Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Purpose of Shelter

Got to sandbag it up. Yo diggity.

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It's a shame that we build homes to flee FROM instead of TO. Sturdy homes built on high ground, homes that can withstand earthquakes and tornadoes, homes that don’t need insurance. Materials like concrete, brick, rammed earth, steel studs and sheetrock. Sigh.

Posted by Dave

Thursday, August 25, 2011

M37 In Auriga

This is M37, a beautiful open cluster in the constellation Auriga.
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I took this shot with my Nikon D3000 and a Celestron 11" Schmitt-Cassegrain telescope, effectively a 2800mm, f/10 prime-focus lens. ISO 1600 and a 30 second exposure. I think I could really sharpen these shots up with an autoguider. Perhaps when I go back to work.

Posted by Dave

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OK, So It's Hot!

I think Summer has arrived.

But inside it's a delightful 78 degrees.

Posted by Dave

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Civil 3D--Point & Label Styles, Deskeys, and Groups

Move on. Nothing to see here. Just let me blather on. I'm moving a project from AutoCAD 2008 Land Desktop to Civil 3D 2010. In an effort to firm up my understanding of how styles, point groups, description keys and layers collide, I followed the recommendations of an article on Edward-James Surveying, Inc's website. The particular article I read is Here.
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Start with the Point Styles. Set the Marker and Label to Layer 0. Everything else set to ByLayer.

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Set up your Label Style(s) and set the Layer to 0 again. Notice I've got two Label Styles that display the Point Number only. The 0.10 means 1/10" high letters. The 0.05 Style is for letters 1/20" tall, for when the points get dense or your plot is just a small portion of the total drawing.

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Next up, Description Keys. When I import my points from the other drawing, I want them to land in different layers, so that I can turn those different layers on or off, to show or not show the information I'll be conveying in the drawing. Any drawings I make will be either for me or my layout partner, so I won't have to big-deal the drawing.

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For any points that the Deskeys don't catch, setting up a default layer will herd the stragglers onto a Misc Points Layer. Notice the Deskeys are enabled.

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In theory, I won't have to make any point groups, although I might group points together just to make exporting easier to my data collector. But I should be able to control visibility to my satisfaction without making any Point Groups.

My biggest complaint of Civil 3D is this process of Layer visibility that is supposed to make the program flexible, but I think makes it almost impossibly complicated.

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Here's a screen shot of my drawing in 2008 LDT.


Posted by Dave

Friday, August 19, 2011

How Many More Have To Die?


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BULLHEAD CITY — A 64-year-old woman died as a result of a fire in a local mobile home park.
Bullhead City Fire Department reports indicate the woman was trapped in a mobile home in the Carefree Resort RV park, 350 Lee Avenue, after the residence caught on fire. Neighbors managed to extricate her from the home but when rescue personnel arrived, they discovered her unresponsive. She was taken to Western Arizona Regoinal Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead Wednesday evening.
The fire destroyed one mobile home and badly damaged another. Two neighbors who attempted to rescue the victim suffered smoke inhalation, but refused medical treatment at the scene.
Mohave Valley Daily News

Why, oh why, do people continue to live in shelters made of flammable sticks? Year after year, people will pay any price for fire insurance and a fire department, but damn few see the irony. The above story is a weekly occurrence here in Mohave County. Sad.

Posted by Dave

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Marvelous Night For A Moondance

Being an incorrigible early-riser and it being a full moon nearing moonset, I stuck my trusty Nikon D3000 and VR 55-200mm lens on a tripod. I had to shoot in manual mode because the "night" scene mode wanted to use the flash, and since it determined I wasn't shooting at anything near enough to use a flash on, it refused to snap a pic. Which meant I couldn't use the autofocus either.


This was a 3-second exposure, ISO 200, and an f/stop of 5.6. Because of the totally blown highlights, this shot looks like the sun, but it is indeed the moon and the time was about an hour before dawn's early light. I overexposed to bring out the clouds and the mountain peaks.


Thin mask of clouds in front. This was 1/50 second shutter speed and same ISO 200 and f/5.6. I was hoping for some real drama with the clouds, but this was about my best shot.


Even more cloud masking. 1/4 second exposure. The cloud gods were not kind this morning. They wouldn't give me something stunning.


1/10 second here. There were dense clouds right above the mountain tops, so I couldn't get a shot of the moon setting over a mountain peak. Maybe next month.

Posted by Dave

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nikon D3000 Astrophotography

I took these shots about 2:30 a.m. I used a Celestron 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain scope as a prime lens for my Nikon D3000, shooting in manual mode. Clicking on these pics should make them bigger.
                           

This is M39, a beautiful open cluster in the constellation Cygnus, The Swan. Shutter speed is 30 seconds, with an ISO of 1600.
                         

The Andromeda Galaxy, M31. 25 second exposure at 1600 ISO. I take several shots of everything, and at various exposure times. I also took a 30 second exposure of this galaxy, but the stars "trailed" a bit. I've got to get an autoguider so I can take some seriously long shots.
               

This is Jupiter, of course. Crappy shot, blown highlights. 1/2 second exposure at 400 ISO. When I backed off the shutter speed to 1/20 second the moons didn't show and Jupiter was still washed out. A shame, too, because the "spot" was clearly visible in the scope. To get a spectacular planet photograph you have to "stack" shots, something I haven't tried yet.
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