Friday, June 27, 2008

Formation of Cumulus Clouds From Burning Wheat Fields, Time-lapse

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Time-lapse Burning Wheatfields, 640x480, .mov, 8.6 mb 51 sec

For the last few weeks, farmers have been finishing their wheat harvest and burning the stubble to prepare the field for the next crop (the value and safety of this practice is debated), mostly soybeans around here. On this hot, humid day I saw some huge beautiful cumulonimbus clouds forming as a result of these burning fields. By the time I was able to get home and get out to our farm to set up for shooting, the clouds were not as impressive. I was impressed, though by the number of distant fields I was able to get, just in this frame, in this hour and a half period. At the top of some of these plumes of smoke, you can see the condensation, which is where they turn fluffy and white, before it cools and drops a bit then evaporates again. This time-lapse video was made last week using my Canon PowerShot S3 IS and Granite Bay Time-lapse software with my old Dell laptop. I took 1400 pics at a rate of 1 picture every 4 seconds. I made the music with Sony Acid Music Studio.

For the record, although I was involved with burning a few fields when I was younger, my family's farm hasn't grown wheat in the last couple of years so don't gripe at me if you are opposed to this practice. Here is a somewhat neutral story about the debate over this practice of burning wheat stubble from Also here is a recent letter and thread with some good old down home fussin' about whether to burn or not to burn from in Elizabeth City, N.C.

You can see this time-lapse video of the burning wheat fields at my YouTube player page if you can't view quicktime videos.

UPDATE 7/10/08: Here is a good still shot of a cumulus cloud forming from the burning of wheat stubble by professional photographer Judd Patterson.

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Friday Herplogging - Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans

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This is a red-eared slider, Trachymys scripta elegans. It is one of 4 subspecies of a turtle known as sliders. This turtle is commonly found in the south central and south eastern U. S. The most distinguishing characteristic of this turtle is the horizontal red patch behind each eye, though they are not actually ears as the name would imply. This one was found in the garage of my neighbor and kept as a pet for a few days by their young daughter who is almost always holding on to some kind of little creature. Red-eared sliders are commonly kept and sold as pets. Because of their size as adults, their longevity and their heavy trade, they are also frequently dumped in both native and non-native habitats and are therefore considered invasive species in some areas such as Florida.

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Pictured above is the carapace, which is smooth, slightly domed and hard. The color and markings are usually yellow-green to green and can darken to black with increasing age, especially in males. The rear of the carapace is mildly serrated.

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The plastron pictured above is hingeless, and is yellow with dark markings in the center of each scute.

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The above picture is a close-up of the serrations along the rear of the carapace.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

This and other animals can be seen anytime at the Webiocosm Zoo.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tiger, Your're a Freak. Plinko is your game.

It's not so much that I love Tiger Woods, but I love drama in sports, and he just caused some spectacular drama. Tiger Woods, just rimmed in a 12 foot birdie putt on the final hole of the U. S. Open at Torrey Pines to force a playoff against Rocco Mediate tomorrow. They both finished tied through 72 holes at 1-under par. I have to say that at this point the U.S. Open is Woods' to lose. I will be following closely tomorrow. What did he say about the wobbly put that went in? He made a reference to playing the game Plinko from 'The Price is Right'. You never know what is going to happen. However, Mediate said he knew that Tiger would hit the shot.
Here is the video on YouTube but it probably won't last long.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Cumulonimbus Clouds, Time-lapse

I just filmed this time-lapse video a couple of hours ago. It was late in the day and I was out pushing my 6 month-old boy through the neighborhood when I realized that there was an incredible number of cumulonimbus clouds booming all over. I went back home and got all my gear out, but I have such a limited range of viewing from my home due to trees, houses and hills that I was lucky to get this shot between the trees. I was filming the clouds in the first scene when it suddenly got much darker and my neighbors alerted me to the nasty looking clouds coming at us from behind. I turned the camera around and started filming. I should have left everything alone there so the film would have been smoother. Oh, well practice makes perfect. The pictures were taken with a Canon PowerShot S3 IS and Granite Bay Time-lapse software. I took one picture every 4 seconds. The movie was made with QuickTime Pro playing the pictures back at 30 fps.

You can see my other time-lapse videos at my time-lapse home page or you can view my time-lapse and other videos at my YouTube player page if you can't view quicktime videos.

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