Monday, July 27, 2009

Lighting photos and star shots

Two days ago we had a pretty spectacular light show. I've taken photos before of the light show and they've turned out pretty good. But I couldn't take a decent lightning strike if my life depended on it. Check out this example:

See the lightning? Yeah, it over on the far right hand of the picture. I was taking 30 second exposures and I was just not getting the shot. The camera was taking around 30 seconds to process the image. Literally, the shutter would click and a bolt of lighting would strike right in the middle of my frame! AAARRRGGHH!!! In this case I got something, but it was not in the frame of view. The photos were blurry with lots of noise. Very disappointing. I probably spent two hours trying to grab a shot.

So I started doing the bulb thing (holding the shutter open until I got a strike) and that still wasn't getting what I wanted. Here's another lame photo:

The sky was getting lit up by lightning, but nothing was getting captured in the frame.

Overall, disappointing. I guess I keep trying.

I also tried my hand at the stary night. This one is probably my best one. Notice the aircraft flying past my field of view:

This photo should be rotated 90 degrees, but I don't know how to do that. So here it is. Hopefully you can see something.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 years ago man stepped on the moon

Hard to believe that 40 years ago man's first steps on the moon happened. And just a few lunar missions and a few chosen men have had the privilege to walk on a different planet. 40 years later, we really haven't done much in the way of space exploration. Funding for the lunar missions died out. And the best that we've got now is a taxi service to a multi-billion dollar lab in low earth orbit. Its been about 37 years since we've been to the moon. Almost like, "Been there, done that. Next!"

I don't know what the future of space exploration will be. Congress will probably trash the next rocket series and scuttle any further projects to the moon. In all reality, the Chinese will probably be the next humans up there. Maybe they'll outsource some of their space and science projects to some hungry American scientists. But then again, maybe not. Countries learn by doing it themselves than letting someone else do it for them. That is how America became so great.

I have two wishes/dreams in my life. 1.) I wish I was old enough to remember the Apollo 11 and 13 space missions. But I was too young. I barely remember one, maybe two Apollo missions. 2.) I wish I could have been one of the 12 astronauts that walked on the surface of the moon. What an utter thrill that would have been. I would have taken a bazillion photos and stored as much moon rock and dirt as I could physically handle.

Hats off to NASA for the major accomplishment they made 40 years ago. My Garmin Forerunner 50 has more computing power than all the space vehicles put together. And hats off to the all the astronauts that had the guts to strap themselves on top of a 363 foot rocket with nearly 6+ million pounds of propellant hooked on to their back sides. You can't say you wouldn't be a little worried if you had 5 million pounds of kerosene below you waiting to blow you to little tiny bits. (5 million pounds of kerosene is approximately 625,000 gallons. If you ran that in a diesel car that got 40 miles to the gallon, you would be able to travel 25,000,000 miles with that much fuel...... Instead, it was all burned up in about 168 seconds to travel a total distance of about 72 miles. That's about 0.0001152 miles to a gallon..... :-D )