Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Photography Retrospective

The above link refers to the top 100 photography blogs, as per Sarah Scraffod. Its an interesting ...and useful... mix.

It served as a reminder to me that my images are getting backlogged. There's still 1000+ images to review & import from Tanzania last month. Plus there's tons of old stuff that should probably be revisited and either scanned or rescanned, such as this 1994 image from Yellowstone Canyon:

Approx 10 year old flatbed scan of 120 film (Mamiya 645)

I don't even know if 'sharpen' filters existed back when this one was done. By today's standards, its resolution is downright fuzzy.


Winter Traction: Snow tires versus 4WD - which is better?

Many years ago (turns out to be 1999), Car and Driver magazine did a comparison test for winter driving, where they asked the question of if you could only have one or the other ... snow tires -OR- four wheel drive ... which would be more beneficial?

Obviously, having both 4WD and snow tires is the best combination, but the intent here was to ask which provided more of the benefits, since neither one is free.

By supreme providence, I happened to rediscovered this 1999 article. It is linked above (and again here).

Its a nice read, but I know that we all want a shorter summary.

Here's Car&Driver's tests summary:

Hill-Climbing Traction: 4WD
Straight-Line Acceleration Performance: 4WD
Braking: Snow Tires
Handling/Lateral Acceleration: Snow Tires
Handling/Slalom: Snow Tires

And C&D's conclusion:

Four-wheel drive helps get cars going. When it comes time to brake or change direction on low-traction surfaces, the extra mass of the driveline becomes more of a detriment. Folks who live in hilly places that get snow may need the climbing capability of four-wheel drive...Almost everyone else will most likely be better served by using winter tires. Acceleration takes longer, but in an emergency, the handling behavior and improved lateral grip of two-wheel drive and winter tires -- in the slippery stuff -- are the safer bets.

In other words, snows before 4WD.

If you need a catchy sound-byte, try:

With 4WD, you may have 4 wheel 'go', but everyone has 4 wheel 'stop'.

The general reprocussions are that 4WD without snows will get you moving...but into trouble from which your tires aren't adequate to save you from. Snows without 4WD might not let you get moving as easily, but you'll have better roadhandling and shorter stops, which means more likely to get home safely.

Its winter again in the Northeast USA, so let's all be careful out there.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Taylor Ham Nation

This one is for those friends and family members that live outside of 'Taylor Ham Nation'. Of course, some are also probably missing out on RAPA Brand Scrapple too:

Ledger Live - 12-18-08

To mail order from the company mentioned, click here


Thursday, December 18, 2008

So much for that last minute gift idea

For the photographer in your life, if they had any serious interest in a telephoto lens, the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 USM was the stuff of fantasies ... until they realize that someone's got to carry it!

As the B&H Newsletter of this past summer stated,
"...calling this lens a 'tele' is like calling King Kong a monkey."

Despite the asking price of $99,000 (for a used lens!), this toy was sold.

So much for that very very generous last minute shopping gift.
You'll just have to make due with an EF 400mm DO IS USM instead :-)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cayman Brac after Hurricane Paloma

In November 2008, the 71st anniversary of the great Storm of 1932 was noted to nearly the same exact day with Hurricane Palmoa hitting the island as a Category 4 storm.

With modern technology, there's photos online that document the damage this time. Here's three such slide shows:

Amongst others, the Rotary Clubs of Grand Cayman is accepting donations to help those in need. Their website is:

We also understand that Robert Walton is working to help conserve the endangered Cayman Brac Parrot, as its habitat and food sources have obviously also been severely impacted by this storm.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Making a left turn in Albuqurque

It seems that the end-of-year travel isn't quite over yet. A short notice meeting, but it did the afford the opportunity to catch up with a familymember.

With a few hours on Sunday to see the region, we travelled on the Sandia Peak tram ("World's Longest passenger aerial tramway") to the top of Sandia Peak. At an elevation of 10,378 feet, this sea level flatlander was sucking wind. At least I remembered from Cuzco, Peru to go slow and not over-exert.

After attending business, the return home wasn't quite smooth, due to delays caused by heavy rain in the NYC metro area, but it could have been a lot worse than an extra ~2 hours.

And my thoughts were "At least I've now flown on American Airlines in 2008 so as to keep that Frequent Flier account still technically active", but FFM accounts vary in their rules and AAdvantage has expired another 34,625 miles on me this year.

And in this age of computers, my most recent flights on AA from two days ago still haven't posted their mileage credits.

...and the airlines wonder why I have clear preferences as to where I take my business when I have a reasonable choice in the matter.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A busy fall...

The last few months have been quite busy, with a bit of globe-hopping. Within the past three months, I think there were 3 weeks in Europe, 2 weeks in the Caribbean, 2 weeks in Africa and a quick trip from the East to the West Coast to present a paper and vamoose back home.

Thus, there's the latest batch of travel photographs organized and sorted while getting ready for winter to hit us locally. In taking a break from that project (1000 down, 2000 to go), the subject of travel while exploring found an interesting website utility, namely the ability to make up personal "Been There" travel maps from Phillips 66.



If you're looking for changes since 2007, well, there's just Denmark.
In the meantime, there's still plenty of things on the "1000 Places before you Die" list that remain to be worked on.

And since it is that time of year for one's annual holiday contribution to Capitalism, it is quite obviously way behind schedule as a result of not really being at home for half of the time over the past few months. Plus there's more important things. Just last night, we spent a solid hour on an expensive long distance phone call to a friend who survived having half of their house fall on top of them from a Category 4 Hurricane a few weeks ago. The gift wasn't really our offers to send Care packages, but simply the opportunity for a listening ear for them to be able to give that big emotional 'dump'. Nevertheless, we'll be putting together a package for them over the next week or so with some surprises, since they have months of clean-up and recovery to do.