Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Here’s Looking At You

August 15, 2013
Google Earth image of our home.  September, 2010.

Google Earth image of our home. September, 2010.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

When Betsy and I travel, I use a geo-tracker to record the GPS coordinates of the pictures I take.  I can then use Google Earth to map the location and get satellite or terrain views of the area.

Shortly after starting to use Google Earth, I entered our address and got the image above.  I was able to find our house, but I wasn’t all that impressed.

When we got back from a trip to North Carolina a few weeks ago, I took some pictures in the yard before turning off the geo-tracker.  While looking at the track of our trip on Google Earth, I zoomed in at the end of the track and found a new image of our house.  I’ll have to admit I was impressed — and a little shocked.

Google Earth image of our house.  April 2013.

Google Earth image of our house. April 2013.

This new image makes it possible to see the house and the deck, including the table on the deck.  The rose beds on each side of the driveway can be clearly seen, including the terracing we put in for the roses.  I can see the round flowerbed around the yard lamppost, as well as the flower bed along the road.

The black dots on each side of the driveway are our container roses.  There’s a black blob in the driveway near the road (indicated by ‘??’).  I can’t be sure, but I think that might be me.

So who’s watching you?

Smoky Mountains Panorama

October 31, 2012

A panorama of the Smoky Mountains as seen from the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. October 23, 2012.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

Last week Betsy and I drove along the Foothills Parkway, which is just west of the Smoky Mountains.  We were able to enjoy the autumn colors and beautiful views without getting caught in all the traffic of the Smoky Mountains National Park.

The views were spectacular, and I was inspired to try to get a panorama of the scene.  The picture above is my first effort, created by merging three photos in Photoshop.  I don’t think it looks too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Focusing On What’s Important

July 20, 2012

Orchids in the Conservatory of the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee. June 24, 2012.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

Which of these two images do you like best?  The one above or the one below?

Orchids in the Conservatory of the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee. June 24, 2012.

The interesting thing — to me — is that both images are from the same photograph.

Here are two more images, again taken from the same photo.

How is this possible?  The secret is a camera that allows me to focus after the picture is taken.

Lake Watauga, Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee. June 23, 2012.

Lake Watauga, Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee. June 23, 2012.

The camera is a Lytro Light Field camera, which takes what are called living pictures.  Clicking on a living picture changes the point of focus.

George using his new camera. (Photo by Betsy)

The camera is different from any other camera I’ve had.  It has no auto-focus, no flash, no dials and no shutter lag.

It has taken me a while to learn how to use the camera, but it has been a fascinating experience.  If you would like to experiment with some living pictures (remember you change the focus by clicking on the picture), you can do so by clicking HERE.

Apple, what have you done?

July 6, 2012

Burgess Falls, Burgess Falls State Park, Tennessee. May 26, 2001.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Apple products.  My first personal computer was an AppleII.  I’ve worked with Macintosh computers from just about the time they were introduced, and am now on my fourth iMac computer.

I also have a couple of iPods and an iPad.  I really do like Apple products.

Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky. June 23, 2005.

There is one area, however, in which I’m fed up with Apple, and that is their online hosting services.  Apple first offered online hosting of photos and files with Home Page, and I uploaded many pictures to Home Page to share them with family and friends.

Elk River Falls, Elk Park, North Carolina. February 15, 2008.

After a couple of years Home Page went away with its place taken by Mobile Me.  Fortunately Apple provided an easy way to move to Mobile Me, and that’s what I did.  Over the past five years I’ve uploaded many more photos to Mobile Me.  I really liked that service.

Looking Glass Falls, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. May 23, 2002

Mobile Me went away on June 30, and there is nothing from Apple to replace it.  Fortunately Apple did provide plenty of advance notice, but that was about all.  So I decided to create my own site completely independent of anything Apple does.  For the past few months I’ve been working to set up the site and move pictures and files to it.

Lower Whitewater Falls, Sapphire, North Carolina. November 9, 2006.

I’ve finished moving our waterfall collection.  It currently contains the 452 waterfalls that I’ve cataloged to date.  I’ll add more waterfalls as I get my pictures organized.  If you would like to visit our waterfall collection, you can do so HERE.

North River Falls, Tellico Plains, Tennessee. June 18, 2010.

I’m in the process of moving other pictures and files to my site, and I’ll let you know as they are posted.

Our World: Where in the World has George Been?

December 13, 2011

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them.)

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by five wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

Isn’t modern technology wonderful?  I’m trying to get my photos organized and published, and one of the programs I use is iPhoto.  iPhoto has a ‘Places’ feature that identifies the location of a photograph.  Now that I have a GPS tracker the process is automatic, although I have to enter the location manually on older photos.

Over the weekend I noticed that I currently have 119 places identified in my photos.  The red pins on the world map above give a general view of where I’ve taken pictures.  The dots on the far right are on Beijing, People’s Republic of China, and the island of Bali.  I visited those places more than 20 years ago.

The red dot in the Caribbean is San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Betsy and I boarded a cruise ship on our honeymoon.

Most of the dots are in the U. S., of course, and by zooming in to the area around Fairfield Glade, I can see that there are many places in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina that we’ve visited.

I have no idea how many places I will eventually get identified, but I find the whole process very interesting.

Fun With Our Geotracker

April 21, 2011

As many of you know, Betsy and I have a geotracker which allows us to determine the location of pictures that we take.  We’ve had it for a year, and use it whenever we take a trip.

Last week’s trip to Biltmore Estate was no exception.  We turned the geotracker on before we left home and were able to track our journey on Google Earth.
The map above, which can be enlarged by clicking on it, shows our journey from Fairfield Glade, Tennessee,  to Asheville, North Carolina.  As you can see we traveled almost the entire way on Interstate 40.  We timed our trip to miss rush hour in Knoxville, Tennessee, when traveling both ways.

This image shows the Biltmore Estate and the things we did once we got there.  This image, too, can be enlarged by clicking on it.

When we got to Biltmore we drove past the house and parked near the Conservatory.  It had been our intention to see the tulips first, but the azaleas were so pretty as we drove in that we decided to visit the Azalea Garden first.  So we walked over to the path to the Azalea Garden and walked through that garden down to the Bass Pond.  We then hiked around the west (left) side of the Bass Pond to the waterfall at the southern end.  We then walked back through the Azalea Garden to the Walled Garden where we enjoyed the tulips in bloom.

I’ve now given you a bird’s eye view of our trip to Biltmore, thanks to our geotracker.

Fun With Our Geotagger

December 2, 2010

Craggy Gardens, Craggy Pinnacle and Craggy Dome Overlook.

As many of you know, Betsy and I have a geotagger, which allows us to assign GPS coordinates to our photos.  Once the photos have been ‘tagged’, it’s possible to use Google Earth to show the location at which the picture was taken.

Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel on the Blue Ridge Parkway, November 22, 2010.

On our way up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Mitchell, we stopped at Craggy Gardens Visitors Center to taken in the view.  The picture above of the Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel was taken from a small overlook across the parkway from the Visitors Center.

Burnett Reservoir, Buncombe County, North Carolina. November 22, 2010.

While there, I also took this picture of the Burnett Reservoir down in the valley below.  (This is the same picture I posted yesterday).

A late afternoon view from the Craggy Dome Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.  November 22, 2010.

A late afternoon view from the Craggy Dome Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina. November 22, 2010.

On our way back from Mount Mitchell we stopped at Craggy Dome Overlook to get this picture.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I enjoy seeing both the picture and its location.


Our Smokies Adventure

September 13, 2010

The track of our trip to the Smokies. September 9, 2010.

I’ve mentioned our GPS unit several times and have talked about how much we like it.  This past Thursday we got a lesson in how much we rely on it.

Our GPS got recalled by Garmin, and we sent it in to be repaired a couple of weeks ago.  So when we went to the Smokies on Thursday we didn’t have it.  We were going to drive Rich Mountain Road, a road we had never taken before.  But we knew it was a primitive, one-way road out of Cades Cove, a place we’ve visited several times.  The sign at the entrance to the road said it went to Townsend, a place we’ve been to many times, so off we went.  I did have my geotagger with us, but that only showed (after the fact) where we had been, not where we were going.

We had no problems in the park.  After leaving the park the road became paved and two-way.  When we came to a four-way stop, we knew we were back to civilization.

That’s when the fun began.  We came to a ‘T’ intersection with no signs.  We figured we were west of Townsend, so we turned right.  A little later we came to a ‘Y’.  The right branch looked like the main road, so we took it.  We drove along enjoying the scenery — and eventually we arrived back at the four-way stop.

Trying to find our way home. September 9, 2010.

We tried again.  This time we took the left branch at the ‘Y’.  That led to more beautiful scenery — and a dead-end!  We turned around and followed the road in the other direction.  Eventually it led to the highway that got us on our way back home.

After all of this ‘fun’, we were delighted to get home and find a package on our doorstep.  Inside the package was our GPS!  We wasted no time getting it put back into our car.

Technology and Cades Cove

August 30, 2010

The track of our visit to Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. August 27, 2010.

One disadvantage to taking lots of pictures on a trip is that it is not always easy to remember where a particular picture or series of pictures was taken.

My blogger friend Neal brought an AMOD geotagger to my attention and I got one a few months ago.  While I have used it to tag the location of some of our pictures, I really haven’t experimented with it to get a good idea of what can be done with the data.

Betsy and I drove to Cades Cove in the Smokies after running an errand in Knoxville Friday morning.  The park service has repaved the Cades Cove Loop Road and we wanted to see how the project turned out.

As we got near Cades Cove I turned on the geotagger.  The yellow line in the screen shot above is a track of where we drove or hiked.  The screen shot is taken from Google Earth and I can put in waypoints and descriptions as you can see.  On Google Earth I can also zoom in or out to give different views of the area.  I could post the track on Google Earth so others could manipulate the view as well, but I’m inclined not to do that.  I have enough trouble posting my current web pages and blogs without adding more.

Map of places in Cades Cove where we took pictures. August 27, 2010.

This second screen shot is from another application that uses the tracking data.  The red dots on the Google map of Cades Cove represent a picture that we took.  When I’m in this application (JetPhoto Studio) I can click on a dot and the associated picture opens up.  This information could also be posted, but again I think I’ll just keep this to myself except for an occasional screen shot.

Hopefully, now that I’ve experimented with some of my new technology I’ll have some pictures to post in the near future.  And if I don’t get pictures posted soon I know Betsy will!

Stay tuned.

Technical Problems

August 9, 2010

Due to some technical problems it will probably be several days before I am able to post a new entry.  I will do my best to keep up with you while I’m waiting to be able to post again.