Monday, June 30, 2008

Wedding Bells!

No, not mine. Are you insane? Sheesh!

No, my friend Sasha is getting hitched in August. She's a fellow (can you say "fellow" when talking about a woman?) photographer, and does waaay more in the way of weddings than I do.

I first congratulated her, and then asked if she needed a photographer for her own wedding, or was she going to shoot it. Later I got to thinking that most - if not all - of her friends - are photographers. What will that look like at the wedding, with every guest and person in the wedding lugging cameras around. :)

But anyways, congrats Sasha and Tony.

If you want to, you can read her blog about it.

One Hundred Years

On this date 100 years ago, there was a "shot heard 'round the world."

A drifting piece of space junk (we're talking natural "junk" here, because the space age hadn't started yet) wandered into our atmosphere and exploded over the Siberian tundra.

I won't write much more about it. I suggest heading over to Bad Astronomy to read what Dr. Plait has to say.

And you know what? It will happen again. We just don't know when. (hey, that rhymes!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm in Stitches

You ever get on a run of silly ideas and want to play with things? I am on that right now. And it all has to do with stitching things together.

I'm not talking about sewing or something like that. I'm "stitching" together photographs. Panoramas. Panos.

I made my first one a few weeks ago when we had a storm go through. I had read about how to shoot images to make a pan, but had never done it. So I figured "why not try one?" So I shot three or four images, took them off the camera and into the photo program, and voila! - a panorama. It was kind of easy, thanks to the software. The only thing I could think of to do different was the way to shoot the images in the first place. I mean, they turned out great, but if I had shot vertically instead of horizontally, I could have gotten more of the cloud detail of the storm higher.

So this evening we had a storm come through, and this was my chance. I went up to a local "lookout park" and watched the storm come in. I set the camera for the correct exposure, and proceeded to take ten images in vertical format, pivoting around and making sure I had enough overlap. I then took them home and let the computer "do its thing." It took a while (because the images are huge, and it takes a lot of CPU cycles to compute the information) but I got a really cool image.

My ultimate plan would be to do this at night under the stars (preferably during an aurora) but I don't think I could ever get the shot, due to the time needed for the exposures. See, the stars move from our vantage point, and taking their photo involves more than a "snapshot." It takes many seconds for each exposure, and I don't think there is any way to get all the shots and then align them. It might be an unrealistic goal right now.

So in the meantime, I'll stick with the daylight stuff. But at least I can say it's cool.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Atmospheric Turbulence

Wow, if you didn't get out and look up this evening (only if you were living in my area) you missed a great sight - an isolated mature thunderstorm (cumulonimbus cloud) floating in the sky to the east of town.

I had went out to run up to the store, but this time remembered my camera. Which is a good thing that I did, because as I turned east onto the main road, I saw this amazing storm taking up a large part of my car's windshield. There was basically nothing else around except this huge storm cloud. I decided that the store could wait; I had to get a shot of this thing.

But where to go? I needed a nice semi-flat horizon so I could get the whole thing in the viewfinder of the camera. I headed east, and ended up in the parking lot of a local golf course. I had a perfect vantage point for the shot. I then proceeded to take a bunch of images at various settings, making sure I got it right. In several of the images an aircraft is visible as it flies towards the storm, but changes course before it gets there.

I got the photos, and then left for the store. When I got there, I called my brother (why use the cell phone when driving?) and he told me - according to radar -that the storm was over Ionia County dropping small hail at the time. I then called the local TV meteorologist I know (not WOODTV 8 - I wouldn't do anything for them even if they paid me) who told me there was nothing special about the storm, but the NWS was "watching it." And why not? There were other, smaller cells around, but this puppy was taking all the energy available and building up.

It's rare to get to see an isolated storm like this, and the clarity to see it as I did. I need to get to the NWs and find out just how big it was.

Man, I love by job as a storm chaser/spotter and a weather geek.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Political Stupidity by Democrats, Especially Hillary Supporters

Normally I stay away from politics, unless something is evil (like Mitt Romney) or I see something incredibly stupid by someone (or ones). The latest thing I saw that is INCREDIBLY stupid are some of the Clinton supporters.

But first a disclaimer: I am not a member of either party! I am not a republican nor democrat. I look at the individual candidate, make informed decisions, and then cast my vote. Clinton or Obama? Right now I don't care. McCain? Don't care. I am neutral.

So on to the stupidity of Clinton supporters (and some Obama people too)...

There have been rumblings in the democrat ranks along the lines of "if my candidate doesn't win the party nomination, I'll vote for McCain" or "I won't vote at all." That is SO STUPID. INSANELY STUPID.

Hey. Democrats!!! You want to wrest control of the White House and Congress from the Republicans, right? THEN SHAPE UP AND QUIT WHINING!!

By not backing whomever is your party's candidate, you are screwing up the best chance in a long time to win. It's said the democrats snatch defeat from victory, and this petty whining and squabbling is doing the same thing as you have in the past. YOU ALL NEED TO GROW UP.

So say Obama wins the nomination. I'm just saying. If the democrats TRULY wanted to win, EVERYONE would rally around Obama's candidacy. EVERYONE. Yes, that includes you Hillary people. The only way to win in November is to have a UNITED FRONT against the opponents, because they will use EVERY OPPORTUNITY to tear apart your party and poke holes in your beliefs. Unless you create a united front, you will lose.

I can't BELIEVE the idiotic stupidity of the democrats who say they won't vote, or vote for McCain, if their person isn't the democratic party candidate. INFANTS have better sense that you people. Dead, rotting animal carcases rotting along the side of the road have more sense than you.

If you want to win, you back WHOMEVER is the candidate. Otherwise YOU are the losers.

I have heard this more from the Hillary camp than the Obama camp. It seems that the people backing Obama have their heads set on their collective shoulders more securely than the Clinton people. You people have a chance to make history, to either put an African-American or a woman in the White House. Are you going to screw it up because you're acting like a spoiled brat?

Yeah, you probably will. Because I don't see a lot of smarts and intelligence out there in the DNC. And that will be your downfall.

You are causing your own problems, and you will have no one to blame but yourselves when November 5th comes along and McCain is President. You could have stopped it, but your bickering, whining, complaining, juvenile cry-baby antics cost you another election.

So have been warned. Shape up, or lose it all.

And when you DO lose, don't try to blame anyone else for YOUR MISTAKES!