Topiary: my mom does a Pearl

My mom and I watched A Man Named Pearl, a documentary about a man who shapes the bushes in his yard into fantastic topiary. She’s a professional gardener and today I got a call, “You have to see this. I’m doing a Pearl.” I walked to the house where she was working and photographed the action.

Even if you’re not a gardener, A Man Named Pearl is good. You can find the trailer at Pearl Fryar.


Portland TV, a look inside the KGW newsroom

Elemental sponsored a networking event at KGW last night. That’s me. LOL My friend took that picture of me behind the desk, I’m the one with short hair. Thanks Natalie!
The studio where the anchors present the news has three robot cameras. They are operated by remote in the control room across the hall.
Here are the joy sticks that move the robot cameras.
This room is the brain. A door opens between two halves of the room. A guy waves to our tour group from the left hand room. We file in and watch two newsmen live with Joy Portella of Mercy Corps reporting from Africa. While she talks about the famine she’s witnessed, various videos go on screens and the guys pull images to help tell her story.

Roadside Garden: bioswale projects to restore water cycle in Portland, Oregon

Streets and parking lots funnel rainwater directly to stormdrains, and those connect with our sewers. Streams that would’ve meandered overland and seeped into the earth are in underground pipes. During a heavy rain, the combined storm and sewer system sends untreated water into the Willamette River.

When construction crews remove curbside asphalt and create container gardens: that’s a bioswale. The soil and plants are natural water filters. By allowing stormwater to access the earth, taxpayers save money that would be spent on underground pipes and reduce the load at Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The City recently installed a number of bioswales. They help to improve the health of our water, and yes, a roadside garden looks great. Seeing the bioswales as I ride through Portland, I enjoyed the different designs and thought to post some photos.

Manual Settings on a Digital Camera: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed

I started experimenting with the manual setting on my digital camera. The ISO (International Standards Organization) number is something from film cameras. It’s the sensitivity of the film stock, or the “film speed”. Lower numbers, 100 or 200, are for bright scenes. 400 ISO is good for a cloudy day or indoor. And, the high numbers, 1600 or more, are for night photography –– the higher number let’s you work with less light and as a result has a grainy look. The best image quality comes from using the lowest ISO number.

For digital cameras, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the sensor. You don’t have to switch out rolls of film when you want to adjust the sensitivity. Being able to change the ISO allows greater control of expression. A high ISO number can enable better hand-held photography. So depending on the available light and conditions of the shot, you can adjust the ISO to get the best exposure.

The three factors that control exposure are ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. The aperture refers to the opening inside the lens allowing light to reach the sensor. It’s called the f-stop. It’s called a stop because it stops light. In the early days of film photography, a plate with a hole in it could be switched out from the camera. The smaller the size of the hole, the less light that reaches the film stock.

The tricky thing to remember is that as aperture gets smaller, the f-stop number will get larger. The f-stop is a fraction expressed without the numerator –– denominator being the bottom number in a fraction. So f-8 is a small opening, and f-2 is larger.

For each scene and ISO, the aperture and shutter speed can be adjusted in concert to create the best exposure. When you reduce the aperture opening, the smaller hole requires more time to let in light. If you have the aperture set at f-2 you can use a faster shutter speed. A fast shutter speed helps to eliminate motion blur. At night, you change the shutter speed to allow more light. A tripod keeps the image from becoming blurred.

While experimenting with the camera, I got an image of light reflected on the glass over Grandma’s watercolor of the girl reaching for the sky.