Archive for January, 2009

Zoo pics submitted.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Thanks to all who voted. It was great to see that there were folks who appreciated all of the images I had narrowed down to. In the end I went with “Pause in a Cat Nap”.
Mostly because this is the picture that I liked best, and I would have always wondered “what if” if it wasn’t submitted.

I strongly considered “Mallard in Flight”, but opted against it because I know something about the picture that most of you (probably) didn’t notice. The highlighted bird is actually, well, two birds. (Link to higher res image.) You can see the tail of the background bird just below the highlighted one. If you look closely at the highlighted left wing, you’ll find that it’s actually part of the background bird and not the foreground bird. It’s pretty hard to tell, but I’m pretty sure the foreground bird’s left wing is actually the spread wing-tip feathers you can see above the highlighted area. Once you notice this, it kind of ruins the whole picture… and I just couldn’t submit it that way.

So instead, I went with “Penguin Fly By”. It seemed to be popular, and was different from the tiger picture so the two images won’t compete with each other directly.

Wish me luck!

More Zoo Shots…

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I got back out to the zoo on Friday and had some fun taking pictures of the snow leopard. Unfortunately the enclosure is much less photogenic. I don’t think any of these pics ranks up with the ones from before, but let me know in the comments if you feel differently. I have to admit though the juxtaposition of the duck and the sign still cracks me up though.

IMG_9022 IMG_9035 IMG_9050
IMG_9139 IMG_9165 IMG_9213

Remember that shot?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Remember that shot I got of the Atlas-Centaur fuel dump?

Well, I just received an email from an astronomer who wants to use the image in an article. He’s submitting his article for publication in an online journal. I’ve given him permission (of course), but it’s nice to know that the shot was useful/unusual enough to warrant inclusion in his article.

Hopefully he’ll let me know if his article is approved, as I’d like to share more details about the relevance of the image. I obviously don’t want to interfere with his article submission by discussing it.

Zoo Photography

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Last weekend we headed out to the zoo despite the frigid temperatures. We all bundled up and I (of course) brought my camera gear. The zoo is running a winter photo contest through the end of the month, so I decided to see if I could get anything worth submitting. I think I succeeded, but as each entrant is allowed only two images, I’m having trouble making the final cut. Of course I might make another run to the zoo before the end of the month, but I still need to pick the best images.

This is where you, my friendly readers, come in. My top six pics are below…. vote in the poll below for your top two. Thanks! Of course, there are plenty of other zoo pics in the gallery.

Which images do you like best?

  • 8792: Mallard in Flight (21%, 6 Votes)
  • 8809: Penguin Fly By (21%, 6 Votes)
  • 8846: Tiger in Thought (21%, 6 Votes)
  • 8861: Tiger as Einstein (14%, 4 Votes)
  • 8890: Pause in a Cat Nap (14%, 4 Votes)
  • 8875: Vigilant at Rest (7%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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  • #8792: Mallard in Flight
  • #8809: Penguin Fly By
  • #8846: Tiger in Thought
  • #8861: Tiger as Einstein
  • #8875: Vigilant at Rest
  • #8890: Pause in a Cat Nap

Officially reached seriously cold.

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

K opened a can of Coke a little while ago and it was partially frozen. We keep the cases in our garage entryway. This space is enclosed between the insulated/heated part of the house and the interior wall of the garage.

I guess it’s time to move the soft drinks before they aren’t.

Halos everywhere.

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Most of you probably know that I dabble in astronomy and photography, both have strong roots in the physics of optics. An offshoot of these hobbies is my fascination with the world of atmospheric optics. Atmospheric optics includes many common phenomena that are familiar to most people such as rainbows and sunbeams[1]. It also includes some truly bizarre and rare light shows that have been recorded only a few times in places like Antarctica.

SpaceWeather.Com, a site about stargazing, auroras, satellites comets and other general news about cool things in the sky, has posted a short article that has me floored. Its about some Finns who decided to generate some artificial halos and arcs with a halogen lamp. {smack} Why didn’t I think of trying that!? Apparently snow-making equipment produces high quality, very consistent ice crystals perfect for this sort-of thing. There is some video included with the article including a short 6MB snippet which gives you an idea what these ‘fake’ halos look like superimposed on the blowing snow. You can check out more pictures and longer videos on their website.

  1. Technically known as “sun rays” or “crepuscular rays“. []

Big Bird?

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

We, as a family, were just now watching the birds at the bird feeder out back. We were telling Nate what kinds of birds we saw, and he was all excited saying “chickadee” over and over (for every kind of bird). Suddenly he asked us “Big Bird?”, as in ‘is Big Bird coming to the feeder?’. We giggled, and told him no, but agreed that it would be pretty cool if he did.

National Academies Survey

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Hey, do you care about science and technology issues in our country? You betcha!

Help out the National Academies focus their efforts on issues that matter to you by filling out their survey.

You can also choose to register for a cool sciencey tote-bag.

Welcome 2009!

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Nate’s wake-up call assured that I was up early enough to head out to the coast to capture the first sunrise of the year. It was WICKED cold here with temps in the single digits and a breeze. My normally robust glove liners and mittens were not up to the task as the morning light finally peeked through the ocean clouds.
New Year's Sunrise

I stayed to watch the sun climb up through the clouds and illuminate the mist on the ocean. At least until my hands started to get really cold.

Morning mist on New Year's Day.

This wasn’t quite the earliest glimpse of sun on the USA, but close enough in my book.

Happy New Year!