Sepia Saturday 260: Bikes, tents, music, hats, flags

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What a prompt to start the new year!  The photo has bunches of possible themes, but I went with another band photo that I’d previously posted about here.  The band in question is the Blain City Band from about 1917 as photographed by J. B. Bateman of Bellwood, PA.  Great grandma Olga labelled the photo in her later years with the approximate date and it would line up with her brother Alfred Herbert Powis right before he left for WWI.  Alfred Herbert Powis is likely the gent in the front, seated, with the full mask and trumpet.  We know he was a trumpet player and none of the other men look like him.  In his obituary, it’s noted,

Deceased was of a quiet and peaceable, charitable disposition and a great lover of home. He had numerous friends who mourn his untimely death, a death which was contracted in the service of his country. He gave his life in the defense of liberty and the preservation of a Christian civilization. Deceased was a member of Orpheus Band of Blain City until compelled by sickness to relinquish what was one of his chief delights. He was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose, Coalport Lodge No. 350; also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Patton Aerie No. 1244. The interment service of the Loyal Order of the Moose was conducted at the home.

He was a pretty busy fellow involved in a number of organizations.  He passed away on July 6, 1926 at age 33, allegedly having brought back some sort of illness from World War I.  His death certificate lists cause of death as Pulomary Tuberculosis.  The family kept a number of his posessions that we found recently in a box – notably his helmet and gas mask – and never quite recovered from his passing so young.  His wife, Goldie, never remarried either and the only child they had together only lived for two days.  Pretty sad story to start the new year, but a great photo to share for the theme.

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2014 Blogging Year in Review

Year in Review

Here goes!  Click through to the Full Report from WordPress and you can see on the chart where I started Sepia Saturday because there’s a post (almost) every Saturday.  Personally, 2014 was a rough year – the loss of my grandfather, husband’s uncle, some uncertainty with husband’s employment situation.  I guess that doesn’t sound like a lot of awful stuff, but it feels like it’s been a very off year, mostly because a lot of the difficult stuff happened VERY recently.  Focusing on the good, we had wonderful vacations in New Hampshire and Scotland, went to and worked a beautiful wedding, I had lots of photography jobs, and our dogs are still in good health for being 11 years old.  There was knitting and homebrew, family and friends, genealogy discoveries and visits with relatives near and far, raucous games of Cards Against Humanity and lots of laughter.

So, 2014?  It’s been swell, but here’s to a brighter 2015.

Goodebox January 2014

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The January Goodebox arrived yesterday, before January even began which was a pleasant surprise!  They’re ahead of the game, and this box? KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK.  This is one of the best boxes, IMHO, in a while and I’m super psyched about it.  The box overview card mentions ringing in a new year with new beginnings and fresh starts which I think they’ve been able to pull off in spectacular fashion with this box.

  • Soapbox African Black Soap – 4 oz / $4.99 – (Sample is full size, value of $4.99) I could smell this before I even opened the box and it’s this wonderful clean scent.  I love using charcoal based soap for my face, so this is a welcome product at a great price.  The soap lathers up nicely and has a slight grey tinge to the lather, but neither the color nor the scent remain behind and wash away cleanly.  I really like using a basic bar soap to wash my face, so this is absolutely perfect.
  • Eslor Botanical Peeling Gel – 60 mL / $38 – (Sample is 15 mL, value of $9.50) I’ve never used anything like this before, but it sounds like part mask, part exfoliator.  It pumps out like a thick aloe vera gel (which is also the main ingredient) and after about 5-10 minutes, the gel is supposed to melt into the skin and liquify, but I found that it dried on my skin and when rubbed as directed it felt a little like an oil.  It rinsed away clean and didn’t leave my face feeling dry or greasy, so that’s good!  I didn’t notice much of an exfoliating effect, but it seems to be much more gentle than a coarse salt or sugar scrub.  Might be good to alternate with a coarser scrub (coarse scrub one week, this product the next).
  • Earthwise Beauty Green Leaves & Co. Facial Oil – 30 mL / $30 – (Sample is about 8 mL, value of about $8) Smells like herbal tea and fresh herbs.  I’m not entirely sold on the scent – I’m not sure if it’s the rosemary or basil or what that’s throwing me off, but it smells odd to me – I wish the lavender did more to overpower the other herbs.  I did give this a go and the scent is kind of strong and really really not my thing but it immediately made my face feel soft and smooth.  I’m torn between loving this for what it does and not liking the scent.  A small bit goes a very long way too, so the value is pretty good.  The small 8 mL container will easily last me somewhere around 10 or more applications.
  • Palmetto Derma Retinol & Peptide Infused Eye Lifting Cream – 35 mL / $68 – (Sample is 5 mL, value of $9.70) The product card says it’s great for smoothing wrinkles anywhere, so if it irritates my eyes, it’ll be worth a try on my forehead.  I don’t use any wrinkle-reducing or anti-aging products in my daily routine so this is a fn sample to have.  I gave this a try and it didn’t seem to bother my sensitive eyes at all.  We’ll have to see if it makes a difference after a few uses!
  • Della Travel Bag – 8.5″ x 5″ / $24 – (Sample is full size, value of $24)  LOVE the bag, not entirely fond of the colors (Ugghh it’s a hot pink design and I hate pink).  I can only find ones with vegan leather accents on their site which I really don’t like either.  I’d love to be able to find this same bag in another print though (anyone wanna swap?!) because it’s a great size and fully lined.  I do love their headbands, but hey, Della!  List some more prints/travel bags on your website!  Willing shopper, right here!

The box comes up to a total value of $56.19!  Even without the travel bag, the other products are worth $32.19 which still well more than covers the cost of the box.  The products are mostly face products, but they can all be used in order (soap, peeling gel, lifting cream, and facial oil) in one evening facial care routine which is fun.  Even if the samples mostly aren’t things I’d end up buying, the point of the box is to try new things I wouldn’t have found or tried othewise which is exactly what happened this month, so I’m pleased!

Rhianna, The Digital Diana Camera

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I signed up over the summer for the Indiegogo campaign for the Rhianna, the digitial Diana mini camera by Greg Dash.  I received the Little Cyclops mini fisheye camera from his first campaign and loved it so much that I figured I might as well spring for this one too.  It was well worth it!  The weather finally cooperated and I had enough time to take a walk around town and play with the camera for a little while.  But first, the details!

(Missed the Indiegogo campaign but still want one?  There are a limited number available via Greg’s website, CyclopsCameras.com)

Cost: I got on the earlybird special at £50 or about $75 USD, shipping included

Size: 4″ wide (including strap attachment points), 2.75″ high, 2.375″ deep (1.375″ without lens).  Weighs 4.4 oz (about 125 grams) including the strap

In The BoxCamera, strap, mini USB cable, user guide

Tech Specs: 12 megapixel, 1/3″ CMOS sensor, plastic lens and body, run of only 1000 cameras

Operation: To turn the camera on, there is a large on/off switch on the back face which allows for the camera power to be completely shut off to save battery.  The power button on top turns on the camera once the switch is flipped to “On” but doesn’t function when the switch is set to “Off.”  There are two LEDs on the back for, “Busy,” and, “Charge.”  The charge light turns blue when the switch is set to off and the camera is plugged into the computer or power  source (a cellphone charger works great) and shuts off when charging is complete.  Both LEDs come on red when the camera is turned on, and flash red while recording video.  Video is recorded by changing the mode button and both the camera and starting/stopping video recording are operated with the shutter button on the top right.  A third press of the mode button brings up photo review which also allows for playback (including audio) of videos.

File Transfer: To transfer files to a computer, the power switch has to be turned on.  Plug the camera into a USB port on a computer and the files are easily transferred to the computer as if it was a USB flash drive or any other Mass Storage Device.  Average file size at the highest resolution/quality setting comes in at 3648 x 2048 pixels and around 1 MB per photo (listed as 7M in the menu, not the 12 megapixels advertised).  Files are JPG format.  To transfer the files directly to your camera (or social media) all you need is a USB OTG (on the go) adapter to fit your phone.  I bought this one a year ago and it’s been working great to transfer files from both the Little Cyclops and the Rhianna to my Samsung Note 3 phone which has a micro USB port.

Review: The camera arrived at my home near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 17th from Singapore.  I had to sign for the package with the mail delivery person.  Upon opening the box, the inside flap read, “Thank You,” and the camera was nestled inside.  Underneath the cardboard support for the camera were the strap, cable, and instructions.  I immediately turned on the camera and found that it had enough charge to play with for a little while which was a nice surprise.  I grabbed an SD card (Samsung 32 GB SDHC class 10) out of another camera, plugged it in and started setup.  First thing I did was turn off the beep noises, set the date and turned off the date from showing up on the images.  The menu is easy enough to navigate and clear – the menu button selects, the arrow/play button moves on to the next menu (cycling only to the right), the up/down arrows cycle through each menu screen, and the mode button acts as a “back” button.  On my day out shooting, the camera lasted the three hours I had it running on and off and only got down to about half battery capacity.  I didn’t have any issues shooting, and the camera performed about as I expected – better in the sun, not that great in low light or shade.  The camera is all white which wouldn’t have been my color of choice, but it leaves the option open for the camera to be painted using acrylic paint.  It looks like it might be possible to remove the outer shell of the camera for easier painting too since there are screws holding the camera together.  Might have to clarify that with the creator before going ahead with it though.  I recorded one video of my dogs and the sound isn’t that great – I don’t think I was covering the microphone but on playback it sounds like the audio was recorded from another room.  I’ve included a few photos below to let the camera speak for itself!  I used the Rhianna effect on all of these which has this odd character of turning any whites/blown highlights near the edges this odd pink color which you can kind of see in the next to last photo in the windows.

For more photos and a short video, check out my Rhianna set on Flickr.

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Issues/Wishlist: 

  • The camera doesn’t remember what effect setting you selected after turning the camera off.  You have to go back in and set the effect each time (it defaults to “Normal”).
  • It would’ve been great to have the effects menu as a separate, easy to access menu that loaded up as the first item.  Navigating to the effects option can be a bit of a hassle since it’s not at the top of any of the menus, so it takes some scrolling to find.
  • Lens cap!  I would’ve loved a lens cap.  I saw someone using a milk container cap elastic-banded to the camera which seems to work out alright.
  • The LCD screen is really hard to see in direct sunlight and the viewfinder isn’t really compatible with glasses – I have to wiggle the camera around to see the edges of the viewfinder window since the glasses keep me from getting my eye right up in the viewfinder.
  • I would’ve loved an option to set the photos to a square/medium format crop like the original Diana mini.
  • A tripod mount would’ve been nice – the original Diana mini has one.

Final Thoughts: Overall the camera is well made, very closely resembles the Diana mini, and is a ton of fun to go out and play with.  It’ll be an excellent companion for travel and gets me out doing photography for fun instead of for work which is always a good thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but there’s a simple joy about going out with a camera when there’s no assignment or time restrictions.  I love discovering the world through the lens of a camera and the view is always a little different with each camera.

The entire menu tree is listed in the User Guide, so I won’t get into that here, but I will give you an example of all the effects as shot by securing the camera to a tripod with bungee bands.  Click any photo to view larger.

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Normal                                            B&W                                            Sepia
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Red                                            Green                                            Blue
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Sunset                                            Warm                                            Cool
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Over Exposure                                            IR                                            Binary
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Vivid                                            Undertone                                            Dog Eye
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Aibao                                            Gothic                                            Lomo
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Rhianna                                            Negative

A Saturday of Sepia

Since this isn’t the real Sepia Saturday (they’re on break until January), it’s not quite the same, but I wanted to keep up my momentum with the project and post a photo that I love but hasn’t come up for a theme yet.  There are SO many, and it’s hard to tell where to start!  I’ve been itching to post more of these old school photos, so we’ll start there.

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I don’t have the names for all the kids, buy my great great grandma Olga (Powis) Kitko is in that photo, back row, 12th person in from the left.  On the far left, standing, is the teacher, Nellie M Askew who saw it fit to label the back of the photo, address it to Olga Powis, “Compliments of your teacher, Nellie M. Askew” – how convenient!  The back of the photo is a postcard style back, with a stamp square that indicates it was taken between 1907 and 1929 (NOKO, see here).  Olga was born in 1900 and the kids look to be about 7 or 8, so I’d put it around 1908, plus or  minus a year or two.  The teacher, Nellie, would’ve been 15 if I’m using the date of 1908 which makes me think my date guess might be off.  I’d assume she’d have to have been a high school graduate, but it’s possible she was able to teach the younger kids with only an 8th grade education.  She’s listed as being a teacher on the 1910 census though.  On the 1940 census, she lists her highest grade completed as 8th, so it’s still possible she was teaching at age 15.  It’s awfully strange to think about in our time to have a teacher be so young!

Other things that caught my eye about this photo is the muddy school yard that has no grass and those paper garlands hanging in the windows.  Then there’s the girls hair and those HUGE bows, the striped tie on the one boy in the front, and the one boy with his hat on at the left.  It’s really neat for this photo to survive that long (over 100 years) and give us a glimpse into what a bunch of kids looked like in the early 1900s.