Aug 222017

Looks like for once I made the right choice: yesterday after the eclipse I launched directly out of Mackay, Idaho, and headed south on 26/84. The traffic was heavy, but not so much so that it stopped things from moving at highway speeds and I managed to get home in about 4 hours. I didn’t take the shorter I-15 route because I figured it’d be swamped. I later heard that other folks who *did* take I-15 made decent time; it wasn’t too busy.

It looks like what happened was that everyone in eastern Idaho also assumed that I-15 yesterday would be a nightmare and decided to wait till today to head south. With the result that I-15 became the parking lot the media had promised, just a day late.

Note that the northbound lane is *empty.*

 Posted by at 7:36 pm
Aug 142017

This afternoon a “human caused” fire in the mountains blew up into an 800-acre wildfire. Somebody’s in a bit of trouble.

Photos taken from my place just after sundown began to unveil the fires, but were nevertheless unimpressive shots.

This dark blue unrevealing photo provides some more info with a little bit of “fade correction” added…

But more impressive photos were to be had by hopping in the car, driving closer and waiting for the sky to darken.

Photos after the break…

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 Posted by at 2:10 am
Aug 132017

Late Friday night I went outside to photograph the meteor shower and was presented with a sky full of clouds. While that’s terrible for meteors, it had compensations.

I wound up taking hundreds of shots of lightningbolts. Most were pretty meh, but some were pretty good. I’ve cropped and resized some of the better ones, a small batch after the break. Click to view.

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 Posted by at 10:14 am
Aug 012017

Nope, not a post about SJW’s screeching about an insufficiency of diversity in STEM fields. Instead… photography.


Your average modern decent camera has a white balance setting that allows you to choose from settings such as direct sunlight, incandescent lighting, fluorescent lighting, etc. The idea is that you can get photos that look right even if the lighting is off.

Trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s “right.” Below are four late-night panoramas. The two that look “bluish” use the “incandescent” setting; the apocalypse-orange ones use “sunlight.” The latter are the closest to real, I think, in that the clouds and skyglow are lit up by a vast number of sodium incandescent lights. When the white balance is set to “incandescent,” the horizontal panorama looks ok to me, but the vertical one… well, I’m torn. The bluish one kinda looks better (especially the horizon), but the orangish one captures the colors of the Milky Way better.


 Posted by at 2:35 pm
Jun 292017

So yesterday I wandered down to the WalMart in Perry to get some groceries. As I approached the front doors, a guy dashed out at a dead run, with a WalMart employee hot on his heels… but the employee basically stopped at the door. Seemed likely to me that it was a shoplifter. I didn’t feel bad about not going to chase the criminal down my own self. I wasn’t all that close, and the guy was *fast.* I’d’ve had trouble chasing him down in my car.

So, that over, I went into the store and did my shopping.

About fifteen minutes later I’m on my way out. As I approach the doors, a car zipped past the doors at an unreasonable rate of speed; following close behind it was a police SUV, lights and sirens going. I figured it was a speeder getting pulled over by the cops. Seemed odd to be that far into the WalMart parking lot, but oh well.  A moment later when I stepped outside, I looked off to the left and the car had pulled into a parking spot; the police SUV had pulled in behind it, boxing it in. As I was parked nowhere near that ongoing incident, I gave it no further thought.

I had no more than crossed across the “road” right in front of the WalMart entrance when the same guy I saw earlier went dashing back into the WalMart entrance. With the cop right behind him. Both were moving at speeds that made me feel real, real old.

OK, sez I, this might be worth watching. So I turned around to go back into the WalMart to see what might be going on in there. When I saw through the open doors the same guy yet again, heading towards the exit at a high rate of speed. But this time, before he got to the door the same WalMart employee I saw earlier intercepted him. It was a collision between someone small and fast against someone slow and quite a lot bigger. Speedy McShoplifter hit the ground and the cop was on him like white on rice. As I stood like a damnfool slackjawed toooorist in the WalMart entrance, the police officer managed to get the guy cuffed. That seemed to bring the festivities to an end, took the zip right out of the feller.

After more police showed up and  things settled down, I briefly spoke to the WalMart employee. My first bit to confirm was if that was indeed the same guy I saw earlier; turns out, yup, it was. The short story related to me was that he was indeed shoplifting and was chased out, then led the police on a merry chase around town… and then went back to the very same WalMart, apparently “looking for his girlfriend.”

I have the sneaking suspicion that interesting chemistry might be involved.

Because that’s what all the cool kids do these days, rather than making myself useful I took a few photos with my cell phone. Only one was any good, so here it is. There is almost certainly some interesting video of the incident… when the police officer grabbed the runner, a bodycam hit the floor. The WalMart employee I mentioned picked it up and held it afterwards, pointing it at the cop & the perp. That it came unglued when things got interesting is perhaps not a spectacular sign.

Shoplifters do not have my sympathy. Shoplifters who run back into the very store they just got chased out of? Yeahhh… what’s the *opposite* of sympathy?

 Posted by at 8:10 pm