Earth Wind Map

earth_wind_mapEarth Wind Map is one of the neatest visualizations and interactive maps I have seen. You can see current data of ocean currents, particulate extinction, chemical extinction, temperature, cloud water, relative humidity, and a bunch or other stuff including wind. You can turn the globe, or whatever projection you chose (there are several), and zoom into areas. Simply click on the button labelled Earth to select the options—the top of that dialog box tells you what you are looking at. The data are updated every three hours. You could click on my image composite of their projections or, better still, go to the site. This is something worth bookmarking.

Walking on the Moon

apollo_17_panorama_3Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon. In 1972, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt descended in the lunar lander, while Ronald Evans remained in orbit. This is a composite I created from seven images from the NASA’s Project Apollo Archive. Click on the image for a larger view. Note the lunar rover on the right of the image.

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Earthrise

apollo_earthriseThis image is from the newly released Project Apollo Archive by NASA of the pictures taken during the Apollo missions. While the crew never reached the surface of the moon, Apollo 8 was the first time humans had left Earth’s orbit and orbited another celestial body. It was the first time we could view our planet from a place other than Earth. The crew on that mission was William Anders, Frank Borman, and James Lovell. Click on the image for a larger view.

More than Meets the Eye

life_in_maine_more_than_meets_the_eyeCameras imitate human vision. Color is purely a human response to light: it does not actually exist in nature. How far we see in the electromagnetic spectrum, we call that range light, is simply a response of our biology.

But eyes are not simply tiny cameras. Our vision is a complex system. Part of the retina of our eyes (rods) only sees luminance—how bright things are. Part (cones) only sees color, or, maybe more accurately, differences in color. These signals are transmitted to our brain where it recreates an image of the world. But even in our brain, luminance and color are processed in entirely different areas. So while our experience is a unified vision of a color world (the middle image), the reality is part of our brain is processing luminance (the left image) and another part color (the right image).

We are really not that good at seeing color, which is a late evolutionary adaptation (many animals do not see in color). But it is important. The sky is rather dull in simple luminance—the orange sky at the horizon has the same brightness, or equiluminant, as the blue sky through the cloud. The addition of color in our perception creates far more separation. But color alone lacks structure and detail—color acuity is low in human vision, which why it can be really hard to read red text on a green background when both colors are equiluminant. Click on the image for a larger view.

Dusk at Pemaquid Point

life_in_maine_pemaquid_duskThe metamorphic rock at Pemaquid Point slowly being eroded into the Gulf of Maine. Before it was turned to gneiss underground 400 million years ago, it was itself a product of erosion as sedimentary rock. Click on the image for a larger view.

Illusion of Optics

life_in_maine_illusionThe rocks at Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park. One of the most interesting things about photography is the ability to present the world in a way that a person could not perceive naturally. When a group of objects are in focus, when they appear sharp, it is usually because they are all the same distance from the observer. That does not need to be true for a camera (no Photoshop gimmick here). Click on the image for a larger view.

Emeric de Monteynard—Poet

translations_emeric_de_monteynard_2I had the great pleasure to meet French poet Emeric de Monteynard at Translations: Bates International Poetry Festival in 2010. His French web site can be found here. I was asked to make a portrait of the nine visiting artists. Each poet was asked to write a short piece that would be incorporated into the festival poster. Click on the image for a larger view.