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Friday, December 5, 2008
Airports

Haven’t posted since November ended (with the exception of a few photoblog images that don’t count). Haven’t had much to say, and wasn’t trying to post every day this month. Still don’t have much to say, so here’s a couple of pictures I took in airports on my trip to NY for Thanksgiving.

LAX, mostly empty, the day before Thanksgiving:

Sky Harbor International at sunset:

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Posted by alan to photography at 1:46 pm PT | Link | Comments (0)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It works!

Yes, yesterday’s Hello, World post counted as a post for the day, even if I didn’t even write anything.

I’ve been working on my Arduino interval timer project a lot. Got a bunch of parts and random electronics. Finally got a breadboard. Got the cheap knockoff cable releases for the camera. They’re very good, by the way. Only $6 or so on eBay instead of $45ish from Canon (on Amazon.. MSRP $70! Sick.) It’s just a simple switch inside a simple plastic case… with a proprietary connector.

Anyway, I got the Arduino actually controlling the camera. All that’s really left now is to work on the software, and that’s coming along nicely. Initially, I just set it up to take as many pictures as the number I pressed on the keypad. There’s a video of that below:

Now, I can set up some variables in the software and get it to take pictures at interval, and set the exposures. The next step is to be able to set those variables from the device. This picture was a 500 second exposure, timed by the Arduino. While the shutter was open, the LCD display was counting down the time left. The lights were off in the room.

Long Exposure

This is a lot of fun. 🙂

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Posted by alan to [geek, photography] at 11:54 pm PT | Link | Comments (2)
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunset

You thought I’d miss today, didn’t you? Cutting it close, but getting my post in before midnight.

On the way back from the bay area yesterday, I was able to watch the sunset through the smoke from the wildfires. I don’t usually get to see much of anything on this stretch of highway because usually I’m the one driving, and I usually do it at night. The sunset was incredible, and I felt like I had to go back while there was still some smoke to shoot it. So I did.

I couldn’t find a place to stop on the side of the road where I really wanted to, but the place I ended up worked out just great.

Sunset

Sunset

There’s a few more from today, as well as some older sunset shots, in my Sunset Flickr set.

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Posted by alan to photography at 11:48 pm PT | Link | Comments (0)
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tea Fire

Deciding what to write about today became very easy last night. There’s a big fire burning in the mountains over Santa Barbara. When I drove home from work yesterday, everything was pretty much normal. A little less than 2 hours later, I left home for my softball game and something seemed a bit off. I couldn’t figure out what it was until I got on the highway towards the game, and then saw the fire in the mountains in front of me.

My reaction summed up on twitter: Holy crap big fire about 20 hours ago from TwitterBerry

I wasn’t the only one twittering about it. Twist is a website that will graph word usage on twitter, and track trends:

Tea Fire Twist

Got to the softball field, and unsurprisingly, the game was being postponed. Drove like a maniac home to get my camera, and then back towards downtown Santa Barbara to do some shooting. Taking pictures of a fire at night is hard. Even harder when you’re not really terribly close to it, though I suppose it’s a lot safer that way. Getting the exposures right is tricky. I got a few good shots.

About 10 minutes after I took this one, a police car drove by and announced that the area I was in was being evacuated. I wasn’t all that close to the fire, and didn’t feel like I was in any danger. I moved only about three blocks away, and stayed there for the next several hours.

The white line in there is a helicopter coming in for more water. This one was taken from the top of a parking garage. There were at least 5 other people up there with tripods and cameras doing the same thing.

You can see the rest in the flickr set: Tea Fire. I may go shoot more tonight.

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Posted by alan to photography at 5:11 pm PT | Link | Comments (2)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Arduino Project

The tubes are broken. I can’t get to Google, Yahoo, Flickr… http://internetpulse.net/ shows some connections slow or critical. Looks like some internet backbone is having problems. I can still get to my website, though, so no excuse for no post today.

I figured out what my first Arduino project is going to be: an intervalometer for my camera. Similar to this, but the 40D has a different connector than the Rebel line, so it’ll have to be slightly different. Shouldn’t be too hard, though. I ordered a few generic cable releases on eBay… four for $21 here. That should give me enough room to screw up one or two of them. I’m really not sure what I’ll do with it, but it’ll be a fun project that will at least have some chance of getting used.

Tubes seem to be unclogged, now.

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Posted by alan to [geek, photography] at 2:07 pm PT | Link | Comments (1)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
VenusPuzzle.com Review

A few weeks ago, I was browsing around mpix.com while ordered a print there. I noticed another product they sell is puzzles. I considered ordering one there, but the biggest size they have is 12×18, 300 pieces, and if I was buying one, I’d want something bigger than that. It got started looking around the web at puzzle options.

I eventually settled on VenusPuzzle.com, and ordered their Puzzle 1000 from this picture: http://flickr.com/photos/penner42/2448579860/. It wasn’t cheap, at $73 shipped for an 18×28, 1000 piece puzzle, but it also wasn’t the most expensive option I looked at either. One place was twice as expensive. One of the main reasons I went with VenusPuzzle.com is that it was the only place that clearly stated aspect ratio for each size puzzle, and had the right ratio (1:1.5) for the size puzzle I wanted. It was also the only place I saw with good reviews at Reseller Ratings, though there were only four of them.

I placed my order on Thursday, 10/16, with their expedited shipping option. They’re in Slovakia, so it was already Friday morning for them. It shipped Monday, 10/20, and I had it Tuesday 10/28. I would have had it on Monday if I was home to sign for it, but instead I had to go pick it up at the post office. It wasn’t shipping a box like I was expecting, just a white bubble-wrap envelope, and with some extra cardboard around the puzzle box. I guess they know what they’re doing, because it arrived with no damage to the box.

The box itself was very nice, and also one of the reasons I ordered from there. Some of the other places also had similar boxes, but some did not. The only minor issue is the image for the puzzle is vertical, and printed horizontal on the side of the box. It’s really not a big deal, and if you use a horizontal image it’s no problem at all. The puzzle pieces come in a resealable plastic bag inside the box.

Puzzle Puzzle

The puzzle pieces look and feel just like pieces from any other puzzle you could go out and buy. They feel solid and well made, and the cuts are smooth. They fit together exactly as you’d expect from a puzzle. The colors are bright, and the photo is a high quality print.

Puzzle Puzzle Puzzle

Putting the whole thing together was a lot of fun. It took me somewhere around 20 hours to complete, and only a few times did I put pieces in the wrong place. Mostly it was in the solid blue area in the top right, and once the last few pieces didn’t fit, finding the ones that were in wrong didn’t take very long. VenusPuzzle.com is highly recommended, and I would order from them again. In fact, I’m already thinking about which picture to get if I order another puzzle. If I do, I’ll likely get one that’ll be harder to complete, and possibly take a lot longer than 20 hours: http://flickr.com/photos/penner42/2435040936/.

There are a few pictures of the puzzle in progress in the Flickr set.
The completed puzzle:

Puzzle

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Posted by alan to photography at 3:43 pm PT | Link | Comments (5)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Dodger Stadium

I went to Game 3 of the NLCS tonight at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers scored 5 in the first, and beat the Phillies 7-2. Great game. When buying my ticket, I searched StubHub for a seat that would let me get a picture similar to the one I got at PETCO. I succeeded.

Dodger Stadium

I think I want to try to get the same shot at other stadiums, too.

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Posted by alan to [baseball, photography] at 1:01 am PT | Link | Comments (2)
Monday, September 15, 2008
Girsh Park Fireworks

A couple of weeks ago, we had some fireworks out here. They were supposed to be on July 4th, but postponed because of the fire, so they were on Labor Day instead. I took a few pictures, but didn’t think I got much of anything. I finally looked at them this weekend, and they came out much better than expected.

Girsh Park Labor Day Fireworks Girsh Park Labor Day Fireworks

You can see the whole set here: http://flickr.com/photos/penner42/sets/72157607296248409/

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Posted by alan to photography at 9:43 am PT | Link | Comments (2)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
thinking of titles is hard

The Mets just split a two game series with the Phillies, to hold on to their 0.5 game lead in the division. If not for the shitty bullpen, they probably would have won both, but Pedro didn’t exactly have a good start in the loss. Still, they *were* up 7-0 after three and a half… Mets have the day off today, then head to Florida. The Phillies head to Chicago for a four game series with the Cubs. It’s about time they’re playing someone good.

My new point and shoot camera is out for delivery with DHL. I’m not sure why I had it shipped home instead of to work, but I really hope they leave it without requiring a signature. I’ve been without one for far too long, now. Anyone want a Canon SD870IS with a cracked, non-working, screen?

That’s all for now. Trying to write more often. Really.

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Posted by alan to [baseball, photography] at 9:33 am PT | Link | Comments (0)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
WTD, again.

Another fitting one, although it’s been a whole lot longer than eighteen days for me.

What the Duck.

Posted by alan to photography at 11:05 am PT | Link | Comments (0)
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