Thursday, July 28, 2016

Last Night at the Orpheum Theater

WOW, we went to The Lion King last night and I have to say the mix of imaginative props, costumes and acting talent - both musically and physically, were superb at the Orpheum Theater.

No photography was allowed, so I'll send you to this link for a few more great pics of the vibrant and wonderful scenes...

So cool!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lightning Photography!

I've tried this a few times using long exposures to capture lighting.  I've even hand triggered a few shots over the years but have always missed the really great shots.  So I added an infrared trigger to the camera bag.  Tonight it goes on it's maiden voyage!

Storm approaching!!!

A beautiful sunset a couple of days ago.  There is a blanket of fog rolling in under a clear sky...

The first lightning shot.  Not the greatest, but at 3AM I was happy to see everything working!
Wow, I learned a lot this morning!  Planning for this type of photography is the key to success.  I got up when the thunder awakened me, but this storm had a lot of cloud to cloud lightning and as soon as the rain started, the clouds dropped lower obscuring most strikes.  The other major learning for me was that I should probably pick up a lightning detector as I had no idea of which direction the approaching storm was advancing from.  Knowing the direction to point and set up the camera would have been really helpful.  Then the rain came!  LOL, at that moment I thought about how I could have set up the shot with some sort of shelter from the wind and rain!   More storms this week! 

A fun experiment with the Lightning Bug!  When I travel, I'll be taking it along

Until the next post...


Sunday, July 17, 2016

A short camping trip

We've had a really nice weekend and did a little camping and kayaking.  I favor canoeing because for me, the posture and the paddle effort in a canoe are more comfortable.  But once in a while a little river run or lake explore in a kayak is fun too. 

The venerable Squad Tent on campsite 16!

The view out our window for the weekend...

I haven't posted a roadside oddity in a while.  Here's one of a giant Loon!

Great veteran's memorial

The sculpture is awesome!

Really beautiful work...

Another big bird...
Hope you liked the pics,  I'm still working on a solution for my Wifi link.  If progress is made I will share!


Underwater wifi for photography

A couple of weekends ago I spent some time canoeing and took along a submersible Wifi enabled camera.  The Wifi link works great for mounting the camera on the frame of my car and watching the suspension and tire sidewall flex while the control arms articulate.  Cool stuff.  I mean REALLY cool stuff! You can calculate shock damping and tire stiffness... AMAZING.  Back to the underwater stuff-

I knew there should be some attenuation of signal when dipping the cam just below the surface of the river, but have to admit I was surprised at NO wifi connection at all even though the cam was just a few inches down.

So what the heck happened?

Wifi is a group of channel frequencies (802.11 somethings)  they range from 2.4 GHz to as high as 60 GHz.  Most devices use the 2.4 or in the US, 3.6 or 5 GHz bands.  I'll not get into the center frequencies and stuff like that because it's immaterial.  The challenge is attenuation of the low power transmission signal from ambient air to something submersed in a conductive media like water.

There are two losses to consider in this situation: The refraction of the signal at the air / water interface and the attenuation of the signal in the water!

Interesting you say... me too!  This ability of the high frequency Wifi signal to get through is greatly influenced by how much bounces off of the surface of the water and the distance the wave must then travel in the water to get to my camera.  Of course we could also play around with frequency and power, but the cell phone I have and the camera I have define my willingness to design antennas for lower frequencies and additional amplifiers!

So river water IE "Fresh" or "Salt" water is quite conductive, unlike air which is a nice insulator.

Fresh water conductivity is around 0.05 S/m whereas Salt water is around 5 S/m

My cell uses either 2.4 or 5 GHz depending on when I am in the world.  So on the river my phone was using 5 GHz at power of 100 milli-Watts.  I think that's the maximum allowable for a mobile device in the US for Wifi - I think...

 The reflective attenuation is

 Thank -you C. A. Balanis, “Advanced Engineering Electromagnetics,” John Wiley & Sons,   New York, 1989. 
and the  propagation loss is:

Thank-you G. Benelli, A. Pozzebon and G. Ragseo, “An RFID Based System for the Underwater Tracking of Pebbles on Artificial Coarse Beaches,” IEEE 2009 Third International Conference on Sensor Technologies and Applications, Athens, 18-23 June 2009, pp.294-200.

Where: α is the attenuation in dB of our Wifi signal via reflection or water transmission.  
Hmmm, looks like a giga-anything frequency amounts to about a 4.5 dB loss.  So my 100 mW Wifi signal is only 36% of what it is in air!  There's the problem.  The reflected wave is a huge loss component and the transmission in water doesn't help so much either!  I'm not putting my phone under water, so I need an alternative solution.
So how about this?  We make d  be  as short as possible and we run a shielded conductor from case cover to case cover to try to beat the reflected wave loss.  Yup, preparing a water sealed and shielded cable to run from the back of my cell phone to the surface of the camera's Wifi antenna with a little duct tape should improve things immensely.  Looks like what a lot of folks have already tried and posted on-line, lets see how this turned out...



I just came back from a camping - kayaking trip and uploaded my ION movies to iPhoto where they promptly either deleted or disappeared!  Hmmmm, will re-post equations - which seem to have been deleted in the draft of this post too... 

In a nutshell, and more later... the taped waterproof shielded cable from my ION to my iPhone only allowed about 7 or 8 cm of  depth before loss of signal.  Better than no wifi when submerged, but still not very practical.     

More in a bit!

In this clip you can hear the amazing transition between air and water on the mic.  Nearby jetskis barely audible via air are clearly heard.  I suppose you could do an fft on the sound signal and back out the impeller count and look at the whole signature to identify the brand of jetski... Neat stuff.  The Wifi signal allowed me to command the camera to a depth of 7 or 8 cm.... an improvement over going dark when you hit the water, but still not what I'm looking for.  Next step - move the Wifi transmitter out of the caseJust a 20 or 30 cm cable on a float with the xmitter above water.  THAT should work...

All for now, hope you all had a great weekend! 


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Solar Impulse II live feed on Spain - Egypt Leg 16

The Solar Impulse flying over the pyramids in Egypt
Solar Impulse II lands in Cairo!

 Just one more leg to go!

Alternative Energy will Change the World! 


Sunday, July 10, 2016

North Shore visit...

Lake Superior is a big lake.  This weekend we had a chance to do some exploring on the North Shore.  This is unlike the South Shore...  Most of the US borders the Southern Shore but Minnesota actually captures the lake's Western edge and provides a Northern Shoreline.  This part of the state is very remote and summers are cold and short. 

The lighthouse was built in 1892 and is now a Bed and Breakfast with a great view.

This is Two Harbors, Minnesota! A small town with an interesting past. If you've ever heard of a company called 3M you may be interested to know it was started by 5 gentlemen from this small town.  Two Harbors is just North of where Bob Dylan was born (Duluth).

An unusual storage and conveyor system is used here.  Most ore docks are simply loaded from train cars of ore that drop their load of iron ore into bins.  The Two Harbor system allows for slack inventory of storage to accumulate between ship arrivals.

A gravity feed ore dock provides a means for transferring iron ore pellets onto lake freighters.  The ships than ply the waters of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and deliver the ore to blast furnaces in Detroit or Cleveland where they are melted into steel.

Right beneath the break wall harbor light you can find this marker!
The rodeo was the big event this weekend. 

Hope all my visitors have a great week!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Juno in orbit!

YAY Jupiter Juno Mission is in orbit!


A 4th of July Parade

An American tradition... after the parade we went to the county park and had bratwurst, pie and corn on the cob.  Tonight there will be fireworks!

This is farming country!


Nice '35 Ford!

Vietnam veterans rode behind the color guard in an old deuce and a half.

Timeless - the color guard marches through town. They paused while the US Pledge of Allegiance was read and after a short prayer, continued down the street.

Whoa.. a surprise visit from Donald and Hill! (Hill was booed by the way - not a good sign from small town America - IMHO)

Another nicely restored truck.

This is how emergency rescue may reach you if you're in the middle of the bush!

The mayor...

Another way to get anyone injured out of the forests that surround this little town.
Hope you enjoyed the parade!


First experiments with underwater video... AHA - I have discovered how to keep the Wifi feed when the cam is underwater!

Busy weekend here in the US with lots of things to do!  Picnics, river canoeing, and visiting friends and relatives.

Yesterday we canoed a seven mile section of the Namekagon River and I tried out some underwater photography.  The first thing I learned is that even in camera mode as soon as the camera went under water I lost the wifi connection... hard to shoot video of turtles and fish blindly, so I need to figure out how to keep the wifi link...

Just a few minutes before we head out again.. here's the into pic for the next post!

Plunk!  we canoed and took a few videos along the way.  More about that when I have more time.