Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Today’s shot is a view of Mt. St. Helens, in southwestern Washington state. Specifically, this is the lava cone that’s rebuilding itself inside the big crater. To refresh everyone’s memory, Mt. St. Helens blew itself up quite spectacularly back in 1980, obliterating a large amount of the surrounding forest along with it. The 31 years since have provided a fascinating study into how the landscape is recovering. Including, as I mentioned, the lava cone rebuilding itself inside the crater. This isn’t actually THAT recent of a picture though, it was taken the last time I was down there, which was in the summer of 2007 I think. Presumably it doesn’t look drastically different now, almost 4 years later, but I really can’t say for sure either way.
This was taken using a cheap 70-300mm telephoto lens, way at the 300mm end of the spectrum. We were hiking around from the Johnston Ridge observatory, which is across a big valley from the peak itself. Yes, it took some post-processing to remove haze, since this was taken right during the middle of the day, and the subject was very very far away. And that totally rhymes, just sayin.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Quantaray 70-300mm lens. 1/500s, f/8.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 300mm.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Welcome back everyone, from the best weekend EVER! And by best, I mean “most recent”. My own weekend wasn’t any better than, say, any other weekend, but it’s certainly fresher in my mind. I expect that your experience was similar.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, tomorrow is the 30-year anniversary of the explosion of Mt. St. Helens, here in Washington state. Not too much was known about the peculiar dynamics of a volcanic explosion back then, and only a little bit more is known now. (And Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal would like to keep it that way.) But the last 30 years have provided a fantastic change to explore what happens afterward. I’ve covered all of this ground before (so did Mt. St. Helens – ha!), so blah blah whatever, go back and read one of those other entries if you’re interested.
Even the day after the explosion, the mountain started rebuilding itself. The rate at which it has been doing so of course varies over time, but just a few years ago the rate dramatically increased, leading some to suspect that it may go boom again. That of course didn’t happen, but it did spew a bunch of smoke and ash for awhile, so that was fun. Today’s picture is a view into the crater, at the new lava dome that’s been forming. Presumably this will eventually make the mountain resemble sometime like its former self, after it grows a bunch more. That’s sort of what these volcanoes do, as it turns out.
This picture came about via a nice big (and cheap!) telephoto lens, and a decent amount of post-processing to filter through the haze that was in the air that day. (And by “a decent amount of post-processing”, I mean I hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button in Picasa. I almost broke a sweat!) It’s pretty crazy to think that, even during the slower times, a couple dump-truck-loads worth of stuff is being added to the cone every single day. Or at least I think I remember reading that somewhere. God I hope nobody’s using this blog as a reference for their high school science homework. Just about every “fact” that I’ve mentioned is somewhere between loosely researched and poorly documented, and completely made up. So, on that note…
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Quantaray 70-300mm lens. 1/800s, f/8.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 227mm.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Hey everyone! Looking back at last week’s entries, it was apparently “orange” week. That wasn’t intentional at all, but it really does look like I planned it out. Weird. I haven’t yet decided what this week’s theme won’t be, so we’ll find out as it develops I suppose.
There’s a couple big events coming up here in the next couple of weeks. The first one is of course the one year anniversary of the first post on this blog. (Which is somewhat interesting, because at the time, “this blog” didn’t exist per se, it was sort of an afterthought after my cousin Deanne pointed out that I should make a fan page on Facebook. I didn’t know what I should put on it, so I grabbed a random picture that I normally wouldn’t post online, and wrote some stuff about it. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I actually sat down and got my hands on some blog software and started hosting it myself. I’m not sure why I’m going into all this detail here, I’m totally stealing my own thunder for my 1 year anniversary post. Garr, I’m such an a-hole.
Back to what I was saying though: there are TWO big things to commemorate this month. That one, and also the 30 year anniversary of the explosion of Mt. St. Helens. And, it just so happens that both of them fall on the same day! Wow! One of them will be remembered as a momentous event that had a permanent and lasting effect on the topology of the planet, and the other one was an effing volcanic explosion. I’m not quite sure how my blog will live up to that kind of hype, I’m still working it out. But you’ll see, it’ll be huge.
I haven’t been back to Mt. St. Helens in awhile, and I want to make it back this year. I almost certainly won’t make it back in time to post any newer pics here before the actual event (although maybe I should use that as an excuse to encourage a field trip), but I’ll try to post at least a couple Mt. St. Helens pics here this month from several years ago when I was last there. Starting with today. As you can see, in the 30 years since the event (well, 26 years at the time this pic was taken), the area hasn’t yet begun to resemble the way it looked on May 17, 1980. It’s actually not quite as desolate as this picture makes it look, there are a fair number of scrubby bushes and stuff growing around, but by and large it’s still a huge area of remarkable devastation. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Canon 18-55mm kit lens. 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 100. Focal length: 55mm.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Hello everyone. You probably noticed that there was no post yesterday. I was sick, as it turns out. I promise not to let that happen again, EVER. (The getting sick thing. There will PLENTY of days with no posts, because I possess a mix of both laziness and a desire to make your life more difficult.) I’m somewhat recovered today, which means that you guys get a picture today! That may not be a positive thing, but it’s too late for that now.
This is, of course, Mt. St. Helens, in southwestern Washington state. Yes, this is the volcano that exploded back in 1980. And yes, I realize that a lot of you reading this blog weren’t even alive then. As I’ve said before, it’s a fascinating place to visit, just to see the devastation that was caused. Even now, almost 30 years later, the landscape has only begun to recover. This spot in particular is pretty illustrative: there used to be thick forest right here. And when I say “thick” I’m not kidding around. Some of you have seen the forests out here in Washington (Seattle has a reputation for being rainy for a reason), and some of you haven’t, but we don’t eff around with our forests. When we decide to put a forest somewhere, that forest is going to be serious. As in, unless you cut a pathway through it, you won’t be able to walk between the trees. And now? All gone. Demolished. As if there wasn’t anything here at all. In the blast zone, bushes and such have started growing back (like these flowers) but it’s a much different landscape than it was before the explosion. Also interesting in this picture: you can see the new lava dome being formed in the crater, and you can see the jet of gases being expelled. It’s still quite active, for sure.
To switch gears a bit, I’ve hinted several times at how anal and picky I can be about my pictures. Today’s picture is a great example. I’ve had this picture for quite awhile, but I’ve never felt right posting it, there was just this one glaring flaw that made me think it wasn’t worth it. Now, finally, today, I did something about it. Normally I don’t bother with using Photoshop to touch up pictures (beyond brightness/contrast/sharpening/etc), mostly because I don’t know how. But today, I decided it was worth it. (Well, I used the Retouch feature in Picasa, not Photoshop, but it’s the same idea.) What’s that? You want to know what the one little flaw was? The flaw that made me decide this picture was essentially worthless unless it was removed? Well, why don’t you take a look for yourself, and see if you can find it. Yeah, like I said, I’m a little bit picky.
Have a great weekend out there everyone! If you live in Washington, hopefully you can make it out on the hill for some turns! I can’t, but I’d love to live vicariously through you!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/250s, f/7.1, ISO 100. Focal length: 25mm.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Mount St. Helens, in southern Washington state. Those of you who were alive back then may remember when this thing blew, back in May, 1980. (Well, I’m not actually sure how much news coverage it received outside the US. Anybody remember?) But, before that time, it was another nicely cone-shaped volcano, similar to Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, or any one of several other Pacific Northwest mountains. Afterwards, it looked like this.
Also, as anyone who has spent any time in the woods out here in Washington, the forests are THICK. So the fact that the trees were completely obliterated for many miles around the blast zone is truly amazing. And this is more than 20 years later! There’s of course a bunch of bushes and flowers that are taking root in the fertile soil, but it’s still got a long way to go toward full recovery.
I’ve of course already posted a St. Helens picture, so in the interest of not retyping that whole post, I’ll stop there. But, a few years ago, the mountain start rumbling again, and rebuilding the lava cone in the center of the crater. It was particularly active around the time this picture was taken, and you can see the plume of gases venting from the big steaming pile of rock in the middle. Fun stuff.
I’m considering moving the Picture of the Day to be a 3-day-a-week thing, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. (As opposed to now, when it’s every weekday.) Anybody have any thoughts about that? Let me know what you think in the comments below. If I don’t hear anything, I’ll consider that a ringing endorsement. Either that or I’ll consider it a sign that you lost interest a few paragraphs ago. Either way works for me.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, 18-55 mm lens. 1/320s, f/7.1, ISO 100. Focal length: 21mm