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| The Suck Zone

December 28th, 2008 More Eagles

Posted on December 29th, 2008 by Chris White.
Categories: Photography.

I was originally going to take my kids to the Wabasha area but, it was a pretty windy today so opted for some Eagles a couple blocks South of me in the Minnesota River Valley.   I chatted briefly with two other photographers, both had prime’s/Canon a 500mm(a monster, I could not afford to even rent one) and a 400mm.  The kids were getting a bit board after setting up in two spots so we packed up and took the 5 minute drive home.

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December 28th, 2008 Minnesota River

Posted on December 28th, 2008 by Chris White.
Categories: Photography.

I took a quick drive down Blackdog road and back, I saw 4 eagles, a hawk, some pelicans, and a swan.  I ran into a Father/Daughter pair who almost slid into the River.  They were driving up to the River bank near a the West end of the dam and it was a slight grade towards the River glaze ice, they hit the brakes, things started going in slow motion thinking they would plunge off the size and into the River but, were able to stop in the snow but, were entirely stuck.  I gave them my phone to call his wife for a tow out but, he had the keys to the other vehicle, so I gave them a ride home cutting my trip short a bit early.  I was going to head to the Cedar Bridge side where the water is open and just setup a tripod.  I have the day off tommorow, I am thinking about taking the kids down to Wabasha tommorow for a few hours.

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Handheld @ 400mm (644mm with crop factor, overexposed & shutter speed was way too slow for handheld shots at 400mm).

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December 18th, 2008 Shooting The Holidazzle

Posted on December 18th, 2008 by Chris White.
Categories: Photography.

Shooting available light of moving objects in the dark seemed like an attractive learning opportunity, toss in 0F temps and it was off to the Holidazzle Parade in Minneapolis.   I parked at the 28th Avenue LRT Station in Bloomington and took the train to Nicollet Mall the quickly fell asleep somewhere after the airport and waking up at the metrodome.  The plan had been to arrive 90 minutes early to stake out a claim before the crowds grew but, for the most part the crowds don’t show up until about 5 minutes before the parade begins (except for the skyways, stores, and buildings along Nicollet Avenue).   I sat down at Starbucks as the people arrived one by one finally going outside and staking our claim 50 minutes before the event which gave us an opportunity to setup, chat, take some test shots, and discuss probable outcome’s of the photos we were about to take.   (thanks to Doug Heimstead for providing these, for some reason I am never in any of the photos I take, I am the guy wearing the fashionable holiday blaze orange hat.  9th & Nicollet)

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Another vantage point courtesy of Toni Johnson.

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I ended up taking a few long exposures and a few stop action shots, I should have had one battery wrapped in a handwarmer (or simply in my pocket) as I used the other one, I was not able to find the third before I left the house.  Both batteries had it by about 5 minutes into the parade, it was not really a lesson learned having spent many a night in the winter taking astronomy/etc photos for hours at a time more of a lesson ignored then paid for.  I continued to shoot with the SD1000 but, I have yet to look at those.

After the parade we hit the M&S Grill on 6th and Nicollet to thaw out for an hour or two.   The original plan was Pizza Luce which I was actually kind of looking forward to but, I could not resist hitting Potbelly’s in the IDS on the way to the Holidazzle having not eaten for a day or so.  But, M&S was able to easily accommodate the 12 or so who could make it for dinner/apps/etc (I was stuffed from earlier).

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December 11th, 2008 Twin Cities AMS visits KARE11 Sven Sundgaard

Posted on December 11th, 2008 by Chris White.
Categories: Cool Stuff.

I have been a Twin Cities American Meteorological Society(AMS) member for a couple of years now but, for some reason I only make it to one meeting per year, generally the first of the season.  I was really disappointed in all the cool meetings I missed over the last couple of years, the last one was at Weather Nation with Paul Douglas, Todd Nelson, Kristen Clark, and Gretchen Mishek.  Having read the newsletter the previous night and remembering the next meeting was, well tonight, I sent an e-mail last minute to try and get on the list last minute.  Tonight’s meeting was at the KARE 11 studios in Golden Valley with Sven Sundgaard as tour director.  I showed up for the 6pm news broadcast, the news studio was mostly automated, other than the news anchor’s only two other people were in the studio (although, more people were in different control rooms and newsroom within the building).  The high definition camera’s(Canon) were all robotic mounts along with most everything else.  15 or so of us watched the newscast with more people arriving for the 7pm meeting/tour with Sven.  We went outside to the KARE 11 backyard for the weather portion, three camera’s (two live outside) follow Sven as he walks outside the door to the backyard to do his part in front of the green screen outdoors.  It was pretty cold out but, Sven’s genetic makeup originated in Norway and he had previously been Chief Meteorologist at KBJR-TV in Duluth.  I had seen a news broadcast with green screen done before but, it’s always fun to watch.

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(1600ASA/f4.9 – no flash – SD1000)

The clicker is in his left hand to control the images that are superimposed over the green screen with two monitors on either side of him and in front of him in order to see what he is pointing at.  I kept wondering if he ever loses his clicker, he had it on him the entire night.  We then went back inside to watch the rest of the newscast.  More people arrived for the meeting then we got the full tour of the studio’s and the meteorology area in the newsroom which was pretty cool and of course a few had to play in front of the green screen as Sven clicked through the screens, eventually we frooze and went inside.  Kare11′s NexRad tower is by the blackdog power plant in the River Valley, the dome on top of the studio’s was actually the old one.  We are not positive if the dome is empty or not.  They run a couple of meteorologic models on-site in addition to many third party feeds in the newsroom along with the ability to control the radar in Burnsville he went through many of the products that he had access to along with how he constructs the overlays you see during the newscasts.  Like most other ‘on-air meteorology personalities’ in the Twin Cities Sven does have a degree and background in meteorology.

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