Fireworks Photographs

On Monday night, I went downtown to visit my friend Fred. He lives on the 21st floor of a nicely refurbished building near Grand Circus Park in Detroit. Fred’s heavy into photography, so I brought my new camera (not a big deal, a Canon SX530) so we could shoot pictures of the fireworks and I could ask him a few questions.


We set up our cameras on his balcony, which has a pretty good view of the city. There is an observation area higher up in the building that has an amazing view of the city and the river, but it was fairly crowded already so we decided to work from his apartment.

He told me that the way he captures fireworks, he manually opens and closes the shutter instead of setting for an interval. My camera doesn’t have that option, so I experimented with 1, 2, and 4 second shots. The best pictures were at about 2 seconds, so I posted several of them in an album on Facebook at Fireworks Album

It was a great night, we had pizza and chatted for about 4 hours, talking about cameras, travel, and ADHD, not exactly in that order.

I had so much fun, I might even take a class in Photoshop or Lightroom. Wait! – aren’t they the same thing? Yeah. I need a class…

Eye in the Sky – movie notes

[It’s OK to read this – no spoilers.]

We just got home from watching “Eye in the Sky”. It was excellent and you should go see it. Be prepared – you will probably leave in dead silence and talk about it all the way home.

We went mainly to see Alan Rickman. He was very good as Liuetenant General Frank Benson, which was great. He went out on a strong performance.

The movie works on so many levels. The main characters – Rickman, Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi – are all three dimensional, especially Paul. The politicians, lawyers and other advisors around them are well done, if not completely fleshed out. They represent their points of view well, which is what I think really matters in this movie.

I love talking about movies and I always start with “what was the writer trying to say?” (This often makes people not want to go to the movies with me, but so it goes. For example, I remember coming away from “Joe Versus the Volcano” talking about how much meaning it had and how quickly every conversation came to a quick dead end.)

In “Eye in the Sky”, I think the writer had a lot to say. I’m not going to go into all of it (there’s too much there!), but I did want to comment on one thing: the dilemma faced by  Sergeant Mushtaq Saddiq (Babou Ceesay).

Saddiq is the one who is told by Helen Mirren’s character that (essentially) “I want to launch the attack. I need to have the Collateral Damage Estimate come in between 45 and 50%. Do what you need to do to make that happen?”

I can imagine that this conversation has happened a million times in a million different circumstances. “It’s your job to make it work.” “Adjust the numbers so it comes out looking right.” “Do it just this once.”

It smacks of the kinds of moral compromises we are sometimes asked to make just to get by. The pilot of the drone (Steve Watts played by Aaron Paul), faces a more obvious moral crisis, but I really like the subtlety of Saddiq’s situation.

I think the writer, Guy Hibbert, did a great thing by showing a smaller, less obvious dilemma. Not many of us will have to decide whether or not to fire a Hellfile missle into a semi-populated area. But we might be called on to make “just a few small adjustments” here and there on a report.


O.K. – now the table’s clean…

About about fifteen minutes of going around in circles on a phone tree, I kind of lost it. It wasn’t just that, just that was my highest priority for the day, so everything else was stacked up behind it.

I like to post things like this occasionally. I like to think that maybe someone else who has a meltdown will feel like they’re the only one…


I’m not going to post any details. I think that either you can relate or you can’t…

Can’t Sleep -Pen and Ink at 2 a.m.

I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so at about 2.a.m, I gave up and broke out my india ink and favorite pen. After about 2 hours of drawing, I ended up with what is either a completely nonsensical comic strip or yet another glimpse into how my mind works. Maybe both.



The picture is 9″ X 12″ and the black of the ink is a lot nicer than the scan shows…


My Coloring Book page 4

Lisa and I were at the Rocket in Ypsilanti yesterday. I noticed 2 additions to the “grown-up coloring book” genre: Mazes and Extreme Dot to Dot. So, I couldn’t resist making a maze.

Try it! It should print fine at 8.5X11. Try to get from either X to the other. And yes, there is definitely a solution.


Now, I have to get busy and catch up on 3 days worth of email I’ve been ignoring while doing yardwork, playing guitar, and drawing pictures.