Monday, January 31, 2011

Where The Peaks Have No Name

My new fitness regime took a quantum leap yesterday. It was breezy and cool, the dogs didn't need to go for a run, having had a good workout the day before, so I decided it was time to do a little mountain climbing. The mountains I had in mind are conveniently located next to the house.. The Little Florida Mountains, also known as the North Florida Mountains. My initial target was the nearest peak to the house.. the same one I took last Winter. This time, however, I didn't plan on the bushwhacking route I took then. I could see there was a little bit gentler incline to take. What I found was even better: trails! Since I was starting from inside the boundaries of the Rockhound State Park, there were lots of trails.. maybe not all the way to the peak, but most of the way.

So I was making good time when I decided it was time to go more vertical. Problem was, I intially wanted to go vertical into a dead end. The back-track cost me almost 20 minutes, and a painful slip and fall into a dead prickly pear cactus patch. These are not things you want stuck in you.

As it turned out, I still made it to the peak in 75 minutes from the time I left the house. That's it down there:

On another day, I would have negotiated a descent, and plunked myself down in front of the Pro Bowl with a beer. This day I still felt fresh and saw a higher peak that wouldn't take long to get to. I set off.

But not at the pace I had set on the first pitch. I had no intention of exhausting myself when I still had a long downhill to negotiate. I had thought, from the house, that the peak I was going to was the highest on in the Little Floridas, and when I got to the top, and saw all the rock cairns other hikers had erected, I was sure. That was, until I looked to the west and saw that the next hill over was noticeably higher. I had some more uphill walking to do, and set off immediately. It was close.

When I saw the yucca stalk protruding from a rock cairn, and a Bud bottle stuck on the top, I knew I'd made it. I could go no higher in the Little Floridas. When I found the jar with the register (above), I was sure. I looked down at the state park campground far below, set up the camera to take some self portraints, got out of the wind and took a nap!

The day had gone better than I ever could have imagined. It was time to head home. I chose to hike down to the jeep trail that intersects the top of the range and headed toward home. My only mistake was choosing a descent route that was way too scarily steep and loose. No more falls, but it was very time consuming. I arrived home about 5 hours after departure, and according to my GPS, had negotiated 4 miles and 1450 feet of elevation change, give or take. I took a long, hot bath in Epsom salts, and I'm ready to do it again!

Having gone as high as possible in the Little Floridas, I guess it's time to start planning the next 2000 feet. The "Big" Floridas.

Scanners! Harleys & Hooters

The title of this post alone should drive tons of traffic from repressed nations all around the globe, รก la the Victoria's Secret post. Thank You Google.

This was taken ten or eleven years ago in Chelsea, MI. Some friends with a studio thought they had the biggest money making scam ever. The event was a charity motorcycle rally, and the studio was set up in a tent on the grounds, with models trucked in from a Detroit area Hooters. The bikers would ride into the studio on their hogs, have their pictures taken with the models, pay up and ride out. We would make thousands of dollars!

What we made was a lot of pictures of models on a loaner motorcycle when the attendance at the event was less than 10% of the anticipated total, and 2 people came through the tent.

I'm still happy with the results.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Face!

"Click Play for Soundtrack"

Willow, and a couple of Salukis, came back with the same messy faces, but without the hare. There's little doubt that they caught the jack, but it seems there was probably some disagreement about who owned it. In the end, no one.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Margaret Shoots Me. On Site.

After seeing myself in a picture, I decided it was time to work a little more exercise into my days. Yesterday, I headed out to the canyon in the Little Florida Mountains behind the house. When Margaret got home from work I radioed her to grab the camera and shoot me. Can you see me? (you'll have to click the image to at least the next bigger size).

It wasn't even a mile and a half round trip, but as you can see, it's not an easy walk. I plan on exploring the rest of the cliff faces over the next few weeks of cool weather. Once the snakes come out I don't go there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Everything But the Antlers. Lepus Alleni

OK.  Cleared that up.  Not a Jackalope.

If the (probably) extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker is the "Lord God Bird", then the Antelope Jackrabbit of the Sonoran Desert of Arizona (and a whole chunk of Mexico) must be the "Holy-Jeebus-Christ-on-a-pogo-stick-that's-a-big-fuckin- Jackrabbit."  They're just huge!

I'll get a longer, more detailed post on the trip to Arizona to chase these guys in a day or so. It was quite a trip.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snipe Hunt?

Taking off later today to meet up with Dutch and head to Arizona. We're taking a couple of dogs and will be on the hunt for the famous, elusive Jackalope! I've never seen one, and Dutch hasn't hunted them in a long, long time. More than 25 years, in fact. Everyone's seen pictures, of course, and.. um..
Oh.. hold on a second..
It seems I've made a mistake.
I'll get back to you on this in a couple of days.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Most Awesome Set-up Video Comes From...

The University of Alaska - Fairbanks "Nanooks" hockey team...

Who knew?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scanners! Seger!

Hartford, CT. 1980. Went to this show with a friend from Michigan who once had a conversation with a bus in Ypsilanti. Long story. We were thirty-something "business types" who ended up standing on the seats in the Hartford Civic Center screaming for more. The friend dropped off the face of the earth several years ago, but Seger is still going strong.

This was scanned from the original Fujichrome slide, and modified using Picnik. If my memory is correct, it was shot with a Leica CL w/ 90mm Leitz tele-Elmarit. From about the 30th row. Center.

UPDATE 1/28/11: Am I prescient, or what?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Off The Wall.

Search terms that bring people to this blog:

OK.. Victoria's Secret I get. But the Beck thing? WTF? And what they get when they see the Beck post, is just the Esquire Magazine photoshoot image I grabbed from the Google to illustrate a post on a completely different subject. Go figure. Ah well, it's all traffic.

Scanners! How He Got His Name.

Another black and white image from the last great (but money losing) Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. Born Vernon Harrison in Rayville, LA, he performed under the obvious moniker of Boogie Woogie Red.

This is one of only a handful of pictures of Boogie Woogie Red you'll find on the internet. Don't know why, but you better enjoy it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scanners! Boogie Chillen.

Live, at the 1974 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival... in exile, Mister. John. Lee. Hooker. The event was held hostage by the new Republican Ann Arbor City Council, and was moved to Windsor, Ontario. Yeah, Canada.

From the original black and white negative. Colorized and Posterized.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Scanners! Popcorn and Ice Cream.

A puzzle? Here's a puzzle: I wonder if anyone (hey Bob G.) knows if that guy down in front is who he looks like. His flash is bigger than his camera.

Some great late Sixties technology on display there. For a while I thought that gentleman to the right of the light had a Kodak 110 Instamatic "pocket camera", but then I noticed the silver chain and realized it's probably a Minox "spy camera", although it may still be a 110 film cartridge version judging by the size.

I wonder if they still do these "Camera Club" shoots?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gonna Choke!

 This must be a joke!

OMG, No!  It's Hoke!

U of M has completed its metamorphosis into Notre Dame.  I'm pretty sure the Oregon Ducks or the TCU Horned Frogs will welcome me, provisionally at least, as a fan, while the Wolverines wander in the wilderness for the next dozen years or so.*

If I don't have a stroke.

OBTW.. you can say goodbye to #16.  Here's the new coach on the spread offense:

"When asked recently about the influence of Oregon’s offense, Hoke subtly revealed his disdain for the tactical shift Michigan experienced under Rodriguez. He is convinced that modern spread option offenses can be counterproductive to the core values of smashmouth football and are, therefore, to be avoided. 
“Right, wrong or indifferent, when you’re zone blocking all the time -- when you’re playing basketball on grass -- you practice against that all spring, you practice against it all fall and then you’re going to play a two-back team that wants to knock you off the football,” Hoke said. “I don’t think you’re prepared. 
“I think there’s a toughness level (required in college football). I still believe you win with defense. That’s been beaten into my head a long time, but I really believe that. The toughness of your team has to be the offensive front and your defensive front.” 

Whoop-dee-doo! Our own version of the Neanderthal in Madison.

* And, of course, I'll be a fan of wherever Rich Rodriguez ends up. And you can take that to the bank.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Scanners! Time to Embarrass the Kids Again.

..and give a little tutorial on Picnik in the process.

If I were to begin at the beginning, then we'll have to go all the way back to 1965, (or possibly 1964.. the memory's a little fuzzy), and you bring the first girl you ever loved to your backyard, where Dad has conveniently set up a pool. When that girl is in that fine turquoise bikini that she made with her own hands, you grab Dad's Argus 75 box camera, and pose the girlfriend all over the yard.

Fast forward to 2011, and you're still living the good life with that first girl you've ever loved, and you still have all those old 3½ x 3½ inch color prints from oh so long ago. And you've got a scanner to bring them into the 21st Century.

Enter Picnik, an ap that showed up last Summer some time on Google's Picasa. It's an online editing tool that has a free version, (which, being cheap, is the version I'm using... of course), and a pay version, which I've promised myself to check out. Eventually. It's loaded with most of the standard editing tools for exposure, sharpness, red eye removal, etc.) It also has a lot of creative stuff, some of which were applied to the image above.

So the first step in the process is to convert the original color file to a black and white file using Picasa, because I want to color the image myself. After sharpening and increasing contrast with Picasa, it's time to upload the image to Picnik. There, the image was colored using the paintbrush available with the Tint Option. Once it's colored, it's converted to what Picnik calls "Lomo-ish" appearance, which shifts the colors somewhat.. (making the skintones an otherworldly, John Boehnerish orange hue), and adding the "light leak" shadowing of the margins.  It also increases the contrast.

The last step is to use the "Museum Matte" option for a presentation appearance.  Then the image is saved back to the computer where, using Picasa again, I created the collage which appears above.

The Stuff that Scares the Bejeezus Out of Dem Baton Rouge Coonasses.

UPDATE: But wait, there's more!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Scanners! Where The Wild Things Are.

Not all of the old black and white negatives and prints are of ex-girlfriends, ex or current wives, school friends or acquaintances. Sometimes they'll be total strangers, as in this selectively colored image from around 1971 from a camera club shoot set up by a Detroit model/talent agency. I'll probably post a few others from this event if for no other reason than to illustrate the amazing changes in cameras in the last 40 years!

Friday, January 07, 2011

I Was Wrong A Lot In 2007

Oh, was I ever.

Last three years not exactly as I envisioned them.

UPDATE:  Just so you know how positively nuts it can get around a big time athletic factory in the throes of a coaching search... the denizens of the interwebz are tracking private planes all over the country and creating scenarios from whole cloth.  Crazy!

My Mistake. The Mystery Deepens.

A while back, I wrote a post here, titled "Winner... and still champion", voicing my amazement, and consternation over what I said at the time was the single most viewed post in the history of this blog.  I wondered at the motivation of people from all over the world who would want to view an image of two deer fu... mating.

Well, Blogger has new stat tools, and it turns out that I mis-identified the December 2007 post that everyone was looking at, and had I been more observant at the time, it would have been clear to me that they were all looking at this one*:

..and it's obvious when you look at the Google search terms used that brought all these people to the site, they weren't coming (no pun intended) for the article.  But, at least I have a little more respect and understanding for these sad, lonely men from around the globe.

So, case closed?

Not exactly, because when I look at the Blogger stats, I find that in their history (which, unfortunately, only goes back to May of last year), the most viewed post, by a very, very big margin...  is this one!

I just don't get it.  I really, really don't.

*Of course, posting this image again, means it will turn up in Google search results twice as much. Well, driving traffic to the blog, for whatever reasons, is what I want.  More eyes on the blog, means potentially more eyes on the ads.  There's a method to my madness.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Scanners! Of Course It Is!

Field Of Dreams.

This coursing season started back in October, with a few posts, like this one, about the lack of jackrabbits in all the usual places.  We had days where we'd walk and walk and only scare up one in a couple of hours, and it would usually suffer a quick fate, because it couldn't move any faster than the dogs in the unusually thick and high cover.

Things were looking grim.

Then, towards the end of October, I piled the crew in the Mitsubishi and headed out to explore an area that Margaret and I had found almost by accident last Spring while attempting to take shortcut from the highway by the Aerostat station about 20 miles southwest of Deming, to the Victorio Mountains some 25 miles west of Deming.  As it turned out, it was shorter, but took about 90 minutes longer than if we had just driven around on the normal highways and county roads.

The area is huge, and is about 99% Federal and State land, leased for grazing some pretty large herds of cattle.  The cover is much more reasonable than any of our usual fields this year, and the ground is as walkable as a walk in the park, meaning there's no "bunchgrass", or big holes, or boulders.  It's flat.

That's all well and good, but is meaningless if there are no jacks!  My first exploratory trip was to the area we'd first driven through in the spring.  Jackrabbit "sign" was plentiful, but I saw no jacks.  I did some more exploratory driving and discovered that there were at least a half dozen distinct separate areas where one could hunt, including  a mammoth, flat plain that seemed to stretch out forever in all directions.  It was time to bring in Dutch and his dogs to see if there were, indeed, rabbits in this ideal area.

The first couple of trips were fruitless, and I think Dutch was losing faith as he would prefer to go back to the old places, rather than make the long drive out to this field.  But I kept at it, trying out new, different sections, and finally started getting some races.  Got Dutch back, and for the last two months we've been getting in some really exciting races, with about a 25% catch rate.  In that time we've probably seen and/or run close to 40 jacks, and we're really only scratching the surface.  Dutch is now so confident in the fields that he has decided to run his famous Pack Hunt and Desert Hare Classic on them.

The new fields also came with an unsuspected bonus!  With such a large expanse of flat, open land, the opportunity for great coursing photos was like nothing we've experienced in any of the other fields we hunt in southern New Mexico!  The hounds actually have an opportunity to turn the hare many times, and often back in the direction of where they started.... where I wait with my camera.

The images below, are all from a single run on January 5, 2011.  The dogs weren't lacking for opportunities to catch this jack, first with Willow in the lead, and later with the black and white Saluke, Bisa, who had several opportunities, but as we saw with the  hare in the previous post, this field is starting to establish a reputation for strong jacks that will take anything your pack of hounds can dish out!  This was another 3 minute marathon, that ended when the hare made it to the safety of the creosote bush patch on the north side of the draw, and Willow with a very sore foot.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Scanners! Gut Wrenching.

Since this metal man was photographed on the Notre Dame campus many years ago, perhaps he is bemoaning a tough Irish loss. I wonder if he's still there?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Perfectly Executed 180° Turnaround.

We had one of those runs the other day that tend to get more spectacular, the more time separates it from the actual event.

Dutch brought along "the incorrigible Bob Schulz" (Gazehounds & Coursing, pg 142), and Bob came with his truck box full of young, old, black, red, and silver staghounds. I brought the girls, Willow and Ashley. Dutch's gang included Phyllis, and Stretch (his new hotblood). We were at the big, open field that has produced some very photogenic runs already this season.

We had a couple of 30-second sprints that ended with a spectacular, diving grab by Willow that ended with her muzzle on the hare on the ground and her back legs straight up in the air in the first, and Dutch's Phyllis making the most of the second.

Now, Dutch has a bad back, which has curtailed a lot of his walking in the field over the last month or so. He generally walks with us as far from the trucks as he feels comfortable getting, then waits while the rest of us make big loops in the desert, looking for more jacks to chase. He then watches with his binoculars, and kind of acts like a de-facto "judge". It was during this "resting" period that the third jack jumped. Immediately in front of me, as it turned out, and it wasn't the most fortuitous of starts, as there were no less than two hounds right in front of him.. in his path of travel.

Somehow, the hare negotiated that obstacle, with a hard left turn that left the dogs with their jaws snapping at air.  And the race was on.

When you hear the term, "survival of the fittest"... this is the kind of critter they're usually talking about.  For nearly three minutes- more than a mile and a half- the hounds chased, and turned this jack until they ran out of our site into the draw to our south.  Even then we knew the dogs were still turning it, because we could see periodic puffs of dust arise from the horizon.  Finally the dust stopped, and we knew that either the jack had been caught, or it had made its escape into the heavy creosote bush field across the draw.  It was several more minutes before the very knackered pack of hounds made it back to the trucks. Bloodless.

Later, when we were reliving, and embellishing the tale of the third race over steak and enchiladas at The Campos' Cafe, Dutch remarked that there was one time when he saw Phyllis running right next to the hare, and was looking right at it, when it doubled back, and gained some serious separation from its pursuers.  He thought that was pretty spectacular.

When reviewing my images from the day, I was very happy to find the exact sequence that so impressed Dutch.  And so, without further ado-

We can only hope that this hare, having survived the best our hounds could throw at it, survives further attacks from coyotes, and golden eagles, and bobcats, and other predators, to procreate, and pass these amazing survival skills on so we can continue to have  exciting chases for years to come.  Here's looking at you, kid.

Scanners! Weather Ball Red....

The title of this post should be more than ample hint as to the location of this town setting from my college days in 1974. My feeling is that many, if not most of the buildings in this shot are long gone.