Saturday, November 29, 2008

street art 101

The 101 Loop through Scottsdale has some great street art lining the highway walls -- very large walls with very large art, impressive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

mandatory photo zone

I happened to pull up behind an Arizona Highway Patrol photo enforcement van Tuesday and thankfully had my camera next to me and was able to snap a photo in short order.

I'm not sure how long I actually had while in the Photo Enforcement zone to comply and take a picture... Of course I also made sure I had a safe film speed for the road conditions, no blurry focus, no red eyes, and certainly no flashing.

Arizona Department of Public Safety now has 42 of these vans snapping pictures and issuing tickets by mail to excessive speeders on state highways. For those of us with digital cameras, and I know this goes against the grain, its probably best to have your ISO speed at 200 or less when snapping a pic in an enforcement zone... Be sure to shutter like the rest of us when you get surprised by one of these zones. *smile*

[I won't get into the pros/cons of these camera enforcement zones, both mobile and fixed location. There are definitely some pluses and minuses.]

Desert Botanical Garden (continued)

A few more snaps of the Chihuly glass at the Desert Botanical Garden...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

desert plants & melted sand

I have Thanksgiving week off from work and decided to combine a trip up to Prescott (to bring my mother down to Tucson for Thanksgiving) with a stop at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I've been meaning to visit there for some time (new thing #62), but held off for a while so I could visit when the Chihuly blown glass art exhibition was displayed (new thing #63). Click on pics for larger views.

Incredible green glass agaves next to real agaves!

Columnar blown glass intermixed with columnar cacti

reminds me of a bunch of Night Herons, well... at night

Very nice gardens and plant specimens

I think I saw this creature on an original Star Trek episode?

Very peaceful blue agave setting

Great ball of glass plates

Gives new meaning to the expression Float Your Boat? That's a 14-16 ft boat by the way...

a nice mix of glass and plants

I'm guessing the cacti grow toward the sun and the glass is reaching for the moon...

Most of the glass art is illuminated by small spotlights at night with one very large exception pictured above. This piece is call the Saffron Tower and is 27 ft tall, made out of a bunch of yellow neon tubes. This thing was BRIGHT.

This is the ball featured in my night shot at the start of this sequence. Boy, this looks fragile. According to one of the staff, the glass exhibits showed up in three semi-trucks and each individual blown glass piece had to be painstakingly assembled into the big art pieces such as the one pictured.

This display of Chihuly intricate blown glass art works placed among desert plants is really something to see -- I recommend seeing it if you find yourself in the Phoenix area!

The Chihuly glass will be at the Desert Botanical Garden from November 22nd, 2008 through May 31, 2009. Reservations are recommended. There are three different entry periods per day: 8-12, 12-4, and 4-8. I recommend the 4-8 period which lets you see a mixture of daylight and nighttime settings. The plants by themselves are very cool. The blown glass art work by itself is cool. Together they are are outstanding. [My pics are just a sampling, there is a lot to see -- plants and melted sand.]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

#61 BICAS silent auction of bicycle art

Tonight I went down to the BICAS silent auction held down in the Lost Barrio. Pretty cool event -- lots of interesting art made from salvaged bicycle parts. This is an annual fundraising event for BICAS with lots of artists donating bicycle related art. I had never heard of this organization before last week, seems like a good group.

This plant is made of lots of bicycle forks, chain rings, a wheel, and fenders. This particular piece was made by Ned Egen (see my previous post of Ned's truck art). It really casts some nice shadows.

A train made of chopped up bicycle parts

arf, arf, don't sit on me!

May be the same bird that was at 4th Ave last week, but nesting here. Strong beak -- it's nest is made of bicycle spokes

a vintage bike, nice chainring!

They had one wall painted black so kids and folks could draw their own...

Several different performers entertained while the crowd kept checking their silent auction items -- the guys above were pretty cool, good music. I was intrigued by the 5 gallon plastic pail single string bass being played above (which sounded pretty good).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Large, Median, & small rattlesnakes

We have three distinctive sizes of rattlesnakes in Tucson: large, median (medium), and small. The Broadway Rattlesnake above can easily span over six lanes of traffic. It's primary diet is pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists. Large enough that its been known to be hit by the tops of trucks rather than their wheels...

The digestive tract is quite spacious, and surprisingly rodent free...

and of course, there has to be a rattle... There is a sensor that detects people passing by and makes rattling noises at this end.

a sidewalk level view, looking toward downtown

This is the Wrightstown Rattlesnake, clearly a median sized snake, located on the east side of Tucson.

Despite being located on the median, this guy got run over by a vehicle a while back and had to be carefully nursed back to health. Still seems to have kind of a glazed look in the eyes though...

and last, but certainly not least, the small rattlesnake located six inches off the Loma Verde trail in Saguaro National Park on the east side of Tucson. Approaching from this direction, easy to miss, from the other direction... what snake? Care to pick the flowers, anyone?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

#60 screening kangaroos with a mouse

Last weekend I tried out the RemoteCaptureDC software that comes with the Canon G9 point&shoot camera. This software controls some, not all, of the camera's functions from a USB connected computer. It provides a viewfinder window on the computer of what the camera sees, focus control, shutter button, an interval timer to take multiple pictures, storage of images directly to the attached computer, etc. Interesting possibilities...

The picture above is of my laptop screen with a picture of a library book in the background and the RemoteCaptureDC window on top of it. The RemoteCaptureDC window has a "viewfinder" window showing what the camera sees. Since my camera sees this window, including the window of what the camera sees, the kangaroo recursively hops into ever smaller frames.

I think I may use these features sometime to take time lapse photos at longer intervals and higher resolution than the G9's time lapse movie feature, and perhaps also try locating the camera very close to a birdfeeder and focusing/tripping the shutter from further away...

Sunday, November 16, 2008