A photoblog of my life, with notes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Neck Hurts from Rock Music

It's been awhile since I've coherently updated. Looking back, I promised pictures from graduation, posted a 2am rant, and then went on to advertise something based on an entirely different site. Not the way to win readers' hearts. But, I figure, if I'm going to stay up this late on a work-night, I might as well get something useful done tonight so that I can feel good about it.

It's a strange thing, really. I didn't really notice my high school graduation. I was so busy, so stressed by the immenent death of the school, so focused on getting those last good grades, that when the moment came, I really didn't notice it. Summer, since then, has been going by rather fast, too. When I'm in an office for eight hours a day, I'm focusing more on that night than the time that I'm in, and when I'm home at night, I'm more focused on getting to the weekend, and stuffing as much fun as I can into the four hours between when I get home and when I have to go to sleep (which was, incedentially, two hours ago). During the school year I want it to be summer, and during the summer I want it to be the weekend.

Changing topics now.

At the beginning of the summer, my parents, my friend Sam, and I all went and stayed at the Jersey Jim fire tower in Mancos, CO. It's a fire lookout tower from before they had fancy satellites to track smoke and infrared - rangers would hang out in the tower and watch for smoke all day.

A picture (alebeit stylized) of the tower:


While I was there, I also took some other pictures of the surrounding area - some from the tower, some while I was on a walk in the woods. My favorites:

A picture of some trees about a mile from the tower. I liked the combination of backlit and frontlit leaves.


My personal favorite, a sunset from (I think) the second day:


At the top of the tower were hummingbirds, sipping sugar water from the feeder at the top of the tower and zipping around peoples heads like little green meteors. They seemed to know what they were doing. Becasue the sunlight was pouring down, I managed to grab a few shots of the little creatures in flight, only to find their wings captured as an unrecognizable blur. This placid fellow, however, I snapped a photo of, moments before it buzzed off to find more unsuspecting flowers.


My friend Sam Golon came with me on the trip, since my sister opted out. Here he is (Sam, not my sister :) \)


We found a strange structure in the forest. Actually, my family and I had found it years before (We've been to the firetower a fair many times), but this time Sam and I explored it (and I had a camera with me). There are no electronics inside, and the best guess is that it's a strange sculpture for geocachers or the like. Around the sculpture is a large patch of strange cabbage-like leafy plants, that grow in all the bogs surrounding the area.

tower 1
tower 2

My parents, at the foot of the firetower:


As a parting shot, the front and back of my rock (tradition: Seniors place a rock on campus bearing their name and a [usually inspirational] word):

rock 1

rock 2

It's right outside the admin wing.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

24-hour comic

For those of you who follow me here, I've just put up my 24-hour comic from 2006. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a 24-page comic (plus cover) that I wrote and drew in 24 hours.

Link -> YAY!

Check it out!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Day Before

I realized today that I am walking some of the Conserve School trails for the last time ever, and that there is not a relaxed moment that I will have until probably tomorrow night.

However, I will be able to have Swedish Pancakes (You may know them by another name, they're basically crepes) tomorrow morning, made by my grandmother.

Also I learned today that I have Arabic ancestors way way way back (like 800 or 900 CE), which is pretty cool. Apparently some of the people near Persia moved up to Sweden and became reindeer salesmen. I'm also related to Eric the Red, who was a viking, and Leif Ericsson, who was an early discoverer of America.

Aaaanyway, Today (technically, since it's like 12:30 in the morning), is my high school graduation. Yeah. Wow. It's slowly getting to me, like some sort of five-gigabyte download over dialup, that this is my last night at Conserve. I may return as an alumni, but we'll see.

The leaves are just amazing here. Last year around graduation, there was only a light fuzz on the trees, and I was dissapointed. This year, however, I asked the trees really nicely if they would have leaves for me by the time I left, and they did. Some pictures from this Thursday:

Amazing. Greta and I went for a walk in the woods to hang a sign in a special spot which I will tell you about once I have my diploma safely in hand, and to take some pictures of the leaves.

And some newer plants are pushing themselves up, too:

Good depth of field, yes? I like macro shots of things like this. One day, perhaps, I will own a lens that will allow me to do really really close up shots of things. Maybe I'll put some of my graduation money toward that.

There were a lot of alumni on campus this weekend, which has led to some very wild running around. Most of them are used to the freedom of college (or a year off) and so coming back here, where girls aren't allowed in guys dorms, etc., is kind of strange to them. Mischief is planned, which I of course know nothing about...

This crazy man is on campus, and I managed to grab a good shot of him on top of the swing set.

He, in return, took this amazing motion shot of me from that same vantage point on the swingset.

This past Thursday night was also the end of school dance. Some pictures:

I'll post pictures from graduation tomorrow, hopefully. Also, I have a new G1 Google Phone with Android! Woo! Thanks Uncle Steve and Aunt Barbara!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Notes and Pictures From the Front, Complete with Code Words

If you're friendly with the Conserve School administration or the trustees, I would like to remind you that the first amendment protects this blog post. Also I'm not lying.

Today my friends and I here at Conserve School planned and executed an amazing party code named "Otterhouse". I came up with the name while I was walking around, and it sounded cool, so I used it. There were secret messages and code words, meetings and conspiracies. This wasn't to exclude anyone, no. Instead, we were simply trying to avoid the prying eyes of our headmaster, Stefan. (whenever I refer to him henceforth, pretend I'm saying "he" or "him" with a tint of derision, please. Thanks.) He reads our email(I have 99% proof of it anyway), he somehow always knows what we're up to. He personally has created a terrible atmosphere of tension and surveillance here that more than anything has put a dampener on our last weeks here. I know for a fact that there are a lot of people who would rather we had a different headmaster who wasn't constantly watching, listening, and perusing our personal messages, thank you very much.

Oh, so anyway we planned Operation Otterhouse in secret, right? Nobody told him where this thing was, or sent it by email. We sent the time and date, the people and the details, but the party's location was kept to verbal communication only. So what does he do? He shows up. At our secret woods party. He shows up and claims to be "clearing brush" along the trail that leads to the peninsula. The only possible explanations I have for this are:

  1. He overheard someone say the location(very unlikely, as we're all paranoid).
  2. He was watching us from across the lake through some sort of binoculars or telescope.
  3. He was patrolling the woods in his car, listening for party sounds.
  4. Somebody accidentally sent the location by email (very unlikely, as we're all paranoid).
We partiers went to the main building for dinner, and when we came back, he's gone. In his defense, the trail had in fact been cleared, but what are the odds that he happens to be maintaing that exact trail on that exact day at that exact time? We hang out and play cards for a while (BS, mostly). We chat for a while. Then he shows up AGAIN, and asks us, "If I served root beer floats at 9:00 tonight in the commons would you guys like them?" Then he leaves. We said yes, though. They were pretty tasty, but everyone knows he's just trying to win us over after he kicked everyone out.

I understand completely his need to keep tabs on students. Unfortunately, I believe very strongly that although he has the right to read our emails and even listen in through our computer microphones (which I have yet to dis-believe), this does not mean that he should unless something is wrong. This is a man who has too much time on his hands (and too much money, I hear he's getting a raise after destroying our school do to 'economic woes', although this is unconfirmed rumor-stuff right now) if he sits in his office reading students' emails and watching our every move through the cameras on campus.

I wouldn't put it past him to have the entire campus bugged. I'm not even the one who came up with that. The atmosphere here is one of fear and division. I love what Conserve was. I love it no longer.

I still think a lot of the kids here are pulling thin strings of fun through our headmaster's steel grate of containment. Operation Otterhouse, the party, was still a blast. Some pictures:

otterhouse picture

Brendan in a tree.

otterhouse picture

Opal was a little cold. It was about 80 degrees but REALLY WINDY.

otterhouse picture

Hobbes reacts to... I don't remember. It's still a good picture though.

otterhouse picture

Lena, who has been featured before on this blog.

Finally a strange picture that I took of Dimitri's goosebumped skin. I thought it was a cool texture that I might be able to use in some strange way, like reference for a drawing. I also just thought it was a strange enough picture to share.

otterhouse picture

Weiiiird. Anyway.

We're holding out, but I know a lot of people will be happy to be out from under Stefan's rule this Sunday.

--Erty, codename "SeƱor Awesome"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Six Sweet Sunrises, then Say Goodbye

greta 1

Hello everyone. I must say that I've surprised myself by updating this often throughout my senior year of High School. Although there was quite a lull in the middle (I was distracted by such things as NaNoWriMo and various scholarly escapades), I would call this quite a successful web-log of my year, as it were. The above picture is Greta, at a peninsula that is hard to get to and fun to be at. If there were a picture where I did a good job of focusing on the eyes, it would be this one.


That sentence made no sense. Moving on.

greta 2

Here's Greta again, looking down. We're all kind of weirded out here - if you haven't been in contact with Conserve School, we're in a kind of conundrum where the administration is a bunch of bums and decided to revamp our school. I wouldn't mind, except that they pulled off the transition horribly, leaving everyone except the seniors with no school anymore. Most of the juniors are facing a life decision of going to college a year early without getting a high school degree, returning to the shell of a school they once loved, or being first-year-seniors at strange high schools that are often too close or too far from home.

But I digress. That's a battle to be fought in other fora.

Below is a series of pictures that I took at an epic "tea-and-loud-music" party the other night.


It was pretty awesome. Below, pictures that I took of the "Painting Rock" on campus, emblazoned with my own logo design. Someone (who, I wonder!?) painted it on the rock on a brave, chivalrous, and amazing display of awesomeness that is... ahem. I mean, who painted it?


Six days until I graduate high school. Currently I am surviving finals. There will probably be pictures of graduation posted here soon.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Coming Up on the End

Greta and I went for a walk the other day. I was going down to the lake to take a picture of some leaves that I thought would make a good color scheme. None of the pictures of the leaves came out particularly well, but I now have a really cool color scheme that I want to use somewhere.

Color Scheme

Not a photograph, per say, but I'm fond of it.


This picture I took of some birch trees that were white against the sky. Normally the brightness of the sky makes them dark, but both the trees and the sky exposed nicely in this one. The picture itself is a little busy, but that's beside the point.


I saw this bird on this log, and tried to get a lot closer. It flew away right before I was able to get my camera up, so all I have is this detail of a shot from a lot farther away. This picture was taken from the causeway, if you know where that is.


This flower was right outside the LAB the other day. The sun was just about to come out from behind the clouds, which then caused a huge lens flare.




Greta and I stuck this to a tree in the forest here. If you find it, please don't take it down.


In lieu of a bland and white image, you get this super-short-depth-of-field image that Greta took. This was out by the climbing tree.


This squirrel was in a tree, and I somehow managed to get a shot of it. I would regale you with a longer story, but instead I think I'll just finish this up so I can go do my homework.


As I mentioned, I'm short on time, so I'll leave you with this picture of poor Lena about to get assassinated. Or perhaps assassafrassinated?


Friday, April 24, 2009


Somebody has stolen my last post, run it through what looks like a bad traslator or a word changer, and posted it to their blog. It contains a lot of odd lexical changeups. From the title of the blog, I think they found it by searching for the word "photoshop". I'll see if this post also ends up garbled and stolen.

The link is: http://photoshoptrial.blogmas.com/2009/04/24/ertys-blog-my-senior-year-after-the-trial/

None of the information on that site is mine, and I would like whoever it is to please stop. I've sent a letter to the blogmas support team, and I'll see how far that gets.

Please remember that only some things you read on the internet are true - 1337guy.blogspot.com is my blog, not that theif's.

Unfortunately, that post showed up in a recent google alert about Conserve School - My link is the one to this blog.

Thank you,


Thursday, April 23, 2009

After the Trial

Well, it looks like my school is going to die. Some might say that, no, it is just transitioning, but I happen to have bought into the idea that Conserve School as a four-year program was something really special. It was for me. Conserve School for me was a real home away from home, a school where I could really be myself. I don't think there are many schools that allow students to do that, and soon there will be one less.

Sometime soon, I'm going to make an image of Conserve School with both a birth and death date. Also, an image of our main building, the LAB, emblazoned with "NEVAR FORGET".

Anyway, I'm pretty depressed about the whole thing. I slept through most of Earth Day, and spent the afternoon at a house of one of the concerned parents, eating and trying not to talk about the whole thing.

Anyway, there was a small and low-key get-together at a local hotel immediately following the dismissal of our case to get our school back. (If you want to know what happened, https://bringbackconserve.com/). I took two pictures that I like.

Arron Toy Machine

Super high contrast, super high saturation. It reminds me of a carnival.

Eight Ball

There was a pool table at the hotel, and although I didn't play, I did take some pretty pictures. This one was a slightly long-exposure shot that I played around with in photoshop. I darkened the eight-ball itself, and dodged out the white circle, to make it more of a focal point.

I'm pretty distracted at the moment, what with the whole school thing. 32 days until I graduate. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Check out my new website design, if you have a moment: www.ertyseidel.com


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stephen and Snow

My good friend Stephen (pronounced Steven) McVerry was lounging and chatting, when I, the rogue photographer, snuck up upon him like a tiger among grass and pounced, shutter flying wildly open and closed as I tried to get the best angle and lighting to capture my subject.

Stephen One


Just kidding. I really just walked up to him with my camera, took a few shots while he struck poses like the one above, exchanged some quick and monosyllabic words, and walked away to go play DDR.

But it's fun to dream. Here's another shot of him:

Stephen Two

Secretly, this second one is actually a pretty blurry picture, but I shrunk it down enough that I don't think anyone can tell unless they look really hard. Both these images are nicely rule-of-thirds and focus-on-the-eyes compliant, which I've been working on and seem to be getting the hang of. It might be the fact that my camera seems incapable of taking a "bad" image (barring those when I'm walking and shaking the camera so much that it would throw up if it were capable).

Also, it snowed. I am very disappointed about this and expect something to be done immediately.


Blizzarding down, we got about 5-6 inches in just two days. By Thursday, it's supposed to be 65 degrees here. Weather is so finicky. I was perfectly happy with the last time it was 65 degrees and clear. I think the perfectly logical explanation of this is that somebody with more snow karma that I went and sacrificed some small animals to the snow gods so that they could go skiing one more time.

I'm not bitter. Bitterly cold, maybe, but not bitter.


In addition, tomorrow is Earth Day. Here at our little environmental school, we like to celebrate Earth Day in a big way - we have the entire day off to do things related to environmentalism. I'm excited.

For those of you who know, tomorrow is also the big trial for Conserve School's future. I'm anxious, but I've decided I want to stay and go to Earth Day, since that's really why I'm here.

Good luck tomorrow, Mr. Leizerman & co.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Return of the Pictures

Well, I finally have a cord to get pictures off of my camera, and although I still do not have the highest confidence that my camera will continue to work for a long time, I have, in fact, taken some pictures.

I've been working on the design of my main website, too. That'll be up as soon as I work out all of the bugs (which are numerous, since I'm not using tables. Those who are CSS-savvy will understand my pain.)

To pictures!

Billiam Bright

I start off with my black and white piece for the evening. This is my good friend Bill Meier. This was taken during a class in which we spent two hours flying giant weather balloons. Yes, my school is just that AWESOME. We were testing the feasibility of a wind turbine, and one of the important factors is visibility. Unfortunately, at 180 feet the balloon was visible from across the nearby lake, and so the residents may take some convincing. By the way, 180 feet is WAY UP THERE.

Glowing Lamps

This picture I took while I was at home, and had been recently pestered by friends and family to take some pictures. Among some almost amazing pictures of a fan, I found this glowing picture. I imagine the bells of the lamps as fairy skirts, their delicate owners glowing inside their flowing glass-silk bulbs.

Sun Star

This image I took of the sun at 1/4000 of a second, F22. It basically means that my camera was taking in the smallest amount of light that it can manage. The sun is BRIGHT. Things are just blowing my mind today (and, although it was 4/20 yesterday, I am not on anything.)

My Mask

Well, this last weekend was my school's prom. The theme? Venetian masquerade. I went in black and white, complete with cape. The picture above is my mask, which I made out of an old pinhole camera, which in turn was made out of a Mrs. Feilds' cookie tin. I cut out the bottom of the 10" tin with a can opener, drew on the dimensions I wanted in dry-erase marker, and cut out the shape and eyeholes with regular scissors. One side of the mask was painted black, so I ran some fine-grained sandpaper over it to scratch away parts of the paint, giving the whole thing a very interesting look.

I took it off after about 20 minutes to go dance, but I really enjoyed making and wearing the mask.

Musical Girl

As she is most likely under 13, it would be uncouth and possibly illegal to post her name, but let me just say that I really like the photography aspect of this picture. I think I caught a lot of the moment in this one snapshot that I took before spring break during a pep talk for our school musical, Cinderella. The viewer is almost immediately drawn to her eyes, which portray just so much about her personality in this picture. This is probably one of my favorite portraits so far.

Fallen Girl

This is one of my good friends here at Conserve, who was hiding behind a chair. I added a quick vignette to the image, and a little desaturation. Voila! The picture takes on a dark and emotional flavor. I've always been a strong believer in the theory that the position of a subject in a picture holds a lot of power in the image. I may have mentioned this before, but a subject at the top of the frame is flighty, free, and happy. A subject at the bottom of the frame (as shown here) is heavy, trapped, and weighed down. Here, combined with the odd angles and perspectives of the stonework (I was standing on the top of the chair), I think I've created a nicely dark picture.


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