Roadster Wheel

Detail from the wheel of a VW Beetle parked in an iron smith’s yard in Oracle, Arizona. This was taken in 2008 when Automattic visited there and I have quite a few other photos from that visit to show you, if I ever get around to working on them that is!

This was taken with my ancient Canon 20D. I’m half thinking of replacing my now-ageing Canon 40D (the shutter button misfires, it’s not as responsive as it once was, the body is creaking a bit) so I took a quick look at Ebay to see how much a Canon 7D body would cost. Ouch.
Other than the camera body my Sigma 18-200 lens has seen better days too. I had this lens back when I took this photo and it’s the main lens I keep on my camera. It shows too. The zoom extends if the lens is held upside down, bits of shiny plastic have rubbed off, there’s dirt stuck between the rings. Some would say it has character! I say I want a new lens!

Best start saving.

Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/125s

The Historic C.O.D Ranch

The Historic COD Ranch

The Historic C.O.D Ranch outside Oracle in Arizona where Automattic held a meetup in January 2008. Winter in the desert is mostly pleasant, during the day. At night it was freezing!

Aperture ƒ/9
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 22mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/125s

Growing Wild in the Biosphere

Growing Wild in the Biosphere

Inside Biosphere 2, Arizona is a complete ecosystem meant to keep a group of people alive for months on end. That project ended years ago but the building remains and it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area!

Just in case you didn’t see yesterday’s post, 3 hotel rooms going for free on the 25th of September if you’re going to the photowalk the following day! Just leave a comment if you can definitely go and want to be in with a chance to win.

I thought there might be a rush on this but, boy is it proving hard to give away such a good prize! I’ll just have to claim one of the rooms for myself! :)

Aperture ƒ/6.3
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/100s

Tall trees in Oracle

Tall trees in Oracle

These tall evergreens planted in front of a set of small houses in Oracle were almost gone before I saw them. The scene looked bizarre. Tall trees, tiny houses. I wonder who lives in them?

Here it is on Google Maps. Try the Street View, you’ll see two cars pulled up in front of the same house as in my photo. Spooky.

Aperture ƒ/6.3
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/100s

It even rains in Arizona

It even rains in Arizona

If you’re living in Ireland, you’ve no doubt noticed that this summer hasn’t been great. Actually, I haven’t. I work at home and looking out my little window at the rest of the world is some days the closest I get to the outside world (almost!)

Well anyway, this is to console you if you’re suffering through yet another flood, or a downpour. It even rains in the desert. Of course, it was late January, and the shower was a light one that lasted about 20 minutes but it’s the thought that counts, right?

In other news, I’ve just released Tweet Tweet, a plugin for WordPress that archives Twitter conversations. It’s been a nerve wracking experience as I’m using a few technologies that I haven’t had much call for before.

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/80s

Biosphere 2 Lung

Biosphere 2 Lung

As Biosphere 2 is a self contained and airtight structure the air inside would expand and contract on warm and cold days which could cause the building to explode or implode!

Two lungs were built to cope with this effect. One of them is pictured above. As the air in the building warmed up the black lung would expand and the roof of this room lowered. When we were there they opened an outside door to ventilate the room and the roof slowly fell. It was quite a sight to see and the draught out the door was enough to make it hard to be heard over the whine.

More on the Biosphere 2 lungs here and here.

Biosphere 2 needed something like a bellows, a lung!
Biosphere 2 would heat up like a greenhouse and cool during the night and during cold, cloudy days. The expansion and contraction would subject the rigid steel and glass structure to enormous pressures as the air inside expanded and contracted. On a hot day, pressure would push out. On a really cold day, Biosphere 2 might implode.

Bill Dempster, Director of Engineering Systems, had an inspired solution, and in time Biosphere 2 got a pair of lungs, or “variable expansion chambers”. The two lungs took the form of graceful hemispheric white domes which protected the liner from wear and tear of the Sun. Both domes, 150 feet away from Biosphere 2 had underground air tunnels connecting them to the main structure. Inside each tank and connected to each tunnel, a gargantuan synthetic rubber membrane with a circular metal top moved freely up and down on a cushion of air.
As air inside Biosphere 2 expanded from the Sun’s heat, it flowed through the tunnels and into the lung, raising its top. As air cooled, the lungs deflated.

Aperture ƒ/3.5
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 1600
Shutter speed 1/25s