Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wind Power...

Wind power is nothing new, we've been using it since the first boat was blown across water. Windmills are not new either, but seem to have been forgotten for quite some time.

I just like the picture. It's not one of mine, and was found in the British newspaper, The Daily Mail.

The person in the foreground is actually a cast iron statue, and is one of many on the beach at Crosby in a temporary art exhibition. That means this picture was taken on the edge of Liverpool Bay.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


A fellow blogger linked to an article talking about how vignetting was not really a problem.

I think this shot is helped a lot by the excessive vignetting here. I believe this was an early shoot with my DX 7440, with the 2x telephoto added, and shooting at wide angle.

The plane is SW airlines (727?) taken at Oakland International, but that is irrelevant.

The rest of that mornings shoot, or rather the high points are also included here for reference.

This is, if you didn't realize, the jetway, the bendy part of it. I've passed a couple of these driving up the street, quite a surprising sight first time round.

I like when the light shows us things we forget. Airplanes may look all soft and rounded, but they are made of facets which approximate a round.

Lost the bus...

Seriously, I've lost a great couple of photos of one of the last working Routemaster Buses in London. I took it a couple of years ago on a trip to London. Anyway, while trolling through the server I found these.
They were in a folder called "old floppies" which itself was in a folder of interesting stuff archived from the oldest PC in our house when it was retired 12 months ago (it just came back into service so everyone can have a PC).

These represent some of my oldest images in digital format. They were scanned at work on the company flatbed scanner. The oil rig is the only one that was digitally enhanced.

They actually looked great on my old 640x480 monitor, and they printed up nicely on the color laser printer we had at work.

Of course they are very outdated now.

They all represent what used to be a typical month for me. The lightship is in Birkenhead, NW England. This was close to home, and my base office of Bootle.

The hovercraft is the Portsmouth/Ryde ferry. This was close to our Waterlooville office, where I spent a lot of time with system integration and field trials.

The platform was off the coast at Christchurch(?) at the end of the Solent I believe, within sight of the Isle of Wight. We had a system deployed there.

The Chinese Dragon is in San Francisco, which was just a dozen miles from our US office in San Leandro where I spent a lot of time on firmware development for components in the system.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jeff Oster - True

So those of you who know me will know I have a fairly large collection of music, most of it in the New Age, Trance, Ambient, Electronica end of things. Along side all the classics in the genres such as Vangelis, Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Delerium, Enigma and the like I have three albums by a guy named Jeff Oster.

He's a flugel horn and trumpet player, he is also a composer. His music fits in well with the rest of my collection, but it stands out somehow. I think the clarity of solo brass is something that has been missing amongst the Moogs, Fairlights and Yamahas that surely account for 80% of what I listen to.

His latest album I finally picked up a few weeks ago, and there's not a bad track on the album. I must confess my two favourites are "Matts Mood" from his original EP "At Last" and "Final Approach" from the first full album "Released".

Unfortunately my vocabulary is not chock full of musical terms, so I cannot make technical comments. I just know that the music is relaxing, but not insipid or muted. It's kinda like a massage for the brain.

Jeff's web site has links to where you can get his music. Treat yourself. You'll enjoy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

They have rowdy pubs here

Special police unit, the "Bar Police".

Monday, August 11, 2008

On finding crayfish...

You may have guessed that I am a towny by nature. My wife and I gravitated to a city area because that is how we were brought up, and where our lives landed us. Since my career is based around a peculiar industry our options are the metro area where we are, or a similar one in hotter or wetter climates. However being a townie does not preclude a love for the beauties of nature.

This weekend I took the kids to a park. To give you an idea of what sort of park, it is built on what was industrial land between the railway embankment and an unnatural lake. The lake used to be part of The Bay, but got enclosed by a land fill which permitted a freeway to bypass the city. Sound idyllic? Probably not. However ten years ago the land which once held a saltwater pumping station for the soap factory was cleaned up and gifted to the city.

The park has old natural assets, like oddly tumbled pine trees which grow at points in parallel to the ground, and a line of eucalyptus trees which follow the railway embankment. Periodically there are drainage ditches. They are not the usual industrial, litter filled creeks, but more natural looking streams.

Well my kids are used to just bounding along, but if you take them near some still or slow water it is easy to get them looking at the water boatmen (pond skaters), dragonflies and tadpoles, or whatever we find. We were looking at the pond skaters and enjoying their antics when we noticed something orangish in color at the bottom of the brook. Crawdads, two of them! I've only ever seen them once before, but the boys never had. We delightedly watched them for a few minutes, until they had crawled under the rocks and behind the reeds. Then we carried on exploring.

There was plenty to see. We went under tree on the lake shore looking for critters (none found) and found the tree was lit by reflections from the lake, quite unusual lighting. We saw a pelican sat out on the water-ski jump. We found a hollow bush and hid inside and a few other fun things.

We had promised ourselves another look at the crawdads on the way back to the car. When we got back to the water there was none to be seen. Then I noticed at the head of the stream was a pond. We hit pay dirt. We spotted at least 20 crawdads of varying sizes. They all put on a bit of a show for us, tiptoeing around or vanishing in a cloud of silt. One even leapt to the waters surface and floated to a new resting place.

I was most gratified at how the boys were very interested in these little crustaceans. They delighted in seeing "wildlife". I too was pleased to find urban wildlife of this nature, it's like when you encounter skunks or raccoons in your neighbourhood and realize man has not taken over completely.

Of course, I do like being a townie. If we lived in the sticks we could not have rounded out our trip to the park with a visit to a creperie as easily. I wonder, do country kids get balze about nature? My kids still get that townie wow when the see natural spledours. I guess I just have to keep them connected to both sides of life.