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September 13, 2010

PV011: Сезон Лангустов (Russian version of Lobster Season)

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Поскольку Оксанин брат был своего рода центром истории этого подкаста, и потому что он только говорит по русски, и не понимает не слова  о том, что мы сказали в этом эпизоде, мы решили добавить субтитры к этой версии нашего видео специально для него. Я не нашел (простой способ), как  поместить субтитры в плеере Flash, так что я решил вернутся к Quicktime .MOVs.  Если видео не играет, убедитесь, что бесплатная версия QuickTime Player установленна на вашем компьютере.

(Since Oksana’s brother was sort of the story behind our last podcast, and since, because he only speaks Russian, he can’t understand a word of what we said, we decided to make a subtitled version of the video for him.  I couldn’t figure out (an easy way) to make the subtitles show up in the Flash player, so I went back to straight-up Quicktime .MOVs.  If you can’t play the video, make sure you download the free Quicktime player.)


August 30, 2010

PV011: Lobster Season

About three weeks ago, Oksana and I took her brother and sister-in-law, Andrey and Natasha, down to Key West. They were visiting from Russia and we took it upon ourselves to show them a good time. Andrey received his PADI open water certification course in Katmchatka this spring — in the COLD! — just so he could dive with us here in the States.

On our last trip through Key West, Oksana and I stumbled upon a little dive shop called Dive Key West. We had a wonderful experience with them, so we knew right where to take Andrey. What we didn’t realize, however, was that we would be there for the opening day of lobster season…

Technical notes: I had a little problem with… ahem, I mean I was fortune enough to have a learning experience with the audio on this podcast. I don’t know why our Zoom H2 picked up interference from our iPhones — they were both clear across the room and it’s never happened before — but our “clean” audio track was riddled with cell phone noise. The (slightly) lesser of two evils was to use the crappy audio record by the Canon 5D’s on-board mic. I have no idea where the clicking sounds throughout that track came from (because we were careful to turn off the AC and check for other noises in our hotel room.)  At any rate, I did the best I could with a little noise reduction and music.  Anyway, next time: phones powered all the way off.


July 15, 2010

PV010: NASA STS-132 Tweetup

Here’s a long-ish podcast episode about the NASA Tweetup I attended back in May.  Oksana wasn’t able to go with me, so this video ending up being a one-man show.  There’s some good stuff in there, I think, but I ran into some problems during the production (not the least of which was overexposing my “narrator” shot… grrr!)  My intent was to convey my own experiences at, and thoughts about, the NASA Tweetup.  I hope I managed to at least do that.

Originally I thought I’d post it in June, but packing for our backpacking-around-the-world trip got too crazy for that.  Then, I thought I’d post it on the first week of the trip, but the trip itself got too crazy for that!

Oksana and I are finding ourselves facing down the Traveler Blogger’s Dilemma: How do we budget time for webpage work when there’s a whole exciting world out there to see?  Turns out that’s especially hard when you’re visiting friends and family!


April 30, 2010

Space Shuttle Exhaust

Sunlight on the Space Shuttle Discoverys exhaust plume

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In keeping with this week’s theme…

When the Space Shuttle Discovery launched at 6:21am on the morning of April 5th, the sun had not yet risen.  However, as the Shuttle itself disappeared into the distance, the horizon was beginning to brighten.  It was still pre-dawn when helpful voice over the loudspeakers urged everyone to get back in the busses before the cloud of toxic exhaust fumes had a chance to drift over the Causeway.

Our group piled back into our Grey Line and commenced with the waiting; it would be almost an hour before we moved and another hour or two on the road back to Orlando.  Despite everyone being exhausted (we’d been up all night) the excitement level was high.  Everywhere I looked, people were using the backs of their cameras to show off their photos and video.

While I was sitting there, I happened to glance out the window.  The sun was still below the horizon, but it had started to illuminate just a bit of the Shuttle’s wind-swept contrail.  I remembered something I’d read from Stan Jirman’s (excellent, excellent, excellent!) Shuttle Launch Photography web page:

With a day launch, some of the best pictures are taken after the shuttle is gone. The exhaust fumes often create spectacular cloud formations which are more impressive than a shuttle lifting off (admit it, you have seen pics of a shuttle launch before, but not necessarily one of a cloud like below). [photo link]

I knew we weren’t supposed to be outside, but I decided that asking the bus driver was worth a shot (so to speak!)  I removed my camera’s 400mm equivalent, snapped on a shorter lens, then walked up the aisle to ask if he wouldn’t mind opening up the door for me.  “Of course!  No problem!”

I took maybe three steps from the bus, lifted up my camera, and fired off two, three-shot bursts.  Both bracketed by 1 stop, but otherwise just using the automatic settings. I was back in my seat thirty seconds later.  I checked them out on the camera’s LCD screen and decided my favorite was one of the darker (-1 stop) exposures.

Now tell me that doesn’t look just like a Chinese Dragon!

Canon 5D Mark II
Date: 6:55am, 5 April 2010
Focal Length: 24mm
Shutter: 1/20 second
Aperture: F/5.6
ISO: 100
Photoshop: Slight color correction.

April 28, 2010

STS-132 Tweetup

Arlo setting up camera at STS-131, Photo by Joseph Sears

When I first went to Machu Picchu, I tried to absorb as much of it as I could.  I figured it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Same thing with the Galapagos; while I was there, I slept as little as possible so that I wouldn’t miss a thing.  Funny thing is, I actually went back to the Galapagos a second time and (I still can’t get over this!) I’ve been to Machu Picchu three times now.

So when I planned to attend the Space Shuttle Discovery launch last month, even though they’re retiring the Shuttle program, and even though arranging a viewing six miles away is still crazy expensive, and even though I live almost 3,300 miles away in Alaska, I guess I really shouldn’t have counted on it being another once-in-a-lifetime thing.  Because you never know.

When I got back to Juneau after the STS-131 launch, my friend, Joe, ReTweeted a message from NASA on Twitter:

Chance to see launch! RT @NASA: registration for STS-132 launch will open Apr 19-20. You don’t have to be 1st! http://www.nasa.gov/tweetup

I followed the link, read that registration for a NASA-sponsored “tweetup” would open at 6am Alaska time the following Monday, and set an appointment for it in my calendar.  When that morning rolled around, I filled out the sparse information they asked for and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

What was the harm?  I figured tons of people would be signing up, and if by some miracle I was selected, I’d figure it all out later.  Well, guess what.  A few days later I got the email; I’m in!

April 16, 2010

STS-131 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch

STS-131 Space Shuttle Discovery Launch

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When Oksana and I were researching all the things we could do during our year of travel, one of the things I wrote down was “See a Shuttle Launch.”  It’s not that I had any special interest in seeing one (though I do think space travel is pretty darn cool), it just seemed like one of those things you should do at least once.  You know, like “see a total eclipse,” or “go skydiving.”

Turns out, when you live in Alaska, there can be some pretty tall hurdles to overcome before you can see a Shuttle launch.

October 30, 2009

PV006: Diving with Dive Key West

Hoo boy.  This was a tough podcast to edit.  I can remember working on the first cut on the airplane down to Seattle back in early September.  Why so difficult?  Well, I think I underestimated how much “story” I wanted to put in.  As I mention in the video, Oksana and I wanted to tie this episode back to the last, so we tailored our little speeches around that.  Unfortunately, once I started editing, I realized I had absolutely nothing to show while we talked — we’re not in the habit of taking videos of dive shop storefronts. Yet.

I decided to do what I could with what I had, but the real problem was that I lost one crucial little thing:  Motivation.  Eventually I battered my way through the editing process, but I’m not 100% happy with the results.  Oksana really liked it, though.  Maybe you will, too.

We did a total of four dives with Dive Key West and we’ve got a couple more stories to tell.  I don’t know if I’m going to jump right into that now or wait until we get back from our Puerto Rico vacation coming up in November.  That might be the perfect time to practice some “on the road” podcasting… we’ll see.

(Update: Never did get around to editing the rest of that footage, but we did go back and dive with Dive Key West again in 2010.  Check out our Lobster Season video!)