I recently returned from Wonder Valley and Perry Hoffman’s magical Tile House. This is upper-middle desert (1500′) with very easy access to Joshua Tree National Park. Other than the deep and thundering bombs from the Marine Combat Center and some serious meth issues, for me, this place is bliss!! Big skies and aloneness. Kissing the hot dusty sand and trippin on all the junk everywhere!
Back to the Dusty and Sexy Wonder Valleyon May 22, 2015
Weather Tools for the Hunton May 5, 2015
(Reprint from 2008 Blogspot blog – Weather Basics for Photographers Part 1)
I’m sky head. I love the dynamics and form a complex sky gives my photos. I also love filtered light, light holes and all things a great sky can add to an image. Since most commercial weather services rarely give the detail I need to make a travel or shoot decision, I frequently if not obsessively turn to the National Weather Service (NWS) as they are primary source of weather forecasting in North America and beyond. They run the mainframe weather models and in turn deliver the core data to meteorologists for their forecasts. Although NWS’s websites are somewhat a mess, if you want as much detail as possible, this is where to go. Here are some general weather forecast strategies that work well with their services.
1) Know your zone. Most areas have very specific micro climates amd land features the regularly affect the more general pattern. Are you in a valley? On the coast? What are the averages for a given season and what anomalies are more or less common for that season? A mid July clear sky high desert might seem the norm, but in fact, areas like the Southwest regularly receive the bulk of their precipitation from the Monsoonal surges that come and go depending on the steering winds or flow setup by a high pressure zone centered on the four corners region. Once the relative humidity reaches a certain point and there’s enough solar heating, afternoon Cumulus will develop everyday and often for many days after the “high” has moved on as residual moisture slowly dries. Living by the coast as I do, there’s often a predictable setup in the Summer–read boring–and a much more dynamic set of conditions the rest of the year2) Follow the models. All NWS local zones have a discussion page where meteorologists summarize in their own peculiar lingo the results of the various computer simulations that are run a couple of times of a day. What we get with typical media forecasts is an averaging of a much deeper data set. The discussion pages, if you can take the time to understand some of the terms, will give you a better feel for the certainty of forecast, pointing to the different possible outcomes rather than just the probability of one–important distinction.
3) Use the satellites and radar. A picture is worth a million words–hey that’s why we’re in this business. Running the animations of the visible, infrared (great at night) and maybe water vapor images can really give you an excellent clue as to what is happening right now and what’s possible to come in the next 24 hours. It’s often the case that when the models get confused and differ, the satellite imagery offers better insight. Radar is key for tracking local precipitation and storm movement.
4) Know your clouds. While a towering Cumulus Nimbus might offer the grand skycape, it is the mid and upper level clouds that give us dependable filtering and brilliant sunsets. Understanding what type of clouds occur as certain types of storms approach and leave is key here. It’s often the case that high clouds will spread out in front of an approaching storm. If you’re into dawn and dusk settings, then knowing when the storm is expected to approach and leave relative to direction is absolutely required knowledge. Red skies at dawn happen when you have an approaching storm from the west and red skies at dusk happen when the storm is leaving. Of coarse, red skies can happen at dawn or dusk when there are clouds, especially the high ones, that the sun can get underneath. The typical Summer fog layer at the horizon where I live mutes probably 90% of the colors during sunsets as even if there’s a good cloud setup, the sun can’t get underneath them. So, look for clarity of atmosphere in the sun’s direction–something deserts are really good at.
Here’s a handheld stitched panorama looking into the center of a deep low pressure center often referred to as a Vort Max (vorticity maximum). Note the abundance of of cloudless space in the “eye” for light to get through.
Who Am I – Part 1on May 3, 2015
I’m a nature loving, light living resident of Davenport, California just up the coast from Santa Cruz. A short walk brings me to the ocean cliffs and all things beach, My house is over 100 years old and our church is all cement with the exception of the comp roof added some years back Davenport was an industrial cement town most all of it’s life. I lived in this town during the final years of cement production and regularly smelled a sweet burning tire smell that mostly originated from the burning of coal and the cooking of raw materials.
As you can guess I have zillions of photos of Davenport. To be continued …
Cinco de Mayo in Davenporton May 2, 2015
Today is the day for Aztec drumming, great local food and mariachis! It’s the annual Cinco de Mayo festival at the old church in Davenport. If you miss this year, which you will if you’re relying on me for the news (this site’s not yet online!!), there’s always next year. Highly recommended and all proceeds help to support the services of the Davenport Resource Services Center.
Designing a Website without a Designeron May 2, 2015
It’s a long and inefficient process to try to make sense of my site design when I’m not really a designer. I look forward to running ideas by my mate who is. Probably the best thing I could do is go out and find other sites I like, but that’s not the way I tend to work when I’m being creative. Not that building a site up is all about creativity! Jeez, I’m remain astonished the tools are still so geeky and non-intuitive. Where’s the magic touch controlled layout grid where form and message is crafted with ease. I can see it. I want it. Until then I will suffer just like millions do every second–hunched down, CSS rope tied with the kitchen sink full of dirties.