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Rocket Launch

GFS Easter

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Dying Easter Eggs

Easter Morning

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Matanuska Glacier Hike

Center of Science & Industry - Columbus

Annika Day

Akron Zoo
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We support Ron Paul for President 2012.  

I think the founding fathers would be very disappointed in what has become of the American government and its leaders; we now have a corrupt empire that largely ignores its own constitution and tramples on individuals' liberties.  The founding fathers would like Ron Paul, however.  Congressman Paul consistently votes no on issues that are unconstitutional. If elected Ron Paul will end our wars, close our hundreds of military bases across the globe and end our unsustainable, financially irresponsible empire.  Ron Paul has more support from US troops than all other presidential candidates combined!  Dr. Paul is critical of government corruption and believes in protecting whistleblowers.  As a congressman, Paul does not participate in the congressional pension, has never voted to raise congressional pay and as President he would draw a salary of just $39,336, which is the median salary of the American worker.  Paul believes the War on Drugs is not working, is a waste of money, and violates citizen's personal freedoms.  Congressman Paul has never voted for: raising taxes, an unbalanced budget, a federal restriction on gun ownership or an increase in the power of the executive branch.  Paul is the only presidential candidate proposing a viable balanced budget.  He voted against: the Patriot Act, the TARP bailouts, regulating the Internet and the Iraq war.  Search YouTube for " Ron Paul predicts " to see how Paul has predicted many of our current major problems and crises years or decades before they happened.  Please do not waste your vote on the status-quo; elect Ron Paul for US President in 2012.  - David & Joan Hall


Blog #330



Akron Zoo

Joan and Annika went to the Zoo this Wednesday.  It was a beautiful day and they had a lot of fun together.  It is always good to have a little one on one time with a child.









Annika Day

We Celebrated Annika's Swedish Name Day last week.







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Blog #329



Center of Science and Industry - Columbus

   Yesterday we visited the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus.  Although this museum is considered the best of its kind, I thought it was a bit over-rated.  Although we arrived twenty minutes after COSI opened, we spent ten minutes in line to park and forty minutes in line to buy tickets.  Later we heard that the general admission line was an hour and half long.  They seriously need more registers and the transaction speed was amazingly slow.  If movie theaters can sell tickets in seconds, why does a museum need minutes per transaction?  My guess is that they must believe that if they are doing well there is no need to try to improve things.  Even the line for existing members crawled along.  Show your card and go in, how hard can that be?


The entrance sports a huge pendulum - marble knocker thing.


The best room may have been "The Ocean".  We had fun playing with the water toys. 


   A few days ago I got a fantastic deal on a Nikon 18-200mm autofocus vibration reduction lens.  My old lens for standard shots was a Nikon 18-55mm autofocus and I also have a 70-300mm autofocus.  Both of these lenses are have become obsolete; the new 18-200 is vastly superior.  This shot above was hand held with an exposure of 1/5 of a second; ISO was set to 1600 because it was so dark.  Without vibration reduction, I could never hold a steady shot for less than 1/30 of a second or so.  I'm very excited about my new lens and am thrilled at the great deal I found.




Svea's making waves in the wave machine.


The girls enjoyed the laminar fountains.



Using their combined weight and a huge lever, the girls were able to lift a car.



Svea bouncing sound.


This thing sucked up foam balls and shot them high into the air.



The "Pain Machine".



Tulips and a dogwood tree in downtown Columbus.


A replica of The Santa Maria docked on the Scioto River in Columbus.





Blog #328



Matanuska Glacier Hike

(Retroblog: July 21, 2009)

   I never got around to blogging/posting all of our pictures from our trip to Alaska last summer.  Sometimes I post an hour after taking photos; in this case it's been nine months.  We had a great time on the glacier and the weather was reasonable.  Glaciers suck up warmth from quite a distance; being directly on a glacier is always somewhat cold.  It wasn't raining or very windy and we could see some blue in the sky which makes pretty decent weather for the Matanuska Glacier.  On the way home we ate at the Long Rifle Lodge and pulled over a few times for photo opportunities.  I took 1,100 pictures that day; the girls too another 177.  My total was so high because I shot many bracketed set of seven shots with the intention of producing HDR photos as can be seen further down.  Below are my favorite 37 shots.






















Matanuska Glacier in High Dynamic Range:













Long Rifle Lodge









The Matanuska River and Kings Mountain (The pointy one, above-right)




Confluence of the Chickaloon and Matanuska Rivers.  

Note the translucent bluish green color of the Chickaloon and the silty grey opaque color of the Matanuska.



While I took roadside pictures I would amuse the girls by wearing this huge fro.  They got a kick out of watching the reactions of drivers gawking at the Jamaican taking pictures.



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Blog #327



Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunts

   We live in a nice neighborhood and have particularly great neighbors; it's pretty much 1950's Mayberry on our block.  Two of our neighbors held their annual Easter egg hunts today.  The weather was fantastic and the kids had a blast. 


Svea is ready for Easter with her extra large basket.










Brigitta actually managed to photobomb the silly group shot.



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Blog #326

David & Joan


Easter Morning

It was a lovely Easter morning...nice enough for outdoor pictures.




   The morning began (before dawn) when the girls woke us up to hunt for eggs and baskets.  They asked for challenging locations for the baskets this year and we provided them.  Annika's was in the oven, Svea's was in a coat closet hanging from a hanger between the coats and Brigitta's was on her bed behind some stuffed animals.  Each needed several hints to locate her basket.















Blog #325



Dying Easter Eggs

(During the golden hour, shot with an old 50mm prime film lens)


   The girls dyed Easter eggs tonight.  The sun was low and casting golden light.  My Nikon D200 will accept old Nikon film lenses which is one of the reasons I bought it.  I have an old 50mm prime f/1.8 lens that I bought at a garage sale last spring.  Prime 50mm means that the lens has no zoom.  Being old, it's manual focus and aperture.  Lately I have been shooting in manual exposure, just like in the old days with film cameras.  The combination of a prime lens and complete manual control makes shooting feel very much like shooting an old SLR film camera.  I don't miss having to buy, load, advance and wind film, however.  Being able to review images and check exposure with the playback button also is essential, especially under odd lighting conditions.  Manual shooting means that I blow the focus and exposure quite often, however.  The intentionally short depth of field and selective focus produce a neat, film-like look.  Out of the 158 images I took in 30 minutes, I'm happy with the following 17:



















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Blog #325

David & Joan


Kent Bike Ride

   Yesterday we went for our first family bike ride of the year.  The weather was fantastic; it may have hit 80.  I turned up the ISO on the little Canon to 800 to force the shutter speed over 1000 and gave it to Annika who rode in the kiddy seat on the back of my bike.  Here are some of her shots, plus one I took of her with the strap still around her  wrist.






Annika's Mickey Mouse

   Yesterday morning the girls watched the Mickey Mouse Club on TV.  Afterward Annika traced three circles for an outline of Mickey Mouse.  We thought it was pretty good for someone who just turned five.



Roller Slide Park

  Thursday we started Easter break with a visit to Water Works Park in Munroe Falls.  We call it the "Roller Slide Park" because it features a slide that is made out of roller cylinders. 






GFS Easter

   On Wednesday we went to the Easter party at the German Family Society.  We had a great time and Annika met a girl who also will be attending kindergarten with her at IHM next fall.




Rocket Launch

   Last Saturday our rocket teams launched their new rockets.  Although no motors exploded this time, we did not have a good launch and gave up on attempting to qualify for nationals.  Although our Rocksim CAD and simulator program indicated that our rocket design, shape, mass and motor choice was ideal, our rockets did not reach the desired altitude of 825 feet.  We had a couple rockets barely come within 100 feet of that target altitude.  Our bigger problem was that our payloads were not fully ejecting.  Most of the streamers and Pogo Payload Pods made it it out and the eggs survived.  Only one parachute, however, managed to eject with the payload and deploy.  Despite a proper deployment we lost that rocket anyway; winds took the rocket body and parachute to the edge of the field where it landed and tangled atop a tall tree.  I only used my telephoto lens on one launch, which provided valuable insight.  The ejection charge went off way too early instead of at the apogee (top of the ballistic curve).  I managed to get many ascending shots after the nose cone came off and the payload partially exited the rocket.  Since the air pressure on the front of the rocket and payload was so high from such high speed, it countered the force of the ejection charge.  Early ejection may have been the problem with our other flights as well; we are not sure.  Except for our one parachute, all other rockets returned to earth like a harpoon.  The one with the payload partially deployed bounced while the others stuck deep into the soil with a good thud.  On Monday we took a vote and decided

   When we arrived at 10:00 AM, the wet soil was frozen solid.  I figured I could drive on the frozen ground but also thought it might get soft and muddy when it thawed.  Unfortunately, several others followed my bad judgment and also drove onto the field.  It did thaw and the ground became quite soft and muddy.  When it was time to leave (around 1:00) I got stuck in a lower wetter spot.  Another two wheel drive also quickly got stuck, while the head coach never attempted to move his car.  A parent in a four wheel drive managed to pull me off the field, which was quite amazing considering that it was difficult for the four wheel drive to move at all.  Another four wheel drive managed to get stuck.  Our efforts were aided by sun and wind which dried out the field considerably over the three hours that it took to get all but one car out. 


1/1600 second exposure


Telephoto series.  This is the one where the payload got stuck halfway out; the rocket bounced on the ground.



We tried an old heavy cone on one flight.  Just lifting off; 1/2000 second exposure


1/2000 second exposure


1/2000 second exposure


The kids were delighted to see a worm when they pulled this one out of the ground.


Where we were stuck for three hours.


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