My projects, hobbies, interests, whatever.


Vintage Car Rally

In a real blast from the past. I have had posted on Flickr a set of photos taken by my father in 1957. The quality of the Kodachrome slides is excellent after more than fifty years. These photos were taken at a rally sponsored by the Vintage Motor Car Club of America and the Vintage Sports Car Club of England. These photos are some of my most popular and get regular hits. I received help from many people including both clubs involved in identifying the cars in the photos so many thanks to them.

Hemming’s Classic Car magazine did a short article about the photos in their November (2010) issue which is quite nice. My father would have loved the fact that the photos have gotten the attention they have. I remember a wonderful outing with my father (I was 8 at the time) and always loved to go to car shows. Actually the shows we also went to around that time were the 1957 auto show in Boston and the “HiFi” show. I enjoyed both.

7 - VMCCA Rally, April 1957

Now my father also like fishing. Me, not so much.
The complete set of photos can be found here.


The Getty Villa

I haven’t been to the Getty Villa since it was remodeled so that means not for many years. In many ways it hasn’t changed despite the new parking garage, ampitheater and restaurant. There is more display room for the Roman/Greek/ancient artifacts since the paintings and furniture that were on display are now at the main Getty Museum site.

So… some photos.

The ampitheater.

Getty Villa Museum

The trompe loeil paintings of the main building. Hopefully done with a responsible use of HDR techniques to bring out the detail.

Getty Villa Museum

…and, of course, I have to make use of the fisheye lens.

Getty Villa Museum

More of my Getty photos are here…

DIY Flash Gel Holder and Storage

I was getting annoyed with losing gels for my flash and juggling camera bags to find them so I looked for a holder that might store gels.  I did find a very nice one like what I envisioned from Lumiquest but since my need was immediate I tried coming up with something simple and quick to make. The total build time was about 5 minutes.

This is made from a sheet of a storage page for negatives that goes into a three ring binder.  If you have been shooting for a while (i.e. film) you may have sheets of these lying around.   I just cut one to size with three storage slots available.  One covers the flash head and the other two can be used for storage.  I can get about four gels into the storage slots without difficulty allowing me to store a total of eight gels.  The gels are just cut from sheet gel material, in this case from Rosco.

I have no idea if this will fit other flashes.  The flash that I made it for is a Nikon SB-600  and it also works on my Sunpak 383 flashes. Also not that the sample pack filters from Rosco and probably Lee also are a little too wide and would need to be trimmed slightly.

DIY Flash Gel Holder & Storage

DIY Flash Gel Holder & Storage

Pen & Ink Without Pen & Ink

I’ve always liked pen and ink illustrations especially of cars. Car magazines like Road & Track always seemed to have some. Now as with most things digital this is quite easy to do on a computer. Starting with a photograph various types and qualities of pen and ink drawings can be simulated.

For example this is a photo of a Lamborghini V12 that was converted to a pen and ink drawing. It took a couple of layers in the Gimp, one line drawing and one black threshold that were combined to produce the final image.

Lamborghini V12

This photo is an Alfa with a Mini in the background done in a similar manner with “simulated” color paper.


Adding some gray levels also gives and interesting result as on this (quite rare) Lotus 6.

Lotus Six

… and engines always look good with this technique. Blown Chevy V8.


OK, so it can be used on something other than cars. Here is the eye of a horse named Nick.

Nick's Eye


I don’t shoot panoramas very often but I do find them fun to do. I use Hugin for stitching them together and generally just do them hand held with no tripod. This works pretty well and everything can be cropped and corrected after stitching. Hugin is a free program available here and represents some of the best in free software.

Disneyland Jan 7, 2009

This panorama was taken at Disneyland in ToonTown. Very surreal look in ToonTown, the lighting and everything just makes for an other worldy kind of look. Also, if you look very closely (there is a lot of detail) you’ll notice that people who move during the shooting of the panorama can be cut in half or just have a general ghostly appearance.

Disneyland Jan 25, 2009

This Disneyland panorama was taken in Tomorrowland. I’m not sure I like the overall composition of this but it has been a very popular photo of mine.

For something different a stitched together a few fisheye images of our kitchen for an “artistic” pano.

Living/Dining Room

…and this is an “artistic” view of our living room. Part stitched panorama and part collage of just pasted in images. I liked the sort of random Hockneyesque perspectives that can be achieved this way.

Homemade Flash Grid

There are several online projects showing very clever ways of constructing a spot grid for flash strobes.   Needing one, and quickly, I decided to try my hand at it.  This particular grid is made as simply as possible.  No glue, just cutting sheets of cardboard, stacking them, wrapping them in another sheet of cardboard, taping them together and to the flash.  So, the instructions are…. oh, I just gave them.’

Homemade Flash Grid

Coverage is demonstrated in the following photo.
The lens was at approx. 55mm about 6 feet from a wall. The picture covers about 3 feet so the spot is about 1 foot. Doing the math in my head that’s about a 10 degree spread (more or less). Since the flash has a 35mm coverage it was about 58 degrees. Exposure was normal with flash on camera at 1/4 power.

Homemade Flash Grid Coverage

The Brief Jon-Centric History of Photography

1950s Kodak Brownies – No money for film
1960s Polaroid 230, Kodak Instamatic – a little money for film
1970s Minolta SRT101, Bogen Enlarger – can finally afford some film
1980s Minolta SRT101, Olympus Rangefinder – film could be cheaper
1990s Nikon 6006, Canon Rangefinder, Daylab Enlarger – color paper expensive
2000s Nikon 800, Nikon 8800, Nikon D200 – No need for money… for film!