so one doesn’t want to overdo underexposing’.  You can catch Gordon’s superb photography here at GORDON WOLFORD.  You can check out Gordon’s personal blog site here at NORTHERN NEWS



Tammy from IT'S GOOD TO BE US had a few questions about photographing birds in flight.  There’s the right way to do it & then of course there is my way.  I use an older Nikon D40 DSLR with a 75-300mm lens.  All my birds are taken at 300mm.  I set my ISO setting on the camera to 1600 in order to give me a fast enough shutter speed to stop the wing action.   I also have that camera set to focus only on the center portion of my screen.  It’s called spot metering.  I sit myself in a lounger about 30 feet away.  The sun is generally behind the subject or off to one side a bit.  That way the sun shines through the feathers giving the wings that transparent angel like look.  I pick a spot either on the bird feeder or on a branch where the birds have a habit of landing & pre-focus on that spot.  Make sure your camera is off Auto focus so it doesn’t have to waste time trying to focus itself because you only have a mili-second to hit that trigger when a bird flies into your target zone.  Now begins the waiting game.  Watch your birds & you will soon see they have their own little routes, habits, & flight plans.  Try to anticipate a birds flight into your pre-focused target zone.  Your probably going to end up with a number of blank frames at first because your reaction time will start out slow.  But, with a little practice & improved reflexes you will soon be catching birds in flight.  A better way to do this is to use a tripod but I’m kinda lazy & do most of my stuff hand held.  The Pros would use a tripod for sure.

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One of these days I hope to get myself disciplined enough to once again get all my photo albums (birds, critters, people, flowers, artsy, etc.) updated & re-organized in my SMUG MUG account.  No small task considering I have countless thousands of photos.  No point in trying to make any sense out of my scattered Picasa Photo Albums anymore since Google stepped in & messed with all that a year or two ago.  Just don’t have that kind of patience.



Sure don’t know what I would do without my music.  I would just be a lost soul adrift in a gray void of nothing.  At home in our Bayfield sunroom & here in my nice southwest Congress bedroom my music is always beside me as I type my post each & every day.  I wake up with music & I go to bed with music.  When I am out working around the yard, walking or hiking somewhere it is the music in my mind I listen too.  And it is me my very self I listen to as long as no one else is close enough to listen to me:))



I’ve heard folks here in this country say the sound of military jets in the air overhead is the sound of Freedom.  I couldn’t help but think of that today as I watched two F-16 fighter jets high overhead twisting & turning in mock combat.  Those folks are right.  If it wasn’t for the young people training in those planes, ships, tanks, & armies, it’s very likely none of us RV folks here in the United States or Canada would be enjoying the lifestyle freedom we do.  With the goings on in North Korea right now I watched those planes in their tight training maneuvers thinking how soon their lives could be on the line for my lifestyle & my freedom.  And I haven’t even met those young folks…..


GROANER’S CORNER:((    Grandma had never been sick in her life, so she didn't take it kindly when a bad case of the flu sent her to the hospital for observation.
By the time she was tucked into bed, she had managed to complain about everything: the temperature, the lights, the skimpy gown, the food and the mattress - especially, the mattress.
Suddenly, she spotted a small plastic item with a button, attached to a cord. "What's that?" she demanded with great suspicion.
"If you need anything in the middle of the night," said the nurse, "just press that button. It will turn on a light in the hall for the nurse on duty"
"A light in the hall?" responded Grandma. "I'm the sick one around here. If the nurse needs a light on in the hall, she can get up and switch it on herself."

- Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
- "If having a soul means being able to feel
love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals
are better off than a lot of humans."
(James Herriot)
- The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.
- It is not so much having nothing to do as it is not having the interest to do something....AL.


  1. Thank you Al, so much. Off auto focus, that is one of my big mistakes. I have never done that, but it makes sense. And the shutter speed is what I was wondering about. If I get a great bird in flight this summer I am going to dedicate it to you. Thanks again for taking the extra time to answer my question, I "really" appreciate it.

  2. Joe and I were "dreaming" the other afternoon, and I asked him, When we're ready to travel again, where would you like to be during the winter season.His answere, was "somewhere where I can hear and see the jets Al talks about on your blog. Thanks for talking about the settings on your camera. I'm going to take mine off auto and play with it this weekend... suppose to be nice this weekend.

  3. Thanks for the photography lesson, lots of great tips.

  4. I do have a DSLR...Nikon 3100. Now I am so ashamed to say that for over a year now it has never been off Auto Focus. So, like Tammy, I am going to try....I don't have alot of confidence so when I am out and about I just want to make sure I don't miss anything because I am not smart enough to use my camera.....

    I did however "play" with the lighting and cropping on some pictures today. It was fun!

    Thanks for the other links too.....will be checking them out as well.

  5. I just got back from Sun City seeing my mom for a couple of days...she gets lots of jets flying overheard...I can hear my dad saying to me from above..."There you go Sheryl... a little sign from me that all is ok!!"..gosh,,,I miss him so but these signs from above keep him with me! Safe travels...

  6. Thanks for the photo tips...but most of all thank you for acknowledging our men and women who lay their lives on the line to protect ours. They need all the support we can give.

  7. I use the same settings as you do for my bird shots, except the auto focus. I leave it on since my birds are seldom in a predetermined spot. I may lose some time with the focus, but it's faster at doing it that I would be with my shaky hands. ;)

  8. Al, there's so much to learn about photography! I guess I'd better start to get more serious again about it. Really liked that cactus bud closeup! And of course, so many of your other shots as well. But, not being so serious yet, we'll continue to post (whenever we post) fun shots like getting dunked or sampling chili. On the road this year, we'll probably get into a little more serious stuff.

  9. Al, we're going to the Living Desert in Palm Desert this morning, so I'll try some of your tips~can't wait! Thanks for sharing them. I have yet to get a decent bird shot. Sometimes I DO set up my tripod, but our front yard is so shady...sigh...
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~

  10. RIP MotorMouse, we still miss you!
    Thanks for all the great tips on taking beautiful photographs! I am ashamed to admit that I use AF a lot! My astigmatism is so bad now, I just don't trust my judgement for focusing! Have you ever heard of HDR photography?? Whwn you have time. check it out online and on Flickr. Allows you to capture highlights in the shadows and develop details in the bright areas. I still can't believe how quickly your time passed by here! Safe travels!