I shot another time lapse yesterday, this one went for nearly a full 24 hour period. I'm starting to get the hang of this whole time lapse thing. This time I shot 3 bracketed frames during the day every 60 seconds. Then when the sun set I just went to single exposures. My favorite part is when the sun sets and reflects off a glass building. Make sure you view this in HD, preferable 1080p full screen:
Last weekend, Penelope and I took our second Secret Stairs hike together. This time we hiked through the hills of Silver Lake. I fell in love with the neighborhood, it was so beautiful. If we don't end up buying a house in the Pasadena area, we will likely buy in Silver Lake. Here are a few photos from the hike:
Last weekend Penelope and I went on an interesting urban hike through a series of hidden staircases in Montecito Heights. We found the hike in an awesome book gifted to us by Pen's mom called Secret Stairs: A walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles by Charles Fleming. The book is packed with hikes in different LA neighborhoods that take the reader up and down a series of staircases hidden away in plain sight.
We really enjoyed our first hike through Montecito Heights. I dragged along my camera and tripod and made some HDR photographs:
I went out on my balcony to check out the sunset and noticed a couple of people with a large-format camera in the parking lot. Turns out one of them was a photography student. I thought it would make for an interesting metaphoto:
Recently I joined a hackerspace in Downtown LA called Null Space Labs. What is a hackerspace you ask? A hackerspace is a communal workshop where folks can work on electronics, programming and basically whatever tech stuff they're interested in. NSL was started by a group of people from the local computer security (hacking) scene earlier this year.
Here is the description from the website:
Null Space Labs, a hackerspace in downtown Los Angeles a place for people who do interesting things with tech.
We offer wifi, coworking space, an electronics and hardware lab with soldering stations and rework equipment, a small wet lab, simple wood and metal working tools, public computers, and most of all a creative environment that's open to visitors.
Fields of interest of people you might find at the lab include DIY electronics, hardware hacking, lock picking, game development, entrepreneurship, security, graphics programming, AI, photography, privacy and civil rights, etc....
The group that operates Null Space Labs sees itself solely as an infrastructure provider and exerts little influence over projects and events carried out at the lab. We are trying to be financially independent, and finance our operations through membership fees. The space was opened in May 2010.
I joined NSL a few months ago, and this month I took the plunge and became a keyholder, granting me access whenever I feel like working on my projects. The space is great, there are tons of really knowledgeable people who are always more than willing to assist you with pretty much anything related to electronics, microcontrollers, hardware hacking, network security, and more.
The members of NSL are working on a plethora of interesting projects. You can read all about them on the wiki, but here is a selection of some that are particularly interesting:
- Proxmark3 LCD
- GoodFET31L / GoodFET31
- CNC Pick and Place Machine
- Gene Sequencer DIYBio LA's Gene Sequencer
- Nixie device
- Plasma Speaker
- NSL Sceptre
- USB Infrared Toy
- Hard Button
- NSL Cylon
- Bus Pirate
We have a ton of great equipment for use by members and non-members alike including over a dozen Metcal soldering stations, hot-air and plate rework equipment, oscilloscopes, function generators, a PCB CNC machine, stereo microscopes and much more. We frequently do group buys on parts and PCBs. We also have a large collection of part in house, available for use in your project (donations appreciated).
If you're in the neighborhood, come by and check out our space. If you want to learn about electronics and soldering we have a fun board you can put together in an hour or two if you're new to SMD soldering. You can tell if we're in by looking at this wiki page or by following the NSL Status twitter stream. Here is our address:
- Null Space Labs
- 1015 S Main St - 3rd Floor
- Los Angeles CA, 90015
Roughly one year ago a huge fire tore through Southern California burning over 160,000 acres of forestland. When it first started, I took photos of the Station Fire blazing through our local mountains.
A few weeks ago, and almost exactly a year after the Station Fire was extinguished, Penelope and I went for a drive up Angeles Crest Highway. The route we usually take, through Pasadena/La Cañada is still closed, but we were able to access the forest going in the back way.
The bad news is, much of the forest has been burnt to a crisp. The good news is that there is life everywhere and the forest will return eventually. Here are a few photos I shot of the forest coming back to life:
The Los Angeles River is not your average waterway. Before it was channelized in the 1940s it frequently changed its path and flooded various parts of the Los Angeles basin during big rains.
Today the LA River hardly looks like a river at all, being completely encased in concrete. It does still attract waterfowl on their migratory paths and water does flow through it throughout the year. That water is about 80% treated sewage when it's not raining. I still find the LA River beautiful with its sloping concrete walls and many bridges and railroad crossings.
A few weeks ago I waded through muck and treated sewage to capture some photos of the endearing Los Angeles River.
As I mentioned yesterday, I spent Saturday tooling around taking photos of the lovely clouds above the industrial wasteland that is Vernon. At one point I made my way down into the Los Angeles River.
The birds were out enjoying the water and the sunshine. I saw ducks, finches and sandpipers. It's great to see life thriving in a giant concrete spillway filled with muck and a bit of water.
What once was an empty cylinder filled with dirt and trash is now a thriving garden filled with drought-resitant, sustainable plants.
In their quest to bring more greenery to our mostly paved neighborhood, they go to the garden every few days to water. Every few weeks they plant new seedlings, cacti and succulents.
The Skid Row residents who live in SROs nearby thank Quietearth and my wife every time they see them. I think the garden really cheers up both the local residents and the guerilla gardeners.
I've watered the plants a few times, but my wife and Quietearth have done all the hard work. It's really inspiring to see the green, sustainable plants when I drive or walk by their garden.
A few weeks I tagged along with them when they went to dig in the dirt and install some plants. Here are a few of the photos I shot:
Penelope bends over to plant a succulent in the planter.
Nearby SRO residents stand around the planter while Queitearth packs dirt around a freshly planted shrub.
Penelope scoops dirt around a plant she just placed in the planter.
The Downtown Guerilla Gardeners stand proudly on the rim of their planter.
A few weeks ago, my lovely wife and I took a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo. We had a good time, but I couldn't help to feel sorry for all the animals on display for our enjoyment. Picturing them in their natural habitat frolicking to and fro instead of locked in a relatively small cage was somewhat depressing. There is no doubt that the animals are cute, but are they happy? Probably not. Either way enjoy the photos:
As you may have noticed, I've been walking around Downtown to get exercise and shooting photos along the way. I'm trying to doing this every day. I think I'm going to do it first thing tomorrow morning after I wake up and have my glass of water (I stopped drinking coffee). I like the Zen Habits morning routing idea, I'm going to give it a shot. Anyhow, here are a few of the photos I shot earlier today:
You can check out the rest of my Downtown LA Walkabout #3 photos here.
Now that I'm 30 I've decided it is time to lose some weight. Part of that will involve adjusting my diet to lower my caloric intake. Another part will involve exercise. I am making the exercise part fun by going for an hour walk every day around Downtown and shooting photos along the way. I plan on going a different way each day to avoid monotony, today I walked over to Little Tokyo to drop off a Demand Warrant for DLANC. Here are a few photos I shot along the way:
You can check out the rest of my Downtown Walkabout photos here.
Update I totally forgot to mention that these were shot with my brand new lens, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II. So far I'm really digging it. Also Jim Winstead pointed out the irony of my first choice of photo in a post about losing weight!
I don't think I had ever witnessed a complete lunar eclipse before. It was a cool experience. The weather in Downtown LA cleared up perfectly a few hours ago and it stayed clear until a cloud partially obscured the moon just after totality. Very beautiful:
I'm also exporting a video right now form the 579 stills I shot. Stand by for that. =]
Los Angeles has been dry and cloudless all summer. I really love the way clouds look in an HDR photo, and as I'm working on the last few shots I need for my first solo show which is coming up either in November or January, I couldn't resist spending a few hours driving around LA and getting some shots. Here are some photos of LA from a few vantage points I found throughout the city, including Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and Baldwin Hills Estates:
You can check out the rest in my Downtown from the Hills gallery.
Today the sky in Los Angeles was filled with the most beautiful clouds that we've had in some time now. I couldn't resist driving around my favorite industrial areas South of Los Angeles and shooting some photos. I even got a chance to try out my new Gobi Stealth roof rack, which has a mesh top and can support 300lbs, making it a perfect photographic platform. Here are the results from my excursion:
All photos were taken with a Canon EOS 5D, through a Canon 24-70 EF f/2.8 L atop my trusty Bogen Manfrotto 3021BN connected to a Arca Swiss B1 Monoball Head triggered using a wired remote. Each photo you see here is a combination of 3 bracketed shots: 0,-,+ 2 EV which were combined with Photomatix. More photos after the jump.
Every teenager dreams of working in a giant warehouse full of discarded nuclear test equipment, well used high-pressure vacuum fittings and an endless assortment of puzzling devices which may or may not have any value in the modern era. Ok, so maybe not every teenager has this dream, I was and still am somewhat of a strange person, but in High School in New Mexico, this particular dream of mine came true.After tooling around the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Library and the Bradbury Museum for the better part of a day, my father took a break from coding the labs IBM AS/400 systems he was responsible for and took me to The Black Hole, also known as the Los Alamos Sales Company. He introduced me to Ed Grothus (photo below), an eccentric old fellow who had worked for the lab (what the locals call LANL) until being let go after marching in a peace protest in the '60s.
Ed offered me a job, which paid minimum wage, which I believe was about $4.25 in New Mexico. He didn't really tell me what the job would entail, and honestly I didn't care. I had fallen in love with the endless piles of mysterious equipment that filled the former supermarket that had become The Black Hole. As it turned out my job description was quite eclectic and covered everything from taking apart electronic assemblies to recover whatever was valuable inside to helping customers find that centrifuge they were looking for to tearing old lockers out of High Schools.
I worked for Ed for 3 or 4 summers and I really enjoyed my time there. It was an amazing experience and I learned about all types of scientific laboratory equipment, how it worked, and what it was worth second hand. I had been meaning to visit the Black Hole and Ed for almost a decade, and I did just that on my recent vacation to New Mexico. Here are some photos with short captions covering what I saw:
Ed Grothus shows off his Peace Obelisk, one of two identical 3 ton marble obelisks. Ed traveled to China to have the massive monuments hewn from quarried marble and then polished and inscribed. The obelisks will have a message in fifteen languages inscribed in the hematite spheres that the obelisks will rest on. He is still searching for a location to place the monuments, I recommended the Trinity Site.
Except for the rusted sculptures and the "Military Surplus" sign, the front entrance to the Black Hole hasn't changed much in the decade and a half since I worked there. The former supermarket, it's parking lot and the church next door no longer sell groceries or facilitate worship, but instead provide cover to millions of salvaged scientific apparatuses. His frequent customers include LANL employees who are ironically buying back the same equipment the lab sold to salvage for pennies on the dollar over the years.
Ultra High vacuum equipment is some of the most high-tech looking hardware in the world. Comprised of thick walled stainless steel and machined with great precision for even greater amounts of money, HVac or UHV fittings are designed to withstand extremely high levels of vacuum. They are used for thin-film and spectroscopy research applications which require insane levels of negative pressure.
This large device is a Marley High Speed Camera built in England in 1944. The camera is capable of taking 100,000 photos per second. It was most likely used to photograph nuclear or other explosions.
To the left of the parking lot in the photo above you can see the A-frame church. When I worked at the Black Hole, it was filled with especially old, and possibly valuable equipment. The parking lot has been a source of trouble for Ed through the years, after neighbors complained the city of Los Alamos ordered Ed to clean up the lot. He ended up refusing to do so, being arrested, and while he was in jail the city hired a private firm to clean up the Black Hole. Instead of cleaning the parking lot out, they sold most all of Ed's most valuable items and pocketed the profit. As you can clearly see, the yard is still not clean.More after the jump, and the whole archive can be found in my gallery
The building that The Edison is in was the first building in Los Angeles with electricity. The power came from a very large oil furnace that is now a room in the lounge. As you can see from the photos above, the generators are still in the basement, although obviously they are no longer in operation.
Several months ago a progression of disturbing Downtown filming events culminated with a low flying helicopter buzzing our rooftops at midnight on a Sunday. Residents and business owners in Downtown voiced their opinions against the way they were being treated by film crews. In response the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) formed and ad-hoc committee on filming issues. I have attended many of their meetings over the past months.
FilmLA gives us the notifications as Microsoft Word documents. There is an open source application that converts MS Word files into text called wvWare, which I had previously used for another project. I set up an special email address that I (or at some point FilmLA) can email the notifications to at which point qmail hands off the email to a php script that I wrote, which pulls out all the attachments, feeds them to wv and then parses the text wv produces. Currently I am able to parse about 90% of the notifications, but some of them are now being sent in PDF and RTF formats. In the near future I am going to enhance the parse to handle those formats as well.
After the raw data is parsed it is sent to a Ruby on Rails application that I wrote that uses YM4R to integrate with Google Maps. Using the Downtown Filming Maps application I wrote you can now search by date range and keyword to see what is going in, filming-wise, in Downtown. You can also subscribe your iCalendar compatible calendar application to see what is going on. The application is still in beta, and doesn't have 100% of the filming locations on it, nor does it show any parking or road closures from filming.
In the near future I plan to add:
- More parsing ability
- Different colored icons to designate upcoming, current and past productions
- Ability to comment and upload photos for each production
- Ability to get email notification when productions are scheduled within a user defined radius of an address
Check out the Downtown LA Filming Notification Map and tell me what you think. The screengrab above shows all the notifications in the system which goes back to the beginning of April. The map shows a week in the past and a week in the future by default.
I took this photo of the fire a couple of hours ago from the top of the 7th Street Bridge in Downtown Los Angeles. It is actually 3 photos 0,+2,-2 EV shot with my Canon EOS 5D through a Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L atop a tripod and combined with Photomatix. You can see another photo on blogging.la.
There is currently a large helicopter flying almost directly above my loft. It has been circling for nearly 2 hours. The helicopter is part of a film crew that is filming a block north of my loft. The crew is parked both in the parking lot next to my loft, and the lot across the street where I park.
We were not notified. My wife has to wake up at 4:30 AM tomorrow for nursing school. It is almost midnight. I do not know where to turn in this situation.
I started out by calling 311, they forwarded me to the non-emergency LAPD dispatch who forwarded me to the LAPD's Air Support Watch Commander. The Sergeant on watch was a nice fellow, and I could tell he felt bad that he couldn't do anything about the disturbance. The deal is that if there is a permit, they have every right to be in the air, no matter who they are. He said that if I had a complaint I would need to jot down the tail letters and call the company in charge of the bird.
UPDATE I currently don't see or hear the helicopter, so hopefully the crew has wrapped for the night. Either way my wife is wearing ear protection and seems to be fast asleep.
UPDATE Part 2 Oh joy the helicopter is back. So far I've been contacted by 4 other Downtown residents. Eric Richardson blogged about it. The adhoc DLACN Film Issues meeting
tomorrow today should be quite interesting. I won't be able to make it, but my wife will be there to voice our opinions.
UPDATE Part 3It is now 5am, my wife is getting up for nursing school, normally I would be asleep, but the crew is banging poles on the ground as they disassemble the circus tents in the parking lot across the street from my loft. Time for me to don the ear protection. Nice.
The BBC has a
show station called 1Xtra that covers "New Black Music" which includes drum'n'bass / jungle. They are coming out across the pond to check out what is happening in the scene out here in Los Angeles as well as 3 other US cities: NY, Houston and Atlanta.
1Xtra is visiting four corners of the USA to bring you the freshest in new black music, interviews with the biggest stars, and a series of massive live shows!
They are going to be interviewing me about junglescene.com as well as the LA scene in general. They are coming out here the day before my wedding so it will be a bit hectic for me! They are covering some dnb shows that will be taking place when I am in Fiji so I will miss those. They have linked to my site, my flickr photos and junglescene on their mini-site and they are also using a photo of mine on their LA DNB page.
Update Oops, I didn't realize that 1Xtra was a full blown station, not just a show.
Many of the local writers who attended came back with glowing reviews. Dave Bullock of Blogging.la had one of the best words/pictures combinations, and remarked: "It was the greatest show of patriotism I have seen my whole life, and the whole event really moved me."
I just posted up the 5th part of the LA From an Auto series over on LA Voice. You can check out the new google map with many more locations here. Here are the first four parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
This edition in the series of scans from the 1906 electric coach tour guide entitled Los Angeles From an "Auto" takes us deeper into the Old Chinese Quarter and then to the original heart of the city, when it was just a tiny Spanish pueblo. This portion of the book is less of an advertisement for the hotels of Downtown and more of a glimpse into the unique history of the City of Angels. In case you missed them, the first three sections can be found here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Check out the google map which shows the locations of the buildings shown in the guide along with a few (soon to me many) photos of the buildings as they exist today. The engravings from this section will be posted soon thanks to the historical address finding wizardry of Eric Richardson, who has already helped find several of the addresses for the map.
UPDATE The story has been boingboinged
[oops they said 1909 instead of 1906] fixed... thanks Cory!
I have posted the third part of my scans of the 1906 electric coach tour program guide: Los Angeles From an "Auto" over on LA Voice. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that the first two portions were painstakingly converted from photo to text manually by yours truly; I have stepped into the modern age and used an OCR program to aid in the task. I added the new photos on the google map.
I spent some time today updating the HCM google-mashup and enabling it to search by either zipcode and distance or name, address and monument number. Just a note of warning, if you increase the distance searched by too much you will end up with a google map that contains hundreds of points which, in Safari at least, ends up dogging your system. Eventually I'd like the system to get the location of the current view and show the HCMs that exist on that map. Tonight I am going to add the rest of the locations from LA and possible the ones from Long Beach if I feel so inclined.
UPDATE I have reimported the database of LA HCMs and this time I changed to code to work with ranges and multiple addresses for the most part and I also imported ALL the regions of LA. I am currently geocoding all the information once again so it may be a few hours before it is all on there. I also added a link to the flick tags for each map point... thanks to the folks in the LA Historical Cultural Monuments Group!
So I've been playing more with google maps API and have created a page that lists all the Historical Cultural Monuments in Downtown Los Angeles and a few surrounding neighborhoods. This phase is pretty buggy and due to the raw addresses from the HCM database being nonstandard, some of the addresses are ranges. I will have to hack my code up a bit to fix the range listings... also the geocoder I am using doesn't have every address in it, so it is not very precise. The geocoding is still going so not all 600 of the locations are on the map yet, but there are still many points so be careful it may tax your system to view this page. Next I just have to integrate photos and descriptions! [If you have a slow computer try this search for "broadway"]
I used to work at a place in Los Alamos called the Black Hole. I had read recently that they were raided by the FBI who took a bunch of joke items that Ed Grothus had on display for years. The man is always trying to hold Ed Grothus down!
This is from the Santa Fe New Mexican (bugmenot reg. required):
Last week on April Fools I read a post on BoingBoing that stated the famed Survival Research Labs of the Bay Area would be in full force with their killer robots on Saturday. Hoping that it wasn't just an April Fools joke, I hurriedly finished removing the rear differential from my 86 Bronco and raced back from the desert to watch some good ol' fashioned robot induced destruction.
Penelope and I showed up about half an hour into the show and couldn't get a good look at at the action due to the crowd that had formed. After trying to shoot photos over the crowd we went back to my car and grabbed out ear protection and then went to the other side. We watched the action for a few moments until it was over and then waited at the front of the riot gates. One of the crew members in an orange suit looked at my camera and said that security wasn't watching so I might as well go take some pictures. That was my cue so I walked in and took a bunch of close-ups of the machines. My favorite photos was of an LAFD fireman wearing 3d glasses and watching the show on a PowerBook.
Next time SRL shows up I will know to come early and bring a ladder!
A few years ago I got a tour of One Wilshire in Downtown Los Angeles where I took some cool pictures. Some of them were also at Pajo Networks which is now called Tier Zero. I host my servers with Tier Zero. Here is the gallery
Last week, LANL was closed upon a security review from National Nuclear Security Administration director and Bush appointee, Linton Brooks and Bush apointee Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow who are now back in DC. The reason for closing the all nonessential sections of the lab (even high security areas like the museum and cafeteria) was a missing removable storage device that contained classified material.
From the Albuquerque Journal:
The incident is the latest in a series of embarrassments that have prompted federal officials to put the Los Alamos management contract up for bid for the first time in the 61-year history of the lab that built the atomic bomb.
Gee, I wonder if Haliburton wil get the contract worth billions of dollars? We're going to start a new cold war.
- Runs from July 2 to Jan. 23, 2005.
- Features 25 human bodies and 200 body parts intended to teach visitors about the skeletal, cardiovascular and other systems.
- Location: California Science Center, Exposition Park, 700 State Drive, Los Angeles.
- Admission: $12 for adults, with discounts available for members, seniors, students and children. Children under 13 must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
- Parking: $6 per car.
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with last admission at 8 p.m.
- Information: (323) 724-3623
When I first moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1992 my dad worked for Los Alamos National Labratory in the ADP-4 dept coding old mainframes. He told me about, then took me to the most wonderful place I'd ever been...
I instantly fell in love as I am an avid junk collector. The black hole is an old supermarket, it's parking lot and the church next door along with it's parking lot (plus a house or tow a few miles away... which we once found a nice little disk (about 1 or 2 grams of weapons grade uranium! ) all filled up with piles of Lab suprlus.
See every first friday (or some day it's been a while) the Lab does somthing it calls salvage. Salvage is a silent auction where everybody gets a chance to inspect pallets of wonderful junk the lab no longer feels it needs. You can get anything from a pile of bolts to boxes of laser tubes. All for pennies on the thousands if not millions.