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Or Starrs of Morning,
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Impearls
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— that is all
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ye need to know.
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Impearls: Photo album: lunar eclipse

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Earthdate 2007-10-27

Photo album – lunar eclipse

After the demise of an earlier digital camera (an old 1 megapixel), I resisted buying another (due to its supposed high cost) for some time.  However, following a death in the family, I was suddenly catapulted last August back to my home state of Montana — whereupon I ended up using up six throwaway cameras (some of whose results will appear in a forthcoming Impearls’ piece on the mountains of central Montana), but which results were of mediocre quality at best, one whole (camera’s) set of shots of which being massively out of focus, while the overall cost including developing added up to a not-so-trivial $120. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8K (Black)

Following that sad experience, I decided “never again,” and after doing a small amount of research (such as perusing Instapundit’s couple of recent digital camera carnivals), and applying a handful of criteria — e.g., I wanted a high degree of available optical zoom, together with image stabilization — I settled on a 7 megapixel Panasonic “Lumix” model DMC-FZ8, which along with a high-speed (required for full-motion video) memory chip, set me back just shy of $300 (I see the two are even cheaper now some two months later).  Considering what I’d spent earlier on mere throwaways, vis-a-vis a camera that can take excellent (7 MP!) shots indefinitely for basically no further expenditure, that sounds like a bargain.  (I just wish I’d made the determination to buy it before I left on my trip — I’d have come back with more and better photos, and spent less to boot.)

This week we’ll christen and celebrate this new acquisition for Impearls by engaging in a little photo blogging, bringing forth for display a selection of the initial results of this endeavor.
 
 

One of the first things I experimentally unlimbered the new camera upon was the lunar eclipse of 2007-08-28, which, despite the fact that it was not really designed for astronomical applications, I think actually turned out rather well.  Below we see a sampling of the results.

Following the final (fourth) shot below, the Moon was close to setting (it was after 03:00 here local time in a tall redwood forest on the northeast side of a northwest-trending mountain) — but by that time the eclipse was so near to totality anyway (and the Moon thus so dark) that I found it was getting almost impossible to find on the camera’s finder screen — which was obviously nearing the limits of its capability in this regard.

Despite this relatively minor drawback near the extreme edge of its applicability, I’d judge that the camera turned in a rather impressive performance given the rather unconventional application for it.
 

1. Lunar eclipse, 2007-08-28 09:22:39 UT (photographer: Michael McNeil)
2. Lunar eclipse, 2007-08-28 09:46:34 UT (photographer: Michael McNeil)
3. Lunar eclipse, 2007-08-28 09:59:28 UT (photographer: Michael McNeil)
4. Lunar eclipse, 2007-08-28 10:04:11 UT (photographer: Michael McNeil)

 

(And in case you need ask, no these weren’t taken handheld!)


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2 comments:  (End
(Perma)  On Friday, November 9, 2007 at 6:23:00 AM GMT, Blogger Circe wrote:   
Darlin', I've had Impearls linked for some time now. I just never commented. I am always interested in people who post intelligent discourse and love people who manage to post such amazing photographs of such incredible beauty as yours!

I am so jealous!!!

I am currently in a graduate program where I am taking Topography of Rome. I love Classical Studies! However, despite my minor in Classical Studies I achieved as an undergraduate, it is incredibly difficult to comprise tons of information in one midterm...thus my brain is currently dead. You try describing all of Augustus' building projects in just 4 pages! I am an oddity in my field. I was a college cheerleader with way too much to think about. Not much respect around for me. Though my Poli Sci and History Majors might have deemed it otherwise..but alas...

I LOVE Archaeology, History, Art History, and Political Science...but try combining them.

Love your site! Gives me hope for those of us interested in disparate topics.

And if you want to come down to New Orleans, please believe that there are amazingly intelligent folks down here. We just ignore the weather forecast. :)

(Perma)  On Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 5:04:00 AM GMT, Blogger Michael McNeil wrote:   
Circe said:
You try describing all of Augustus' building projects in just 4 pages!

Hm, I see there are drawbacks to a classical studies education!  Perhaps I’ll continue my eclectic puttering around historically speaking, and not try to fill my brain with volumes of nitty-gritty details like those.  Reminds me indeed of physicist Enrico Fermi’s dry retort with regard to the then seemingly exploding population of subatomic particles during the 1950’s (prior to the advent of what is known as the “Eightfold Way” simplification due to Murray Gell-Mann and Yuval Ne'eman, which resulted in the great conceptual unification of all this heterogeneity into the particles called quarks).  Faced with that seemingly stupifying complexity, Fermi quipped:  “If I could remember all those names, I would have been a botanist.”

It must be daunting for one’s field of study to be considered more complicated than physics, no?  Though I suppose, like many another subject of study, it’s simply a matter of absorbing a few dozen separate elements (learning a new alphabet is the metaphor I like to use) together with understanding how they interrelate to each other.  This principle is true for mathematics and physics though as well.  Thus, I must disagree with you, Circe, where (in your profile, I think) you state that you believe you can learn anything but math.

Recall that any educated, literate person in our society has necessarily acquired the meanings, spellings, how they're used in a sentence, even hyphenations, of thousands — tens of thousands — of words in the rich tapestry of the English language.  After a mass of learning of that terrific magnitude, what terrors can inculcating the equivalent of a new alphabet every now and then really hold out for anyone — other than the fear, as FDR put it, of fear itself?

Thanks for your praise for Impearls, by the way, and the invite to N’Awlins — never been there, but always wanted to; it sounds like quite the place.  Nor am I among those folks who think it makes any sense at all to propose to “evacuate” (as many did after Katrina) the great City strategically centered where the vast internal Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio river traffic meets the international oceanic trade routes — any more than I agree with those who (after every major California earthquake) call for California to be “evacuated.”

With regard to your comment (also in your profile) about its pronunciation — that it’s not pronounced “OrLEENZ” — well, isn’t that true for old Orléans (in France) as well?  Though I’d have to admit that’s how we Montanans, located at the very opposite end of the Mississippi River drainage from you {I grew up on the far upper Missouri River — at Great Falls, the “First Cataract” on that great Nile of a river. Did you know that the Missouri is actually longer from its source to where it supposedly “joins the Mississippi” than the Mississippi is in toto, including the lengthy stretch from there to the sea? In other words, it’s really properly the Missouri River that’s flowing by you!}, do pronounce it.

(Do we say Par-ISS or ParEE?  Flor-ENCE or FirenZE?  –Grin!)

Folks may be interested to learn that steamboats used to steam up river all the way to Montana.  I have a book on the steamboats of Montana, and it’s fascinating I think that a great many of them cracked up there, never to return home downriver.  One can actually look for shipwrecks, and sunken treasure — in Montana.

But, just as with the source of the Nile, it’s a long way from there to the Delta — and America’s Alexandria.

Please, by the way, consider an Impearls counter-invitation to be also reserved for you, if you should visit the San Francisco (and Monterey) Bay Areas of (central) Calif.

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