Monday, December 27, 2010

Speed of Light and Sound

As the sun broke on the eastern horizon, and with a Chinook forming a arch to the west in the light of the new day, I worked my way east of Conrich towards Highway 9, where I would turn south and continue over to the intersection of the Inverlake Road. Once I reached the Inverlake road, I planned on driving the road east until I reached Strathmore, where I would stop and wash my truck. As I made the drive east, I found myself making frequent stops for photo-ops. Once I reached Strathmore, and had finshed washing my truck, I made one more stop for a fresh cup of tea. I then drove east on highway 1, until I came up on the Eagle Lake road where I turned south once more. Later in the morning, I would connect up with a another ham - Tammy VA6TSS, who was spending time with her family at their home in Arizona. The contact would happen on the SARA (Southern Alberta Repeater Association) system, that ranges from the southern part of Alberta, up through to the north of Edmonton.

Meanwhile the morning light was changing rapidly, as the Chinook had a fair amount of cloud building over southern Alberta. I used the low angle of the sun to cross-light the various photo-ops that allowed me to use this lighting technique. The art of photography is often referred to as "painting with light." This expression takes on a very special meaning for the outdoor photographs made during the early morning or late afternoon light. Shooting during these hours affords you opportunities for using various view points in relationship to the sun's position to define your photos in a creative manner.
When the atmospheric conditions are right, the morning light creates a certain glow. The contrast in the scene falls off very rapidly with distance thus making the background soft and receding in the distance, giving the whole scene an ethereal quality and a feeling of depth. Under these situations, correct exposure for the back lighted subjects results in slight over-exposure of the background which further accentuates this ethereal quality. Cross-lit subjects, depending on the density, become translucent or take on a rim or edge lighting effect. Cross-lighting on the female Snowy Owl in my photo, creates intense light and shade relationship of saturated colors, as compared to a front-lit view which would be fairly flat and not as intense.

The same effect can be seen on a smaller scale in blades of grass, the hay particles strewn across a field, hair and loosely worn clothing on the human body, an animal's fur, etc. This translucency, rim or edge lighting effect under natural conditions adds drama to the scene, which may be subtle and unnoticeable but when absent, makes a photograph look flat and routine.
So, gather up the courage, and get up early one morning, and go out and shoot photographs. If you have never done it, you will be amazed at the kinds of photographs you can make in the early morning light.

I had continued my drive south of Eagle Lake, and had just hooked up with highway 817, when my UHF radio came to life. It was my friend Brian VE6BCA operating from his home in Edmonton, who had been following my progress on google maps, as I had one of my radios beaconing the location of my truck in real time. We chatted as I drove along, and I also told Brian that I was expecting to hear from Tammy VA6TSS on the SARA IRLP node.The IRLP uses Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) custom software and hardware, coupled with the power of the Internet. IRLP operates a worldwide network of dedicated servers and nodes, along with repeaters offering very stable worldwide voice communications between hundreds of towns and cities. In this case Tammy would bring up the SARA IRLP node from a node located in southern Arizona. We had been chatting for just a short time when the identifier for node 3354 announced that Maricopa was on line and connected to the SARA system. We heard Tammy VA6TSS announce her presence on the system, and moments later we had established contact with her. Brian and I took turns talking to Tammy who was operating from her vehicle near her family home in Maricopa, through a repeater located in southern Arizona. After we had bantered back and forth for quite some time, we said our goodbyes to Tammy VA6TSS, who then took the Maricopa node off line. Brian and I continued with our conversation, until I pulled my truck on to my drive-way back in Calgary. I had spent a most enjoyable day, chasing the speed of light and sound across southern Alberta.

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