Archive for category Photography & Images

Red Oaks Mill Dam Ice

Custom-trimmed icicles festoon a tree trunk lodged over the crumbling Red Oaks Mill dam:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - ice formation

Red Oaks Mill Dam – ice formation

Last September those logs were in the same position:

Wappinger Creek - Red Oaks Mill Dam - 2016-09-23

Wappinger Creek – Red Oaks Mill Dam – 2016-09-23

The lighter debris comes and goes at the whim of the waters.

The sprayward side of this branch must have an inch of ice wrapped around it:

Red Oaks Mill Dam - ice coated branch

Red Oaks Mill Dam – ice coated branch

A quiet day for a walk…


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Turkeys in the Snow

These guys looked completely disgusted with the situation:

Turkeys on rail fence in snow

Turkeys on rail fence in snow

They’re about 130 feet away in a heavy snowstorm that eventually deposited about a foot of wet snow on the area.

The top rail really does slant downward: the tenon on the right end broke and fell out of the mortise.

The DSC-H5 carries the 1.7× teleadapter, zoomed all the way tight through two layers of 1955-ish window glass, hand-held, braced against the pane.

The day before that snowstorm, we biked 18 miles out-and-back over the Walkway in beautiful, sunny, mid-50s (°F) weather:

KE4ZNU-9 - APRS track - 2017-02-08

KE4ZNU-9 – APRS track – 2017-02-08

We ride when we can and shovel when we must!


Monthly Image: Turkeys in the Trees

A turkey flock forages through the bottomlands along the Wappinger Creek and, at night, roosts in the trees at the far end of our driveway:

Roosting Turkeys - visible

Roosting Turkeys – visible

I’m a sucker for that moon:

Roosting Turkeys - visible

Roosting Turkeys – visible

It’s rising into the eastward-bound cloud cover bringing a light snowfall, so we missed the penumbral eclipse.

If you’re counting turkeys, it’s easier with a contrasty IR image:

Roosting Turkeys - infra-red mode

Roosting Turkeys – infra-red mode

Mary recently counted forty turkeys on the ground, so that’s just part of their flock. I think their air boss assigns one turkey per branch for safety; they weigh upwards of 10 pounds each!

Taken with the DSC-H5 and DSC-F717, both the the 1.7× teleadapter, hand-held in cold weather.

Searching the blog for turkey will turn up more pix, including my favorite IR turkey shot.

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Electronics vs. Dark Rooms

Despite its diminutive size, the white LED on the end of the Dell AC511 USB SoundBar lights up a dark bedroom surprisingly well:

Dell AC511 USB SoundBar - white power LED

Dell AC511 USB SoundBar – white power LED

That’s pretty much the only power-on indicator for the streaming players, so I didn’t want to just slap a strip of black tape over it. Instead, because white LEDs don’t emit much energy toward the red end of the spectrum, I made a cute little filter from a snippet of Primary Red gel filter material, surrounded by a black Gorilla Tape donut:

Red filter for Dell AC511 USB power LED

Red filter for Dell AC511 USB power LED

Two layers of Primary Red cut the light intensity to a dim glow that’s barely visible in daylight and completely inoffensive at night:

Red filter for Dell AC511 - installed

Red filter for Dell AC511 – installed

The blue activity LED on the SunFounder got the black electrical tape treatment, however, with just a sliver showing through to give a hint that it’s still active:

SunFounder RT5370 USB WiFi Adapter - masked LED

SunFounder RT5370 USB WiFi Adapter – masked LED

One of the other WiFi adapters has a pinhole over a red LED that’s barely visible. Another, seemingly identical one, lacks the red LED under the pinhole; when I asked the vendor about that, I was told it was removed “to save power.” Yeah, right. That was part of the motivation to try a different adapter next time around, with good results.

Of course, you must wrap an opaque black case around the Raspberry Pi to tamp down the red and green LEDs on the PCB. It’s possible to control them in software, with varying degrees of difficulty depending on which Pi you have, but …


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Airliner Over Snow

Poughkeepsie lies under the southbound airliner routes to the NYC airports, so we often see airplanes high overhead. With a few inches of snow on the ground, a sunny day turns them brilliant white against a blue sky:

Air Canada Flight 706 - Embraer ERJ-190 - snow uplight

Air Canada Flight 706 – Embraer ERJ-190 – snow uplight

Feeding “Poughkeepsie NY” into FlightAware produces a map centered over us with (in this case) two candidates, one of which was Air Canada Flight 706, an Embraer ERJ-190. The obvious search produces pictures confirming the ID.

Air Canada’s current livery shows white paint on the bottom, but plain aluminum bodies shine brilliantly, too.

Back when I used to fly, light snow highlighted the networks of stone walls around all the old farms across the Northeast, from back when this area was NYC’s breadbasket. Those days are gone, but the stones remain where those farmers hauled them out of the fields.


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Red Oaks Mill Dam: Icy Water

Two recent walks showed the wintry side of the Mighty Wappinger Creek at Red Oaks Mill:

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11

Plants growing on mid-stream rocks accumulate ice during a cold snap:

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11 - ice on rocks 2

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11 – ice on rocks 2

Even bare rocks sprout rims:

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11 - ice on rocks 1

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-11 – ice on rocks 1

A week later, half a foot of snow added highlights:

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-18

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-18

Warmer air over the snow and ice filled the valley with low-lying fog:

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-18 - upstream fog

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-18 – upstream fog

Although it’s not quite as pastoral, a touch of pictorial graffiti recently appeared under the bridge carrying Rt 376 over the creek:

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-18 - graffiti

Red Oaks Mill Dam 2016-12-18 – graffiti

The “No war just smoke” tag suggests someone with a fundamental misunderstanding of life, somewhat along the lines of those absurd “Coexist” bumper stickers.

Anyhow, a happy holiday to one & all…

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Quilt Blocks: Scan and Montage

Mary has been working on the Splendid Sampler project, with 56 completed blocks (*) stacked on her sewing table. We agreed that those blocks would make a nice background for our Christmas Letter, but the labor involved to photograph all the fabric squares and turn them into a page seemed daunting.

Turned out it wasn’t all that hard, at least after we eliminated all the photography and hand-editing.

The 6½x6½ inch blocks include a ¼ inch seam allowance on all sides and, Mary being fussy about such things, they’re all just about perfect. I taped a template around one block on the scanner glass:

Quilt block in scanner template

Quilt block in scanner template

Then set XSane to scan at 150 dpi and save sequentially numbered files, position a square scan area over the middle of the template, and turn off all the image enhancements to preserve a flat color balance.

With “picture taking” reduced to laying each square face-down on the glass, closing the lid, and clicking Scan, the scanner’s throughput became the limiting factor. She scanned the blocks in the order of their release, while tinkering the auto-incremented file number across the (few) gaps in her collection, to produce 56 files with unimaginative auto-generated names along the lines of Block 19.jpg, thusly:

Block 19

Block 19

The “square” images were 923×933 pixels, just slightly larger than the ideal finished size of 6 inch × 150 dpi = 900 pixel you’d expect, because we allowed a wee bit (call it 1/16 inch) on all sides to avoid cutting away the sharp points and, hey, I didn’t get the scan area exactly square.

With the files in hand, turning them into a single page background image requires a single Imagemagick incantation:

montage -verbose B*jpg -density 150 -geometry "171x173+0+0" -tile "7x" Page.jpg

I figured the -geometry value to fill the 8 inch page width at 150 dpi, which is good enough for a subdued background image: 8 inch × 150 dpi / 7 images = 171 pixels. Imagemagick preserves the aspect ratio of the incoming images during the resize, so, because these images are slightly higher than they are wide, the height must be slightly larger to avoid thin white borders in the unused space. With all that figured, you get a 1197×1384 output image.

Bumping the contrast makes the colors pop, even if they’re not quite photo-realistic:

Quilt block montage - contrast

Quilt block montage – contrast

I’ll lighten that image to make the Christmas Letter text (in the foreground, atop the “quilt”) readable, which is all in the nature of fine tuning.

She has 40-odd blocks to go before she can piece them together and begin quilting, with a few other projects remaining to be finished:

Mary quilting

Mary quilting

(*) She’s a bit behind the block schedule, having had a year of gardening, bicycling, and other quilting projects, plus whatever else happens around here. Not a problem, as we see it.