Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

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Ringing in 2009

January 5, 2009

Not much of note since the last post. We are recovering from the holidays (and what a long vacation for the children that was!) and the house is beginning to look more like normal – not that that is necessarily a good thing, but at least the Christmas decorations are largely absent.

This household eagerly awaits January 20th and the hoped-for changes the event will cause. (It would definitely be nice not to be despised by the majority of the industrialized world again.)

Life in a Fishbowl

Life in a Fishbowl

Now that I have found most of my desk, school work of a sort begins again – I have research to restart, much to learn and studying for a dreadedly-anticipated Physics GRE to manage. This all will likely result in 2-3 days per week at GMU, because I have well-convinced myself that I cannot do serious work at home unless I am already totally in the grove (which will probably happen once I get seriously programming in IDL). It’s just way too easy to get distracted.

I also hope to get a lot more exercise this year, including regular krav maga sessions now that I no longer have a class schedule in conflict with training. We’ll see how that works out!

WWII Memorial and Washington Monument

WWII Memorial and Washington Monument

In the trickling way which will probably continue, here is another image taken from my Washington Photo Safari. In this one, I set up with my back to the reflecting pool (where I took this photo) and aimed at the area we had just left – the WWII memorial and Washington monument. I liked the setup, especially with the monument reflecting in the glass-smooth pool in the foreground. I definitely need to make my way back down to the monuments at night, alone or with another enthusiast, so I can take my time and get the shots I really like (instead of needing to stick with a group and being under a deadline).

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The Holidays Approacheth…

December 19, 2008

…along with all the busy-ness and (occasional) stress that entails.

The semester is over, along with my undergraduate education. I will post more thoroughly on this semester’s endeavors once my final grades are in. It was an enjoyable semester, though.

A few random bits of info and pictures to fill in the gaping void of my postings:

Korean War Memorial Soldier at night

Korean War Memorial Soldier at night

I mentioned last time the photo class I took on October 10th with the Washington Photo Safari and dropped in a picture of the Lincoln Memorial. Here is another image from that evening, a haunting photo of a soldier displayed at the Korean War Memorial. I converted it to gray scale to add to the starkness, although some of the color pictures are not bad, especially one with the white balance set to make the sky look blood-red, boosting the war imaging.

We held the girls’ birthday party at the new Pump-it-Up in Leesburg in October. After arriving, I realized I had left my camera at home. Drop off various humans and party devices, turn around and drive all the way home to pick it up. I missed half the party, but did get a few decent pictures near the end. Most will not make it onto the web (I don’t publish childrens’ pictures, thank you), but I did finesse a nice one of Joe apparently descending into hell.

For their science class, Alpha & Beta needed to track the phases of the moon for a month. They missed a night due to cloud cover (and many more due to forgetfulness), but it cleared up perfectly after bedtime, so I decided to see what I could pull off with my camera and the long lens. I was impressed with the quality I got, especially hand-held.

December 8th Moon

December 8th Moon

During the Thanksgiving feastage at my parents’ house, I snapped a lot of pictures, including one I promised Kim would make it on to Facebook. (Yes, Kim, it is there now.) Finally, for now, we got fully into the Christmas spirit a little later than usual thanks to a few delays, but still in plenty of time. The outside is not yet decorated because it has been unreasonably cold (with no snow!) and/or rainy. I still have almost a week left to do something useful outside!

Here is our tree, before Maestro dismantled most of the lower layers (I never saw a cat – kitten or otherwise – dive into a tree before).

Christmas Tree 2008

Christmas Tree 2008

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Dusting Things Off

November 23, 2008

I need to get my butt in gear and post here at least once a week – if I go longer than that, it is all too tempting to let it slide just a little bit longer, and so on.

The semester continues apace, with some small modifications. I had abandoned the Quantum Mechanics class I was auditing. I hadn’t been keeping up with the reading and she finally passed beyond my ability to comprehend anything. (Although apparently it has regressed somewhat into more intelligible terminology.) The fact that it was such a late class helped in the decision – it’s nice to get home before 7 pm. E&M (also auditing) is only rarely attended – I usually find something better to do at that time (like eat). She is still teaching pretty much straight from the old notes I already have, so I am not missing much.

That leaves me still auditing Astrobiology (always cool) and taking my normal two classes, Sr. Physics Lab and Intro to Astrophysics. I’m working on the last of the four lab projects now (trying to get ringing to happen in optical pumping of Rubidium). After a quiz tomorrow, all that is left in that class is to hand in the final paper sometime before December 10th. Astrophysics has another homework assignment left and the final exam.

The photography class I took with Washington Photo Safari (night shoot at the monuments) was pretty cool. Sometime after the semester ends, I hope to do some tweaking of the pics and get them posted. In the meantime, here is one of my favorites.

Lincoln Memorial after sunset, shot across the reflection pool.

Lincoln Memorial after sunset, shot across the reflection pool.

Maestro, still very sick

Maestro, still very sick

In other news, we adopted a new kitten relatively recently. He was found in a feral colony by an LRR worker. She got him some to her vet for some medical treatment and then we adopted him, naming him Maestro (looks like he’s in a tux) and substantially more medical work (mites, an ugly case of worms, very serious upper respiratory infection, very low body weight and a few other issues).

Happily, he is in much better shape now (I was very worried for a bit, especially when he was sneezing blood) and has more than doubled his weight from a paltry 1.8 lbs to 4 lbs since we got him. Of course, that means he is well enough and old enough for neutering, but it beats starving to death in a feral colony.

Maestro ... not the brightest star in the sky?

Not the brightest star in the sky?

Of course, now I have to wonder if he has all his marbles. This was not an action shot. He had his tongue out like this for about 5 minutes.

Maestro gets along very well with the youngest of our other cats, Nikki, and plays, chases and roughhouses with her regularly. He is tolerated by the old man, Ziggy (who occasionally starts to play before he remembers his dignity). The old lady, Stardust, won’t have any of it, though and goes into serious hissy fits whenever he gets too close. However, since she is a total coward, I am not worried about any major catfights happening anytime soon.

Finally, I will leave you with a little bit of nature. After a particularly violent late-afternoon drenching, I spotted a truly brilliant rainbow lighting up the eastern sky. Even the deep purple side of it was very clear. Unfortunately, cameras do much less well with rainbows than eyes do (especially in the hands of inexperienced photographers like myself), but I did the best I could on this one.

Rainbow over Great Falls

Rainbow over Great Falls