Emma Beats the Heat

Our black cat Emma rests on the glass table on the patio in our backyard in Portland, Oregon

In July 2011, Emma beats the summer heat during her supervised backyard time by sleeping on the glass table on our patio. While the heat in Oregon was nothing compared to what we get in Arizona, we didn’t have air conditioning, so there wasn’t much you could do on the hottest days to cool down, especially when you had a lovely coat of fur.

Upgrade Central

Our cat Sam next to the box of my new Apple MacBook Pro

The new laptop arrived a week or so ago and is working out great, I loved my old laptop but after five years of loyal service it was ailing a bit and had some limitations for what I use it for. I appreciate how much Apple has reduced the packaging over the years even if it means the new box is no longer as interesting to my IT staff as the old ones. Editing video is one of the things I want to learn so I’m going to pick up Final Cut Pro this summer and find a good book to teach me how to use it. I suppose it’s high time I learn to use Lightroom as well, plus some other RAW converters I have.

My old TiVo started locking up the other day, perhaps it doesn’t like the Arizona heat, but TiVo sent us an email today with an upgrade offer that was pretty great so I’ll be upgrading that too, the new one should be here next week and will have a lot more recording space than the old one.

The Classics

Our black-and-white cat Scout inspects the box of the new 15 inch Apple Powerbook

In May of 2004 my new laptop arrived, a 15″ Apple Powerbook. It was a big step for me in two ways, I was not only switching full-time to the Mac but also to a laptop. Previously I had a smaller Apple laptop for the train and a Dell desktop for photo work, but my delight with a 12″ Apple Powerbook purchased months prior convinced me to go full-time with the bigger laptop. It was a good decision, that laptop remains one of my all-time favorites and I used it daily for years. All these years later and my current laptop is but a refinement of that classic design.

I’ve stayed a laptop-only user pretty much since then (I do have a Mac mini I use as a file server), but each time I’ve replaced a computer I’ve debated if I should go back to a split setup. I’m going through that again as it’s time to replace my aging laptop, although I’m leaning towards getting another 15″ one. The only reason I’d even consider a desktop is that lovely display on the iMac, but I’d have to go back to working at a desk at times instead of doing all my work on the couch covered in cats.

Speaking of cats, the lovely little creature who came out to inspect the new box was my beloved Scout, she and Templeton always liked to inspect new boxes.

Mr. Ambassador

Our cat Templeton inspecting the box of my 15 inch Powerbook shortly after it was delivered

I’ve been doing a lot of work on my home office lately, but it isn’t just my physical life that’s getting organized. I’ve been shooting digitally since Christmas of 2000 and over the years my pictures ended up pretty scattered around. Worse yet I have gotten hopelessly behind in sorting and editing. Worst of all I wasn’t sure which ones were properly backed up.

So it was time to start getting my digital life in order too.

Thanks to a few days of drudgery, all my pictures are now stored in a common directory format on one big hard drive, loaded into Aperture, and being backed up onto a second hard drive as I type. While loading in my older pictures, I couldn’t help but take a break every so often to play around with a few.

For some reason I never edited this picture of Templeton back in the day, he was inspecting my 15″ Powerbook shortly after it was delivered in May of 2004. I’ve written about the two of them before, so it was kind of funny to see them together at the moment the laptop arrived. I was rather ambivalent about cats until I met him, but he was such an ambassador for the feline kind that I can’t imagine my life without them now.

What a wonderful little creature he was.

Hold Your Apples High!

 groundhog eats an apple at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth, Maine

I had been visiting Gilsland Farm for several days in a row letting this groundhog get used to me, so it was rather nonplussed when I slowly approached and lay flat on the rain-soaked ground. It worked an apple from start to finish, suddenly raising it high when it was nearly at the core, yielding one of my favorite pictures of the trip.

Portland to Portland

A close-up view of a groundhog eating an apple

We recently returned to Portland from a trip to Portland.

My mother-in-law wanted her ashes spread near a favorite lighthouse in Maine so the family gathered in the Portland on the east coast and we spent a week visiting relatives in the area. Since it was a family trip and not a photography outing, I left the big lens and tripod at home in the Portland on the west coast. I did bring my camera and two zooms, I didn’t know what to expect but they pack down pretty small and were easy enough to take along even if I didn’t get a chance to use them.

My wife and I discovered the delightful Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in nearby Falmouth, Maine, on our first full day in the state. It was hot and humid and we didn’t expect to see much, but my spirits rose when we discovered groundhogs near the headquarters! Thereafter I started getting up at 4:30am each morning to visit the refuge for a few hours of photography and still got back in time for breakfast before most of the others had gotten up.

In this close-up of one of the adults about to take a big bite out of an apple, you can see an identification tag in its ear. The groundhogs there are being studied and sport tags in both ears.

Based on my studies, I’d say they really like apples.