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Howdy.  I have many hobbies and post what I can, when I can, here and on sometimes on YouTube.  Below are some quick links if you want to quickly tune into a certain hobby.

** Throughout the site you can click on images to enlarge them. **

STORM CHASING: Click Here    Lightning

ROCKHOUNDING: Click Here

MUSIC PRODUCTION / DJ: Click Here  or these external sites:

New images of upcoming music-related items

I have received a couple of new really cool images in the last couple of days.  First, is the cover to our new re-release of Bahian Coastal Hwy by Multicast.  This is on Carpe Sonum records and should be mastered in a week or two.  Then it goes to the pressing plant; hopefully we’ll see it by October?

Multicast - Bahian Coastal Hwy on Carpe Sonum Records

Multicast – Bahian Coastal Hwy on Carpe Sonum Records

I also will be receiving a poster of this amazing artwork for the upcoming 2015 Full Moon Festival by M.E.S.S.  The poster will be framed and on the wall for sure. This is going to be a great party and I’m looking forward to both our release and the party.

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Rural Colorado Lightning

I love the monsoon season, because 30% chance of thunderstorms means there will be one within 30 minutes of where I live; it is the way living atop the Palmer Divide usually works!  I drove about 10 minutes south of home and was able to capture these tonight.  Not as close as yesterday’s lightning by any means, but still pretty cool.  Again, cell phone and daytime pictures so quality is appropriate, daytime lightning is much harder to photograph, especially getting the stepped leaders!  What will tomorrow bring?Rampart Range Lightning Rampart Range Lightning Rampart Range Lightning Rampart Range Lightning

 

Castle Pines Lightning

The monsoon is in effect here in Colorado, like it always is in late-July and/or early-August (which I love) as I can capture some great lightning photos. Nice thundershowers each afternoon cool it down and make just fantastic evening/night conditions (and also keep the landscape green, which is a challenge here this time of year)! I was driving home from work which is normally 45 minutes but yesterday ended up being over 2 hours. As I was in the stop-go routine, an oncoming storm with very frequent cloud-to-ground lightning was encroaching. Luckily, the traffic ended up thinning out just in time to miss the core of the precipitation which would have made the drive even longer, ugh!

I travelled to the next exit and got off to take some pretty close, daytime lightning photos. This is with my cell phone, but surprising got some really nice shots! All of these bolts were between a mile and two away.

Castle Pines Lightning Castle Pines Lightning Castle Pines Lightning Castle Pines Lightning Castle Pines Lightning

Castle Pines Lightning

This one is interesting I feel because it shows the end of the initial discharge and the start of the second return stroke.

2015 Perseids Meteorite Shower

Excited for the 2015 Perseids meteorite shower.  This one is special because of the new moon.  Expecting to see some fantastic shooting stars!

It has been pretty rainy with the monsoonal flow in full effect lately, and my worry is about clouds.  Two nights before the peak it was cloudy all night and I was not able to witness anything.  One night before peak it was partially cloudy with a little haze, but I was able to see several shooters.  3 Perseid fireballs (2 were slow without much of a tail, one with a tail), 6 nice shooters and the remainder were small or really fast ones without tails.  I saw 15 from 1:30am to 2:30am.  I woke up a couple more times but there were a lot of clouds so I didn’t stay out that long, caught a couple small ones during this time.

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

2015 Perseids shooter

There are many reasons I head out the day before/after the peak.  One is the peak could be off, but the other is clouds.  The peak morning was cloudy and there was very limited visibility to the sky (maybe 10-15% viewable for 20-30 minutes at a time).  I was able to watch for about 60 minutes where there was viewable area, and I saw 55 shooters.  That is awesome, too bad I couldn’t watch more of the show.  We’ll see what tomorrow morning has in store…

Perseids Peak with clouds Perseids Peak with clouds Perseids Peak with clouds Perseids Peak with clouds

August 11 2015 Aurora Funnel Cloud

For some reason early this morning I felt I had to take my camera to work. I wasn’t sure why I felt that way, but I didn’t deny my intuition and I put it in the car with me. I figured I’d see a wild animal or something on the way in.

So, I’m working and end up having meetings solid all afternoon. Ending time has come and gone and I’m officially working late again. Then all of a sudden every phone in cube-land went off at the same time. Tornado warning. Managers yelling at folks to get in the stairwell and inner conference rooms. Of course, I’m looking out the window and checking my resources on the phone trying to determine where the threat is. No velocity couplet on radar, probably a landspout as this area of Colorado is notorious for non-supercell tornadoes. Some random manager (not sure whom) grabs me and tells me I’m in danger and I have to get into the shelter. So I dart away, down the stairs past a ton of folks, and onto the top of the parking garage, on my way grabbing the camera from the car.

Tornado warning states that it was a “Public spotted tornado” which typically means pretty much anything; I understand the concern because clouds can look really angry! (many “public” reports are incorrect). But social media shows some nice funnel cloud pictures. Cool! The subsequent warning states that Weather Spotters see a funnel cloud.

The rain stops falling (mostly) and the lightning moves away, so I venture out on the top floor of the parking garage and then I see the funnel, just northeast of work. My co-worker texts me asking me where the heck I was at, I told him on the top of the parking garage and to come join me. He ended up being just in time to see his first funnel cloud of his life! I vividly still remember that day for me, I was 6, changed my life.

Aurora Funnel Cloud Aurora Funnel Cloud Aurora Funnel Cloud Aurora Funnel Cloud Aurora Funnel Cloud Aurora Funnel Cloud

2015 Perseids is Coming

Are you ready for the Perseids? They peak on Thursday AM but the show can be at its best within a couple days of the peak. Several years ago two mornings before was the best…it all just depends on when we pass through the cosmic comet debris from Swift-Tuttle. This year will be extra special because of the new moon, making watching extra bright!

Here are some of the shooters I caught from years past! Can’t wait to hear your experience with the cosmic light show!

FYI, best time is after midnight to dawn; if you’ve never witnessed a show; get a nice lounge chair and just look up, and let your eyes scan into infinity…when one shoots, your eyes will automatically focus on it. If you are a counter like me (it keeps me awake), use your fingers or you’ll likely lose count; or there are cell phone apps for that!

If you are going to take pictures, get a tripod and a shutter remote, switch over to manual exposure mode, set to lowest f-stop/aperture setting, iso needs to be fairly low or it will get noisy, exposure for up to 8 seconds (if you go over 8 the stars will be blurry, my rule of thumb). Zoom out as far as you can go, turn off auto-focus and image stabilization (it moves the mirror and eats battery), and lock on the shutter remote! Oh, and focus, that is the hard part, you can try auto-focus but you should turn it off after you get a good focus, which will likely require some experimentation. Have fun! :star2:

2012 Perseids Shooter

2012 Perseids Shooter

2013 Perseids

2013 Perseids Shooter

2012 Perseids Shooter

2012 Perseids Shooter

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Monsoon Lightning Begins

The monsoon is picking up, several weeks later than normal, but it is here. Woke up to some thunder so I checked out the radar and sky and decided to take a small drive. Ended up a few blocks away from the house and was able to capture some nice lightning. The storm down SE of us was going bonkers with lightning, strobe light style, so I ended up driving south a ways to an overlook and watched. There were no bolts visible from my vantage point (the storm was 40 miles away) so I just sat in awe for a while and then headed home. Tomorrow night should be another good night, and we have the Perseids upcoming too, so probably will be lacking a bit on sleep this week!

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Devils Head Picking Field Trip

Went up to Devils Head with the Lake George Gem and Mineral Club to do some pickin’ today.  Last week the Fire Watch Tower / Campground area was hit with a EF0/EF1 tornado (max wind 90 mph, 500 yards long, 100 yards wide max) and is currently closed due to all the snapped trees.  Luckily we didn’t go to that area and could continue with the field trip.

We went to the area east of the Topaz Picnic Area, near the old topaz mine and claims.  I hadn’t had much luck in this area in the past, but it was good to hang out with like-minded folks and give it another try.  I prospected an area that was level on the hillside with many other digs (this area is heavily dug) about 40 feet away, and about 40 feet or so below a really old dig.  My goal was to either hope to find the pegmatite dike or perhaps find some float.

Immediately I found a clear quartz that was healed.  I had to look carefully because it was amazingly clear and gemmy like topaz, but the growth lines on the crystal faces were perpendicular to the axis through the point and it had a quartz shape, so no go on my first topaz at Devils Head.

Following Float

Dig area, following the float uphill

For those that often ask me what I’m looking for, this is something I didn’t find much online or in the books.  This technique is just what I’ve figured out and there could be much better ways to prospect, but this will at least give you something to try the next time you are up digging if you are looking for things to try…

I scrape off the top soil to see what is at the boundry of the top soil and gravel layers...or "float".

I scrape off the top soil to see what is at the boundry of the top soil and gravel layers…or “float”.

Quartz

Clear Quartz in the sunlight makes it look like Topaz…

I continued to dig uphill (in the picture above I ended about 10 feet above the trees at the top of the photo) and as I got close to the old dig the quartz started to get larger.  I was finding float, or quartz that is below the organic layer of dirt and above the gravel, or about up to 6 inches below the surface.  Once I hit the clear quartz I started to dig around that, and then when I hit the first double terminated crystal I was able to form a trajectory up the hill and continued in that general direction.  It took a little while to figure out the direction but once I did the area I had to prospect was smaller making the process quicker.

The double terminated smaller quartz was the second I found, and the larger double terminated quartz was the last I found at this location.  Not pictured are all the shaped pieces of quartz (but not fully euhedral) that kept me on the chase up the hill.

Float Quartz

Milky quartz crystals found while digging the float. The large one on the upper right was double terminated and so was the one in the lower left.  The two in the middle show gemmy smoky quartz under the milky coating.

double terminated quartz

Double Terminated crystal shows several periods of growth. Original was likely to the pegmatite ceiling or floor, then it broke off and was healed (you can see this clearly on the other face).

Other folks were also having luck so it was a great day, the folks next to me pulled out a nice 4 inch smoky quartz!  After my hole was filled in I got up to check out the finds of other folks, but most folks had already left, no wonder it had gotten quiet!  I chatted with one other person who was in a small pocket in a very large dig and he had some nice crystals too.

I decided to try another spot and started to dig again after having lunch.  Here I was able to find a small seam in harder pegmatite that produced some nice twin smoky quartz and some light blue amazonite crystal faces.

Overall a fun day pickin’ at Devils Head!

Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz found in second location.  The 4 crystals at the right were sidewall type crystals (the backs on a couple are not terminated).  They were all found in a seam of pegmatite, not a pocket with sand, so it took a while to excavate from the small area.

You can see the white overgrowth on the otherwise gemmy smoky quartz

You can see the white overgrowth on the otherwise gemmy smoky quartz

Devils Head Amazonite

Amazonite found in the second location. More bluish than traditional green in color.

One thing about Devils Head crystals is they almost always need a bath as they have iron oxide staining, especially the amazonite/microcline.  These photos above are of the crystals just rinsed of with water, showing exactly how they look when fresh out of the ground!  The photos below are after a week of heated oxalic acid bath.

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Soaked in a chemical bath for a week.  Still some staining, but looking nicer!

Soaked in a chemical bath for a week. Still some staining, but looking nicer!

Twin Smokies

Twin Smoky Quartz with lots of iron staining…needs a bath!  Looks like it could be gemmy!

Nice etched polka dot patterns!

Nice etched polka dot patterns on the point!

Smoky Quartz

Needs a good cleaning, but this Smoky Quartz is gemmy and also has some nice small crystal growth on the point.  The back side is also terminated..really close to being a double terminated crystal!

Love the little gemmy crystal on the termination

Love the little gemmy crystal on the termination

2015 Summer Road Trip – Northern Leg

The second day we left after exploring Keystone and Sturgis South Dakota on our way to Buffalo to spend the night.  Along the way was also Devil’s Tower.  I’ve always wanted to visit Devil’s Tower and was expecting it to be huge.  It wasn’t as big as I thought it would be (I guess the mashed potatoes were to-scale…LOL), but it was very impressive.

Devils Tower

Devils Tower as seen from the NE coming the back way from Aladdin

Devils Tower

Devils Tower from the South on the trail

Devils Tower from the west

Devils Tower from the west

Devils Tower

Devils Tower from the road entering the natural monument

The next day we headed up to Crow Agency Montana to see the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  Erin really wanted to see this and I’m glad we went. The kids enjoyed the Battlefield and the stories of the volunteers there, it was finally cool to know the story when you can visualize what occurred.

Erin really wanted to go the Reenactment and it just so happened it was occurring the day we were there (she is great at planning!).  I was afraid it was going to be really cheesy but I actually enjoyed it.  Luckily there was a breeze (to our backs, fortunately) all day which kept my horse allergies at bay.  I especially liked the narrative which was poetic and told as stories and legend!  There were a ton of horses and people too; and the Crow were riding the horses bareback, many got thrown in front of us and they got up and shook it off.  Yikes!

Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015

Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015

Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015

Cool herd of “wild ponies”

Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015 Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015 Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015 Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015 Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015 Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015 tn_LittleBighorn-2015-1172 Little Bighorn Reenactment 2015

 

The next leg of the trip was the headliner, Yellowstone.  We entered from the NE corner through Red Lodge Montana.

Road Trip 2015 – Eastern Leg

This summer we did the “Road Trip Vacation” with the kids in our new car.  Now that the kids are old enough to remember we visited many of our national treasures.  We started off by visiting the Oregon Trail Ruts National Historic Landmark in Guernsey, Wyoming.  This is a neat little site that is amazing to see how the metal wheels of the wagons cut down into the sandstone.  Many many families looked for a new life homesteading the “wild west” in the 1800’s.

Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site

Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site

Cool old tree with me and the kids.

Cool old tree with me and the kids.

Oregon Trail Ruts

Oregon Trail Ruts

Cool old tree at Oregan Trail Ruts

Cool old tree at Oregon Trail Ruts

Our destination for the first night was Keystone South Dakota to see both rock art features, Crazy Horse Memorial Monument and Mount Rushmore!

Crazy Horse Memorial Gate

Gate at Crazy Horse Memorial plus Daphne howling at the moon

Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Monument

David Humphreys Miller

Henry Little Soldier by David Humphreys Miller

Woody Crumble

Woody Crumble’s Spirit Horse

Down the road from Crazy Horse was Mount Rushmore.  We ended up there after dinner time and it was sprinkling and overcast.  Made for a really neat view with some awesome lightning overhead for a little while!  Saw these very tiny Mountain Goats on the way into the park as a bonus!

Mountain Goat

Mini Mountain Goat baby at Mount Rushmore

Rushmore Mountain Goats

Mount Rushmore Mountain Goats

Rushmore baby mountain goat

Rushmore baby mountain goat

Mini Mountain Goat family at Mount Rushmore

Mini Mountain Goat family at Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore lightning

Mount Rushmore lightning

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Washington's Looking at You

Washington’s Looking at You

Turkey Vultures

Mount Rushmore Turkey Vultures

Mount Rushmore lightning

Mount Rushmore lightning

Keystone South Dakota was a cool little town with a quaint downtown with 2 rock shops. Only one was open, however.  There was an amazing antique / thrift shop with a bunch of unique stuff and a friendly shop keeper, and an interesting sign downtown…

Surgeon Supplies

Surgeon supplies documented on a sign in downtown Keystone, SD

Rock Shop Fence

Awesome fence at the closed rock shop.

The next day we headed to Sturgeon for lunch and then to Devil’s Tower and eventually to Buffalo to stay the night…see the next post for more about the second leg of 4 of our adventure!