Friday, December 30, 2005

Holy Jeebus

I'm very very excited. I have a 'new and interesting' timelapse running right now. The SLR is taking exposures every 20sec or so of Liz and I at the dinner table...... I'm being photographed right.........NOW!

The Beast II

After many hours of pain and suffering, I have a prototype!!! I burnt out two LED's and a timing circuit in the process and discovered that it doesn't take much to melt plastic.....

I can now make a pulse, and I've modified the speaker wire so that I can use the autofocus as well as bulb modes (stereo instead of mono. go figure).

Building the Beast 1

This one goes out to Jesse. He has been trying to talk me into hacking my camera for a while. He's the little red devil on the shoulder telling me to start experimenting with expensive equipment and spending many hours pulling hair out because certain electrons aren't going where I think they should....... No wonder solid-state physicists drink whiskey.

Now that I have an SLR to play with, and I found a free chapter from a 'hack' book that Jesse told me about, I got really excited because of how easy the hack seemed. Instead of spending $300 to buy a fancy box that will make the SLR do interesting things, I thought that I should go build my own box that does fancy things for $50, the only catch being that you have to figure out the wiring yourself. This shouldn't be too big of a problem, but unlike Jesse, I'm a little rusty at my schematic skills. Here's the first part -

It's a headphone jack, a speaker-extension cable, a few wires and a button that pushes two wires together. Easy enough. That tells the camera to take a picture. You'll notice that my left hand is pushing a button....... Ta da!

The next step is going to be the royal pain though - I want to build a box that sends pulses like this at a regular interval, which means timing chips and power sources..... I'm part way though it, but it's not as straightforward as the manual would seem. And you know how well solid state physicists communicate. After the whiskey, maybe they'll mumble at you a little bit, but for the most part they just make plots and schematics with all sorts of funky symbols that they defined in some other book on page 712.233 that they don't tell you about. I've got two days to get this thing working before I go observing on Mauna Kea, and I WANT to timelapse the sunrise dammit!! Where's my coffee. Even though it's 9am, and I was up till 4, perhaps I need some whiskey in it myself.......

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Big Waves

Liz and I went to the North Shore on Monday to see some big swell. It was at least tripple overhead at Waimea. Tons of gawkers and traffic sucked after 9am, but since we got there around 8 we just laughed at all the suckers. As usual, I was playing with the SLR since it's shutter can do 1/4000 sec. The breaking waves made some really nice splashes.

A shot from - imagine getting pounded by that. No wonder a few tourists die every year down here..... They let their kids play in the shore-break just past the yellow -tape and big signs saying NO SWIMMING!!

Three Tables - For those who have been there this will be pretty wild. Instead of a shore-break, they were barreling 30 yards out and they formed a line out past Waimea. You can barely see the surfers from here.....

A Monk-Seal taking a nap. He/She was there all day.

Sploosh & Gurgle. I really like how the upwash has lots of little vertical drops.
Thwap. Aka, Batman.
Slurp. Liz was louder than the waves at times......... ;)

Liz at the pool - I had noticed a cool ripple picture she took at the Qual-Party. I had to head down and try it out with da SLR.....

And here it is - Caustics and interesting reflections. The ripples basically distort and focus the reflected light in cool ways . And the parting shot - Liz at the pool.

Monday, December 26, 2005

New Website!!!

I've completely revamped my website. Finally. I've got the BJJ videos into an indexed html file and some new pictures from the last few months. It's really sad that I haven't had time to go thru my pix since mid october. They tell me it's sometime in december now....... There's all these people with weird lights all over their houses and people trying to sell you crap all over the place, not to mention the mail box is stuffed with Victoria Secret and Useless-Crap-You-Didn't-Know-You-Wanted catalogs. I'm confused........

California -
Da Beach -
Anoder Beach -
A Hike -

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Being a man....

Sean told me that I should "be a man and write the damn html" for my personal website. He was right. Up until this moment, I was a juvenile, pimple-faced, squeaky-voiced code-writing wannabe. No more!! Using a few quick looks at various pages, I discovered that html coding is ridiculously easy when all you want to do is display images and link webpages. So, I went and made a nice 'cover page' for my timelapse here. I've also written a little 'index' page for my main site here. Now, I'm working on getting through the last 3 months of pictures I've taken to try and get the best of the best up (since I've got about 15GB of pics and I doubt anyone has the tolerance for a 10 hour slideshow.....) And a parting shot - Jesse being jesse.

Damn SLR

Ok. So, there is a reason why the camera costs twice my little one. The pictures are pretty nice. Actually, they're really nice. This one had the same size filter threads so all my new filters worked. I'm nowhere near able to afford this one right now, but perhaps I will actually save up for one sometime..... I just need that timing box so that I can continue doing timelapse!!

For xmas eve day, Liz and K went to Waikiki to surf and I went for a hike in Aiea. I basically passed out when the sun went down.....

Saturday, December 24, 2005

SLR Madness

For those who know me best, this will come as no surprise. I have a gadget-addiction. I like playing around with new toys to see what I can do with them. So, last night I was at Costco, the summation of 'merican values store, and I noticed a bunch of cameras. Now, Costco has this wonderful policy - they won't put batteries in the camera or let you read the instruction booklet. They just tell you to buy the camera and try it out. Just like when Amazon tells you the price is too low for them to display so you have to add it to your shopping-cart to see it. It's a great marketing play on peoples desires. Anyways, I always feel a bit strange just buying a camera, using and testing it, and then getting cash back in a few weeks when I've figured out that I like the one I have and don't really feel like paying $800 for the SLR I just used to take this picture.......

For Jesse - SLR's are nice and their optics are pretty good, but the cost of extra lenses is huge, this one can't take video, and I just don't have $2000 to buy the SLR equivalent of all the nice crap I already have (.75 wide to .45 wide ($300), triggering box for timelapse ($150), telephoto lens ($200) etc) But, I will be enjoying the 1/4000 shutter and 28 aperture and 3200 ISO!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Waimanalo Beach

Here's some beach shots from today's activities. We went to waimanalo on the windward side and then kailua. The water was awesome. Liz and Rosie wanted me to do a bit of photo shooting. I should have a pic site up soon. For those in cooler climates - enjoy the snow!

A Solar Spectrum for Rosie

I had a long geeky conversation with Rosie last night about spectra. She does emission spectroscopy of 'the crap in water'. I do emission and absorption spectroscopy of stars. We have lots of stuff in common. She was stoked to see my 'solar spectrum' that I downloaded from the National Solar Observatory.

Look at all the dark splots. Those are atoms absorbing light at that very specific color. The one I look at most is a hydrogen transition - that one in the upper right corner. There's lots of calcium, magnesium, iron, hydrogen, and other crap in the outer atmosphere of the sun, doing the absorbing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Timelapse

Here's some links to some new timelapse. Right-click and save as or just click and hope that you have the relevant plug-in. May the force be with you.....


Big-Sur Restaurant



The Future Mrs. Chris

Rumor has it that Rosie's husband-to-be needs a few pictures of his babe on a beach to keep him warm in Antarctica. There's a few nice pics on my webpage located here. To Chris, we salute your bravery and skill at peeing in a cup without having body parts freeze off...... For those who are curious about Chris - click this. Rosie is here, but Dr. Rose Cory is here.

It's a Gradient Filter Biiatch!

I've discovered how you take a sunset picture without saturating the people and the land. It's a filter that is a dark grey on top and fades to clear by the bottom. Rotating mount. Eat that sky-glare. Boo-yah!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Malibu Beach

Auntie C and I went to a beach near Malibu yesterday. Empty and vast. It wasn't what I expected at all. So we chased seagulls....

Candle Light

I had an idea. Picures of candles through glasses. It turned out pretty cool. For those who like these sorts of things - 1.6", f=3.2, iso=50, sunny white balance, camera in super macro with ~7cm focus. It should be really easy with a little tripod. Jesse - i know you could do something really cool with this (think rocks and water....) anyways, here they are.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Strange LA

when you think of LA, do you think of open space and cold? i didn't. but that's what it seems to be in santa monica and the coast. i think it's partly because of all the billionaire estates with castles, porches, and dogs named tiffany..... the PCH is quite pretty. and it's been cold here. 50's n 60's. WTF? i thought i would be coming here, sweating my ass off, surrounded by a bunch of people. it's been a bit of a shock. lots of things seem as they should. everything costs $5 million and if you drive anything less than a 1995BMW people look at you sideways, but there are no big buildings and lots of space. the 'image' if you will is nice. all of the houses are pretty. even the townhouse developments don't look as glaringly generic-a. thanks lynn. anyways. that's it for now. food is fabulous and the coast is nice. i suppose i shouldn't have run away from LA so quickly when carly n michelle came. only, then i remember that i couldn't have afforded the $5 valet beach parking.... actually, i still can't. if i wasn't such a mooch on my dear auntie c, i would have starved.......

Santa Monica

Here I am! Hanging with 'Auntie-C' pronounced with that slightly-english but I didn't grow up eating tea instead of dinner so I can't quite pull it off but trying anyways accent. Did you know that her nickname used to be curdey? When I was young, I was unable to pronounce caroline so i said curdline. hmm... Anyways, sunset boulevard is nice. All the houses here are uber-posh. Parks are nice. No blondes in rollerblades though. Winter is actually a little cold here..... maybe 50's.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Deep Impact Squiggles...... 'secret'

i've got to take a break from this work/meeting stuff. i'm on my last day here and i've spent most of it redo-ing figures for one of the papers...... it's been fun and interesting and all that crap, but a bit exhausting. anyways, here's a few pics i grabbed from the DI website cause i spent a lot of time looking at them over the last couple days.

so this is a shot of the comet, just before the impactor did its buisness. we hit where the big arrow points. they spent a lot of time speculating about the little flow-ish looking thing. that's a little wierd considering it has no craters on it and these things were thought to be very processed (ie smashing into other shit all the time....) new stuff coming on that in a few months.

so this one is the time sequence from the medium-res-imager camera onboard the flyby craft. we hit obliquely (inclined 30 degrees) so that the impactor dug in a ways from the first flash point and made a really cool ejecta curtain. we spent a lot of time listening to pete talk about his cratering experiments (including shooting eggs at hundreds of mph.... talk about fun) check out his vids on the DI site here

and then the temperature map. the interesting thing about this is that the hot part is directly under the sun. i know. you're thinking, why is this interesting. the sun's hot right? i was a little surprised that they cared about this so much. but, then a little thought comes in - it TAKES A WHILE to heat things up. there's this concept of 'thermal inertia' that's important. the hottest time of day isn't noon. its about 2 or 3pm on earth cause the air takes time to heat up. the comet was actually reaching it's highest temperatures a little bit BEFORE local noon. this is extremely weird if you consider it...... there are lots of things you can do with that.

and then i thought i'd throw in the obligitory 'what did dave see' shot. i saw a fuzzy blob get a little brighter and fuzzier. not too much else to say about that.

ok, enough geek stuff. i'm guessing that those who were curious about why somebody spent two grand to have me come here for three days are still hopelessly mystified.....

the obligitory shot of me doing something. i stole this one from jesse. he had it right. i went camping to yosemite and brought a camera, 6GB of memory sticks and my laptop. yes, it's a little overboard, i know, but really, how else is one supposed to timelapse and all that wonderful data-heavy, battery-sucking stuff?? i'll have timelapse up soon.... check out my site

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Squiggly Lines

I thought i'd put in a couple pics to show what life is like day to day. one of the things i did in santa cruz was to make squiggly lines that look like this......
into squiggly lines that look like this.......

the difference being that i aligned the big part of the squiggle (cross-correlation for the geeks) and did some little spike removal routines. so that's a day's worth of code writing. maybe 10-20 hours of work depending on how complicated one feels like making the routines. so there it is. my work in a nutshell. the squiggles may now wiggle in peace. i suppose i could say something about what any of the squiggles mean, but that's largley irrelevant. they wiggle together. what else can a man ask for in this world?

more pics

i've been stuck in a conference room all day. i've done a lot of code-writing. i'll be posting a little thing later since people are somewhat curious about the day-to-day. anyways, here's some more plane shots. the middle to the west is by far the most interesting. no offense to the east coast, but it's flat and woody. good for forrest stuff, but boring as all hell from a window.

a frozen river in colorado
owens valley, CA - notice how the sierra's just drop off to the flats. if i'm not mistaken, this is the last valley of the basin-and-range, where the crust is streching and pulling apart into separate mountain belts.
san fran & the golden gate. it was grey as all hell. on the drive to and from yaus-might we couldn't see more than a mile in the central valley. haze everywhere. i don't know what was going on....

Monday, December 12, 2005

Flying over it

Flying over land is always interesting. mountains and canyons are some of my favorite.

if anyone's into optics - here's an image of a halo taken through a linear polarizer. for those who care - many things are birefringent. different polarizations (e field wiggles) travel though materials differently so that when you use a polarizer (which cuts out certain polarizations) you get weird color fringes, especially when looking though airplane windows. try polarized sunglasses sometime and look at other cars. the halo comes from internal reflections in water drops or ice crystals. and, the bonus-mountain in the background seals the deal.