Wednesday, August 30, 2006


When I fly, I like to get a seat with a view. It's not easy and a peek out the window can reveal little more than the top of a wing or the back of a jet engine. For some reason, everyone seems to think business travelers like aisle seats and on personal flights, the kids tend to get first choice. This usually leaves me sitting in the middle seat, sometimes on the aisle. On a June flight, I got a window with a view.

It was a long flight that arrived in Seattle around sunset. Because we were coming in from the southeast, the view was fantastic. I don't know if the pilot planned this (thank you!) or if we were just lucky, but we flew right past the north face of Mt. Rainier on our descent. We must have been around 15,000 feet because we were only looking down slightly on the 14,410-foot mountain.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?

We live in the Sammamish Valley, carved by the Sammamish Slough. Once a naturally meandering river, the Slough is now channelized and arrow-straight for miles. A couple times a year, it rises in a fruitless attempt to reclaim its natural domain. Fortunately for those living nearby, the planners were thoughtful and they placed mostly sod farms, vegetable farms, soccer fields, and a golf course nearby. There is some housing that encroaches on the Slough, and some industry, but they seem to have well-designed dikes.

Quite a meandering introduction, eh? But you have survived to the point: the valley is scenic. The Red Hook Brewery and the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery are at the north end of the valley. Somebody decided it would be a good place to run a balloon. The winds are generally northernly (out of the north), so they start at the north end of the valley and drift south. The balloons are surprisingly silent (except for the roar of the propane burners) so that I'm often tempted to start a conversation as the balloonists float over my backyard.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Camp Parsons, BSA

Over here on Dabob Bay, near Quilcene, WA, is the famous Camp Parsons, BSA. One of the famous features of this famous camp is the pier. At 500 feet in length, it extends far out into the waters of the Hood Canal. There is a significant tide in the area, so they need quite a pier to get out into reliably deep waters. One need is for boating, so the boats are tied up at the end of the pier. The other need is for Pier Jumping! Pier jumping is, as the name would suggest, jumping off the pier into the water. The tide varies, of course, so the jump ranges from 15 to 20-some feet. As a friend of mine mentioned, it doesn't look all that high when you're standing in dry street clothes, but when you're out there in a swimming suit, the jump takes on a new perspective. Highly recommended, though - it's a blast.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mountain Flowers

The alpine flowers of Washington can be stunning. This has been a good year, at least in the early part of the summer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Summer sun at the beach

It seems to have Beach Week over at the London Daily Photo and at the Paris Daily Photo, so here's my contribution: fun in the summer sun. These three boys are preparing for a water-balloon fight in celebration of a 12th birthday. I can't imagine what sort of strategy they were cooking up, but they were intently debating the options and the merits. I would have thought that a water-balloon fight would lose its charm were I standing waist-deep in the ocean, but I'm no longer twelve.

Monday, August 21, 2006

They sure like their highways

I am stunned at the enormous roads they build in Texas. This intersection on the south side of Austin is an incredible spray of concrete. It's quite impressive, but one really has to wonder if this scale of road-building is necessary. I'm not going to defend the brilliant engineering of the local folks, but they clearly like things big in Texas.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Holey Roller

A rolling rock gathers... dimples?

I can't figure out where all these dimpled rocks come from. This photo is from the Pacific coast on the shores of Washington (state). Look up Cape Alava, WA in Google Maps. These rocks are pounded and rolled by the tides of the Pacific. Cape Alava is exposed to storms throughout the year, so the rocks become round. But many of them have these large dimples. The dimples are golf ball-sized and a few inches deep. What causes them?????

War of the Worlds

I was looking out my office window at a gray day in April (3-apr-2006) and I decided to use the only camera at-hand to take a photo: my camera-phone. It proudly presents itself as a 1.3 megapixel, but it's not really a camera. Snapshots, maybe, but not photographs. However, interesting things come when you're least expecting them, rather like those cheap Russian (?) cameras that people use to take creative photos. They're not accurate, but the distortion is interesting and can be artistic. So here's my entry. I had to straighten out the horizon and crop the photo down a touch, but that sort of solarization going on here - that's all in the camera.

I haven't posted in quite a while. I challenge myself to fix that.