Pictures are Up!

I am currently in Black Mountain, North Carolina!  And I did not even get a speeding ticket from a trooper in Georgia.  There are first times for everything.  I did get asked if I was a “working woman” in Savannah and had several offers to join me by creepy old men with no teeth in South Carolina.

For a teaser, the uploaded pictures from my Michigan Road Trip thus far.  I will be updating my map soon!

Jacksonville, Florida

The Hostel in the Forest in Georgia  (I seem to have messed these photos up when I re-sized them.  I forgot to set the it to keep the aspect ratio.  Oops.  I will re-upload them soon.)

St. Simons, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Updated! 

Here are the correct sized pictures for the Forest Hostel!

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Textures and Shadows of Cranes Roost Park

I took some pictures at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs today before yoga.  I only took pictures around the fountain area.  My focus was on the pretty shadows of mid day light and textures.  All pictures up on Photobucket.

(I could add tons of these hibiscus I love them!)

Beach Weekend Revisiting College Town!

Here is an end to all the wishy washy fluffy bits on personal growth and back into the beautiful photos.  I needed to get away.  I was not writing, no yoga, no photography.  For whatever reason I was in a slump.  However, for Cinco de Mayo I went to the beach with my friend S and her friend C. I went to college in Melbourne and revisited a few places and just enjoyed resetting my clock on the beach.

Last Saturday I left for Melbourne, Florida at a not so early in the morning hour.  I was very nervous because the hotel I had booked was a mom and pop hotel that did not have a lot of information on it.  Plus it was more expensive than I was used to.  I usually can get a nice hotel on Priceline for cheap.  This hotel was not very expensive ($134 after taxes) but was not cheap as I am used to.  It also looked a little old.  But, after being told my five or six other hotels there was NO availability I was a little desperate.  I eventually asked one of the full up motels what was going on.  Apparently there was a country music festival with Alan Jackson.  The lady said Alan Jackson’s name like a teenager girl might say Justin Bieber’s name.

So Ocean Front Paradise Resort it was.  They are actually older one bedroom apartments.  It looked very odd from a street view because on each side were 5-6 story motels or condos.  It was made up of about 8 or 10 one story units total with a main house that the owners lived in.  The woman who owned it is a bit strict about not having any guests other than those registered on the property (cannot invite people to the beach who are not paying customers) and to not open your windows at all.  I actually appreciated the empty beach the most, not a lot of noise or litter and I understand they do not want the humid salty air ruining the apartments.

When you arrive (and check in time is flexible, I showed up at 2) and get checked in there are two side walks, one in front of the two rows of apartments.  We got the unit right next to the beach on the right.  I have no idea what number it is, but ask for it.  The windows overlooked the dunes and it was beautiful. And this might be the most amazing part, instead of having concrete built up to the boardwalk, there was actually a grassy lawn that overlooked the dunes and beach and lots of available chairs and loungers.  There was even a kayak to borrow (we didn’t).

The apartments are fully stocked with silverware and plates and kitchen ware.  The mini fridge did not seem to get things too cold, but that could have been a setting.  I did not pay too much attention since the first thing I did was go sit on the beach.  When I got to warm I got up and splashed around in the surf.  I have not been to the beach in years, it’s a pity, I used to live so close and the expense of gas to get there seems somewhat prohibitive, but I need to balance out costs and benefits.  There was a huge benefit of going. However, after trying to figure out why my sunscreen would not absorb I looked at the bottle and realized it was two years expired.  Oops.

So, I decided I would walk down to the surf shops about three-quarters of a mile away and get sunscreen.  It was a wonderful walk.  I tried to be conservative taking pictures because I only had one fully charged and one partially charged battery.  All the moving around finally caught up with me, I left the charger and 2 spare batteries at the apartment I house sat for the week before which I could not get back until the next week.  I did still get a lot of awesome pictures.

When I walked up to the Indialantic (get it, get it no really it is a town) surf shops I found some sunscreen and a really cute skirt and Coldstone coconut ice cream with almond joy in it.  Then I sat on the beach and sat on the beach some more.  When my friends called me to come get dinner I might have blown them off and sat some more. I was hoping to snap some of the moon rise, but it did not work out, hunger won.

We ate at a little restaurant in historic downtown Melbourne  called Island Pasta Company where I had the seafood coconut curry – yum).  The Mahi and shrimp were perfect and I love coconut curry.  In fact, I have been on a never-ending coconut kick lately.  I love sitting outside at this restaurant because it has a cute out-door corridor with nice lighting and ambiance and a sort of European cafe feel only with Island music.

After a nice night revisiting downtown Melbourne and seeing all the craziness in the clubs down there for Cinco de Mayo (and did not participate), we headed back to the hotel.  When S asked what I did all day other than sit on beach I gave a look that conveyed all I was feeling, “why would I need to do anything else?”  S and C pretty much collapsed onto the pull out couch while I stayed out in a beach chair for most of the night.  After brushing off the third roach (or maybe it was the same roach) from my hair I decided I should get some sleep in the softy comfy bed with springs in it.  You have no idea how much I miss a spring bed.  Sigh…

S and I got up to watch the sunrise and it was amazing.  Dolphins jumping and all.  We went to Blue Berry Muffin Restaurant which happened to be across the road, where we all ate too much and enjoyed some really good muffins.  I had the Chocolate Chip instead of Blueberry but they were both made of a corn muffin base that was so crispy on top but without so much sugar.  It was awesome.  I had corned beef hash which was just ok.  I make much, much better.

Then we all went and cleared out the apartment and laid on the beach while the lady cleaned the apartment for her next guest.  Checkout was a non negotiable 11 AM.  That was okay as by 12 we were already sunburned and dehydrated and C had to leave to go to work.  S and I stayed and walked around downtown Melbourne, I took her to Holmes Park and Promenade Park which are on Cranes Creek near where it meets the intercoastal water way.  S had not seen manatees before.  There were no manatees but there were lots of jumping fish and even another dolphin.

Then we went and windowed shopped and ate lunch at Meg O’Malley’s Irish Pub.  I love this place because it has the best corned beef sandwich I have ever had.  Even better than mine. They use real corned beef roast.  It is amazing.  After being sufficiently stuffed we walked back toward the car and stopped in a new agey sort of store.  S bought a new peacock stone and I bought a fuschite and a couple aquamarines to make a necklace out of.  I am not sure if I believe in crystal power, but I like my stones.

On our way back to the express way we got some frozen yogurt and I tried to stay awake for the drive back.  I was very happy for a bed and shower that night back into the house sitting gig.  I made sure I charged all my camera batteries and put them back in the case.

So here are the pictures (click on the link to see all of them):

Updates! Travel Links and Eye-Fi review

I updated the travel links adding some Machu Picchu information and a few more blogs and some more information on house sitting from Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo, and Hektic Travels.  Oh also, I added a list of products I have and a list of products I want.

I also have been using my Eye-Fi Card and can say it does more than it says it does.  Only, it does not tell you what it does and you discover it by accident.  I walked around the east side of Lake Eola Downtown Orlando on Monday for my lunch break.  I took pictures of parks and bike racks and then…the swans.

I always tell people not to feed the birds and watch their kids, and I mean it.  The birds can be intense.  I was taking pictures of a swan from a distance when suddenly the entire flock of ducks and swans started swimming towards me.  I did not have any bread for them and they became disinterested.  However, the swan on the land did not take no bread as an answer.  He started chasing me around.  And then when I left I started taking pictures of a few other swans and they started hissing at me and chasing me too.  I would say leave the swans be…

But, back to my review…it was not just as easy as plug in the card and go.  First I made sure my twitter account was set up to give me notifications and update every 30 seconds because the card will give you notices of when uploads start, finish, pause, and restart.  I had to remember how to turn my card on on the Android App.  Remember the wifi setting on your phone has to be on. I opened the app and took a picture and nothing happened.  I was confused.  So I walked around and then checked the phone as I went and viola, eventually the phone picked up the card and we were off.  There are random spots of wifi all over downtown which are on the Easy Wifi network, but each time you move in and out of one the card must reconnect to the phone.  Also, something I learned much later, which is common sense and I am sure says many times in the instructions, you must have the camera on, and not in sleep mode!  My screen goes to sleep in 30 seconds so each time it does that it has to reset the connection.

After walking around and having only a few photos download onto my phone, and not necessarily in the order I took them, I stopped at Starbucks to get a tea on the way back to work and be in a place I KNOW there is open wifi.  While I was leaving I noticed that the Eye-Fi app had stopped working giving a message stating the battery was too low on the phone.  And it certainly did suck the life out of my phone.  When I got back about 19 pictures were downloaded on the phone and I checked Photobucket, only around 5 uploaded to Photobucket.  So I just let the phone set (plugged in) next to the camera.  It was busy for a while but nothing was up on the phone and nothing was new on Photobucket.

That is when I realized the camera had to be on and that my camera batter was not going to last much longer.  But, just when I thought the day was a waste, in a few minutes all the files were on Photobucket, in their own folder dated and set to customer privacy settings.  It was nice.

Then today after I restarted my phone, the Eye-Fi App I had shut down the day before was uploading more pictures.  I need to check my Eye-Fi account to see if they all made it to the account, they are all on Photobucket I think. Also, later when I tethered my phone, a little window popped up in the bottom corner (Eye-Fi was still running) there was a status update of the upload and small version of the pictures.

So things I learned:

  • I think I am sending it to too many places.  I might possibly have my phone AND my computer set up to send it to Photobucket. But I am not sure what is happening I need to try it with a smaller set of pictures at a time I can monitor it closely.
  • My phone is way outdated and has trouble with the app. Nothing new to me.
  • Downloading and uploading at same time seems to cause problems on my phone.  One picture would be downloading while one was uploading.  It would sometimes cause delays with the next picture or pause.  I think this is my phone though.  It crashes once a day any more.
  • I think it is useless to upload all to my phone.  You can set only certain pictures to go to your phone I think using the protection settings in your camera.  I might have to try this.
  • The card tells you more and does more than the site says.  You just have to learn it as you go because directions are mostly glossy pictures and fun text.
  • I would like to test the upload/download speeds at someplace where I do not have a private network set up (like I do at work).  Maybe go to Starbucks.  But I need to remember to leave the camera on!
  • Find out if the phone and computer settings are just duplication.

Shared review at PhotoBoto

The people at PhotoBoto are using my review! And they say nice things about it!

Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card – Product Review | PhotoBotos.com

http://photobotos.com/2012/02/27/eye-fi-pro-x2-8-gb-class-6-sdhc-wireless-flash-memory-card-product-review/

Sorry about crazy first post. First time using share a link on my Android phone to WordPress. Live and learn.

Eye-fi Pro X2 Memory Card

New toy!

This weekend I bought a Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card, it is a memory card with built-in Wi-Fi.  A couple was using it at a friend’s baptism I attended last weekend (my first time in a Catholic church in years).  They could magically upload their pictures to their computer from their memory card.  Now, I admit, wirelessly sending photos to your computer is not that awesome.  It is just as fast, if not faster, to put the card in your computer and transfer the files.  But, the awesome thing about this card is that you can send your photos to your phone or tablet or computer or virtual storage website (ex. your cloud).  It is virtual backup storage without needing a computer!!!

This is exactly what I need to be able to just bring a tablet with me (I am leaning towards the Asus EE Transformer, what do you think? It has a keyboard dock that also has extra battery in it for up to 16 hours battery time).  No need to lug around a full computer if I can do what I need most of the time on my tablet and just use a public computer for anything else.

So, when I lost my memory cards (have no idea where they are) and could not take pictures at the said baptism, I had to go find a new memory card.  After hearing about this card (the Pro X2 version, important, the other versions do not have same capabilities), I had to ask the Best Buy staff about it.  It was 110 dollars at Best Buy and the largest size is only 8GB, which if you are in Wi-Fi range is fine since you can upload photos as you take them and have the card automatically delete transferred photos.  But, once you are out of range for extended periods, this is not a lot of help.  So, I was going to buy a regular 16 GB memory card as a backup also.  Lo and behold when it was rung up the card was only 80 dollars. Needless to say, I bought a spare and put back the 16 gig card.  I think that it is a level 6 memory card if my memory serves me right.

Forewarning

Now, a forewarning, the product is easy to install, but I had to trouble shoot getting an account.  When I put the card in and set up the program it told me I had to sign in and the “Create Account” option was not available (grayed out). I did what I always do when something does not work, I Googled it.  In a forum the less than helpful Eye-Fi representative was telling people their card was probably stolen and an account was already set up on the card and to reset the account it had to be sent back to the store.  Now, this is good to know so no one can steal your account and get into your linked accounts (such as Facebook, etc.), but not helpful when you know you bought a brand new card.  Several people on the forum, who were never acknowledged or thanked by the Eye-Fi rep, suggested I put the card into my camera and take a picture, effectively reformatting the card, and then try again with the card in my computer.  This worked like a charm!  After this the screen came up as set up account instead of log in to an account.

Installation

In the box you get a USB card reader and the card.  It is all a bright orange-colored plastic that sort of makes it look like a toy, but at least it is easy to find in a mess of black tech gadgets.  The “card” you see through the packaging is a piece of paper.  The actual card comes in a USB card reader already and you just take it out and plug it into your computer.  Once the device is installed on the machine you open the folder for the device and there is a MacOS and a Windows installation option.  Open the installation like any other program and once it is done and you register (see above paragraph for troubleshooting) you can open the Eye-Fi center and it will walk you through different settings.

Settings

To change the card settings, the card has to be plugged into the computer.  You might be able to change some on a device but I have not tried this yet.  To you open the Eye-Fi Center, left click on the Eye-Fi icon in the notification settings or launch the program from the programs list.  Once Eye-Fi Center is open you can access the setting menus in two ways, (1) File->Settings->Eye-Fi card, (2) the gear icon next to where it says “Eye-Fi Card” on the left hand side of the main screen. You can access all of your devices linked to your card from the left hand side of the screen also.

The settings you can change include:

Networks

The network settings change how your card connects to networks and devices.  It allows you to add custom networks through Easy WiFi (which I might have to try out and use and give a review of, the site has a lot of hotspots all over the place, even in my apartment complex which you can log into through Easy WiFi app, making it more secure and one spot to go to for all Wi-Fi locations instead of connecting individually) in the Public Hotspots sub tab (no need to start your own account, it sets up one for your card automatically).  It also lets you determine what device you want your pictures to upload to, your computer or your phone. For instance my HTC Eris is currently selected as my main upload location (because I was playing with it, the Eris is certainly not where they will normally go). Want to send your pictures to your tablet, phone, computer, Photobucket, and FTP site? You can.

The Direct Mode sub tab of Networks is where you set up your device. To get this to work you need to log onto and set up the app on your phone from the Android, Blackberry or Apple market.  Once you log on you need to detect the device, just go to your Wi-Fi settings on your phone, turn it on, and select on your device from your computer and you are on your way.  Though to be able to see my phone on the device list I had to restart the Eye-Fi Center and put the card back into my computer from my camera.

Photos

The Photos tab allows you to tell the card which device to upload photos to and is similar to the Video and Raw tabs. You can select different options for each type of file. This is under the Computer sub-tab.  If you go to the Online sub-tab you can set up one of many FTP sites, photo storage and social media sites (Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, etc).  I know you can send it to certain clouds, I am just not sure how yet as I do not have a cloud.  Maybe through FTP?  I know Photobucket Pro allows full size pictures to  be stored so I am not sure I will use a cloud access for my photos.  I currently have Photobucket and Flickr set up to receive my photos.  It is so nice to get home from taking photos and already have the photos backed up online.

Raw

Really the same options as Photo Tab.

Videos

Really the same options as Photo Tab.

Eye-Fi View

Eye-Fi View is where your photos are stored temporarily on the Eye-Fi network.  Default is for 7 days but you can buy monthly or yearly access to get your photos stored here. You can download your photos from anywhere off of the Eye-Fi view site.  It is sort of back up to the back up so to speak.

Geotagging

With this version of the card your pictures can automatically be geotagged.  I think this is only available when you are in a Wi-Fi network range (private Wi-Fi included).  You do not connect to the Wi-Fi unless you have it set to hot spots and it is open (or you have purchased subscription set up on Easy WiFi), you just use the Wi-Fi to get the position of where you are at.  Your photos are then organized by date and location when they are sent to the computer and are tagged in the meta data as to where you were.  This is just an on-off setting.

Notifications

Notifications can be set up to be sent to you through Facebook, Twitter, email or SMS text message when you start uploading, if uploading is interrupted, when it restarts, and when it is complete.  You can choose just one or all four.  It can also update your status when you upload photos (this is not necessary, just optional). If your connection is interrupted to the Wi-Fi network it will restart when the network is in range again.  I have only tried three or four test pictures but when sent to my device the Wi-Fi was interrupted several times and restarted several times momentarily (~ 2 seconds).

Transfer Mode

You can automatically send all pictures to the devices or online or on the Selective Transfer sub-tab you can change it to transfer only images you select as protected to transfer. You can also add all pictures to your computer/device but only a few to your sharing website.  Relayed transfer tab is just the automatic setting if you have hotspot enabled I think.  Relayed transfer transfers your files even when your computer is not on.  I do not see any options here it just tells you it is or is not enabled. Another awesome option is that the memory card can automatically delete files that have already been transferred when memory reaches a certain amount.  Say you select 50% memory used.  When the card reaches 50% full, all files you already saved and sent will be deleted, starting oldest first.  This makes your card pretty much endless, which is why this sub-tab is called Endless Memory.

So far, so good.  The test pictures ended up on all accounts, my computer and my phone.  I cannot wait to test this new toy out fully!  Sadly the weekend is already over, so it will be another week.

Here is to my first thorough product review!  Be careful, a lot of reviews out there seem to be from people who got the cheaper card (hotspots not included) or who have no idea how to use the settings right.  Also, it seems to be slower or faster depending on the camera.

More Stock Photos Accepted

I guess I got the gist of what Big Stock wants.  I have seven more pictures approved.  Well, five need to have the description and keywords edited before they will go up, but the image itself has been approved.  That is now 8 accepted photos, three of which will be in my portfolio when the site updates!

Now all I need is a sale!!

Plowed field in the fall in Michigan with freshly tilled dirt – beautiful blue sky and wispy clouds.

Split wood log with bright green wheat in front, warm orange rings in log.  

Split wood log with warm orange rings.