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Thursday, August 28, 2008

I just HAVE to brag!

Last week I found an AWESOME hard case for memory cards and I just can't keep it too myself, so listen up all you digital camera gurus. Pelican has made a series of new cases that are specific to memory cards and has rubber inserts to secure specific cards in the case (currently available for SD/MiniSD, xD, Compact Flash & Memory Stik).
I am a proud owner of several Pelican cases and was giddy with anticipation as I paid for my treasure that I found and could not wait to fill it up with my SD cards and to dispose of all those little plastic cases that the cards come in (if anyone wants one I will gladly mail you one, since now they are just taking up residence in the junk/battery drawer).

Pelican's costumer service is extremely helpful and I have yet to have a problem with them standing behind any of their products. No I haven't had any defective products nor have I ever damaged any gear that was safely stored in a Pelican, but have dealt with them on several occasions when trying to get the right size case for a specific application and they were extremely helpful. It is a good thing I don't have kids, because I would be requesting a special case to protect my kidlettes when they are out getting their adrenaline rushes.

Take my advice; if you spend serious money on it, would find it difficult to live without it, or just in general want to protect something...Store it in a Pelican you will not be disappointed!

Note: Pelican did not pay me for this review and is based specifically on my experience with their products and my recommendations do not guarantee their performance for your application.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday already?

Yawn! Well, it is most definitely a Monday! I finally had a 'me' weekend and enjoyed every minute of just relaxing and doing the things that I have wanted to do for awhile. Mostly was the much needed break before I start back into studying for my license exams in a couple of months, so looking forward to getting those behind me.

I will try to get pictures posted of my weekend later on but here is a quick run down... Friday afternoon/evening was filled with yard work and a little stargazing outback. Saturday was sleep in (duh I was up late staring at the stars), worked on making a new camera mount for the telescope, compiling CD archives of pictures, visiting with Lil M, more stargazing with an undertone of photo experimentation. Sunday was another late start, lunch with the rents & Lil M, quick visit to Ryan Dam, Baseball game and a relaxing evening. Needless to say, I am completely drained and wiped out this morning, but 'I owe, I owe, so it is off to work I go...'

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What a week...

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Not sure how y'all are doing, but this one REALLY improved my 'personality'. Kind of a mid-week course correction, something that we all can use every now and again...

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Yeah, I know you all have been waiting for some more of these, and no they are not pictures of me with the Misses...
Another late night and I was amazed at all that I could see in the non-dark sky behind my house. Jupiter was out real early and joined shortly there after by Cassiopeia. I was able to get a snap shot of Jupiter and three of its moon, but the camera/telescope mount was not real steady and I don't have any tracking equipment on the scope. Yes, donations will be excepted for telescope upgrades that will enable much better pictures of distant objects; send them to Thrasher's Observatory Fund...

No new pictures of any constellations, but I am actively trying to capture a couple more to share, but did get a few of the full moon rising. The answer to the previous constellation question is Pegasus, look for the giant square of Pegasus and the rest of the constellation just materializes... Well, maybe only if you are on the right medications.
Here is a picture of the full moon, for those who have been waiting patiently to see the moon in all it's glory. And yes it appears to be blue, but it is not really a blue moon; just a little blue from the filter used.I was even able to zoom in a little more on th surface of the moon...makes me wonder what it was like to fly past in a Lunar orbit during the Apollo missions...

Friday, August 15, 2008

More bad pictures...

The best thing about bad pictures is that sometimes things can be salvaged. Got another roll of film back and the pictures were not that great, but a few were salvagable.
This is the image as captured on film and developed. Not that great but you can still see Cassiopea.

A little digital processing and some magic and we can arrive at this image, even the noise in the picture can be amplified to look like a star.

More digital processing and negating all the hot spots on the film give this, notice how some of the fainter stars disappear.

Just a couple of other night pictures that show the NE horizonline.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You did what to my film?

So, the lovely photo developer ( I will refrain from calling them other names that come to mind) at Target ruined my film from the other night, which I find highly irritating especially after warning the person working at the developing center that the film was night-time pictures and would need to be developed accordingly. Yes, ruined was the one picture that actually contained a meteor, ruined was the picture centered around Polaris, ruined was almost an entire roll of pictures. Now for those who are doubting my photography skills, it wasn't me... ; P
But alas, with a little luck and skill, I was able to extract one good picture of a familiar constellation (well at least in the northern hemisphere).
And just so people don't think I am just uploading black pictures to my blog...
Yes, you really should click on the black squares, there really are visible entities in the pictures.

I still have no takers on the constellation in the previous post...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Waxing Gibbous

Once again another evening of Astro-photography and no sleep, and boy do I feel like I am getting old. I remember the nights when I would stay out late enjoying the night sky and still be rarin' to go the next morning. Maybe some of my blog readers recall those nights of searching for the 'perfect' spot to admire the astrological beauty of the evening. And yes, swoppin' bats still bring back the heebi-jeebies. Tonight is most definitely going to be an early to be night, unless of course I can't sleep around three in the morning than maybe I will get a few more photos to share.
Once again, no photos of Perseids but I did manage to see some really good ones. Hopefully I was able to capture some on the ol' film camera. There is nothing quite like having three cameras setup taking pictures of the night sky, but I have found that is the only way I am capable of capturing some of the events. Keep your fingers crossed when I get the CD back that I will have some good images to share.

I managed to get the telescope adjusting and re-calibrated, so I set that up early in the evening and was able to see Jupiter (along with a few moons) and of course the Waxing Gibbous Moon that overshadows us some of the time. I was not able to get any good pictures of Jupiter and once again I am kicking myself for selling my digital camera that worked so well with the telescope. At the time, I didn't realize that getting a camera setup that worked that well with the telescope was such a chore, but now I miss the camera and constantly peruse e-bay looking for another one.
This photo was taken without a polarizing filter, with an image flipping mirror and some minor digital processing was done. F/3.4 Exposure 2/17 Sec. (can only guess at the focal length)
This photo was taken with a polarizing moon filter and some minor digital processing (image flip). F/4.7 Exposure 1/12 sec.
This image is a collection of images that have been digitally 'remastered' to produce an image that amplifies the surface of the moon. One thing that I found to be interesting was there was an 8.4° rotation of the moon across the spread of images. Of course I am not a professional astrologer, so I am sure there are plenty of things "not right" with my procedures, but I thought it was an interesting Frankin-photo of an ol' friend.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trying Something New

Well, last night I decided to go setup a few cameras and see if I could possibly catch any of the action in the night sky. After taking what looked to be hundreds of pictures that were completely black, digitally processing them on the computer, scratching my head as to which direction the picture had been taken and realizing I caught nothing (well at least in consideration of meteor activity) on camera, I decided I should at least share a few of them here for y'all to enjoy, criticize, critique or what ever else you might find the urge to do...This one is a digital compilation of many images that had an exposure time of 4" (4 Seconds). Anyone know the constellation?
This is a multi-exposure of 4" (five to be exact) and if you look REALLY closely you will see three aircraft (obvious bright white and two more subdued red trails).
4" exposure of the close airplane in the previous photograph. Notice the orange glow in the lower right, that would be the City of Great Falls polluting the night sky.
Another compilation, I think these ones were a combination of 3" and 4" exposures...

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Call for Opinions...

Alright readers I need your input, especially all you digital SLR camera folks out there. Over the past few months I have experimented with various digital SLR cameras and have am idea of which brand I am liking right now, but I am currently making my shopping list for a new camera and want some various viewpoints. Soo what I would like to know: what digital SLR body do you have, Likes and Dislikes, typical flash arrangement (built in, shoe mounted, remote mounted, etc), most used lens (first and second choice would be nice). Your input will be greatly appreciated, if you don't want to post it as a comment, send it here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Honey...

I know a lot of you have been curious about my life outside of work, so here is an update. I spent the weekend with my mistress, as lately with my busy work schedule I have clearly been neglecting her (something she likes to remind me on a daily basis). Saturday we went and got her some new shoes, a task that I thought should have taken only a couple of hours, but I guess the ol' lady was a little pickier than I would have been. Must not be one of those things us men understand very well; Here is what she looks like sporting her new treads.

Oh you want to see pictures of the whole new shoe process, alright you asked for them so I will oblige. A buddy of mine had a lift that I could have borrowed, but I had neglect to get it picked up and I wanted to get the job done so a little bit of thought and presto.
One thing that I did learn this weekend was cheap tire tubes are really not worth the price and make a nice 'burp' sound when pinched by the tire spoons. Thankfully I had a parts runner, thanks Mom, and found tubes locally for the ol' Girl. Yeah I know people do this every day and would be much more efficient with the process, but why keep something around this old if I am not willing to do all the work yourself?

No sooner do I get the tires all back on, the chain cleaned and lubed, the bike washed and look what my other Mother decided to throw my way. Yeah, pretty much took care of my evening. Nothing quite like retiring the evening with the guys from the fire station after 'shoe shoppin' with the Misses.
Today was a completely different story, great day to be out riding and even got a little wax on her. Until our next outing or day in the spa (yes she still has some serious body and frame work that needs to be done)...

Friday, August 8, 2008


Sorry folks, due to some technical difficulties I have been unable to post the Friday Funny video... Hopefully, no one was looking forward to a good laugh supplied by me today. Have a great weekend and don't swing any golf clubs during a lightening storm...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Long roads...

This week I have been just trying to get all worked up so I would have something to rant about, but that hasn't helped me out much. Even driving around with expired tags in front of a cop didn't amount to a traffic ticket. What does a guy have to do to get irritated? Other than a lack of sleep, busy work schedule, driving straight lonely roads and scaring a few people with the video yesterday; it has been an excellent week. Maybe it is the Egyptian cotton sheets I procured over the weekend. Toodles and remember it is all down hill from here...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Did you see the article about the discovery of the world's smallest snake? I think they are called worm snakes...interesting but still creepy.

What do you think?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Crowd Watching

I am a people watcher and find it amazing how large crowds of people will behave; thought this video was very interesting...