Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Infra-Red Photography

Mrs. UC and her Nikon D70 camera, fitted with an IR filter, recorded this scene at a nearby golf course. In Photoshop, the IR action turns green to white, and a bunch of other stuff she told me that I can't remember.
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Here's another:
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This is a tree in our front yard. Mrs. UC didn't like this photo she shot this morning, but I do, so I'm posting it.

This IR thing is an interesting effect. She's just warming up, so count on more of these in future posts.

Posted by Dave

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Photo-Bombing The Stars

Damn satellites, photo-bombing in my astro-pix.
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Above is a pretty, open cluster of stars, M35 in the constellation Gemini.
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This is, of course, the fabulous Orion Nebula, the bad-ass-est nebula in the northern sky, being photo-bombed by a slow satellite. In 30 seconds, that trail is as far as it travelled.

Posted by Dave

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lunatic Fringe

The Fringe, mind you. The center just won't hold.
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Mrs. UC and I looked at the moon last night, lovingly, but with perhaps different thoughts than we might have had, twenty-five years ago. This time, camera angle and shutter speed consumed our thoughts. 1/80 second at ISO 200, prime-focus, using an Orion ED-80 and a 2X barlow, in case you wondered.

Posted by Dave

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Andromeda Galaxy

At about 3 a.m., the Andromeda Galaxy was at near-zenith (directly overhead), which is the best place to take a picture. (Shooting through less atmosphere.)
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This is a 30-second shot at 3200 ISO, heavily edited in Nikon Capture. Heavy noise reduction, sharpening, and a small change in contrast. The warm temps of summer make for more noise in photos. Noise is graininess and colored pixels. There's a company that actually makes a little refrigerator that fits over your camera to keep it cool. No, I'm not anal enough to buy one.

Posted by Dave

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Dumbbell Nebula

In the Milky Way lies a constellation called Vulpecula, The Fox. In Vulpecula is one of the coolest nebulas visible from the Northern Hemisphere, The Dumbbell Nebula.
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I pushed my camera and shot this for 30 seconds at 6400 ISO. I had to heavily edit this photo in Nikon Capture to get things looking this good. Noise reduction, contrast, white balance; you name it, I adjusted it. One of the things I couldn't edit out was the star trails. Even though I had a pretty good alignment, if I had used an autoguider, it would have been a better photo.

One thing about being a picky-britches, I'm always running up against the "weak link". Then I either fix or replace that weak link, after which I just run up against the next weak link. It never ends. I'm thinking about moving to a higher elevation so I can get better shots. Maybe a bigger scope. A better camera. Stop it, Dave.

Posted by Dave

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

3D Drawing In AutoCAD

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To build the front entry cover, I drew the conceptual plans and shop drawings for fabrication in 2D. Right now I'm learning about 3D drawing on AutoCAD, so the perfect practice was making a 3D drawing of my front entry cover, thusly:
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Down in the lower right corner is where you choose "Workspace". Depending on the version, i.e., Revit, Architectural, Civil 3D, you'll need to change the Workspace to 3D Modeling.
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This view is 2D Wireframe. I do most of the work in 2D Wireframe, which gives an isometric view. It crunches faster than the other view types.
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Change the view to "Conceptual." That will give you a chingadera(sp?) on the right where you can change the view by clicking on the cube. You can also use an "Orbit" tool that allows you to view things from any angle.
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And you can zoom in almost to the molecular level:



I learned how to do most of this by watching Jeremytf77's YouTube channel. E-mail me if you have AutoCAD 2010 or later and would like the drawing file.

Posted by Dave

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Front Entry Cover, Feng Shui Style

Where was we? Oh yeah, I had just trailered home the X-columns that Kevin at Arbogast Construction had just freshly welded together.
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First order of business is bolt templates, so that I can pour some footings. Here I clamp a piece of plywood to the base plates, then I mark the hole centers.
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After drilling the plywood, I put the anchor bolts on the templates.
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The bolt template is centered to its layout, set to grade, and then I cut away some of the plywood to allow the concrete to flow into the footing better.
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Footing poured. Each footing is 6' X 3' X 2' deep.
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I used a crain to set the X-columns. Photos by Mrs. UC.
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After two trips to Ace Hardware, I was still one washer short. Grrrrr! At this point, I fine-tuned the base plates to make sure the X-columns were centered and set to the right height.
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Then I stood back and looked at things from every possible angle.
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I drilled a 3/4" hole in the tops of these four joists to allow me to screw the joists to the main members with large self-tapping screws.
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I set up scaffolding to place and screw the joists on. Photo by Mrs. UC.
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Pedro (Pedro-Glyph) supervised the setting of the joists.
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The roofing is 22 ga. bare steel corrugated sheets. Already rusting nicely.
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After setting the curb forms, I grouted the base plates with a non-shrink grout.
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Tightened the bolts one final time, then I cut and bent and tied in rebar. Ready to pour.
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The ready-mix company I normally use wanted $250 for a "short load" of 1 cu. yard of concrete. Screw that! I went to HomeDepot, bought 40 bags of Quickrete for $100. I ended up using 31 bags, which I mixed in a wheelbarrow. After stripping the forms, I replaced the irrigation lines I had to take out to dig the footings.
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Feng shui accomplished. Bam! Shading the front door nicely.

Posted by Dave