Downtown Orlando

Downtown Orlando NightlifeOverlooking downtown,  is a great view from the 29th floor of the Dynetech Centre. This marvelous building is a mix of business and home to 164 luxury apartments.

After some experimentation, what worked for me best was a f10 stop with a few seconds of exposure time.

I also learned first hand, that cheap $35 tripods are not adequate enough for the weight of a DSLR. The Nikon D90 is 1.5 lbs, and the Nikkor 18-200mm lens is 1.2 lbs so the camera ends up being roughly 3 lbs. A cheap tripod you pick up at your local mega retail store is fine for maybe a pocket size point & shoot or perhaps even for your kids to use around the house for setting a repel tower for their GI Joes.

My style is to shoot low, so I’ve never extend the tripod to clear a guard rail before. Atop a 29 story building, the wind adds a new ingredient to the challenge of getting a concise clear shot that a small aperture and longer shutter speed. These tripods simply are not made to handle the weight of the camera, it nearly felt like it was going to fall over with the extended weight of the lens and was excessively wobbly. The only successful shots were from collapsing the tripod and mounting it on a portion of the roof that had a deep low wall top.

Taking it all into consideration, it does not make sense to use a cheap $35 tripod with a $2500 camera. It is no different than buying a fantastic $1500 lens and defeating how awesome it is by using a cheap $20 filter. Lesson learned.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200mm VR2

RHEL4 up2date error: rpmts_HdrFromFdno

Ran into an issue when using Red Hat Enterprise Linux up2date that it would fail to fetch a package. This was because mid way downloading the package, I aborted the operation using CTRL-C. When I was ready to resume the update, it returns a bad MD5 checksum error.

For this example, firefox was the affected package.

This error is triggered from a package that is broken, and is not uncommon to happen.

To correct this, go into /var/spool/up2date and remove the broken package.

Run up2date again, success!

Orlando Amtrak Station

Orlando AmTrackApproximately one mile south of Church Street station in downtown is the Orlando Amtrak station. This station was built in 1926 for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad then later by the Seaboard Coast Line rail road. It is still an active rail road station, and will be upgraded with the implementation of the Sunrail system planned for 2013. Due to it’s location adjacent to a cluster of Orlando hospitals, it will become known as “Orlando Health/Amtrak Station“. Over the years, this sector of hospitals has grown considerably and expected to employ over 19,000 people in the next 25 years.

About the photo

I was actually in this area to visit an organic brewery on the other side of the tracks. We were hoping to get a tour of the facility, however they were not hosting tours that day. In driving around to find that place, I spotted this Spanish-mission style building that looked rather appealing.

After some experimentation with the monochrome setting on the Nikon D90, I realized that it still captures pictures in color. There is a flag in the file that sends a request to the Nikon computer software to present it in black and white. When RAW images are brought up in Google’s Picasa, they come out in color anyways. Which is fine, this allows you to work with the colors and tones a bit before converting it over to black and white.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18 200mm VR2

Board of Directors

Group of VulturesI have been working for the same company for nearly 10 years. I came in this morning to find that someone who has put over 18 years at this company is leaving to follow his passion to become a professor and to get out of this city. Keep in mind that this company pretty much hires people for life. In my 10 years here, I’ve seen people work here for 30 years and die before they even hit retirement. One of my co-workers calls this place the “Hotel California”, you check in but you do not check out. So undoubtedly, this individual who is making the move to leave after such a long tenure was brave.

With the state of the economy, the constant trend for companies is to lay off people to cut costs until recently the tide has turned much to the surprise of companies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of voluntary resignations has surpassed the number of layoffs in February of 2010 for the first time since October 2008.  One such cause is that with the cost cutting that companies do, they are no filling in where people have left or cut thereby stressing those that are staying in the job. Companies have been taking advantage at increasing the load on their workforce because people were too afraid to let go of what they already have. Personally, I have a great paying job, with great benefits. The greatness of the job has degraded since one of the people on our 4 person team left, and they did not refill the position. They did not promote me into his position and I am left to do all the work he was paid to do.

Another big reason why people are leaving their jobs is also attributed to career advancement. With the job shortage, people were too gun shy to leave their jobs and it has created a backlog of workers looking to aggressively promote themselves into new positions in other companies. The days of devoting yourself to one company and rising through the ranks through hard work is in the rear view mirror. The companies that you can actually do that at are far and few between. Even the company I am employed with has a trend to hire outside this office.

We have been staring that these same cube walls for years. We spend most of our days watching our kids grow up through pictures on our cube walls at the expense of making someone else rich. Through that time, we have been a slave to our debtors, buying things we cannot afford and now chained to a desk working off our illusions of fancy lifestyles and conspicuous consumption to live the American dream. This is a voluntary life release program, you can go home every day to live your life, but you better be back.

About the photo

I took this photo in Mount Dora on a photo walk one morning. Those vultures were all hanging out on the chimney, and my buddy said “Look it’s the board of directors”. Vultures are a sign of death and bad luck. Working for someone else, you are sacrificing your life so they can squeeze all the good qualities out of you for their gain.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200mm VR2

Bank Owned

Anyone who is going through turmoil as a result of an unstable economy or even a financial situation should feel like what this picture exemplifies. Most Americans rely on banks to provide things that we would normally not be able to afford on our own. Through that, they rely on a great source of income. Those who have lost that source of income, are now faced with the heavy burden of handling the finances for investments that at one time were a “sure bet”. The bank, alone is a master standing tall over you, thirsting for your pittance in return for your freedom to continue on until the next time it is demanded from you.

Some people, never wake up from being slaves to this financial institution. Most people are so blinded by consumerism and keeping up with their neighbors, they gladly give up their financial freedom to give off the illusion of status.

The bible states Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” There is no doubt that debt can take over the choices you have in life. The more you have the more it limits those choices.

About the photo

I managed to make my way to downtown Orlando to work on night photography. I love going downtown because it is busy with life, lights and architecture. With this shot, we managed to scale an open parking garage at the base of the BB&T building. Unfortunately, due to the high wall surrounding this particular parking garage, we became limited with our options. Framing up shots with the wall in the way without having a low building perspective was not easy. However, I figured I would take advantage of that perspective and shoot this building from the bottom up. Other than some slight contrast updates this picture is right out of the camera.

I took this picture with my Nikon D90 mounted on a tripod with a remote release.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200mm VR2

Sleepy Marina

As the sun fell into the far off distance of the St. John’s river out in Sanford, I turned just the opposite direction and really liked the blue tone setting on the Marina. The amount of light left after the sun had disappeared was still enough to provide a reflection of the the boats on the water. The streaks of illumination in surrounded by lights added a nice touch to the picture, bringing in a bit of color to the overpowering blue tone.

I had my camera mounted on a tripod and used a remote release.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 18 200mm vr2

Busy Bee

On my first photo walk at Henry P Leu gardens, I was lucky enough to come across a bee tending to a flower. When photographing flowers around the gardens, I did not switch to my macro lens but used the full length of my 200mm zoom lens. I was aiming for the same results that is implemented with portraits while diminishing sharp longitudinal features and building a nice bokeh in the back ground. However, a macro lens would have been ideal for this shot as it would have sharped up the subject while retaining the nice bokeh.

Bokeh is derived from the Japanese word boke or verb bokase, which literally means blurred. Parts of the images are blurred intentionally to create depth. Using the right amount of bokeh in the right places can truly make your subject “pop”. Bokeh should represent soft and rounded edges to the objects, which is commonly described as “smooth and creamy”.

Nikon D90, 18-200mm vr.


At the park that I shot the boathouse, I happened to walk by this bench on the way out to the lake edge you can see in the background.

As ordinary as a park bench may seem, it is a holding station for taking in the scenery around you. A park bench can help you work through problems, change your mood or become a stage for making memories. The way that I wanted to photograph this with the lake in the background was purely for contemplation. Imagine, for a moment that if you lost something important to you like a friend, job or spouse etc. You spend time contemplating the past, present and future.

I simply shot this with my zoom lens, taking account that since it was not in direct sunlight that I would bring down the shutter speed to grab as much data as I could so I can brighten it up just a tad in post. I added a tiny bit of saturation to bring up the vibrancy of the greens.

D90, 18-200mm vr

Virtuemart 1.1.5 class jfactory not found for Joomla 1.0.15

In a recent effort to migrate an overdue Joomla 1.0.x installation to Joomla 1.5, I hit a snag where the Virtuemart shopping cart needed to be upgraded to be compatible with the migration script. In doing so, this broke the shopping cart checkout on my Virtuemart 1.1.5 instance.

When a user fills their shopping cart with products, then proceeds to the checkout it dumps to a completely blank screen with this error:

Fatal error: Class ‘jfactory’ not found in /var/www/xxx/administrator/components/com_virtuemart/html/checkout.index.php on line 28

Searching around, I did not find too much help with this one other some related posts with other Joomla components which were considered “compatible” with Joomla 1.0.x. This error occurs when the Virtuemart code attempts to use a component that comes with Joomla 1.5 called “jfactory”.

Carefully looking at the jfactory portion of the code, it becomes a bit more clear. It first fills the $lang variable, then uses that to concatenate a variable for $name. Which, for most of us is simply going to end up as “english”. I looked for a way to install jfactory on the 1.x.x Joomla site and I did not find squat.

What I simply ended up doing is removing the $lang and $name lines, and simply removed the if/else clause to force it to use English. The code should end up like this:

I hope you can breath a sigh of relief as I did when this end up working properly to allow orders to start flowing again.



Out at our Sanford photo shoot, one of the first places we walked down was the back side of the main street to get into the less commonly seen portions of the city. This is one of the first things that really caught my eye. While this may be quite ordinary, I wanted project the symbolism of unity or a relationship through this picture. I really like the rusty old fences being held together by a colorful chain.

I hand held the camera for this picture. Since it was located in between two buildings, I really did not have light on my side. I opened the aperture up to keep a thin depth of field and brought the shutter speed down a bit. In post, I lightened up the picture a bit more and added a hint of saturation to restore the chain’s luster that was lost in the low light.

D90, 18-200mm lens