Friday, December 11, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

And now for something completely different.

Astronomy is one of my hobbies. And while I haven't gotten into the sub-culture of astrophotography all that much, like some do, I have been known to occasionally take very basic moon and solar photos through my telescopes. So I thought I'd share a few solar photos with you from a couple of years ago, on the theory that most of you have probably never seen the sun in quite this manner before.

Believe me - these photos aren't that good, and I'm not just being modest. Really good astrophotographers take *amazing* photos, with so much surface and other detail. But they're still kinda cool. I recommend clicking on them for the larger version, to see the flares coming off the surface...

WARNING: Special solar filters or solar telescopes are needed to view the sun; please don't use a telescope or binoculars without special equipment or you risk not only burning out the 'scope, but also your eyes...and we wouldn't want that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hawaii, Part 3

I'm back! Those of you who read my other blog (and that's pretty much all 5 or 6 of you ) know I had computer problems the first couple of weeks of November, and then after that I just kept running out of time to do posts over here in addition to everything else going on. Anyhoo, I'm hoping to get into a regular twice-weekly posting schedule. We'll see...

Now that it's getting cold pretty much everywhere in the Northern hemisphere, how about some more Hawaii photos? If you've ever been to Maui -- more than just passing through the airport -- you may have done or at least heard of The Road to Hana. It's a fairly well-known thing to do, an all day drive along the coast on a somewhat dangerous twisting turning road. One of the mottos for it is "It's the drive, not the destination." Or something like that. But it is indeed a beautiful drive, with lots of hidden and not-so-hidden turn-offs and pull-offs to see pretty flowers, gorgeous waterfalls, grottos tucked away from prying eyes, and other gems.

To whet your appetite and warm you up on what may be a chilly day, here are just a few photos from the drive along The Road to Hana:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hawaii, Part 2

When I was in Maui in March 2008, they were technically under drought conditions. I don't recall now the severity or length, how little rain they'd had, etc., just that they were (lots of the waterfalls, for instance, were mere trickles or not even flowing). Nevertheless, there were still many spots where the lush tropical flowers were managing to bloom -- perhaps not as profusely as they would under normal conditions, but enough that they didn't seem lacking either.

I thought you might enjoying seeing some, so here are a few photos. I don't know the names, so I'll just present the photos as is; I also only had a couple of individual close-ups, I tend more towards enjoying the overall big splashy color effect than the close-up detail.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Texas October Sunset

Texas sunsets don't quite compare to Hawaii sunsets, but they're each pretty in their own way, I think. We've had a lot of rain and clouds around here this fall which have meant there haven't been too many sunsets to see, but every once in awhile, the sun and the clouds work together to produce something pretty (if not quite as stunning as a Hawaiian sunset), and occasionally I even get to see it and if I'm lucky, I'm in the right spot with a camera to take a few photos. Here's a few from this last week:

I love wispy clouds within a sunset. I used to do stained glass as a hobby, and some of the most beautiful glass I worked with had this same wispy look to the patterns.

Does anyone know if this cloud pattern I noted with the arrow has any official name? I always think of those as "footprint clouds" because there are usually 5 to 7 rows of equal length/width clouds with space in between and it reminds me of tread from a shoe.

More pretty wispy clouds...

A bit more of the sunset...and um those darn towers...

Deeper into the sunset, not much left of it. And look at the pretty crescent Moon! Not a bad shot for a simple point-and-shoot camera on auto settings, if I do say so myself.

Coming up later in the week, I'll have some lovely Hawaiian tropical flowers to share. I'm not done with Hawaii yet, oh no, just thought I'd throw in something else this time...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hawaii Sunset, Part 1

As promised, here are a few photos from a beautiful Hawaii sunset for you all. I don't know about you folks, but even looking at photos of a nice sunset can drain a little of my stress.

For those who are interested in such things, these photos are from March 2, 2008 and cover just over a 5 minute period, at different zoom levels.

(As always, clicking on the photo leads to a larger, though not HUGE, version.)



6:27:38pm (obviously there's no sun in this one, just wanted to show the skies, clouds and colors just to the right of the sun, over the island of Molokai):



Ahhhhh....I feel better now. Hope you do too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hawaii! Part 1

I love Hawaii. If I could live there, I'd move in a heartbeat!

Well, maybe not. Too many friends and family in the continental United States for that really to be feasible. But maybe if I won the lottery and had my own private jet... And there's probably other problems with living there that I have no idea about, having only been a visitor.

I've been lucky enough to go to Hawaii twice in my middle-aged (is 44 middle-aged still?) life. Once 6 years ago with my then-hubby, for 2 weeks; one week on Maui and one week on the Big Island. And then again in March last year with my brother and his wife and our mom for a week on Maui. It's also looking like I'll get to go again next March for a week on the Big Island, with my brother, his wife, my sister, her husband, their two kids, and our mom. That's not for sure, but my fingers are crossed.

As you might guess, I have a lot of Hawaii photos from my two trips. A. Lot. So since my Texas skies certainly don't cooperate all *that* often for fabulous scenery, why then I might just as well share those on a semi-regular basis, too, right? Here's a couple to get us started.

This is from March 2008, looking out from our condo balcony up in the Honokowai area of Maui (just north of the popular Kaanapali tourist area), towards the island of Molokai.

And this one is looking back over the West Maui mountains.

Don't worry, friends, I'll have plenty of Hawaii sunset photos for you...and some whales, too!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Storm clouds

There was an interesting storm front that moved through our area yesterday evening, just about at rush hour. I was able to get some photos on my way home (yes, a couple were taken while driving, but most of these were taken when I exited off the freeway and pulled off the side of the road, or pulled off on a back road); I keep an inexpensive but still quite good point-and-shoot camera in the car for just such occasions.

I love all the different colors and cloud formations you can see in different parts of the sky, all at the same time -- in some cases -- or within mere minutes of each other, in other cases. No more than 40 minutes passed between the first photo and the last photo posted below!

So without further ado, here you go.

The storm front moves in near downtown...I love the texture on these clouds.

The sun is struggling to keep shining over on the left through a portion of the clouds, while the real front is still moving in on the right, with a stretch of blue sky in between.

The real storm front... If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can even tell the rain is falling way back there. The difference between white innocent puffy clouds and dark menacing storm clouds is neat.

A close-up of the distinct difference between blue sky, white clouds and dark clouds...with a bit of sun-tinged cloud in between.

And a swing over to the left -- literally 30 seconds later -- to see what the sun and storm clouds in that direction are up to. If I was better at post-processing, I'd know how to take out those towers to make it an even better photo...

A close-up of the sun and clouds.

About 10 minutes later and closer to home, here's what the sky around the sun looks like now.

And yet again closer to home, here's a final photo. Those dark clouds hovering at the top look really low, like they're on top of the camera!

And after all those heavy dark ugly clouds and the strong winds that came with them, it's my understanding from the news that we ended up not getting all that much rain. Sure did look impressive, though...

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