Saturday, February 23, 2008


There was a total lunar eclipse last Wednesday night. The next one won't be until December 21, 2010. By then I should have a lens with a much longer focal length; 70mm was just not enough to really get a nice, tight shot of the moon. A lot of cloud cover also made it difficult to shoot. These are a couple of pictures that I thought were acceptable. 

If I have my bright points of light right, that should be Saturn to the lower left and Regulus near the top of the frame.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My New Lens

I started my Canon L-series lens collection last week by ordering the EF 24-70mm f2.8L lens from Amazon. I was torn for a while between that lens and the EF 24-105mm f4L IS, but in the end I decided that the greater maximum aperture was more important to me than the stabilization and additional focal length. I also ordered a B+W UV filter and a B+W circular polarizing filter. From what I've read, they are widely considered to be among the best filters to use with a high quality lens; it seemed worth spending a little bit more on good filters to protect and maximize the investment I made in the new lens.

Dad helped me test the lens with the clear UV filter. This picture didn't come out too bad considering it was night and I shot without flash, using only the ambient light in the room. The large aperture combined with the high ISO performance of the 40D is great.

Here's a shot I took using the circular polarizer. It really does a nice job enhancing the deep blue color of the sky.

And in case you didn't know, the top of this rock is the highest point of ground on Kennesaw Mountain (at least I haven't found anything higher).

Not So Hungry

Last month I ordered some food from a place called The Hungry Vegan. I really liked the concept of having some good, meat-free food delivered to my house. I'm a vegetarian, but I'm definitely not a vegan; I think animals can be used to make great seating surfaces, I just don't want to eat them. My main reason for giving the mail order thing a try was that I absolutely do NOT enjoy cooking.

The food came in a much bigger box than I expected.

Inside the box was a styrofoam cooler filled with vacuum sealed bags of food and a cold pack. I don't really know what I expected since they had to ship fresh food a few hundred miles by ground, but the idea of having a large, styrofoam box sent to me every week bothered me. They had a little note in the box that described all the food and made a point of mentioning that the dessert boxes used recycled cardboard. Who cares? You've just sent me a block of indestructible polystyrene! I'd rather have had the dessert encased in bulletproof plastic domes if I have to deal with a styrofoam cooler anyway.

These are all of the bags of food. I paid around $85 for that. The little block of bread (African Toasted Peanut Bread) in the lower-right corner may as well have been a block of sawdust. I took one bite of it, gagged, and then promptly threw it away. The rest of the stuff was pretty good, but it wasn't $80+ good.

And these were my desserts. On the left you see my blueberry pie and on the right is my pumpkin cheesecake. The flavor was good, but now you see why I didn't think so highly of those recycled cardboard boxes; they were almost smashed beyond recognition.

I won't be ordering again. It's not practical or cost effective to ship fresh food like this. Instead, I'll just go to my local Whole Foods and pick up some food from the gourmet, ready-to-eat, food area. In fact, I did that today. For $31 I bought the following:

1 terriyaki grilled tofu (think terriyaki chicken breast for vegetarians)
1 herb crusted tofu
2 spinach cakes
2 vegetable samosas with chutney
1/2 lb. smoked mozzarella pasta
1/2 lb. Greek salad
1/2 lb. mixed fruit
1/2 lb. szechwan frizzled green beans

For me this is a better option for enhancing the variety of my meals. It's still a bit pricey, but at least nothing is smashed.

This Is Why I Go To Work Early

I took this picture from my truck last Tuesday afternoon at around 4:00. As you might be able to see from the picture, I'm not moving. Nobody next to me or behind me was moving either.

I think the rain may have caused someone to collide with the barrier wall. I arrived at the scene just in time to be stopped so the accident could be moved off to the side. Traffic may have only been stopped for 5 minutes, but I suspect the folks behind me experienced a much longer delay than that.

Yes, I don't mind arriving at work at 6:00 in the morning if I can sometimes leave early enough to miss a bad drive in the afternoon.

Monday, February 4, 2008


There is an interesting demonstration going on outside of my window. A few of us in the office have been watching it unfold over lunch. The Colombian Consulate is in the building next door to us, so I suppose that's what the anti-FARC demonstration is being held on top of our parking deck.