Milky Way Time Lapse and Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Here is a time-lapse I cranked off one restless night at Tyax Lodge.  Stars are amazing when you get away from the city.  On a clear moonless night you can see more stars than you could possibly imagine. 

Superhero astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said of the stars in the sky in the movie’ Titanic’,…

“There she (Kate Winslett) is looking up. There is only one sky she should have been looking at … and it was the wrong sky! Worse than that, it was not only the wrong sky; the left-half of the sky was a mirror reflection of the right-half of the sky! And I’m thinking, this is wrong.   It was not only wrong, it was lazy! “

The stars in the time-lapse above are all real, and that trumps Hollywood any day!

I hope Neil DeGrasse Tyson would be proud!

Thanks to NDT, James Cameron corrected the starry sky in the re-release of the film.

Hiking the Tour de Mont Blanc in the Alps

I have just recently returned from a trip to the alps.  Some of our lazier friends thought that hiking 80 km in the mountains and sleeping in mediocrely comfortable mountain huts was a horrible way to spend a honeymoon.  Luckily, my awesome wife and I agree with each other in agreeing to disagree with out lazy friends. We had a great time!

Here’s a couple of shots from one of the more dramatic mornings of the hike.

Kristie looking towards the Mont Blanc summit, which was peeking in and out of the clouds.

Me looking out towards the Mont Blanc Massive from the top of Col de la Gliere, somewhere above Chamonix

The full Tour de Mont Blanc is an 160km circle route around the Mont Blanc Massive.  We hiked only the northern half in 6 days, starting from Courmayeur in Italy on the east side, and heading around the north of the Massive through Switzerland, and back into France, ending in Chamonix.  We hike a lot in the Coast Mountains of BC where we live, but the Alps are something completely different.  The terrain is more jagged and spectacular, but the routes are well traveled so the trails are in excellent shape, and easy to follow.  The scenery is breathtaking at every turn.  We highly recommend a visit if you love spending time in the mountains.

A Custom Cafe Racer Motorcycle Build Project

I love the creativity being a photographer allows me.  But sometimes, and especially in this digital age creating an image is a very virtual experience.  You can create incredibly creative image, but it’s not something that you can touch, like a painting or a sculpture.  Sometimes my images don’t even ever go to actual print, they are used only online in the virtual world.  In some sense it feels like virtual creativity.  While I don’t lament my career choice or the freedom it gives me to express myself, sometimes my hands are left wanting.  They need something to touch.

Enter the $350 1981 Honda CM400 Classic!

I picked this beauty up for a steal, and I have big plans for her.  In an effort to busy my hands with some real world creativity (and possibly a hint of a mid life crisis) I will turn this unsightly old beast into a sleek and sexy Cafe Racer style custom motorcycle for zipping around town, and the occasional cruise on the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway that links Vancouver to Whistler.

They (motorcycle folk) say that the CM400 is ugly, and that a CM400 would never make a good looking Cafe Racer.  Well, here is my concept roughed out using a base image of the bike as it was when I bought it (did I mention for a measly 350 bucks? ) and a collage of images from online sources mashed up in photo editing software.  It’s not beautiful, but it gives me a pretty good idea of where I’m headed, and I love it.  I will treasure every time I have to scrub grease from under my fingernails!

I’m not completely sold on the colour yet, so that might change.  I am pretty happy with the styling, and keeping most of the stock parts will keep the costs in line.  I will post occasionally with project updates.

Photography and Beer!

It’s been a while since I posted, and I was planning on something today when like magic in my inbox came This article from DesignTaxi about photography and beer!

Advanced Digital Photo Concepts Explained with Beer

Joachim Linkemann is an imaging sensor scientist, and in a presentation on digital sensor technology he uses several pages to describe digital sensor noise using a comparison to refilling and then emptying a glass of beer (one of my favourite things!)  And it’s a great analogy because with beer near and dear to my heart, I was able to grasp the concept rather quickly.  His presentation covers a lot of other interesting and technical information about imaging sensors, It you are a techno photo nerd like me it’s a pretty interesting read.

Also, subscribe to DesignTaxi to get half a dozen interesting techno/art/design inspirations in your inbox every day.

Food Photography

Where does inspiration come from? Sometimes from dinner.

Food Photography Gnocchi Pomodoro

Can dinner give you a creative kick in the pants?

In the winter, after business has slowed, and when the weather is crappy many of us tend to get in a creative funk (as noted eloquently a couple of years ago by Photographer Zack Arias).  Inspiration seems hard to find in the dull rainy days of  January.  My summer work is long gone, my winter ski photography season is not up to speed, and I have a lot of time to sit around the office, and worry about how I’m not getting anything productive done .

Last year was better, the Winter Olympics were here,

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Architectural Ingenuity – Creative houses from reclaimed stuff

Dan Phillips has built a dozen houses out of reclaimed and recycled material in Huntsville, Texas. His talk at TED covers how architectural conformity is driven by invented social expectations, and how if we can connect with our real selves, we can break conventions and create unique architecture that has a much lower impact.

While building codes may limit what can actually be done is some places, his concept of stepping outside the box of “the expectations of others” to create is what caught my attention.

The New Photoshop CS5 – Content Aware Tools

I came across  this video preview of some of the new content aware features of the new Photoshop CS5, which will be on it’s way to us  starting about the beginning of May 2010.  If you use Photoshop for retouching you are in for a treat, check out the awesome, and insanely impressive content aware fill tools for removing objects, and filling blank spaces.  I was blown away, this is going to save me so much time!

[youtube NH0aEp1oDOI nolink]

Chopper is the new Rudolph – Happy Holidays!

Now, I know I’m a bit to old to believe in Santa Claus. But,  if he does exist I certainly have to question his methods. The whole Reindeer thing seems so old school to me, archaic even. If I was running the show up at the old Pole, the afternoon of December 24th would look a little more like this!


While you hum ‘ The Ride Of The Valkyries’ , know that I am wishing you the Happiest of Holidays, and all of the best wishes for the New Year!  Cheers!

How Environment Affects Behaviour – Piano Stairs

I just came across this great little video.  Apparently some folks at Volkswagon are working on a project called The Fun Theory, trying to get people to behave differently by making their environment interactive. Project one was the “Piano Stairs” in Stockholm.  Check it out.

Aside from the fact that VW seems to have mastered the purpose built viral video, this project touches on so many other points.  Not the least of which is that our environments affect our lives.  Now, I’m not saying that we should need a piano on every set of stairs to keep us from getting lazy, but an example like this supports the growing trend for Architects, and Designers to really consider how people will interact with the spaces they are creating.

I take the stairs most times. Usually (and especially in airports) it’s faster because there is so much less traffic, and I don’t mind the exercise. But, if these stairs were on my regular commute, I would be practicing a new tune every day so I could show off on my way to the train!  Really, this is public art, but it’s presented integrated into the architecture. Another great example of art meets architecture that engages the public is Cloud Gate, more commonly known as the ‘Chicago Bean’.

Obviously the piano stairs were designed as marketing for VW, but while looking for an idea that would be interesting enough to go viral, they hit on a vital concept: We are connected to the places, things, and people around us. If those relationships can improve our lives and experiences, even better. So, take a look around you.

I’m not usually prone to linking to corporate advertising, but VW’s ‘The Fun Theory’ has earned this one. Here’s the link so you can follow along.  thefuntheory.com