Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's A 3-D World!

We are on the road again - this time to the Midwest to see our house there, as well as friends and family.  I usually bring my camera along as one of my carry-ons, but mostly don't take any photos from the plane.  Since it is considered an "electronic device" it has to be off during take off and landing, and that is mostly the interesting times with city lights or the hometown under you.

As normal, Melinda was just coming off night shift, so was pretty tired, and I took the window seat so in case anything appeared outside, I'd not be reaching over her.  Against the curved outer wall, there is even less room it seems, and way back in coach, I can barely reach down to grab the camera between my feet anyway.

But some nice shots appeared - the clear Arizona sky gave way to some scattered clouds in New Mexico, and I photographed some with their stark shadows below.  Now if any of you who have read the blog knows, I'm a 3-D fan, and there is nothing easier than shooting stereo from a plane.  Take a shot, take another shot a couple seconds later.  Meanwhile, with the plane going 500+ mph, you get a nice stereo baseline for fooling your brain into making a stereo image when they are viewed later.  These images are presented for cross-eyed viewing - cross your eyes slightly so that you view the right picture with your left eye and left picture with your right.  Your brain will combine them into a central image that shows depth!  Once you can do it with the thumbnail here, you can click on it to see it in full resolution, though you will have to cross your eyes a little more...  Hopefully these will be headache-inducing free!  The picture at left here looked like one of the spaceships from Star Trek, with its interesting shape projected over some irrigated fields...

I didn't follow our precise path, but as we headed what I assume was NE across New Mexico, we picked up some very interesting parallel cloud bands.  They were so evenly spaced that I couldn't imagine they would be random, but rather caused by some phenomenon.  I've seen parallel airglow patterns caused by gravity waves, and from that reference, they are also known as cloud streets.  I was also taken by the blackness of the sky at 37,000 feet!  Since I'm pretty tall, it is difficult to look very high in the sky through the low windows, but it showed up well in the image.  The cloud bands persisted for a good distance, perhaps 20 minutes or more, so extended over hundreds of miles on the ground.  They are still at least partly visible in this shot of an airport (sorry, don't know which one).

Deeper towards the Midwest, just before they broke up, we picked up a higher level deck of thin clouds as well that showed up well in the 3-D view.  Stereo views tend to be more interesting with more than one or two planes to attract attention, and while I didn't know if the thin layer would show up, it does just fine.

It clouded up for a while, but cleared as we neared Chicago.  Since they don't consult us on their flight path, it is always interesting to see if you can recognize anything before landing.  Lucky for us, we easily picked out the Fermilab accelerator with its dual rings, shown at left.  Nearly 4 miles in circumference, it was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world until Cern's Large Hadron Collider came on line a couple years back.  The closer, small circle is the main injector ring, and the larger circle is the Tevatron accelerator where protons and anti-protons, accelerated to nearly the speed of light rotate in opposite directions and collide to reveal details of subatomic particles.  This is located in Batavia, just a couple towns south of where we live in St Charles!  As we neared "Ketelsen East" we passed a few more landmarks, including the ballpark where the Kane County Cougars (the Chicago Cubs class "A" affiliate) play.  Another 5 or 6 miles and we would have flown over our house, but we turned east just as we reached highway 64, so never got the chance to see it from the air...

Fortunately for us, we're getting the moist, green
springtime we never get in Tucson!  We've already been within spitting distance of 100F there, but here in Illinois, it snowed just 10 days ago!  But now it is warming and the flowering trees are in full glory.  And of course, 3-D doesn't end when you get off the plane - by moving slightly between frames, you can still take advantage of  the stereo effect.  New growth always looks cool in 3-D, I think because it looks almost too perfect.  I'm not even sure what plants these are - located a few feet from each other adjacent to our house.  I'm sure we'll bore you with more flower and tree pictures over our stay here the next few days -- but it is exciting to us!

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