My First RAW Photos

The following are the first photos I’ve edited in RAW on a Linux machine. These aren’t the first photos I’ve taken in RAW, mind you (that would be this photo I took last year of the same subject and edited in Adobe Photoshop on a Mac), but these are the first RAW photos I’ve edited in a Linux environment. I used the program Corel AfterShot Pro 3 (notable for being Linux software that costs money) — an application I decided to purchase after comparing it with free, open-source Linux RAW photo editors (namely darktable and RawTherapee). The other two programs I mentioned are also probably great applications, but I just liked the features of AfterShot Pro 3 more, especially the auto commands.

I was having trouble installing the application, which I believe was caused by trying to download and install the file AfterShotPro3.deb instead of AfterShotPro3-system-Qt.deb on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. While I was waiting for responses to my forum post in Ubuntu Forums, I decided to take some RAW photos near my house at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Chanhassen, Minnesota. That way, I’d have some photos to edit after receiving help on how to install the application.

Here are three photos I took at the forecast office today and briefly edited in AfterShot Pro 3. I am just learning how to edit RAW photos, having only done so a few times, so my first attempts may not be that great. But I think they still show significant improvements over the original files, especially because of the way it eliminated blown-out highlights.

Doppler radar at the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Close-up of the Doppler radar
A tree stands against the backdrop of a moody sky

I’m Selling My Old Nikon DSLR Lenses

By the end of this year, I’m upgrading to a new Nikon camera system: the Z Series Mirrorless Camera System. This morning, I listed four Nikon DSLR lenses on eBay that I’d accumulated over the last 13 years.

You see, DSLRs are about to become obsolete because of newer mirrorless cameras, which offer numerous advantages. In the words of photographer and former engineer Ken Rockwell, “This is [a] huge milestone for Nikon that happens only once every couple of decades… This is the biggest thing Nikon’s done in this millennium.”

Well, I was basically sold after I read that. The camera I pre-ordered was the Nikon Z6, the cheaper of the two mirrorless cameras Nikon introduced just last week. My only wish is that I had visited Ken Rockwell’s site or Digital Photography Review before yesterday. I did at least place my pre-order through Adorama shortly after reading Ken Rockwell’s updates yesterday, meaning I was just four days late. The Nikon Z6 won’t ship until late November at the soonest. According to the person I spoke with over the phone from Adorama, more than 300 people had already placed pre-orders for the Nikon Z6 kit with Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S lens. I’ll be lucky if I get the camera and lens in 2018, but many more will be waiting until at least 2020 because demand will be sky-high.

I did, however, decide to keep my Nikon D3300 DSLR (I also have a Nikon D50 and D90) and 18-200mm VR lens, so I will still be able to take photos until I get the new camera.

Below are the four lenses I listed on eBay today. They were taken in poor lighting so they’re a bit grainy.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED

Attendance Record Set for First Day of Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair, also known as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” is the most popular state fair by daily attendance in the United States. The State Fair of Texas has a larger total annual attendance, but that’s only because it lasts much longer.

I was there for the opening day this year in St. Paul, hoping that it would set a new first-day attendance record, and it did. On Thursday, August, 23, 2018, a new record of 122,695 attendees was set. The previous record of 119,145 was set in 2010. But the all-time daily attendance for the fair is 260,374, set on the final Saturday in 2016.

You might notice I’m posting this update two days after this record-setting date, on Saturday instead of Thursday. That’s because I upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS from 16.04 LTS last week. But the update (which I did within Software Updater in the OS) did not work when I wanted to upload the photo on Thursday, and I ended up having to do a clean install this morning (which only took a little over an hour). I did end up losing the original JPEGs of all my photos that I started putting on this computer earlier this year, but that doesn’t matter all that much because I keep large versions of the best files on this site. At least now I know that whenever I upgrade Ubuntu, I should back up everything and then do a clean install of the OS.

Here’s a crowd shot I took on Thursday.

A new first-day attendance record was set at the Minnesota State Fair on August 23, 2018

Parley Lake Winery’s 4th Annual Grape Stomp

Today, I visited Parley Lake Winery in Waconia, Minnesota, for their 4th Annual Grape Stomp.

Three competitors trying to stomp the most grape juice
Spectators watching the grape stompers
A competitor’s feet right after stomping on grapes
Grapes, ready to get stomped on

A ‘Trip’ to Minneopa Falls

My mom and I visited Minneopa State Park (located near Mankato, Minnesota) today with our puggles. The park contains Minneopa Falls, which is what we went there to see. Unfortunately, my mom tripped on the way to the falls, causing her to get scraped and covered with mud. Such is the case when walking in flimsy sandals with a large bag and two dogs pulling on you. Nevertheless, my mom looks good in the photo below, and it was certainly a fun adventure for us and the dogs.

Minneopa Falls
My mom and puggles in front of Minneopa Falls
Minneopa Falls

Used Drum Set for Sale in the Twin Cities

I’m listing my brother Marc’s drum set on Craigslist sometime toward the end of the year. Click on any photo to see the high-resolution file.

Photo #1: Everything together
Photo #2: Assorted stands, a Ridge Rider cowbell, and two bags of accessories
Photo #3: Floor tom
Photo #4: Tama seat with Pearl double bass drum pedal
Photo #5: Bass drum with Pearl bass drum pedal
Photo #6: First tom-tom
Photo #7: Second tom-tom
Photo #8: Arbiter snare drum
Photo #9: Primary snare drum. Note the duct tape on the drum head.
Photo #10: Spare seat and spare Pearl and Rock bass drum pedals
Photo #11: Zildjian hi-hat cymbal 14″
Photo #12: Zildjian crash cymbal 14″ and Sabian medium thin crash 16″ (note: I’m pretty sure the clamp that connects the Sabian cymbal to the stand is broken)
Photo 13: Istanbul splash cymbal 9″
Photo #14: Ride cymbal
Photo #15: Saluda splash cymbal 12″ with spare hi-hat stand
Photo #16: Saluda crash cymbal 14″ with spare hi-hat stand (the same stand as in photo #15)
Photo #17: Spare drumheads

2018 Oris Aquis Date With Green Dial Unboxing

Minutes ago, I received a 2018 Oris Aquis Date with a green dial from Leslie Gold Watch Co. in Los Angeles. This is my second watch from Leslie Gold, my first being a Tissot T-Tempo I got in 2011. Leslie Gold, by the way, offered an amazing price on this Oris watch.

The Oris Aquis Date line was updated in 2017, but this green dial version was just released in 2018. It has the reference 01 733 7730 4157-07 8 24 05PEB.

My initial thought upon seeing the watch was, There must be some mistake! I could’ve sworn the dial was black, as you may also think after seeing the photo below. But upon closer inspection, I realized it was in fact the right watch. The green is just very subtle and is only really apparent when it reflects light. When it does hit the light just right, it has a very beautiful, deep green, sunray effect.

Many people reading this are probably aware of this watch’s similarity to the Rolex Submariner “Hulk,” which also has a very beautiful green sheen when it reflects light. While I haven’t seen the “Hulk” in person (it is, after all, impossible to find on display at any authorized dealer because of the high demand), I do think this green dial Oris Aquis is probably a fair comparison.

Now, since the title of this post says “Unboxing,” I do, of course, have photos (this is a photo blog, after all). See the seven photos below.

Box from UPS
Oris box with Leslie Gold Watch Co. invoice
Unopened Oris box
Oris box with top taken off
Oris box with stamped Oris warranty card
2018 green dial Oris Aquis Date with stickers (side view)
2018 green dial Oris Aquis Date with stickers (dial view)

The next photo was taken with a cheap Samsung smartphone on an overcast day.

2018 green dial Oris Aquis Date (close-up of dial)

Finally, here’s a photo that accentuates the green color of the dial. This photo was taken with the same Samsung smartphone on a sunny morning.

2018 green dial Oris Aquis Date (close-up of dial in direct sunlight)

My Mom and Puggles on Lake Minnetonka

I took this photo of my mom and our puggles on Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minnesota, today.

This is my first photo with actual edits in GIMP (previously, I had only done cropping and straightening). I set the Levels to Auto, because otherwise this shady photo looked too dark.

My mom and our puggles, Pugsley and Missy

Your Old Beanie Babies Could Be Worth Nothing!

The clickbait title for this post reflects the reality of the Beanie Baby market in 2018. I’ve come across articles for childhood toys (usually as sponsored links at the bottom of legitimate articles) that claim you could have a fortune sitting in your closet. Beanie Babies are one example.

Do you have the first edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone like me? It’s probably not worth thousands of dollars, like some clickbait headlines claim. Collectors are really only after the first printings of the Harry Potter books. Mine is somewhere in the 30s and probably worth less than a hundred bucks.

But here I am, trying to make a few bucks on eBay and see what happens with several Beanie Babies. Here are two I photographed today. The first is an otter that has a manufacturer’s “tush” tag that was supposed to be removed. Underneath is an early-batch iguana that has the tags for a chameleon.

I’ll be lucky if I get $5 for them.

“Seaweed” Beanie Baby
“Rainbow” Beanie Baby (mislabeled)