Dark Eyed Junco

Canon EOS 7D
Focal Length: 200mm
Exp: 1/198 sec.
Av: f8/0
ISO: 400

From the Nat. Geographic Site:
Dark-eyed juncos are unique sparrows that nest on or near the ground in forests. In winter, they typically form flocks and often associate with other species, including chipping sparrows, pine and palm warblers (in the southeastern United States.), and bluebirds. When disturbed the entire flock suddenly flies up to a tree, usually perching in the open and calling in aggravation at the intrusion. Polytypic. Length 6.3" (16 cm).

Identification A fairly lean sparrow with a long notched tail and a small pinkish or horn-colored bill (bicolored in dorsalis). Two prominent white outer tail feathers in most subspecies; 3 outer­most in the “white-winged.” Most subspecies have a gray or brown head and breast sharply set off from a white belly. Otherwise highly variable.
Male: typically darker with sharper markings.
Female: typically browner with more indistinct markings.
Juvenile: heavily streaked, often with a trace of  adult pattern


"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."
-Eric Hoffer



Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Revisited)

These days we not only have the 'light at the end of the tunnel,' but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, also light inside of the tunnel.

Further information regarding the "Fast and Furious" debacle, courtesy Jeff G. at  Protein Wisdom

Shit’s getting real.

In re: executive privilege, below is the full letter sent by Rep Issa to the President.  My favorite part:
During the June 19th meeting, the Attorney General stated he wanted to “buy peace.” He indicated a willingness to produce the “fair compilation” of post-February 4th documents. He told me that he would provide the “fair compilation” of documents on three conditions: (1) that I permanently cancel the contempt vote; (2) that I agree the Department was in full compliance with the Committee’s subpoenas, and; (3) that I accept the “fair compilation,” sight unseen.

As Chairman of the primary investigative Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, I considered the Attorney General’s conditions unacceptable, as would have my predecessors from both sides of the aisle. I simply requested that the Department produce the“fair compilation” in advance of the contempt vote, with the understanding that I would postpone the vote to allow the Committee to review the documents.

The short meeting in the Capitol lasted about twenty minutes. The Attorney General left the meeting and, shortly thereafter, sent an eight-page letter containing more than forty citations requesting that you assert executive privilege. The following morning, the Deputy Attorney General informed me that you had taken the extraordinary step of asserting the privilege that is designed to protect presidential decision making.

In his letter, the Attorney General stated that releasing the documents covered by the subpoena, some of which he offered to the Committee hours earlier, would have “significant, damaging consequences.”  It remains unclear how — in a matter of hours — the Attorney General moved from offering those documents in exchange for canceling the contempt vote and ending the congressional investigation to claiming that they are covered by executive privilege and that releasing them — which the Attorney General was prepared to do hours earlier — would now result in “significant, damaging consequences.”



An Infrared Black & White

Messing around with with an infrared filter yesterday afternoon.


The First Day of School...

is always hardest on kids and parents...


The Country's In The Very Best Of Hands...

                                                     (hat tip to Instapundit for the title)

This is a photo blog and I don't like to digress onto politics and current events here, but I sometimes feel required to do so. Today is one of those days.

Today we digress a wee bit to acknowledge 'Fast and Furious' cover up by the Obama administration of the botched, illegal, and fatal Fast and Furious operation. Attorney General Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress and as a last minute attempt to avert this, it was announced that the documents sought by the Congressional committee investigating this matter were protected by 'Executive Privilege.' The utter hypocrisy and sheer cynicism displayed by this administration is breath taking and makes Nixon at his worst look good by comparison.

We're talking about the Fast and Furious operation where automatic weapons were deliberately funneled to violent Mexican drug gangs by the A.T.F.. Unlike the tired old Watergate scandal in which the democrats and their MSM bitches have incessantly flogged for the last 40 years, this illegal operation is where agents of a U.S. Federal agency knowingly provided weaponry to criminal gangs across our borders. This resulted in hundreds of Mexican deaths and the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

You would think that this would be major news, in all media venues and if this were a republican administration, it would be, but it's not. ABC news leads with the weather. Brian Williams calls it more of our broken politics.

I am linking to a few posts for anyone who hasn't been paying attention to this unfolding tragedy.


Another View of Whittier Small Boat Harbor

Above is another view of the small boat harbor in Whittier. Though just a short drive from Anchorage, it is on the other side of the Chugach Mountains and borders on Prince William Sound.

A map of Prince William Sound, one of the premier boating, fishing and recreational areas anywhere, period. Prince William Sound was named by George Vancouver in 1778 to honour George III's son William IV of the United Kingdom.

A majority of the land surrounding Prince William Sound is part of the Chugach National Forest, the second largest national forest in the U.S. Prince William Sound is ringed by the steep and glaciated Chugach Mountains. The coastline is convoluted, with many islands and fjords, several of which contain tidewater glaciers. The principal barrier islands forming the sound are Montague Island, Hinchinbrook Island, and Hawkins Island.



Jacob's Ladder

A Jacob's Ladder is a basic spark-gap device. As described in Wikipedia...

"A spark gap consists of an arrangement of two conducting electrodes separated by a gap usually filled with a gas such as air, designed to allow an electric spark to pass between the conductors. When the voltage difference between the conductors exceeds the gap's breakdown voltage, a spark forms, ionizing the gas and drastically reducing its electrical resistance. An electric current then flows until the path of ionized gas is broken or the current reduces below a minimum value called the 'holding current'. This usually happens when the voltage drops, but in some cases occurs when the heated gas rises, stretching out and then breaking the filament of ionized gas. Usually the action of ionizing the gas is violent and disruptive, often leading to sound (ranging from a snap for a spark plug to thunder for a lightning discharge), light and heat.

Spark gaps were used historically in early electrical equipment, such as spark gap radio transmitters, electrostatic machines, and x-ray machines. Their most widespread use today is in spark plugs to ignite the fuel in internal combustion engines, but they are also used in lightning arrestors and other devices to protect electrical equipment from high voltage transients."

You can easily make one for that "Dr. Frankenstein's Lab" look. They're great for trick or treat. To make the one in this photo, I took a boiler transformer, the old magnetic type, not the newer electronic ones. I removed the electrodes and replaced them with #12AWG solid copper wire. The wire was shaped so that at the closest point, they were separated by approximately 1/4". As the wires rose up, the separation became greater. Plug it in and you're off!

A note of caution, I did this in my garage so as to not accidentally catch anything on fire. Also so curious pets or kids don't stick their noses into the arc. (Think taser.)


Scammon Bay Approach

This is a tonemapping of a scanned Kodachrome slide taken back in 85 or 86. I was in the co-pilot seat of a Cessna Caravan that was landing at Scammon Bay. This was taken with my Minolta XG-1. I posted this before, some time ago, but I like the effect the toneapping gives it (Photomatix 4.1).

LIGHT from Matt Kleiner on Vimeo.


The Goalie's Eyes Say It All

From my daughter's hockey team this past season.


Country Livin...

This past week, a brown bear was shot and killed about a mile from our house in a residential neighborhood, near a park I used to take my daughter to when she was small. The article link is here. Some of the comments are pretty stupid.
Here's a link to a map showing the tracking of some brown bears in the Anchorage area. Not the usual problem a city of this size would have in most places.


You Can't Always Get What You Want

Canon EOS7D, Tamron 18-270mm lens, ISO:200, Focal length: 18mm, Ap: f8.0, Exp: 1/794 Circular polarizing filter used, hand-held.

A photo looking WNW, towards the mouth of Turnagain Arm. This is at extreme low-tide. Turnagain Arm is one of the two locations in North America where you can observe a bore tide. We were expecting a pretty good bore tide today. Unfortunately, the local media had publicized this fact, so it was a real zoo along the highway. I wanted to get out to a good vantage point to take some photos of the incoming tidal bore, away from any crowds,kids,tourists, etc.. I asked my daughter if she wanted to go along and she said yes, so we drove down to Bird Point and trudged out (through marsh) to an isolated point where you would have a great view. That's where I took the above photo.

As we awaited the bore tide, my daughter announces that she has to get back for a soccer game. Some discussion ensued, but we packed up before the incoming tide arrived and went back to our car. I wasn't real pleased. Then on our drive home, she gets a nose bleed, a real gusher of a nose bleed. I have a box of kleenex, which she's going through like nobody's business. She's a mess, the inside of my car looks like Ted Bundy had borrowed it for the weekend, I didn't get the photos I went there for and we are going to be late for her game. Some days are like that.

But the bore tides are cyclical. I like to view them and I've seen many of them. I'll see more, and hopefully get some good shots of them to post. But your kids only grow up once. That's something well worth remembering even on 'those days.'

Canon EOS7D, Tamron 18-270mm lens, ISO:800, Focal length: 270mm, Ap: f6.4, Exp: 1/395 Circular polarizing filter used, hand-held.
Finally, here's an interesting item, via 'Small Dead Animals';


Venus in Transit

I took this yesterday, (obviously).
Using a Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-4.5 lens.
fl: 270mm
iso: 100
Ap: f36
Exp: (1/500), 0.002sec.
Exp. Bias: -5EV
I also used an adjustable neutral density filter dialed almost to opaque. The only post production enhancement is the color saturation. The original image was almost in black & white.




From "The People's Cube"...
* Condecession: set-asides or subsidies to groups one feels sorry for.

* Defaulty setting: Something incorrect that's widely believed because it was the first explanation proposed rather than because there was any actual evidence or proof.

* Dimprovement: A bad, dimwitted improvement that isn't better, often worse. (Can you say New Coke, Vista operating system or nationalized health care?)

* Feelosophy: positions and policies adopted because they make you feel good or virtuous rather than on any reasoned basis or because they could possibly work.

* Iconoklatch: group of nonconformists who uniformly conform to an "alternative" set of standards.

* Infopinion: The intermingling of news and opinion so that it's hard to tell which is what. Often called analysis.

* Literateur: Someone who talks about and refers to books they've never actually read. Think Wealth of Nations or Das Kapital.

* Malapropitization: Needlessly adding prefixes and suffixes to words to make yourself sound erudite, more scholarlisticalful.

* Nincomproof: A line of thinking both logical yet so unreasonable only an idiot or an intellectual would buy it.

* Oprahtunity: The chance to cash in on fame in one area in another area you really have no qualification for. (Al Gore for instance.)

* Psychophant: A lunatic follower of a lunatic leader. (See Marxist-Leninist)

* Sophistreatment: A "fake but accurate" film treatment. Such as any "documentary" film by Michael Moore, or docudrama by Oliver Stone.

* Shamnesia: a condition where one cannot remember personal details or incidents on the advice of their attorney.

* Spoofemism: Play on words making fun of a euphemism. Like calling a bald guy "tonsorially challenged."

* Xenotopia: Something you find unbearable but, strangely, other people desire.

* Preachable Momement: pompous blather masquerading as wisdom

* Quackification: phony, over-hyped or bogus credentials

* Propagandate: an official proclamation which is total baloney

* Compretention: simulated competition, as in two family members running for the same senate seat (also see "public option")

* Negatiate: a negotiation in which one party gives everything away in the very beginning (see "Polish-Czech missile defense")

* Factate: to feed false or irrelevant factoids to gullible supporters for wider dissemination

* Hopeable: susceptible to false or unfounded hopes; idealistically gullible

* Bidentify: to locate and recognize a gaffe-prone official idiot

* Intaxicate: to become drunk with political power, especially with regard to fiscal authority

* Anthropogentrification: the process by which one comes to believe baseless, fraudulent or convaluted theories due to frequent association with self-styled elitists and pseudo-intellectuals

* Clodify: to make idiocy into law

* Wrightisms: The act of damning the nation you live in, and blaming unpopular religious groups for your problems.

* Correctify: to collaborate on fixing something in such a way that only the already-solved problems get "treatment", whereas anything that actually needs attention is dismissed or left alone (See Health Care Bill).

* Legistrate: to conflate the legislature's duties with those of the judiciary. Also known as "legislating from the bench" (see Judicial Activism).

* Extra-Sensory-Deception(ESD) - the ability to communicate absolute garbage through a teleprompter directly beamed across tv into gullible minds full of mush

* Self-Bidentity- seeing yourself as far more competent than you actually are

* Pressoteric- Insight belonging only to members of the Fourth Estate

* Historectomy- removing evidence of past events to promote an agenda

* Stimulation- giving the illusion of fixing the Economy while actually lining your own pockets

* Fundle- to touch a taxpayer's money for your own pleasure

* Acornicopia- a bountiful display of illegitimite votes

* Genufliction- bowing to a dictator to purposefully offend your own people

* Procrasstorial- apearing to be carefully weighing an opinion as a cover for screwing around and not doing your job

* Obesequezy (n.): the feeling of nausea that one experiences upon watching a lemming perform an act of political ingratiation.

* Sacroshanked (adj.): Having been attacked, sometimes mortally, by a religious fanatic.*