Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunrise Photos

Well I still haven't completed the couple of photos I've been working on, though I may not get them finished. I'm far too much of a perfectionist, and as such I keep trashing the work I've done. I doubt I will be getting any more sunrise photos, as the sun is pretty high above the horizon right now, and since we've been in a freaking storm the past week again there hasn't been much to take a photo of.

Anywho here are some more photos for your pleasure. Cully and I were asked to get some photos of the dome since this will be the final sunrise it ever sees. If all goes according to plan the dome will be torn down this summer. Though things rarely go according to plan down here...

First I though I would show how the HDRs are made, well at least what the images that it is comprised of look like:

This is the "properly" exposed image. I'm sure it's nowhere near correct, but it is the base from where I start.

Now I need an underexposed image and an overexposed image.

This is the underexposed image, which brings out the sun and clouds as they should look.

This is the overexposed image that shows what the dome and snow should look like.

Combining the above images creates the following "HDR"

None of the photos I have made that I call HDRs are true HDRs, but they emulate them well. I don't take multiple shots, i just create the photos from a single RAW image. Though to make things easier I will continue to call these pseudo HDRs, simply an HDR image.

A decent image, I'm not too happy with it but i got sick of working on it.

Another HDR

now when creating HDRs you have to be careful that you don't over do it. Though sometimes you want to overdo it to give it a more artistic feel to it. The following HDR was created in an over the top manner that turned it into a pretty cool image imho.

It looks like a pretty cool painting to me, so I kept it in this form.

Okay that's enough HDRs for one post, onto some plain photos.

This is a shot of ARO

This is a shot of a random antenna, I have no idea what it is used for.

Simple sunrise, nothing special here.

Another simple sunrise photo.

Off of the ob deck, meh.

Now for some I do like...

Very purdy, but it's cut off on the bottom. I forgot to add the other pictures when I stitched this image, oh well. Some other time.

A picture of folks removing the Scott Tent. I really like this one.

I love the colors in this one.

This is probably my favorite 'sunrise" photo, even though the sun is not in the image at all.

The following picture is also pretty cool, it is freaking huge. It is a pano made from 62 images. Yes 62 images, it was a pain in the tush to take because my hand kept freezing while waiting on the frozen camera to process the photos. It kept blinking at me "busy". Grrr.

That's the entrance into the dome. This is actually the only photo I have thus far of the complete dome. I couldn't actually post the full size image it is just too big, and I won't be able to put it on my flickr page because the file size is too large (I think, I could be wrong on that one). So to give you an idea of the scale of this picture I have made two 100% crops from the original. You'll have to click on them to see the actual full size of the crop.

This is just one of the diamonds on the dome...

Try and find this in the full picture!

Well that's it, I'm working on a couple of other HDRs but they are becoming a pain and I am getting sick of working on them. So they may never make it up here. We'll see.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Well my grandparents should be just getting on the plane in Denver for their week long vacation in Hawaii I got them for their 50th anniversary. I hope they have fun!

I haven't completed the sunrise photos yet. Though after tonight they should be finished and put up tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


There sure is a lot of it around here, sheesh. I haven't finished processing the sunrise photos that I have thus far so I thought I would throw up some recent photos of the sastrugi (essentially snow drifts). I will eventually get to the sunrise photos...Speaking of sunrise that dang fiery ball is intense. It was up in full force two nights ago around 2am while Krissie and I were in the galley: holy cow it is bright. For whatever reason I couldn't stop staring at the sun. It was the first time I had seen the actual sun in months, and boy was it beautiful. It was really beginning to hurt though, all the constant staring. Later on in the evening I was even able to see the full circle of the sun through some clouds. It was just surreal.

Back to the sastrugi:

Very cool.

I love this photo, it doesn't look like snow to me. If i were to change the colors and turn this into a dark greyish black you would think it stone (well I would anyway). Notice the layering that occurs, I also like this photo because it reminds me of the huge 3-4" everlasting gobstoppers that looked like this with the colorful layering as you worked your way through it.

Just purdy.

Well that's all! Hopefull I'll get some of those sunrise pics finished and posted tonight during our test satellite passes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Sun Has Arrived!

We finally have the actual sun peeking its little head out, not just a refraction. Dang that thing's bright :} Photos tomorrow probably.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More purdies

Well the storm finally went away, thank goodness. I was getting sick of digging out 2-3ft of snow from the BIF's doors.

Here's some photos of the fun. All taken with my little point and shoot, a very painful thing to go back to...

This was the last day of the storm, after I had just finished un-burying the front door. There was a long sigh when I saw this...

This was after about 10 minutes of digging, I found the bottom. Again a long sigh.

I had Krissie sit in the hole, it was quite deep.

The fun part of this day was that I was a bit hungover. We had just had Dave and Jude's birthday party the night before. I sort of forgot about needing to shovel the next morning--so I called Marc in for some help.

This was after we finally got one door cleared. During the summer this is completely flat straight out the door. There's currently a 5ft wall there...

Our gansta pose

Well the storm did die down, and yesterday I was able to go get some shots. More HDRs cause I love em. The regular pics look pretty dang nice as well.

The Scott tent, ceremonial pole and ARO in the far background.

Getting closer to Scott tent

I was trying to remove ARO from the shots. This one is quite noisy, I will have to try again!

And what has become my favorite photo down here so far:

I love this photo because it is natural. She wasn't posing, she was just trying to catch her breath and stay warm. I hate posed shots. The best photos IMO are those when you catch folks off guard, when you catch them actually smiling and having a good time.

Then when I was heading to bed around 2:30 I decided to take a quick gander outside on the ob deck. And this is what I saw. I immediately ran to the room and grabbed my clothes to go and get some photos.

This isn't a full HDR it's just a blen of two photos. I couldn't get the photos to come out quite right. This photo just does not do the scene justice. It was beautiful.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

National Geographic Magazine

Made it into the daily dozen again. I would GREATLY appreciate you folks (and every living human being you know with internet access) taking the time to go to the site and vote. This first time I made it I didn't really care, I just threw up a random photo i sorta liked. This time I picked one I thought might have a chance. And it is one of my favorite photos from down here.

vote what you think I deserve, though 10's of course are best. If I win I get on the cover of the magazine, so that would be pretty sweet.

I'm either in week 1 or week 2, I'm not sure which anymore. My photo is a black and white photo of ARO, which i can't get blogger to upload. I'm sure you can find it.

yay me ;}

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Where is my Katey B? Oh miss Beckinsale save us please!

Had 37 knot winds today, just got back in from helping Krissie shovel out the BIF in a very fun whiteout. By the time I would get one section shoveled the other section had a half an inch of snow again...

The walk out to the BIF was no big deal, aside from the fact that we couldn't see where we were going. The walk back into the station however, sucked. We were walking straight into the 25 knot wind and blowing ice shards, not snow, ice shards. We were going to go through the VMF which was quite close and would allow us to walk indoors. However, when we got to the doors they were buried, so we have to walk back up the hill from the VMF and into the station.

Fun stuff

Side note:

We were asked by Warner Brothers to do an International video teleconference, where Kate Beckinsale would have been in all her glory. We would have been able to talk to her, see her and just make our freaking day basically but certain grumpy butts in the NSF said no. Why, because they hate Hollywood. And apparently have never seen anything with Kate Beckinsale in it...

Though I don't think any of the guys on station would have been able to speak or control the drool :}. Oh well.

Personally, I tend to follow the theory of it's easier to apologize after than it is to get permission before. So it's a good thing I wasn't the sys admin. I would have had a bunch of angry old farts back int he states, but a bunch of very happy polies ;}

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The sun is getting closer and closer to popping over the horizon. Here are some of the photos I took yesterday 9-8.

The photos are all HDR images. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, basically it's a layering of the same image taken with different exposure values.

This was taken off of the A4 Deck looking out towards Summer Camp. I thought the little arch thing there was pretty freaking cool.

This was taken from the A4 deck as well, through the railings. I really like this shot, not this photo per se, but how the shot is composed. I've tried to capture it a few times, both now and last summer. I still haven't quite figured it out yet though.

This was taken from the roof, the main building you see off center in the middle of the image is the BIF (Balloon Inflation Facility).

And now for my favorite two HDRs, they are almost the same photo, though the exposures are different giving me a different look to each HDR.

This was taken from the A1 deck.

Again from the A1 deck. This is my favorite version of the two.

Hope you liked em!

On a side note, I've been having auto focusing issues with the camera and this other lens and I've been unable to figure out why. Today I realized that I changed my auto focus to a selective auto focus which was only focusing the dead center of my images rather than a, well auto auto focus. Hopefully this will take care of the weird problems I've been having. Oh and I've noticed a bunch of weird spots on all my images that I don't recall seeing before, though when you shoot night shots it's hard to see something like this. It turns out that it's dust or something on the actual sensor. Cully gave me a good tip to figure out if it was the sensor, tried it and it did indeed seem to be the sensor. I then checked the manual on how to clean the sensor (I had no idea how to get the mirror to pop up) and was able to see little specs on the sensor. Cully's going to let me use some of his cleaning equipment to take care of it. It's not really that big of a problem since the spots are int he same spot in every image, I know where to look and can easily remove them in photoshop.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Watched the WORLD premiere of the movie Whiteout last night. You poor folks in the "real" world still have what a week? Yeah we're pretty freaking awesome down here. Tripp worked directly with Warner Brothers to get us a copy of the movie and to have a WORLD premiere showing of the movie. It was pretty freaking sweet. If I knew nothing about this place, the movie would have been plausible and believable. However...watching while down here was just hilarious. We all had a really good time watching/heckling the movie.

Oh and for those of you who may see it and have never been down to the ice, it's totally real I swear. Everything you see! Man it's rough down here! Gotta go see if Tripp's up and able to make me a latte ;}

Oh and I decided to make pizza rolls for today. Back home, and a quite a few years back the local pizza place, Eaton Pizza (not a clever pun, it's the city I spent most of my life in), used to make pizza rolls and they were freaking awesome. Then they stopped making them because they said they were too much work/hassle. And I can attest to that fact.

This was the first time I've ever made a dough, for bread or anything. It's really simple when you have a industrial food mixer thing, forgot what they are called. The dough came out perfect last night. Krissie and I then went about making the rolls, the first few I made were completely non homogeneous, one was huge, the next was tiny, etc. When Krissie took over the dough pulling the sizes were far more equal. Well they looked pretty good when we were done. I have them in the fridge now to bake in about an hour from now.

I baked one of them last night to see how they turned out, pretty darn good. They needed far more stuffing in them (cheese and meat), but aside from that they are really good, especially for my first attempt. I tried to make more dough this morning so I could make some more, but so far it isn't "proofing" correctly. I didn't measure out the yeast as precise as I did last night, so that's more than likely the reason. I also halved the recipe so, dunno, maybe that was it. Who knows. I'll try again next weekend.

Hopefully everything turns out, and folks like them.

Oh and the damn sun is coming up, making the sky orange. I have very mixed feelings about this. When I think about it I get a bit depressed: I guess it's because it's marking the end of the adventure. However, as soon as I go outside and see the blue sky and the light from the sun I uncontrollably start smiling and feel much better. I guess this is the what bittersweet feels like. I've never experienced it before. It's an odd feeling to say the least.

Here are a few photos for your viewing pleasure:

This was taken on 9-1, my nephews b-day :}. The bright orange you see is not the sun, it's a light on the rodwell there (the smoke stack). The sun was just starting to show its dirty face.This was taken while launching a balloon with Krissie, this was to my back.

And this was what was in front of me. Still very dark, with a full moon out. I still have not figured out how to take a shot with the moon looking like the moon rather than the sun...

The sun is coming up quite quickly now, expected full sunrise is 9-22 I believe.

This was taken on 9-4 just 3 days later, you can see the sun starting to turn the sky orange. It's very painful taking photos without that sweet lens, but you do what you can do.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I'm officially an UNCLE!! On a minor note my younger brother Justin is also technically a dad now, but I'm an UNCLE!

Baby Corbin (Corbin as in Bruce Willis' character Corbin Dallas from The Fifth Element) was born 9-2 at 9:33am, I think, maybe it was 9-2 here and 9-1 there? hmm...

Freaking sweet!

Oh and my bro wasn't allowed to name the kid fully Corbin Dallas, his girlfriend refused. He never should have told her where the name came from... Though I would imagine she would have figured it out if she didn't already know. Stupid girls, can't you just picture that sexy Milla Jovovich saying Cohbin Dalluhs? Girls just don't understand stuff I suhware.

Congratu-freaking-lations, my brother! I'll be around eventually to begin the corruption. This is how you booby trap your daddy's chair, etc, etc. Oh, I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kinda Cool

My cool little Pano made the cover of Gigapan magazine. It's an online magazine, you can see it here:

That is all.