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May 4,2008 (WeekendEdition)

This weekend turned out to be both cold AND rainy.  However, it did not dampen our efforts yesterday to check out both the annual Somerville Open Studios and the Shobu Aikido "painting party".

There were over 300 artists participating in the event.  We did not have time to see them all, but we did spend a bit of time at the Vernon Street Studios

There were a lot of photographers, painters, and mix-media artists at that location.  We found some interesting works, but managed to restrain ourselves and did not make any purchases for the office.

We also checked in on our friend Ted Beatie from last year.  Ted has some new works from his travels to Morocco and Burning Man.

On our way to the Vernon Street Studios we stopped in Daniel Maher's stained glass workshop and had a very interesting chat with Daniel about some of his "found glass" creations and his current restoration work for a church in NYC.

Daniel opened his studio on 500 Medford Street over ten years ago.  Back then the neighborhood was just beginning its transition.  Today, the studio is in one of the most lively artist communities in the Somerville area. 

If you are looking for something to do on this rainy Sunday, put on some walking shoes and head on over to Somerville.  The event ends at 4PM today.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau

Shobu Aikido of Boston is moving to Somerville.  We stopped by the new space to check it out.  Apparently we had just missed the painting party.  There were still a few of the crew doing some touch-up work and cleaning up.

The new space is beautiful!  There are two large garage doors in the front which will be replaced with glass doors.  The entire space is free of obstructions (unlike their current space) and will allow students to move freely across the entire mat.

To the side of the dojo is a community garden.  The dojo has obtained a small plot to grow flowers and such.  The students are really looking forward to being a part of the Somerville community.

Shobu Aikido is hoping to have the new dojo ready for a June opening.  There is still quite a bit of work left to do.  The dojo is always looking for corporate sponsors, donations, and help of any kind.  If you want to be part of a vibrant and energizing community, we encourage you to check out Shobu Aikido of Boston. [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 3,2008 (WeekendEdition)

High school seniors know May 1st was the day they must make their choice of which college they will be attending in the Fall.  Sarah, our RainyDayIntern of many years, has finally made her decision.

After spending much of the last six months madly dashing about the country checking out colleges, Sarah will be matriculating at RISD this Fall.

Some of you may not know this, but Sarah was the one who came up with our tagline "We Entertain When It Rains."   We want to thank Sarah for all of her brilliant contributions over the years and wish her well in her future endeavors.  BTW...Sarah said she will be taking this Summer off.  I guess we'll have to get someone else to weed the RainyDayGarden. [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 2,2008 (FotoFriday)

Sometimes we get carried away with the "getting" of the photo gear and not enough of the "using" of the photo gear.  So we thought we would start a series on digital photography topics which we find interesting.  The first of the series is shooting "high dynamic range" images.

The image above was shot using the Nikon D40 in "Auto" mode.  The exposure is basically good.  The sky is not too overexposed. The buildings are all visible.  However, the shot is pretty bland.  One way to give it more "umph" is to play with the contrast.  There are a few ways to achieve that.

One way to expand the dynamic range and have a dark cloud/ light ground image is to use an optical filter.  Another way is to shoot a range of exposures of the same scene using a tripod and digitally combine them using software.  The image below is an example such an approach.  The image is actually closer to what we saw out the office window, but had a difficult time capturing it on camera.

We'll go more in-depth in a future article on how to achieve the effect.  There are quite a few techniques (merging, HDR, etc...) and programs (Photoshop, gimp, etc...) to choose from when playing with digital images.  Some of them are expensive, others are freely available on the web.  All of them will give you hours of fun, so go and have some!  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 1,2008 (TechThursday)

We sent one of our interns downtown recently for an errand and she came back all excited because the cover was off the front of the Apple Store on Boylston Street.  This is a significant change from our report a month ago.

The front of the store is currently styled like the "green monster" at Fenway park.  The "scoreboard" message reads "Opening Day Coming Soon."  That day doesn't appear to be far off.   There were a lot of activities at the place.  If the Burlington store opening was any indication, local Apple fans will be out in force to celebrate the event.

Click on any of the images for a closer look.  We'll see if one of our interns can get in there undercover and snag some shots of the inside.  Hey, what else do they have to do all day?

Right behind the Apple Store is Newbury Street.  There is not much on-street parking, but it is a great street for food and people watching.  On a nice day, the best place to have lunch is at Sonsie.  Feel free to tell them the folks from RainyDayMagazine sent you :-) [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


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