A few years ago whilst living in Katoomba, Cicadas emerged by the thousands in our backyard. We had a large Oak tree and some Crab Apples that were a perfect staging ground for the Cicadas.
Having moved house and then finishing the move by cramming as much crap into the garage as possible, it has been a whilst since I was able to cut and saw and measure and rip!.
With the recommencement of woodworking, I needed a decent vise in order to hold my wood whilst cutting the joinery. After many days of searching and thinking and re-searching again, I decided to build a Moxon Vise.
One of the Classic Blue Mountains Walk, probably the second most popular walking area in the Mountains.
(The Three Sisters at Katoomba trumps every where else, mainly because of the easy access to the bus coaches).
Generally this walk takes 3-4 hours for the round trip.
Be-warned though, there are LOTS of stair! Steep stairs, slippery stairs, see through stairs, bottom-less pit stairs, you name it this walk has those type of stairs.
This is my first post on the TEN best bushwalks in the Blue Mountains.
With the stunning scenery of this World Heritage Listed Area, there are some amazing walks within short distances from Public Transport.
This walk takes about 90 minutes each way. The track is quite rough with many areas that have not been maintained for many years.
As you will see from many of the track photographs below, good balance is needed to use this track.
This is more of a continuation of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot post that I wrote a few days ago.
Incase you have not realised the fact yet, we live on a tiny backward planet in an outer spiral arm of the ‘Milky Way’ Galaxy. (see Monty Python lyrics below)
One of the images that really solidified this concept, was NASA’s Hubble photograph of the ‘Ultra Deep Field Galaxies’.
Over 10,000 galaxies in this image alon3 – please re-read this sentence – I said Galaxies !
A Galaxy is a solitary unit made up of approximately 100,000,000,000 stars (Suns).
The Ultra Deep Field image is of a section in the sky that apparently was black, no stars could be seen in there.
Hubble over many hundred’s of hours captured a photograph of this tiny section of sky, and the resultant image is truly amazing.
Watch this video about NASA’s Ultra Deep Field – Amazing technology.
Monty Python’s Lyrics
Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide.
We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go ’round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.
ZenPencils.com for their 100th anniversary comic decided to immortalise Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.
Head on over to Zen Pencils to read the comic. (Cartoon images below are from Zen Pencils).
||Carl Sagan was an amazing astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and teacher of science to the uneducated masses (that’s us).|
Carl Sagan requested that the Voyager 1 spacecraft turn around and take a photo of Earth, not for any scientific purpose, but as a sobering reminder of our planet’s insignificance.
The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of Earth (NASA image below) taken by the spacecraft at a distance of 3.7 billion miles away. The spacecraft had completed its primary mission and was passing Saturn, hurtling through space at 40,000 mph.
|Our Planet – The place we call Home – is a small and insignificant planet in the Cosmos.|
|Here is an original from NASA. An amazing image that really shows the scale of out ‘tiny’ planet.||
After a hiatus of a few years, it was time to rekindle my knitting desire. Appropriate time to learn to knit in the Continental Style as it is so much quicker and easier than the English throw method I have used for the last 30 years.
Off to Craftsy and Ravelry I went in search of Video tutorials. Found some great beanie patterns on Ravelry, but decided to start with the Sweet Pea Beanie which was part of a knitting class on Craftsy.
With Autumn arriving, I have a wonderful chance of taking some great shots of the Autumnal colours.
Admittedly the Northern hemisphere with its abundance of deciduous trees, is a much better location for this!
Australia is mainly evergreen trees, so if I want to photograph the Autumn foliage, I need to hunt for exotic trees.
They are here, but few and far between.
Exposing To The Right (ETTR) seems to be one of those ideas which people either love or hate. I have tested this in various ways and personally I think the idea is sound.
The term ‘expose to the right’ is referring to the histogram on the rear of your DSLR camera. The concept is to add more exposure to the image in order to move the histogram to the right.
I was going to commence this photography 101 series with Exposing To The Right (ETTR). A technique utilising the cameras built-in histogram to get the greatest tonal range possible for the images that you take.
However to understand this better, you first need to understand about Bit Depth. What it is and how it applies to your image capturing, so lets get started with that…
I thought this video worth adding to my Off Track blog. A 21 minute whiteboard presentation regarding where stuff really comes from and our obsession with having stuff. Whilst this is American based, for some reason I can never fathom, the Australian Government follows along like a two year old child sucking their thumb and believing everything Big Brother (USofA) says.
Perusing the local library at the moment, checking out information for the Photography 101 series. Looking for alternative ways to demonstrate the ‘how to’ of photography.
Most of the books I come across are in the ‘coal’ category, old and out of date. If they are current they lack the ‘omph’ to get me interested in them. You probably know the type of book I am talking about… you pick it up and flick through to see what the photographs are like, and you wonder why they even bothered! The pictures are boring, lack lustre and show very little artistic or technical merit.
Bryan has done a beautiful job in presenting the information in this book on “Close Up” and “Macro” photography.
He purposely did not use the word “Macro” in the title, for many people this “word” gives different connotations.
The majority of the images in this book are per the title – close ups – with a magnification range of a quarter life size to a tenth life size. Technically macros are life size reproductions or larger, which he also covers in this book.
The Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) has made a Power Point Presentation on Copyright and Infringments!
How to copyright your images, what you can use from the web and a plethora of other information.
61 Slides in this presentation with lots of images and text will walk you through the legalities of copyright.
Click Here to go to their site to download the Power Point Presentation.
Whilst this is obviously American, since Australia seems to want to follow their lead so much, I would think most of the information valuable.
Decided to partake of the fireworks display at Wentworth Falls Country Club this year. As usual their fireworks were awesome! Well worth the visit.
This time instead of setting the timer of the camera to 1 second at F8, I decided to use bulb mode. The exposures vary between 2 and 5 seconds in duration. All at F8 to ensure a good depth of field. Set up on a tripod of course!
Below is the best images from the evening. Click on any image for a slide show at full resolution.
You are watching a show on television, or maybe reading a book or the Sunday paper. The story may be about Global Warming, Schrodinger’s Cat, whether God exists or is the biggest con job of history or if Shaun The Sheep and Shirley really are an item?
How do you know if it is the TRUTH or a LIE? You are the one who will decide what to believe. You take views from differnt sorces and constuct a mental picture of what to believe. What you believe may not necessarily be correct, but it is what you believe.
An early start this morning (5am blurry eyed and no coffee!) so I could go up to Point Pilcher at Medlow Bath to work on some sunrise panoramas. I checked it out last night on Google Maps and the East/West orientation was good for early morning sunrise lighting up the cliffs.
An image rollover is…
Mostly this effect is used on buttons for image navigation. You can however apply this effect to any image! Hover over the waterfall image below and see it change from Summer to Autumn.
I had a request to make a fort for Grace, so with her help and the aid of Google’s Sketchup – a free 3D cad programme – we came up with a design.
With a change in career due to my back injury, I needed to reinvent myself. So… Web Design and Wooden Toys – seems like a good combination to me.
Starting with a few small items, one of the first a Block Wagon for Ashley, my beautiful Granddaughter.
I asked my mum to knit me a jumper about 30 years ago, I even purchased the wool for her! Did she accept the challenge and knit this wonderfully warm sheep’s clothing for me? NO! – so what was I to do, well… my grandmother had taught me to knit as a child, so lets give it a go and see how it turns out.
It is time to stop using the throw away plastic bags that every department store likes to hand out like they are going out of fashion. Kmart, Coles etc are major stars for overuse of plastic bags.
The ‘sellers’ of these products are BIG companies with a HUGE marketing budget, they like to tell us that they are an indispensable item. Money greases many palms from store buyers to politicians in order that we many ‘have’ the convenience of these bags.
HDRI stands for High Dynamic Range Image.
It is a process of taking multiple photographs of the same scene (usually with your camera on a tripod). Each photograph is taken with a different exposure level, most SLR Cameras can automatically bracket exposures by up to (+) or (-) 2 stops. The photograph of the water falls below was combined utilising 3 photographs ~ (-2 stops, correctly exposed, + 2 stops). You then use software to combine all the photographs into one image with a much greater dynamic range than any one photo is capable of capturing.
A photographic scene like this water fall may have a dynamic range of 100,000 to 1 (which means the brightest point is 100,00 brighter than the darkest point).
For most of my HDR’s I utilise PhotoMatrix Pro software to combine the various exposures.
All photographs by Stefan Liam Mackay.