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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Worldwide Photowalk, Knoxville Chapter

I went on the Knoxville Photowalk today -- part of Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk -- in and around Market Square.

It was quite a scene, with several dozen photographers milling around, at times swarming -- like a horde of paparazzi -- around the same, seemingly mundane thing. Such as, for instance, a random dog:

Puppy paparazzi

The owners look rather bemused. They weren't alone! :)

Not surprisingly, a whole bunch of the photographers also snapped photos of Loyette at one point or another. (That includes Becky.)

But our baby girl wasn't the only center of attention. The various kids playing in the fountain were also a big hit, as were the guitarist and his dog. Oh yes, and who could forget the wooden pig:

Pig, interrupted

Anyway, Becky and I had fun (as did Loyette!). But alas, I don't think I took any particularly extraordinary pictures. Here, for what they're worth, are a few of my favorites from the photos I took:

Evening light



Inside and out


Fountain fun

Of course, I was severely outclassed in the camera department, as just about everyone there had not just digital SLRs (in most cases more advanced than my Digital Rebel XTi), but also various fancy lenses and stuff, which I don't have. Then again, I can't exactly complain, considering that Becky was using my old Canon PowerShot A95 -- and yet I personally think she got the best photo that either of us took!

IMG_8087.JPG (by Becky)

Harumph! :)

Anyway, my full Flickr gallery is here. It's three pages long.

P.S. Photos by other Knoxville "photo walkers" will eventually appear here.

Already, pics from today's various photowalks -- in locations all other the globe -- can be found by searching for the tag "photowalk."

Saturday, August 16, 2008



At the Tomato Head in Market Square today.

All quacked up and ready to go

Boxes full of duckies, minutes before they were dumped in the Tennessee River for today's Great Knoxville Rubber Duck Race:


This is what they looked like a while later, as jet-skis pushed them down the river:


And here's a shot of the two boats floating around the river with giant duckies on them:


My full photo gallery is here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Perseid dawn

As I mentioned on The One Blog, I went meteor-hunting Tuesday morning, during the peak of Perseid shower. I saw 68 of the little buggers, and photographed two of 'em; more on that in a moment. But my best photos came a little later, as morning dawned.

Morning light
This shot was taken at 5:47 AM -- 30 minutes after "astronomical twilight," five minutes before "nautical twilight," and 65 minutes before sunrise -- and it clearly shows the early morning light in the eastern sky, along with Orion and many other stars. This was a 10-second exposure at 1600 ISO. (Larger view here.)

That's why they call 'em the Smokies
Dawn over the foggy Smokies, 15 minutes before sunrise. (Larger view here.) I deliberately overexposed the early sunlight in order to showcase the fog in the valley. Here's a similar shot after sunrise. And here's an earlier photo with the sunlight more properly exposed.

Maryville panorama
A panoramic view of Maryville, Knoxville, and the northern Tennessee mountains in the distance, taken 40 minutes before sunrise. This shot was actually stitched together from multiple photos. (Larger version; even larger version.)

Pretty as they are, those morning shots were incidental to my main goal of viewing -- and photographing -- some meteors! And I succeeded in that, too. Here's a zoomed-in, digitally enhanced version of my best meteor shot, which also includes an unidentified satellite:

Meteor/satellite #2 (mildly enhanced)

The original is here. A more significantly enhanced version -- with lots of detail, but lots of noise -- is here.

The meteor is the diagonal line. The horizontal line at upper left is a passing satellite, which I didn't notice with my naked eye when I took the photo. It's not on Heavens-Above's list, so I'm guessing maybe it's a secret military satellite or some such thing. Cool!

Here's another meteor shot (enhanced version), taken a few seconds earlier, which also shows the same satellite. Believe it or not, these two photos were the only meteor pictures I captured all night -- and they were taken consecutively, within 30 seconds of each other!

Meanwhile, speaking of satellites, the first "meteor"-like object that I photographed yesterday morning was actually an Iridium flare of -1 magnitude, caused by Iridium 31:

Iridium flare (enhanced)

Again, that's digitally enhanced; hence the noise. The original is here.

The constellation that the satellite is passing through is Pegasus. The three clearly distinguishable bright white stars are, from bottom to top, Markab (the one the flare almost intersects with), Algenib, and Sirrah. The photo is a 68-second exposure, which explains the star trails.

One last photo is worth mentioning and showcasing here. Take a look at this picture, and tell me what (aside from a passing airplane at right) you think it shows:

Atlanta (!) and Chattanooga light domes

If you said "the dawn's early light," your guess is plausible, but wrong. This 20-second exposure, 1600 ISO shot was taken at 4:49 AM, long before the earliest morning light began to appear (astronomical twilight was at 5:17, sunrise at 6:52). And anyway, it's looking south-southwest, not east. Moreover, this light was visible all night long, and never got noticeably brighter or dimmer.

So, what is it? Well, unless there's a massive fire in the Smoky Mountains (and if there was, I'd think I would have heard about it on the news), it must be a city "light dome." But the question is, which one?

The answer, I believe, is that it's actually two light domes. The more diffuse, less intensely orange area at right, which is off to the southwest, is the light dome of Chattanooga, roughly 85 miles away. Meanwhile, the more intense, distant light dome to the left is -- I believe -- the light dome of Atlanta, some 130 miles away!

I almost can't believe that's right, but it must be, since there's a whole lot of nothing, city-wise, between the Foothills Parkway and Atlanta. Looking almost due south, across the Smokies, the only possible major source of city light is distant Atlanta. I had no idea light pollution could reach so far afield, but apparently it can!

Anyway... there are lots more photos of my wee-hours outing on the Flickr set. All the stargazing photos are on Page 1; all the sunrise photos are on Page 2. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grand old flags


The American and Tennessee flags, at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge.



These things are all over the South (though far less so than in the olden days). Today we finally took the signs' advice, drove to Chattanooga, and saw Rock City.

Everybody pays attention to the spot where you can supposedly see seven states, but Loyette was a big fan of "Rainbow Hall." Made for a nice picture, too:


No standin, either


Sevier County, Tennessee.

Dueling nerd cars!

Apple on the left, Linux on the right:


Morning shadows


First Baptist Church, downtown Knoxville.

Jesus saves (on tires at We Got Wheels)

As I've mentioned before, I've gotten quite used to seeing ichthyses on cars -- but on a tire shop?


Only in Tennessee. :)

Liberty Bell

Not the Liberty Bell, but a Liberty Bell, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee:


Here's another shot. Taken during Stringtime in the Smokies.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More election photoblogging

It's Election Day in Knox County, and when I went to vote this evening at Cedar Bluff Middle School -- the largest precinct in the state, according to State Representative Stacey Campfield -- I took a bunch of photos while walking to and from the polling place. Here are a few of 'em:

State Rep. Campfield (R) and Criminal Court Judge Ken Irvine (D) campaign for themselves.

Robert Bratton, the Democratic candidate for county trustee, greets voters.

The polling place, about 90 minutes before closing time.

WATE 6 news anchor Gene Patterson reports live from the precinct.

It might not be as sweet as Campfield's Mustang, but Irvine's got a campaign car, too. (Incidentally, thanks for the link, rep.!)

More photos here.

UPDATE: As I mentioned over on The One Blog, Rep. Campfield had a few hours of (perhaps unexpected) suspense last night, but ended up defeating challenger Ron Leadbetter by a margin of roughly 10%. Here's a shot of Campfield campaigning yesterday evening:


Judge Irvine, meanwhile, was defeated, as was trustee candidate Bratton.

More on the election here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Sitting by the fountain in front of Riverview Tower (a.k.a. the BB&T Bank building) in downtown Knoxville yesterday, this view caught my eye:


Dept. of missed campaign-slogan opportunities


Don't be a sheep -- vote for Baah!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A light from above

"A light will shine down from somewhere. It will light upon you. You will experience an epiphany. And you will say to yourself, 'I have to vote for Barack.'"


Heh. For the record, Obama was joking when he said that. Still funny, though.

Oh, and the photo? I snapped it late this afternoon in West Knoxville, in the midst of taking pictures of folks campaigning at the Downtown West "early voting" site. (Today was the last day of early voting for the Knox County election; Thursday is Election Day.) Here are a few of the other photos I took:

Aunt Sam wants YOU! ... to vote for Ken Irvine.

Various candidates had supporters out campaigning for them...

...but only Stacey Campfield had his own vintage campaign Mustang!

Signs, signs everywhere.

A couple emerges from the polling place after casting their votes.

More pictures here.

UPDATE: Welcome, InstaPundit readers!

If you liked these photos, you may want to check out my Super Tuesday gallery.

See also my general Knoxville and East Tennessee galleries.