Friday, May 27, 2011

Zoom Zoom

We are currently in an age where technology is increasing at a rate not see at anytime in our history.  I have seen first hand some of the advances in the medical field in the areas treating cancer, and I now know much more than I ever wanted to know.  

This winter I saw an ad in the newspaper about a Cannon digital camera with a 35 times optical power zoom lens.  Folks, that's like having a lens that goes from 24 mm to 850 mm.   My current camera has a 15 x power zoom and it is only 3 years old.

I went on line and did some research and finally had to stop because I kept drooling on myself.  I mentioned to Jeri how great a camera this appeared to be and she, in her much to practical way and few words, basically said that I had a perfectly good camera and didn't need a new one.  So I decided to wait until we were on the same thinking page together.   

Cows in pasture.  Yea, hard to see from front porch.
So in the mean time, Dad passes away and leaves us some insurance money.  I say to Jeri "You know what?   Dad just brought me a father's day gift" and proceeded to order the camera on line because no one had it in stock due to all the problems in Japan with the earth quake, tsunami, radiation, you name it.  So much for the same page thing.
Oh, there they are, still taken from the front porch. had this for $399 with free shipping, and I had a gift certificate, so I proceeded to order it.  Unfortunately, they failed to mention that it did not come with a memory card, so I had to go to the local Wally world and pick one up.  This memory card, no bigger than a 50 cent piece, is 16 GB and will hold 4,747  8 mega pixel size pictures or 240 minutes of HD video.  That is crazy stuff!  It only cost me the price of a cheap round of golf. 

After returning home, I decided to try this sucker out by taking some local pictures from my front porch.  It's approximately 200 yards (measured by golf shot with a 3 wood) from the porch to the county road.  In the first picture you may barely be able to see some black spots down there, but with the zoom lens, cattle show right up.

Yep, there's another one.
I have two neighbors that I can see from our place, one a quarter of a mile north of us, the other (well, only a neighbor if you count an empty house for the last 35 years) is a half mile west of us. Yes, they water and mow the lawn, and why is unknown. 

This is my neighbor to the north.  You can't see it but there is a John Deer tractor behind and to the right of their house.  In the bottom photo you can clearly see it.  Picture still taken from my front porch.  This may make them a tad nervous but I promise I won't be taking any more.                          

The empty house to the west of us is a half mile away and you can barely see it in the center of the picture on the right.  

Now, I ask you, why would someone leave a gate to a sidewalk when there is no fence on either side?  I didn't know this until I took this photo.  You can't see it from the road.  


There are some flowers at the base of the tree
in this picture.  In the next picture are the flowers.

  I am looking forward to the weather turning to something other than cold and rainy (yes, it has rained over another inch in the last two days since I posted my other blog, and the valley water level is again on the rise) and I can start taking pictures of wild life.  Ducks and Geese have found this valley to be a water paradise.  Glad someone is enjoying it. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let your light shine

We have been visiting the Pismo Beach, California area this past few weeks and one of our side trips was to tour the Point San Luis Lighthouse.  But first, a little history.

Juan Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer, entered the San Luis Bay, located just north of Pismo Beach,  in the summer of 1542. Cabrillo later named the bay Todos Santos, translated as All Saints Bay.  In 1864 a Irish sea captain by the name of David Mallagh purchased the first wharf in the San Luis Bay.   Then in 1867 President Andrew Johnson signed  an executive order directing the Department of the Interior  to reserve areas of 20 acres or less to establish light houses along the Pacific coast including Point San Luis.  It wasn't until 1886 that the necessary legislation passed and appropriated the $50,000 necessary for the construction of the lighthouse.   Construction began in 1889 and was completed in 1890, about the same year as our house.  The light was officially turned on June 30 of that year.

In 1893 the breakwater construction begins using large boulders  taken from Morro Rock and Catalina Island. 

It is not your typical lighthouse that we are use to seeing, but the interesting feature of this lighthouse is the living quarters  built as an integral part of the whole complex.   The head light keeper and his family lived right there and then there were several houses for the other workers and keepers.

Tour groups meet in a parking lot about three or four miles from the lighthouse and ride up in this unique tour bus up a steep one lane goat trail that is barely wide enough for the bus.
The ride up provided some stunning views of the Central California Coast and the two wharfs in Avila Bay.  

The most fascinating part of the tour for me was the Fresnel lens that magnified the light from a single kerosene wick over 20 miles out to sea.  If you will notice the first picture above, the lighthouse is not as tall as most lighthouses because it already sits on a bluff over 100 feet above the water. 

How a Fresnel lens works

1: Cross section of a Fresnel lens

2: Cross section of a conventional Plano-convex lens of equivalent power.  The Fresnel lens reduces the amount of material required compared to a conventional spherical lens by dividing the lens into a set of concentric annular sections known as "Fresnel zones", which are theoretically limitless. (Wickipedia)

The Fresnel Lens has an intricate brass framework and over 130 pieces of finely crafted glass prisms.  It looks more like a piece of art work than a lens.

The house has been restored to it's 1890 period.  The floors were made of crosscut 2x4's and then laid on edge.  This cross cut edge is supposedly harder and lasts longer than if it was laid flat.  The floors were just beautiful and showed very little wear.
Kitchen sink and wash board

The "Memo-Bead" was sitting on a kitchen table.  One of my friends said that this was the first 'palm'.  It had 32 items listed that consisted of food and household items. 

Kerosene lamp with pottery base

Just some big ole' beautiful trees.  

I don't know when it was that I saw my first light at night from a light house, but I have been fascinated by the brightness and how far the light shone.  Now I know the principle behind it. 

Airports have also  used rotating bright lights to lead aircraft at night to a safe landing in the old days.  I can remember how grateful I was on several occasions to see the bright flash of a strobe light at the end of a runway in bad weather in a more modern time.  
 Isa 60:19-20  says "You'll have no more need of the sun by day nor the brightness of the moon at night. GOD will be your eternal light, your God will bathe you in splendor.   Your sun will never go down, your moon will never fade. I will be your eternal light. Your days of grieving are over. " msg

And then in Mat 5:16  it says "Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand--shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven" msg

My challenge to myself and all of you is to let your light shine among all people, tell the wonders that God and Christ have allowed in your life, so that others might have hope also. Let your light shine, (a little music please) "let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."