R.I.P. Four Friends

Sit With Me…, originally uploaded by Mac Girl.

I finally made it to a GR Flickr meetup again last night… my first in weeks, if not months. It was excellent and awesome seeing everyone, even though the main reason for the meetup was to get our last coffee at Four Friends Coffee Shop.

Four Friends has always been “that place” for the GR Flickrs. It’s where we meet before/during/after ANY and EVERY downtown photowalk, GR Marathon shoots, Blues On The Mall…

It was cool without being exclusive, beautiful without being perfect, displayed and sold some great local art, served some of the best coffee in the greater metropolitan area, and most importantly it was the only coffee shop where I could get a stroopwafel with my double mocha.

You can’t buy perfection like that. It just… IS.

R.I.P. Four Friends. Others will imitate you, but they will never replace you.

[ cue: mournful dirge music ]

Explosive Addiction

Finale, originally uploaded by Mac Girl.

I love them. Fireworks, that is. With the possible exception of the ones that go off in my neighborhood long into the night for DAYS before and after the Fourth Of July. I mean c’mon, a girl needs her beauty sleep, people!

Anyway, I have a thing for photographing them now…


A decent wide angle lens is required — the sky is wide and the fireworks are close — cropping can be done later…

You never know what sorts of patterns you’ll get…

And the colors can seriously rock…

The trick, my friends, is a tripod and remote. Aim at the sky, set the approximate focus then switch the lens to manual. Then just start shooting. Eventually, you’ll get into a rhythm and start to capture individual explosions, or pairs in unique combinations…

And groups…

As a matter of fact, the only thing that I DON’T like about shooting fireworks, is having to decide on a limited number to post when I get home. 🙂

Number One, With A Bullet

Fish Bait
Originally uploaded by Mac Girl

Ok, ok, I don’t know about “#1” – I have no evidence as yet – but my über-talented friend Deb says that this bad boy made the front page of Flickr’s Explore section today!!

For those of you not familiar with the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances of Flickr, it’s a very high honor to make the Explore list because it means that a lot of people have commented on and favorited your photo, and that a lot more people are going to see it now that it’s being displayed as the cream of the crop for that day. (They calculate this using something that they call Interestingness.) Only a small number of photos per day make it to explore, and of those only a few make the front page.

This is truly an honor. I don’t take photos with the intent of making it to Explore, I take them because they please me. Making Explore is the icing on the cake of my life. Today I hit the jackpot of cake icing. 🙂

Happy March!


Of Pleasant Surprises

Silent Observer
Originally uploaded by Mac Girl

The Man had a teleconference meeting this afternoon/evening (I should be a poet!) so I decided to go out and stretch my legs before our big V-Day date. I ended up driving over to Ken-O-Sha park which is only about 5 min. from our house.

I haven’t been there since I was a little girl, and I keep meaning to take the camera over but I never remember it when I have time. Yeah, we’ve lived here 13 years now, it’s 5 minutes away, and I haven’t gone! Sad, isn’t it?

Anyway, the trail is about 1.2 miles long and I wore my old boots because I wasn’t sure how clear the trail was.

Funny thing about those old boots— I forgot that the right boot is broken on the inside heel. I had my woolies on so I didn’t notice it rubbing my heel until I literally got to the other end of the trail.

1.2 miles from the car.


So I favored it on the way back and stopped often. At one point it felt so bad that I sat down on one of the less-snowy park benches and tried to adjust my wool sock to relieve the pain a bit — I still had about a half mile to go!

I sat there quietly for about 5 minutes, and when I stood up I heard a noise behind me. Lo and behold, three deer were standing there staring at me like I was an alien from another planet. I managed to get only one shot off before they decided I was a threat (Who? ME??) and took off into the woods.

I’m home now, the boots are in the trash, I have a large bandage wrapped across the back of my heel and a bloody wool sock to show for it.

But you know what? It was almost worth it for the encounter with the deer.

Online Photo Sharing In Plain English

I’m really bad at explaining some things. Not concrete things like how to make an omlette or why I use a 50mm lens on my Canon most of the time instead of my cool Sigma 70-300mm zoom. No, I’m bad at explaining concepts.

Classic example: TiVo

You don’t know how much you need one until you’ve actually used it for a while. And yes, you DO need one if you “don’t watch a lot of TV” because TiVo ensures that the TV that you do watch is relevant and interesting to you specifically…. but I digress.

This isn’t about TiVo. This is about Flickr. More specifically, this is about using web sites to store, backup, manage, and share your photos.

The folks at CommonCraft.com have just come out with a great little video explaining online photo sites and why you should use them. I recommend Flickr because it’s generally considered the best and the easiest to use, and because it’s the one that all of my friends and family use. (There are some very picky people in that bunch, so you know it’s a good thing!)

Click to play:

Two things I think I should stress:

1. If you don’t want to share your photos with The World you don’t have to. You can mark any photo on Flickr as public, friends only, family only, friends and family only, or completely private so that only YOU see them.

2. Even if you don’t have a digital camera you can scan important photos into the computer and upload them for safe keeping and/or sharing.

3. (I can’t count!) But seriously, it’s one of the best ways to keep an eye on friends and family if you travel or live far away from your loved ones for any amount of time — Yes, I’m talking to you. You know who you are! — or just don’t see them very often.

4. (I still can’t count!) It’s FREE for 200 photos, or you can get a “pro” account which gives you absolutely unlimited storage for $25 bucks per year. That’s less than a movie ticket and popcorn! (Believe me, I know!)

Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them. I’ve been using Flickr since 2005 and I’m pretty well-versed in Flickrology. If I don’t know the answer, I can get it for you.

A few Flickr streams that you might be interested in:

My Flickr stream

The Man’s Flickr stream

Photos taken in and of Grand Rapids, Michigan

And for Heaven’s sake, let me know if you sign up! 😀