Category Archives: Photos

AAAAAA! 😱

Artist Nathan Sawaya recreates Edvard Munch’s The Scream in LEGO, on exhibit in The Art of the Brick.

Perhaps it’s a cliche, but I’ve rather liked The Scream since I first saw a print of it somewhere. (Well, one version of it, anyway, as the artist created four of them.) Maybe it was in an art book, maybe it was a poster. Maybe it was one of a zillion pop culture references to it. (Heck, it’s got its own emoji now.) I associate it with college, but I also associate it with the crowd I hung out with in high school, so it’s hard to say.

And of course growing up in the 1980s means I have a lot of fond memories of playing with LEGO.

I got to see the full exhibit at the Fleet Science Center last week. (It’s there through the end of January). The first two rooms are mostly recreations of famous paintings and sculptures — Starry Night, the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and so on — and the rest are original works. Some are realistic, while others are outright surreal. Almost all of them are done using standard rectangular LEGO bricks and tiles.

Sadly, the 6YO was not impressed by the subject matter, the creativity, or the craftsmanship (he was much more interested in building in the play area afterward), and tried to leave several times before we got through the whole exhibit. Then we got to the the dinosaur skeleton. That one he liked, as well as the crowd walking along a street that, when viewed from the right angle, lines up with the markings on the wall to form the image of an eye.

Spectrum at the top of the Sky

The colored wisp of cloud is too high in the sky to be a rainbow or a circumhorizon arc, and the spectrum is too ordered to be an iridescent cloud. I looked up ice halos that might produce this effect near vertical just before sunset. It turns out a circumzenithal arc is a perfect match: a rainbow arc near the zenith, brightest when the sun is very low. I’d never seen one before – it’s always cool to spot a new kind of sun halo.

Spotted November 12 at the Irvine Spectrum shopping center. It was around 90°F during the day at ground level, but of course it can be a lot colder in the upper atmosphere.

Saturation increased to show the colors more clearly.

Moon Moon: Phone vs. Camera Revisted

Flowers with moon and jupiter

I spotted this view of the moon and Jupiter bordered by flowers while at the Orange County Fair last week. While I love the look of the shot, it’s terribly grainy and full of compression artifacts. My phone isn’t great at things like zoom or low light conditions. I’ve been using it as my main camera for the past year, since it’s great in bright daylight, and my old camera is riddled with dust I can’t get rid of. But this, plus plans for a vacation where I knew I’d really want a working zoom, combined to be the last straw.

Major criteria:

  • Serious optical zoom
  • Low light
  • Long exposure
  • Wi-Fi would be nice, but not critical

I checked out a bunch of cameras and settled on a Canon PowerShot SX710 with 30x(!) optical zoom. They’ve automated a lot of the mode settings the older models used to have, but there are still a few specific modes you can use and you can still take photos with manual settings. And yes, you can transfer photos over Wi-Fi, to a device, a computer, or a cloud service.

One of the first things I did after charging the battery was go outside to see how it handled night shooting. Then I looked up and saw the moon.

Moon

So far, so good!

Amusingly, this happened the last time I bought a camera too.

Tree Blood

Bleeding tree stump

I’ve described sap as “tree blood” before, but this seems a little too apt.

There are a bunch of tipuana trees mixed in with the jacarandas and palms around the area where I work. (One fewer now.) They look a lot like jacarandas with yellow flowers instead of purple, though the leaves are a little bit wider and the bark is just a bit different. (They make just as big a mess, too.) Tipuanas look close enough that I actually mistook them for jacarandas until I saw them flowering — which, oddly enough, I haven’t seen any of them do yet this year.

And now I know that they have blood-red sap.

Sand Fire Smoke – From a Distance

drifting-smoke-sand-fire

A few views of the smoke plume from the Sand Fire burning near Santa Clarita (in the mountains north of Los Angeles), seen from a distance. The fire broke out on Friday, just a few days after the smoke from the recent fires on the San Gabriels finally cleared out and I was able to see the mountains again.

On Saturday, the smoke plume was drifting southward, turning the sunlight yellow and orange in coastal areas. We headed inland that day and managed to escape the worst of it, though I was still wheezing by the time I got home. The views above and below to the left show the smoke cloud near sunset on Saturday evening, seen from the side. Unfortunately my phone went a little overboard with some of the color enhancements and digital zoom. My new phone’s camera is better than the old one, but I’m really going to have to do something about fixing or replacing the dedicated camera.

smoke-and-palm-tree sand-fire-smoke-plume

Monday I could see two distinct plumes of smoke rising behind the Santa Monica Mountains to the north. By late afternoon, the western plume had faded into the haze while the eastern one was still clearly visible. I took the photo at upper right from the LAX area around 6pm as I was leaving work.

This morning I could see a wall of gray cloud off to the west. It took me a few moments to be sure, but the edges and movement looked more like fog than smoke, so I figure it was the marine layer, keeping the sun off the beaches for the morning.

The sky is just plain hazy today, with no distinct smoke clouds visible from LA. (Firefighters have made some progress containing it.) Of course the smoke is settling out over the whole area…. As much as I like walking to lunch, I think I’m going to stick somewhere close by.