Sunday, February 28, 2010

59/365 - S is for Study

Three copies of me, working in my office.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

S is for Studying -- on a Sunday. I sure could use some help getting all of this work done...

As you may know, I'm a grad student -- so my purpose in life is, basically, to study math! I usually have one day off per week, and that's usually Saturday. The other days, it's teaching, research, and a variety of other duties.

Technical details: this kind of photo is surprisingly easy to make! I used a tripod and took three photos, one with me in each position. The tripod guaranteed that the rest of the scene was identical in each photo. Then, I created an image in Gimp in which each of the three photos was a different layer. I added a mask to each layer which reveals only the part containing me, and blurred the transition of the mask to account for any slight differences in lighting. That's it!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

58/365 - R is for Rockhouse

A worn cement rockhouse foundation with a large metal tower in the background.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

R is for many things: Rockhouse, Rocks, Rock hammer, Ruins, and Railroad. This scene is R-eriffic!

This is the ruin of the rockhouse of the Mohawk #6 mine. A towering steel structure used to sit on this foundation, where copper-bearing rocks from the mine would be sorted, crushed, and sent off to the mill. A railroad spur used to run straight through this cut in the rockhouse. The large tower in the center is the foundation for the rock hammer, which would break rock loose from chunks of copper. The rock hammer was located very high up, so that the broken rocks could be sent to lower levels using gravity.

This is the same sort of structure as the Isle Royal #6 rockhouse, which I photographed with star trails last week.

Friday, February 26, 2010

57/365 - Q is for Quincy

A sandstone building in green light.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

Q is for Quincy, which should be no surprise at all to my regular readers! This is the Quincy Mine's powder house, which was once upon a time used to store black powder (and later, dynamite) for the mine. Here, my tripod's shadow is taking a close look at the powder house, shining in the green of the security light.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

56/365 - P is for Plants

A close-up of a basil flower.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

P is for Plants -- in particular, Basil! I have a wonderfully sunny window in my office, and I use it to grow a big box o' herbs. This is my sweet basil, which I'm letting flower nowadays -- it's about time to let it go anyhow. I've got some lemon basil on the way, along with some chives and oregano.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stars Through the Rockhouse

Star trails, through a break in a massive cement foundation.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

Another star trail photo, as I work to refine my technique. These are stars rotating over the ruins of the Isle Royal #6 rockhouse. A massive steel structure once rose above these huge cement foundations, processing rock from the nearby shaft. Trains would pull through the slot between these walls to cart away copper-bearing rock to the mill.

Amusingly, the shaft (safely capped) is currently directly under a major snowmobile route. It's a logical shortcut between the main trail and the highway, and the cap isn't visible under all the snow. I only knew where to avoid it (more out of excess carefulness than actual need for safety) because I've been here in summer so often.

55/365 - O is for Olympic Onions

A car shifter, in neutral.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

O is for the Olympics -- which has been taking up a lot of TV and Newspaper time lately. It's also for Onion Rings -- delicious, greasy goodness. Here, I present these two, together at last!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

54/365 - N is for Neutral

A car shifter, in neutral.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

N is for Neutral. A shifter might not be a normal subject for a photo, but the beautiful blue of sunrise showing into my car really inspired me!

Monday, February 22, 2010

53/365 - M is for Mine

A black and white image of an abandoned mine building.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

M is for Mine, a subject I love to study -- both photographically, and historically. This is the Quincy Mine Number 2 shaft-rockhouse, which is 101 years old. It was a combined shafthouse (covering the shaft opening) and rockhouse (processing the rock brought up from underground).

The long beams in the foreground are batter braces -- strong beams designed to oppose the forces of the hoisting rope, which entered the building near the top. The hoist would bring rock-laden cars up from more than 9000 feet into the earth, which required enormous speeds and forces. After being unloaded near the top, the rock was sorted, processed, and ultimately dropped into waiting train cars near the bottom.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

52/365 - L is for Lake

Shadows on a bridge, looking out over a frozen lake.
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L is for Lake -- Minocqua Lake! This photo comes from a bridge over Minocqua Lake, in lovely Minocqua, Wisconsin. The two people in the shadow are me and the lovely Sarah. The lake is frozen, and apparently a very popular place for ice fishing. People drive right out on the lake in their trucks (not to mention snowmobiles)!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

51/365 - K is for Kiss

Sarah and me, looking at each other with funny expressions.
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K is for Kiss -- or almost a kiss. Sarah and I had a lovely weekend in Minocqua, including a snowshoe trip at Star lake. We paused to stare at each other, and then make funny faces!

Friday, February 19, 2010

50/365 - J is for Jump!

Me, jumping high above the camera.
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J is for Jump. Whee -- it's me, jumping high above the camera!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

49/365 - I is for Icicle

A water drop, just barely holding on to an icicle.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

I is for Icicle, and the water drops dripping from it! It's not actually that warm here -- but it is beautifully sunny and clear. The sun has started a bit of a melt among the icicles hanging above our back door. This one was just barely hanging on!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

48/365 - H is for Houghton (and Hancock too!)

A hillside cityscape, with a bridge in the foreground.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

H is for Houghton, which I call my Home. It's also for Hancock, our sister city across the river. Here's Houghton's hillside, and the H-like lift bridge crossing the Portage Canal. Both Houghton and Hancock are built on steep hillsides, leading down to the Portage Canal -- which was once a very important water route for ships, picking up copper and dropping off supplies for the local mines.

We are, as you may notice, a bit of a snowy land. This winter has been a bit disappointing -- only 150 inches so far. That's ok -- we still have at least two full months of winter left before spring really starts. We'll make it up!

This photo was taken from an old rock pile, made by the Quincy Mine up on the hill above Hancock, on a beautiful and sunny day -- one of the few we've had recently.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

47/365 - G is for Games

A large stack of games.
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G is for Games -- of the Board Game type! Besides photography, math, and ruin-hunting, I'm also a huge board game geek! This is a stack of (most of) my collection -- precariously balanced and ready to tip!

You might notice that I'm not exactly a Candyland or Life player. Also, there aren't a whole lot of traditional card games -- although, as a Michigander born and bred, I am obligated to enjoy Euchre. Instead, most of these are modern euro-games, along the lines of Settlers of Catan and Dominion. Questions, comments, and amazed looks are always welcome. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

46/365 - F is for Furnace

Red and black rock, forming two letters F in a stone wall
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F is for the Forgotten Facade of a Furnace -- a 110+ year old steam boiler, to be specific! This F comes to you from the corner of the old Quincy Mine #7 boiler house, built in 1898.

The darker rock is poor rock from the mine -- mineral-free rock brought up from the mines and reused in buildings. Many Copper Country mine buildings -- especially from before 1900 -- have poor rock foundations. The red quoins are made of Jacobsville Sandstone, a building material native to the Keweenaw (and very commonly used in buildings up here). They sure don't make 'em like they used to!

While I'm at it -- does anyone else think that the lines, stripes, and swirls in the sandstone look a bit like close-ups of Jupiter?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

45/365 - E is for Engine

A black and white steam engine.
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E is for Engine -- a steam engine! This is the old Quincy & Torch Lake #5 steam engine -- one of several steam engines, tenders, and cars still left on the Quincy Mine property. The license plate on the front belongs (or perhaps, belonged) to the amazing Chuck Pomazal, who has devoted an enormous amount of time to restoring the Quincy engines.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

44/365 - D is for Design

Many math books
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D is for Design, whose Theory I study -- along with the Codes, the Finite Geometries, and the Graphs. What is a Design? It's a particular type of Combinatorial structure. Here's the formal definition:

A t-(v, k, L) design D is a set of v points and k-subsets of the points called blocks. Each t-subset of the points must appear in exactly L blocks.

Informally, a Design is a bunch of "points" (usually numbers), organized into chunks of points called "blocks" (which may overlap with each other). Each block has the same number of points in it, and each smaller set of points (t points) must appear in the same number of blocks. This is the "fairness" condition, meaning that the points are distributed "evenly" among the blocks. They are used commonly in planning statistical experiments, and also as links to other types of combinatorics.

Friday, February 12, 2010

43/365 - C is for Curvy Cup

The curvy handle of a cup.
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C is for Cup, and the Curvy handle it has. C is also for Coffee, but I don't drink much of that -- just tea for me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

42/365 - B is for Beans

The letter B, written in colorful jelly beans.
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B is for Beans, mostly made of Jelly (but that doesn't start with B!). I keep some of these next to my desk to snack on each day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

41/365 - A

Close-up of a spiral with a large A in the middle.
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And so it begins -- here's the letter A. What do you mean it's not an A? Look at it -- it's an A. Of course!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

40/365 - Get Well!

Many medicines.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

I haven't been feeling up to snuff lately -- sore throat, headache, generally unpleasant. As it turns out, we have an awful lot of medicine around the house... here are just a few of them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

39/365 - Reflected

Me, reflected in my laptop screen.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

It's me -- taking a photo of myself -- reflected in my laptop screen. On the screen (although you can't see it, because the brightness was turned down) was a photo of me, taking a photo of myself, reflected in my laptop screen...

Also -- this is unedited, except for bringing up the contrast in the screen a little.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

38/365 - Dune

A wide view of a table of people playing a boardgame.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

After returning from my vacation with the lovely Sarah, I returned to find that a giant Superbowl party had broken out in my house!! In addition, some of the less sports-inclined had started up a game of Dune, a board game based on the famous SciFi novel. In this shot, Gir lands some empire troops in an unprotected stronghold.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

37/365 - Camp Randall

Dave and Sarah
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Here I am with the lovely Sarah at the Camp Randall Classic -- an outdoor ice hockey game in Madison, Wisconsin. We had fun, but you can't quite tell just how cold we were!

Friday, February 5, 2010

36/365 - Beer!

A bottle of beer.
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Beer! I have a new love: New Glarus Organic beer. They only sell on tap or bottled, and they only sell in Wisconsin. It's like heaven.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

35/365 - Bob Barker on Ice!

A snow statue of Bob Barker with the Price Is Right Showcase Showdown wheel.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

Today -- on the Michigan Tech Campus -- Bob Barker hosts the Price Is Right -- in snow and ice!

This is a detail from a much larger snow sculpture -- built over the course of a month at Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival. All statues were completed last night, and judging was this morning. And yes, it's really hard to get a natural looking face carved in ice!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

34/365 - Red

An abstract red composition, with light and shadows.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

It's red -- just something red. The light did a great job making it abstract. You can also view it large and on black over at Flickr.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

33/365 - Statue Building

A huge snow statue being built.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

As some of you may know, I'm a graduate student at Michigan Tech, which is located in the way, way, WAY north end of Michigan. One of the things that makes Tech unique is our Winter Carnival, held early each February. One of the main features of Carnival is the snow statues. Statues fall into two categories: all-nighter (built in one night -- tomorrow night!), and month-long -- like this one, made over the past month, by students just like me. They're amazing. This statue is still being built, and I'm planning to document it over the next few days. If you click through to my Flickr page, you can mouse over the photo to see the notes -- they'll help understand the scale of this statue!

Monday, February 1, 2010

32/365 - Troupe Up Close

Wide angle photo of some silly and colorful improvisers
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I did something unusual (for me) today -- I did portraits! Specifically, I did publicity photos for The Troupe.

The Troupe is Michigan Tech's student improv group -- the place where I really started my work in improvisation and theatre (which I now use extensively in my own teaching). I've since retired, but as an alumnus, I usually do publicity shots for free. However, this isn't to say that I'm any good at them! I don't normally do much in the way of portraits or group shots -- heck, I don't even own my own external flash (I had to borrow one for this shoot). But, my wide angle lens and some funny lighting did give the group just the wacky look that they were looking for.