Month: October 2006

I Shopped Till I Dropped….!

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Well I’ve wanted to get a more professional camera for some time now than the little Fuji FinePix digital I currently use. I sold all my old professional camera equipment years ago. One of my passions with regards to photography is what is referred to as “Table-Top Photography”. I suppose that is one reason I got into pet photography years back because you could, for the most part, set them little critters up on a table and click away. It was much easier to control both the subject and the lighting also. And of course I also enjoy close-up or macro photography as many of you do also.

Anyway….seems like shopping for a camera use to be a lot easier before all this digital technology came along but I finally settled on the Nikon D80 Digital SLR pictured below. It is the new generation of the Nikon D70 which is a popular camera. In fact, Dick from “RV Travels With Huggy” is the one who actually turned me onto this particular camera. And I also wanted a camera which could control off-camera flashes which was a very important consideration in my decision.

Nikon D80 - 01

After having my little, light weight, Fuji FinePix camera for several years, this camera seems like it weighs a ton. I also opted to add a close-up/macro flash system to the purchase. The photo below shows what that looks like attached to the camera. Quite an ominous looking piece of technology when you have it all attached to the camera. But is it worth the cost? Well, the jury will be out a while on that for a while I’m sure. I can only hope so.

Nikon D80 - 02

Like everything else in today’s world, the built-in electronic technology that controls all that the camera is capable of doing is going to take a while to get the little old mind around. But for the moment, I am looking forward to the challenge.

I have just been playing and learning but here is one photo I took yesterday. It was a color photograph which I rendered in a sepia tone, and then I rendered the subject, ET, back to color. This is a technique I really enjoy working with. I will render a color photograph to a black and white or sepia toned photograph and then add back just a touch of subdued color.

ET in a Vase© 2006 SomeFinalThoughts.Com

So there is the short of this shopping adventure. Hopefully in time, if I have that much time left before heading off to Cemeteryville, I will get some measure of command over this new camera and hopefully be able to share some interesting photographs.

The Electric Key Orchestra – Article 1

The songs featured on this page are those songs which have been featured in associated blog posts and are those selections that I have either arranged and recorded or those songs which I have written, arranged and recorded under the pen name of “The Electric Key Orchestra”.

After retiring some three years ago I decided that I would spend some time pursuing some personal musical endeavors in which I had an interest. I have a bit of a passion for older music, some tunes going back as far as the late 1800’s, and that is not music which had a large appeal to my audiences when I was playing in supper clubs and the like. So since retiring my focus in my music endeavors has been toward that type music in particular, along with some of my own music that I have written and arranged.

I suppose now, realistically speaking, my association has now become one which is more of a hobby in nature than any quest for fame and fortune. And in this process I chose a pen name or pseudonym if you will to correctly describe the literal origin of the music I produce and arrange. Since it was in reality electronic music originating from synthesizers, sound modules, and effects processors I decided on the name “The Electric Key Orchestra”. All the music and sounds are initially generated by playing a keyboard so walla…..The Electric Key Orchestra. Below are listed the members that made up The Electric Key Orchestra….

VFX-SD

The first or founding member of the orchestra was purchased in 1988 while I was living in Montgomery, Alabama. It was a synthesizer manufactured by the Ensoniq Corporation and was an Ensoniq VFX-SD synthesizer.

SD-1

By 1991 I had relocated back to North Little Rock, Arkansas which is my hometown and added to my equipment a new generation synthesizer again manufactured by Ensoniq called the Ensoniq SD-1.

SC-55

In addition to the new synthesizer, I also added my first sound module to my setup which was manufactured by the Roland Corporation and was the SC-55.

Alesis Quadraverb

It was in late 1992 that I added yet another member to the orchestra which was an Alesis Quadraverb which was a new generation of effects processors.

JV-1010

In the year 2000 I added yet another sound module by the Roland Corporation which was the JV-1010.

JV-2020

And then in 2005 I added what I consider to be the final member of the orchestra which was yet another sound module from the Roland Corporation and was the JV-2020.

Not unlike other synthesists who have a high regard for the particular equipment they have chosen, the hope is to showcase as best one can those choices through the music produced by them.

The Ensoniq SD-1 synthesizer, which is my designated master keyboard, along with the Ensoniq VFX-SD synthesizer comprise the centerpiece of The Electric Key Orchestra’s sound with additional complimentary sounds being provided by three Roland sound modules. The Roland JV-1010, XV-2020 and the SC-55. An Alesis Quadraverb effects processor rounds out the orchestra’s equipment makeup.

Although both Ensoniq synthesizers have “on-board sequencers”, the sequencing or recording is accomplished utilizing a Dell desktop computer and Cakewalk Sonar software. Any supplemental required sequencing along with any pre-sequenced musical sections may be provided through SoundTrek’s Jammer Pro software and/or PG Music’s Band-In-A-Box software.

TEKO Studio
This photo is an overall look at the small in-home studio where I spend much of my time these days, whether it be blogging or doing a little music production.

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“Smile” – The Electric Key Orchestra

“Thar’s A Skunk In the Outhouse” – The Electric Key Orchestra

“Let Me Call You Sweetheart” – The Electric Key Orchestra

“The Dance of the Northern Sea” – The Electric Key Orchestra

Legend of the Mermaid… Fact or Fiction?

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I have always assumed that if I ever had an encounter with a “mermaid” that it would be a happy occasion as reflected in the animated graphic above. Of course that is assuming that you have some measure of belief that these lovely creatures exist. Well….after my latest adventure I have come to a confirming conclusion.

Yesterday was a nice sunny and cool day so I decided early to head down to the Arkansas River and do a little bowfishing. The carp have been a little scarce this year in the location where I usually experience some measure of success but it was such a nice day I just had to get out in nature.

After about an hour of stalking the bank of the river in search of prey, about some twenty-five yards out from shore the water began swirling ferociously and I could not believe the size of this fish. I had yet to see it but it was quickly moving my way. I quickly assumed a firing position, drawing back my bow waiting in nervous anticipation hoping the huge fish would present itself for a shot. Then just as the fish was about to break water near the bank and give me a shot, it quickly changed direction, perhaps seeing my shadow on the water, and headed back toward the deep. I immediately let fly the arrow and within an instant knew I had hit my mark. It was huge and it had fight. After about a half-hour I finally was able to subdue the fish and get it to shore but that is where this story turns from exciting to unimaginable.

It was not, as I had assumed, a fish that I had just drug up onto the bank. No! It was a “MERMAN”! That’s right….it wasn’t a mermaid….it was “MERMAN”. I had never heard of a “MERMAN”….only a mermaid. I thought to myself, “It must be a “merman” because mermaids are supposed to have boobs.” Oh well…..let’s stay away from the technical aspects and get back to the adventure.

Unlike the solid nerves that I had exhibited in my younger years when known as “snake boy”, I was quite shaken by the events at that point. I quickly removed the arrow from the lower torso where I had snagged the creature. Except for a twitch every now and then, there was no movement. I was confused. What do I do? Within a few minutes the “merman” appeared lifeless. I knew I couldn’t get it into my ice chest for purposes of preservation. How could I get this creature back to civilization? It was far too large to drag back to my car which was at least a half-mile away. I knew if I called the game and fish folks on my cell phone that no one would believe me. My only choice was to try to hide the “merman” in some bushes until I could go and get a game warden or someone from the game and fish commission. I dragged it into some bushes close by. Then I decided I should take a quick photo in case I needed some measure of proof when I was soliciting help from the game and fish folks. So I took the photo you see below.

Mermaid On A Beach

I quickly drove to the commission office, related my story showing them the little photo on my digital camera display and off we went back to the river. But alas, once we reached the spot there was no longer a “merman” in the bushes. We could see where he had apparently dragged himself back into the water. They spent the next hour or so looking over the area and questioning me. I think they finally concluded that I had faked the whole thing.

Well, there you have it. That is the long and short of my bowfishing adventure yesterday. Regardless of what the game and fish folks think, I knew that sharing this story with my blogging friends would give me the support and belief I so deserve after this harrowing adventure. 😀

Up for a photo caption?

Every now and then you run across a photo that just “begs” for a caption. When I ran across this one the other day I just couldn’t pass collecting it from Cyberspace. I really enjoy running across photos such as this and affixing some caption I find appropriate but this morning I thought, “What the heck. Let’s see what some of my blog’s visitors can come up with.”

So my friends, the photo is shown below. If you have time, post a comment and give us all a good chuckle with your suggested caption…. 🙂

Photo Caption Wanted