Steam, Steel, and Heat

Forgive me, O. Winston Link, for playing on your book title for my own humble artistry.

For well over a decade now, I have made a short journey to Denton, NC every year around the week of July 4. What could possibly be out in the middle of nowhere in Denton, you ask? Tractors. And after you’ve seen those, more tractors. This is the Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion.

Threshing

(Click to enlarge.)

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Oops

Note to self: Unless faced with a certain lawsuit, do not under any circumstances change your URLs or site names. You will still be updating things two weeks later.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me about two years to notice that my software was exporting all of my images at 72ppi, which is standard resolution for screen display. However, the standard for printing is 300ppi. Oops! Since I’m out trying to sell prints, I opted to replace all of my posted images with proper resolution versions.

I had thought this would be a relatively painless process, since my photo host has a handy “replace” feature. For one reason or another, though, my originals were not being replaced when I tried to use the bulk replace tool. There was no way I was going to replace over 1000 photos one at a time, so I chose to simply upload new images, copy the captions and keywords from the old images to the new, and then remove the old images. After making my processor cry re-exporting all of my images over about a week or so, I began the process of re-uploading. As for copying the captions and keywords, never have I been so tired of: …[Cmd]+[A]…[Cmd]+[C]……[Cmd]+[V]… …[Cmd]+[A]…[Cmd]+[C]……[Cmd]+[V]… …[Cmd]+[A]…[Cmd]+[C]……[Cmd]+[V]… ad infinitum.

The only real downsides to this decision are that any photo comments were removed with the images and any prior URLs will no longer work. The URLs are primarily an annoyance for me, since I’ve had to go back through and update my image links in places like blog posts here. As for the lost comments, this will be a good excuse for you to get writing! 🙂

Please let me know if you run into any photos that are missing captions or keywords. With over 1000 images, I would be very, very surprised if I didn’t miss a few.

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Changes, Changes Everywhere…

…and not a drop to – wait, that sounded better in my head. Recently, my web presence has expanded beyond photography to also now include my music. At the time of each site’s launch, I chose titles and URLs specific to the individual site, such as nowlanjourneys.com and nowlanmusic.com. However, I soon found out that this decision made marketing and spreading the word about both of these sites surprisingly difficult and inefficient. So, I started working on a solution. Little did I know how big of a pain such a change could be.

First, I needed a central hub where I could easily direct visitors to my different sites. Naturally, http://christophernowlan.com/ was a perfect location for this hub. I tried out an about.me page and I liked that simple format, but the ads and prominent about.me branding really killed the professional feel of the page. The only problem standing in my way now was that I didn’t want to spend an additional $5.00 a month to host a single page.

christophernowlan.com

christophernowlan.com



UPDATE: And just like that, this page is gone. As you can see, I came up with an even better idea for christophernowlan.com.

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Roaming Alongside the Eno River

After a long, somewhat involuntary hibernation through winter, our weather has finally stabilized near perfection. Frankly, I’ve grown tired of being cooped up behind my computer and don’t want to let our short, “pre-heat” period go to waste. Back in January I bought a neutral density filter, which allows me to use longer exposures in daylight. Specifically, I wanted to be able recreate the soft, moving appearance of so many photographers’ water photos. It’s been nearly three months and I hadn’t even used my new filter beyond simple test images. So I sought out a location where I would be guaranteed some potential water images, landing me at Eno River State Park just outside Durham, NC.

Water

While the Eno River did indeed present some potential, I was rather disappointed with the rest of the park. It’s hard to judge a scenic area when all the trees are still missing their leaves, but nonetheless this park was primarily just winding trails through woods with little else to attract the eye. At least I got to experiment with and learn a little bit about using filters!

Water

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Breaking in the New Toy

My apologies for not updating lately; I can only blame laziness.  For the past two months I’ve been breaking in my new camera and I’ve learned quite a bit along the way.

The first weekend after her arrival my family and I took a brief trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.  Even from these first few days I was already impressed with my investment.

Jellyfish

Sunset

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, I Have a New Toy!

As luck would have it, I happened upon an alternate source that had the camera I wanted in stock for the same price.  Needless to say, I lept on the opportunity.

Meet the Sony α55:


This compact little beauty takes a unique approach to the traditional SLR (Single Lens Reflex) design by replacing the “Reflex” (the moving parts) with a fixed translucent mirror, thus creating an SLT.  No moving parts allows for a smaller body and quieter operation.  This unique design also means that the camera can maintain a constant autofocus, even at 10 fps.

Some highlights:

  • 16.2 megapixels
  • Full HD 1080/60i video capture
  • Built-in GPS (automatic geotagging)
  • Fully articulated 3″ 921K dot LCD

To start me off on this advanced road, I wanted a lens that would cover all of my immediate needs.  In the end, I landed on an 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens.  To my amusement today, the lens almost dwarfs the small camera body.  Over time, I’ll add to my lens collection.  Topping my list will be a macro lens and a wide-angle lens.

Conveniently, the family and I will be heading to the beach this weekend so you’ll hopefully see my first shots with my new toy sometime next week.

, , Slowing Down at Last

Sorry about the dearth of updates lately, but October has been in a word, booked.  Most of October has had me engaged at Carolina Ballet for a vocal part in The Masque of the Red Death.  Between 10/14 and 10/31, I have performed a total of 11 times.  My commitment will finally end with a run-out performance to Winston-Salem, NC tomorrow night.  So, now you know what I’ve been doing with my time instead of wandering around taking pictures.

Speaking of photography, I have decided to leave a gaping hole in my wallet this year and make the move up to a DSLR.  Well actually, to be technically correct, I’m moving up to a DSLT.  As it stands now, I have yet to see a penny in returns from my photographic ventures.  I’m hoping that with this long-awaited jump I can finally start marketing myself in a way that will hopefully bring in even a little revenue.  Sadly my newest tech child is backordered and isn’t scheduled to arrive before December, but rest assured you’ll know when she arrives.

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Into the Woods

[info]Updated 5 March 2014 – This post originally included numerous images, but most have been removed through cleanup efforts of my portfolio. Some of the writing has also been updated.[/info]

As each summer draws to a close, my family typically takes off on a final, short weekend trip. One of my favorite places to visit is Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, deep in the woods of eastern West Virginia. On realizing it had been five years since my last visit, I suggested this remote location as our destination. This would be simple enough, except that the nearest town with any decent lodging to speak of is 60-80 miles away and all three of the Railroad’s routes depart around noon.

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A New Experience

A little over a year ago, my high school choir called me back while I was in town to strengthen their bass section for an audition recording of the Star-Spangled Banner to send to the Atlanta Braves.  After a couple of passes, we arrived at an acceptable recording and the audition was submitted.  Then around the start of this year, the news was sent my way that the choir had been invited to sing on April 16, 2010.  Read more

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An Unexpected Return to Winter

For my Spring Break this year, the family and I opted for a short Smoky Mountain journey.  As we were practically leaving the driveway, we were still deciding on where exactly we wanted to go.  We knew the Blue Ridge Parkway would be closed and both Lodges we frequent had not reopened yet.  At last our fingers fell on the Gatlinburg, TN area of the map and off we went.  Knowing that I-40 was shut down across the mountains, we decided to head toward Cherokee, NC and use US 441 to cross over.  Simple enough, right? Read more