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Happy Birthday Grand Canyon

Today the Grand Canyon turns 100 years old.  Well, it’s actually several million years old, but the protections put in place by the great President Teddy Roosevelt are celebrated.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon 3 different times in my life.  Nothing quite prepares you for a helicopter ride over and below the rim though.  Seriously, do it.

Rim View
The edge of the canyon approaches. It’s really something that you will never forget.


Let’s celebrate the nation’s 2nd most popular national park with a toast to another 100 years of service.

photo science video

Orion Over Sky

Sriram Murali created the above video to show the effects that light pollution has on the beautiful night sky.  In it, he focuses on the constellation Orion, and how our perception of it changes based on the light density of the area we view it from.  The entire thing is a great example of one of the major downfalls of city life – loss of the night sky.  However, the entire thing also does suffer from a major unintended side-effect.  In order to take impressive night sky shots, you must take long exposure photos.  In the process of taking those photos, and in the post-processing necessary on them, you get many more stars visible than the human eye usually sees.  That makes the darker skies even more impressive in the time-lapse.

Regardless, it’s still a good teaching tool.  Hopefully you take the time to drive 100 miles from the city where you live to really experience the night sky!

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Infrared Timelapse

I do love some Infrared photography.  There’s something awesome and other-worldly about it that is so enticing.  This time-lapse of Oregon is done completely in infrared.  I will say, some of the shots are pretty lost.  The nightscapes, and the meh mountainsides, those just look like filtered B&W.  There are a few nice sections of Crater Lake though, those came out neat.

All in all, it’s not bad at 6:48 seconds long, you should watch it, time-lapses are generally beautiful experiences.

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The Photo’s Rise

For over 150 years The New York Times has been the pre-emetitive news paper of the United States.  Yes, in recent times it has started to lean more towards the left, but it still presents mostly all sides of a story.  I won’t get into the politics of the paper, that’s not worth the effort.  What I do want to talk about is the above “time-lapse” put together by Josh Begley. In it he shows how the photograph became an ever increasing part of the front page.  It’s quite soothing, and at under a minute long, it’s worth watching.  Besides the rise of the photograph, the ever increasing text that appears along the headline was interesting to me too.  I wish he overlaid a year marker, this way you could get an idea of when certain events happened.

{Peta PIxel|Laughing Squid}

electronic news photo science

Tiny1 Astrophotography Camera

The Tiny1 is an interesting concept camera.  Well, it’s about to become a real camera if the Indiegogo campaign is any indication.  It’s billed as a dedicated astrophotography camera that’s small, lightweight, and connected to social networks and the mobile world.  In practice, I’m not so sure what this camera offers that a traditional DSLR doesn’t but maybe it’s the price.  I will say that being able to take videos at a decent resolution and stacking the photos would help.  And the small size would make mounting it on telescopes much easier for balance.  But I struggle with the focus.  I’ve always had a hard time focusing cameras when attached to my telescope, and I don’t know if this will be any different.  Also, having a backlit display will be horrible for the necessary night vision eyes you need to effectively do any type of astro work.  But it’s a neat idea.


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Self Powered Camera

self powered camera

Last year researchers at Columbia came up with a camera that was self-powered.  Using the energy from light itself the camera’s sensor, they not only record an image, but power the camera completely.  They say this was achieved with regular off the shelf items, and I pretty much believe that.  But it’s quite a long way away from becoming something useful.  The camera only produces an image in the resolution of 30×40 pixels, which as you can see below, is pretty poor by our super quality 8k screens.  Additionally, it works best indoors in well lit environments.  For less then ideal conditions, or varying conditions, they came up with an algorithm to modulate the recording speed of the camera.

I think this could have potential, but like I said, it’s quite a few years away from being useful.  Too bad too, as I could totally use it in my 12 day stint in the middle of Alaska, which is where I currently am right now…

{The Verge|Eureka Alert}

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Ansel Adams Documentry

As I make my way across the wilderness of Alaska taking photos, it’s worth it to watch this video of documentary of Ansel Adams and his processes creating some of the most influential photographs of the National Parks.  I wish I was able to say that I have fond memories of going through books of reproductions of his prints, but I don’t.  I do love some of his work and I strive to have photos that are on the same level as his, hopefully some of my Alaska shots will approach his.


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The Milky Way, From an Airplane

Milky Way wing

At one point in time, I tried to start up a website for people to share photos they took from airplane windows.  I never had a chance to finish it which is a shame because it could have been cool.  Anyway, Alessandro Merga one-upped every wing-shot I ever took with one of the Milky-Way.  He took many different shots and had to process it in post, but eventually, he got the above, which is quite impressive if you ask me.

As much as the minimal light pollution, and less atmosphere that the light travels through, I really like the composites that Ian Norman has put together with light pollution from cities and the airplane itself.  It’s really much nicer, but that’s photography for you, everything is an opinion.

Here, you can watch his 20 minute video on how he achieved this feat:

I’m pretty sure I’ll be too exhausted from my Alaska trip to do much of the above, especially since half of my flights will be during the day.  But maybe in a future trip I’ll attempt that.  There’s really nothing to loose except time and frustration with the advent of digital.

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Slow-Motion Infared Las Vegas

I love Infra-Red Photography.  I have a filter that I put on my camera, and a point and shoot that I modified to be IR.  I’ve gotten some pretty good photos with it, at least in my opinion.  Phillip Bloom loves my infra-red as much as me.  More so probably because he’s converted 3 cameras to be dedicated to the wavelength.  One of them is a Sony A6300 which has the ability to shoot at 250fps.  High speed photography is fun in itself, but shooting it in infa-red is even cooler.  I especially like the flickering of the neon lights on the billboards at that speed.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day in America, (and probably the rest of the world too).  Celebrate it if you can.  That’s really it.  Here’s a photo of some Crocus:

Crocus Macro