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April 26 2016 Thunderstorm

Limon wind farm

Thunderstorm over the Limon Colorado wind farm.

With a strong low pressure system active over the region, there were forecast isolated thunderstorms in NE Colorado; with a Moderate Risk posted through Central Kansas and Oklahoma.  If there were any storms coming off of the Palmer Divide I decide I would chase them; but the system didn’t appear active enough in Colorado to chase too far from home.

Leaving work in East Aurora I noted there was a storm forming on the Palmer Divide, around Kiowa.  Looking at the velocity couplet of the Doppler radar I decided this storm was worth checking out.  I decided to take the long way home from work and head east.

A call home provided me with the information that along the Rampart Range it was snowing, and the temperature leaving work was 47 degrees; not optimal for thunderstorms; but the storm forming outside of Kiowa had rotation and many lightning strikes.  Odd things happen in the spring in Colorado!

I decided to get in front of the storm in the hopes of getting a time-lapse of it coming at me; there were low level clouds to the west of the storm so that seemed like the only view available.  So I went to Last Chance and then south into the Limon wind farm.  I was able to get in good position and directly in front of the storm.  It was 50 degrees and mostly cloudy in front of the storm, but the storm was still producing a good amount of lightning as it approached; and obviously hail as seen with the white curtains.  As the storm went overhead, it started to hail about marble size and covered the ground with about an inch deep.  As the storm passed over, with the change of temperature, the hail and rain turned to snow.  This was the first time I have been able to see lightning while it was snowing; I’ve heard snow thunder before, but not seen lightning.  The air temperature after the storm was 36 degrees.

On the drive home there was some great cloud structure and some fog from the weather that produced all the snow along the mountains; which provided some surreal views.  As I got home there was 3 inches of snow that had fallen.  Again, crazy early spring storms on the high plains!

Snow virga

Virga clouds SE of Kiowa, likely snow

Castle Rock sunset

West side of Castle Rock at sunset, almost looks like sunset at the beach!

Pikes Peak

Raspberry Butte in the foregrounds Pikes Peak peeking out of the clouds

April 25 2016 First Thunderstorm of the Spring

We’ve been having an active spring with some large multi-day snow storms.  There were forecasted storms for the afternoon into the evening and the early evening was dry, yet cold.  It didn’t seem like thunderstorm weather.  But about 7:30pm, a storm formed near the Air Force Academy moving northeast.

As the storm entered castle rock it started to produce lightning and hail.  A true thunderstorm!  I tried to hang out on the periphery of the storm to get out of the rain and have more to see; but the shape and direction of the storm didn’t have a dry option.

Castle Rock hail

Nickel sized hail on the SW side of town

In the hopes to get out of the rain/hail I jetted north with the target of the Castle Pines area, I have a couple of nice vantage points in that area that were hopefully west of the storm and providing some cool views of the lightning.  As I was driving through Castle Rock the hail got quite big, I’d estimate quarter size, but it was rather soft and mushy.  The National Weather Service issues a Severe Thunderstorm warning for the area due to this; I wanted to size the hail and provide a report; but I was not in a good position to stop.

After the storm passed over I was able to get some lightning shots; but due to it still raining I couldn’t use a tripod, but the lighting was too close for me to get out of the car.  I watched the storm as it moved over Aurora and then another cell formed to the south and east, heading east of Parker.  Lots of great in-cloud lightning illuminated the storm and sheets of rain.  Although not a supercell or a huge storm, it was fun to watch the first thunderstorm of the year here on the western Palmer Divide!

Castle Pines Lightning

Cool lightning both over Castle Pines

Tangled Lightning

Cloud to cloud lightning protruding out of the back end of the storm, likely looking directly into a bolt appearing as tangled electricity.

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Parker Lightning

Lightning over south Parker

Parker Lightning

Lightning over Parker

Phosphorescent Fluorite

Recently I dug some phosphorescent fluorite crystals, I don’t have a good UV source except for a cheapo LED lamp I bought from China, but I decided to give this a try. There was enough UV that some of the crystals did phosphoresce a blue/greenish color.  I’ve never checked out any of my crystals this way so it was awesome to see the illumination continue for well over a minute.  I wonder what a more powerful lamp would do?

I am still experimenting with what quality of the stones allows the phosphorescence. At first I thought that only the more gemmy of the crystals I found phosphoresce, but that isn’t true.  Some of the most gemmy crystals do not phosphoresce at all!

phosphorescent fluorite

Here is an example of a clear gemmy piece of Fluorite I found, it is pretty but does not phosphoresce.  

phosphorescent fluorite open exposure

Here are the fluorites phosphorescing. I charged them up with a cheapo UV LED lamp, then turned off the lamp and opened the exposure for 5 seconds in the pitch dark.  They were a bit more green than this picture shows.  They stayed illuminated for several minutes.

Super Iron Out Crystals

Most crystal-digging people know Super Iron Out as a great solution for taking iron oxide staining off of crystals.  I typically use SIO as my first cleaning bath for most of my crystals and jump into the acids later if the stains are stubborn.  This winter I was cleaning a small micro-quartz cluster in the (cold) garage and was amazed to find my cluster gained another crystal during cleaning.

Micro-quartz cluster

Micro-quartz cluster without the SIO crystal

I must have saturated the small out of cleaning bath and when the temperature lowered the SIO crystal began to form!  The next day it turned from clear to super brittle white; and was falling all over, so I put it back in solution and cleaned more crystals with it!

Super Iron out Crystal

Super Iron out is typically used to clean crystals, but this time I grew a cool crystal!

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Another angle showing the really interesting growth patterns. I have a UV LED lamp shining on it to give some contrast.

Prospecting February

Was able to pull off some winter prospecting this month!  Typically rockin’ season doesn’t start here in the Colorado Rockies until April timeframe, sometimes a bit later when the snow is all melted and the ground good and thawed. But this winter is a little different and I have been out prospecting several times since early February already! Yes, there is snow to contend with, but not enough to keep me indoors!

I was able to hit three different spots so far this winter.  All three spots had snow, but there was enough good southern exposed area to have limited snow and somewhat thawed ground.

The first prospecting trip I found signs of quartz and feldspar leading up a hill and followed it.  In several cases I found signs of other digging; good news is I was on the right trail; bad news I was on it after others were…but the signs were good and I suspect there are other areas to check out, so chalk this area up to needing another trip!

The second place I started finding some float about 6 inches under the surface. Heading uphill I was able to find several cool crystals (and many more quartz with faces) so I feel confident they did float downhill; but I haven’t found the source yet. Either the original pocket was above present day ground, or there is more searching to do.  I’m trusting the latter will yield results and plan to hit this spot again this spring.

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interesting quartz crystal coated with hematite giving a very sparkly luster to the stone.

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Large five inch smoky quartz float crystal. This one had a fracture and rehealed; must have busted during formation a billion years ago!

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This crystal is awesome, the best one I found. It is double-terminated with several coatings, one of white quartz and the other of hematite.

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Same crystal as above showing the double terminations and multiple growths.

The third area was one I have visited before, before long I was back into the pocket mud which was very sticky and messy!  I found some neat fluorite crystals and some rather odd and interesting quartz.  None of these have been properly cleaned but will show you the parallel growth and unique crystal clusters.

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I love the larger quartz crystals around the edge, and the elestial growth in the center!

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This quartz cluster were terminated everywhere (thousands of times), and differently terminated on both sides. Probably my favorite find of the day! This side has white quartz in parallel elestial growth patterns.

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This side had the one larger quartz crystal with the smaller points adjoining it. Can’t see it much here, but it has a tint of green throughout!

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I love this fluorite, fairly gemmy and has some purple, otherwise clear. As you gaze into it, it sucks time from existence!

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Several pyramid fluorites came out of the this spot. This is the smallest, and gemmiest…I immediately came up with this idea for a photograph, so I carefully wrapped this in newspaper and to my delight it was clear enough to pull off this shot! Fun!

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Got my itch to do some prospecting early this spring which was fun!  Look forward to heading up again here soon, hopefully!  Spring has not yet arrived!

My new album Bahian Coastal Highway reviewed

My band’s Multicast new CD, Bahian Coastal Highway on Carpe Sonum Records, got a sweet review in The Big Takeover Magazine #77 by Mark Suppanz.  Wow, I’m very impressed, this guy gets it; he’s figured out things from the music in the titles and such that we’ve never explained to anyone!  This is a great review on our material and we appreciate the shout out!  Definitely check out Mark’s other reviews and the magazine for tons of insight on modern music!

Bahian Coastal Highway Review

 

Palmer Divide Petrified Wood

Here are some of the petrified wood pieces that I picked up at my friend’s property in Northeastern Douglas County in Colorado this last weekend. The wood in Douglas County dates back up to 55 million years ago. To put this in perspective, the last phase of tectonic activity formed Rocky Mountains around 80-55 million years ago; so these are wood from the forests on the craggy, new Rocky Mountains! Interestingly, much more recently in time (about 100ish years ago), wood forested from the Palmer Divide was used to build cities like Denver. Forests have covered the land here in east-central Colorado for a long time!

So how did I find it, well, I just walked around and picked it up off of the ground, for the most part.  It tended to be all together, so once I found something on the surface, I could search around that area and find more.  I also tried digging some, and there was more under the surface as well.

Still searching for the intact logs on this property like was found recently at the Cherokee Ranch in central Douglas County!  Anyone have any suggestions for lapidary treatment of petrified wood?

What a great find!

What a great find!

This was one of the larger pieces I brought home.  About 16 to 18 inches long.

This was one of the larger pieces I brought home. About 16 to 18 inches long.

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These red and orange pieces are just beautiful!

These red and orange pieces are just beautiful!

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Some of the pile, you can see the variety of color and agatized wood.

Some of the pile, you can see the variety of color and agatized wood.

I especially liked the color on this piece.

I especially liked the color on this piece.

This has the neat bark and also a view into the beautiful golden yellow wood.

This has the neat bark and also a view into the beautiful golden yellow wood.

Playing at the Sunshine Ranch

Had a hell of a great day hanging out with a great friend, and our sons. Did some typical father/son stuff like shoot guns at cow patties and soda cans; dug for petrified wood; went through the old dumps in the gullies on my buddy’s new property, set up a chicken coop, and had BBQ for dinner. Also got to take some pictures of his amazing cat!

Sunset Ranch, Palmer Divide, Colorado.

Ha, caught him in the act!

Ha, caught him in the act!

Teddy is one cute farm cat!

Teddy is one cute farm cat!  I can just hear him purring in this photograph!

Interesting trash down in the ravine.

Interesting trash down in the ravine.

Interesting trash down in the ravine. I guess if you own land you don't need to pay for trash removal?

Interesting trash down in the ravine. I guess if you own land you don’t need to pay for trash removal?

Nice lenticular at sunset over the beautiful view of the Colorado Front Range!

Nice lenticular at sunset over the beautiful view of the Colorado Front Range!

Awesome, vivid colors during this sunset!

Awesome, vivid colors during this sunset!

Press Release: Multicast’s Bahian Coastal Highway

Multicast Bahian Coastal Highway

Multicast – Bahian Coastal Highway (Carpe Sonum 2016)

( Nathan Jantz, Dave Alexander, and Jeff Holland )

Catalog:  SEIZE-XX

Carpe Sonum is proud to unveil the CD reissue of the limited LP-only recording from Multicast, originally mastered by Lupo at Dubplates & Mastering in 2005, BCH–including two bonus tracks not available previously–has been re-mastered for CD by Lupo, now at Calyx Mastering in Berlin. First gaining notoriety via their own Obliq Recordings imprint back in the early oughts, Colorado-based rural electronic musicians Dave Alexander, Jeff Holland, and Nathan Jantz haven’t exactly vanished from the scene, releasing a slew of digital-only work in the interim. Bahian Coastal Highway sounds ahead of its time, with rich harmonic texture and memorable melodies. The trio maintain that, ”the feel we were shooting for was about arrival and departure, on a journey to Another Green World. There are Brasilian rhythms & chords, exotica and jungle references” with soundscapes conjuring ”a new place, with new experiences met with open eyes…” At times, the Balearic, sunny environments suggested by most of these tracks seems at odds with the group’s former modus operandi, but then again, that’s precisely the point. Sidestepping pat categorical references, Multicast feel that this recording is their ”most refined and resolved effort, featuring crystalline beauty amid soap-opera melodies, meeting on the veranda in a sunny place. There is collaboration and interplay in the songwriting and structure that could only come from years of playing together, and through a telepathic musical connection.”

Bahian Coastal Highway CD

Tracks

*1. Bahian Coastal Highway (4:36)  *2. El Sid (5:15)  3. Underdub (5:17)  4. Departure (7:01)   *5. The Only Thing I Adore (5:26)  *6. Hawaii (4:50)  7.Pucuna (5:31)  *8. Ansico (6:40) *9. Arrival (5:12)  10. Rotation (4:39)  *recommended for airplay – all FCC compliant

R.I.Y.L:  Boards of Canada, Tycho, Aphex Twin, Panabrite – Release Date:  February 12, 2016

Bahian Coastal Highway Back Cover

Reach out

  • Contact for information sales & distribution:  dave@carpesonum.com
  • Interviews and radio:  multicast@obliq.net

Available from

Preview / Download / Purchase

Zoom lens tests

I am using a Sony Alpha digital camera and the all-purpose Sony 24-240mm f/5-6.3 lens.  While out driving on Sunday (actually I was having my son drive me around as he is learning to drive on gravel roads) I took some shots along the way with this lens.

Looking over the Palmer Divide towards Pikes Peak at 32mm, f/8, 100 ISO.

Looking over the Palmer Divide towards Pikes Peak at 32mm, f/8, ISO 100.

Looking over the Palmer Divide towards Pikes Peak at 191mm, f/8, 100 ISO.

Same position towards Pikes Peak, this time at 191mm, f/8, ISO 100, a little cropping to center the mountain.

This next set of shots was trying to get as sharp of focus as possible with the full zoom of the lens.  I used center focus and then zone.  From what I can tell, about the same; a little unfocused; will need to play around with the settings a bit more.

About 30 meters away from the hawk, zoomed at 240mm, and the digitally cropped

About 30 meters away from the hawk, zoomed at 240mm, f/8 ISO100, and then digitally cropped

About 30 meters away from the hawk, zoomed at 240mm, and the digitally cropped

Again at 240mm f8, ISO100, and then digitally cropped