Monday, July 24, 2006

Wrap Music

We're always on the lookout for tasty, less than fattening, fast food, and today, while looking for a source for cheap poop bags (our dog friends will understand), we stumbled on Roly Poly in Jackson, MI. This is a 10 year old Atlanta franchise business that specializes in wraps. And not just the old turkey, lettuce, american cheese slices.. no sirree. Today, we had the Number 38, Hickory Cristo: Smoked turkey, melted brie & swiss, spinach, mushrooms and tomato- in, your choice, a regular tortilla, a low carb tortilla, or a whole wheat tortilla. Add to that some fresh asparagus soup, and it's a hell of a good lunch.

Next, we want to try the #30, Basil Cashew Chicken. Check it out on the menu. If there's one of these where you live, give it a shot. Very tasty stuff.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mas Mushrooms

Some more of the resident fungi here at our campground in Grass Lake, MI.

While researching these "fruits", I happened upon this excellent, humorous, and informative website about mushroom hunting.

Laugh, and learn.

These look like Pierogies. Top view of the colony in the previous post.

These aren't the prettiest blossoms in the bouquet, but they might be tasty. Who knows?

Not too sure about this one..

But I'm pretty sure about this one. I've seen these in the supermarket. I think. Anybody knows, let me know. If this is the last post you ever see here, you'll know I got impatient and went the "trial and error" route.


Calling All Mycologists!

Or.. more flora from the Holiday RV Park.

I decided it was time to let the events in the rest of the world take care of themselves, and I should get back to covering what's been going on locally. Thus, the following images. I want you to know I sacrificed my body to the deerfly and mosquito hordes to get these..
This place is a mycophile's (if there is such a word) dream. There are more varieties of mushrooms and other fungi scattered around the park, I don't have room to put them all here. They grow in colonies, and are very photogenic, like the above group.

Or individually, like this one.

They can also be ugly.. like a fungal version of moose puke!

No weaklings, they push themselves up out of the earth.. become impressive, blood-red goliaths like this. I'm not sure this is an edible variety. I wouldn't want to try it.

I do have some shots of mushrooms I'm 98% sure are edible.. I've seen them in the supermarket. I think. There's that 2% that worries me. Anyway, I'll have to upload another gallery, because it seems there's a numerical limit to the number of images I can put in one post. So, I'll leave you with the perfect parting shot:

I mean, what's a bunch of toadstools without, well.... you get the idea.

My One and Only Tour de France Post

I love a sports columnist with a sense of humor. Especially one who quotes Homer Simpson. This comes from the VeloNews Tour blog.

Floyd Landis will win the 2006 Tour de France. Hopefully the French can maintain their sense of humor. Americans will have won the last eight Tours, and 10 or 11 of the last 20! (I can't remember what year LeMond's first Tour win was).

Wanna be a Big-Time Pro Cyclist? Drink Beer!

Friday, July 21, 2006

You Ain't Never Seen Anything Like This.

You might think you've seen inspired, artistic, or even athletic bike riding. But you ain't never seen nuthin' like this. You watch the X-Games and see these overgrown adolescents on their BMX bikes, and they do the big air, end-over-end, jumps and spins, but just watch what this young lady does... on a normal bicycle! She rides it every which way except upside down. (That would be impossible... right?)

I found this on a blog called "Bike Hugger", (I know, it's a bit warmer and fuzzier than I like), while looking for more nuanced information on the Tour de France than I can get from friends' blogs. It's a decent blog, despite the name, and I may link it, eventually. I'll have to give it a little time to ripen.

Prepare to be amazed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's OK... He Activated the Cloaking Device!

This story appeals to me on so many levels. I'm a photographer, I like cars (and trucks), and I've been partial to Ford products ever since a second grade trip to Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI.

I'm not going to even give you a hint.. you gotta go there and RTWT. It's too funny. (Or scary, if you're the photographer.)

New & Improved!

Seems like this is the day to learn new things to do with the blog.. I've now added a short blogroll... (come on, impress me, people! I want to make it longer). You'll find it below the archives, near the bottom of the sidebar. (On the right side). It doesn't include things like Kausfiles, Huffington Post, etc., as everybody knows how to find those sites.. these are some of my favorites. Have at it.

The "Express" Feed

I wasn't even aware of this, but this blog is available as a news "feed". You can subscribe to read it whenever it's updated on your Yahoo, or Google, or MSN, or whatever homepage, or even, apparently, on your cell phone or PDA. How cool. I just added it to my Yahoo home page so I can keep up on what I write. (That's a joke, son). Just enter the following URL into your subscription search box:

Click here to see if your favorite newsreader is "atom-enabled".

Note: This is not RSS but is similar. I may switch to RSS at a later date, and will let you know.

Who are the Bloggers? Who Knows? Pew Knows.

So, Pew Research does more than just tell us how low your president's popularity numbers have sunk... (and I'll bet they sink lower after yesterday's veto- but that's another story for another day).

Their Pew Internet & American Life Project recently completed a phone poll of a few thousand internet users, and a separate, smaller poll of bloggers to tell us who we are. And it seems most of us are,

" focused on describing their personal experiences to a relatively small audience of readers and that only a small proportion focus their coverage on politics, media, government, or technology. Blogs, the survey finds, are as individual as the people who keep them. However, most bloggers are primarily interested in creative, personal expression – documenting individual experiences, sharing practical knowledge, or just keeping in touch with friends and family."

That pretty well sums up my intent. Well, that and keeping the old tip jar full. I see that's doing as well as the old Google ads! I'm relieved.

You can read the entire Pew report in PDF format here. You can also click back to the Internet & American Life home page and take the poll. Quite interesting.

So... why do you blog?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Holiday RV Park Flora

Having showed you some of the fauna of the campground, (the toad), here are some of the flora. These were taken in May, I think, when you could still walk the trails without dressing for full combat with the most carnivorous of the fauna: deerflies & mosquitos.

This is the trillium. A true harbinger of Spring in Michigan.

Apple blossoms.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 16, 2006

More Balloon Fest Highlights

Cool stuff- like the Mitchell B-25

The Jackson Antique Tractor Club..

..and a cool quartet of precision flying WWII trainers. All in all, a fun afternoon. Posted by Picasa

That's A Lot of Hot Air...

More images from the Balloon Festival...

About 40 balloons mass launch for the "hat toss". Pilots have to gauge the wind direction and speed to properly come across the field and toss a hat onto one of several poles that are placed there.

Nice try... but no cigar.

Old Mac Donald may have been funky, but this was my personal favorite.

Will add some from the small air show later... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Old Mac Donald Had A...

...uh, hot air balloon? Well, yep, in this case.

One of the more mind-boggling examples at the Jackson (MI) Hot Air Balloon Fest today. Careful with that pitchfork, Mac! Posted by Picasa

More Fun With Dogs

Is this suit (and we're not talking about the guy's birthday suit!) frivolous? You decide.

Speaking of "birthday suits", we're now only two weeks away from the Art Fair at Turtle Lake Nudist Resort. Bet you can't wait for our post on that one!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gentledogs, Start Your Engines!

Living with 4 hounds, I shouldn't be surprised by anything a dog decides to do. Check this out, as a f'rinstance. (BTW, this is an excellent blog for those of you who love automobiles as much as I do. Worth bookmarking.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Another One In the Books.

As long as I'm talking anniversaries, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this past 4th of July weekend, (yes, the weekend the camera went missing!) marked the 12th year of the existance of Shot On Site Photography. Time flies.

Back in 1994 I was just toiling with the masses in corporate America. I was a Regional sales manager for a manufacturer of environmental testing equipment in Ann Arbor. (A company that has since been sold to a British firm who's brought their "nanny state" rules to the table... I'm oh, so glad I got downsized out of there! Rumor has it, they're on the sales block again. Whenever we have dinner with an old workmate, I'm told how lucky I am to be out of there. No shit.)

So, downsizes happen... I'd already been toying with the idea of a part-time photography business. Even came up with the "Shot On Site" name while I was still working. When the axe fell, I was forced out of a state of inertia, and into action. My first gig was the MGA trial in Metamora, MI.

Now, things were a whole lot different back then. My cameras- a Nikon FM, and a Nikon FTn Photomic, were totally manual, as were the lenses... including a 500mm mirror lense. This means I would have to focus manually on a moving object.. the dog.. and advance the film, manually, after each exposure. Of course, I was shooting film, (digital cameras were $10,000 behemoths that only the New York Times and wealthy gadget freaks could afford), and needed to run out on Saturday night to find a 1-hour lab to get the film processed. Then I would have to number each print, and put them in presentation books to show on Sunday. Many late nights were spent in grungy Knights Inns, drinking beer, watching ESPN, (or adult fare on HBO), while I performed these menial tasks.

Of course, this also precluded shooting Sundays, the second day of most trials, because I would be busy showing and, hopefully, selling proofs, reprints, and enlargements to the trial entrants.

If that first event, 12 years ago, hadn't been a success, I may not be here writing this blog post. I'd probably be greeting you at WalMart instead. But it was successful beyond my wildest imagination! Over $700 gross sales, which we still consider good for many events even now. So I decided to keep doing it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

There are a couple of heroes I should mention. People who helped make it happen.. First, is Jack Helder, who told me about someone he saw at a trial in Lexington, KY who took pictures on Saturday, and returned with stock to sell the next day. I believe that might have been Robert Nix, who I wrote about here. If Jack hadn't made it sound easy, (little did I know..) I might have looked for work elsewhere. The photo that accompanies this post is Jack's "Mali". This was my first "famous" image. I've said often that it's the picture that "made Shot On Site", and I'm not joking. It's been used by ASFA in brochures, and has been published often, even in the UK.

The other person is Dr. John Burchard, now of California, but back then he lived in Rhode Island. The MGA trial weekend had, as a bonus event, the ASA (American Saluki Association) Brahma Cup trial, so John and his then wife, made the trek out in their Argosy. John was sufficiently impressed with my work that he spent an unheard of $150 on proofs, reprints, and enlargements. Once I knew there were people with dogs out there, who recognized talent, I knew I was going to be doing this for a long time.

There were others there, that weekend, and they all made it possible. I have so much fun doing what I do, that it hardly feels like work. Switching to digital three years ago, probably has something to do with that, too. LOL. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Strictly Titillation

Odd, that until recently, I didn't know I shared the same birth year with the Bikini swimsuit. In an effort to make up for this oversight, I invite you to click here for a Brief History of the Bikini. It includes a famous photo of Brigette Bardot at Cannes. Her animal rights politics aside, she may be the most sexy woman who ever lived. At least that's what I thought in Junior High... even though I wasn't really sure of the concept of "sexy" at the time. Have fun.

I Didn't Know They Did This!

Here at the Holiday RV Park in Grass Lake, Michigan, the wildlife is very diverse... squirrels, chipmunks, flickers, cranes, deer, turkey... and this fellow who seems to have taken up residence in the base of a tree. Judging from the sawdust, he seems to be in the middle of a major remodeling project.

Any toad experts out there? I've never seen a toad in these kinds of digs before.
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another Interesting Blog

Fortunately, there are several alternate routes for us to get the motor home to the site of next year's Scottish Deerhound National Specialty in... in... er..., it's either North Carolina or Tennessee. It's in the middle of nowhere, that's for sure...

Anyway, one of the routes follows something called the Tail of the Dragon, and involves an unbelievable 318 curves in 11 Miles! Photographers actually have businesses taking pictures of all the motorcycles, and exotic sports cars that traverse this route. This blog shows some of the action. (Make sure you scroll all the way to the last picture!).

This web page tells more about the road and the area. Gee.... we can't wait. Even the routes we can take with the motor home will be difficult. Not like this, though.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Matt has moved!

The dancing blogger... or the blogging dancer, whatever he is, has moved his blog to here. I wrote about "Where the Hell is Matt?" a couple of months ago. He was recently on Good Morning America, again. It was recently divulged that his globetrotting, dancing, lifestyle was underwritten by a chewing gum maker. This begs the question: How can Shot On Site get a freakin' sponsor? We'll make the whole motor home available for graphics. Except the rear window.

Matt's newest dancing video would appear to be just around the corner. It includes Argentina, Easter Island, New Zealand, Norway, and more. You can see the 2005 video at the website.

An Irregular Feature: Crash of the Week.

And there were many to choose from, but this is the winner: Zuli vs. Adam. (Adam being the interloper, as noted by the leash with no human on the end.)

Brief Sports Comment: Loyalty

Events this weekend were momentous in Detroit pro sports history.

The Red Wings' Steve Yzerman announced his retirement after 23 years, the last 20 as the team's captain; an NHL record. He came to Detroit when he was 18, and stayed in Detroit to his retirement. This will probably never happen again in any sport. When you look up the word "captain" in the dictionary, it should always be accompanied by a picture of Steve Yzerman. (Detroit Free Press columnist, Mitch Albom, gives a proper tribute here. If you're any kind of Wings fan, or even a hockey fan, prepare to get weepy.)

The agent for Detroit Pistons' star, Ben Wallace, announced that his client was signing a big contract with the Chicago Bulls, and would be leaving the Pistons, where he helped the team win one NBA title, and was much beloved in Detroit, as much for his wild, Buckwheatian Afro, as for his fierce defensive prowess. He turned down an offer which would have made him the highest paid player on the Detroit roster. Detroit gave him a chance to flower where other franchises never even gave him a look. He'd played his college ball at some out-of-the way Division II or III school. He took the money and ran.

Who do you think gets my utmost respect today? Say goodbye to playoff basketball, Ben.

I Must Have Great Karma!

On Monday, July 3rd, I lost my camera. My $3000+ Nikon camera. Not only the camera, but the $900 zoom lens, the $200 brand new Nikon flash, and the $200+ Pelican hard case they were all in.

We'd just left the field in Metamora, MI where the weekend trials had been held. This is out in the (wealthy) boondocks of Northern Oakland County (or Southern Lapeer County, I'm not sure). It's "hunt country"... lots of horses, hounds, and large homes on huge chunks of land. The roads are dirt, narrow, hilly, and heavily wooded.

As usual, when we can't take the motor home to the site, we commute in the Escape. We'd loaded the EZ Up, and tables, and generator, and all the mundane pieces and parts that make up our "store" into the Escape, and as we've done dozens of times before, put a towel on the roof in the secure square created by the Yakima bike rack, and tossed the camera case up there, along with the lunch cooler. We've never secured these items, because they're very heavy- especially the camera case. The rear of the Escape was packed to the ceiling, so I had no center rear view in the mirror. We waved at the stragglers, and drove out onto Rock Valley Road.

After turning north on Barber Road, the longest, hilliest, most washboardedest stretch of the commute, we hit a big hole on the right side of the road- a hole I'd missed completely the first two days of the event. Margaret shouted her usual epithet, which I won't repeat here because her kids read this. I never checked the outside mirrors.

Forty minutes later, we pulled into the Water Tower Travel Trailer Park in Lapeer, got the dogs out of the motor home to walk, (they'd stayed back in air conditioned comfort on this day), when I glanced at the Escape- particularly the roof, and asked the stupidest question of the day: "Where's the camera?!!?"

Handing the dogs to Margaret, and jumping back in the car, I peeled out of the campground at just over the posted 5mph speed limit, and with Margaret's admonishment to "don't speed", made my way back to Metamora in the afternoon traffic... why were so many people still working on this day before a holiday?

By the time I got back to the stretch in the road where I was certain I'd lost the case, it had been over an hour. We'd seen two oncoming vehicles when we were leaving, either one of which would have seen the case if they'd travelled that far.. it would have rested right in the middle of the road, because there were hills going up on both sides of the road... the dropoffs coming a little further down the hill. What I found there, was what I expected: nothing. I checked the dropoff areas as best I could.. there was no evidence of any heavy object sliding down there. There was only poison ivy. Lots of it.

I drove back to the field to see if, on the off chance, anyone had dropped it off there. It was a way-off chance. I absorbed as much sympathy from the folks there that I could stand, and decided to drive back to Metamora and report my loss to the police. When I arrived there were a fat kid and his mother talking to a uniformed cop in the lobby... I was hoping that maybe they'd found this black case on the backroads and had just come to inquire if there was a reward. No such luck.. they were reporting an alledged theft of something the kid considered valuable by someone he had considered a friend. I think he decided to not file a complaint.

Another, not so observant, officer asked me if I was with these people. Duh. I said no , and asked if anyone had by chance turned in a black camera case with a few thousand dollars worth of gear in it. Not yet, he said. He said that most of the people who would be travelling those roads were rich and honest (I'm thinking that's oxymoronic!), and would turn it in if they found it. I left my name and number, and got back in the Escape to make the depressing, empty-handed, return to Lapeer. I called Margaret and told her to check the RV insurance to see if this kind of loss was covered. I wasn't optimistic.

Margaret was more optimistic than I. She kept saying that someone had found it, and would turn it in. I was thinking, "I'm going to get my Nikon D200 earlier than I expected". Most people are honest, but what would you do if you were driving down the road, found a case full of digital camera gear, but no identification? I know I'd be conflicted at the very least.

Anyway, a couple hours passed. The phone didn't ring. I started slamming doors and drawers, and feeling more and more depressed. I was burning pork and vegetables on the grill when Margaret came out the RV door and said, "Phone call". I got excited and asked, "Police?". She said no. I took the phone.

"Is this Dan?"
"Dan, my name is Cindy Schweiderson" (I have no idea if that's the correct spelling, I didn't ask), "and I live in Dryden, MI. Are you missing something? Something like a..."
"Like a large, black camera case loaded with expensive equipment?" I completed her question. "Yes, I am."

The story becomes rather unbelievable at this point:
"My husband's a conservation officer, and was returning home with his patrol boat on the trailer. He found it on the side of the road. When he brought it in and we saw what was inside, I said 'I'll bet this belongs to that man that was taking pictures at the field trial' ".

I asked her if she found me by calling the police. No.. she had been at the trial on Saturday, visiting with a friend who has Italian Greyhounds, so I asked if she'd been in our "store" and grabbed one of my business cards? No, again. So how did she find my phone number? She did what any thinking person would do: She went online to a dog list and made an inquiry. It's good to be famous.. or notorious, I'm not sure which.

Even more unbelievable is the fact that Mr. Conservation Officer didn't find it anywhere near where I thought I'd lost it. He spotted in in the weeds, on the side of Dryden Rd; a much heavier travelled, paved road, running from M-24 to the village of Dryden, and used by a lot more people who aren't "rich and honest". Obviously, the right guy came along, at the right time. We figured out it hadn't been on the ground more than 5 minutes!

I offered to come pick it up, and she said she was going to be in Lapeer the next day for the 4th of July parade, knew where the campground was, and she would bring it. Which she did the very next day. Even refused a reward, or a dinner at the White Horse- so I gave her one of my matted nature pictures.

And that's how I got my camera back. If that ain't great Karma, I don't know what is.

A Fabulous Fourth..

First things first... Happy Independence Day (belatedly) from our vantage point in the Meijer's parking lot in Lapeer, MI. Now if Dubya would quit tapping my phone I'd feel really independent. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We're Still Here!

Things get backed up some time, and that's where we are with the blog... tomorrow, I'll catch up on the schedule, maybe cover the Ridgeback Rodeo, talk about Steve Yzerman & Ben Wallace, and recount a harrowing tale (with a happy ending) about good Karma! Can't wait, can you?