Archives for : home

My First Time-Lapse “Video”

A great deal of last night’s storm took place to the north of our home, so I was able to stand outside with my camera and tripod, photographing the storm for the better part of an hour, and stay perfectly dry. Our view to the North is mostly unobstructed, so I took the opportunity to experiment with some time-lapse photography. These images were not shot at regular intervals. For some of them, I waited for a lightning flash. For others, I would shoot a series as quickly as I could hit the shutter again after an exposure (I used 2.5 second exposures most of the evening.)

While unfortunately I did not catch any actual lightning bolts, the images were fairly dramatic, especially when put into motion.

I took about 250 shots. You’ll see 76 shots from one sequence where I kept the camera in the same position for the longest time, thus providing a rough time lapse appearance. I call it a “video” because I was afraid that calling it “My First Time-Lapse GIF Animation”  would not be as appealing to those less technical among us.

lightning time-lapse

Lightning Time-Lapse 09-05-2014

I used the animation functions of Photoshop to create this animation. It only took about 20 minutes to batch-resize the images, import them as layers, insert them as frames, and export it as an animation. While Photoshop’s Help system did not explain this process as I executed it, I was able to kludge together a couple of other written tutorials that were easy to find via Google.

Enjoy! Tell me what you think in the comments below.


Daylight Savings Time?


I don't like Daylight Savings Time.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Now, don’t forget to set your clocks ahead (“Spring Forward”) tonight.

Preparing Your Home for a Successful Virtual Tour

Preparing Your Home for the Virtual Tour Producers

There are many information resources available regarding staging your home for sale. This article will reinforce the most important of those guidelines, and hopefully add a few new items to your “to-do” list that are specifically designed to help you have a beautiful and successful Virtual Tour!

Preparing for your Virtual Tour“According to a national 2011 survey done by Home Gain, a $290 cleaning investment gives a $1,990 price increase, or a 586 percent return!”

(From the Reinventing Space blog article by Julea Joseph:

So if you’re wondering if anyone will notice that you cleaned (or had someone clean) the domes on your closet light fixtures, or dusted the window sills even if you never open the blinds, the answer is YES.

Will those minute details show up in a Virtual Tour? Perhaps not. The point is that your attention to detail will go a long way toward making a great first impression, whether it’s on-line or at an Open House or showing.

Everyone will tell you to eliminate “clutter”, like a heap of children’s toys in the corner of their room, or that stack of video games on your TV stand. Here’s a further tip: Wall shelves and tables that contain knick-knacks more than one row deep are no longer “decor” – they are now “storage units”. And that’s just what they look like. If you can’t pass your cell phone (the width, not the thickness) between the items, move some of them to storage. I don’t hate “Precious Moments” figurines or bowling trophies…but the Virtual Tour is not the place to show off your collection.

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Holding Back the Return of Vinyl

My children and their spouses recently gave me a USB turntable and a couple of vinyl records for my birthday. I am extremely grateful, and at the same time, paralyzed. Here’s why.

Vinyl Record

The Return of Vinyl

I’ve had a couple of boxes of record albums on the top pantry shelf for…ever, it seems. The latest date on any of the albums is from the early 1980’s. Those are my albums.

We also have some albums from the 1950’s and 1960’s. They belonged to my wife’s parents.

Time for a flashback: While I was in college, I fell in love with vinyl records. Yes, I LOVE them. I took radio production classes, in which the instructor taught us the proper way to handle and clean vinyl records before playing them. I heard and saw the difference it made in the sound. My dorm had a radio station, where I practiced the things I was learning. I was neck-deep in vinyl every Sunday from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Those albums of mine are in like-new condition. I’m almost afraid to touch them.

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Max & Relaxin'


“God’s earthly creation holds nothing better for the soul than a good and faithful dog.”

JR, 9-13-2011.

(If you were counting on a business or marketing application to today’s message…maybe you should relax once in a while. Get a dog. Spend some time with him.)

The Wind Can Blow

The Wind Can Blow

The Wind

We are grateful for the things for which we have worked hard, fought, struggled.

We give thanks for the people and possessions that deep down, we feel we could someday lose.

In your life, what are you taking for granted? Think about something you never think about losing.

Give thanks for that today.


Productivity Getting In The Way

Cubs Game Interrupts Productivity Interrupts Cubs Game

Cubs Game Interrupts Productivity Interrupts Cubs Game

Actually, it’s the Chicago Cubs game. I’ve started on my Saturday errands and work around the house. BUT the Cubs game starts in just a little while, and I’ve got a lot to do yet. A list of personal and professional tasks await.

I hate when that happens. Well, I’ll just have to be productive for a few more minutes, and see what the day brings. GO CUBS GO! Have a great Saturday.

(BTW, that’s my photo, not some “Google Images” download.)

Priceless Preservation

Precious Memories

Memories are some of our most valuable possessions. Weddings, holidays, family vacations, reunions, birthdays, and many other special occasions are exactly that – special. Sometimes, we are fortunate enough to record these events and other great moments in our lives. And those recordings can be – as the popular MasterCard commercials would say – priceless.

VHS Tape Label

Our memories can last forever, but not on VHS!

“Uh oh,” you might be thinking. “This sounds like a sales pitch.” I guess I would be guilty as charged. After all, I used “the P word.” But I hope you’ll indulge me for a few moments. I’ll warn you, this is a 3-page article – pretty long by Internet standards. However, the  coming paragraphs could save some of your priceless memories from decay and destruction.

Decay and destruction?

The recommendation for long-term storage of VHS tapes is a maximum of 50% humidity and 70° Fahrenheit. Most folks store their VHS tape collection in the basement (higher humidity) or the attic (huge fluctuation in temperature). Even under archival conditions (25% humidity, 40° F), VHS tapes will last about 15 years before they begin to suffer serious degradation.

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