Summer Storms


I’ve beet at home in Los Alamos for the latter half of this week to catch up with friends and family. I stopped by Mouser’s place last night to visit, and we ended up going outside to take pictures of some night-time thunder storms that were passing through. (Not until after we spent an hour swapping web videos and watching a DVD of ATLAS rocket launches gone wrong, of course). Los Alamos has the most spectacular thunderstorms during the month of July; the month that people people around here call the “monsoon season.” This has been a particularly wet year in New Mexico (still not very wet) — apparently it has been raining very hard almost every day.

To catch the storms, we drove over towards Bandelier and set up our equipment on east gate road pointing toward Santa Fe. There were two active storm cells to our left and right, but they were dying down when we got there so we only managed to get a few good pictures in. Nonetheless the results were fairly spectacular.

I spent some time touching the photos up in Lightroom, and I found that by cranking the white balance way down (to 3500K) the predominant colors in the photograph changed from an orangish brown to a spectrum of reds, blues, and even a little bit of green. I’m not sure what the correct white balance is for photgraphing lightening, but the low white balance gives a very dramatic effect. I like the results.

I also spent some time in my parent’s back yard with the macro lens yesterday, where I shot some excellent photos of dewdrop laden flowers and a little insect dude .

I’ll be travelling on Sunday to Tuscon with my brother to drop him off at grad school, and then I’ll fly back to the Bay Area on Monday.

Relocation Complete

Ahhh… life. How busy you are. Especially in the summer time.

Many, many things have happened over the past month, not the least of which was a change of residence from north Oakland to a house in San Francisco on Portero Hill. The move was motivated by my desire to find a better commute — I put 28,000 miles on my car this year, and I felt like the 2 hours/day I spent driving 80-mph on the California freeways were eating away at me. At the very least, it was a lousy lifestyle that left me exhausted at the end of the day and with no time left to take care of myself.

So to the city I went. My new house is great. It has a fantastic view of dowtown San Francisco, it’s conveniently located within half a block of three tiny supermarkets (including an organic market called the “Good Life”). Most importantly it is two blocks away from a Caltrain station. Caltrain totally beats driving to work. It forces me onto a regular sleep schedule and I have quiet time at the beginning and end of my day where I can start/wrap up work, sleep, read, or zone out as I watch the fog roll in over the hills. I often have trouble disengaging my brain after work, but the time I spend on the train serves as a denouement where I can gather myself and reprogram for fun activities in the evening (photography, music, or relaxing and hanging out with friends). And on the Caltrain, I don’t feel like every moment of my commute is a harrowing, high speed adventure.

So, life goes on and the lifestyle improves. I’m very happy in the city. There is great food here, many activities to be part of, and an entirely new social scene to explore. It’s very exciting to meet people here — there is a lot of creative energy focused in the city and it’s hard not to find something in common with strangers who you meet in bars, cafes, and at various social functions. Everyone has a can-do attitude and are very motivated to put their creativity to good use. There also seems to be a strong focus here on what people can do together that I find very interesting. This attitude is obvious in conversation; people listen intently and enthusiastically when you talk about your project/passion, and they offer advice, connections, or encouragement wherever possible. I truly enjoy being in such an positive environment.

Anyway, there are many, many things afoot. Far too many to summarize, though I hope to be able to share some of the more important developments as time goes on.

In the meantime, there are a number of new photo galleries posted. First, check out the new gallery sections on flowers and people . Finally, there are two galleries from outdoor electronic music parties I went to this summer: Revolution and Priceless. (I’m gradually getting better at photographing people, but still practicing and building up trust with my subjects)

Anyway, that’s it for now. As the venerable Feldmeier would say, hope alls well with you.