Thursday, December 11, 2014

Six Months of no photography

Yesterday, I switched on my malfunctioning Macbook for the first time in possibly two months. The reason being that I needed to pay my cellphone bill and check to see if I'd paid my electricity bill. As it turned out, my cellphone bill was $44.71 and my electricity bill hadn't been paid and had reached the giddy heights of $27.35. As for DSL - I don't worry about that any more because I use a MiFi pad though yesterday's connection was made using my cellphone as a MiFi gateway. Needless to say I had the usual problems with my Macbook which I suspect are attributable to a bad driver that Apple has used.

The Macbook problem is that it's a 2007 Macbook that originally had Leopard on it and which I upgraded earlier this year to Snow Leopard for the princely sum of $29. Not many months after that, the screen started going black. Shining a light at an angle on the screen meant it was possible to read the screen. Toggling the brighter and dimmer buttons it was possible to get the display to flash up briefly. Now here's the kicker - when the battery is fully charged AND the Macbook is plugged into the wall, it all works just fine. On battery alone, the toggling gets brief flashes of display but it's unusable like that. Changing the battery for a cheapo eBay battery worked a bit but there's something wrong with the driver and I just can't fathom that one out. In the interim, I'm using a Nexus 7 tablet for all my internet stuff. Both the tablet and the Macbook work happily with my Nexus 4 used as a WiFi source and with my MiFi pad. Inquiries of Apple as to what the problem is indicates it might be a driver and I'll have to drive to Greenville, Charlotte or Charleston to get it sorted out. All well and good but its a 100 mile trek each way to any of those. Were I to drive my car then it's a cost of $25 in gas or were I to drive my bus, $80 in diesel plus parking, of course. That's without mentioning it'd take me away from work for a day which would mean lost wages would have to be added to the bill so we're looking at a cost greater than my refurbished Nexus 7. You can see why I went for a Nexus 7 now!

Meanwhile, when I checked my Macbook, I also looked at my photos and noted that the last photos I took with my DSLR were in June. I just haven't had time to go to take photos. I've either been working, zooming about to job interviews, looking for work (dressed in my finest and not really thinking about photography nor wanting to risk my finest) or with my ladyfriend. All of those come way before photography and there just hasn't been the time. Ah but, you may ask - what about that bus. Well, I have to point out two things - firstly that the bus will become a motorhome - a place for me to live instead of paying rent (which is pretty important given that my current job doesn't quite pay my normal bills and since nobody seems to respond to my CareerBuilder applications other than time-wasting recruitment agencies. I could tell you the number of times I've been asked to drive to Charlotte for an "interview" that was a joke at best and which yielded "we'll call you" but never any calls). Secondly, the bus is parked in my ladyfriend's back yard while I'm working on it so it's a case of getting the best of both worlds - I'm at my ladyfriend's house and we don't get under each other's feet but we get to spend time together.

There is a vague plan to do some stellar photography of the night sky one night since my ladyfriend's place is out in Pelion, South Carolina. It's an "interesting" area where it's possible to hear gunfire just about any day. People seem to keep themselves to themselves up there and are generally pretty polite. They do say that an armed society is a polite society. It's a mono-ethnic area where diversity isn't really that welcome. I noticed that when I was in the store. There was an African American cashier and long queues at the checkouts operated by Caucasian Americans but none at her checkout. Needless to say, I chose the shortest line as skin color means nothing to me. All I care about is whether people are nice to me.

The problem with stellar photography is light pollution. I had a go at some stellar photography in a darkish area but the light pollution was terrible. Had I been interested and known more about stellar photography when I was in Key West in March of 2013 then I would have done some better sky photos there as there was no light pollution down there. Sadly the photos were exposed correctly for what I wanted to achieve then but way underexposed for stellar photography. It's too far to drive to retake a photo. From here to Mile Zero of I95 it's about 800 miles in each direction. I've driven it before, partnering with the lady I went to Key West with. She was the manager of a Woodforest Bank in Charleston. She drove 8 hours, I drove 8 hours then we stopped for the night. It took two days in each direction.

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