Sunday, May 17, 2009

Clouds over Alberta

Quick study break...
I dug up these pictures from the family trip to Calgary to visit Grandma, back in Feb '09.
I took these with my point & shoot camera because I didn't bring along my DSLR.

This was the view from the plane, as we flew over the Canadian Rockies/Banff, headed back to San Francisco. The view was simply stunning. (Click for full size)


Another shot:


Again, with a little more noise reduction in Photoshop.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

California Academy of Sciences part Deux

April 30th, 2009
I planned to have a Pisano Lab outing to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, SF. Sheppy, Fabian, and I bought our tickets in advance, and the rest of our lab mates waited too long, so it sold out.

This was my second time going to the Academy and I enjoyed it a ton. I saw quite a few things I didn't see the first time around, and I'm sure if I go again, I won't be disappointed.

The building itself is really cool, and the next time I go, I'll have to take some nice wide-angle pictures so you get the idea of just how cool it is. Designed by the architect, Renzo Piano, the building aims to be Green and Sustainable. The "living roof" is covered in plants & vegetation that stimulates a micro-ecosystem for little critters. It also has a ton of sun-lights that are used for lighting the inside, to reduce the need for electricity.


I think it's a noble effort and it looks pretty cool.

Anyhow... about the exhibits. Inside the Rain Forest bio-dome, they have a lil reptile exhibit with pit vipers. I think these are the same kind of viper at the Snake Temple in Penang. Man... I'd love to go back to Malaysia now with my camera :)


You go through the Bio-dome and you get to see little exhibits with Geckos and Chameleons and all sorts of little critters:


This is my favorite picture from the event, Click on it for a larger view:

It kinda makes me want to get a Gecko as a pet... but my better judgment is telling me "No."



After you make your way through to the top of the Biodome, you take an elevator which brings you down ~4-5 stories to the aquarium in the basement. There you can see stuff like Piranhas and learn about the Amazon Rain Forest can flood by about ~40 feet, so that just the tops of short rain-forest trees are all that stick out. It's an interesting exhibit and it really gives you some height perspective:


The rest of the Steinhart Aquarium is located down there and you can walk around and see cool fish:


Making your way back to the "surface" you get to pass by cute little frogs and stuch:


... and more interesting fish. This fella is an Angler Fish that camouflages itself and waits for prey.


There's also a bunch of fancy looking shrimp:


One of the more interesting frogs was this little Mossy Frog. The colors are amazing :)

Nature is truly awesome.

One exhibit that I missed the first time I went was this rattlesnake display, next to some climate change exhibit.


I'm really starting to like taking pictures of reptiles... They have such cool textures. I enjoy fish pictures a lot too, but when they're really fast moving, I have a hard time taking good shots of them... It also doesn't help that I get a lot of high ISO noise... one slight drawback of having a small sensor... but then again, I really enjoy the benefits of the four-thirds systems... I really like the crop-factor and the compact lenses. I really love my 50mm macro, and I'm not planning on purchasing anything else for quite some time.

I have a long way to go before I push this camera to it's limit, so in the meantime, I'll keep on practicing with lots more pictures :)