Monday, May 22, 2006

2006 Chicago Summerdance Schedule

I do enjoy the summers of Chicago. Every season has its charm, and summer has her way of enticing me outdoors. I spend more than enough time indoors, and it's, well, a breath of fresh air to get out. As much as possible in an industrialized urban metropolis, of course.

One of the highlights of summer for me has been summerdance. For ten weekends from June to August, dances are held at a 3,500 square foot open-air dance floor. They feature an hour-long lesson, followed by two hours of live music. The dances span genres, from swing to salsa to ballroom. And it's all free.

Earlier on Google, I had found only links to
which automatically redirected to a link that starts [... session blah blah...]
which then had a link to
which I searched using keyword summerdance, and that brought me to the calendar
which helpfully suggested the link

hmm. Hey Look! Big Ben! (National Lampoon reference).

If it's not on Google, it can't possibly exist online. Yet last week, a swing dancing friend told me that she'd found the schedule online as a PDF. Could it be? Is Google losing its touch? I checked and [Chicago Tribune] metromix. No hits.

Believing my friend not to be entirely evil, I persevered. I searched the city of Chicago website for "Lesley Byers" a friend whom I knew would be performing. It brought me to a page with a number of images on the left side. The fifth image down was a link to the PDF schedule. Sweet victory!

Chicago Summerdance Calendar Schedule

[update: their link had a session ID and gave a nice null pointer exception when I tried to save the link, so I'm hosting the schedule locally.]

[update 6/2: The schedule is also online as text now, but you have to go through their main site, then get redirected, then choose to view by date (month) or by music genre.]

Verse of the day:
No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
- Luke 8:16-17

Friday, May 12, 2006

Comparison of bounced flash

A comparison of three ways of using an external flash mounted on-camera. That's Emma in the photographs.

Direct flash:
Flash pointed directly at subject.

Bounced flash:
I actually like this the best, as I feel it is the most natural looking. However, the ceiling was high, so the flash ran out of power, leaving the bottom half of the photo underexposed.

Diffused bounced flash:
Flash was pointed straight at a high ceiling. The difference from the earlier photograph is that I added a small bubble wrap bag over my flash, such that it stuck out a few inches above like a little hat. I'm still playing with different flash modifiers. I don't like the coldness of the color balance, but the background is a little brighter due to the spread light of the flash and the lighting is softer on the subject.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Chimping is a byproduct of digital photography. It is the act of looking at the LCD of a digital camera after taking a picture. One rumor is that it started in the world of sports photography. After a big play, all the photographers could be seen viewing the LCD screens of their cameras. They might have even compared shots with one another. It is often accompanied by noises such as grunting or "ooo" or "aah", which may account for its name.

There is a wiki article already, and an amusing video on sports shooter.

Some professional photographers scoff at chimping. They claim it marks one as an amateur, as it interrupts the flow of the action and may cause one to miss shots. As much I may desire to look professional, I will not give up chimping, because I know it helps me. I still check histograms, show off, and--even occasionally--make the sounds. Well, maybe I can give up the sounds.