Lightning in East Texas

Becky and I were flying standby and coming back from our trip in Europe. We had been bumped from a couple of flights and were desperate to get home. So we took a flight which ended in Little Rock, AR rather than Dallas, TX. On the drive to Dallas there was quite the electrical storm. Since I shot my first picture of lightning in Germany, I have wanted to give it another go. This was the perfect opportunity. I pulled off the highway onto a secondary road and drove about a mile before pulling off to the side. Because we were flying standby our checked baggage, including my tripod, were already in Dallas waiting for us – not good when you want to use it before you get to Dallas. So, I improvised. I used the trunk of the rental car and my camera strap for leveling. Here is what I was able to shoot.

Image 9325 possibly the best un-edited photo of the event.

I took about thirty photos playing around with a variety shutter speeds (time lapse), ISO and apertures. All images used my 50mm lens with a UV filter. This one is probably the best one unedited.

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Shooting Lightning

I was out tonight looking for the moon. It is full moon and I am in southern Germany at the moment. My friend Doris noticed a rather spectacular moon rise while she was out for a bike ride. When she came home she told me about it and we jumped in the car to go try and see it, but the clouds had already come in and covered the moon. Noticing a few cloud-to-cloud sparks I told Doris about how I have wanted to shoot lightning for some time but have not had the chance. I set the camera to 30 sec. exposure and pointed it in the direction of the storm… and this is what I got.

Lightning in Schwartzwald

Lightning in Schwartzwald.

Shoot the Sun…

Shooting the Moon took less planning. But both of these secessions were mostly spontaneous. After shooting the moon, I was showing the picture to a colleague at work and he mentioned that there was going to be a Transit of Venus. Of course this was the day before the transit was to occur, an event which would not occur again until 2117. I started to diligently look around for how this event should be photographed (including how it was photographed before). I found out about solar filters, I just needed one which would fit Josh’s lens. The best I could find was a filter from Thousand Oaks Optical. It seemed that everyone was recommending them. But it looked like the filter I would need was about $200.
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Who would have thunk I that I would do a post on cars? Mostly, I avoid car discussions. I have avoided these kinds of discussions since high-school, when all my friends raved about NASCAR and North American muscle cars, I have regularly reminded them that the best cars in the world prove their excellence in a race by negotiating turns in multiple directions, as well as negotiating changes in track elevation. By-the-way, RACECAR is a palindrome.

This posture has landed me quite a bit of criticism over the years. Aside from this, my practical side has suggested that a good car is one that allows one to get from ‘point A’ to ‘point B’.

My first car was a Renault, followed by a 1983 Honda Prelude, which in turn was followed by 1996 Honda Accord LX. I currently drive a 2005 Kia Spectra, which my wife bought before we were married.


1982 Renault - Mine was all light blue with a grey interior.

Honda Prelude

1982 Honda Prelude - Mine was this exact color scheme.

1996 Honda Accord LX

2005 Kia Spectra

Driving from 2007 through 2011

But recently Becky and I have been looking at cars, not to buy one, just to look at them… and so I have been looking at some cars with more of an artistic eye rather than a functional or economical (esp. fuel efficiency) eye.

Several cars have caught my eye. I have long been a fan of the Porsche 911 and Porsche Boxter. But here are some other cars that look rather appealing. Most of these cars I have never even ridden in. Concerning color, I really like yellow. However, Bi-tonal color schemes like is common with the Toyota FJ and the Mini Cooper are also really cool. Of course Blue and white, Blue and golden (yellow), or Black and White all go nicely together.

Porsche Boxter

Porsche Boxster

Mini Cooper

The Union Jack looks really cool on either the roof or the hood of this car. But being that my family color is blue, I thought that perhaps a Scottish flag might fit better.

Scottish Flag

Dodge Challenger

I always find the Dodge Challenger an agressive and smart looking car.

Toyota FJ

Mazda Protege P5

Subaru Baja

The Subaru Baja is also a nice car.

Review of Garmin eTrex Venture HC for Language Documentation

In a recent (2010-2011) Language Documentation Project we decided to also collect GIS data (GPS Coordinates), about our consultants (place of origin and place of current dwelling), about our recording locations and for Geo-tagging Photos. We used a Garmin eTrex Venture HC to collect the data and then we compared this data with GIS information from Google maps and the National GIS information service. This write up and evaluation of the Garmin eTrex Venture HC is based on this experience.
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Doing School all over again?

How would I do School all over again? What would I do? I might study formal arguments or study database design and web architecture. I might even do some pre-med classes (or maybe wilderness medicine with NOLS). But I really wish someone had told me about a degree in outdoor sports and a degree in some other part of the world. Like a minor in Spanish, study in Argentina and then also do a NOLS semester in Patagonia, or a semester with GVI.

For the last 2 years I have been enrolled in the linguistics M.A. Program at UND. It has been a blast. I love linguistics. I love learning. But through this time I have been talking with people who have come to know me and my passion for doing things right organizationally and for seeing things from the "big picture" perspective. These conversations have resulted in people recommending me to look at degrees like an M.B.A. or International Management degree.

As I drive around in the Dallas area I have heard a lot of advertisements from the community college. So investigated it. They have some really cool classes for $41 a credit hour... nice.
I looked up what type of Associates degrees they offer and there are some nice options:

What do I want to do? I want to be able to build the tools I need in linguistics. Some of this involves GIS data, some language data, some linguistics.

And then I would also think about finishing my Aviation Studies to at least have my privat pilots license.