Saturday, February 18, 2012

Horsetail Fall

The challenges of light, weather, season, and the unpredictability of it all is only part of what makes landscape photography so appealing to so many. Anytime you try to capture something special in the natural world you're going to be at the mercy of the elements. It took me over 15 yrs to catch a photo of a waterspout. I missed a total solar eclipse in 1991 because of heavy cloud cover. Many nights on the side of a mountain years ago yielded a lot of photos of zero meteors - not for lack of trying nor the number of simultaneous camera setups. Recently I got lucky with a breaching whale, but I still think that was a fluke. :) And I have yet to catch a green flash photo I'm truly happy with. It often takes many attempts and a lot of expense to capture something rare in nature unless you're just lucky.

This isn't quite as rare as a total eclipse, but it is a bit like a rainbow or sunset. About all you can do is show up and be ready. Everything after that is a crap shoot. If what you came for happens, you're golden. Like sunset at Horsetail Falls Yosemite in February.


Friday, February 17, 2012


Keck in Motion from Andrew Cooper on Vimeo.

In 1998 my local engineering group organized a full day long tour of the Keck Observatory. We started in Waimea at their ground facility offices and talked about cosmology, toured the labs, and computer center. From there we drove 30 miles or so to the mid-level center at 9,000 ft MSL, had lunch, and acclimated to the altitude for a couple of hours before heading up to the summit of Mauna Kea where we spent the rest of the afternoon going through the observatory itself.

They do amazing work up there every day, and many if not most of the discoveries of the universe you hear and read about are made by the people who use this world class pair of telescopes.

Cudos to Andrew Cooper of for putting this together. His blog link is on the right side of this page. He's always got good stuff like this.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cold Play Farming

The Grammy's were held this past Sunday night, and while I didn't actually watch it (haven't in years) I have read much of the news about it.  I feel bad for Whitney Houston of course.  She left us far too soon.  My most vivid memory of her will *always* be her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the 1991 Super Bowl game.  It simply took my breath away.  I don't think anyone will ever sing that song better than she did.

But what caught my eye on Monday was the video above.  This commercial showed on television in the USA right after Cold Play sang their version of the same song on the Grammy's.  Apparently it was a rather poor performance according to the reviews.  Singing in the commercial is Willy Nelson, and it was written that he "out Cold Played" Cold Play.  I dunno.  All I know is that as a kid from a small farm town in Wisconsin who has a fondness for Willy and well done animated videos, this is pretty cool.

Enjoy!... as I have.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Simulations - Partie Deux

Some of you may have seen a previous version of this simulation. (If not, go -Here-.) That earlier one showed conditions during construction. But during a pre-construction meeting recently it was suggested that I create another simulation showing how things will work once construction is complete, and verify that the airline will be able to drag the number of carts they did previously (4). So this was it.

From this we see that the airline should be able to make all the turns again with four carts. It will be close, but according to the software they'll be able to make it.

I can say that I will be as interested as anyone to see how accurate this software performed! This is the first best test I've ever put it through!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Format Update

A while back... I'm not really sure how long ago, but more than a month... something changed on the blog format here all by itself.  The header image suddenly appeared after the blog title, and shrunk in size.  But it would also display one way on my laptop and another way on my desktop.  It was curious.  Attempts to figure out what was going on eluded me.

Over the intervening period I've made a number of forays into the CSS code... with no success.  That's a bramble, if you've never been in there!  Tonite however I think I finally found a solution.  So if things finally look different here (think: correctly) it's no accident.  Now we have to see if it'll hold or not.

In doing so I happened to think that maybe I should change the image on the masthead once in a while.  What would you think?  Good idea, or not?

FIre in the Sky (29-Sep-2008)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Google Earth

Just about everyone who knows me knows that I love Google Earth and think that it has to be the single most amazing information tool ever. No matter what the news or event is, one of my first stops is often Google Earth. I've learned more about the details of different events by going there than just about anywhere. Often I learn more in Google Earth than from any other source. If you don't know quite what I'm talking about, I'll list a few examples...

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Day at the Beach

Not a real beach, but a beautiful rocky shoreline on a stunning Friday afternoon up near the Upolu Airport, Hawaii. And, if you can believe it, I was on "assignment" to capture something pretty much just like this.

Nice gig if you can get it. Just to be sure, this *was* the idea, eh Chaunce?

Winter is the time of year that the Humpback Whales make their annual migration to Hawaii to have their calves and relax. They start to show up as early as November/December but are easily spotted off all the Hawaiian islands in January and February. By March/April they'll head back up to Alaska with their newborne to feed on the krill again. While they're here they don't eat much at all. Isolated shoreline areas like this stretch on the northwest side of the Big Island is a great playground for them. They like the solitude here.

I had hoped to capture something like this today, but honestly didn't think I'd actually get much of anything! Go figure.

My SanDisk Extreme 16 GB CF cards, at 60 MB/s were too slow however to keep up with the Nikon D3 shooting raw images at 9 fps. So I will be upgrading to 90 MB/s cards here shortly. I might have gotten away with things had I shot in JPG ... but it wasn't to be. Faster cards will be more useful.

I think I should do this again before the whales leave this year! This was kinda fun!