December 20, 2010 —
A few months back, around the beginning of September, my sister, a friend and I all decided that we wanted to do a longer trail run. We actually decided this while on a run through some redwoods together. Since we enjoyed trail runs, we decided that the best way to do a longer distance run would be to sign up together and commit to finishing instead of focusing on being competitive in the race.
When we got home, we looked up to find a 30-35 kilometer Pacific Coast Trail Run that was several months out, giving us plenty of time to train. We settled on the Rodeo Beach 30k, on December 18th. It was on the shorter side (30km instead of 35km), it was plenty far out, giving us a lot more time to train, and it was in the Marin Headlands, a beautiful area that we could train at. I signed up almost immediately, as I knew the act of signing up would get me to commit mentally. My sister signed up and so did my friend (at least I thought she did). I also got a couple people at my gym to sign up too. Things were shaping up nicely.
I didn't train as much as I wanted to while on my Balinese vacation, and upon returning, I tried to stick to a more rigid training schedule where I ran more frequently. Well, I didn't stick to that schedule as well as I should have. As of the day of the race, the farthest distance I had run in the many months prior was about 7.5 miles, not even half of the final distance of 18.64. I wasn't terribly nervous, I knew I could still finish the race, but I figured I'd ...
December 01, 2010 —
After Thanksgiving at my parent's house, I took off with some friends to Bishop for 3 days of bouldering and some sport climbing. We arrived just after some storms had passed through the area, leaving a light dusting of snow in some places.
Eastern Sierras Under Shadow
Then, right in the middle of the trip, we got a couple inches of snow in the evening, electing to remain at our site camping in it.
In the end, Bishop was super cold (got down to the mid teens at night) but provided some great climbing in the Buttermilks, Gorge and Happys. Makes me look forward to another climbing trip soon!
November 25, 2010 —
I've wanted to recently upload some of my pictures to Facebook. However, there are several things I really dislike about Aperture's built-in Facebook syncing.
First, order is not preserved. I want pictures ordered in a predicable way. Often, by date. I have yet to figure out how Aperture chooses to export, it seems to be quite random and is infuriating.
Second, tagging friends on Facebook from the built-in Aperture Faces is spotty, at best. Sometimes it works, and other times I get lots of pictures with people's names tagged, but those names are not linked to the proper Facebook friends, despite being tagged with the exact same name. Again infuriating!
Third, making any change in Aperture (adding a tag, etc), causes the photo to be re-uploaded to Facebook, creating an updated photo album feed story. I don't want this behavior. I want to export my photos to Facebook and then choose when it should be updated again. I'll let you guess my emotion.
So, what other options are there out there? Well, this guy Sean Farley created a plugin. However, it is broken on my computer. Supposedly, it does work for some people on Aperture 3, but I cannot get it to even show up in the Export menu and I get no Console messages. I've even emailed Sean twice trying to contact him and help figure out why it is broken. No response.
Finally, I've given up with these options. I'm not a prolific Facebook photo uploader, but there are times when I want to put up pictures on Facebook instead of Flickr. And I couldn't do it without exporting the photos from Aperture to my disk, and then using Facebook's photo upload.
So over the past couple weeks ...
November 18, 2010 —
I recently purchased a wide angle lens for my new Nikon D7000. I thought a lot about the wide angle lens options available for the camera and found there are essentially 5 options for people with Nikon DX bodies:
There is a fixed aperture (f/2.8) Tokina with a smaller range (11mm - 16mm), but I really wanted a lens with a larger range. This lens is going to cover the smaller end for me in my bag. Plus that Tokina is expensive... Then I debated for a long time which to get. So I went back to the inital reason why I wanted a wide angle lens: I wanted the exaggerated depth you can get with a really wide angle lens. That gave good arguments against one of the Nikons and the Tokina. That extra 2mm the Sigma and Tamron have really makes a big difference on DX a body. Granted, the Nikon glass is going to be really awesome, but it also costs a lot more for the 12-24 (~$250) and even more for the 10-24. The Tokina is really tempting, and DPRreview makes it seem like a great lens. Even though it is a bit less expensive than the Sigma and Tamron, I decided that I did want that extra focal length.
Thus, I was left with the Sigma and Tamron. Eventually, it just came down to having used the Sigma quite a bit. A buddy of mine has the Sigma, and I've used it a number of times on photo trips ...
November 17, 2010 —
After the Cal game this past weekend, I took off for a quick two night trip to Monterey and Big Sur. I went to the former to see my sister run the Big Sur Half Marathon and to the latter because I had never been there. I figured I'd take my camera and shoot some photos along the way as well.
Bridge at Sunset
November 15, 2010 —
Last Saturday was the last night game that will be played in the old Memorial Stadium. After this season, the stadium will be renovated for earthquake safety and to create a new and competitive student athlete center. Next season the Bears will play at AT&T park in San Francisco, home of the World Champion Giants before returning to a renovated Memorial Stadium in 2012.
Unfortunately for us, our last night game was against number 1 Oregon. Though we didn't win, we came really close, losing 13 - 15, which was a spectacular game for Cal's defense. I used the opportunity to take a couple pictures with my new camera.
Sunset at Memorial Stadium
This coming Saturday is the 113th Big Game at Cal. Cal has held the Axe for 2 years straight, and 7 out of the last 8 years. So far, for every Big Game I've gone to and every Big Game that Dean has been at Stanfurd during, Cal has won. The one year I didn't attend (I was in India) and Dean wasn't attending Stanfurd, Cal lost (2007). In other words, Cal is about to upset #8 Stanfurd.
Last Memorial Stadium Night Game
As far as my pictures I took with my camera, I have been extremely impressed with the Nikon D7000's very high dynamic range. All the pictures here are untouched JPEGs, straight from the camera (Aperture can't yet process the D7000's RAW images - plus I ...
October 30, 2010 —
I've been wanting to go to Death Valley National Park for some time. After passing on an opportunity earlier this year during the summer, when the temperature in the park never reaches below 100°, I opted to wait. After my Yosemite Trip, I drove straight to Death Valley where the daily high was a much nicer mid 80's. Here are some of the pictures I took while there.
Sunset Lit Clouds
Soft Lit Mountains
See all the pictures in the Death Valley 2010 set.
October 27, 2010 —
I just got back from a great trip to Yosemite Valley with family and friends. I also used the occasion to take some pictures while there.
Yosemite Fall Leaves
Under Vernal Falls
See all the pictures in the Yosemite Fall 2010 set.
October 11, 2010 —
I had the good fortune to be in Ubud during a day when the Hindu holy men read that it was a "good day." Why? Well, on the days deemed good and holy, people can be cremated with Bali Hindu ceremony. And luckily, there were some dead people that needed burnin'.
To the Hindu of Bali (and probably other Hindu, I'm just ignorant of them), the body is a shell for the soul and upon death, must be cremated in an elaborate ceremony befitting the ancestral spirit. The whole community can get involved depending on the significance of the person creating a spectacular event where hundreds or thousands of people are involved.
The body of the deceased is kept in the home until it is to be cremated, on a day that the holy men read is to be holy. Then, the body is carried in a tall, intricately detailed, golden multi-tiered pyre made of bamboo and covered in paper, tinsel, silk, cloth, mirrors and flowers. The pyre is carried by a ton of men (I'd guess at least a hundred in the example I saw) on a bamboo structure to the cemetery in a procession.
Firetruck at the Funeral Procession
Apparently, the procession to the cemetery is designed to confuse the corpse so it cannot find it's way back home. This confusion is done by the men shaking the tower, running it in circles, simulating wars with it, hurling water at it, yelling at it and ...
October 11, 2010 —
The day manager at Khrisna Guesthouse, Nyoman, had recommended that I go to see a traditional Balinese dance while in Ubud. The most popular one, and one that is actually pretty traditional, and the one Nyoman recommended, is the Kecak dance. It takes place in temples, after sunset and involves a group of men and boys who act as the musical instrument and choir during the performance. They sit in a circle around a big candela and make a chak-a-chak-a-chak noise in unison and separately, sometimes quiet and sometimes much louder, supposedly imitating a group of monkeys (monkeys also plays a valuable role in the story).
There are three parts to the dance, with the first part's story being pretty familiar to me. At least one of my sisters (I can't remember if both of them), used to watch the movie A Little Princess all the time when she/they were younger. So I've also seen it more than once, enough times that I can remember most of the story. Well, the girl was in India, and so recounts the famous Hindu epic, Ramayana; the story of how Princess Sita is kidnapped and then Prince Rama must free her with the help of a monkey general and his monkey soldiers (for some reason I'm picturing the people in the story as being blue). Anyways, knowing the story definitely helped for me to know what was going on in the show since there is only dancing and the "choir" making noises.
Kecak Dance ...