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Messages - Matt

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Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 16, 2017, 07:46:37 PM »
Here's some more pics from Alaska.  So, we're on a 60 passenger ship, much smaller than regular cruise ships, and the reason I wanted to go on this type of ship was for photographing whales. I had seen the humpbacks in Hawaii in January, and left feeling really discouraged that I hadn't gotten a good opportunity to photograph the whales. So, I followed them to Alaska where they migrate in the summer. I have to say that although I got better photos this time, I still feel discouraged because I didn't get a magnificent shot. And that's now my life goal. I'm probably going to keep following humpbacks around the world until I get a shot that I'm satisfied with. And I like that goal a lot, because I'll see some fantastic things trying to achieve it.

Anyway, here's the best shot I got:

Not bad, but not stunning. But, I did get to watch two whales swimming together and diving for about an hour, and that was breathtaking.

This is the same dive, just a half a second later:

Here's a whale diving, in sequence:

First you see them arch their back (and after watching them a bit, you start to get excited when you see this because you know you're about to get a tail sighting):

They lift their tail:

The back of their tail flips up:

The underside of their tail sinks into the water after them:

Here's a shot of the two together. I believe it's a mother and her calf.

One more shot:

And just to break up the monotony, another shot of the sun trying to fight its way through the clouds.

We'd see a lot more whales later this night at dusk, but I don't think I got any decent photos -- it was too dark, and they were far away, but I'll post something later anyway even if it's not that good. ;)

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Weather Thread
« on: September 09, 2017, 09:02:17 AM »
I heard from Richard that he's staying in South Florida. He's down in the Miami area, and it looks like they will be spared most of Irma's wrath. It's currently looking to hit Southwest Florida, from Marco to Naples/Ft Myers. I'm glad today (more than ever) that I moved away from there. But, my father's house is right on the water near Marco Island. He's safe in NJ now, fortunately.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 07, 2017, 05:58:34 AM »
That's why they call it digital photography, I guess.


Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 06, 2017, 12:18:56 PM »
New Hampshire is nice for skiing. Get that knee better and get out there and take some photos. It's beautiful out there.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 06, 2017, 11:57:04 AM »
Brian, did you move from Boston? iPads must have better cameras on them than they used to. My iPad (2nd Gen) has the worst camera of any device I've ever owned with a camera.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 05, 2017, 07:55:59 PM »
Yes! I had hied over to the local camera emporium B&H the day before (Sunday morning) and queued up for some of the last eclipse glasses to be had in New York City. They only came in five-packs, so I had four extra pairs to share with my colleagues in my office. My appreciative boss sent around an e-mail saying anyone whose schedule allowed it (some people work on public service desks) should take the opportunity to go outside and take a look. In our location, the peak time was about 2:45, which I arranged to coincide with my lunch hour. I got the following shot on my phone by pure happenstance:

You're seeing an office tower just south of the Library, where I was standing on the wide plaza off  Fifth Avenue with a whole mob of other eclipse gazers. When I snapped this picture, the sun was slipping in and out of light cloud cover. You see the actual partially veiled sun at the upper right corner of the tower ... but look on the facade. That crescent spot is a reflection of the sun's reflection, about 70% eclipsed.

I had no idea I had captured that until a couple of days later when I was looking back through my photos.

Wow, it's spectacular! What a very cool and unique shot of the eclipse. You should find somewhere to send that, to whatever publication publishes photos of it. It's just such a cool perspective.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 04, 2017, 10:48:11 PM »
No one bothered even trying to look for an eclipse. The day I just posted was the day of the eclipse, which probably happened about the time we were at the glacier shown in that photo with the calving. It was just so thick with fog, we didn't see the sun until (as you see) just an hour before sunset.

How about in NYC? Did you get to leave the library to go outside and see anything?

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Weather Thread
« on: September 04, 2017, 06:28:12 PM »
Well, it looks like we're in for another major hurricane. Hurricane Irma is currently tracked to make landfall in Florida on Friday and is currently a Category 4, and they're saying it could be anywhere from a 3 to a 5 when (if) it hits. Hope all our Florida members, including Richard our board administrator, stay safe.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 04, 2017, 03:35:24 PM »
I like this shot because you get a peek through the clouds, and out of nowhere you see these huge mountain peaks right in front of you, which you had no idea were even there. At first, you think you're just seeing blue sky, and then you realize what you're looking at:

As the sun battled the clouds, trying to negotiate just a few hours of time where it could shine, I took this shot. It looks like it was shot with a blue filter, but it wasn't:

The sun wins the fight with perfect timing. We anchored down for a sunset stroll along the forest trail of Barlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park:

Beautiful lush moss covers everything but the man-made pathway. When you walk on it, you sink a few inches with each step. I've never walked through a rainforest, and I thought it was beautiful.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 04, 2017, 11:19:10 AM »
Nice! It looks like she's on the rails that travel from Anchorage to Denali (and beyond). Some of the people I met on my trip had also been to Denali, and they spoke of the amazing wildlife they saw there. If I go back to Alaska, I'll probably go up to that area. I've complained about the rain, but in actuality, as I've learned, this is the true Alaska. When the sun shines, the locals call it "cloud failure".  Southeast Alaska is a temperate rainforest, so all those pictures of Alaska with the gorgeous blue skies and the striking glacier-topped mountains are anomalies. The week before I was there, the locals spoke of the gorgeous rainless week they had -- bright skies and warmer weather. It was the only nice week they had the entire summer, and they flocked outdoors to enjoy it. It sounds like your friend was there for that week as well.

Here's a wide shot of that island of seals. The pictures don't tell the whole story. They are great communicators, and you could hear them barking far away. Although it looks like they're just lying about, there's always a few sliding down the edge of the island into the water. They're fun to watch, and I did take a fair amount of photos of them.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 04, 2017, 12:37:27 AM »
It looks like her weather is about as bad as it was when I was there. Is she in the Juneau area?

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 03, 2017, 09:17:02 PM »
The 2nd day in Glacier Bay was as dark and gloomy, and cold and rainy as the day before. This was a bit disappointing for photography. We were in the midst of gorgeous glacier country, and we could only see what was a few feet ahead of us. This is Marjorie Glacier, which was kind enough to calve just as I was ready to photograph it. That's the big "explosion" you can see at the base of the glacier in this photo:

The glacier itself was about 200 feet tall, and we went out on a skiff to get closer to it than we could in the bigger boat. Without a size reference, it's hard to image how tall these are. But, if you see the iceburg that broke off in the foreground, our skiff would be about half to a third that size, or roughly the height of the small dark area on the bottom left side of the glacier.  Behind the glacier, which we can't see at all, were beautiful, tall peaks topped with glaciers of their own. The challenge, photographically speaking, was keeping the lens dry.

A few hours later, the rain stopped, and though we still had a thick mist, and not much background scenery, I was happy to have enough natural lighting to get some good shots of this small island area inhabited with at least a hundred seals.

I have a wider shot of it elsewhere, but I like this one because a flock of puffins flew by just as I shot this. Puffins aren't extremely rare, but they're a lot more rare than the cormorants and seagulls. So I was happy to get them in the shot.

No puffins, but I prefer the composition of this shot. This may be the one I blow up and frame. Still looking for the right photo for that. But there's still lots more to look through.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 02, 2017, 09:39:59 AM »
Ya otter got it, or ya don't. 

(I had to use a Boston accent to make that one fly).

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 01, 2017, 08:52:13 PM »
An otter-bahn?  :D

An otterwise great answer, but no. It's a raft of otters.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 01, 2017, 06:40:38 PM »
That seal wants a part in the movie, too! ;D

This seal really wants a part in the movie. ;)

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Photographers thread: Show us your stuff!!
« on: September 01, 2017, 06:05:58 PM »
We spent two days in Glacier Bay National Park. Day one was awful weather. Just cold, rainy and a low mist covered everything. We saw a tremendous amount of otter that first day, and as I'm going through my photos, I'm finding that I didn't get any good shots. The lighting was bad, and I don't think we got close enough, though I can't remember if I tried using my long zoom. But, although I didn't get a good shot of the otter, I do love this scenic shot. All those "bumps" in the water are otter, mostly swimming on their backs with their four feet in the air.  A shot of trivia here -- can anyone say what a group of sea otter are called? :)

Sea otter are now one of my favorite animals. They are so cool.  This article is really interesting, if anyone is interested in learning more about sea otter. Also, you can see some good pics, which are waaaaaay better than anything I got, and a nice video at the bottom:

This area is the Idaho Inlet, west of Juneau.  Saw some humpback whale spouts, but pretty far off in the distance.

Lots of otter, dolphins and harbor seals. This one poked his head up while we were kayaking. 

General Discussion / Re: What was the last Eastwood film you watched?
« on: August 30, 2017, 05:19:46 PM »
I edited Brian's post just to resize the images.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Weather Thread
« on: August 30, 2017, 05:15:32 PM »
Beware, Matt!  It's headed your way.  I don't know how strong it will be when it reaches you but don't underestimate Harvey!

It's been raining all day-- and we're due for three days of rain. But, it's nothing...  nothing... like what Texas got. We'll be completely fine. I don't think we'll have any flooding here.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Goodby from Elizabeth77
« on: August 30, 2017, 05:13:24 PM »
What a tremendous loss.  :(

Thanks for checking her FB page, Christopher.  I think she'd want this shared here.


Raewyn Grace Cheng, 40, of Topeka, IN passed away Monday, August 14, 2017 at her home.

She was born June 25, 1977 in Berrien Center, MI to Charles and Janet (Wildman) Schlunt. She married David Cheng on August 23, 1998 in Berrien Springs, MI. He survives along with two sons, Nathan and Johann Cheng at home; a sister, Sylvia (Glen) Middaugh of Terre Haute, IN; a brother Norman Schlunt of Ontario, OR; and parents, who also live in Terre Haute.

Raewyn was a loving wife and mother. She was a self-employed artist and member of the Elkhart Seventh-day Adventist Church. She employed her musical talents as a church musician. She directed the Pathfinder/Adventurer Clubs of her local church.

Visitation for Raewyn will be Thursday, August 17th from 5 to 8 pm at Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, with a funeral service at the Elkhart Seventh-day Adventist Church on Friday, August 18th at 11 am with Pastors Charlie Thompson and Don Greulich officiating. Burial will follow at 3 pm at South Wayne Cemetery in Dowagiac, MI.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Elkhart SDA Church/Raewyn’s Pathfinder Memorial fund. For more information or to donate online:

Online condolences may be sent to

I think she'd also want us to remember how fragile and short life is. Enjoy every day. Be good to each other. Love each other. We'll miss you, Raewyn.

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