Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On blogging, course design, photography and training (Fairfax, 10/20/2015)

I am having a comfortable landing (I hope) just good, there were a lot of loose ends are being tied down, like in the closing of the year.  I have therefore not written much these past two months; I am way to busy for that.  Yes, consider this a good thing.  I just have too darn much to do or to look forward to.  Here are some of the things:
  1. It is the end of the sailing season; if we are lucky we'll get a few more nice days in.  As a rule of thumb, we try to sail on black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving for you non-U.S.A. residents, when most of the people seem to go Christmas shopping) and that generally is my last one for the year, at least on our boat.
  2. I am done with my class designs for this years' classes and now I have one and a half month of heavy teaching (and travel) to look forward to (the photo below was taken at 8 pm in a Starbucks in Fairfax while I was writing this blog).
  3. I am starting to think about new classes: a photography class, a hydrology class and a class on soil amendments.  How is that for diversity?
  4. I have got some other irons in the fire that I cannot write about (yet).
  5. In addition the days are getting shorter (bring on Seasonal Affected Disorder or SAD, at least for some, but I think we all slow down when fall and winter rolls around)
  6. Finally, one of my co-workers is pregnant, which is great, but it will probably mean a more intensive travel schedule for us next year.  If I was a mother of a new born I would not want to go on overnight trips without the kiddo, especially if I was breast feeding.
On the road again.  My evening coffee at Starbucks, waiting for my computer to start up.
So yes this blog may suffer somewhat.  But I will really try to keep it up with a few interesting items, maybe not about my travels throughout the state, but more about my job and research.  I do not want to make this a "dear diary," so don't worry.

If you write a blog your self you know that there are many pages behind a blog.  I can check how many people read my posts, broken down by post, by day, by week, month or even year.  I know how readers got to my blog: by accident, via another website, what search engine they used, even what browser they used, you name it.  I even know what country they come from (surprise, most of my readers come from the U.S.A., but Russians are running second, followed by Germans and the French).

A lot of bloggers are in it to make money.  Yes, I could allow Google or Amazon to put advertisement on my blog and every time you would click on an add, I would get maybe 5 cents or something like it.  There are even blog posts about boosting traffic to your site like this one: <click here>.  This is how some bloggers are hoping to strike it rich and this is why they create these outrageous blogs.  Who knows, I may eventually break down and allow adds on my site, in the hope that you the readers will make me rich!  We'll see.

As I mentioned before, I started this blog for myself; I wanted to get back to photography and get into writing.  My wife and I had so much experience working all over the world, we felt that those experiences needed to be documented, if not only for our daughter, for future generations.  Moreover, I feel I have so much more to give.

So yes! I am going to teach a photography course again.  The last one I taught was in 1977 while serving in the Dutch Army as the Installation's photographer.  It is fun doing research on photography, or at least slowly trying to get slides together on items such as ISO setting and photographic noise (yes there is such a thing; we used to call it grain when we worked in film).

I took a photograph with my cell phone of a book case in my office from a distance of 12 feet at three different ISO settings (Auto, 100 and 800).  As you can see the ISO 100 setting produced the least noise, the problem is the shutter speed (your lens has to stay open longer), and at low light the camera set at ISO 100 might be subject to movement/shaking of the camera/phone.
I know most of it, but now try to put it in a three hour class that is useful for stormwater inspectors.  Who knows, I may need to make it a six hour class.  We could do so much, even a practicum and have them go out and take pictures; although then I would need to limit the class size (we usually limit our class size to 40 but as a solo teacher I could not manage 40 in the field).  There are really so many photo tips and tricks I could teach them (and you on my blog; if you want to learn more, let me know and leave me a comment).

As I mentioned, I will also be teaching a class on hydrology and in a future post I will be writing a little bit about that.  I found some really neat stuff on some of the history of stormwater management, some of which has fascinated me since I was 18 and enjoyed observing in Yemen when I worked there in the mid 1980s.  Yet another subject dear to my heart.  Stay tuned!

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