Category Archives: Photography

Midnight in Berkeley with the fog rolling in


From the Berkeley Hills via the webcam at the Lawrence Hall of Science:

BLOG Fog

Astronomical gem in the sky near Orion’s belt


BLOG APOD

From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:

NGC 1999: South of Orion
Image Data: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space Telescope,
Additional Color Data and Processing: Robert Gendler

Explanation: South of the large star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, lies bright blue reflection nebula NGC 1999. At the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant, NGC 1999′s illumination is provided by the embedded variable star V380 Orionis. That nebula is marked with a dark sideways T-shape near center in this cosmic vista that spans about 10 light-years. The dark shape was once assumed to be an obscuring dust cloud seen in silhouette against the bright reflection nebula. But recent infrared images indicate the shape is likely a hole blown through the nebula itself by energetic young stars. In fact, this region abounds with energetic young stars producing jets and outflows with luminous shock waves. Cataloged as Herbig-Haro (HH) objects, named for astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro, the shocks look like red gashes in this scene that includes HH1 and HH2 just below NGC 1999. The stellar jets push through the surrounding material at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second.

Sadie Rose: A girl and her elephant


Whoa, Mom? You sure about this critter?

3 November 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 5.1 mm, 1/20 sec, f2

3 November 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 800, 5.1 mm, 1/20 sec, f2

Really? You’re really, really sure?

3 November 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 5.1 mm, 1/20 sec, f2

3 November 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 5.1 mm, 1/20 sec, f2

Nom-nom-nom-nom. . .

3 November 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 5.1 mm, 1/20 sec, f2

3 November 2013, Panasonic DMC-LX5, ISO 400, 5.1 mm, 1/20 sec, f2

A massive star, lurking in a Scorpion


From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, stellar porn:

BLOG APOD

A Massive Star in NGC 6357
Image Credit: NASA, ESA and J. Maiz Apellániz (IAA, Spain) Explanation: For reasons unknown, NGC 6357 is forming some of the most massive stars ever discovered. One such massive star, near the center of NGC 6357, is framed above carving out its own interstellar castle with its energetic light from surrounding gas and dust. In the greater nebula, the intricate patterns are caused by complex interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields, and gravity. The overall glow of the nebula results from the emission of light from ionized hydrogen gas. Near the more obvious Cat’s Paw nebula, NGC 6357 houses the open star cluster Pismis 24, home to many of these tremendously bright and blue stars. The central part of NGC 6357 shown spans about 10 light years and lies about 8,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpion.

Made in China: Worst Photoshop fail ever


From the official SINA English:

BLOG Photoshop fail

From the website, which headlined its story “Government posts fake photo on its official website”:

A photo of city leaders visiting centenarian in Ningguo City, east China’s Anhui Province circulated on the internet after it being posted on its official website.

Netizens pointed that the photo was modified because one official stands in the air and the centenarian looks too small.

The perfect toys for a Brave New World


First up, via the Japan Daily Press, the Neurocam:

It’s probably not at all wise to stick a device that deals in 4G/LTE wavelengths near you’re your head – and we’re sure the designers can come up with a better design when this goes retail (if ever) – but the concept is sure interesting – an iPhone will take hands-free videos and pictures of the things a user is looking at, depending on the level of interest that the user has for the objects he or she is looking at. How does the iPhone know which ones to take pictures of? It measures your brainwave activity to figure out what are the things that interest you from the things you are looking at.

And the video:

The article also notes the camera isn’t the first commercial gimmick to employ the brainwave technology for the purpose of amusement:

The Neurocam is the latest product to come from the Neurowear project, which already gave us the NekoMimi cat ears. As we have said beforehand, we’re really big fans of having all those radio waves near our head for an extended period of time. But this is all in development right now, and we hope the design changes for the better, and the safety of our brains as well.

NTDTV reports on those feline animated aural appendages:

Cat Ears Device Controlled by Brainwaves

From the program notes:

These cat ears can be controlled by your thoughts, displaying your emotions like a feline.

The technology to control objects just by thinking about them is being developed in labs all over the world. But in Japan, a neuro-technology company is taking serious brainwave science and turning it into fun.

The ears are already available here in the U.S., available from Amazon for a mere $61.35.

Now we can imagine the NSA will love the camera device, since they can activate your phone’s camera and mic from afar. Imagine what a gift for the dark world: They’ll know all your likes and dislike, refined to the nth degree. Heck, they should just give ‘em away, right?

A visual treat: Animation, created with light


From Darren Parson:

Light Goes On

Here’s how he describes himself on his website:

Darren Pearson is a resident of Los Angeles, where he works as a fulltime illustrator by day.

By night, he explores the varying landscapes of California in search of the perfect scene for one of his life-sized light-sculptures.

These light-sculptures are created through long exposure photography (the same technique commonly used to write a name with a sparkler or capture car trails at night).

Pearson makes complex light-effect photographs, none of which are photoshopped.

Southern Berkeley street scenes: One afternoon


We begin with a sidewalk doodle. . .

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 9 mm, 1/1000 sec, f4.4

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 9 mm, 1/1000 sec, f4.4

A wall with a southern exposure. . .

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 14.2 mm, 1/800 sec, f5.1

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 14.2 mm, 1/800 sec, f5.1

And patterns on a creosoted pole. . .

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 24.4 mm, 1/125 sec, f5.4

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 24.4 mm, 1/125 sec, f5.4

A shoe defooted. . .

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 23.1 mm, 1/80 sec, f5.4

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 23.1 mm, 1/80 sec, f5.4

And a skyline delineated. . .

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 86.9 mm, 1/100 sec, f5.9

4 October 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 86.9 mm, 1/100 sec, f5.9

Before the Internet, there really were tubes


From the Santa Monica Evening Outlook‘s pneumatic tube system, a leather-capped cylinder used to convey story text, headlines, page layouts, and so much move. The tubes vanished when the paper moved from downtown Santa Monica to an industrial neighborhood. The building demolished in 1979 after it was taken by a friendly eminent domain action to make way for Santa Monica Place, a new indoor mall designed by a trendy young architect, Frank Gehry.

When we moved out, we grabbed one of the tubes, sensing that we were capturing an icon from a vanishing era, the world of linotypes and letterpresses.

This is the only photo we’ve posted that’s been substantially altered by Photoshop, an exception evoked by the subject itself:

26 February 2012, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 60 mm, 1/1600 sec, f3.5

26 February 2012, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 60 mm, 1/1600 sec, f3.5

Sadie Rose meets Grandpa esnl for first time


Another shot of esnl‘s first encounter with Granddaughter Sadie Rose. . .

17 September 2013, Motorola XT907, 1/2 sec, 4.36 mm, f2.4

17 September 2013, Motorola XT907, 1/2 sec, 4.36 mm, f2.4

Ah shucks, another Grandpa and Sadie Rose pic


This time outside, with Granddaughter sitting in Grandpa’s favorite [one of three] Stetson and Mommy holding Grandpa’s camera. . .and Grandpa selecting the image and running it through Photoship the same way he’d once run black-and-white film through a photochemical darkroom. A truly collaborative effort, with Sadie Rose in the starring role:

17 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/4 sec, f3.3

17 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 800, 4.3 mm, 1/4 sec, f3.3

Playing Grandpa: A visitor from Southern Cal


Finally, at the ripe old age of seven weeks, Sadie Rose decided to visit her Grandpa, what with mom and dad finally being rested up enough to hit the road. SO here we be, following a bite the Herbivore here in Berkeley. . .

17 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/4 sec, f3.3

17 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 400, 4.3 mm, 1/4 sec, f3.3

South Berkeley seens: Something to crow about


A crow on a wire. . .

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/320 sec, f10

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/320 sec, f10

Hops down to the curb. . .

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/250 sec, f10

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/250 sec, f10

Then up to a nearby branch and good company. . .

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/125 sec, f10

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/125 sec, f10

Then to another tree, all the better to keep an eye on the guy pointing that thing her.

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/125 sec, f10

17 September 2013, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 400 mm, 1/125 sec, f10

Sadie Rose, six weeks old, just groovin’


Makes a grandpa smile. . .

BLOG Sadie Rose 6 wks ed

From the Hubble Telescope: A nebulous neighbor


Nearby Cepheid Variable RS Pup

BLOG APOD

From Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Nearby Cepheid Variable RS Pup
Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA Processing: Stephen Byrne Explanation: It is one of the most important stars in the sky. This is partly because, by coincidence, it is surrounded by a dazzling reflection nebula. Pulsating RS Puppis, the brightest star in the image center, is some ten times more massive than our Sun and on average 15,000 times more luminous. In fact, RS Pup is a Cepheid typevariable star, a class of stars whose brightness is used to estimate distances to nearby galaxies as one of the first steps in establishing the cosmic distance scale. As RS Pup pulsates over a period of about 40 days, its regular changes in brightness are also seen along the nebula delayed in time, effectively a light echo. Using measurements of the time delay and angular size of the nebula, the known speed of light allows astronomers to geometrically determine the distance to RS Pup to be 6,500 light-years, with a remarkably small error of plus or minus 90 light-years. An impressive achievement for stellar astronomy, the echo-measured distance also more accurately establishes the true brightness of RS Pup, and by extension other Cepheid stars, improving the knowledge of distances to galaxies beyond the Milky Way. The above image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and digitally processed by a volunteer.

South Berkeley street scenes: Front porch shots


Drawn to the front door by a shrill mechanical whining, we beheld a crew of trimmers feeding as shredder to make tree puree out of branches whacked off by cherrypicker-bucket-riding chainsaw-wielders working their way along the block.

But what caught our eye more lastingly was a play of light and shadow cast by the radically thinned trees.

First, as the shadows initially caught our eye. . .

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f3.3

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/500 sec, f3.3

Then the cherrypicker moved on and we we able to catch the shadow from first a horizontal perspective. . .

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/400 sec, f4.9

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 8.5 mm, 1/400 sec, f4.9

And then a vertical. . .

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 12.5 mm, 1/200 sec, f5

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 12.5 mm, 1/200 sec, f5

Then, with a click of a button, a black and white image.

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/200 sec, f4.9

9 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/200 sec, f4.9

Finally, for architectural and technicolor relief, a small detail of a building across the street. . .

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.3

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.3

Berkeley street scenes: Two blocks on Shattuck


Looking for textures en route to pizza and brew with a friend at Jupiter.

First up, a corner encased in a rubberized sidewalk.

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.3

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.3

Lines and patterns on concrete street paving.

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 16.1 mm, 1/640 sec, f5.2

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 16.1 mm, 1/640 sec, f5.2

A grill, intruding on sidewalk.

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/250 sec, f4.9

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/250 sec, f4.9

And the rubberized sidewalk, with vestiges of paint.

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 35.6 mm, 1/2000 sec, f5.5

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 35.6 mm, 1/2000 sec, f5.5

Shadows on a tiled wall.

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 9.7 mm, 1/500 sec, f4.6

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 9.7 mm, 1/500 sec, f4.6

And leafy shadows on a concrete sidewalk.

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.3

4 September 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 20.6 mm, 1/200 sec, f5.3

Images of the day: A pair of failing protostars


The first one, taken by the venerable Hubble Telescope, is from Astronomy Picture of the Day and depicts the object know to astronomers as IRAS 20324+4057, a failed attempt to create a new star that was derailed by strong interstellar winds:

IRAS 20324+4057

IRAS 20324+4057

Our second failing star is French President François Hollande, snapped for his annual back-to-school “press availability.” As The Independent notes, “Agence France Presse (AFP), the French press agency, has been forced to deny charges of self-censorship after attempting to withdraw” the image. Rather than political pressure, AFP says, it was their own policy of “not to transmit images that gratuitously ridicule people.”

François “What? Me Worry?” Hollande

François “What? Me Worry?” Hollande

South Berkeley street scenes: Going postal II


Some final images from our morning stroll to the post office. . .

Slap tags, adorning the backs of parking signs

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 31.3 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 31.3 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

More slap tags, adorning the backs of another parking sign

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 25.9 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 25.9 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

Still more slap tags, adorning the backs of still another parking sign

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 12.5 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 12.5 mm, 1/250 sec, f5.4

Unlike those marvelous chimneys of Venice, but a chimney nonetheless

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 30.6 mm, 1/640 sec, f5.3

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 30.6 mm, 1/640 sec, f5.3

And another chimney. . .

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/500 sec, f3.9

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 6.9 mm, 1/500 sec, f3.9

And yet another chimney. . .

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 14.2 mm, 1/1300 sec, f5.1

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 14.2 mm, 1/1300 sec, f5.1

And for our final image, a vanishing pedestrian [right]

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/200 sec, f4.9

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 11.7 mm, 1/200 sec, f4.9

South Berkeley street scenes: Going postal


Images capture don the way to and from mailing bills this morning.

A freshly painted sidewalk, somehow Jaggeresque

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/800 sec, f3.3

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/800 sec, f3.3

Wall tags

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f3.3

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f3.3

Crossing stripes

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 10.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f4.7

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 10.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f4.7

Mondrian streetscape?

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/1600 sec, f3.3

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 4.3 mm, 1/1600 sec, f3.3

Two tags, one of them legal

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 125, 10.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f4.7

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 125, 10.3 mm, 1/2000 sec, f4.7

Well-tagged newsracks

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 13.3 mm, 1/800 sec, f5

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 13.3 mm, 1/800 sec, f5

And high above it all, a mocking bird

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 62.5 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.9

31 August 2013, Panasonic DMZ-ZS19, ISO 100, 62.5 mm, 1/500 sec, f5.9