Velma Visits the Mystery Machine

My mom’s employer is having a Halloween office party this year in which her department dresses up as the cast of Scooby-Doo. She gets to be Velma.

We also just learned that a car collector at the AutoMotorPlex (garage car condos) in Chanhassen, located several blocks from my house, has a Mystery Machine. And it was on display this Saturday. This was perfect timing, so we walked over there, and my mom got photos dressed up as Velma.

Velma and the Mystery Machine
Velma and the Mystery Machine (with Pugsley as Scooby-Doo)
See the resemblance?
The owner of this Mystery Machine apparently collects other things. He also has a Batmobile.
Information about this Mystery Machine

My First (or Second) Photo Taken With the Motorola Moto G6

I got my Motorola Moto G6 last week, a replacement for my year-old Samsung smartphone, which really was as bad as they come. I was very impressed with the quality of the Moto G6, which seems as nice or nicer than the iPhones I used to use (up to the iPhone 6). I love the cameras on the iPhones, but they just became too expensive.

Today, I got around to testing out the camera on the Moto G6, after seeing a brooding sky while walking one of my dogs. Here is the second photo I took with the camera, the first being the same scene but with a more crooked horizon. The photo (taken in Chanhassen, Minnesota) was edited in Corel AfterShot Pro 3 with the Perfectly Clear function.

Prairie by Chanhassen High School

After a Long, Rainy Day

It was a long, rainy afternoon. It started raining today between my two Monday classes at the U and lasted until about 6 p.m. I took these photos shortly after the rain stopped in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

My house
Brody, a golden retriever
Prairie grass
Another shot of prairie grass

I’m Switching Back to JPEG

I recently posted about getting a new photo-editing program for my Linux computer called Corel AfterShot Pro 3. At the same time, I announced I was switching to RAW. I said the RAW photos I edited “show significant improvements over the original files, especially because of the way [the software] eliminated blown-out highlights.” In retrospect, while there were some improvements to the photos, they were very minor. In addition, blown-out highlights are a problem that is probably best corrected by getting a proper exposure in the first place. Whatever benefit I’d get from being able to recover some highlight detail, overall, is minimal.

I’ve found a better solution: shooting in JPEG and using Corel AfterShot Pro 3’s Perfectly Clear feature.

Some background: I had known about Athentech’s Perfectly Clear Photoshop plugin for years. Photographer Ken Rockwell often praised the plugin (now also a standalone program) and used it for almost every photo he posted to his site. I thought it was strange when I first started using Corel AfterShot Pro 3 and saw “Perfectly Clear” was one of the features; I thought Corel just used the same name. But apparently Athentech licenses Perfectly Clear (at least the basic version) to Corel as well as companies like SmugMug and Hallmark. This was great news!

I believe I used Perfectly Clear on every photo I took in my last post. But I was still using RAW, which wasn’t necessary (the files take up way more space — in addition to being proprietary with an uncertain future compatibility). Because Perfectly Clear works on JPEG images as well as RAW images, I can now switch back to JPEG in confidence.

Whether you use Linux or Windows or Mac, I recommend using Perfectly Clear to touch up your photos quickly and effectively.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival 2018

There was perfect weather this Saturday for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival (located in Shakopee). I went there with my mom and our puggles, who had a fun time donning their necklaces.

The line to get in went on…

Line to get into the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

and on…

Line to get into the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

and on.

Line to get into the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

But once we made it through the line (including getting our dogs checked in), all was well.

My mom holds a goblet of mead
Sir Elsworthy’s Cheese Curds and assorted vendors
Tuey Wilson, comic stunt juggler
Pottery
Celestial Windz wind chimes
Pugsley wearing his necklace, which was purchased at the Festival a previous year
Pugsley and Missy meet royalty
Missy wearing her necklace
A kid riding on a camel (with elephants in the background)
Vegetable Justice. This used to be my favorite part of the festival.
Acting like a chicken with The Wacky Chickens