Archive for 2010

Impressions of Christmas

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

A few shots to summarize our Christmas (and Christmas eve).






One more thing…

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Happy Life Day to my sister.

She’ll know why.[1]

  1. If she’s worthy of the gift she sent me. []

Merry Christmas to All!

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Schierers. We have quite a few of them here with my folks in town for the weekend.

Here’s our house with the record breaking December snowfall[1] and a snapshot of Nathan and Sheepie from the Christmas pageant. You guess which is which.


  1. I admit it doesn’t look like much in the picture. []

Christmas Decorations

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Here’s a collection of Christmas decoration pictures I’ve taken over the last few weeks. Most of these were taken at the Kraynak’s Garden Center Christmas Display in Hermitage, PA. The last two are the Fayetteville and Cazenovia, NY Christmas trees. More in the gallery.







Fun with LED Christmas lights.

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

LED Christmas lights have been around for several years, but seem to have become particularly popular this year. They have many advantages over conventional incandescent bulbs including better life, more vibrant colors (and the paint doesn’t chip off) and considerably less power for the same light. (The incandescent lights in the star on Nate’s tree below draws as much power as all 200 LEDs on the tree.)
However, there is one annoying drawback. They flicker.

I assume most people either don’t notice this, or aren’t bothered by it, but it seems to jump right out to me. I find it particularly bad when the lights are on trees blowing in the wind (moving) so the flicker becomes apparent due to persistence of vision effects.

Technical details and fun Christmas tree pictures below the fold.

Rachel photo updates

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

I realized today as I was processing a few images of Rachel, that we’ve completely neglected to keep her gallery updated. It’s not that we haven’t been taking pictures, we just haven’t been uploading them. So here are a few from the last few months.





And our photographic growth chart entry…

Trading a car for a camera lens

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

I’ve already spent part of the proceeds on my impending Integra sale on a new lens. The 24-70mm f/2.8 L.[1]

I’m not quite sure about the cost vs. practicality ratio on this trade. The car is certainly approaching old age and the lens is likely to give a decade or more of future service, but then the lens cost about half of what I’m getting for the old car.[2]

The truly amazing part is I ordered it at 8:34 AM EST from on Monday and it arrived this (Tuesday) afternoon. Regular free shipping. Sweet!

On the negative side, despite both being sized for 77mm filters, the lens hoods for this and my 70-200mm f/2.8L are not compatible. It would have been nice had they shared interchangeable parts. One more thing to carry along. It’s obviously quite a bit heavier than the 28-105mm it is replacing (more than twice as heavy). However, with a f/2.8 all the way through it has significantly more light collection than the f/3.5-4.5 of the old lens (and it’s all that extra glass that makes it heavy, obviously). I trade quite a bit less range, but then I have the 70-200mm to cover the upper end. Time will tell if I’m now swapping lenses more often.

Useful first light pictures will be coming soon!

  1. Image from Canon USA. []
  2. K is still deciding what to do with the other half. []

500 miles on 13.4 gallons

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

For those keeping track at home, that works out to 37.3 mpg. The observant reader will note that the average consumption shown on the MFD is 38.9 mpg. The discrepancy is due, in part, by the fact that the main trip (bottom right 500.0) and the trip used for the calculation are not, in general, synchronized. (More on that below the fold.)
The other observation (which you can’t see, but I did) was that the estimated range remaining was down to about 25 miles or so. This despite the fact that the fuel tank is over 14 gallons (plus the filler tube). So if I only put 13.4 in, there must have been over a gallon left, or over 40 miles of range remaining.[1]

  1. This poor range estimate may have been due in part to the silly circles I did just before stopping at the pump to make sure I made it to 500 miles. Not very efficient I know, but I wanted the picture to look that much sweeter. []

First Tank…

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Well, I have almost exhausted by first tank of fuel in the Jetta. This morning the fuel pump indicator lit up on the dash and the MFD showed that my remaining range had dropped below 45 miles.
Of course, this was on the way to work (which is net downhill by about 1000 feet), so after driving almost 20 miles it still said I have 40 miles of range left. I’m over 475 miles for this tank, so I may see how much I have left at 500 miles. 🙂

Jetta TDI vs. Acura Integra

Friday, November 5th, 2010

So I mentioned my shifting issues in my previous car related posting. Although I’m doing much better, I’m still working on getting the feel[1] for the new drive train.

Generally speaking, the TDI provides more torque at low RPM with proportionally less power at high RPMs. The red line is at 5000, and for the ‘break-in’ period I’m trying to keep it under 3000. The 1997 Integra LS by comparison, engages the rev-limiter at 6800 RPM and one can easily get up into the 5-6000 range in road driving.

Much more car stuff, including musical engine comparisons, below the fold…

  1. Literally, because I think one feels shifting from their backside and ears rather than by watching the tachometer. []