Monthly Archive: December 2008

the birds

the birds

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

A couple of interesting things in this photo. First, the birds…it was like The Birds, the movie. These crows kept landing on the tree, flying off the tree, circling the tree, squawking all the time. It was actually kind of disconcerting.

The second thing…this is a digital infrared photo. Infrared photography takes in near-infrared light (it doesn’t see through things like x-rays or anything – it’s just past red). Unlike visible-spectrum film where things that are brighter show up as brighter in the final result, infrared responds to things that reflect specifically IR more efficiently. Chlorophyll – that which makes leaves and grass green – is especially reflective, and much IR photography is done in the spring.

This was taken yesterday, in very December. The leaves are actually all kinds of colors – red, yellow, brown. None of them green. The leaves are dying, and falling with each wind gust. Yet here you can see that all of the leaves come out the same “color” in IR.

I was quite surprised by this, actually.

This is a false color image – IR doesn’t have color (since color is just a mental mapping and interpretation of various wavelengths, and since our eyes can’t pick up IR wavelengths, we have no interpretation of them). But the camera and processing method creates these false colors which have an interesting and hopefully aesthetically-pleasing effect.

Painter’s tape and windshields

Walking in, I spotted a car where the windshield was framed with painter’s tape.

I presume that the windshield was recently replaced, and they wanted to put some tape down all along the perimeter to make sure that the glue or whatever method of holding it in place “set.”  However, it seems to me that painter’s tape is not exactly the best of adhesive materials…I know it comes off easily but…it comes off easily.

One blog to rule them all

And by “them” I mean me and the few lucky people that read this regularly :-).

The tagline for this blog, my general, is “Why have 10 blogs on specific topics when you can have just 1 with all kinds of random topics?”  Well, I do still have one separate blog – my photoblog.  I have this separate because sometimes I get a bit technical in those posts, and because I thought some people would take just that feed, of just my photos.

However, with the WordPress 2.5.x>2.6.x upgrade fiasco that ran across the board, where I lost all of my posts on all of my blogs (I run a few others as content management systems for sites), I figure I should just merge the two.  So all of my wonderful photo posts will be here, too :-).

Get ready, world!

along the trail

along the trail

Originally uploaded by kaiyen

This was taken towards the first third of what was probably a 4 mile hike in Alamaden-Quicksilver Park in San Jose, from the McAbee Road trail head.

The camera, a Yashica Mat 124, has been giving me flare problems. Even with a hood, if there is sun coming into the camera at all, it will flare you get these ugly little circles on the sides that look like light just leaked in and decreased contrast, etc. They are impossible to get rid of, since they just kind of bleed in.

So on a lark, I glued some felt into the camera.

There is a printing technique when doing darkroom work where one files away bits of the negative carrier to produce “sloppy borders.” The edges are not nice and crisp. You have probably seen this at some point with photographic prints.

Well, while I did crop most of it out on this photo, you’ll notice on the left edge a bit of the felt blocking the light, but in an uneven way, creating essentially a sloppy border.

I think I will take advantage of this from now on. I’m actually quite happy with it.

And considering I was guessing with exposure on expired film of a type that is not usually amenable to wrong exposures…I’m pretty happy with this.

Maybe we should run our servers on Tivo Series 1 boxes

So after 7 years of nearly continuous uptime, with not a single soft reset that entire time, the primary hard drive in my original, series 1 Tivo is beginning to fail.  It’s possible the add-on drive, which is a mere 6.5 years old, is dying, too.  

The drive in our TivoHD lasted 13 months (with, of course, a 12 month warranty and no sympathy).  

7 years.  That’s ridiculous.

Things that keep us sane at night

I was lucky enough to be reminded about how important it is to have outlets to one’s everyday grind – hobbies, whatever – in order to stay sane.

I was at a photography workshop in Death Valley almost a month ago.  While I am not particularly happy that it took a paid, almost forced effort to get me back into “just for me” photography, it kind of put me back into a good groove.  I’m now carrying a camera with me everywhere and if not for the need to sit here waiting for the cable guy I’d be out shooting in this great fog we’re experiencing right now.  

With work during the day and night classes for my MBA, I just don’t have time for a lot of “me time.”  But I realize now how important it is to stay ahead of my work not just because it’s a good thing to do, but also because I need that outlet to keep myself level and balanced.

I’ve also unfortunately watched my wife struggle with this.  After being a full-time student for four years, she is now working again but, as a nurse, she works 3-4 days in a row and then has large amounts of time to herself (she is also working 2.5 hours away so it’s not like we can plan to have lunch together if she has to stay an extra day – she does come home between those 3-4 days of work).  She really went back and forth looking for something to occupy her time.  She did find a few things, and of course I’m not singling her out – I could be talking about similar issues many of my friends have dealt with.  But it really is important to keep something in one’s back pocket to keep things in perspective.  Especially considering the week’s events (see “In Memoriam” a couple of posts ago) I need that perspective all the more.

(Short) Review: Almaden-Quicksilver Park, McAbee Road entrance

1924I am pretty sure I did a review of this trailhead before, but it was lost when the bulk of my blog vanished.  So this is just a short one, since I haven’t been back on this trail in a while now.  I found a roll of film that I shot while on a hike starting out from this trailhead into Alamaden-Quicksilver Park.

I was not particularly impressed by this trailhead, to be honest.  The trail starts off basically as a road, which means lot of joggers, bicyclists, power walkers, etc.  Of course, I have no problem with others that use these parks – none at all.  But it isn’t really a trail for quite some time.  The first photo here is of a post on a little bridge that makes up part of the path.  Again, it’s more than just a trail at the outset.

There are also a barn right when one gets onto the beginning of this trail, with at least one old, rusted out car abandoned there.  It’s not from 1924 – it’s an old VW Beetle.  But it’s still kind of cool. 

Eventually, however, the trail does appear. I don’t know exactly the combination of paths I took, but I know I ended up on the Guadalupe Trail at one point.  This is a relatively flat path but it’s also out in the open, meaning that it’s hot and really tires you out if it’s sunny.  It’s not a particularly scenic route, either, though it has its moments.  

along the trail

This second photo was taken somewhere along the trail.  I believe towards the beginning, before it opens out into the sun.  That part of the hike is pretty well covered, with nice foliage, big trees that hang over the path and provides pretty nice shade.  I am fairly certain this is the Senador Mine trail.  

I might go back just to try and remember what trails I took…

In Memoriam

When I think of people I know, I always take note of the expression on the face that I see in my head.  Some people are smiling, some laughing, some serious, etc.  None of those expressions are better or worse than the other.  For instance, someone whom I remember as serious might just be a determined person who takes his or her job and life seriously.  Not necessarily cold or distant.  Just serious.

A friend of mine – I worked with him, but he was a friend – passed away this Thanksgiving weekend.  Whenever I think of him, I see a laughing, smiling face.  

Here’s to you, my friend.  I hope that you are still smiling.