52 Frames (May 2021)

✍️ 🕑 May 2021 • Series: 52 Frames • Tags: wildlife photographybad selfiesMaui

Oh, so it turns out I'm a few days late in posting my thoughts on the whole 52 Frames photography challenge thing. Drats!

Here I was busily thinking of what I'd do for June's first theme (music), due mere hours before I am reunited with my collections of albums and musical instruments. Alas!

Well, what did I accomplish over the last month? In short, I accomplished at least one very good photograph that I'm immensely proud of, as well as one that is as tossed off as it could possibly be. Well, let's get to it, shall we?

Eurovision 2021: Live Blog

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I've never tried writing a post that updates live, so I figured I'd do it now & see if it works. :)

These are just my notes on the Eurovision Song Competition 2021, which I decided to watch on a Saturday morning as if I had nothing better to do.

Coming into the competition, a number of solid, songs were axed from Semifinal 1 (most tearfully, Croatia and Australia.) Semifinal 2 did not, however, break my heart. The main outcome: the ballads that qualified from the semifinals are the best ballads on offer. (No "Amen"'s here.) The bops are more numerous, but more varied in quality.

Having watched neither semifinal, I'm going into this fairly blind. I don't know who has a good performance, and who struggles to hold their high notes.

Fun fact: for those of you anywhere in the world, the whole competition can be livestreamed with English-language commentary from Iceland's broadcaster here.

Click "read more" and the page should automatically update every three minutes -- approximately the length of a Eurovision song, whilst it is live.

Eurovision 2020 vs. 2021: Battle of the Songs

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We're a mere two weeks away from the start of the 2021 Eurovision song competition. I'm looking forward to it, but unlikely to be tuning in live or providing much further commentary due to other engagements. So, I thought I'd write this post instead.

Eurovision 2021 is remarkably similar in lineup to the cancelled 2020 competition. Initially, all of the countries that would have participated in 2020 confirmed their participation in 2021. Two thirds of these countries eventually decided to select their 2020 artist for a second time.

What this means is that I have the unique opportunity to sit down and listen to two three-minute long pop songs from 39 countries, and pontificate from my armchair about which one is the better number.

I can hardly think of a better usage of my time and yours.

Vincent Bueno is ballading hard in his 2021 entry for Austria, 'Amen.'
Vincent Bueno is ballading hard in his 2021 entry for Austria, 'Amen.'

Let's get started!

An Aborted Trip Through A Swampy Forest, or Face-To-Face With A Porcupine

✍️ 🕑 backpackingwildlife photographytrailsPinchot State Forestaborted adventuresporcupines • Places: Pinchot State Forest PA

One of many NO TRESPASSING signs marking the boundaries of the Pinchot State Forest.
One of many NO TRESPASSING signs marking the boundaries of the Pinchot State Forest.

I've done most of my outdoor learning through reading things on the internet. I can find a lot of knowledge that way, but it's no substitute for actual lived experience.

So, I try to know what I don't know, and remain cautious. I want to avoid putting myself in bad situations, and ensure that I'm as prepared for conditions as I can be, whilst also not overburdening myself with unnecessary weight. It's a delicate balance.

This post is about a trip that I bailed on, as well as some porcupine photography.

52 Frames (April 2021)

✍️ 🕑 April 2021 • Series: 52 Frames • Tags: photographydeerValley Forge

Another month means another four weeks, which means another four photography challenges. Hurrah!

So, what did we do?

14. Fast Shutter

Ironically, a lot of the images I took when I prepared for this challenge were ones where I should have used a faster shutter speed than I did. The need to quickly grab a shot in the heat of the moment, though, meant that I had no time to stop and think about camera settings.

The photo I went with was this one:

A deer careens through a half-constructed housing development.

I had been out and about taking pictures of birds near the unfinished housing developments, when out of nowhere a deer careened through the landscape. I followed with my camera, and was pleasantly surprised to find I had managed to take some usable, in focus images. This is one of them (though I would have benefitted from a higher burst rate and faster shutter speed.)

Towards Lighter Weight Youtube Embeds

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A friend let me know that the post I wrote on my first impressions of Eurovision was loading nearly a hundred scripts into the browser.

The reason for this is simple. Besides the relatively minimalist amount of client-side Javascript I use on this site, I happened to embed 39 YouTube videos, each of which loaded an additional two scripts into the browser.

The result is a rather bloated user experience; one that performs poorly on my six-year-old phone.

There's a simple solution to this problem: don't embed more than a couple of videos in a post, and there will be no such glut. Unfortunately, this solution is not to my liking. I like having a bajillion vids there.

Another, heftier approach would be to embed the YouTube videos only if the end user wants them there. This is what I've decided to do.