Sunday, May 31, 2009

Peddler's Village Coming Up

Well my first 2 shows of the year were nothing to write home about. Although the crowds were OK at Ocean City the sales were not very strong. My pet theory about selling photography at the shore is that most people are looking for shore-related images. That doesn't surprise me, and I don't hold any ill will towards them. It's very natural for there to be a demand for such images from both residents and visitors.

My second show was Newtown Welcome Day, and for the second year in a row we were rained out. Not much more to say there.

Next weekend (June 6 and 7) is the Peddler's Village Fine Arts and Crafts show. Last year we had blistering heat, and I don't expect the same problem this year. Although I wouldn't be surprised if we got some rain - but don't let that keep you away. I should be in the same spot as last year.

Below is a new image of a mother and baby swan, in their nest along the Delaware and Raritan canal just south of Lambertville, NJ. I found out later that there is a second baby, probably hiding under the mother's wing. We saw this family a week later taking a swim in the canal. The father was very protective, vigilantly protecting his family by swimming along the water's edge when passerby's took an interest. We've seen enough episodes of "Funniest Home Videos" to know how aggressive swans can be, so we were careful not to agitate him.

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dealing with the Gumblar virus

As the administrator of my website I occasionally have to deal with such issues as worms, viruses, and other nasty stuff. My site is relatively simple and plain, by design (although I admit it could use a little pizazz).

Over the Memorial Day weekend I discovered that my site had been infected. Some bad code had been written into my main index.htm file. After a few hours of investigation I found that my main PC had been infected and this allowed the "bad guys" to get into my website and alter my files, with the intention of spreading their badness around to anyone who visited my site.

For those who are interested here are the gory details, as best as I know them:

  • My PC was infected by some malware (i.e. "bad software") that stole the passwords to my FTP account

  • I use a free FTP program (Filezilla) that actually stores passwords in a plain text file on the hard drive. This is a very nice FTP program, but the password storage makes it ridiculously easy for a rogue program to steal the passwords (see this link)

  • The rogue program installed a scheduled task that seems to grab the password(s) and send them to the "bad guys". They would then occasionally log into my account, and modify my files.

This virus is loosely known as the Gumblar virus. A web search will quickly reveal how serious of a problem it is.

I have cleaned my machine, changed my passwords, deleted the scheduled task, and uninstalled Filezilla. I hope I have this thing licked, but until a few weeks pass without an incident I'll be keenly aware of what is going on.

Let me know if you want more information about my experience.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Recently I found some beautiful wildflowers along the Delaware-Raritan canal in NJ, between Washington Crossing and Lambertville. They were very photogenic: color, shape, simplicity, plus those "bells" hanging down. Once I identified a growth that stood out I worked the depth of field to capture the detail of this flower, while keeping the background mostly blurred. Anyone know the name of this flower?

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Backyard Visitors

There's always something new to observe out by the bird feeder. I frequently have the camera ready to go nearby in case I see something interesting happening.

The blue jays are often considered bullies, because of the way they attempt to scare off other birds. I have seen this happen a number of times. But now that the weather is warmer and worms and other insects are more plentiful some birds would rather dine on their selected menu items.

This blue jay sat for a while on our fence waiting and watching. He jumped down and plucked out a grub (or caterpillar or something) for a tasty snack.

And here are a few other colorful visitors. The first two are house finches. The yellow one is an American goldfinch..

Website: Photography by Matt Schrier

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New visitor

We have a new visitor to our bird feeder lately. As I've said before I'm not a "bird person", so I cannot readily identify this bird. My first thought was that it looked like a woodpecker. But instead of just guess I decided to go online.

I ended up at the site to try and help me with identification. After entering the different criteria, such as bill type, color, etc., I think I narrowed it down.

It looks to me like a ladder-backed woodpecker, or possibly even a gila woodpecker.

The most interesting thing about this bird was what I caught it doing in the image below. He seems to be clearing out the smaller seeds in order to get to the bigger ones. I'm sure the smaller birds would find those smaller ones down in the grass. Quite unique behavior.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Newtown Show

I will not be attending the Newtown Welcome Day show today, because of threat of rain. We were bombarded with rain showers last year at this show, and this year the radar maps look similarly bad. If you were looking forward to coming to this show please drop me a line and I'll be glad to set something up.