January 31, 2008

More Downhill Skiers

I took these photos on Sunday near the ski lift at the top of "Locher Bowl." Beyond the resort you are looking toward Great North Mountain and West Virginia, where it was snowing.

Free Course on Net Security

Virtual University is offering a FREE course on Internet Security 101: How to Avoid Phishing and Identity Theft.

I've taken plenty of VU's courses and they are worth the time. It's not a "real" university so the classes are cheap and fairly short.

January 30, 2008

Cardinal on a Branch

I took this picture last week while the ground was still blanketed with snow. This week we had temperatures above freezing and some hard rain, so most of the snow has disappeared.

January 29, 2008

Same Squirrel, Different Day?

Amazon Affiliate Rewards

I got an Amazon gift certificate in my email as a payment for putting links on my websites to selected items on Amazon.com. It's only for $13 but that's enough to buy something from my wishlist.

My Civil War tours website earned about half of my commissions. Most of the others were items purchased by Marie. (Thanks!) Also, thanks to the folks who used my wishlist to choose a Christmas gift for me. Great use of technology, yes?

January 27, 2008

A Farm in Winter

I took this photograph because Frank likes historic-looking farmhouses. This one lies between the Valley Pike and the North Fork of the Shenandoah at Hawkinstown.

Working on a Slide Show

I saw a slideshow on the Boyles blog. Decided to create one for this blog - this is the first try. Looks a bit tiny - will try a larger version when I get a chance.

January 26, 2008

Another View of the Pond at Shrinemont

Across the pond you see some of the old hotel buildings at Orkney Springs. They are now part of Shrine Mont.

I've posted other pictures of Orkney Springs and Shrine Mont, and you can see them by clicking the tag: Orkney Springs.

January 25, 2008

Odd Dog

This one is altered in Photoshop using filters and layer blending modes.

January 24, 2008

More Visitors to this Blog

This blog has seen a recent increase in traffic. According to Sitemeter, the additional visitors are mostly (a) people searching for "Bernie Boston Photographer" and (b) readers of "Livin La Vida Lo-carb blog" which linked to my blog because I vowed to cut out sugar (again). How's that going? Well, I've cut back on two favorite treats: Pamela's Wheat-Free Cookies (although I never ate more than two cookies a day), and rice-based ice cream (admittedly partly due to the cold weather).

By the way, the Washington Post and most major news outlets published stories about Bernie's passing and his incredibly productive career. For instance, see the White House News Photographers blog.

Squirrel with a View

squirrel at feeder
See the house on the upper left? It's across the road from the ski slopes where I took the skiing photos a few days ago. The road over there is covered with snow for a good part of the winter because machines are making snow nearby and it blows onto the road and even the houses.

Once in a while I an actually see skiers over there from our dining room.

January 23, 2008

Birds in the Snow

birdsSeen from our deck last week

January 22, 2008

Bernie Boston

A pillar of our community passed away this morning. Bernie Boston published the Bryce Courier (along with his wife) and was active in the Lion's Club. Before moving to Basye, Bernie was a well-known photographer. His 1967 photo Flower Power, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

A year ago I read a book about Bernie Boston and mentioned it on this blog. Bernie will be very much missed here in Shenandoah County.

January 21, 2008

Ski Bryce

I don't ski but it's fun to watch. This afternoon Ben and I went over to watch the skiers for a little while.

Today is the Martin Luther King holiday, a good time for Bryce Resort because the 3-day weekend brings out skiers. Indeed we saw dozens of them from our vantage point, and they seemed to be having a great time.

The slopes here are not as steep as some in West Virginia, but they are very popular with families.

For CS2 Users running Leopard

I upgraded my Mac OS to Leopard, which has some very nice features. However, Photoshop has been giving me weird problems and I haven't upgraded it yet. I certainly intend to but it's pricey.

Found this on Adobe's site: "Photoshop CS2 crashes when you run Web Photo Gallery on Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard)." See Adobe's fix for this.

Weather Report: Frigid!

It's cold outside! Only 6 ° F. I am putting off taking the dog out. So far he has rustled his feet around restlessly one time and then laid back down. He won't wait much longer though.

January 20, 2008

Unsticking the PC

Frank has an HP computer that's a few years old. For some reason it's had some sticky problems. First, the CD drawer got stuck shut. I searched but couldn't find a reset hole. Eventually I did find it under a plastic cover, but in the meantime I searched the web to find another solution. It turned out to be this: with the PC off, hold the button on the CD drawer down while pressing the power button to start the computer. The drawer opens! Later I discovered this works on our music CD player too.

Then the power button on his PC started sticking. You had to press and poke several times to turn the darn thing on, and sometimes that didn't even work. Finally he put graphite on the button, just like you would on a door look. It fixed it!

Photos by Peggy

My sister Peggy took these pictures at Christmas. She sent them to me yesterday.

I especially like the photo of Frank and Allison (below).

The one on the left shows Frank and me by our front door with Ben and Renard. Ben is our cocker spaniel; Renard is a yard ornament of a fox. He was here before we moved here.

January 19, 2008

The North Fork in Winter

river in winterYesterday afternoon I drove to Mt. Jackson for supplies. Frank was working; he handled a home inspection, having sold a house here in Basye.

I made a side trip to take a few photographs of the North Fork of the Shenandoah. These are from the bridge where Red Banks Road meets the Valley Pike.
north fork shenandoah river
The North Fork and Massanutten Range

Sunshine on the Snow

bird on rail
Yesterday the phone rang at 7:30 a.m. It was Scamp's owner, anxious to come get his dog. The snow and ice had stopped falling, and by 8:00, Scamp was on his way home.

Our view was very pretty. Birds visited the feeders all day. The sun came out and snow started melting.

Around lunchtime, a crew from Macanie Trucking came and cleared our driveway. We are glad to have a contract with them for this because our driveway is somewhat steep and long.

mountain view

January 18, 2008

Changing one of my sites

Visit Civil War book storeJust made some updates to my Civil War trips website. For one thing, I created this graphic and added it to the homepage. The bookstore is a mini-store on Amazon.com. I also made sure I had links to the bookstore on the pages which get the most hits.

web hostIn addition, I corrected the link to Webhero, the hosting service for Civil War Field Trips. They have an affiliate program but I've never earned any referral credits -- not surprising since my link went to a "File not found" page. Anyway, I've been with them for several years and have been pleased with their hosting.

Snowy View - a Short Video

This was our view this morning. I wanted to show the snow blowing off the pines but you have to look closely to see it. This is brief (15 seconds, seems truncated) but it does give you an idea of how pretty the scene looks. The music is from the TV playing one of the cable music stations.

January 17, 2008

The Guest Sheltie

sheltieOur friend Scamp came to visit on Tuesday and is still here tonight. His family was in Northern Virginia for a few days for medical visits.

Scamp was supposed to go home today but by early lunchtime we had four inches of snow and his family was afraid they might slide off the road up here. They did make it to their home safely. We were glad to keep Scamp a little longer.

January 16, 2008

January Lambs

West of Mt. Jackson, VA

Two people mentioned seeing a number of lambs along South Middle Road or Ox Road, so when we were between appointments Monday, I drove there and sure enough... I'd say there were a hundred lambs! So cute!

goat kidYes, there are numbers painted on them. Frank took the pictures because I was driving.

And across the road were some goats, including this cute kid.

January 15, 2008

January 13, 2008

Adobe Bridge: How I Mark Used Images

Someone once admitted that he had trouble remembering which digital pictures he had already edited in Photoshop. I mark them in Bridge (in Photoshop CS2) as follows:

After using the image and saving it to my hard drive with a descriptive title, I close it and return to Bridge (which displays the original pictures in thumbnail versions). Usually my image is still highlighted. I click on Tools in the Menu bar, then select Batch Rename. I use these selections as shown:
* Rename in Same Folder
* Current Filename
* Name + Extension
* lowercase

This just takes a few seconds because my selections are saved for next time. And I can see at a glance which pictures I've used because the titles are in lowercase.

Sunbow at the Ski Slopes

Yesterday I took Benny for a walk near the snow-tubing slopes. He likes hearing the children play. I took a few mediocre photos and then I saw it. A sunbow!

The sun itself was low in the sky to the right. Whether the rainbow-type colors were due to moisture from the ski slopes or to natural clouds, I don't know. Below we see it (on the left) from farther back.

Sunbow (defined by American Heritage Science Dictionary): A prismatic arc of colors, similar to a rainbow, resulting from the refraction of sunlight through a mist or spray of water.

January 12, 2008

A Model Project

I gave permission today for a class to use some of my photos of Burnside's Bridge as a guide for scale models they are making for a Civil War history project.

Educators who are interested in using model building as a learning tool will want to visit the instructor's website OldTimeModels.net.

January 11, 2008

A House with a View

We saw a house for sale with a gorgeous view. It's expensive for the Basye area, but few houses have a view this fine, plus the house has a extra apartment on the lower level.

There are plenty of homes with mountain views here though. After all, we have a nice view of Great North Mountain. And a fair number of homes have views of the golf course or one of the lakes.

An Account of the Peninsula Campaign

general george mcclellanI finished listening to a 16-hour audio book, Sword Over Richmond - An Eyewitness History of McClellan's Peninsula Campaign
by Richard Wheeler
. If I'd known it was so good, I would have read it before, but I was intimidated by the length.

Wheeler weaves together a variety of eyewitness accounts to tell a rich story of the Peninsula Campaign and Jackson's Valley Campaign in 1862. It's an interesting story told with suspense and a sense of excitement.

January 9, 2008

JMU's Arboretum

The weather this week is as warm as last week was cold. Last week we had temperatures in the teens; this week it's been in the 50's and 60's. So when we went to Harrisonburg on Monday, I begged that we drive over to the arboretum on University Drive for a walk around the pond.

There are some changes going on at the arboretum. A building is under construction and a sign has been added telling about the importance of wetlands.

January 8, 2008

Joining Technorati

I just created a Technorati Profile.

My inspiration for doing this was a blogger named Paul who has some photos that I really like. He seems to choose images kind of like I do and I saw that he linked to his Technorati profile. Technorati is a blog search engine.

Here we are yesterday


Hazards of the Next Button

Anyone who uses the Next Blog button on Blogger eventually sees an offensive site. Here's Blogger's policy on pornography: "Image and video content that contains nudity, sexually graphic material, or material that is otherwise deemed explicit by Google should be made private. Otherwise, we may put such content behind an interstitial." (Whoa! What's an interstitial? It's an extra screen to warn you so you can go somewhere else.)

Normally Blogger has a button at the top so that you can report offensive content. If that toolbar is missing, go here to report graphic pages on Blogger.

Book: The Journey of Man

I finished reading The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey<. It's a detailed look at tracing the roots of mankind and the long-ago migrations across the globe using DNA analysis. Some parts are a bit technical but overall it's quite interesting.

Anthropology and history have always interested me. I was surprised to find a brief history of world languages among all the DNA explanations and prehistory, but that part turned out to be quite intriguing.

Not too long ago I enjoyed Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It's a detailed essay on why some societies became powerful and rich in material belongings while others did not. Diamond demonstrates that luck and resources were key factors, not intelligence or talent. Food for thought.

January 6, 2008

Blizzard Machines

snow maker
A few days ago I walked Ben near the ski area and we saw the snow-making machines at work. Water is pumped from Stoney Creek and magically turned into fluffy flakes which are sprayed onto the ski slopes.

Localized Snow

From our dining room we can see a chalet in the snow. You'll notice that there is no snow in front of the house.

That chalet is close to the ski slope. When the snowmaking equipment sprays snow on the slope and it's windy, snow blows it onto anything nearby.

On most cold winter nights, we can see clouds of snow billowing up from the other side of that hill, and we can hear the snow machines in the distance. Lights are on at the slopes and it looks pretty dramatic to have these white clouds rolling around against the dark sky.

January 5, 2008

Renard and Frank

I took this picture before the decorations were removed and put away. Now that they are gone, the house looks a bit plain. But I'll get used to it.
A Note on Format Changes: You may not notice the change in this blog's appearance, but today I finally upgraded the template of this blog so that I can use more of Blogger's features. While I was at it, I made some changes in the fonts to make the print easier to read.