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The Long Day

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014
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1234678► A common activity among serious birders is the Big Day when a birder goes out and tries to see as many species as possible in one day. Yesterday I went out on what I call one of my “long days” — which isn’t exactly a big day, because my focus isn’t on maximum species but on covering a lot of territory and seeing what happens. I do this once or twice a year as a way to get out to the central valley refuges for some intense photography and exploration. Yesterday’s trip took me north and I...

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Road Trip Snacks

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014
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A few months back I wrote about the challenge of finding things I can stick in the car or camera bag to carry for when I ‘m out in the middle of nowhere and need a quick bite to eat. At that time, I was evaluating some of the “no refrigeration needed” breakfast drinks like Ensure, and to be honest, I found them more or less undrinkable. The challenge — I want things I can keep in the car without refrigeration, so they’re there when I want them without having to plan ahead. I want something I can carry in my...

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Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival 2014

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014
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I’m back from the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival. I’ve been trying to sync this into my schedule for three years now and finally did; it’s the first time I’ve participated in a festival like this. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, birding festivals let birders get together in a region to share information and go out and birdwatch with the local experts. Many are single day events, the bigger ones can go on for 3-4 days. They can be an interesting way to meet people, explore new areas and see...

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Looking forward into 2014

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014
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Where will 2014 take me? To be honest, I don’t know. I have some plans, but I also expect those plans to change. Mostly it’s about getting started, then iterating until I’m happy with them. There was a time when I was a serious planner-of-things. I couldn’t get started until I could figure out where the end was and I knew the path to get there. The end result of that is too often lots of planning and not so much actual stuff to point at. It’s taken me some time to learn to be comfortable with going and course...

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Looking back at 2013

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013
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2013 was a fascinating year for me, on balance one of the best years I’ve survived in the last decade. It was also a year of transitions. My photography has been in transition. In 2013 I shifted my wide angle work from Canon to Fuji, and so far, I really love the result. Beyond that, though, my work in general has been shifting from trying to take good and interesting images to trying to take good and interesting images that help to tell a story or share something with the viewer. Conceptually a simple change, in reality, the devil is...

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Birding in 2013

Posted by on Dec 29, 2013
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It looks like my birding year is more or less done, I don’t expect to get out and do any significant birding until the new year. My year list closes at 191 species, highest since 2010. A small number for many birds (it looks like the big year record has just been broken at an unconfirmed 746 species) but it’s about where I expect my birding to end up. I’m not a birder that chases rarities — twitch — or go out of my way to build the list count; I tend to return to a smaller number of locations because I enjoy...

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More than you want to know about backups (the 2013 edition)

Posted by on Nov 23, 2013
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I think computer users can be broken down into three camps: Computer users who haven’t had a hard disk fail and haven’t yet figured out they need to back up their systems. Computer users who have had a disk fail but still don’t back up their systems reliably (or at all), even though they know they should. Grouchy old computer geeks who yell at the first two groups because we’re the ones who get that call at 10PM because a disk failed and they need a file back because they’re on deadline and oh my god please help...

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Planning forward…

Posted by on Oct 31, 2013
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The project at work moves forward; we shifted D-day from thursday to tuesday to make sure some server/cloud gremlins that have cropped up are properly dispatched. My task list has one more item outlined in red, and then I’m into the downhill run. But still, it’s mostly occupying my time and my brain. I have been doing some planning with Laurie about the next year. Everything is up for change, but it’s nice to have a general idea of plans for trips and outings where we can.  The first trip out to the refuges is this...

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Why I retired from writing fiction….

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013
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I get this question every so often, and I just ran across a blog post by Walter Jon Williams that wonderfully explains why I chose to stop writing fiction — almost 20 years ago (how time flies when you’re having fun…). He’s re-issued his novel The Rift as an ebook, and he talks about the environment that book was published in.  I ended my trip in Chicago at the World Fantasy Convention, where the fact of the collapse of the IDs, and the loss of paperback sales, were just being felt by the writers.  There was...

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Building Flash-free galleries for the new Smugmug

Posted by on Oct 7, 2013
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When Smugmug released their new design, I was impressed, and I decided it made sense to move my photos and portfolio galleries over to their system. On my site, this meant replacing my existing galleries built on NextGen Gallery. I like NextGen, but I get some nice features using Smugmug, including turnkey print store  and the ability to do online licensing of digital images without having to build all of the ecommerce pieces or doing any of the infrastructure for billing or fulfillment. While I don’t expect print sales to be a big part...

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