Saturday, April 16, 2011

By The Light Of The Moon

Took a couple of interesting pictures today. One of the northern tip of the Upper San Leandro Reservoir:

Another of my car:

Fun fact: both pictures were taken about three hours after sunset, under a nearly full moon. By playing with shutter speeds, apertures and "film" speed, I was able to take some curious photos. Having now seen them on the computer, I have some ideas about how to make them better. The basic exercise, however, reveals how the light the camera takes in from the moon is a little different than the way we see things by the light of the sun. The colors are just a little different somehow. (That's an airplane outbound from San Francisco streaking over the hills behind the car.)

I even received a friendly visit from our local constabulatory (and his megawatt spotlight); I resisted the urge to rebuke the policeman for ruining my shot with his lights. He was satisfied that I was out after dark in an unlit hiking trail staging area to engage in legal, if odd, pursuits.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Rollicking Skies

The sturdiness of airliners is in the news these days, what with a Southwest 737 recently shedding a few pounds of fuselage over Arizona. In a related way, I imagine the same unpleasant thought comes to most travelers' minds when their aircraft shudders through turbulent air: how much can a big airliner take before it, you know, can't take any more?

Consider this video from Boeing, showing some of their flight testing for the new 747-800. They subject the airframe to repeated positive 2.5 G loads and negative 1 G loads, a true roller coaster far beyond what most airline passengers will ever experience.

I used to think being a flight engineer or pilot for Boeing would be an incredibly great job. The prospect of five hour flights of endless high-G loads in a windowless cabin, though, is enough to satisfy me that I made a reasonable career choice to sit in front of a computer monitor that is not trying to escape to the ceiling only to clout me over the head a moment later.

At least we can be reasonably sure that the air sickness bags are flight-tested.

Friday, April 08, 2011

City By The Bay

San Francisco is one of the world's great cities in many ways, not the least of which is its beauty (when it is not enshrouded in fog). Living nearby, we have the frequent opportunity to capture more-interesting-than-average snapshot portraits simply because the City provides such an interesting backdrop. To wit:

With apologies to portrait photographers I may know, that beats "brown muslin #1" out the door and down the street.

Happy Birthday, Kelly!

After 14 years, she continues to charm, amaze and make me proud to be her dad.

14 is a great age. Solidly into the teen years, you rule the school as an eighth grader, with summer just around the bend.

And then you become a freshman in high school and are immediately shown that at 14 you're still just a kid. Oh well. Enjoy a couple of months at the mountaintop!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Another Rite of Passage, Take II

It was only a matter of time. When Michael was little more than a toddler, we were told that he would have major issues with his teeth coming in crooked. An extra incisor was a major part of the problem. The extra tooth (which turned out to be two co-joined teeth) was extracted last fall. Now, the inevitable corrective measures have begun:

With both kids now in braces, that means one happy development for sure: I don't have to share my popcorn anymore.