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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Happy New Year (a few days later)!


This year we went to the New Year's celebration put on by the Denver Chinese School. I have to say we were a little lost, somehow we missed the overall schedule of events. I did pick up some chinese outfits for the boys (complete with fake yarn ponytail attached to the hat) and lucky red envelopes. Kai and Rowan immediately put on the oufits and spent the money from the envelopes on some sandlewood fans. I bet next year we'll be less lost and have more to report. (For an extra picture, see my other blog's entry.) The boys remove their chinese clothes only when absolutely required to do so -- so this picture was hard to get. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Toothpaste II

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The Blue Side of the Mentodent


This seemed a good followup to the strawberry fungus pictures. The white grittier side of my Mentodent wasn't coming out, so I used my super strength and managed to squirt all the blue into the sink and all the white backwards into the dispenser. It would have been annoying had the blue not looked so cool. And then there is also the photo friday challenge "Vanity" -- the blue stuff I think is just the breath freshener part and toothpaste is found in many vanities. Posted by Picasa

Strawberry Fungus III

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Strawberry Fungus II

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Strawberry Fungus


I don't know much about fungus, so if anyone has some identifying tips, I'd be glad to hear them! I do like how alien and strange-looking fungi are. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006



Then of course, for "Pink" it's hard to beat Boo-ya, our hairless rat. (See the previous blog entries for the runners up.)

Boo-ya's name was inspired by Rufus, the naked mole rat of the too-soon-cancelled tv show Kim Possible. After they cancelled FireFly, cartoons are about all we watch anymore. Invader Zim! ... oh wait, that's been cancelled too. Avatar is still on, whoo-hooo!

Anybody catch Hoodwinked yet? Some funny Thin Man spoof elements and it's hard to beat Patrick Warburton aka The Tick (also cancelled, but the original cartoon was better and the comic book the best) and Krunk. Anyway, Boo-ya has some definite checks in the Pro column of entry for "Pink". Different, cute in his own way, not a flower, and yes... about as pink as any adult animal ever gets. Posted by Picasa

Same Color, In and Out


Another possible "Pink". Too red? My Orientalphile side likes this one. Less girly. Posted by Picasa

Barbie Pink Clover Bloom


Photo Friday's theme is "Pink". This is one that I took back in Eldorado State Park's ranger station yard in June of 2005. I'm not sure if this will be my entry; flowers are such an obvious subject choice for the theme. This is nice and complex for a single bloom, and the skinny plane of focus gave it a feeling of endless dreamy pinkness. On the other hand, it's very girly.

I'll post a few more "Pink" things and then decide. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 22, 2006



This is part of a pipe-cleaner, purple and green snowflake decoration that Kai brought home before the holiday break. It kind of reminds me of a festive barbed wire. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Chasm and Snow on Magic, Little Mt Fuji


These are the white crystals growing on the blue paper of our little Mt Fuji. (See the picture link the the post before if you don't know what I'm talking about.) Posted by Picasa

Magic Garden


My Uncle Bob gave us a gift bag of cool little toys. He said, "I figured I'd let you guys decide who gets what." Now this is how to give gifts. One bag, no wrapping, all the family in one shot. You have to admire it.

After all the bloody feuding over toys was done, we ended up with the "Magic Garden" (among others). It has a packet of paper cut outs in tree and grass shapes (coated with metal salts), you set it up and pour on the "Magic Solution" (sodium silicate) and in a few hours you have a pretty little chemical crystal garden that can be completely destroyed by a finger. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's some web sites: and a picture of our brand of little garden -- the whole size is about 20cm x 12cm x 12 cm.

Good opportunity to experiment with the new lenses. I was having a really hard time with my exposures and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out my camera (S5000 set on manual and jpg file format) is too smart for it's own good. I took a series of shots with my external flash varying the shutter speed and apature and got the exact same picture each time... that is "1/2000s at f9" gave me the same result as "1/60s at f9" as "1/500s at f3.2" or "1/60s at f9". Ye gods, it was frustrating. Pointing the flash directly at the subject gave me a modicum of control back, but it wasn't the effect I wanted. I think now that I have a bigger memory card, I'm going to go Raw and see if that gives me what I want. I'll try that tomorrow when I have another block of time. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Peacock Feather


This is a peacock feather from one of the eye-spot tail feathers. I was wondering why the feathers are iridescent and came across a National Geographic article that referred to this article in Forma (A Journal Published for the The Society for Science on Form):
Forma, 17, 169–181, 2002
Effect of Macroscopic Structure in Iridescent Color
of the Peacock Feathers
They have some super closeups (as in 1 micrometer) of the structure responsible for the colors.

This led me to another article on a 50 million year old beetle fossile that had maintained it's iridescent blue sheen since the color was dependent upon the structure of tha material rather than some sort of pigment.

Now of course I want to manufacture a set of paints that won't fade in the sun and clothes that I bleach the heck out of without ruining. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Swirly Bubble


My assistant Kai has been an invaluable aid in my bubble photography. Posted by Picasa


I entered this for the Macroday entry "Whacky". It had to look pretty funny to have my six year old son focused on the careful blowing of soap bubbles for his camera-weilding mom. I'm also the Conquerer Queen of PS2 level bosses, Hot Wheels demolition expert, bug whisperer, and paper airplane engineer -- I'm going to have a really tough time when my kids mature past me. I expect this to happen next week some time.

Bubble III


I thought this one really looked like a Mandelbrot Set fractal. Posted by Picasa

Bubble from Another Planet


Sorry about the pun. It does look like a NASA picture, doesn't it? Posted by Picasa

Zooming in with 24x Lens


Here's a quickie demo of my new 24x lens. I've got a tape measure showing 1cm. The top is with my camera's built in zoom back all the way and the bottom with my optical zoomed all the way. This camera is only 3.1MP and the resulting pictures are about 99x75 cm. I haven't done any cropping on these pics. Posted by Picasa

Soap Bubble Fractals


Soap bubbles are really fun! Colorful, difficult, reflective, dynamic and delicate. Small bubbles are sturdier, but they have a greater curvature so that the plane of focus becomes a significant issue. Large bubbles are delicate, but easier in the focus issue. I'm still experimenting with a bubble containment field. It consists mainly of wet construction paper. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 10, 2006



Rowan got a fossil collection starter set from Santa, so I of course started practicing on them with my new lenses and flash. :)

In other news, I'm getting a few job leads -- I hear talk that there really is a desire for mathematics and computer science people in the biological fields. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a job that will give me lab experience and the flexability to continue on with my PhD. I have a single class and a project and I'm done with the MS. I can barely wait -- I think it's hardest when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We've just sent off a big package of documents to the China Consulate and then they'll be ready to go into our adoption dossier. That's another thing that is becoming tantalizingly real -- our adoption of a little girl. Even my boys are getting antsy. They've been much more interested in learning Chinese words and culture. Remember, Jan 29, Happy New Year! It's the year of the Dog. And, unlike many women, I'm quite happy to say I'm a Dog. Yes -- really, I'm 24.

For those of you who have expressed interest in prints but were uncomfortable with my informal arrangement of personally mailing them from Shutterfly, I've finally set up a ProGallery with the last of the Newtonmass money. You can order directly from Shutterfly. If you don't see a picture you want in the Gallery, send me an email and I'll have it uploaded pronto. I have most of the older pictures up now, but newer ones I still have to upload. I also have literally hundreds that have never been seen on the blog, so if you have a favorite subject, I can put up some more. I've kept the same prices I listed a while ago. Just click here or on the link on the lefthand sidebar. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Frothy Head


I really liked the polygons that are so very evident in the bubbles above the rim of the glass. Posted by Picasa

Bubbles on Blue Glass


Santa (in the personage of my family) was very good to me this year. With my Newtonmass cash, I picked up some new lenses, the Raynox MicroExplorer Set, and a De-e-e-lux 3000 slave flash from DigiSlave. If this was a triple-X site, MicroExplorer DigiSlave would be some sort of BDSM for Adventure Cyber Gnomes... Anyhow, I was very happy with the new supplies because they can travel to any future cameras I might get since the lenses come with a universal snap-on adapter and the slave flash can also operate in normal mode off of a hot shoe (which I currently don't have).

These new lenses can get insanely magnified shots, but they aren't quite as forgiving as my Raynox Macro M250; I'll be using a lot more of my tripod with these. I'd like to try some snowflake shots when it starts falling again down here in the low lands.

The flash is something new for me altogether, so expect experimental shots. Winter is a great time to get a flash -- it'll keep you warm indoors and you can still take photos. I thought I was stuck with my dinky pop-up flash that came on the FujiFilm S5000, but Gabe Beasley pointed out these very cool wireless, hotshoe-less slave flashes. Thanks Gabe! I molded some aluminum foil around my popup flash to redirect the light to the slave and keep it from interfering with my subject.

My other flash project is to wire up some ultrabright white LED's for a ring flash. It won't have quite the bells and whistles of those on the market, but on the other hand it won't set me back half a grand USD either. Posted by Picasa