Thursday, September 11, 2008

Time for a bigger Lens!

So just when I was beginning to come to grips with my camera equipment, what it can do, what it can't, and what I can['t] afford, this guy comes and plops down on my neighbors roof and start munching on what I believe to be a fuzzy rabbit.

Taken with my Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6 fully extended to 300mm, which is a Canon XTi equivelant of 480mm. 1/3 sec exposure at ISO 200. The tripod and remote trigger where an absolute must. After much tweaking in Adobe Lightroom, this is about the best I can come up with. The chomatic aboritions were absolutely aweful. I suppose the overcast dusk sky didn't help though. I wanted to expose enough to bring out the color in the bird, which resulted in a crazy bright sky, which in turn make the aboritions worse. Oh well. I'm just really glad that I live in an area where photo opportunities like these present themselves, and of course wanted to share with all of you. I probably took about 70+ photos of him sitting there, more than half were junk due to him moving around and my slow shutter speed. I didn't want to boost the ISO any more since I know I'd be blowing up the photo, and was trying to keep noise to a minimum. Perhaps I'll process a few more pics a little later and put them up on picasa for you to view.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Writers Block?

I know, its been some time since I posted to this blog. Okay its been a long time, almost two months. I don't really have many excuses. Mostly I just haven't had a lot to say. Life has been a lot of the same, go to work during the week, relax on the weekends. Cycling has been sliding, and I haven't ridden to work in a while. Mostly due to the shortening of daylight hours I think. My body has a hard time getting up before the sun does. I can't say I enjoy ridding in the dark either. I have, however, finally acquired a mountain bike though. I've gone on 5 rides thus far, and can ?proudly? say that I've drawn blood on every single one of them. Amusingly, when I ride with friends they tell me that if you don't fall at least once, you aren't riding hard enough. Well, I've got that covered. Mountain biking is worlds harder than I had ever imagined it being. Mostly due to loose rocks, and terrain so steep, its hard to keep the front wheel on the ground. I'm getting the hang of it though, and slowly but surely getting better. My last ride was the first time I didn't actually go over my handlebars. LOL.

Of interesting note though, I have managed to enroll myself in an Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) study. My first "trial" occurs at the end of this week. It consists of a baseline study at local altitude, and then I get to spend 14+ hours in a pressure chamber simulating the atmospheric equivalent of 16,000 feet. I already know that I get sick at altitudes of 14,000 feet from the time I spent at Long's Peak earlier this summer. I wouldn't call it severe, but it was certainly noticeable, so we'll see what adding another 2,000 feet does to me. There are 3 different sessions of this, that include things like MRI's and bike pedaling, and cognitive testing. Each time I'll also take either a medication used to combat the symptoms of AMS or a placebo. Only the prescribing Dr. will know which (the people running the tests will not). This is the first study I've ever been in, but I find the topic pretty cool, as well as the stuff the use for the tests. I've already been in for an initial screening, which involved a VO2 max test. I've always wanted one of those, but not really willing to pay $200 to have one done at a sports med place. I should hopefully find out the results when I go in later this weeks. The person administering it seemed impressed, so I guess I was at least above average.

In other news, I'm scheduled to visit Antarctica again later this fall. Unfortunately, I won't be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family as my current deployment dates have me leaving November 18th and returning December 21st. This time I'll be traveling to LA, California, and then driving to Port Hueneme, where a fellow co-worker and I will be evaluating system at our small office there. Almost all cargo destined for "the ice" (as we like to say) pretty much goes through the port. Hopefully I'll get to drive up route 1 (pacific coast highway) to get there, provided time allows. After spending a day there, we then take the long flight down to Australia/New Zealand, where final destination will be Christchurch, NZ. We'll spend some time there, getting gear issued and recovering from jet leg, before we board a C-17 for the flight to McMurdo Station. If the weather is good, we'll land, otherwise we 'boomerang' back to Christchurch and try again later. Once at McMurdo we'll spend time looking at the systems there, and then take a flight on an LC-130 to South Pole station. Spend a few days there, and then make the journey back to Christchurch. Unfortunately, it sounds like we'll also be taking an LC-130 from McMurdo back to Christchurch. I've heard its a bit miserable due to loud noise and the much longer (~2x) duration of the flight. Oh well. Once back in Christchurch well spend some time looking at the computer systems there, and I hope, taking in some of the sights of the south island as well. After all that, I get to come home in time for Christmas with the family.

So that's pretty much been going on for the last 2 months. I hope to come up with some good things to post about in the future, but no guarantees. I imagine the next thing you have to look forward to is find out how I react to 16,000 feet of altitude. I was thinking of bringing my video camera, and recording how messed up I get. We'll see. ;)