Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yosemite HDR Pictures

We went on a quick trip to Yosemite a couple of weeks ago. I got a chance to try out my new Canon EOS 60D. I took a lot of exposure bracketed shots so I could make some HDR pics when I got home. We rented a couple of Beach Cruisers and rode all around the Valley floor. It was very fun!

It was kind of hazy in the late morning when we arrived, but in the afternoon, the clouds turned wispy and then puffy, and the sky turned crystal blue.

We rode all the way out to Mirror lake. The view of Half Dome is most excellent from that perspective.

I didn't take a tripod on the bike, so all of the pictures you've seen so far were hand-held bracketed images. I held my breath and stood really still!

Neither one of us has ever ridden bikes around the Valley before. It was the best! I highly recommend it.

Yosemite Falls wasn't much more than a dribble.

This close-up pic of Yosemite Falls is not HDR. All the preceding pics were.

The puffy clouds were casting about shadows through the Valley as we stopped at Inspiration Point (Tunnel View) on the way out. This is another HDR shot.

I don't know why we don't go there more often...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wawona in April, 2010

Tracy and I went for a quick get-a-way to Wawona last week. We got a two-fur-one deal in the mail a month or two ago, and we decided to buy while the price was low (they know we're impulse shoppers)! We were excited because a cold storm was coming down from the North the day before we went, and we were looking forward to some snow. We saw some pretty scenery at the higher elevations on the way there.

One of the things we look forward to when we go to Wawona is dinner. Yeah, I know, it doesn't sound very exciting, but we're not as young as we used to be. Inevitably, they cook-up a mean entree, or two.

The next morning we got up, had breakfast and headed for the Valley. This is what the hotel grounds looked like that morning -

When we got back in the afternoon, the scene was very different -

On the way in, there was still snow on the trees and some cool misty clouds lingering all around. (Click the image to open full-size.)

The misty clouds were camping out on the Valley walls when we arrived at Inspiration Point. Both of these are HDR pics -

The only draw-back to Wawona is, no AT&T cell towers in range. AND, the hotel doesn't provide any WiFi, can you imagine that? They don't have phones or TVs in any of the rooms and that's OK by me, but come on, a guy's gotta have his iPhone available. No network access on the iPhone just isn't right. Somehow Tracy is OK with that. Sometimes I don't understand girls.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Do you have an iPhone? Do you think it's sic? Do you have 9 pages of apps? Do you watch the news about the next iPhone? Did you see the whole thing with Gizmodo and the iPhone 4? Have you browsed the Apple Store?

If you're an iPhone-o-phile like me, then you're going to like this -

Click this link to see a hilarious clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

I don't get 'on the Band Wagon' very often. But I have to say, I like what Jamie Oliver is doing. It's a good start to solve an issue I think is a big problem.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Have Been Assimilated

For years, I've heard about the iPhone. How fantastic it was, how all the other phone manufacturers were trying to design and build the iPhone killer. I never thought I would actually be interested in an iPhone; I mean, it can't open MS Office apps without special software, right? But I do have to admit, I was envious of the large screen.

Well, the day came. My 2 year old HTC AT&T Tilt began to die and I needed a new phone. The Corporate standard was now the iPhone. I was still on the fence. Did I really want an iPhone? I wouldn't be able to open and edit Excel files without special software, that's just not right! Oh well, I didn't really have a choice. I got the iPhone. I was a little disappointed because the Telecom guys have this great idea - they'll buy old model iPhones (3G 8GB) that are refurbed for $50, and save a bundle. What, no compass? No extra speed? Only 8GB of storage? How could I possibly survive with that? I'm a Power User for Pete's sake!! Oh well, life goes on.

It only took a day or two for me to realize, I've been deprived all these years! Why didn't I have one of these things a long time ago? The apps are so easy to find and install. There are over 150,000 apps available for the iPhone. You can find an app for whatever you can imagine, and a ton of them are free. The interface is smooth. Scrolling by flicking and swiping is technically satisfying.

I can blog, I can listen to radio stations, I can play scrabble with friends, I can surf the web (iPhone Safari is way better than Windows Mobile Internet Explorer), e-mail is way easier, it's and iPod, it's a GPS, it's got a nice big clear and colorful screen, it's the defacto standard of PDA phones! I'm not sure how I ever survived without one!

Resistance was futile. I have been assimilated...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weather You Like It Or Not...

Last Sunday I reported that the weather-dudes (Meteorologists) were predicting rain for the entire week, perhaps longer. So far they were right. We had four storms come through from Sunday to Friday. We received almost 2 inches of rain in Fresno during that time. The local ski resort just up the hill received about 10 feet of new snow! It was clear today, but not for long! Check out this Satellite pic my dad just e-mailed to me -

That's a nice storm! And it's headed right for us! Should be a fun week!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Coos Bay, Oregon for Thanksgiving

We had a great vacation trip for Thanksgiving last November. Tracy's mom, dad, sister (Sandra) & family all caravanned with us to Coos Bay Oregon to visit Tracy's other sister (Alice) and family for Thanksgiving. It was a 13 hour drive from Fresno to Coos Bay (with a shopping stop at Costco in Medford Oregon).

Nick read more than two books during the drive time -

We drove right by Mt. Shasta - nice...

We had a great time visiting, cooking, eating, watching the rain, and chillaxin. Tracy's sister's husband (Gordon) manages an ATV rental store. On Saturday we all went to the store, geared-up and went ridin'.

Here's Heather, Joey and Nick gettin' geared-up!

Tracy was ridin'

Heather was ridin'

We were all ridin'!!

It was a pretty nice day -

On the way back, the caravan stopped at Mt. Shasta for a group pic -

One day we went out for a little excursion while is was all stormy. We ended up at the end of the road, and jumped out to take a few pics. I've discovered this new photography thing called 'High Dynamic Range'. It's a techy thing you do with your pictures, while taking them, then during the digital editing part of the process. Here's two shots from that day where I did the HDR thing -

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It Never Rains in California

It's supposed to rain in California - for the next week. That will be different. Some are even saying it may rain for 2 or 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see if they are right. It's 1:51 PM, Sunday afternoon, and indeed, it is raining! Here's a recent radar image -

If you're interested in learning more - here's what Samuel Y. Johnson of the Pacific Science Center has to say -

Currently, the strong El Nino is reaching its peak in the Eastern Pacific, and now finally appears to be exerting an influence on our weather. The strong jet has been apparent for quite some time out over the open water, but the persistent block had prevented it from reaching the coast. Now that the block has dissolved completely, a 200+ kt jet is barreling towards us. Multiple large and powerful storm systems are expected to slam into CA from the west and northwest over the coming two weeks, all riding this extremely powerful jet stream directly into the state. The jet will itself provide tremendous dynamic lift, in addition to directing numerous disturbances right at the state and supplying them with an ample oceanic moisture source. The jet will be at quite a low latitude over much of the Pacific, so these storms will be quite cold, at least initially. Very heavy rainfall and strong to potentially very strong winds will impact the lower elevations beginning late Sunday and continuing through at least the following Sunday. This will be the case for the entire state, from (and south of) the Mexican border all the way up to Oregon. Above 3000-4000 feet, precipitation will be all snow, and since temperatures will be unusually cold for a precipitation event of this magnitude, a truly prodigious amount of snowfall is likely to occur in the mountains, possibly measured in the tens of feet in the Sierra after it's all said and done. But there's a big and rather threatening caveat to that (discussed below).Individual storm events are going to be hard to time for at least few more days, since this jet is just about as powerful as they come (on this planet, anyway). Between this Sunday and the following Sunday, I expect categorical statewide rainfall totals in excess of 3-4 inches. That is likely to be a huge underestimate for most areas. Much of NorCal is likely to see 5-10 inches in the lowlands, with 10-20 inches in orographically-favored areas. Most of SoCal will see 3-6 inches at lower elevations, with perhaps triple that amount in favored areas.
This is where things get even more interesting, though. The models are virtually unanimous in "reloading" the powerful jet stream and forming an additional persistent kink 2000-3000 miles to our southwest after next Sunday. This is a truly ominous pattern, because it implies the potential for a strong Pineapple-type connection to develop. Indeed, the 12z GFS now shows copious warm rains falling between days 12 and 16 across the entire state. Normally, such as scenario out beyond day seven would be dubious at best. Since the models are in such truly remarkable agreement, however, and because of the extremely high potential impact of such an event, it's worth mentioning now. Since there will be a massive volume of freshly-fallen snow (even at relatively low elevations between 3000-5000 feet), even a moderately warm storm event would cause very serious flooding. This situation will have to monitored closely. Even if the tropical connection does not develop, expected rains in the coming 7-10 days will likely be sufficient to cause flooding in and of themselves (even in spite of dry antecedent conditions).

In addition to very heavy precipitation, powerful winds may result from very steep pressure gradients associated with the large and deep low pressure centers expect ed to begin approaching the coast by early next week. Though it's not clear at the moment just how powerful these winds may be, there is certainly the potential for a widespread damaging wind event at some point, and the high Sierra peaks are likely to see gusts in the 100-200 mph range (since the 200kt jet at 200-300 mb will essentially run directly into the mountains at some point). The details of this will have to be hashed out as the event(s) draw closer.
In short, the next 2-3 weeks (at least) are likely to be more active across California than any other 2-3 week period in recent memory. The potential exists for a dangerous flood scenario to arise at some point during this interval, especially with the possibility of a heavy rain-on-snow event during late week 2. In some parts of Southern California, a whole season's worth of rain could fall over the course of 5-10 days. This is likely to be a rather memorable event. Stay tuned.