Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Published At Last


Today I finally uploaded the iBook for the iPad about the Viola that John made. Now that iTunes has it, it shouldn’t be too long before it’s available through iBooks.

Another Camera

In addition to publishing my book, today I picked up this Panasonic Lumix FZ5 camera that I saw for sale on craigslist. It adds extra capabilities for a few more tricks to pull out of my photo magic hat.

It takes nice macro shots that are similar to my other cameras. It also can capture certain shades of red and blue that are sometimes difficult to get with TZ1 and TZ3 models.

As you can see here it takes nice wide angle shots, but it also has quite a powerful telephoto lens capability. The next picture is taken from the same spot.

These apartments are up on the hill behind the bridge in the previous image.

I put a bunch of pictures from the new camera in a slideshow. I also include a few pictures from the TZ3 for comparison. You can easily see the difference. The TZ3 picture quality is superior to the FZ5, but the new camera has its own set of features to add to my picture taking adventures.

Tuesday Evening Moon

I do like this picture of the moon that I took with the new camera. I’m still learning how to use it. For example; the first pictures I took with it, (about 175), I couldn’t understand why it didn’t focus on some things.

When I loaded the pictures into the computer and saw how many were out of focus, I started reading the operators manual. What a surprise! There is a focus button on the camera that I didn’t know was there.

This was a day of learning, correcting mistakes, and achieving satisfying results. Which leads me to today’s video which ties in with the iBook for the iPad, published today on iTunes, ( From Kindling To Concert - The making of a John Harrison Viola ).

John recently finished making a new cello. I happened to be in the shop when he was taking a few moments to see how it sounded and played. This gave me an opportunity to capture a moment on video of John, happily achieving satisfactory results.

Today’s Relative Video;

Sounds Of Satisfaction

Monday, May 28, 2012

Think Big

Really Big

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the spiral galaxy known as ESO 498-G5. One interesting feature of this galaxy is that its spiral arms wind all the way into the center, so that ESO 498-G5's core looks like a bit like a miniature spiral galaxy. This sort of structure is in contrast to the elliptical star-filled centers (or bulges) of many other spiral galaxies, which instead appear as glowing masses.

Astronomers refer to the distinctive spiral-like bulge of galaxies such as ESO 498-G5 as disc-type bulges, or pseudobulges, while bright elliptical centers are called classical bulges. Observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, which does not have to contend with the distorting effects of Earth's atmosphere, have helped to reveal that these two different types of galactic centers exist. These observations have also shown that star formation is still going on in disc-type bulges and has ceased in classical bulges. This means that galaxies can be a bit like Russian matryoshka dolls: classical bulges look much like a miniature version of an elliptical galaxy, embedded in the center of a spiral, while disc-type bulges look like a second, smaller spiral galaxy located at the heart of the first — a spiral within a spiral.

ESO 498-G5 is located around 100 million light-years away in the constellation of Pyxis (The Compass). This image is made up of exposures in visible and infrared light taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The field of view is approximately 3.3 by 1.6 arcminutes. Full story at NASA

Smaller Subjects

You might recall in yesterday’s blog I showed a picture of a mystery bug and decided to send the picture to What’s That Bug to find out what it was.

This morning, I got an answer from and they said;

Hi Phil,
This is an immature Scudder's Bush Katydid in the genus Scudderia, and members of the genus are found throughout North America.  You can compare your photo to this image from BugGuide.  This species is quite common in the garden outside our Mt Washington, Los Angeles offices.  Katydids feed on leaves and blossoms and the Scudder's Bush Katydids seem quite fond of the blossoms on the rose bushes in our garden.  They are never plentiful enough to do any major damage, and we are content to allow them to feed and grow.  Just last week we photographed another Katydid nymph in our garden, and we believe it is a Broad Winged Katydid  

You can see the letter I sent, my Scudderia picture, their Katydid pictures, and further information HERE.

While out back, looking at Dorothy’s garden today, this Scudders Bush Katydid nymph was kind enough to be perched on one of the lilies that I photographed. How convenient. I can show it here to illustrate my latest educational adventure in bugdom terminology.

This brightly colored ‘driveway’ rose caught the light, and my attention, from yards away.

I took pictures before and after the Treehouse Cabaret Monday Afternoon Music Fest. It was convenient because some of the flowers that were unlit by the sun before were fully lit after the music.

I feel really fortunate to have all these beautiful flowers and gardens to take pictures of on days like today when it’s a bit too hazy for clear images of the surrounding landscape and mountains.

I like the blue color of these little flowers that were growing in Diane’s garden, behind, ‘A’ building.

And, on the theme of galaxies within galaxies, I noticed these flowers within the flower of this blooming onion;

I put more of my pictures from today on the HappyPhil 500pix page and you’re welcome to go there to see them.

500px uses a high resolution format in which I like to show images. There are some very good photographers who display their work there.

That’s all for today. I hope you had an enjoyable, and memorable Memorial Day weekend.

Today’s Video;

Infinite Possibilities

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Further Thoughts

This Memorial Weekend

Here I am. Your well-dressed intrepid reporter. I observe and report. That seems to be my purpose in this life. I certainly get a lot of satisfaction from doing so.

Allow me to share some of the beautiful sites I observed and photographed today around Treehouse.

It is a beautiful Sunday here in Redding on this Memorial Day weekend. I’m sure that the campgrounds and marinas on the lakes are the busiest they’ve been all year.

I keep finding beautiful things to photograph right here at Treehouse, so I really haven’t gone to see the lakes or the river today.

I took out some trash. While I was by the dumpsters, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful colors radiating from the rose bushes across the parking lot.

I couldn’t help but see photo compositions, and I was fortunate enough to have my camera with me, so I had a chance to share these beautiful sites with you.

As long as I was outside I took a stroll around behind ‘A’ building to see what new lilies were blooming in Dorothy’s garden.

There were a lot of new yellow ones and one new red one.

One of the fun things I find in collecting pictures of flowers, is looking at them closely on the computer once I get back and load the images from the camera.

Like this pair of yellow lilies. When I got back to the computer, I saw another one of those odd green bugs with the long antenna.

Here is a closer look at the bug. I don’t know what kind it is, but it has been showing up on flowers just about anywhere around the Treehouse. Mostly though I see it in Dorothy’s garden.

I guess if I’m really interested, I could send the picture to the ‘what’s that bug’ website and find out. (So I did send 3 pix of the bug to What’s That Bug? just moments ago)

Some people have garden gnomes. Dorothy has garden owls.

I will let you know what kind of bug that mystery bug is when I hear back from What’s That Bug?  After all that’s part of what I do, observe and report.

This morning the fruit on my cereal met the lettuce that grows on my counter. I’m sure they got along famously before I consumed the fruit.

I liked the meeting because it was a great photo op. In fact, if there is a photography contest category for fresh fruit meets growing lettuce, I might even consider submitting this picture.

Today’s Video Yarn;

Knit 2, Purl 1

Pass The Ketchup

While I Catch Up

There are barbeque's a plenty this Memorial Day weekend. I figured the catsup joke would be timely. I have been falling behind on posting new blogs while marching ahead with picture taking. Thankfully there is Flickr to assist in getting blog and pictures in sync on the Phil’s Place timeline.

Here is another collection of recent images that I have uploaded to Flickr. I can’t resist utilizing their wonderful embedded slideshow feature. Don’t hesitate to click on the full screen button once it starts playing. The results are stunning.

This Saturday began with my usual bowl of cereal and a little fresh fruit on top.

I put on a nice shirt and slacks. “What’s the matter with these socks”?

This is another Memorial Day Weekend. Time to honor dead soldiers on both sides of the battles. They all died for honor, God and country.

One of the first Memorial Day celebrations occurred in in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866. A group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh, where the graves were neglected because they were the enemy.

Reflections on the roof of the Buick

Around the same time, a group of women in the north were putting flowers on the graves of their sons and husbands and they noticed that the graves of the southern men and boys were bare. They put flowers on those graves too.

This practice caught on with the women of both north and south and they combined the existing May Day celebrations by placing May flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. Some of the women began to petition the government to declare a day to honor those who died in battle.

Saturday Sunset - Lumix TZ3

A general’s wife, and personal friend of several congressmen, finally persuaded the men to create a national memorial day.

If you read the current versions of history, you would be led to believe that it was men who came up with the idea.

Saturday Sunset - iPod Touch

The Daylilies are making a return engagement in Dorothy's garden. Look for a lot of lily pictures here on this blog over the next month.

Fuzzy cactus babes are seen here letting their hair blow in the wind.

We had an intense, howling, huffing and puffing wind storm Thursday afternoon and into the night. I was getting ready to read a book with the ambient atmosphere, but by the time I got organized the wind disappeared. Poof! It was like it had a 10:00pm curfew. At ten, it simply stopped.

John is extremely pleased with his new cello. It is truly a beautifully crafted classic style work of art. Most importantly, it will respond and produce the sound, timbre, and mood altering tones that professional cellists require from their instrument.

Today’s New Tech Video;


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Terrific Weather

For Appreciation

The morning of May 21st, (my birthday). I stepped out on the balcony and saw this quail standing guard in the parking lot while his mate was rooting about in the shrubs along the curb. He didn’t seem to mind me taking his picture, so I did.

Peggy Richardson, Kathern Sherwood, and Me

It was a nice day for music Monday, and there was cake and ice cream for all on my birthday. Neighbor, and Monday music regular, Jackie, baked a special cake that was so good not a single piece was left over.

I would like to thank all the nice people who sent me cards and kind wishes for my birthday.

67 trips around the sun, so far.

This week has also been a beautiful present for everyone here in Redding.

The weather has been wonderful for flowers, and images of flowers that capture the light, colors, and mood.

Nature is providing beautiful working conditions for the carpenters who came to refurbish our balconies this week.

Here is a little slideshow of the past few days.

As usual, we have our picture postcard views of the surrounding mountains to keep our sense of awe and wonder engaged. The view of MT Lassen was particularly inspiring throughout the day, today.

I Get A New Fan

There were fans on sale at Big Lots, and since my bedroom gets warm at night without running the A/C, I figured I might keep it cool with a fan. I close the doors to the bedroom so I don’t have to hear the refrigerator or the buildings A/C running when I am trying to sleep. This also prevents cross ventilation, so even if it’s relatively cool outside, opening the window is rendered ineffective for bringing fresh air into the room.

I could run the A/C but it also cools the parts of the apartment I am not using when sleeping, so it is wasting energy as well as money when I use it to cool the bedroom at night.

So, I bring you; The Fan.

Today’s Cool Video;

It Was A Breeze

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day Of The Eclipse

And Other Objects Of Wonder

Printing App

I have been exploring a few of the Apps that I downloaded the other night onto the iPod Touch. One was from Epson to expand the use of my printer for iOS devices.

I tried the (free) Epson app, and it is really nice. The iPod communicates wirelessly to the printer, and the App provides easy ways to gather printable material from anywhere on my iPod.

Movie App

I also tried one of the movie Apps that I downloaded. Great Movies Free, from It provides a vast library of movies that stream smoothly to the iPod, and look brilliant in HD. There are some commercials before the movie, but no interruptions during the show, (except for me putting it on pause every now and then while I go off and do other things).

Scroll down the browse page to get these

The best way to use any of the movie Apps is to search using the ‘browse’ function. Then you can search by genre, title, subject, actor, or director's name to find a movie you really want to watch. (The ‘Featured’ and ‘Most Popular’ movies are probably more appreciated by teenagers).

I found this little gem among the ‘Film School Originals;

The iPod Cam vs Lumix TZ3
iPod image collage

I used Pic Collage for the iPod pictures, and Picture Collage Maker Lite on the MacBook for the Lumix images. They both do much more than I used them for here, but my intent was to see the picture collections as plainly as possible. I intend to explore Picture Collage Maker for future projects. It does much more than put 3 pictures on the same page. It has a wide selection of borders, masks, and photo manipulation tools. In addition, there are hundreds of collage templates one may use to address all purposes and occasions, for those who who seek a quick, nicely laid out, design.

Lumix image collage

I am still experimenting with the little iPod camera, to find out where the ‘sweet spots’ are for focus and lighting. The two above images are one of the ways to help me gain the knowledge of the iPod camera’s good points by comparison. That way I can use it more effectively.

The iPod Touch has a fixed lens, so anything closer than 2 feet tends to be blurry on the main camera. It does have a feature that lets you change the lighting and white balance of a subject, and that helps.

I didn’t touch up, or edit the shots, because that would be misleading, and would take me down a path that would not lead me to good quality, natural photos.

On To The Eclipse

The Lumix TZ3 with an ersatz filter made from the one lens of what once was a pair of solar eclipse glasses. I set up on the second floor stairwell landing just outside my apartment.

One of my neighbors learns the trick of making eclipse dapples.

It’s a variation on the pinhole camera. The image is the reverse of the eclipse, produced in the light that gets focused through the spaces between your crossed fingers.

Here you see the image of the eclipse displayed on the back of the Lumix camera. You can also see the reflection of the iPod Touch, (the camera taking this picture), and my bare, old guy, legs.

The Main Event

Today’s Video;

Mooning Over The Sun