dr_phil_physics: (ucf-logo)
The UCF is a pretty diffuse group -- and with its origins online, meat-ups in the real world are something of a big deal. The Big Furball is a connectivity map of the UCF and by no means have all members met each other or their UCF Auxiliaries.

So it's pretty cool to add two new links.


Random Michelle, Michael and Mrs. Dr. Phil on the Big Red Porch of the Big Blue House. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Random Michelle, Michael and Dr. Phil on the Big Red Porch. Alas, the camera got hysterical about the bright background and underexposed us by 2½ stops. It took some teasing to get this to come out. LARA uses Gimp 2.8, not Ulead PhotoImpact or Corel PaintBox Pro, and I haven't used it much, which complicated the photo teasing process. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


All of us from Michelle's camera on a tripod with a remote. Stolen via Facebook. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Random Michelle (All Rights Reserved)


Eric The Lawyer (aka Evan), Kat and Dr. Phil. Like the picture above, there was a backlighting issue -- this one I caught and put the Nikon D100 on Manual and used the same exposure settings as in the next shot. Close enough. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Eric, Kat, Mrs. Dr. Phil -- they were having quite an animated discussion, and with shooting at 1/20th of a second at ISO 1600, I had to try to get in between big gestures. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Anyway, for those of you in the UCF or related auxiliaries, here's your Pictures Or It Didn't Happen.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

May The Sixth

Thursday, 7 May 2015 12:44
dr_phil_physics: (dr-mrs-dr-phil-detcon-2014)
May the First -- May Day
May the Fourth -- Star Wars Day (May The Fourth Be With You)
May the Fifth -- Cinco de Mayo (May The Fifth)
May the Sixth -- the Anniversary Of The Year Without Summer
May the Eighth -- V-E Day (7 May in Commonwealth, 9 May in former Soviet Union)


May the Sixth is our very own commemoration. May the Sixth was first celebrated in 2014 (DW) (LJ).
It was Monday 6 May 2013 that a wound specialist with Spectrum Home Nursing took one look at my foot and said, "You're going to the ER." I couldn't even get up off the floor, I'd gotten so sick and weak, and the Allendale Fire Department came, put me on a canvas sheet and pulled me through the house, into the garage and onto the gurney from Life Ambulance. I wouldn't be released to go home until 19 October 2013 -- 5½ months later.
Much like Saturday's expedition (DW) (LJ), we decided to avoid Holland and Tulip time. So this year we went out to porto bello in Grand Haven, which we probably haven't been to in at least ten years, maybe longer. I'd forgotten how complicated the small parking lot was, given what street entrances you could get in or out of. (grin) Like I said, it'd been a long time. But, we had a lovely meal:

Calamari
Tender Calamari rings, flash fried, served with marinara

Dr. Phil:
Henry Weinhard's Bottled Root Beer
Fettuccini Alfredo
Fettuccine smothered in rich Parmeasan cheese and cream
With Pesto


Mrs. Dr. Phil:
Seared Tuna
Ahi Tuna steak, pan seared with pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, served on linguini
Recommended served medium rare

Pascual Toso Malbec
Agentine, clean and fruitful with a rich and long finish including accents of vanilla & oak

Entrees come with:
House salad (upgraded to Caesar) and bread

The calimari were light and delightful. Not sure what they were breaded in, or what oil was used. Our fingers ended up lightly oiled, but it wasn't heavy. And they'd come out hot, so I guess they didn't or couldn't drain them any more. We'd forgotten that they'd bring the salads out in a big tulip bowl and plates as a Caesar salad for two. The bread, however, was forgotten until the end -- we used it clean out the dinner plates (grin)

There was a time when I ordered Fettuccini Alfredo a lot, until I finally decided -- 15 or 20 years ago -- that I just didn't need anything that heavy anymore of butter and cream. But I saw some somewhere recently, might have been something that Momcat had at Perredies in Holland, and thought I'd have it once. And adding the Pesto was a really nice transformation from a straight, heavy Alfredo. Very much enjoyed it. Will wait another ten years before I do it again. (big-fat-grin)


Two years since the start of The Year Without A Summer. Of course, last year I had something of a relapse, but we're trying very hard to keep 2015 from being the third year with any hospitalization. So a toast! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


I didn't bring one of the Nikons, and I hadn't tried a self-portrait with Wendy's Canon A550. For being unable to aim and strongly backlit, not too horrible. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


A silly shot together. Hey, it's a celebration! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

After dinner, we decided to wander along Lakeshore to M-45. It was around 7pm now and the sun was coming down. Very hazy afternoon, temps around 80°F. Along Grand Haven Beach, the flat water, boats, sun and sand begged to be photographed. Mrs. Dr. Phil decided she needed some sand to walk barefoot in.

This is Gus. Gus REALLY wanted to play in the water. Gus's mistress didn't want to deal with a wet dog. Gus stayed on dry land. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Now, of course, I'm wishing I HAD brought a Nikon. The exposure and the little consumer point-and-shoot are working overtime here to show any blue sky. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Last three shots with camera held out the window so I wasn't shooting through the windshield. It wasn't completely the camera -- where sky and lake met was very hard to see. The distant person in the middle is Mrs. Dr. Phil dipping her toes in Lake Michigan. Report: sand lovely and warm, water COLD. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


And Mrs. Dr. Phil returning from her little adventure. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I suppose we'll have to do something to celebrate Freedom From The Year Without A Summer Day come October -- May the Sixth next year. (grin) Ah, traditions...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
Friday. May the First. Temperature hit 73°F in Kalamazoo. Saturday was similar.

These days I mostly commute with a single Nikon and one lens. For the D100 I usually use the 28-80mm f3.5-5.6G AF NIKKOR. But Friday I took a camera bag and from the start of my drive, I used the 80-200mm f4.5-5.6D AF NIKKOR. Ken Rockwell lists this as "Nikon's Lightest Telephoto Zoom", yet optically it is a worthy successor to the original 80-200mm f4.5 Zoom-NIKKOR manual focus lens.


I love furry dry weeds and grasses, especially backlit. This is the edge of the cedar swamp on 84th Avenue less than a mile from our house. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Cropped shot of a tractor plowing with a dust plume behind. I thought I'd try to stay for a shot of it coming back withe plume behind the tractor, but he was driving around in big squares, not up-and-down, so I'm glad I got this shot. Was impressed that the autofocus still locked on the tractor, despite the dust. This is also on 84th Avenue, where all the fields have been plowed now. The big corn fields east of 84th on M-45 Lake Michigan Drive haven't started yet. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Every spring this line of pink flowering trees in front of Family Fare in Allendale glows as I go to work in the mid-morning and early evening on the way home. Since I had a long lens mounted, I pulled into the gas station and shot down the line of trees. A breeze was knocking petals off in big clouds, but this shot didn't have many. Tough lighting for a D100 -- you can see the overblown highlights in the sky. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Leaving the office on Friday, there were dandelions in the grass below the raised sidewalk. I tried to shoot a clump straight down, but the 80-200mm has a minimum distance of 5 feet -- too close. So angled and got this dandelion, slightly backlit by the late afternoon sun. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Saturday I found that the 80-200mm lens on the D100 still fit in the neoprene Zing camera case, so hoping I didn't need a shorter lens, didn't even bother with the camera bag. We had half an hour to kill in Grand Haven before going to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, so we went down to Grand Haven Harbor. While waiting for Mrs. Dr. Phil to return with a couple of chili dogs, I was able to take a few shots.


Cropped shot of a red bench along the boardwalk. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Kids, a dog, parents -- all happy on a warm spring day. Love the pose on the kid in the middle, and the smile on the dog. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Cropped shot of our hearty little stand of daffodils next to our driveway. Looks very happy coming up the drive. Evening light to the left backlighting here. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Pretty pleased with these. Going backlit with a Gen 1.5 DSLR is pretty tough. The only thing I might've changed would have been to take a 70-300mm instead of the 80-200mm. But that would've taken the Zing Pro camera case. Funny thing about zooms -- one tends to use the extremes a lot.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (20-sider)
Game Night Saturday 21 March 2015

Yeah, I'm behind a couple of blog posts, so I have TWO Game Nights at the Morgans to cover.


The big game was Pandemic, which was being setup here. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


A cooperative game, lots of fun. But I think we did three rounds of it -- and everybody died each time. Oh well, that's life. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Afterward we played a couple of much lighter games -- an old card game based on commodities trading. And a delightfully silly card game called Nanook, where you do bridge-like betting on how good a hunter/fisherman you are. Probably violates cultural approbation and all, but then we also play Cards Against Humanity, so... there's that. I ended up ending most of the rounds by saying "No." Except once. Remarkably, I picked right most of the time. (evil-grin) It was an interesting strategy.

Game Night Saturday 18 April 2015


We've been buying Mexican Coke (DW) (LJ) for Game Nights at the Shell station at I-96 Exit 16. I've not had Coke at home since I was hospitalized. This green bottle was Coca-Cola's new Coke life (the capital part of the L is silent), which was a mix of cane sugar and stevia -- 60 calories per 8 oz., versus 100 calories for 8 ounces with high fructose corn syrup. Flavor? Adequate. The little bottles were stuck in the freezer to chill -- and they tended toward a superchilled slushie. (grin) ---- And the game we're playing? Everyone is at the big table playing Eldritch Horror. Sort of a Lovecraftian version of Pandemic. Yes, your health points are the little red hearts and sanity points are the little blue brains on the right. Brains. BRAINSSSS. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Our host Ed. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Looks like we're having a seriously good move here! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Our hostess Mary got up and started taking pictures, too. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Mary Morgan (All Rights Reserved)


And there's Mary! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


It's Dr. and Mrs. Dr. Phil and everyone, with Mary behind the camera. You can see we're playing dueling cameras. -- Foreground is Kyle on the right and Kyle's elevated broken ankle in a cast on the left. I am not that flexible, and I'll take a walker or canes over crutches. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Mary Morgan (All Rights Reserved)


The 1st and 2nd Place finishers. Yeah, this isn't the same game. We put several hours into Eldritch Horrors and we weren't winning the cooperative game. So the gang split into two. This table played Lords of Watersmeet. I had one real chance at the end, betting on being able to finish one big payoff quest and was one move away from getting it done. I probably couldn't win, but I might've been second. Oh well, still I came in 4th out of five. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

A most excellent five and a half hours. Also garlic dip, onion dip, garlic cheese bread and everything flavored bagel chip crisps. No worry about vampires in this crowd!

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

77 / 200

Monday, 20 April 2015 15:53
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
So Channel 3 said on Friday that West Michigan hit 77°F for the first time in two hundred days. Lovely Spring weather. Mrs. Dr. Phil kept on saying it was summer, but she'd been in a meeting where the sun was broiling the room, so she's biased. Saturday was almost as warm -- lovely day for one last meat up with Momcat and Joe at what he called "The Bug Bunny" -- Grand Coney in Allendale. Then off to a game night.

Sunday still got up to 69-72°F, but by late afternoon it was all steady rain and cooling off. It's 4pm Monday and been gray and raining on and off all day. It's gotten all the way up to 46°F so far.

Definitely Spring, it's greening up. Our little bed of a couple of daffodils shows nice healthy green stands of leaves, but no hint of flowers yet. There are some daffodils about a mile from us and the peepers are still raising a ruckus at night so... Spring. The forsythia bush has one branch with bright yello flowers, hopefully the rest of it will be coming. We think that one branch gets more sun from a gap in the trees. (grin) It's gonna be a cooler week, though.

Speaking of Spring, I guess it's Finals Week at Western -- since I'm not teaching, I'm just not in touch with the calendar. But I did have an office run on Wednesday -- gorgeous day and topped out at 69-72°F.

But as I was leaving, I spotted an unusual sight -- a class being held outdoors of Everett Tower and Rood Hall. Huh. A mobile white board and a music stand as a lectern. And it was a Math class. Man, usually the outdoor classes are social sciences or literature. But no, they're dealing with polar coordinates. And mostly the students are taking notes or crap. Not even texting...


Naturally it's a young guy. Usually you can't bribe or badger the fogies to do an outdoor class. Physics is Phun enough, we don't need to go outdoors. Not unless we're pushing Suburbans around or launching water rockets. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Inset from a second frame. In the time I stooped the walker, got out the Nikon D100 and took a coupke of shots, he made a couple of jokes. Sine of zero is zero. Anything times zero is...? Come on, the zero multiplication tables are going to be on the Final...
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Took another shot from the Blazer, showing the class spread out. There's one guy leaning back on both hands. Yeah, he's taking notes. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

A Few Photos

Sunday, 12 April 2015 16:10
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
Our Spring melt was very orderly this year, especially as we didn't get a lot of rain. Or rather it held off until Wednesday and Thursday.


Thursday afternoon "lake" next door, shot from the road. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Our neighbors on either side had pulled their trees in order to have a front lawn. Brian to the west leveled it and brought in dirt -- the guy to the east didn't, so his front yard is sunken and floods as you can see. We got a little standing water amongst our pines, and a fairly full drainage ditch by the road on one side, but not much else. And certainly nothing in the basement as in April 2013.

Momcat and Joe are visiting -- I missed the business meeting at MIAAPT on Saturday (darn) to come back and we had a wonderful dinner at Pereddies in Holland.


Mrs. Dr. Phil and her mom Momcat at Sharkey's at the Hampton Inn in Holland, Friday night. Not seen, a huge wedding party pre-game dinner and meet up to the left. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I left home for MIAAPT at maybe 7:17am Saturday. I-96 to I-496 through Lansing. Exit 9 to Trowbridge to Harrison and MSU. Trowbridge parallels the Amtrak line -- I never get to see a train at the East Lansing station. Except at 8:55 on Saturday, when I spotted Amtrak 126 peeking between two buildings. I pulled in between the two buildings -- the station is on the other side of the train. I could see a lot of legs from underneath the train -- must have been a big crowd boarding.

Fired off a quick shot with the Nikon D100, not knowing how much time I had. Been experimenting with using the Matrix metering, rather than the center weighted I am more used to. Heavily backlit in the morning sun -- no lens hood. The full size photo doesn't show the moire/stairstepping of the rails crossing the frame at an angle. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Overriding the camera to get a little better exposure. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

For whatever reason, Amtrak seems to run a lot of Michigan service trains with two GE Genesis P42DC locomotives, one at each end. This means the trains don't have to be reversed at the end of the run. But they could run a cabbage -- a former locomotive with the prime mover pulled and used as a cab+baggage unit -- or a cab control ex-Metroliner car on one end. On the other hand, running two locomotives means you should have have a backup. My point is you don't need 8500 hp to drive this train.

Because I didn't have a timetable and the train was double-ended, I didn't know if it was eastbound or westbound. Had it been eastbound, I could have pulled out and gotten a nice shot at the grade crossing at Harrison -- or maybe even the overpass over Farm Road. Alas, all those happy students were heading west towards Chicago, so I just headed off to my meeting.


The rest of the train. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

As I was getting ready to leave East Lansing at 3:30, I noticed the construction crane, freewheeling like a weather vane in the stiff wind. I snapped a picture, hoping to have it swing back and show more of the crane -- alas, it wasn't going to perform for me.


Stupid crane looking boring for me. Rather tricky to make sure the AF was locked on the the crane and not the tree branches. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The construction project involves updating the NSCL National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory to FRIB -- the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. It's really cool, they expect to add thousands of new isotopes to the list of some 3000 isotopes in the Chart of the Nuclides, by simulating some of the conditions inside a supernova. The name change is because they're removing the two superconducting cyclotrons, the K500 and the K1200 -- and building a novel new linear accelerator.

But not a particularly cool photo -- thirty seconds earlier...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

Easter Sunday

Sunday, 5 April 2015 20:51
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Nothing says Easter like March Madness. Wisconsin-Duke set for the men. Notre Dame just squeaked out a win against South Carolina by one point -- early on they had led 15-3, were ahead by 12 some seven minutes to go, then they were behind. Maryland about to attempt to go against UConn -- that's one tough road on the women's side.


Mrs. Dr, Phil made up a shared basket for us and had posted some pictures from her Kindle Fire HDX on Facebook.
©2015 Mrs. Dr. Phil (All Rights Reserved)

It's family tradition that one is not only allowed to eat chocolate before noon, it's the law. So we had some Ghirardelli squares -- milk chocolate with little dark chocolate Easter basket medallion inserts. Yum. But can you believe the store DIDN'T have bags of black jelly beans? What is wrong with people?

Amazon Echo has just added Pandora, so Mrs. Dr. Phil had a Pandora channel nattering on in the background while we read the Sunday paper.

We didn't dye any new eggs this year -- didn't need to. We're getting brown eggs from someone at GVSU these days and so already had some pretty brown hard boiled eggs. (grin)


Little permanent egg display on a kitchen shelf.
©2015 Mrs. Dr. Phil (All Rights Reserved)

And then there was dinner:


Braised lamb shanks in Moroccan spices, leeks sauteed with tomatoes and black olives, couscous, garlic. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Yum. Hudsonville vanilla ice cream with brandy for dessert.

Meanwhile the peepers out back are roaring up a storm. It was 55°F today. Rains this week. The daffodils at the edge of the garage are poking up their little heads out of the ground, according to Mrs. Dr. Phil. Spring has arrived.

Easter. Rejoice.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
As long as I had to get out the Nikon D1H and the 24-120mm VR lens to shoot the lunar eclipse this morning (DW) (LJ), AND Saturday was destined to be the only mostly blue sky sunny day for most of the next week, I decided to go out in the Blazer and see what was up.

Driving east on Warner, I started passing fields which had just been disced. Ready for planting Real Soon Now. And so as the post title above suggests, the air was rich with the smell of newly turned earth, the dirt smelling like early spring.


There's this cool farm on a hill coming south on 68th Avenue into Allendale -- and there was a neat mix of unplowed and plowed fields. Looks like carpeting from the road. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Wandered up the back streets of the Edgewater Industrial Park in Allendale, and shot some of the fields. One had already been cleared and leveled. But I like this one with the overwintered corn stubble. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Nice backlit old fence post no longer actually holding up any fence. 84th Avenue north of M-45, Allendale. I think they plowed this field last fall, so there's already some greenish stuff. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I tried to get one more shot after this one, but alas, the battery state was zero and the D1H wouldn't fire. The D1 Series NiMH batteries are heavy and notoriously short on life. Plus most of mine are maybe ten years old. The battery in the D1H this morning was below zero, though the clock was still running on the rechargeable backup battery, and I swapped with another in that camera bag. It lasted for what, four eclipse shots and maybe ten shots in the afternoon. Of course, I don't know if that's one of the old batteries or whether it had been a rundown battery to begin with. I see a charging session coming up -- and I may break down and use the reconditioning button and shock the buggers into holding onto a little charge. I usually keep 1 or 2 spares with me with the D1/D1X/D1H, which is what the pros used to do during the first gen era, but I only took the camera this afternoon, not the camera bag. (grin)

I need to go ahead and order the Nikon D1 E Focusing Screens, with horizontal and vertical grid lines, for the D1H and the D1X. Shooting from the driver's seat (or even leaning on canes/walker/doorways) right now it's too easy to get the horizon line off. I already installed one in the D1, the N2020 and the F4s. And the D100 and Kodak SLR/n are both based on the Nikon F80 camera, which has built-in grid lines you can turn on. The Nikon F3 just got an R screen, which has both the grid and a split-image rangefinder optimized for f3.5-5.6 lenses. Yes, Virginia, we used to have to focus our cameras by hand. Even on automatic exposure cameras from the 1980s.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (a-man-in-the-moon)
For twenty plus years we've been in West Michigan, I cannot tell you how often the West Michigan weather has conspired against me seeing anything of an astronomical nature (DW) (LJ). So with a lunar eclipse coming up this morning with the setting Moon and the rising Sun -- it seemed impossible. Still, Mrs. Dr. Phil had a workshop at GVSU today, so we got up at the normal work time. And at 6:40am, I was able to peek out the bedroom window and lo and behold, there was a chunk of the Moon missing.

Even better, it turned out that the neighbors to the west didn't seem to be in the way. Now it was a race between the darkening Moon and the Sun coming up as the Moon went down.

Once I was assembled for the day, with the leg brace and all, I dragged out the heavy duty Nikon D1H. It goes up to 1600 ISO sensitivity -- and not too bad in color. More importantly, the 24-120mm f3.5-5.6G VR AF-NIKKOR. At 120mm (180mm FX equivalent) that's the longest lens I have right now with VR Vibration Reduction. I ended up shooting at 1/20th of a second and 1/25th. The heavier mass of the D1H over the D100 adds to the stability. No point in putting on the 70-300mm non-VR or the giant 200-600mm f9.5 AIs Zoom-NIKKOR (DW) (LJ), without a tripod.

The significance of VR is that the usual thumb of rule states that the slowest handheld shutter speed you can hand hold is 1/(focal length), so that should be 1/120th of a second for a 120mm lens. We're roughly 2½ f-stops slower than that here, with the lens wide open. But this lens promises 2-3 stops of extra stability with the little "jiggle" elements in the VR system, compensating for the movement of my hand. I could have set the D1H to HI-2 (6400 ISO) and gained two shutter speeds, but the cost due to noise in the image wasn't something I wanted to try. Someday I'll spring for a D3 or D4 FX fullframe or a later generation DX digital camera which work better at high ISOs -- But This Is Not That Day.

(Long ago, I was the master of "available darkness" handholding, and 1/20th of a second at 120mm would have been no real problem -- one or two out of four shots should have been usable. Alas, between my leg and less stamina, I cannot hold that steady any more. I'm always shocked when I look at the EXIF data from shots with either of my VR lenses and see "how low I can go" and get great or acceptable images.)


Picture 4. Leaning on side of garage, looking just south of west. 120mm 1/25th sec f5.6, tweaked focus manually. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Inset of full size version above at 300%. With the full moon at max totality some time later -- unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are slow and long -- you would not see this configuration of light and dark at this hour just at sunrise. As an interesting aside, TIME Magazine was running a live stream of the lunar eclipse, and the images from the Australian observatory were reversed. As they should be. (Turn your head upside down to know why. I am not talking about the normal telescope reversal, they had already corrected for that.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I did no corrections to the images -- no brightness, contrast or color adjustments. One thing I did do was switch the meter from centerweighted to spot. Probably the first time I've used any of the Nikons so equipped in spot mode (F4s, Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n, D1, D1X, D1H, D100).

These are not great pictures, but they are the first time I've tried to take a lunar eclipse picture with a modern camera ever. Lens too short, only a 2.7MP image, a lot of noise at 1600 ISO from a first generation DSLR. But I got the picture. Yay me.

Here's the rest of the set:


Picture 1. All the first three were at 1/20th of a second and 120mm, autofocus. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Picture 2. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Picture 3. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Anyway, given that most of the show happened later, below the horizon, I am pretty pleased to have been up, dressed and equipped on an early Saturday morning and had anything to show for it.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

35 50 Fight

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 17:12
dr_phil_physics: (7of9borg)
Well, we finally had a day where the high in Allendale topped fifty -- the highest I had at home was 50.8°F. Yesterday was supposed to be partly cloudy, but instead we had foggy and overcast all day. Today started out even foggier, but by midday, was all blue skies and sunshine. Lots of melting going on.

Yesterday I did go out to shoot some black & white film in my second Nikon F3 -- the F3blue with the MD-4 motor drive I got at Christmas (DW). I decided to try the 35-135mm f3.5-4.5 AF NIKKOR that came with the Kodak Pro SLR/n, and it turned out relatively easy to use as an AI manual focus lens. The push-pull zoom is very smooth and the focusing ring turns really easily. The Nikon F3 Type R focusing screen I bought, designed for running the split-image rangefinder with f3.5 to f5.6 lenses, worked very well, and the grid lines in the R screen are just bonus for when you're twisting and turning to shoot from the driver's seat of a vehicle.

Again, this is why you buy professional equipment.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that three of my 35mm Nikons were coming up on the ends of their rolls -- the F3blue, F4s and the N2020 -- and I'd started all the rolls I'd bought in 2013-14 when I got home from the hospital the first time. So, since I don't shoot film all that often, I just got four different rolls of pro film -- two B&W and two color negative, all C-41 color process.

So I was pleased to finish up the roll of Ilford XP-2 ISO 400 black & white film in the F3 yesterday. Pleased other than I missed one good shot: after circling around, I was coming up to 48th Avenue westbound on M-45 and to my left were two cars. Both were at 45° to the intersection and there was zero gap between them. My guess is that the little car pulled a right turn on red right into a car going straight on M-45. Or else the bigger car ran the red light. Either way, I had the perfect sight angle for shooting right between the cars as I sat at the light. Grabbed the F3, zoomed to 135mm, focused, pressed the shutter release. Nothing. As I put the camera down when the light turned green, I saw the red LED on which said I was at the end of the roll.

Because I had been shooting the F3 since December in the cold, I used the countdown counter on the MD-4 motor drive. It has enough torque to rip frozen film off the spool if you're not careful. So I wasn't sure if I had really hit the end of the roll, or the end minus 1, meaning I could've had one more shot. Actually, no. When I changed rolls this afternoon the shutter was only partly cocked, so I was at the end. Well, I've missed pictures before. It happens. Especially when you're dealing with only 36 exposures (or 24) and not 2GB or more of flash drive. And realize, if I had a digital SLR with me, I might not have had it out of the case, or had a long enough lens on it to get the shot I wanted.

So I had two errands to do in Allendale this week. Being a clever person, I figured I could do the Walgreen's trip today -- and then tomorrow or Friday do the other errand and pick up the negatives and Photo CD. Alas, not to be.

I've used Walgreen's for the C-41 processing and scanning because it was convenient. Their scanner only goes to 1 megapixel, but even that's enough to reduce to around 600x400 pixels for webpages. And the color has been good, and especially the richness coming from film.

New person at the Photo desk at Walgreen's, no problem, she called in the manager. Get my phone number, start the order. Two rolls, develop, Photo CD, proof picture, no prints.

Um, they don't do that anymore.

I mean, I had been impressed that they still did enough photo business to do 1 Hour developing in-house. Alas, those days are gone. They've contracted out to some third-party lab. And these guys do not return the negatives.

Do. Not. Return. The. Negatives.

First of all, totally unacceptable for professional film. Second, I haven't even seen any of the scans these new guys can do. With the 1MP scans I'd been getting, I had the negatives, which meant if I really needed to, I could send individual strips out to get them professionally scanned at a higher rate. But without the negatives, totally at the mercy of the lab.

For those of you who grew up on digital and have never used film -- or have forgotten -- the negatives are the real photograph. Scanner has dust on it or set wrong? JPEG corrupted on the Photo CD? Scan it again. It's the backup.

And remember, too, there is nothing wrong with this 33-year-old camera. Or the 20-25 year old zoom lens.

Now some of you might be clever enough to comment that, "well, you already don't get your checks back from the bank." And that's true. But there are differences. Check verification from a scanned check doesn't require a very good image. And technically, you do lose forensic information if you were doing some big criminal probe, such as fingerprints, pen pressure, ink brands, etc. But mostly we can live with our old bank scanned checks, even if new technology comes along.

Negatives aren't like that. As I said, they can be scanned by better scanners and more skilled operators.

My camera store in Grand Rapids, on Fulton between John Ball Park and GVSU's downtown campus, is gone. They managed to survive the 90s, but somewhere around when we got our first digital camera in 2003, they went away. There is still a pro-capable camera store in West Michigan, but their G.R. store is way on the other end of town and their Kalamazoo store is way on the end of town. That's why I've never checked their photo processing. Otherwise, it's one of the real pro labs which require shipping. And, quite frankly, more expense.

After I check out to see what Meijers is doing (close) or Costco (other side of G.R.), which is who pro guru Ken Rockwell gets some of his film processing done in California.

We'll see.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (20-sider)
Friends Mary and Ed Morgan periodically host Game Nights at their house. And we love to come and play.

Saturday, as we came in, their daughter Amanda (green shirt below) had spread Firefly The Game across the dining room table, announcing she'd only let five people sit and it would be an all night commitment. I was all in, after requesting a sturdy chair at the south end of the table and borrowing a seat cushion off an office chair. Mrs. Dr. Phil headed off to another room to play Kill Dr. Lucky and a fire/rescue board game we played another time, but with an expansion pack. Other games were going on at the kitchen table.

The game goals we were playing for Firefly said it was a two hour game -- it took us four. But fun!


I didn't bring one of my cameras, so we had Wendy's Canon A550. Alas, though the shot is nice, at 1/3 of a second, it's too blurred to see detail.
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Threw the flash back on to show some detail. The game is HUGE, taking up the whole table. I kept knocking off some of my cards and my money with my sleeve, though it could just be I'm a klutz. You may not be able to see the auxiliary table in the back on the left just to hold the cards for shopping and moving -- and their discard piles, which are quite important. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


INSET: There's my lonely little yellow Firefly way on the other side of the board from everyone -- the Blue Sun is so far, it's on a part of the board from The Blue Sun expansion pack.
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Alas, I lost. I had adopted a strategy which Amanda said could work, but it took too long to develop. But, I didn't lose a single crewman and I don't recall ever having to deal with Reavers. Yay, me. I got in solid with three of the five big people who were our First Goal, but as a noob, I took an easy Job cad for Badger that involved going to Miranda for the pickup. You know, the planet in the movie Serenity which was surrounded by Reavers. Yeah, I hadn't gotten built up to tackle that. (evil-grin)

But it was fun! We wuz all winners. And if I get a chance to tackle Firefly again, I'm going to try the same strategy again, but better informed. (all-knowing-grin)

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

Cold White

Saturday, 14 February 2015 11:40
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
Valentine's Day here in Allendale and we're not seeing red -- it's white. Visibility is quite poor outside, with snow and blowing snow and high winds. We've been waiting for the weekend temperature-falling-off-a-cliff for a week. Current forecast for Saturday night is low of -10°F and wind chills down to -23°F -- which is better than the -35°F wind chills they had listed the other day, or the -22.1°F actual temp one model had.

Monday I go out to get a repeat MRI on my foot. I suppose I should have gotten gas when I was out on Thursday, a lovely day. But I figured to go out Friday afternoon so I wouldn't have to do it Monday morning. At 2pm I checked the weather and there was a winter weather advisory starting at 3pm, so out I went. Though the temperature was 21°F there was a very icy cold steady wind. I have two winter coats, one I wear for much of the winter and also as a raincoat, though it's a bit warm. The big blue parka, though, is for serious weather.

Friday was probably only the second time I had to wear the blue parka this winter. But getting it on at the gas station, well... Given the blood thinners I'm on, I feel the cold so much more these days, especially in my hands. The blue parka is a little unwieldy anyway, and one of its Velcro straps latched onto the carpeting on the open driver's door -- which explained why I couldn't hike the coat up and find the left sleeve. (grin) When I got home there were big flakes in large numbers coming down, so I took a picture with the N2020 from the garage -- often the finer snows just don't show up well on the digital cameras.

By 4pm the snow was picking up and every time I glanced out the window, visibility was getting worse. Total snow volume was low, just a lot of air with snow blowing around. By the time I went to bed around 4pm, after a very productive ~5000 word writing day, it was still 24°F.

Snow started up around 11am. Just now Weather Channel on the web says it's 9°F with winds 24mph, gusting to 35 -- wind chill running about -12°F. And then came the ruckus outside. We were getting plowed. I grabbed the Kindle Fire HD and took a quick picture:

Not sure who has a white pickup with a blade... oh wait. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

We've been very grateful to our neighbors to the west and south, who each have John Deere lawn tractors -- one with a blade and one with a snow thrower attachment. When the one neighbor's machine was broken, we did get plowed by a pickup last January by a neighbor of a neighbor (DW). But in doing my research that was a blue pickup, not a white one. And it's not the same blade. So now I don't know who our Good Samaritan was.

You could argue that it's overkill -- we're only talking about four inches or so by now. But it's good to start with a clear base and it is going to get colder, so I can appreciate getting out now and doing some plowing.

I'm not going to argue with them. (double-trouble-grin)

It's a good weekend to stay home. And one of the recipes will be my father's sweet cabbage soup. Mrs. Dr. Phil is doing something in the kitchen involving a mixer right now. I don't know what's going on, but it's too much fun to not ask. Maybe there'll be beaters to lick. (triple-double-grin)

Realistically, it's nothing like we had in the U.P. Or the beating that Boston and Maine and New England has been getting.

Meanwhile, back to the YA trilogy. I killed someone off late last night. Good old Google -- I was able to find the exact intersection in a small town in Denmark I wanted using Google Maps satellite view. Important because it happens off-stage and I need a police detective to deliver the report. Perfect for Valentine's Day. (evil-writers-grin) Echo is playing the Saturday WGVU-FM NPR lineup -- This American Life followed by The TED Radio Hour -- and I've got my headphones on with a playlist playing.

This future in 2015? It's not so bad...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
It's been a busy week and it's only half over. It started with glasses.

For a while we alternated glasses each year. And I've had some of the same titanium safety frames which I have alternated relensing, as well. Alas, my skin acids tend to eat away plating, so the gold tone on my titanium frames deteriorates -- on the other hand, cheaper glasses leave big green marks in the summer with painful galvanic reactions -- so it's still been an improvement.

Alas², neither of my titanium frames for regular or reading glasses are still made. I probably got ten years out of the old designs and the reading/computer bifocals are okay. So I found another titanium safety frame... which is also being discontinued. Had to get the frames they had in the office.

Picked them up on Monday and since I wear glasses all the time, my look is TOTALLY different. I shot two self-portraits with the D1 -- big heavy iron pro cameras don't do no "selfies".


The old glasses... and the new. Completely different look! (Click on photos for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

By Wednesday I needed to go back and get the nose and ear pieces adjusted and took some pictures.


We thought the last plowing of our driveway was done by our dueling neighbors, but from the tracks it is clear that rabbits were responsible for clearing the snow and building these snow walls. Shot at 1/25th of a second at f22 to try to show the breeze motion. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


68th Avenue at Lake Michigan Drive, finally looking like a Michigan winter in town. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Our dentists and eye doctors officers are in the same building in the Edgewater office park. There's a nearby pond. The D1 has trouble with snow highlights, but like the old 1970s Agfrachrome CT18 slide film, it does a nice job on neutral colors. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


It was this snow layered pine I saw on Monday, still there on Wednesday, that I wanted to shoot. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Am I surprised that the TruValue Hardware store has such straight sided sidewalk cuts? After a dry December and a mixed January, February started aggressively enough that West Michigan is above average for snowfall to date, though still behind last winter. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


I liked these spidery weeds in the snow out front. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Tonight we're supposed to go near- or sub-zero as we get a bit of an Arctic blast. No serious snow until maybe next week?

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
So, earlier this week, I talked about on Monday (DW) twice (DW) and Wednesday (DW) how Winter Storm Juno / Blizzard '15 actually forced an incoming storm to stall and go around West Michigan.

Pictures, or it didn't happen. This is not gloating, BTW, but merely observation.


Tuesday, as opposed to the total shutdown of air, sea, rail and highway, this was my drive down US-131 to Kalamazoo around 11:30am. There'd been clouds to the south, but they soon disappeared. BTW, this is Exit 61 coming up and the big sign on the left is to the Gun Lake Casino. The vehicle in the median isn't the state police but MDOT or Allegan County maintenance. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Pulling into my handicapped spot, I noticed that there'd be considerable melt since the previous Thursday, but they also hadn't cleared this one sidewalk connector directly in front of the Blazer, so I would have to take the sidewalk to the left and then jog to the right. This student with a dark purple jacket and blue backpack cut in front of me, so I had to wait -- sure enough she turned and provided some humanity for the shot. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Steps leading down to the front garden area. Shot through the window screen. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)
Compare to...

This was three weeks ago -- full set here.


Wider angle shot showing patches of clear in lawn and the driveway. Yup, not very threatening here. Certainly didn't stop the rabbits from scampering around. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

All current photos taken with the Nikon D1 and a 35-70mm f3.3-4.5 AF-NIKKOR. The D1 isn't ideal for snow, it's 1st gen DSLR sensor tends to blow out highlights, but it does nicely with neutral colors and I am always surprised at how well the digital war horse works.

Thursday, we had freezing rain overnight, but not much more than a tenth of an inch -- Mrs. Dr. Phil had some detail-work she could do at home. It snowed on and off, but by afternoon the open patches of ground hadn't filled in very much. Today, Friday, was mostly overcast with a little sun.

January 2015 is closing with much more snow here than December 2014, and there were snow days for schools AND universities, but still not anything like New England. February is going to start with cold and snow. How much? We shall see...

It is FAR too early to call this winter a bust in West Michigan compared to the long harsh winter last year.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2012)
This is not the first time that I've pulled into an event and saw Jim C. Hines arriving, too. And when I went downstairs to pick up my registration packet, there was Jim again -- and with a new camera. So out came the Nikon D1H and the duel was on...


Okay, new camera, let's get this set up. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Ready, aim... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Checking to see what he got. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Let's try this again. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Checking again. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Note, when pro photographers began using digital cameras, this back and forth looking at the screen became known as "prairie dogging" by the photographers still using film. (grin)

BTW -- someone there had their camera phone and has a picture of both of us shooting the duel -- if I find a copy of it somewhere, I'll post it, too. (grin)

Then there's Al Bogdan. He'd texted that he wasn't going to be going around shooting pictures at ConFusion this year. So naturally, when I ran into Al around 11pm at the Detcon1 celebration party in Erie, he was unzipping his camera case. To be fair, he'd been the photographer for Detcon1 in July, so it was naturally that he should be recording the party -- I'd asked him how many of the pics in the slide show they were running was his and he figured all of them. But he didn't want his picture with a camera, so...


Al sans Canon. This is the second picture -- I had Al move his head slightly so it blocked the wall lamp behind him, giving him the halo effect. Nice start to a beard. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Technical note: Once again I am using the 2.7MP Nikon D1H with the 24-120mm f3.5-5.6G VR AF-NIKKOR. Upped to ISO 1600, as usual, but this time decided to leave it in color mode, not B&W. I figure I could turn the shots into black and white if needed. But really, these shots were just resized in Microsoft Windows 7 Paint -- not even Ulead PhotoImpact or GIMP. So no color or contrast adjustments.

And I have to say that for a camera this old and DSLR generation 1.5, I am pretty impressed. I figured with all the noise that color shots would be crappy, but gee whiz, this early automatic white balance isn't bad -- I made NO in-camera adjustments, either. And that VR Vibration Reduction, some of these shots are handheld at 1/10th of a second -- and I can't hold a camera as steady as I used to when I was twenty and the king of available darkness Kodachrome slides... (grin)

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (norman-rockwell-thanksgiving)
As mentioned earlier and in keeping with years past, we did our big Thanksgiving meal today. Last year's attempt to brine just dark meat -- turkey thighs and wings -- with the wings on the stuffing casserole and the thighs on a roasting pan to make drippings for gravy -- worked so well that we'd be silly not to repeat it again.

And earlier in the fall we had a pumpkin pie, because why not. Cousins Bill and Cindy send a box of cracked Arkansas pecans for the holidays, so I requested a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. That probably leaves pumpkin and mincemeat pies for Christmas and New Year's. (big-pie-eating-grin)

We ended up eating early for us, since not doing a whole bird really cuts down on the cook time, so we sat down around 5pm and put on Love, Actually on Netflix. *** (Almost couldn't find the pictures, because when I changed the Nikon D100 from EDT to EST, I must have accidentally changed the year to 2013.)


Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and root vegetables & beets. Just off to the right, two kinds of cranberries. The beer in the gravy was Leinenkugel's Helles Yeah -- really hoppy. The wine was a lovely Riesling. A technical note for me, used the Nikon SB-28DX flash in bounce mode on the D100 for the first time. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

We managed to keep things to a reasonable plate. At 7pm I took my usual nap, to elevate my leg, and then it was time for pie.


"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," says the pecan pie. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


The pie is almost candied -- yum -- but you have to cut it with more skill and care than a pumpkin pie. Mrs. Dr. Phil demonstrates. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


As shown, one slice for you and my slice in the foreground. (grin) Not shown, the Hudsonville Vanilla Ice Cream. Later pecan pie sessions will feature whipped cream or Hudsonville Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Watching Kristen Chenowith: Coming Home on PBS from Broken Arrow OK.

Lovely.

Back to writing, grading...

Dr. Phil

*** For those keeping score at home, as a kid the Christmas season began when Santa Claus came at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on the television. As an adult, after the turkey meal. Anyway, Love, Actually is one of the handful of top classic Christmas movies we tend to see every year. The others are:
A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) -- the 1951 Alistair Sim version / Scrooged -- the 1988 Bill "I Can Do Any Holiday" Murray
A Christmas Story -- the definitive kid's view of Christmas
And two Jimmy Stewart flicks, the obvious It's A Wonderful Life and the wonderfully quirky 1940 The Shop Around the Corner -- if you have EVER worked retail, you must see this film. At Christmas.
dr_phil_physics: (dr-mrs-dr-phil-detcon-2014)
Thursday 17 July 2014

8pm Ambassador Salon 1


I like Opening Ceremonies because, (1) they introduce the major players in this cast of characters, some of whom I know and some of them I've never met or even seen before, and (2) I almost never get to Closing Ceremonies and have yet to make it to a Dead Dog Party at a con.

But that's me. My first impression is why don't more people attend, but of course that's the case and anyway, they usually put the Opening Ceremonies in a big space.


Our intrepid Toastmaster, Michigan author Jim C. Hines. Complete with his Impressive Author Leather Jacket and Magnificent Pimp Jim Hines purple hat with Flamboyant Feather action feature. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

No pictures of Jim's nemesis, Tom Smith. The angles were all wrong and all I could get in the viewfinder was the top hat...


Detcon1 Con Chair Tammy Coxen who is either relieved that it's all going to happen Right Now or is resigned to dealing with a train wreck. (grin) No, Tammy did an awesome job and helped me out with several matters. I think she's happy we're happy to be there. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Revealing the first ever Detcon1 Award for YA and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. While WorldCon in London gets the Hugos and the Hugos debate whether YA is worthy of having an award. So there, ph-bbbbt! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Jim graciously offering to hold and safeguard the YA Award. Funny, John Scalzi tried the same trick as Toastmaster at Chicon 7 with the Hugo two years ago... Not sure Tammy is buying it. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Guest of Honor Nnedi Okarafor. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Author GoH Steven Barnes channeling a Rodney Dangerfield joke -- no really! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


A moment of levity with Science GoH Helen Greiner. I really like this picture, but worry that it's too demure, so... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


...if you think that's not properly respectful for the CEO of iRobot, makers of the Roomba and many more exciting Real Life Robots, here's a more serious, more traditional and (sigh) more boring shot. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Video Game Special Guest Jon Davis, who hasn't burned out in the industry and has one helluva resume -- and I don't even play video games! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Musical Guests of Honor Brenda Sutton... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


... and Bill Sutton. Because each needs to be featured in a good light. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


A perfectly dreadful picture of Artist GoH John Picacio, who was talking so passionately about his expansive new work Loteria. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

There were several other Guests of Honor of note, but they were all presented on the main floor and were frankly not high enough for me to get anything decent. So soon to the start of Detcon and after a drive across the state and a "long" walk to get the wheelchair, I resisted the urge to stand up and get better angles. For the good of my foot.

So I leave you with:

Toastmaster Jim C. Hines shooting a selfie with Detcon1. See? We're all waving. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


We're over there on the right, about an inch or so to the right of the border. See, I told you that awesome hat was purple.
©2014 Jim C. Hines (All Rights Reserved)

And now I had to head back up to 3814 to start writing my story for my Friday noon reading.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (detcon-1-2014)
Yup. We really were at the Ren Center in Detroit this weekend.


It's Dr. and Mrs. Dr. Phil on Friday outside Program Ops just before my reading. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Al Bogdan (All Rights Reserved)


Everyone gets a badge and a program book. We also snagged three free books -- by picking the numbers 13, 17, and 7-no-3! at panels. Merrie Haskell won the inaugural YA novel award, but for another book. Got 'em signed, too. The Dove chocolates were for my Sunday morning panels. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Some of the smart kids publish pictures out of their hotel rooms. Well, 38th floor and a helluva view.

First country south of Detroit? It's Canada, across the St. Mary's River. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


The Detroit side of the shore. The privately-owned-by-wolves Ambassador Bridge is in the distance. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


The view west, or rather a bit northwest. Comerica Park, home of the Tigers, is somewhere beyond the building on the left -- actually, if you click on the full 6MP image, you can see a bit of the park and a picture of a giant baseball mitt next to a blue Comerica Park sign -- very small.. We couldn't see them, but Friday and Saturday nights we heard the fireworks after the game and could just make out the flash reflecting off the buildings. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Al Bogdan, friend since the Clarion 2004 workshop and roommates at the 2008 Writers of the Future XIV workshop, took the picture of us at the top of the page. Having long been a yearbook photographer junior high to post-college, I am well familiar with the concepts of, you never see the photographer and if do, their face is blocked by a camera.

Thursday night at the Opening Ceremonies, the obligatory picture of Al Bogdan behind his camera. He was all over the place working for Detcon. I'm shooting the Nikon D1H in black & white mode at ISO 1600 and 6400 (in this case), due to poor lighting. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)
And at that very moment...

And the obligatory duel off of Dr. Phil, which amused Mrs. Dr. Phil. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Al Bogdan (All Rights Reserved)

So It's A NASFiC, What's The Big Deal With Detcon1?

In my "vast" congoing experience, yes you're allowed to eyeroll, I've been to one WorldCon, Chicon 7 in Chicago 2012, and now one NASFiC in Detroit 2014. And I have to say, there is a different vibe. Maybe it's the size -- venue space plus numbers -- though this is by no means Dragon*Con or Comicon size numbers.

And like Chicon, there were people I knew were at Detcon that I never saw: Dave Klecha and fellow UCFer Kate Baker come to mind. Also never saw friend Amy Ranger, though we did see her friend Tullio in a white lab coat carrying an unmarked Ehlenmeyer flask with a cork. Nor did I get to any panels with Canadian writer Suzanne Church -- we shared a table of contents in the Northwest Passages anthology for Cascadia Con, the 2005 NASFiC in Seattle. Didn't see Larc Bogdan, who still hasn't met Mrs. Dr. Phil, or Coral for that matter. Doselle Young was listed on a minorities in comics panel, but didn't show. I suppose it shows that I have been doing this for a while when I can easily up with half a dozen names I didn't see. (grin)

But I got no complaints. Next up: Detcon 1 begins.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
So Friday the 2nd, the day before I drove to Penguicon, I had to make a quick stop at Chevy and get my transmission fluid level checked. The stuff is a pain to measure and they had to add some at the last oil change. You know me, I was going to check it before driving across the state. And right now clambering under the hood is very awkward. Anyway, it was fine.


Afterwards I decided on a field trip. Previously I'd been on the south side of the M-231 construction project. It's funny, I've never driven on Leonard Street west from 68th Avenue in Eastmanville, which is where M-231 would be. It's pretty country, rolling hills with an occasional glimpse of the Grand River. There's one spot I'll have to return to on a nice blue sky day. Looks like the Windows XP wallpaper. (grin) Or the battle fields in Star Wars Episode I. (double-grin)


As expected, there's a new overpass at Leonard. Originally there was supposed to be an interchange here, but it's really only maybe half a mile or so from I-96 and they widened 112th Avenue where it curves up to Exit 10. So because they keep on saving money on this project that should've been built decades ago, they cut the north side of the river interchange before I-96. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Now to look for the river crossing.

And there were cows.


Yup. I'm a cow. On 120th Avenue. As in ON 120th Avenue. About half a dozen cows were on the wrong side of the fence. The rains had created a little flooding and so a couple of fenceposts were down, hence the bovine breakout. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Cow. It's a different cow trotting along the side of the row. I didn't bother calling 9-1-1 because there were a couple of guys coming up the road in some 4-wheeler ATV. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The span over the Grand River on M-231 is not up.


There are piers in the river. It's a difficult crossing. The river is wide and there's quite a soft delta. I had seen the piers through the mud flats back on the first set of shots on 22 March. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


More on the south shore of the Grand River from the north shore. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


The little dead end I had shot from has a campground beyond the yellow gate in the photo above. Behind me was this cute little harbor. Having seen much larger harbors, this is so quiet and peaceful. Nice. Yeah, I don't do boats... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

On the way back, the cows were all fenced in. As expected.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
Back in March I was able to score a double -- one of the coal unit trains and part of the M-231 construction (DW). Amazingly almost a month later I did it again.

On Easter Eve, while traveling from seeing Transcendence to the D&W gorcery store in Holland, I saw a pair of BNSF diesels heading slowly west along Lakewood Boulevard leading a full unit coal train -- as opposed to the southbound empties I had shot in March. I knew it was going slowly as it would have to take the cutoff to go north, so I kept going, but where to shoot?

Practically speaking I am all about the head end of trains, so I needed to be over the grade crossing, so that after I got my shot we could go on grocery shopping. After all, this is a long train, maybe 50-100 hopper cars. So there's a no-name gas station just past there, big modern slab of concrete and a convenience store.

Even better, it's right by the tight curve of the cutoff -- almost model railroad like. Lined up the Bravada, brought out the D100 and the 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G AF-NIKKOR and waited.


Here comes the train, tried to get the shot head-on. 75mm (about 105mm FX equivalent). (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


And close up of BNSF GE ES44AC 5964 at 28mm (42mm equivalent). If it looks like the locomotive is leaning away from me -- it is. Railroad curves have a superelevated outside rail. This was the hero shot of the cover of my Spring 2014 PHYS-1070 Final Exam [Form-B]. The A-exam used the shot from March. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


BNSF SD70ACe 9271. Trailing units aren't nearly as photogenic as lead locomotives, but we're counting coup here. Also, those overhangs on the back of both locomotives on the left? Those are the oversized radiators to deal with the waste heat from the massive turbocharged 4400hp and 4300hp diesels engines. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


When we parked at the grocery store, we were far enough back to see the coal crowned the open hopper cars. Here at trackside you can't tell they're full unless you inspect the springs on the trucks (wheel mountings, bogeys in Europe). Old coal hoppers had triangular chutes underneath and unloaded by opening the doors. These cars have round bottoms. At one end there's a rotary mounted coupler, so the cars are turned upside-down two-at-a-time to unload. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


When driving south to the movie, I spotted this covered hopper on the siding at the pet food elevator on US-31, so I stopped to shoot it after groceries. At 55mph, couldn't tell if this was a paint job or an elaborate graffiti tag. Appears to be the latter. But Acer UNIX Erase? It could have been an ad for an Acer computer, which comes with both Windows and Linux, where you choose which one to run. This is the standard three-quarters view favored by railfans. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


I moved the Bravada to get a better angle on the artwork. If you enlarge, I think you can guess that the Jetsons characters are tags, not commercial art. It's not too different from the previous shot, but there's a cool diagonal lens flare -- even without a lens hood, it's hard to get modern multicoated Nikon lenses to flare like older lenses. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


When the M-231 bypass around the Grand Haven US-31 lift bridge and Holland was first proposed, probably forty years ago, it was supposed to go from I-196 in the south to I-96 just north of a new Grand River crossing. Currently, if the Grand Haven lift bridge jams in the UP position, the detour is to 68th Avenue in Allendale -- a forty mile detour. The new as-built M-231 crossing will cut that in half when in gets finished in 2016.


View of M-231 construction looking north from M-45. You can see the overpass over Rich Street under construction in the distance. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Half a mile east of here they are widening the intersection with 120th Avenue which gets close to the US-31 freeway in Holland by the Chicago Avenue interchange. So the M-231 bypass doesn't actually connect with either US-31 or I-196 at the southern end.


Another way they're cheapening this project after farbling around for forty years putting it off is to make the southern end of M-231 just a grade level intersection with turn lanes under construction here, presumably with a traffic light at M-45. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Still, it is exciting to see progress on this. Next up, the northern end of the construction project.

Dr. Phil

Profile

dr_phil_physics: (Default)
dr_phil_physics

April 2016

S M T W T F S
     1 2
3 4567 89
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Links

Email: drphil at

dr-phil-physics.com

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Monday, 21 August 2017 00:52
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios