December 6th, 2012 by Jeff 2 comments »

Seattle trip

August 11th, 2011 by Jeff 1 comment »

Just recently got back from a trip to Seattle. I’m usually lazy about posting photos these days, but here are a couple shots of the airshow for ya from Seafair. The first is some crazy guy in a red biplane trying to stall his aircraft. The last three are the Blue Angels, and if you don’t know who they are then you’ve had your head buried under a rock.

A red biplane with the Oracle logo across it
Baron von Oracle

Four blue F/A-18 Hornets in diamond formation
Diamond formation (click on this one, it’s pretty neat)

Solo flight

Number six

If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that the first three photos (at 300mm) aren’t quite as sharp as the fourth one (at 96mm). The Tamron 70-300mm lens is really cheap, a fantastic bargain for the price, but it noticeably loses sharpness at the far end. Thing is, that’s where I want to use it, especially for stuff like this. It’s bad form to blame equipment, but in this case I actually did outshoot my lens. Looks like it’s time for an upgrade.

Two insightful articles

March 14th, 2011 by Jeff 1 comment »

In the midst of all the idiots clamoring for every nuclear power plant in the world to be dismantled in favor of smoldering coal plants, I thought I’d post some sanity. Both of these articles were written by engineers. An engineer is a person who deals with fact and reason on a regular basis. Dealing with reality means that engineers have to understand and plan for Murphy’s Law, and in fact expect things to go wrong. Considering that all the people who actually plan for* and expect disasters are engineers, they’re much more qualified to talk about it than most people. When we say something, we’re trying to inform. Your garden-variety news hack, on the other hand, is motivated by a desire to stir up a mess of emotion, because that’s what draws eyeballs. A “news story” is designed to be read in a minute or two, which rules out anything resembling an intelligent explanation of the relevant facts. This leads to ignorant discussion from the peanut gallery. And that in turn leads to public policy written and voted on by people barely competent to pilot an automobile, let alone grasp the inner workings of a nuclear power plant.

Read, and be informed:

Why I am not worried about Japan’s nuclear reactors

Some Perspective On The Japan Earthquake

*Planning is a stage BEFORE the tragedy actually happens. Contrast with politicians, who react.

Finding furniture

November 15th, 2010 by Jeff 2 comments »

I’m not sure if it’s like this for anyone else, but three months out I still have a house with plastic tubs of stuff stacked in rooms and very little furniture. Most people’s reaction to this is, “Well go to Target and buy a kitchen table, it isn’t that hard.” Is everyone else really content to buy the fiberboard crap that comes out of those stores? The stuff is ugly as hell, and as soon as you bump or kick it the stuff starts flaking apart. Oh sure, it’s functional, barely. But it’s not attractive by any stretch.

I decided when I moved in that I wouldn’t waste my money on that stuff. I want some actual real furniture, made out of solid pieces of wood and not sawdust superglued together. So over the past few months I’ve been slowly accumulating things that don’t make my house look like a dormitory. The bed set was one. A couple of decent sofas was another. And a few days ago I finally bought a real writing desk. Not something to put my computer on, but something used to hold papers and pencils. This is a desk from when they actually knew how to make desks. No idiotic sliding tray to bang and scrape your knees on, no stupid plastic-covered hole in the middle. Genuine stained and finished mahogany, dings and scratches and all. This thing has character, it has panache. Someone was probably writing on this thing when you were in diapers. Damn, son, but that’s a real desk.

ABQ Balloon Fiesta: Daylight

October 17th, 2010 by Jeff No comments »

Here are the rest of them…

ABQ Balloon Fiesta: Dawn Patrol

October 9th, 2010 by Jeff 1 comment »

The city of Albuquerque hosts a hot air balloon festival every year in October. Balloonists from all over the world bring their equipment and set off from a field every morning for a full week. The best part: you can walk around among them right on the field as they prepare and lift off.

There’s something both ridiculous and amazing about watching six hundred pilots simultaneously fill up their contraptions and take to the sky in droves.

Most of the pilots launch right at dawn, but there is a small set that go up earlier to test the winds and make sure it’s safe enough for everyone else. I woke up at 4am to get to the field on time to photograph them as they set up and launched. I even bought a new lens specifically for the occasion, a Canon 10-22mm ultrawide, and used the tripod Annie gave me before I left. Be sure to click on each of the crops to view the full images. I’ll post the daylight images later, but for now enjoy the early bird set.

A row of hot air balloons still on the ground, with the night sky in the background.

Pilot and assistants aim a propane burst into a horizontal balloon's opening.

A row of balloons are lit up by burners before liftoff.

The first few dawn patrol balloons lift off in the background

Dawn patrol fires a salvo of flares to give a good show for the spectators.

Trip to DC

October 6th, 2010 by Jeff No comments »

These photos are all from a recent trip to Washington, DC. I don’t have thumbnails up yet, unfortunately. No time.

Not the starship
Sunset Reflecting Pool

This work by Jeff Hiner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.