Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Thought I would Share This

Photogenic Day

On the gravel bank of the Sacramento river. 1/31/10

I went out and took some pictures with my new/used Lumix TZ1 and my regular Sanyo T1060. It was a nice day.

Railroad bridge reflecting on Buick. 1/31/10

See today's photos, HERE and HERE.

There were lots of people out enjoying the break from the rain on this last day of January, 2010.

Some of them can be seen
walking on the Sundial bridge.
Sundial bridge on the Sacramento river. 1/31/10

Cant see them?

I will just use the 10x optical zoom.

pictures shot from the same spot.


Just a wonderful day to remind me of how blessed I am to be able to appreciate the joy and beauty of God's glorious universe.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Put A little Love In Your Heart

It Feels Good To Smile

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2 Posts On The Same Day

More Is Great

Mount Lassen gets TZ1 photographed. 1/27/10

It was Shasta in the morning, and Lassen as the sun was setting. I took pictures of Lassen when I returned from playing songs with the band at John's violin shop. It looked good as it was being lit by the low angle of the sunlight.

I went inside to see how the pictures looked on my computer and they were great. I picked up the camera and tripod and went to the dumpster on the east side of building A. It is one of the good spots for Lassen pictures.

First A Wide Shot

Wide shot of moon and Mount Lassen from the dumpster.

While I was there,
I took close ups of the moon and Lassen to help demonstrate the power of the 10x zoom.

I also put these pictures in a Picasa web-album, HERE, should you wish to see them with greater resolution.

Lassen as evening shadows cross the valley below.

The State of The Union

President Barack Obama delivers 2010 address.

I liked what I heard.

If half of
what he proposed gets done, we will be doing great.

The republicans stubbornly continue to be slaves to their corporate masters.

It's all part of life
in these here United States.

Happy to be living in the U.S.A.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Living In The U.S.A. - Steve Miller

It Just Gets Better

How Far Will I Go

To Get The Picture?

Shasta Lake overlook.

This morning was the time to get a picture of Mount Shasta. I drove up to one of my favorite photo spots to capture Mount Shasta between the storms, and the window of opportunity was open with photogenic arms.

There were other people who came to see and photograph the volcano on this first clear morning in weeks, including a photographer from channel 7 news. I mentioned that this was my first opportunity to try out the 10x optical zoom, Leica lens on the camera I got two weeks ago just for this purpose. He seemed to know what I was talking about, and we happily went about trying to capture the magic and feel of what we were fortunate enough to be observing.

Mount Shasta at 10x optical zoom, 1/500 Not enhanced.

I tried two different basic camera settings; "Scenery", and "Snow".

One used 1/400 sec
, and the other 1/500.

I forgot to add the audio note to each picture that would remind me what setting it was which. Next time, maybe.

Setting up Mount Lassen photo shoot.

I put today's experiment on line, HERE, so you can view the pictures in better quality.

TZ1 wide angle.

TZ1 zoom. 1/400 sec (Photo adjusted w/ iPhoto editor)

The iPad Is Here

The iBook store on the iPad.

These guys are good! The new "does everything" device was unveiled today by Apple.

It's what most people need
to do the stuff they try to do with their computers.

This thing does it all with the touch of your fingertips.

This is what most people will soon be using instead of cumbersome computers.

You can hold this
and read the news with your morning coffee.

I know some people for whom this will be perfect.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

I Can See Clearly - Ray Charles


Sunday, January 24, 2010

For Best Results

Get Pithy With It
A plug from an appealing citrus delight. 1/24/10

The white stuff on the inside of an orange is called the pith.

It contains most
of the vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

It contains fiber, too.

Cats Paw

Cats paw and lots of stars. ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

ESO has just released a stunning new image of the vast cloud known as the Cat’s Paw Nebula or NGC 6334. This complex region of gas and dust, where numerous massive stars are born, lies near the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, and is heavily obscured by intervening dust clouds.

NGC 6334 lies about 5500 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion).

I'm not sure
if the Cats Paw picture qualifies as pithy, but it is concise and colorful.

Pith Helmet

The pith helmet (also known as the safari helmet, sun helmet, topee, sola topee, salacot or topi[1]) is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of cork or pith (typically pith from the sola Indian swamp growth, Aeschynomene aspera; or A. paludosa, or a similar plant).[2] Designed to shade the wearer's head and face from the sun, pith helmets were once often worn by Westerners in the tropics, but have also been used in other contexts.

Now I know why
they are called "pith" helmets.

They are made out of pith!

Orange ewe glad 2 no that?

Outside Raley's

Thanks to Wiener-guy, Chris, for taking this picture. 1/24/10

What a treat.
I needed an orange for today's blog post, so I went over to Raley's to get one. Parked in front of the store was the wienermobile. It was a nice way to brighten a rainy day. One of the Wienerpeople that were with the whimsical weenie on wheels was willing to wield my camera for a snapshot.

I even got a wienie whistle!

Most of the people I talked to at the store, seemed to be happy and cheerful. I am guessing that the wienermobile had something to do with the smiling faces.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Wiener

Light Hearted

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sing It Baby

Sweet Harmony
A. aegypti mosquito

Excerpt from a Live Science article.

Mosquito duets

Ronald Hoy of Cornell University in New York and his colleagues tethered individual A. aegypti mosquitoes to the ends of insect pins and recorded wing-flapping frequencies. Mosquitoes produce their signature buzzes by flapping their wings at different speeds per second.

The male's wing-beat frequency (also called its fundamental frequency) ranged from about 550 to 650 Hertz while the female's ranged from 350 to 450 Hz (or wing beats per second).

When a tethered female mosquito was moved past a stationary male, the wing-flapping frequencies, and thus the buzzing sounds, changed a tiny bit, the researchers observed.

In nearly 70 percent of the pairs, both mosquitoes adjusted their wing-flapping speeds (fundamental frequency) so that their so-called harmonics matched up in a particular way. A harmonic is a multiple of a fundamental frequency. So the second harmonic of 430 Hz would be 860 Hz.

Basically, any time a mosquito buzzes, it generates a fundamental tone based on wing beats per second. But in addition to that dominant "buzz," harmonics are naturally generated. The same happens when a musician strikes a key on a piano or strums a chord on a guitar.

The A. aegypti mosquitoes changed their wing-flapping so that the male's second harmonic (two times its wing-beat frequency) matched the female's third harmonic. The result was a kind of mating duet of around 1,200 Hz.

Other tests of the mosquitoes' "ears," called the Johnston's organ, revealed the whining insects can detect frequencies at least as high as 2,000 Hz. Until now, scientists thought a male mosquito's hearing range went from about 300 to 800 Hz.

Choosy females

The researchers speculate this tone-matching is a form of sexual selection in which the females are testing the male's fitness before mating.

"We think what the females are doing is saying, 'Can you match this harmonic, and how fast does it take you to match it?'" Hoy told LiveScience. "If the male is slow or doesn't match it, she'll just fly away."

I have heard wolves, coyotes, owls, and songbirds harmonize as part of the mating ritual, so I am not surprised.

I have also heard recordings of whales, dolphins, and even fish singing love songs in harmony.

After all, what would mating be without love songs?

I Can See Mars, Again

Mars has not been visible for over a year.

In a long anticipated, return engagement on January 29, (mark your calendar), Mars will be in opposition, (when it will appear to rise at sunset and set at sunrise and will be visible all night). As a bonus, on opposition night, the Moon, just hours before officially turning full, will sit well off to the right of Mars as they climb the early evening eastern sky.

The Mars e-mail hoax
It wont look like this

This is from;

"Over the past six years, people have received an e-mail titled "Mars Spectacular" which has circulated widely on the Internet from an anonymous source. In turn, this message has ended up being passed along to others who simply couldn't resist forwarding it to their entire address book; a snowball rolling down a hill is a good analogy.

This e-mail declares that on Aug. 27, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has in the past 60,000 years, thereby offering spectacular views of the Red Planet. The commentary even proclaims, with liberal use of exclamation marks, that Mars will appear as bright as (or as large as) the full Moon.

The problem is that "Aug. 27" actually refers to Aug. 27, 2003. Mars did indeed make a historically close pass by Earth on that night. But, to the naked eye Mars merely appeared like a brilliant yellowish-orange star, certainly not anything like the full Moon!

This Mars e-mail is totally bogus. Yet it now seems that every year in the late spring or summer, this "Mars chain letter" gets revived."

So there you have it. Like the email with Obama's head photoshopped onto a guy at a party with the White House gatecrashers, not all information in emails is true.

You can always check whether it is true at

Many of these emails encourage forwarding, (Send this to 10 people in the next 5 minutes and God will let you into Heaven). They are meant to gather working email addresses that can be sold to spammers.

You don't have a wealthy uncle that has left a million dollars for you at a bank in the Bahamas. And if you did, you would not need to send money to get it.

Wall Of Sound

Grouping of old instruments at John's shop. 1/22/10

More experimentation
with the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 camera.

This time it was to see the difference indoors, with and without a flash.

You can see
the results for yourself, HERE.

Going Up?

Except for a leveling off
between the 1940s and 1970s, Earth's surface temperatures have increased since 1880. The last decade has brought the temperatures to the highest levels ever recorded.

What about this cold winter here?

Many Americans act
like the contiguous United States is the center of the universe, but we only account for a tiny 1.5 percent of the world area, so the U.S. temperature does not affect the global temperature much. There is another 98.5 percent out there. We really need to get over our inflated sense of self importance and open our eyes to the bigger picture.

It's a big planet
, and it's home to all earthly life. A lot of earths lifeforms are being driven to extinction by the actions of us humans. If we can reduce our air pollution, we might even prevent our own extinction.

So who would object
to clean air and the saving of lives?

Koch Industries is
the source of all the anti global warming propaganda. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to protect their fossil fuel conglomerate profits.

All Agog For Apple

Will the Apple tablet look like this?

The rumors surrounding
the January 27th unveiling of the new, game changing, Apple iTablet, (or, iSlate, iBook, iPad, etc.), include some innovative, and fun guesses. Some are saying it will have face recognition, so it will know who is using it, and automatically log them in. Great for the Family, or roommates. LINK.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree - Glenn Miller

Knowledge Helps

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Closer Look


John images. Sanyo (left), Lumix (right). 1/20/10

I brought both cameras to rehearsal at Johns violin shop today. We passed the Sanyo around and took pictures, then after a few songs, we passed the Lumix around so there would be comparative images.

John, Mark and Phil. Sanyo, (top). Lumix, (bottom).

I got the Lumix primarily
to improve my pictures of Mt. Shasta, and the moon. Since I got it, I haven't been able to see either. We have been having some welcome rain. I have discovered that it, the Lumix TZ1, has some desirable qualities indoors, too.

For Best Resolution...

The Sanyo T1060 photos
are HERE.
The Lumix TZ1 photos are HERE.

Acoustic Electric Juxtaposition

John at rehearsal. 1/20/10

Smiling Centerfold Wins
Scott Brown, is now a Senator from Massachusetts.

Serious Attorney General Loses

Martha Coakly, Massachusetts Attorney General

If you put a no-nonsense prosecutor up against a photogenic playboy in this day and age of people watching Fox "news" and "reality" TV shows, it's not too hard to guess who would be the winner. This latest election speaks volumes about the television watching voters, and overlooks the actual qualifications that used to be required of a United States Senator. The humorless, but qualified, lady didn't stand a chance. Scott Brown even has a daughter that was on American Idol. That alone would make him a shoo-in.

This is a
as you
see, if
Hello?........ Here's looking at you.

Garie and I
have been trying to get her webcam to do video chat with me on Google Chat for about a month to no avail. Last night I checked out Skype to see if that would do the job. Garie's daughter, Lea, helped her set up skype on her PC, and today we had a successful chat without typing and we had video too. It was fun, and it's free.

The Apple Tablet?

Artists rendition of possible Apple tablet.


That's when Steve Jobs
will present the new 'everything' device. I have been following this development closely. This could be the perfect thing for my friends who are stuck with their PC's sitting on a desk in one room.

Pictures, movies, books
, email, VIDEO CHAT, music, the internet, a phone, a camera that shows your pictures right there on a 10 - 11 inch screen. Virtual keyboards for typing or composing music, clock, calendar, news papers, (I was just reading about this in the Wall Street Journal on my Macbook), television, and more.

All these things
in a device you can carry with you and use anywhere, without wires.

No technical computer headaches. No big clunky boxes, wires, keyboards, mice. Just a flat little tablet designed by Apple, so you know it will "just work". Nothing to figure out, simply use it.

I look forward
to the reviews once it is released. ( Did I mention that there are applications you can get to monitor your health and keep track of your medical condition, appointments, medications, and vital statistics?)

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Lime In The Coconut - Harry Nilsson

It's All Relative

It's About Time

NFL Action

Image of Marian's TV taken with Lumix TZ1. 1/17/10

I am happy to find out that it isn't just me that feels like there is a lot of "not-playing-football" happening during NFL games lately. At first I thought it was just because the 49ers and Raiders have been playing so poorly that I might be losing interest, but it seems that someone took the time to find out what is actually happening during those 3 hour televised NFL football events.

I ran across a Science Talk
podcast quiz at Scientific, that dealt with action time during the 3 hour game. They sited a study from the Wall Street Journal;

"Analysis by the Wall Street Journal, finds that there’s only about 11 minutes of actual football action in a three hour telecast. Commercials take an hour. Replays take about about 17 minutes. That’s right, there’s more time on replays than on the actual plays. And 75 minutes is players…standing around."

Band-e-Amir National Park

Image from the Landsat-7 satellite. 10/22/02

Detail Using Hi-Res Image Zoom

Afghanistan from space.

How strange. This national park was established April 22, 2009, in the mountainous desert of central Afghanistan.

Check out the high resolution images of this and other earthly delights as seen from space, HERE.

Nano Drag Racer

Nano car with buckyball wheels.

It can go
0.014 millimeters (.0005 inches), per hour.

To watch the nanocar race,
you would need a
photoelectron microscope.

Diagram of photoelectron microscope.

Some of you may know I am fascinated by all things "Nano". You can read some of my previous blogs that include nano information, HERE.

Happy 90th Birthday

Marian next to table of pictures at La Strada, 1/17/10

My dear friend, mentor, inspiration, and piano player in the LMP Trio, successfully completed 90 trips around the sun last Sunday. Many of her friends and family came to La Strada restaurant for a birthday celebration luncheon.

I am honored to be a part of Marian's extraordinary world of friends.

Next month, Leona turns 90.

The LMP Trio

Leona, Marian, and Phil, (LMP), check our progress. 1/19/10

While I was in Richmond,
we did some more recording for our 15th CD.
It sounded good on the sound check.

At 64, I am just a "whipper snapper" in this band.

The "studio".

It's a wonderfully rainy day back here in Redding.
I was downtown a few minutes ago.
It was raining cats and dogs...
I almost stepped in a poodle.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Rainy Days and Mondays - Carpenters

Life Is Good

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's Very Clear

I Leica Lumix

For the past month, I was finding myself looking at cameras that had 10x - 12x optical zoom capability. The reason is the same as ever, my cameras have the basic 3x, which is good 90% of the time, but doesn't quite capture what I see when I look at the moon, or Mount Shasta. I was drawn to cameras in the stores, in the tech reviews, and, just in case, craigslist.

I looked at some of the new 10x - 12x cameras, and I could save up the money to buy one, but the quality of the lenses seemed poor for what I had in mind. I just knew, (had a feeling, an intuition), that what I wanted, would appear eventually.

Sure enough, when I looked at craigslist on Friday, there was a Panasonic Lumix TZ1 for sale. I Googled the camera model and found out it was produced in 2006 and was one of the first "mega zoom" digital cameras.

There are internet sites
for photographers where people post their pictures. You can select the model of camera you like, and look at images that have been taken with that camera.

One such place is HERE.

There are 15,552 photos on this site that were taken with the Lumix TZ1. I have looked at about 700 so far. I can tell at a glance, now, if an image was taken by one of these cameras. There is a certain quality that speaks to me when I look at the gradients of color, depth and detail that are captured by this Leica lens.


Photo by boy yniguez

Photo by Dale Shoup

Photo by Loes Meijs

I think you can see why I am happy to now have that lens to play with.

There's Just One Thing...

It didn't have the charger
and A/C adapter. I went to Best Buy and got something to charge the batteries, ( it came with 2).

The numbers matched and we shall see....
Happy Phil
Photo taken with Lumix TZ1 1/16/10

Okay, it works.
Now to have some fun with photography around the Treehouse.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Peace All Over The World - Playing For Change