Five Things I'm Diggin' - 3/22/13

  1. Grilling - I could post this about every week because it's one of our favorite ways to cook and we do it year around.  Earlier this week I grilled some ribeyes marinated in this odd by wonderful soy/ginger/maple syrup/beer concoction that I discovered on the web years ago and that has become one of our all-time favorite ways to prepare steaks (tip: don't pierce the steaks as the recipe calls for, but do marinate them for 24+ hours!).  Fabulous with wasabe mashed potatoes and stir-fried green beans or asparagus!
  2. LL Bean Ballistic Touring Messenger Bag - I bought this bag a few years ago using a gift card I'd gotten for Christmas.  I wanted a change-up from my usual laptop backpack so I decided to try a messenger bag.  It's very well designed, holds and organizes a lot of stuff.  It has a padded laptop compartment that can be easily accessed without having to mess with the main access flap.  But what I like most about the LL Bean bag is that it's extremely rugged.  Probably the best made bag of its kind that I've seen, with a very heavy cordura shell and a shoulder strap made from automotive seat belt grade nylon webbing.  The only seemingly weak aspect is the carry handle which seems a bit thin compared to the rest of it.  However, the handle on mine is holding up fine and it gets used every weekday.
  3. Feedly - I wrote about needing to find another RSS reader since Google was sunsetting Reader.  I've been using Feedly this week and overall I like it.  It's a lot prettier than Google Reader because it lays out content like a magazine.  But it works a lot differently and it take a few sessions to suss things out.  The current version of Feedly actually uses Google Reader to store your subscriptions and status info.  Supposedly they're going to replicate that aspect of the service when Reader goes away in July so that Reader users will have a seamless (i.e. don't have to do anything) transition.  I'm a little worried that the transition won't go as smoothly as claimed so I'll be backing up my subscriptions.  Anyway, the jury's still out, but so far, so good.
  4. Tokina AT-X 124 AF PRO DX 12-24mm - I wrote about this lens, but I'm still in the blissful honeymoon stage of ownership.  It does amazing things with skies.  It's so heavy duty that it could double as a bludgeon.  Wide open the chromatic aberration is pretty heavy (and very correctable in post), but I'm using it mainly for landscapes and cityscapes where stopping down is the way to go. Stop the aperture down to f/8 to f/11 and the chromatic aberration is hugely reduced, it's wonderfully sharp across the frame, and you get that magnificent depth of field.
  5. Faking Neutral Density Graduated filters in Photoshop - I've learned a technique that can be used in Photoshop (or Elements, or GIMP, or many other editors) that simulates a NDG filter to create nice, saturated skies and dramatic contrasty clouds, while keeping the land part of a landscape exposed properly.  Looks great!  I'll do a tutorial on the technique in a future post, but it's a simple procedure involving layers, gradients, and blending modes.  It's not the greatest photo in the word, but here's an example:


  1. Beautiful photo. Looks Carlsbadish. Where'd you take it?

    Ahhh...grilling. I'll hope to remember to try your marinade. What kind of grill are ya using?

  2. There's a man who knows his Land of Enchantment! That is in fact Carlsbad. Color me impressed. It's almost like you've spent time traveling the highways of NM.

    Re: Grill. I have a four burner that S got me several years ago for my birthday. Unfortunately I think this is it's last season. Some of the support structure on the inside is collapsing and it won't be long before it won't be able to safely hold the burners. Unfortunately I didn't have a covered patio in Austin and it didn't have as long a life as I could have.


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