I just moved back to New Jersey for an internship at AT&T Research (more about that another day). As a New Jersey native, I have every right to make fun of my home state. On the other hand, sometimes ol’ jersey can surprise you with some unexpected beauty. I went for a walk early this morning around the Loantaka Brook Park right down the street from my apartment and managed to see some very pretty sights: several deer, some beautiful folliage, millions of geese (more noisy than pretty), a pair of swans, and an amazing great blue heron.
Megan and I took a trip to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine last week.
It is a beautiful island with an amazing variety of terrain ranging from rocky coasts to pristine lakes to the highest mountains on the North Atlantic seaboard.
It didn’t rain on us too much, but it was very cloudy and gray. I’ll add some more of the pictures that Megan and I took later.
Here are some pictures I took of the Amherst 4th of July Fireworks.
I love how some of them come out looking like nebula filled starscapes.
In the last week, Spring has finally arrived in Amherst. The season suddenly changed from cold and gray to incredibly warm and sunny. We’ve had several days in the high 70s now, and it looks like the forecast will remain that way for the time being. I was very ready for winter to end this year, and even though I am very busy working on a paper which is due in a few weeks, life just seems so much more pleasant now that I can sit by an open window and feel the warm sun on me.
For my quarter century birthday I decided to think about the future and started a retirement fund at Vanguard. To balance out that amount of fiscal responsibility, I also bought myself a Canon Digital Rebel XTi SLR camera. I bought a refurbished model from Adorama.com, so it was (relatively) cheap, but probably still one of the more expensive purchases I’ve made in dollars per cubic inch. I’ll post more about my thoughts on the camera later, but here are some sample pictures I have taken. Additional photo credits go to Megan and Gal.
I’m a big fan of Google’s Picasa application. Its primary use is as a photo organizer, but it also has some photo touch up features that work pretty well. I was recently trying to turn some of my photos into black and whites, but wasn’t getting the results I was hoping for simply by transforming the image to gray scale in photoshop. Then I read a bit about how Ansel Adams made many of his images so impressive by applying red filters to his lenses. Using colored filters makes it so that different colors turn into different shades of gray. In many of his images, the red filter makes the sky much darker, providing greater contrast against snowy rocks and mountains. I knew I could do this kind of filtering in photoshop, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could also do it in Picasa with just a few easy clicks. Here are my results.