Wednesday, December 21, 2011


What's polyhydrical? Well, I'm not sure the "technical" definition, but I was always told that these "polyhydrical" dice were made out of "high impact" plastic and would withstand a "lifetime" of role-playing.

What's role-playing? Put simply, it's the playing of a role. Either of fact or fiction, fantasty or reality. In theory ANY game we play is "role-playing". Halo? You're playing whoever that goof in the space suit is. Call of Duty? You're that dude who is running around and gunning...wait, that's me. You're the guy that's camping! (just messing, I don't care).

The genus of "role-playing" is typically geared towards the game genre where you take control of an individual or individuals and you act out various plans/plots/quests/missions in succession until you find the main villain, or defeat the main "boss" or solve whatever problem the world has fell into.

Some game titles that are "officially" RPGs (role-playing games) are Final Fantasy I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII...I'll stop at VII because I don't think one is worth a damn past VII, Dragon Warrior (these were NES and SNES games, and really the last systems that they were worth a crap). Some more "modern" ones would be Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls (any variant), Mass Effect.

The idea amongst "nerds" for the longest time was that "turn based" was the requirement for an RPG. Based upon that, there's not been an RPG out for just about ever, unless you count the (to me at least) terrible, repetative, "tactics" style games. No, I don't want to move around 1-2 blocks and play the same stage 10,000 times and go into dungeons 100 levels deep that I cannot save in between and I can't leave once I start. I've got other things to do. If I was 15 again, maybe, but something runs in my mind that I had other things to do.

Now, there's other RPG's. Book and paper...ones that you play at a table top with your friends/family. Dungeons and Dragons is by and large the most popular. While I don't own any books any longer, I used to enjoy this when I was in high school. That was "2nd edition". I stopped at the book store and looked at some of the books, viewing what they've done to the game...and I don't like it. Not that I'd have time to play anymore anyway.

Long story short, the only things needed to "play" Dungeons and Dragons (used to be, as now you've got to get a few more things, like mini's, special grid/tile maps blah blah blah) were a note pad, a pencil, an eraser, a few friends and these dice. These dice had different amounts of sides, and were geometric shapes. 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20. Funny how we could figure out "any" problem with just a few rolls of the dice.

Oh, to hit that creature, you need a 14. Do you think that maybe Lyoto Machida (UFC fighter) in his recent fight against Jon Jones would've liked it that simple?

Oh, to pick that guy's pocket and get the key to the cell, you need an 88 or less on 2 10 sided dice. (one would be 10's column and one would be the 1's space).

Well, I'm not much of a role-player anymore, but I've got loads of these dice. I was adding photos to my stock collection and figured I could share these with you. If you've got more than 5 minutes of role playing experience, I'm sure you'll know what these are. Oh, to be a kid again and only have to worry about decisions like "what color dice to buy".

I'll have something more productive up once I'm done beating this bronchial pneumonia thing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More low light

Being in control of the light is something that a photographer will be happy about.  However, it is seldom the case.

Such is evidenced when I went to see my friend's band perform at a local bar.  Recovering from a "please let me die" sinus infection, I ventured out for an hour to see his band.  They have a very unique style...they are a karaoke band.  Yep, you read that right.  They play the music, you sing the songs.  It's quite entertaining, and the fans love the interaction.

ISO 6400, f/2.8 1/10-1/30 depending on where the band member was...on top of that, I'm carrying a telephoto lens.  In theory, one of the worst ideas.    The first photo is just as is, no additional light.

Being that I'm not afraid of low light assignments, and as long as there is enough light for my cameras to aquire focus, I'll shoot in it.  So here, I was able to lower my ISO 2 full stops, and blend ambient lighting with my light.  What's cool about it is, I'm able to freeze the "majority" of the photo, but give the impression of motion.

Or I can work off of just my expsoure, and get a photo that appears at much lower ISO than it was actually shot at.

I'm not going to get into the technical, "how" or "why" I did what I did.  No need to educate everyone on my thought processes.

Just a few photos for you guys to enjoy. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Part 2 of Crappy prints vs my prints

So, I just made a post about crappy prints against my prints. What I did was scanned a photo that my wife had printed at Walgreens. Then I scanned the same photo (albeit different sized) and printed it out... The results were night and day different. Even scanning them on my scanner that has a horrible color cast, it still was clear which photo was better.

Well, fast forward to now. My wife is putting a photo of our family in a frame. I stop her (it's one of the ones she got from Walgreens) and I tell her, that I'll print one up. Sure enough, my looks 10,000x better.

Here's the remarkable thing though...I used the exact same file that I provided her to get them printed...the same, exact file. Not one difference. No change in white balance. No change in exposure. No change in anything. So, I can assure you that the photo I posted yesterday, and the photo posted today were shot at the same exact parameters.

 The only difference was, yesterday's was shot with a 70-200 2.8ISMK2, whereas today's was shot with a 24-70 2.8.  The camera was the same. The photos were taken with the same lights, same backgrounds, same settings (with focal length being the ONLY exception). Both photos were shot on Dec 8th, and both were done within minutes of each other. I have to rant about this...because while the one of just my son was underexposed when printed by walgreens, but spot on when done by me...this photo of my wife, my son and I was 2 stops or more underexposed, in comparison to one of my photos...THAT HAVE THE SAME SETTINGS. So what I'm trying to say is, the same exact digital file, yielded two completely different results. The results speak for themselves.

I'm not trying to sound rude, or anything, but this is exactly why it pays to have your prints done by the photographer. It pays to have them work with a custom lab, or even their own private lab.  The results are truly night and day.  The above photo, is a salable photo of a family.  The bottom photo, though shot exactly the same, is a pile of crap and the person at the photo lab ought to be ashamed of themselves for even handing this order back to my wife.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crappy prints versus my prints.

This post is going to be more of me complaining, but in a good way, than anything. I hear this all of the time. "How much for a disc?". I'm not a fan of the turn and burn end of photography. I sell a brand. That brand is Rob Lynn. What that means to my customers is this, I will give you the best work I can deliver to you, and give you the best value for your dollar. I don't sell products I don't believe in. I don't force a sale on a customer. I stand behind my products, and I won't turn out something, unless I feel that it's worth your money and your time. I'm not saying it to be full of myself, but I'm a brand. Just like Nike, Samsung, or Kraft. My brand is my name.

So, what's this all about? Recently, I photographed the children at my son's daycare. It was a blast, and I'll hopefully be doing it again as my brand was effective, delivered what the client wanted, and at the value the client wanted. Naturally, since my son went, my wife turned to me for digital files, so she can have them printed at whatever lab she wants to use. That's fine. A print from a professional lab may cost more, but it's worth it (to me). To my wife, maybe, maybe not. I don't know, and just because I feel this way, doesn't mean she's right or wrong. Well, she went and picked up the photos from a local store today...and It upset me. My brand represents quality. What the store gave my wife is crap. The photos are off-color, underexposed messes. Now, the local chain store has no idea what camera I used, what lens I used, what white balance my camera's are set to, or what color profile my monitor is/has. Well, my computer, and not only my print lab, but my printer knows these things. What I see on screen, is what I see in print. That's pretty remarkable, given that it's a difference between reflected (print) and projected (monitor) light.

So after she brought these home, I naturally went back to my printer to see if I could tell a difference, or if by some possibility (even though I just handed over 130 proofs that all look fantastic...even in draft mode) the problem was on my end.

I load up my printer with some of Canon's Pro Platinum paper (I only have 8x10, so it's comparing an 8x10 to a 4x6, but still), and print one off...the difference is night and day. I used my scanner to scan it. Now I want to stress that my scanner is the biggest piece of crap in the universe. My scanner was $49.99 like 2 years ago. It has crappy resolution. It has crappy rendering. However, I don't scan photos with it. I scan copies of contracts or receipts. It does the job for that. However, even with the junky scanner, I can still see the difference between the two prints. Now I want to note that with my scanner, it appears that there's a yellow cast. I'm not sure if that's the bulb in my scanner, or if that's the glass in the bed. Even my receipts, if they are in full color, end up with that yellowish cast. So for what it's worth, even the competitor's photo is's just harder to tell, because it's got crappy color to begin with. Mine, without a color cast is easy to see WITH one, because it didn't have one to begin with.

I'm not saying I'm the best, or I'm the be all, end all. I'm saying that the lab I deal with for my photos, is going to look better than anyone in town, or any chain store that prints. There's a reason I strive to make sure my products are good, and it's because I want to be able to stand behind my name. If I pull this scan into photoshop, and look at the RGB levels, I can see plain as day the problems. On almost every end, their's is down 20+ points, even more in some areas. So I'll close my rant with this. In photography, you get what you pay for. There's a reason a lab print costs more than a wal*club*greens*cost*center*kodak counter print. It's because it's right. You paid money to have a photographer chronicle your special day, event, loved one, whatever. Why pay good money for good work, only to put it on crappy print products? You can't build a good house, on a bad foundation. IT just doesn't work that way.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh's not even here yet and I don't like it.

I'm not a winter type guy. I never really have been. Maybe it's poor circulation in my hands and feet that keep me cold all of the time. Maybe it's been shoveling the umpteen zillion sq ft driveway, alley, sidewalk, path to garage, around the house, front sidewalk and more that I don't like. Maybe it's that it's cold...and maybe it's that I have to shovel...I could go on. Winter is "official" in 16 days...but in my eyes, even if it's Spring or Fall, if there's's Winter. Well, we've had snow 4 times that I know of in Altoona. I'm not a fan. To hold you over until my next post, though, they aren't Summer, they are definitely not Winter photos. I was reviewing a few odds and ends, and found these and figured that you could enjoy them too. They sure beat snow.