Friday, December 28, 2012

Foucault Pendulum

When I was a child we would visit the Griffith Observatory from time to time.  I was always fascinated by the Foucault Pendulum
 I still am.  I am not alone, it is a magnet for most who enter the observatory.
As the pendulum moves back and forth, the earth is turning beneath it.  About every 8 minutes the earth has rotated enough that a pin on the bottom of the pendulum knocks over another of the tiles at the left.
The shiny ball of the pendulum reflects the newly restored Hugo Ballin Murals in the dome of the rotunda.

Find more reflections at Weekend Reflections, hosted for us by James. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We Are Still Here!

We took a quick trip to LA for an early Christmas with our son, Eric and his family.
Looking for a way to spend the day that we all could enjoy, we headed for Griffith Observatory.
It was a relatively clear day (for Los Angeles) with a view of downtown
and to the west, Century City and the Pacific Ocean.
 We hadn't thought much about the date when choosing where to spend the day but it was the Winter Solstice, believed by some to be the day the world would end according to the Mayan Calendar.  As it happens, the director of the observatory is Dr. Ed Krupp (on the right) whose specialty is Archaeoastronomy.  Not surprisingly, they made a big deal of the event.

Visitors were invited to watch the sunset on the patio where a line in the concrete would line up with the sun at sunset on the Winter Solstice.  This created several challenges for the photographer. 
The first was location.  With so many people it was difficult to find a spot where one could get a view straight down the line. 

 The second problem was exposure.  A little Photoshop Elements magic helped with that.
 I finally found the perfect spot, not surprisingly it was already occupied but I was able to shoot over the shoulder of the gentleman already in position.  When the sun had set and everyone began to drift away I found that I had been shooting over the shoulder of Dr. Krupp.  I imagine he had the spot picked out well in advance!

Find more views of the sky at SkyWatch, Friday.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I'd been looking for an opportunity to try a Zipline and I found one on our trip to Hawaii.  My son Mark and Daughter-in-law Mimi were game to go with me.

The Zipline operated in an area of native forest and macadamia nut orchards.  We were encouraged to pick up macadamia nuts as we walked under the trees.

We took off from platforms, some we had to climb up to, others were almost at ground level at the edge of canyon.
At one point we walked across a narrow suspension bridge rather than zipping across.

With harness and two straps hooking us to a slide and cable, we were ready for our adventure.
Ladies first!
Then the gentlemen
On the gentle Zips, the guides would some times have to reach out or climb out to pull in participants if they didn't have enough momentum to make it all the way to the next platform.  On other lines they used a block on a rope to stop you as you can see above.

I tried the video on my little Coolpix, not the best venue for learning a new skill as the action was pretty fast.  When I tried to take pictures while zipping I was unable to keep from spinning and if you watch the video you'll see I was out of control.  I would like to get another opportunity in the future and see if I can learn to control my flight.
  Linked to Outdoor Wednesday

Michael on the Fair Wind II

While in Hawaii we all went on a snorkeling cruise, even Michael!
We were impressed with the crew of the Fair Wind II.  They were committed to helping every who wanted to, to get in the water.
 Our grandson, Michael loves the water but he has multiple disabilities the greatest of which is a sever cognitive limitation.
With flotation belt and inner tube, with parents holding on, he went into the bay.  He does not understand if we try to explain what will happen but he does understand that he can trust his parents to keep him safe.
Once he got used to this new experience he seemed to enjoy himself.
His parents are always delighted when they can find a new experience he can enjoy.
I was glad I had my new little waterproof camera to capture these images.

Find more watery sights at Water World Wednesday, hosted for us by Kim.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanksgiving in Hawaii

We tried something different for Thanksgiving this year.  We rented a house on the Big Island of Hawaii for Jules & me plus our two sons, grandson and daughter-in-law.  There was something for everyone.
We ate, maybe too much.
Watched the ocean
The three younger adults tried their hand at "Snuba"
Even Michael got into the water (more on this later)

Mark, Mimi and I experienced the ziplines up in Kohala.

The birdwatching was good in the yard of the house we rented.

Jules and I stayed with Michael while the other three drove around the island.  Mark shared his pictures of that trip with me.

They stopped at Akaka Fall.

And experienced the volcano's glow after sunset

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's yacht "Octopus" was moored in the bay while we were there.  It is the second largest privately owned yacht, though not quite as big as the Celebrity Century next too it.  It even has a heliport. 
Travel with a severely disabled person such as Michael is difficult but renting a house proved to be a good solution.  The plane trip from California was a challenge but one his parents were willing to accept.  We all got to be together and each had an opportunity to enjoy the island by trading off on the care giving.

You can find more views of our wonderful world at Our World, Tuesday; hosted for us by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy.