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Instrumental Invasion, 3/8/23 March 9, 2023

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Comedy, Comics, Computer, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, TV, VHS, Video, Video Games.
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Since there’s much to discuss and many photos and videos, I’ll post the scoped aircheck up here (and below) instead of at the end:

The March 8 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded from January 14 to 16: the first hour on the 14th, the next two segments on the 15th, and the last on the 16th. Pickups were recorded that day and the next (January 17).

Due to a facility issue at the Abrams Communication Center, WCWP activity was not allowed the day this show aired. Station manager Pete Bellotti informed me the show would air at 7PM and 9PM since there couldn’t be a live edition of The Rock Show. The above scope is from the 7PM broadcast.

The playlist was created and mostly annotated on January 11. The rest of the annotations came on the 12th, followed by the talk break script draft that carried into the 13th. A timing error in the first segment meant I had to make up a 72-second surplus. I successfully made up that time without having to remix segments.

Five songs in this show have appeared in prior shows:

“Freda” was preceded by David Benoit‘s arrangement of “Frieda with the Naturally Curly Hair” from Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! I had yet to see the special that gave David’s CD its name, but watched a few days after completing production. Here it is:

A chance viewing of a video that showed the differences between the original and subsequent airings of A Charlie Brown Christmas got the ball rolling on Peanuts documentaries and specials. The first video YouTube recommended was the documentary A Boy Named Charlie Brown, not to be confused with the later film:

I challenge fellow Peanuts fans to count how many scenes foreshadow later specials and films.

The second video chronologically was the third recommended to me: Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown.

The second special I watched was It’s Your 20th Television Anniversary, Charlie Brown. (I originally omitted the “television” part, correcting the error in my January 17 pickup.)

The last special I watched on YouTube before working on this show was You Don’t Look 40, Charlie Brown. This special coincided with the unrelated CD Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! David Benoit appears in a “Linus and Lucy” music video, concluding with his anniversary wishes to Good Ol’ Charlie Brown.

I bought a VHS copy on eBay years ago, but don’t know what I did with it.

After Here’s to You, I watched the CBS News special Good Grief, Charlie Brown: A Tribute to Charles Schulz, hosted by Walter Cronkite:

This aired February 11, 2000. Schulz died on the night of the 12th, and his last Peanuts strip ran on the 13th. The above thumbnail is of Donna Mae Wold (née Donna Mae Johnson), who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl.

And just this Sunday, the following ran on CBS Sunday Morning:

Lee Cowan’s report featured Schulz’s widow Jean and Pearls Before Swine cartoonist Stephan Pastis (first name pronounced like Stephen Curry).

As my Facebook friends and Instagram followers know, I obsessively archived Brian Simpson‘s Closer Still CD for posterity since it’s rare for anyone to find the real thing. (You can’t even find it on eBay!) I won’t share my WAV and MP3 rips from the CD since you can buy and stream the tracks digitally from places like Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify. I will, however, share my camera photos and flatbed scans. Photos first:


“Hidden Pleasures” (track 4) was the centerpiece of my three Brians segment (two Brians, one Bryan). The talk break that followed paid homage to two video game-centric content creators: Game Dave and Metal Jesus, with a reference to Frank Cifaldi and the Video Game History Foundation for good measure. Metal Jesus occasionally posts “hidden gems” videos, highlighting overlooked video games. Here’s a marathon of six episodes he did on Wii hidden gems:

Thank you for reading to the end of this post. I’ll return to the regular show recap format next week.


Instrumental Invasion, 1/11/23 January 12, 2023

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Books, DVD, Internet, Jazz, Laserdisc, Media, Music, New Age, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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The January 11 edition of Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day between November 24* and 25. This show brought me back to a comfortable seven-week buffer.

*Thanksgiving, my parents’ 45th wedding anniversary, the 30th anniversary of Sonic 2sDay (release day for Sonic the Hedgehog 2)

The playlist was created on November 21, annotated on the 22nd, and the talk break script was drafted on the 23rd when not working on last week’s show.

Speaking of Sonic 2, I referred to video games and video game consoles again this week: the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and Virtual Boy. Jeremy Parish’s Virtual Boy Works video series can be viewed here and you can buy his book here. (Yes, my story about trying out the Shapp cousins’ Virtual Boy was true.)

I played another cut from the compilation True North, starting the show with “One More River Passing” by James Reynolds. Hear it in a Weather Channel local forecast at this link. Click here for a local forecast featuringDown Hill Racer” by Patrick O’Hearn.

With only two new albums left that hadn’t met my requisite six tracks to play, I added a second 1996-2006 segment and moved the remaining 2017-present segment to the middle of hour 2. That allowed me to make up for not ending hour 1 with the live 2002 version of “Kukuc” (“koo-kooch”) by John Favicchia, the second week in a row with a version of “Kukuc,” both from Tangible. The second segment of hour 1 and first of hour 2 only had two talk breaks thanks to “Spain” by Return to Forever and “Kukuc.”

This week’s version of “Kukuc” was performed at Backstreet Blues in Rockville Centre, the venue where I was introduced to Fav and his Dharma All-Stars on July 13, 2005. Here are the photos I took that night:

Backstreet Blues is now known as The New Vibe Lounge.

Click here to download this week’s scoped aircheck or listen below:

Festival of Games 2022 recap December 16, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Aviation, Christmas, Game Shows, History, Internet, Media, Military, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Last year’s Festival of Games (the first)

Last Saturday, the second annual Festival of Games was held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum along Museum Row in East Garden City. The so-far one-day spinoff of Long Island Retro Gaming Expo (read about the 2022 LI Retro here) was my latest chance to walk and snap photos in as many sections as possible. Then, back to the vendor halls to add video games to my multi-console, multi-generation collection.

Thanks to my past recaps, I have made friends with the organizers, volunteers, and a week before this Festival of Games, the museum’s director of marketing and community relations, Jerelyn Zontini. I’m honored to know them and to promote special events like this.

I did not think to check the Festival of Games website for this year’s schedule, so I missed out on the panels in the main stage (planetarium) and classes in the classroom, but I saw everything else on offer, and was surprised to meet legendary collector, YouTuber, and streamer Pete Dorr at his vending table. More on that later.

To photograph the event, I brought my Canon EOS R7 with RF-S 18-150mm lens and Speedlite 430EX III-RT. When writing about my initial experience with the mirrorless camera, I did not lower the resolution on test photos. Considering the camera’s higher native max resolution (6984×4660) with the same 3:2 aspect ratio as my previous camera, it made sense while editing Saturday’s photos to increase my default blog post/social media resolution. Thus, going forward, photos will be no lower than 2000 pixels vertically, stepping up from my max horizontal resolution of 2600 pixels.

Again planning on a two-hour stay, my mother dropped me off at 12:43 PM:

Once inside (and having my bag searched), I presented my e-ticket printout to a box office attendant who stamped my left hand.

A promotional banner for the first leg in what’s now my annual triple crown: Cradle-Con:

I bought my weekend pass for Cradle-Con Monday afternoon. No more New York Comic Con for me. I was already disenchanted with them last year, but went anyway and had a good time. The uncertainty and last-minute additions this year were my tipping point, as noted in the third paragraph of my Dutchess County trip post. I’m optimistic that I’ll have a much better time at Cradle-Con.

Each section I walked through at Festival of Games has a dedicated photo gallery. We start with the vendor hall gallery:

The board game section:

In all the years I’ve been inside the Cradle of Aviation Museum, I never observed its exhibits. I rectified that after passing the board games section.

MY ANSWER: Most of them, thanks to my proximity to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The planes are either on final approach or just took off. I also see general aviation aircraft coming to or from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, which is even closer to my house.

Back to video games in the free play area:


On to the second floor:

Of course, most of the arcade games were housed on the Air & Space hall sky walk:

I chose not to play any of the arcade games or free play console games. I just wanted to buy games, and where better to start than at Pete Dorr’s table? I didn’t introduce myself to him right away, but he approached me after a few minutes of rummaging. That’s when I complimented him on his work. I ended up buying five Sega Genesis games from Pete’s table, which he gave me a great discount on. Then, we posed for a photo:

An hour of vendor-hopping yielded 42 games in all, including seven imports! Four games were for the Family Computer (Famicom) and three were for the Super Famicom. Final Fantasy V was a timely get as GTV Japan posted a retrospective the day before (last Friday).

Satisfied, I proceeded to the parking lot for my mom to pick me up.

Back at home, I spent nearly two hours photographing my pickups, removing price stickers, and cataloging the games.

Now, photos of all pickups by console, starting with Family Computer (Famicom):

Super Famicom:

Nintendo Entertainment System:

Yes, I passed on Deadly Towers again.

Super Nintendo:

I didn’t notice a crack on the upper left of Tecmo Super NBA Basketball until cataloging later. I bought a better condition cart on eBay Tuesday night and put in an offer for another Looney Tunes game, Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos. I bought that on Wednesday when my offer was accepted.

Sega Master System:

Now, I have the original Zillion to go along with the sequel I bought last year.

Sega Genesis (Mega Drive outside North America):

And one Nintendo Wii game: The Price is Right: 2010 Edition:

That last pickup was the culmination of all the time that I spent this year watching various winning pricing games and showcases from the Bob Barker era of The Price is Right, and with my resulting renewed obsession with Barker era music cues, many of which can be found on this YouTube channel.

It was another successful and enjoyable Festival of Games. Thank you to Pete Dorr and all the vendors I bought from, to the LI Retro staff including George Portugal (who I saw on Saturday), and to Jerelyn Zontini. It was great to meet her in person after she connected with me on LinkedIn a few weeks ago.

Until Cradle-Con.

My new Canon EOS R7: test photos, growing pains, lessons learned November 4, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal, Photography.

NOTE: Ordinarily, I shrink photos for blog posts, but all photos in this post are their original sizes.

After a week of deliberation, research, and consultation with a Facebook group, I opted to make the Canon EOS R7 my next camera, and entry into the mirrorless realm, rather than the more expensive Nikon Z7II that I said I was considering in my PC build post.

My decision was influenced by the realization that the Nikon 18-300mm superzoom lens I bought last April for the D5500 is a DX lens (for APS-C cameras like D5500), and the Z7II is an FX/full-frame camera. If I used that lens on the Z7II via the FTZ II adapter, the photos would be cropped and the resolution more than halved. Instead of using all of its 45 MP (megapixels), I’d probably use 26. Plus, Nikon’s superzoom Z lens only has a range of 24 to 200mm. I could live with six less millimeters on the wide end, but not 100 less narrow.

I was uncertain about leaving the Nikon ecosystem for my primary camera (keeping the D5500 as a secondary one). I even took a risk the Thursday before WCWP Homecoming Weekend, October 13, by bidding around $1,800 for a used Z7II (shutter count near 8,000) on eBay that had its menu stuck in traditional Chinese (called “an Asian language” by the seller). I was willing to buy and then use the Google Translate app’s camera feature to translate to English so I could reset the menu language to English.

I still hadn’t been outbid come Saturday afternoon, October 15. Then, just as I was telling Bernie Bernard in WCWP’s studio 3 that I expected to be outbid before the auction ended Sunday night, October 16, I was outbid. That did it: Sunday night, I was going all in on the EOS R7 and bringing my interchangeable lens history full circle.

I was introduced to SLRs (no D prefix yet) in 1999 via my dad’s Canon EOS Rebel G. I used it at sporting events – such as a New York Mets game that year and in 2001 (16 days before 9/11) – and at some other personal events with the speedlight attached.

Here’s a photo from each:

After that second Mets game, I didn’t use an SLR camera again until my jazz fan/photographer friend Katherine Gilraine recommended a Nikon DSLR in 2012. Starting that May, I transitioned from a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 to a Nikon D3100. I started with only the kit 18-55mm lens and used the Lumix for long shots, but when I bought a 55-300mm lens in December, the Lumix was retired. I gifted it to my friend Kelly who still uses it today.

At first, I purchased a backordered EOS R7 camera body and backordered spare LP-E6NH battery from Amazon; due to arrive in early December and mid-November, respectively. All my other purchases would deliver between two and five days later.

Monday morning, October 17, impatience took over and I searched for a site that had the body available now and at a low price. Google determined Abe’s of Maine was the cheapest and I ordered from them for $200 less than I’d have spent on the canceled Amazon backorder. Members of the Facebook group reminded me of Abe’s bad reputation and gray market items. Message board threads I found on Google noted their shady practice of upselling. They weren’t even an authorized U.S. Canon dealer. I was in denial, latching on to this marginally positive thread post. Most retailers ship by the day after ordering, but not Abe’s of Maine. Instead, Wednesday afternoon, October 19, a representative e-mailed me to call and confirm my order. I naively thought it was that simple. Wrong! I dialed the rep’s extension, but another rep answered and routed me to the rep. He upsold me! Did I want the body itself and no battery or to pay more with the battery? And so on. Whatever I chose, I was going to spend more money. So, I vehemently canceled my order. And if I had thoroughly read the first thread I linked to, I’d have seen a post with the same problem:

… About 4 days after placing the order, I received an email asking me to call to “confirm” the order, which I did. The man thanked me for confirming because he wanted to make sure that it was really me and not somebody using my card. Fair enough. But then he pulled the old bait and switch, telling me that the US market version of the lens would be better and he could upgrade me if I wanted to pay more. I then told him that I didn’t appreciate the bait and switch tactic. He then said to me “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Is there something wrong with you?” Truly, he said this to me. I told him to cancel, and he said OK with no hesitation. My card was not charged and I got a confirmation of the cancellation. Just be aware that what you read about Abe’s of Maine is true.

Chet K, DPReview thread post, 2/22/21

Within minutes, a godsend materialized in my renewed Google search. An authorized Canadian Canon dealer, Excellent Photo in Quebec, was selling a legitimately new, factory-sealed R7 body for only $39 more (in USD) than I would have spent from Abe’s. Sold! It took less than an hour for Excellent Photo to ship the camera body! The FedEx driver walked it up my driveway Friday evening, October 21. I was so excited that I met him halfway instead of having him leave it on the front porch.

Thursday morning, October 20, inspired by my Excellent Photo experience, I looked for a retailer that had the LP-E6NH in stock and found Service Photo out of Baltimore (their listing), canceling that Amazon backorder. The battery was delivered by UPS Friday afternoon.

Wednesday morning, I researched Canon gadget bags that could fit the R7 with a control ring mount adapter and Tamron 18-400mm lens for Canon EF mounts. The dimensions on the 200ES bag seemed big enough, so I bought that on eBay. I bought the adapter, Tamron lens, and Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT from separate eBay sellers on Sunday night. The adapter is for RF-mounted Canon mirrorless cameras; what the FTZ (or FTZ II) adapter is for Nikon’s mirrorless Z series. It was another Thursday arrival, along with the smaller-than-I-thought gadget bag. The speedlight and lens were waiting for me at home late Wednesday evening. (Fun fact for Long Islanders: Canon U.S.A.’s headquarters are in Melville and Tamron Americas is based in Commack.)

My Amazon purchases were two SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SDXC cards, a 72mm Tiffen UV filter for the Tamron lens, and a menu screen protector.

After the R7 body arrived Friday evening, I photographed my haul, the last photo of my D5500’s life as a primary camera:

Some of the R7 Facebook group were displeased with my choice of SD cards. I was unaware that there were two classes of UHS speed – UHS-I and UHS-II – and three video speed classes – V30, V60, and V90. (This post explains both sets of classes.) I had bought UHS-I V30 cards. I wouldn’t have fast write speeds or buffering when shooting in bursts. I told the doubting members what photography I specialize in, and they said I’d be fine.

To help pay off my purchases, I took photos of all my retired equipment and put them up for auction on eBay. Outside of a never-used video capture card, I listed my Nikon lenses, Nikon D5100 camera, JVC Everio GZ-HM320BU camcorder, and Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder. I included all accessories I retained (manuals, cables, batteries, power supply) or added (UV filters, SD cards, spare battery). (As of publication on Friday, November 4, I have sold all but the two camcorders.)

Preoccupied with the WCWP Homecoming Weekend recap, I didn’t set up and get acquainted with the R7 until Sunday morning, October 23. The camera with adapter, lens, and lens hood fit snug inside the bag (photos taken with my iPhone):

Once the first battery was charged, I began testing exclusively at 400mm:

Having success with my Nikon cameras’ JPEG fine mode, I never thought to shoot RAW. The JPEGs looked great, only having a smartphone camera appearance at a high ISO, and they were always 300 PPI. However, the Canon EOS R7’s JPEGs are 72 PPI like your average display, camcorder, or smartphone camera. Even with countless reviewers stating that there is no difference in quality, I didn’t like JPEG processing quality on the R7. So, I tried a RAW photo, my first ever:

I finally had a reason to use Adobe Lightroom – for exporting any RAW photos as JPEGs before editing them in Photoshop Elements 2020 (2023 version). Yes, I have regular Photoshop, and you can edit in Lightroom, but I like Photoshop Elements’ editing tools better. The photo above was edited in Lightroom, though, and the EXIF data showed that Lightroom exports at 240 PPI. Thus, I would now shoot in RAW, export to JPEG, and edit accordingly. If the photo is too sharp, I would despeckle.

I wasted an hour attempting to pair the R7 to my computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Neither worked, but it does work with my iPhone while Canon’s CameraConnect app is open. I use that app’s location information feature so the GPS location is included in a photo. If I forget to open the app, no GPS tracking.

I noticed a USB-C port on the left side. Without a cable included in the box, I used my PlayStation 5‘s C to type A cable to transfer files to my PC. Then, I bought a two-pack of 3-foot USB-C to type A cables on Amazon. One cable was for my bag to use with my laptop, and the other is for desktop transfers at home. The connection feels loose, but not enough to snap off in mid-transfer.

I didn’t test on Monday, October 24, due to rainy weather, but on Tuesday the 25th, I brought the bag with me in my dad’s car for the camera’s ultimate test: does the IBIS (in-body image stabilization) work in a moving vehicle?

Not really, or at least not with the Tamron lens:

What worked on Sunday in my bedroom did not work in a moving vehicle. The lens seldom focused beyond 200mm, especially in low light. In sports or panning mode, it went in and out of focus with each successive frame. The traffic lights or road signs were visible, and then they weren’t. I even had focus issues in the conference room for the last of the above test photos. What’s worse, a little bit of dust found its way in front, even with a UV filter attached.

I felt awful, worse than with the PC build. In my desire for one lens to rule them all, I should have just bought Canon’s RF 24-240mm lens. And I did, with a hood, while attempting to return the Tamron. (I’d keep the control ring adapter for a future Canon EF lens and save the 72mm UV filter for the RF 24-240.)

Then, a Facebook group member who got the Tamron lens to work with his R7 tried to coach me on how to get it to work for me. He said I needed to make some adjustments in settings, like turning off subject recognition, which was set to find people. I took another set of test photos with no focus issues:

Thinking the problem was solved, I canceled the Canon lens/hood order and Tamron lens return. Unfortunately, my troubles were far from over. There was an error message whenever I had the camera set to scene priority (sports, panning): “the attached lens does not provide stabilization for subjects.” In other words, my lens couldn’t take advantage of the camera’s IBIS feature. That meant the morning’s problems were back with a vengeance: in and out of focus, locked out of taking a photo due to no focus (red rectangle), motion blur. I lost my mind. Here are the passable test photos:

Back at home, the group member made another attempt to solve my issue. Once his guidance felt useless (referring me to a menu option I couldn’t find), I rage quit the group, rebought the 24-240 lens/hood, and renewed my return request to the eBay seller for the Tamron lens. Once the seller said they’d have a return label ready for printing, I took the lens and its hood off the body and put them back in the box with all manuals and warranty info, sealing the top and bottom with whatever bubble wrap I could find. On Wednesday, October 26, they provided the label and enclosed invoice, and I brought everything to The UPS Store for shipping.

As with the PC build, the Technology Connections Discord chat server finally got me to realize what the R7 group members were trying to get me to understand: Canon’s RF lenses are full-frame; the R7 is APS-C. The image will be slightly zoomed in but not cropped, the opposite scenario of Nikon DX lenses on the Z7II. 24-240mm is more like 35-350mm. And that’s when I did what most of the group preferred: buy an RF-S 18-150mm lens and RF 100-400mm lens (after canceling the 24-240 order). I bought Chiaro Pro UV filters for the lenses, 58mm and 67mm, but not hoods. I’d have to make do without them for now.

I rejoined the group, apologizing for my sudden departure, and letting them know what I had done. They were pleased, but the Tamron lens member warned I may still have the same issue with the RF lenses. I told him I would reach out to him if I did.

In the midst of Tuesday’s craziness, my dad and I swapped camera gadget bags. The Canon 200ES now houses his Nikon gear and I have his old AmazonBasics bag.

The new Canon lenses and Chiaro filters arrived on Thursday, October 27. Well, the filters and 100-400mm lens were new, but the 18-150mm lens was used with a 9+ condition rating from B&H. Here’s how they looked out of the boxes:

My next task was to apply the 18-150 lens to the R7 body:

Then, test time:

I switched to the 100-400 lens…:

…and tested that:

I was impressed with the results, and surprised by how the R7 compensates for the flash on its own. The last four photos were nearly identical.

The true test was to come on Halloween morning; Monday, October 31.

In the meantime, let’s see how the gear fits in Dad’s AmazonBasics bag while the 100-400mm lens is attached:

…and the 18-150mm:

The top compartment houses the spare USB-C to Type A cable and the rear cap of whatever lens is connected:

The cable in action on the desktop:

Opening the RAW photos in Lightroom…:

…and exporting as 240 PPI JPEGs…:

…to edit in Photoshop Elements:

The RAWs and JPEGs together:

After the JPEG export, I only keep a few RAWs for reference.

The Tamron lens was delivered to the seller on Friday, October 28, and a refund was issued. My nightmare was over. Yet, I occasionally saw photos posted to the R7 Facebook group taken with lenses like the one I returned – or Canon EF lenses. Their photos were crystal clear and perfectly focused. I guess I just need to “git gud” (get good), as the meme goes.

On the evening of Saturday, October 29, I discovered I could use Adobe Lightroom Classic to export RAW photos at 300 PPI, just as the Nikons natively saved fine JPEGs. Here’s the last October 27 test photo at 300 PPI:

The quality and file size were the same, which confirmed what reviewers like this said all along: the PPI doesn’t matter like it does for DPI (dots per inch) when scanning film or prints. (The first Mets game photo was at 400 DPI and the second at 500 DPI.) So, I stuck with 240 PPI exports in regular Lightroom.

I had an earlier opportunity to test the lenses on Sunday, October 30, during a drive to the supermarket, but I opted to wait until Halloween. The wait was worth it! My test with the RF-S 18-150mm lens in the morning was a success! The IBIS seemed to do its job and the R7 had no trouble focusing. I mainly shot in sports mode with a few in auto mode.

The test with the RF 100-400mm lens was equally satisfying once I figured out the car windshield was making 400mm photos blurrier than normal. The wider the focal length, the clearer the photo, and the IBIS is more likely to work. Of course, this is common knowledge to more experienced photographers. Two members of the R7 Facebook group mocked my naivete, and chastised my use of a UV filter because the windshield is already UV-protected. Others politely informed me that wide angle will always provide a clearer view, windshield or not. As for my intended use for road and street sign photography, image stabilization is best at counteracting my hand’s instability, but not so much for motion blur or road vibrations. The photos at a wider length on the 100-400 were clearer, and most photos on other lens were stabilized to the point that motion blur was minimal. Still, on Tuesday, November 1, I sharpened those photos and then despeckled them. This is on top of any other adjustments to a given photo; they are seldom untouched.

Tuesday also started the post-editing practice of going back ino Lightroom to watermark photos I publicize on this blog or social media. Again, I naively held out for over a decade. Live and learn.

Here are the Halloween test photos, starting in the morning with the RF-S 18-150mm…

…and the RF 100-400mm in the afternoon:

I noticed the first quarter (waxing) phase of the moon on Tuesday night and took this photo:

The R7’s higher resolution (6984×4660) and RF 100-400mm’s longer focal length than if I used the D5500 and superzoom 18-300mm lens allowed for a decent leftover resolution: 1993×1572. This photo removed any doubt about taking a moon shot with the UV filter attached.

Tuesday’s photo was in sports mode and the camera automatically chose ISO 6400. Two nights later – Thursday, November 3 – I tried again in shutter priority mode at ISO 100. At first, I only took one photo at a time, at 1/1,000 sand 1/500 shutter speeds. I stayed at 1/500, but switched to burst mode. Out of 58 shots over three sets of bursts, the last one was the best:

The cropped resolution is 2179×1770

The 30th was a close 2nd:


Earlier Thursday, after a morning treadmill run, I noticed the camcorder bag I inherited from family friend Janine looked pretty big. I brought it upstairs in the evening and it was too big, with room to spare! It was also heavier than the AmazonBasics bag, but again, it was free beggars can’t be choosers. Here’s how it looked:

Dad’s bag now houses my current camcorder, a Panasonic HC-X1500 with VW-HU1 hand unit.

So many lessons were learned in my first ten days with the Canon EOS R7, and I will probably learn more in the weeks and months ahead. I haven’t even tried shooting video yet, speaking of camcorders. Wish me luck with it all.

Thank you for reading and viewing.

Photos from Dutchess County trip, drive back home October 28, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Aviation, Baseball, Biking, Comedy, Film, Fire, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Politics, Radio, Running, Sci-Fi, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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In two of my Homecoming Weekend posts (live show, main post), I referenced a family trip to Dutchess County the prior weekend. This post is about that trip.

Back in the spring, my mom sprung the trip on me: a few of my relatives were going to run a race – The Fall Foliage Half Marathon and 5K – in Rhinebeck on the Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend and we would all be put up in a nearby AirBNB. I initially panicked, worried that it would conflict with Homecoming Weekend (henceforth, HCW), but one of my alumni friends assured me the LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming football game would likely be the following weekend. And in recent years, it has been held on the third Saturday of October. My conscience was clear and I was prepared for the trip.

I assumed the AirBNB would be in Rhinebeck and my parents, sister, and I would leave for there on the morning of Friday, October 7. Instead, we were to leave in the mid-afternoon and the house was in Staatsburg. I had an extra day to prepare since I decided not to go to New York Comic Con this year, or ever again, due to my disenchantment with the event and a need to save money for paying off my PC build. (And then, a week later, I went and bought a new camera and related equipment, which I’m still trying to get the hang of.)

I have a mixed record when it comes to time management. More often than not, I mismanage my time, and that’s what I did prior to departure on Friday afternoon. In the days leading up to the weekend, I tried to get as many radio shows recorded as possible to allow for a sizable buffer of weeks ahead. I only managed to produce and record the HCW prerecord and one regular show (November 16). I finished creating the playlist for the live HCW show with only an hour to spare before leaving the house.

Annotations for the live show and next regular show (November 23) were done from my laptop during downtime at the AirBNB. It was not an easy task with constant action at breakfast time or with babies occasionally crying indefinitely, all amplified by the hardwood floors on the main floor. Most of the regular show annotations were done on Sunday evening when I had the house to myself and then in my bedroom with white noise blaring in my earbuds.

Don’t chalk this up to disdain for the experience that weekend. Overall, I had a great time seeing the sights and catching up with relatives.

My parents and I left at 3:15 Friday afternoon and drove five minutes east to pick up my sister at her apartment. Four hours of traffic and spotty cell service later, we arrived at the AirBNB on Connelly Drive in Staatsburg.

For privacy’s sake, I won’t include photos of the house’s interior or of my family, but here are two exterior shots I took Saturday afternoon:

The rest of the post is dedicated to scenery photos taken from Saturday, October 8, to the ride home on Monday, October 10.

First, two more negatives:

  • The Mets completed their unraveling by losing their National League Wild Card Series to the Padres. I found out about their game 1 loss Saturday morning, game 2 win Sunday morning, and game 3 loss seconds after it happened Sunday night. It was extremely demoralizing. I spent five months of my life believing this was the year the Mets would win their third World Series, allowing me not to care if they’d win a fourth in my lifetime. Five months of my life were wasted for nothing, including hours spent editing photos from the two games I attended. Obviously, I won’t make a slideshow of photos from that second game, which turned out to be the apex of the Mets’ season; all downhill from there. I hadn’t thrown away so many months expecting an outcome that didn’t happen since the 2012 presidential election. And I was away from home that night, too, at a family friend’s house in Rockville Centre, waiting for power to be restored back at my Wantagh home. (It was the next afternoon.) (11/1 UPDATE: Whoops, forgot to note power was lost during Sandy. I wrote about my experience here.) Incidentally, that family friend now lives an hour north of where we were and she met up with us Sunday in downtown(village) Rhinebeck.
  • In another case of time mismanagement, I hurriedly and anxiously shaved my face and neck on Saturday and Sunday, making everyone wait before we could drive to wherever we were going. I cut myself in multiple places, and contemplated going back to an electric razor after nearly 20 years of a manual razor with five-blade cartridges. My dad generously bought one for me as an early birthday present on Monday morning. As of publication, I’m still mastering it. Most of my face is easy to shave, but I can’t get all the hairs off my neck, above my chin, or below my sideburns.

Now for the photos. Saturday morning, October 8, included a trip to the Kesicke Farm Fall Festival (more alliteration) in Rhinebeck. One day after warm and slightly humid conditions, conditions were sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 50s. I brought a winter hat and light gloves on the trip, but only needed the gloves.

Returning to the AirBNB:

Sunday, October 9, brought us back to Rhinebeck. I packed my camcorder and tripod on Friday because I thought we’d be watching the end of the races Sunday. I thought wrong. I did use the camcorder Saturday afternoon to record soccer practice with my sister and our cousin. We did, however, walk up and down Market Street in Rhinebeck. That made me think of a song bearing that name by Yellowjackets from the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home soundtrack. Of course, the film was based in San Francisco, not Rhinebeck, but Rhinebeck was the location of Spyro Gyra‘s last album of original music to date, The Rhinebeck Sessions.

Another pair of road signs on the way back to Staatsburg:

While I was walking through Rhinebeck, my dad biked to and from the Ashokan Reservoir via the Ashokan Rail Trail. Those are the first two photos below. He took the third Sunday evening while everyone but me traveled to the Walkway Over the Hudson. (I stayed in Staatsburg.)

Monday morning, October 10, I spotted three wild turkeys walking through the AirBNB’s backyard. I went outside to take photos with my phone, and ended up following them several yards into the woods.

Trembling from excitement and anxiety (I wanted to go home), I shot this shaky video:

We left for Wantagh at around 10:30 AM. These photos were taken on the way to the Taconic State Parkway:

On the parkway:


I-684 (briefly in Connecticut):