chuck.goolsbee.org

goolsbee.org: serving useless content from an undisclosed location since 1998

March 16, 2014

Closed my smugmug account.

Filed under: Creative Work,Photography — chuck goolsbee @ 8:56 pm

I really liked their ease of creating an online store for selling photographs, but they price-hiked their service into the stratosphere, and auto-locked me into their highest tier. Not exactly a great way to build customer loyalty. While I didn’t do much to promote it, the site always made enough to break-even for me every year when it was ~$150. But at $250 it just would not pencil out. Farewell!

December 13, 2013

Recent Time-lapse Photography

Filed under: Creative Work,Photography,Time Lapse work — chuck goolsbee @ 10:31 am

Here are some recent samples… snippets really, of my time-lapse noodling. Most are shots from my house, looking in some western direction, observing weather, sun rises and sets, some astronomical movement, and even some local fauna. One of these days I’ll have the bandwidth to edit these into something real. Until then, enjoy a slice of life in Central Oregon!

Be sure to click the “HD” option if available, and go full-screen.

I’m serving these off of Facebook rather than YouTube to spare you the ads. Please let me know if you have any issues viewing them.

October 19, 2013

Latest time-lapse

Filed under: Creative Work,Photography,Time Lapse work — chuck goolsbee @ 4:23 pm

Hoping the embed code works. If you can, view it full-screen and HD to get the whacky atmospheric effects from the long (~600mm) lens.

I shot this time lapse this morning out my living room window. I was able to predict the moonset path with an iPhone app, and then set up the tripod, camera, and intervalometer. After the moon set I did some low-tech panning and zooming…. yeah, not super-smooth, sorry.

I hope you enjoy it.

December 30, 2012

Best Photographs of 2012

Filed under: Best of...,Photography — chuck goolsbee @ 10:18 pm

I will be the first to admit: 2012 was not a great year for my photography. I just wasn’t in a good frame of mind behind the camera. The images show it too. I had plenty of opportunity, I just did not execute very well. My 2013 photographic resolution will be to improve the technical quality of my shooting.

2012 was the first year in many that I didn’t take an extended road trip, and I think that had a lot to do with my “lack of focus”… if you’ll pardon the pun. All of my breaks from work were short-duration weekend things – none of which involved that road-time that unwinds and limbers up my creative mind. I planned a trip, but had to cancel it. Oh well.

(My trusty old 15″ MacBook Pro died this autumn as well. Thankfully I was able to recover up the hard drive from backups, but I am missing my photos from the Monte Shelton NW Classic Rally tonight as I assemble this post so a couple of shots are missing. As soon as I find them I’ll finally post my summary of that event.)

Three of my favorites from this year came from my participation in an insane race series for terrible cars (aka “crapcan racing”) called “The 24 Hours of Lemons“… The whole idea is to have as much fun, for the least amount of money – which if you know anything about motorsports, is a huge challenge in itself. I raced with two teams this year: My original LeMons team “Clowntown Roadshow” – made up of a great group of my Facebook co-workers. We have a beat-up old E30 BMW from ’89 or ’90 that we bought from another LeMons team (who, as legend has it bought it out of a storage locker for $1.) Despite looking like crap, it is actually a pretty nice little car. It handles very well, has damn good brakes, and if we could ever get our fuel, engine, and gearbox issues sorted out, AND keep the damn thing running for a whole race, we might actually finish in the top-ten. But, since we compete in the HIGHLY competitive west-coast series, I doubt we’ll ever be feared by the perennial leaders.

I chose these particular shots because they represent a capture of a few important things:
* My teams’ cars
* In action
* In focus (mostly, which is VERY hard to do with a long lens, at racetracks where getting close is damn near impossible.)
* In motion, or expressing motion well.

I have lots of shots which capture the essence of the chaos of LeMons racing, and nice portraits of my teammates and crew, but those have been shared before.

A VERY wet Sears Pointless.
A VERY wet Sears Pointless.

This shot shows just how soaking wet it was in March when we raced at Infineon/Sonoma Raceway/Sears Point/WhateverTheyCallItNow. Here my teammate Callahan Warlick tops the hill at Turn 2.

The wet track and super-slick conditions lead to all sort of on- and off-track hilarity – including a wild fishtail on my shift down the far end of the dragstrip after Turn 6.

Early in our first true 24-hour race.
Early in our first true 24-hour race.

From soaking wet Sonoma in Springtime, to hot, dry Buttonwillow (near Bakersfield) in Summer for a true twenty four hour race: The Arsesweatapalooza. As you can see our car has sprouted lights… which didn’t come on when the sun went down. It cost us a few hours fixing them. Sadly, my “golden hour” and night shots didn’t really come out well, but it was a blast to run all day and night. Very different experience. Can’t wait to do it again. Here my teammate Donald Webster rounds Sunrise Corner at Buttonwillow.

The world's worst Acura Integra
The world's worst Acura Integra

Part of the fun of crapcan racing is keeping a crapcan car running. Above is the car of my other team, “Family Ties” – a Seattle-based group who ran their very first race in 2012. This car was being fixed in one way or another the entire time it seemed. See that flap in the hood? I made that. The purpose was to cool an overheating coil. Speaking of coils, this car also had several inches of spring cut out of its suspension between race days to fix a frightening tendency to wallow like a Manatee around corners. The track however, was so damn awesome that even wallowing around its corners was a blast. can’t wait to go back.

What? No vintage sportscar photos? (Sorry)

North Sister at Sunrise
North Sister at Sunrise

So often with photography, a lot is about being in the right place, at the right time, WITH A CAMERA. This photo was shot just a few weeks ago… on my morning commute. I was driving east on Oregon Highway 126 when I caught sight of this in my rear-view mirror. I pulled off on a side road and pulled out my G1 with 100—300mm lens. I didn’t have a tripod, but instead steadied the lens on my rolled-down car window. I see alpenglow-illuminated peaks every morning, but the presence of the clouds is what really makes this shot special.

Moonset
Moonset

Moonset
Moonset

Not long after the alpenglow morning shot, I saw a new crescent moon as I was driving home one evening. Recognizing the moment, I sought out a vantage point as high up on the west side of Powell Butte as I could drive. Lacking a tripod, I set up my camera atop a fencepost and shot as the moon set above Awbrey Butte in faraway Bend, Oregon. The shots have a drama to them, but I’m not real happy with their exposure. It was always a compromise between the very bright crescent and the dim, though visible “dark side”. The other issue is proper shutter speed, as with such large magnification in a long lens the moon’s movement creates blurs with exposures more than 1/60th of a second. I was fiddling away with f-stops and shutter speeds trying to find the right balance, and of course as the moon set the light kept changing enough to keep me chasing perfection – and never quite catching it. Oh well.

A non-standard look at Crater Lake
A non-standard look at Crater Lake

Finally, what is likely the best image I shot this year. I visited Crater Lake – but at a time of day when the light did not make for great photos. This one is the exception, and to top it off, it was shot in an unusual manner. This was accomplished by mounting my ultra-wide angle lens equipped camera on the end of a long Monopod, and holding it up as high as I could reach using the fold-out screen (as tiny as it is when eight feet away!) to compose. Quite happy with the result though. I like the vibrance of the greens in the trees (both needles and moss) against the blues of the water and sky. It captures the magic of this amazing place in a very small way.

Not my best year… I know. For comparison, here is a link that includes past “best of” work: http://chuck.goolsbee.org/archives/category/creative-work/photography-life/best-of…

November 24, 2012

Opening Day 2012-13 at Mt. Bachelor!

Filed under: life,Photography,Skiing — chuck goolsbee @ 6:47 pm
terrain map of our ski day
terrain map of our ski day

Thanksgiving was Opening Day of the 2012-13 ski season at my local “hill”, Mt. Bachelor. Nicholas is home for the 4 day holiday so he & I got up early and hit the slopes. We didn’t quite make first tracks, but we we’re the last of the first wave to get the good stuff.

Conditions were surprisingly good, given that two-thirds of the snow had fallen the night before. I stuck to the groomers – as tempting as the powder might have been – my out-of-shape legs and the threat of snags and rocks kept me away (OK, I confess, I stole a couple of turns off the edge a few times.)

We wore ourselves out. Nick had a pair of face-plants. I never fell, but 49 year old legs setting the pace – even with my lazy edge-to-edge skiing style – for my 18 year old was enough to leave me limping by days end! (ahhhh love that hot tub!)

Vital stats of our day.
Vital stats of our day.

As a bonus, I strapped a small video camera to my pole, and later my boot, so you could follow along. I re-enabled my dormant Youtube account (which Google forced me into making it a Google+ account – and NO, I won’t be your friend on G+ – I have no intention of using it) to upload the video to share. Note that Youtube tried to auto-correct out the natural leaning that goes with skiing in order to “image stabilize” the movie. I find the result rather trippy. Enjoy!

February 14, 2012

Wrong Lens, Right Place.

Filed under: Photography — chuck goolsbee @ 4:25 pm
Nick Crosses the Finish Line
Nick Crosses the Finish Line

Last Saturday Nick’s Nordic Ski team had a Pursuit Race. We had to leave the house at the crack of dawn and I could not find my telephoto lens. All I could turn up were short focal length (7—14mm and 20mm, which in M4/3rds is similar to 14—28mm and 45mm in a 35mm format) lenses.

Shooting sports is always better with longer lenses – you stand off and track the action from afar, letting the long glass get you close to the athletes. Long lenses also flatten perspective and offer interesting bokeh (the unfocused areas outside of the depth-of-field) making for appealing images. I shoot the telephoto from a monopod, which provides me with a stable platform that still allows me to pan side to side to keep the action in-frame.

My 20mm prime is a fantastic portrait lens, and is very fast, meaning it is great in low light, but the focal length makes for “snapshot” looking shots of sports.

I love shooting with wide-angle lenses, but they are not my first choice for shooting sports. In the past I’ve used my wide-angle as a secondary lens while shooting sports, taking close-up shots from a very short tripod close to the ground with a remote shutter. This time however, I affixed the camera and wide-angle to my monopod I usually have the telephoto on, but used it instead like a boom – held low, or high in the track of the race course. I’m pleased with the results:

Pre-race wax
Pre-race wax
Mass-start of the first boys' Classic race.
Mass-start of the first boys' Classic race.
Poling to the finish of the boys' Classic race.
Poling to the finish of the boys' Classic race.
Girls Classic race
Girls Classic race
Girls Classic race
Girls Classic race
Girls Classic race
Girls Classic race
BHS Boys start the Skate Race
BHS Boys start the Skate Race
Nick skates towards the camera during the second lap of the Boys' Skate Race
Nick skates towards the camera during the second lap of the Boys' Skate Race
Nick skates by the camera at high speed
Nick skates by the camera at high speed

October 16, 2011

SOL Day Five: Fixing Jerry’s Generator & Touring Mesa Verde

Filed under: 2011 SOL Tour,Cars,Time Lapse work — chuck goolsbee @ 12:58 pm

One of the fears people have about taking an old car out on an extended trip or tour is “what happens if it breaks?” This subject came up a few times on our little Southwest Oil Leak email list, and the consensus came down to: “We’ll all pitch in and help fix it.” Darrell Grimes driving an XJ, volunteered to be “the sag wagon” and generally stayed at the back of the pack. His trunk was filled with tools and supplies. The tour was filled with people who had lots of experience working on these cars, a few of them professionally. Having performed my share of roadside surgery over the years I know I’m pretty confident that I could get my car running again in just about any scenario short of a con rod exiting the XK horizontally. Ironically, short of the Bedell’s failed voltage regulator at the start of the tour, the cars had run great – until yesterday, when Jerry Mouton’s generator failed. He drove on his battery all day and planned to swap it with one he’d been carrying in his boot for twenty years in the morning.

Looking for breakfast: David Fey, Jerry Mouton, Darrell Grimes, and Paul Wigton.
Looking for breakfast: David Fey, Jerry Mouton, Darrell Grimes, and Paul Wigton.

The hotel restaurant was closed for breakfast so we gave up on food and decided to fix Jerry’s generator. As was prearranged, we had more mechanics that the job really required!

Paul Wigton opens his toolkit. Note the big hammer?
Paul Wigton opens his toolkit. Note the big hammer?

My car is the 715th E-type that was built after the change from a generator to an alternator. My struggles with alternators are well-known, having gone through many Lucas and Hitachi units over the years. Jerry’s car is a year older than mine, and it was interesting to note the differences, especially regarding the placement of the electrical drive component: in the early cars it sits down inside the frame rail, rather than above it like my alternator does.

Paul attempts to bend a nut to his will in order to remove the generator.
Paul attempts to bend a nut to his will in order to remove the generator.

This made removing the generator more time-consuming than originally thought by this group of esteemed mechanics. The “twenty minute job” stretched closer to one hundred and twenty minutes when all was said and done.

The belt comes off.
The belt comes off.
Lloyd Nolan, Paul Wigton, & Jerry Mouton at work. OK, Lloyd is just supervising.
Lloyd Nolan, Paul Wigton, & Jerry Mouton at work. OK, Lloyd is just supervising.

I didn’t participate much, beyond shooting photographs and making jokes. So when things got tough I wandered off and admired other cars…

David Langley fitted a steering wheel from an XK onto his S2 E-type. I think it looks great.
David Langley fitted a steering wheel from an XK onto his S2 E-type. I think it looks great.
How many moron mechanics does it take to remove a generator from an E-type?
How many moron mechanics does it take to remove a generator from an E-type?
Apparently, three.
Apparently, three.
The boot of Darrell Grimes' XJ. Filled with tools and vital fluids.
The boot of Darrell Grimes' XJ. Filled with tools and vital fluids.
Jerry had more problems than just a generator!
Jerry had more problems than just a generator!

The belt that came off Jerry’s generator seemed to be made of the same low-quality crap that lead me to give up on the double/grooved belt for early E-types and go with a single AC belt for some Ford product. I went through a half-dozen of these bad belts before I switched and have yet to change my single skinny belt.

Jerry & David fit the new generator and belt back into the car.
Jerry & David fit the new generator and belt back into the car.

Once the old generator was out, and the pulley swapped it all went back in a whole lot faster. We walked to the cafeteria near the visitor center and grabbed a meal (it was now “lunch” rather then breakfast time) before we hopped in our cars to tour Mesa Verde.

Passing Tweety on the road in Mesa Verde
Passing Tweety on the road in Mesa Verde
Tweety in an area where forest fires had burned the trees about 8 years before.
Tweety in an area where forest fires had burned the trees about 8 years before.

This was my first visit to Mesa Verde, despite coming close many times over the years. For some reason I thought it was just a single, large cliff-dwelling, but instead it is a rather large, sprawling, complex of them. I’ve visited some of the remote cliff dwellings in the Gila Wilderness, but until now have not seen the many sites at Mesa Verde. It is a truly impressive place, and I highly suggest a visit if you haven’t been there.

Spruce Tree House from across the canyon.
Spruce Tree House from across the canyon.

We started with Spruce Tree House, which is a mid-sized cliff dwelling that is a short hike down a canyon.

Inside Spruce Tree House.
Inside Spruce Tree House.

It is fascinating to see these dwellings. How well they are constructed, and then realize the relatively short period of time that they served their primary purpose.

The USGS guys chatting with the USNPS gal.
The USGS guys chatting with the USNPS gal.

Half of the park was closed, but we drove around and walked to all of the important sites that were accessible. Much to my surprise there were signs of structures not only in the cliffs, but also along the ridge tops. Some were clearly dwellings, but also there are storehouses and reservoirs. There are also some structures that have no clear purpose.

Cliff Palace from across a canyon. This is the largest and most well-known Anaszi Cliff Dwelling in the US.
Cliff Palace from across a canyon. This is the largest and most well-known Anaszi Cliff Dwelling in the US.
One of the ridge top structures.
One of the ridge top structures.

After a long day of touring these sites and walking through the various museums, we all gathered for a fare-well dinner at the restaurant located at The Far View Lodge. The sun was setting and an evening rain shower approached the mesa, providing a suitably dramatic backdrop for our evening.


We had to wait a bit to be seated, and ended up at three separate tables, but a grand time was had by all, and we ended up closing the place. It was a great end to a fantastic week on the road with these amazing cars.

Waiting for our table(s)
Waiting for our table(s)

Finally, here is the full week of time-lapse footage shot from that bizarre camera rig attached to my car:

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