Gray Lodge Medal of Honor

Gray Lodge Medal of Honor

I was presented the Gray Lodge Medal of Honor at our monthly Stated Meeting on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010. As far as I am aware, this is the highest honor that my individual Lodge can bestow upon a Brother, and only one is awarded each year.

“This Medal is awarded to Bill Bradford in recognition of his support to the Master of Gray Lodge and his dedication as the Chairman of the Technology Committee and his valuable contributions. His hard work should be recommended to the craft as the recipient of the Gray Lodge Honor for the Masonic Year 2009-2010.”

All I’ve ever done is try to give back to my Brethren and my Lodge as much as they’ve given to me.

If it wasn’t for Freemasonry, I wouldn’t have made it through the past year after Amy’s death.

Adapt and Overcome

I’ve got a big box containing at least 350-400 slides from Gray Lodge #329 that I need to scan.

One problem – my scanner (an old HP Scanjet 6200C) does not have a transparency adapter.

One trip to Ace Hardware later, things are working fine.

Six paint stirrer sticks (free), cut to appropriate lengths, taped to the scanner body over the glass with blue painter’s tape. These serve as guides to keep the slides straight; I can only put three slides on the glass at once.

One 18″ long, 15-watt flourescent light fixture with bulb. Once the slides are on the scanner glass, I position the light shining down through them down into the body of the scanner.

VueScan scanner software, running on my MacBook Core Duo (recently reinstalled with OSX 10.6.1 “Snow Leopard”). This supports the HP (and damn near every other scanner on the planet), and lets me put it into “transparency mode” where the built-in light on the scanner head is turned off. I’ve been using VueScan since 2001 and have never found anything better.

The scans are only ending up being around 800×600 since the maximum resolution of my scanner is 600dpi. However, this is fine for now; I’ll eventually buy a new scanner (whenever I’m able to sell some of Amy’s purse collection) and redo the scans at 1200dpi.

Update: A dedicated $40 slide scanner works great, although I still need to clean up the output a bit.

More pictures from Gray Lodge

Today I was the designated picture-taker for the Installation of Officers at Gray Lodge #329 for the 2009-2010 year. One of the Brothers brought his Nikon D60, and I used it instead of my Canon S3 IS. This was my first time using a SLR camera, and I’m smitten.

The pictures are here. I took right around 300 pictures, and ended up keeping most of them.

Now I really really want a Nikon D40, but can’t afford one for 2-3 years.

Inside a Masonic Lodge

I took some pictures of the inside of the Museum / Library / Lodge building today while I was there meeting up with a brother Mason.

Got some really good shots of the Lodge room proper, and I was able to make panoramic views from each officer’s position in the room.

I’m really proud of this shot:

Altar w/Spotlight

Camera Goodies and Pictures

Got some camera goodies in the mail today – a 58mm lens adapter and a PL/UV/FLD filter kit for my Canon S3 IS. As soon as I stopped by Houston Camera Exchange to get a 58mm lens cap, I was off to take pictures!

My first stop has become a tradition with any new camera gear – the AT&T Central Office. You can see the other two sets here.

I then drove fifteen miles down Westheimer and got some great exterior shots of the Masonic lodge that I’m a member of.

I’m really happy so far with the $25 worth of filters and adapters, although I will probably replace the filters with glass versions at some point.

I’m now an Entered Apprentice Freemason

Tonight at Gray Lodge #329 here in Houston, I was initiated as an Entered Apprentice Freemason. An online friend from from Austin was nice enough to drive down to meet me and attend the ceremony, which was really cool.

Thanks to him and all the Brethren at the Lodge who made this an extremely exciting and memorable night and the beginning of something I’ve wanted to do for years.