Archive for January, 2012

Great Egret stalking fish

January 31, 2012

A couple of photos of the same Great Egret (Ardea alba) that was featured in my last post, “Great catch, Great Egret!” This individual was spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The large white wading bird is stalking fish in a protected wetland area.

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Slowly moving closer to its prey … preparing to strike!

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Tech Tips: The original RW2 images were cropped and adjusted using Apple “Aperture,” and exported as high resolution JPGs.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great catch, Great Egret!

January 29, 2012

A Great Egret (Ardea alba), a large white heron with long black legs and yellow-orange bill, spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Fellow Project Noah citizen scientist and avid birder “AshleyBradford” told me, “They’re [Great Egrets] somewhat rare in the area this time of year.” Can anyone identify the fish in the bird’s bill? I think it could be a catfish.

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Editor’s Note: I consulted David Lawlor, Resource Manager, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County Park Authority, for help in identifying the fish. According to David, …

I think you are right, the fish appears to be a catfish. More precisely it appears to be a bullhead, either a Brown- or Yellow Bullhead. They are nearly impossible to tell apart without having them in hand and we have both in our park streams.

David’s tentative species identification is supported by maps showing the distribution of catfish at Fairfax County monitoring sites. Thanks, David!

Tech Tips: The lens of my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 camera was set on maximum telephoto (600 mm). The photo was cropped and adjusted using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Diptics: Feathered friends of Huntley Meadows Park

January 27, 2012

The following gallery of four-panel diptychs features several photos of birds spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Shown clockwise from the upper-left panel: Red-bellied Woodpecker (adult male); Great Blue Heron; Ring-billed Gull; and Mallard (female).

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Tech Tips: The preceding composite images were created using Apple “Aperture,” Adobe “Photoshop,” and “Diptic” app for Apple iOS mobile devices. For details, see “Advanced technique for creating Diptic ‘photo tiles’” (one of my recent Posterous posts). The border is five (5) pixels wide, rather than my usual preference of 10 pixels.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Red-bellied Woodpecker

January 25, 2012

A Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) spotted along the margin between forest- and wetland areas at Huntley Meadows Park, a 1,425 acre wetland area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an adult male.

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I love the call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker (click the play button labeled, “Typical Voice”). The sounds of the bird call and staccato pecking caught my attention before I saw the woodpecker. I stared at the trees until I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. The bird was fairly far from me — the lens of my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 camera was set on maximum telephoto (600 mm) and the bird didn’t fill the photo frame. Shots like these photos would have been impossible using my iPhone camera!

Tech Tips: Apple “Aperture” was used to adjust the photos shown in the preceding gallery. All of the photos were cropped in order to highlight the bird.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

New directions in photography and videography

January 25, 2012

iPhoneography — that is, digital photography using the Apple iPhone built-in digital camera — rekindled my interest in photography. A couple of years and three iPhones later, I’m eager to experiment with more capable digital cameras such as my old Canon PowerShot G9 and my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. I will continue to use my iPhone camera along with many excellent third-party camera-replacement and photo-editing apps, but from this point forward waltersanford’s photoblog will be no longer dedicated to iPhoneography exclusively. I hope you will continue to follow my photoblog as I explore exciting new directions in digital photography and videography.

Diptics: Henry Moore Sundial Sculpture

January 23, 2012

The following gallery of four-panel diptychs features several photos of the Henry Moore Sundial Sculpture, Sundial Plaza, Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, Chicago, Illinois USA. The sculpture is a type of sundial that is sometimes referred to as a “bowstring” equatorial sundial. See also an annotated photo of the sculpture that illustrates how a “bowstring” equatorial sundial is simply a reduced model of the Earth.

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Tech Tips: The preceding composite images were created using Apple “Aperture,” Adobe “Photoshop,” and “Diptic” app for Apple iOS mobile devices. For details, see “Advanced technique for creating Diptic ‘photo tiles’” (one of my recent Posterous posts). The border is five (5) pixels wide, rather than my usual preference of 10 pixels.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Diptics: University of Colorado Boulder

January 21, 2012

For more than a decade, I was actively involved with several K-13 education outreach initiatives of the American Meteorological Society. I was fortunate to be able to visit Boulder, Colorado USA for several in-service training workshops for science teachers. We stayed at Kittredge Complex, University of Colorado, for every workshop.

The following gallery of three-panel diptychs features several photos of the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Shown clockwise from the top: Kittredge Complex, with a spectacular view of the Flatirons in the background (part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains); the John Garrey Tippit Memorial Sundial, an equatorial sundial; and the Colorado Scale Model Solar System (notice my reflection and the Fiske Planetarium and Science Center behind me).

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Tech Tips: The preceding composite images were created using Apple “Aperture,” Adobe “Photoshop,” and “Diptic” app for Apple iOS mobile devices. For details, see “Advanced technique for creating Diptic ‘photo tiles’” (one of my recent Posterous posts). The border of Photos 1 and 3 is five (5) pixels; 10 pixels for Photos 2 and 4.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Diptics: "Bowstring" equatorial sundials

January 19, 2012

The following gallery of four-panel diptychs features photos of two “bowstring” equatorial sundial sculptures: 1) the Robert Adzema Hyatt Regency Jersey City Sundial, Jersey City, New Jersey USA, a combination “bowstring” equatorial sundial, noon mark solar calendar, and horizontal sundial (shown in the two upper panels); and 2) the Henry Moore Sundial Sculpture, Sundial Plaza, Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, Chicago, Illinois USA (shown in the two lower panels).

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Tech Tips: The preceding composite images were created using Apple “Aperture,” Adobe “Photoshop,” and “Diptic” app for Apple iOS mobile devices. For details, see “Advanced technique for creating Diptic ‘photo tiles’” (one of my recent Posterous posts). The border is five (5) pixels wide, rather than my usual preference of 10 pixels.

Photos © Copyright 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Lost & Found: Another Alexandria, VA USA sundial

January 17, 2012

The North American Sundial Society Sundial Registry listing for Virginia Alexandria Dial #253 says, “May have been removed; could not be located 8/2005. Contacted historical society 12/2008 to confirm placement but no reply.” I’m happy to report the sundial is in fact right where it’s supposed to be! Well, sort of. The Sundial Registry lists the location of Dial #253 as, “NW corner of King & Cameron St.” That is, in a word, impossible: Cameron- and King Streets are parallel streets, as shown by a zoomed-in map of Old Town Alexandria. The actual location of the vertical sundial is the corner of Cameron- and N. Washington Streets, as shown by a geotagged full-size version of the photo and verified by the following screen captures from Google Maps Street View: facing east along Cameron Street toward N. Washington Street; corner of Cameron- and N. Washington Streets; facing west along Cameron Street toward N. Columbus Street.

Alexandria Dial #254 is a horizontal sundial located at historic Christ Church on the opposite side of Cameron Street from Dial #253. The Sundial Registry listing for Dial #254 says, “Horizontal circular bronze dial appears to have been designed for 32 degrees N.” Read more about this issue in my last post, “Sundial at Christ Church, Alexandria, VA USA.”

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Picasa Web Album: Alexandria, VA Sundials

Tech Tips: All photos in the preceding slideshow were geotagged automatically by an Apple iPhone 4. Apple Computer does not support Adobe Flash on its mobile devices, so embedded slideshows from Picasa Web Albums (such as the one shown above) will not display properly on the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. For this reason, you may need to follow the hyperlink to the photo album, then click on the slideshow icon (shown upper-right corner). Learn more about Google Maps Street View. Locate the sundials using the following search string in Google Maps: “Christ Church Alexandria”

Sundial at Christ Church, Alexandria, VA USA

January 15, 2012

A horizontal sundial is located on the grounds of historic Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia USA. The North American Sundial Society Dial Registry listing says, the “dial appears to have been designed for 32 degrees N.” In order to determine whether the sundial is in fact aligned properly, I examined a couple of photos that were geotagged by my Apple iPhone 4. (See “Tech Tips” for details, below.)

Similar to setting the correct time on an analog clock or wristwatch (by moving the hands of the timepiece into proper position), properly orienting a horizontal sundial will move the shadow of the gnomon (or style) into position so that the dial face displays the correct time.

  1. The dial plate should be horizontal.
  2. The shadow-casting edge of the gnomon should be parallel to the Earth’s axis, inclined at an angle equal to the latitude of the sundial.
  3. The tip of the gnomon should point toward the North Celestial Pole (i.e., Polaris, the North Star). More simply, the dial face should be aligned so that 12 noon points toward geographic north and the 12 noon hour line is aligned with your local meridian.

Photos 1-2 of 8 (shown below) verify that the dial plate is horizontal. Photos 3-4 show the gnomon is inclined at an angle of 31.86 degrees (~32 degrees); Photos 5-6 show the latitude of the sundial is 38 degrees 48 minutes 22.2 seconds. Photos 7-8 show the image direction is 218.4602 degrees, meaning the tip of the gnomon is pointing southwest rather than true geographic north (0, 360 degrees).

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Bottom line: The Christ Church sundial appears to have been made for another location and is aligned improperly for its new location. In other words, the sundial is strictly ornamental and will not tell time correctly.

Tech Tips: The iPhone Camera app works seamlessly with two built-in devices to geotag photos: the GPS sensor measures position on Earth; the digital compass measures “image direction.” PixelStick, an application for Mac OS X, was used to measure angles in one of the photos (see Photos 1-4, above). Apple “Preview” was used to display GPS info for both photos (see Photos 5-8, above).

Photos © Copyright 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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