Monday, June 30, 2008

X is for X-rays in ABC W

I have a strong feeling that I will not be alone with this choice - but no matter: This is my version. According to Wikipedia:

An X-ray (or Röntgen ray) is a form of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength in the range of 10 to 0.01 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz (30×1015Hz to 30×1018Hz). They are longer than Gamma rays but shorter than UV rays. X-rays are primarily used for diagnostic radiography and crystallography. X-rays are a form of ionizing radiation and as such can be dangerous. In many languages it is called Röntgen radiation after one of the first investigators of the X-rays, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen.
Thus, in Norway X-rays are always called røntgenstråler and the pictures røntgenbilder. Ususally all this is shortened to rtg. Most people come into contact with X-ray when they are checked for broken bones or other medical defects, or when they are doing their dental check-ups. It is not as easy as one should imagine to diagnose correctly X-ray pictures, and as with all kinds of photography, many demands must be met to achieve the best possible result.I will show you an example of what a typical dental X-ray picture of a grown-up person looks like. The picture was taken in the mid 90s, so hopefully the situation for the same age group is better today.This is a so-called "bite-wing" - typical for routine examinations. I have not included all that one can read out of this (there would not be room), but have included some of the tissues and various dental restorative materials. The reason they look different is that they absorb different amounts of radiation, leading to less exposure of the film at this point. This is the basis for all X-ray diagnosis. A cavity would be totally black against the grey of the tooth-substance. However - you will not see this in this picture because the patient did not have caries! Nowadays, most x-ray pictures are digital, leading to both less exposure for patient and personnel, and less chemicals to the environment. A win-win situation.

For more about ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place. It is well worth the effort.

A quiet week-end out of town

A quiet week-end away from "the daily hazzle" can be worth its weight in gold. Getting out of town for a couple of days is pure heaven. In addition, one can poke around with the camera and see what can be found.
For example, one can find a red rosebud,
or a white rose.
An inspection of the blackcurrant bushes reveals that things are going well,
but the last finding was the most important - wild strawberries!
PS For those of you who use the new interface that Blogger-in-draft started yesterday: Beware of disappearing pictures and other phenomena!

Reduced circumstances

It is not only humans that sometimes have to except reduced circumstances. I found this "has-been" bike chained to a bicycle rack at Bergen Bus Terminal yesterday evening.

I suppose the owner had taken the bus home.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reminder: Next "Bridge-Picture"

Just a small reminder that the next Monday for "Bridges Between" is July 7th. The rules are here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's raining men (and women) in Sky Watch

Voss is a small town about a two-hour drive from where we live. It has been best known for winter sports, but during recent years it has also established itself as a centre for so called extreme sports. At the moment there is a festival called Ekstremsportsveko (The Extreme Sport Week) where anyone with a suicide complex can take part in a number of death-defying activities. A quote from their homepage should give an indication:

Ekstremsportveko is build upon the four elements; water, air, earth and fire. Kayaking, rafting, kiting, big air and freeride represent water. BASE, skydiving, paragliding and hanggliding represent air. Longboarding, climbing, MTB/BMX and multisport are based on the earth element, whereas the festival program is rooted in fire.
Now, I have no wish to leave this life before I have to, but I'll admit to my share of curiosity. Since yesterday promised to be a lovely they for this kind of thing, my youngest daughter and I grabbed a camera and drove off to see what we could find. What we found can be seen above. A number of paragliders were falling out of the sky. Someone said that there were about a hundred, but since many of them flew several times and a lot of others left for places further off, it was impossible to say.

I tried to concentrate on just one of them and follow him down:

Here he is getting a bit closer

And then he meets one of his colleagues - first on one side,

then on the other.

Finally - down on the ground.

Maybe you would also like a peep at the the kind of view they had and a look at Voss at the same time?

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

W is for warm, wet, wonderful, wavy, water (in ABC W)!!

As everyone knows, life as we know it would be impossible on this planet without good old H2O - better known as water. I come from an area where we usually have more than enough of this stuff, usually coming in a vertical stream from up top. Maybe that is why we travelled five hours in a plane to the island of Crete last year just so that my son could enjoy the horizontal water and the sun from up top?

PS For more about ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place. It is well worth the effort.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Testing, testing...

When one wants to test a new camera one of course wants to have perfect conditions - or does one? Maybe it is best to make it a bit difficult: no sun, grey sky, a threat of rain etc. In that case I was lucky with my excursions.

The first example is of a kind well known to those who have passed by my blog a few times - a cruise-ship shot from my terrace. In this case it was the "Costa Atlantica", a regular visitor to Bergen. An easy one.

The next one is taken a bit higher up and facing southwards. The ship is "Scandinavian Queen" - the ferry between Bergen and Newcastle in the UK. For the specially interested, Bergen Airport Flesland can be seen slightly left of centre. Not too hard that one either.

Now it gets worse. Small white flowers in the shadows beneath a bush. I couldn't have managed this one quite as well with the "old" one.

Then on to more flowers. These were tiny and had a guest. I have never been good at this kind of photography, but it is one of the better ones I have managed.

So - keep on trying!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An upgraded body

Luckily it wasn't me this time, but my camera. In the 70s I bought my first SLR. As any SLR user know - there is nothing to compare to that kind of camera, so when the digital SLRs became affordable for a simple amateur, I bought one in 2004. It was a Canon 300D SLR. It has given good service and will continue to do so in its new existence as my son's camera.It has been added to and upgraded in various ways: New and supplementary lenses, new flash, extra batteries, memory cards etc. And I like to think that I have learned a thing or two about photography.

But the time has moved on. It was now time to think of an upgrade to the body itself. The Canon series comparable to the 300D (350D, 400D, 450D) are good cameras, but I felt more like it would be like exchanging my car for the latest model of the same car. I wanted to step up a level at the same time. So I landed on a Canon 40D camera body. I get to keep all my other goodies, and at the same time step up.

The Canon 40D Is not a small and light camera - indeed, it is fairly heavy since it is made of a magnesium alloy and not plastic. It is also large compared to the 450D and others of the same kind. More in line with the "old time" SLRs. But this makes it sturdy and at the same time packed with features - so packed that I will need quite some time to master them.

I have not done this with the expectation that my pictures will immediately grow into something that will have gallery owners running to my door - on the contrary, you may well see a period of insecurity while I try to master all the new stuff. However, I hope its more modern features, upgraded electronics and increased sturdiness will make life easier for me and thus easier to take good photos.

In the meantime, here are two pictures taken just outside the door:

Our pines are growing

I have a feeling that there is more rust to be fought...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A flying Norwegian in Sky Watch

You may have heard of the Flying Dutchman. This is the flying Norwegian...

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

The rain is back

Today both the flowers and I discovered that the rain has returned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

V is for Voice in ABC Wednesday

Or rather - the recording of Voices. Thomas Alva Edison is usually regarded as the inventor of this principle, but as a matter of fact several other people had preceded him or were presenting similar devices at approximately the same time.

According to Wikipedia, Edison's Phonograph worked according to the following principle:

Thomas Alva Edison conceived the principle of recording and reproducing sound between May and July 1877 as a byproduct of his efforts to "play back" recorded telegraph messages and to automate speech sounds for transmission by telephone.[4] He announced his invention of the first phonograph, a device for recording and replaying sound, on November 21, 1877, and he demonstrated the device for the first time on November 29 (it was patented on February 19, 1878 as US Patent 200,521). Edison's early phonographs recorded onto a tinfoil sheet phonograph cylinder using an up-down ("hill-and-dale") motion of the stylus.[5] The tinfoil sheet was wrapped around a grooved cylinder, and the sound was recorded as indentations into the foil. Edison's early patents show that he also considered the idea that sound could be recorded as a spiral onto a disc, but Edison concentrated his efforts on cylinders, since the groove on the outside of a rotating cylinder provides a constant velocity to the stylus in the groove, which Edison considered more "scientifically correct"
The Phonograph shown here is an original Edison phonograph (slightly restored) belonging to the boy-friend of one of my daughters.

This machine was built in 1904, but the cylinders are not of wax, but made of bakelite. However, I can vouch for the sound - a bit tinny but definitely a song.

PS For more about ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place. It is well worth the effort.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Monday stroll

I must say that I felt a bit stiff after yesterday's excursion, so today I decided that I had to keep myself within normal limits. However, since the weather was nice I grabbed by "best" camera and went along. I have found that its a sad day when I can't find something worth-while to snap. In this case it was a rusty and dis-used mooring for coastal vessels that I have passed a lot of times without ever having taken a closer look.

Today I did.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Sunday stroll

According to my doctors I have to do the best I can to stay in shape. My way of doing this is to take a (more or less) daily stroll of, say, four to seven kilometres. However, I have a feeling that the clothes in my wardroom have shrunk a bit lately, so this Sunday I decided to do a bit more and have longer stroll in a popular recreational area in Bergen. Care to join me?

We start at Svartediket. This lake was formerly the most important water supply for Bergen, but some years ago it was supplemented with several larger lakes further from the city centre. The whole supply system has been in process of change for a long time - a process that is till not finished.

We have had a dry spell for a while, but although we had some rain last week, the lake is far from full.

There are no ordinary dwellings in this area, but half-way upwards towards the next lake we meet some of the local inhabitants - complete with their own stone cottage.

The next lake is called Tarlebøvannet and the water from here is usually led to the higher areas in Bergen. At the moment it is undergoing major repair works.

As we leave the forested areas behind us, the path with its stone setting becomes more pronounced. In a climate as wet as ours, this is a necessity.

We are now approaching the mountain Rundemanen from the east - we have been walking more or less around this top and several others. From up here we have a view to the north - including the North Sea.

At the top (568 meters above the sea level) there is a communication tower, an old cairn (varde) and remnants from WW2. There are many of the last sort on all the mountains surrounding Bergen.

We can have lots of clouds and fog, but as we can see - the paths are clearly signposted.

After crossing the plateau at the top, we encounter what I think is a fairly nice view. The photo shows the approach to Bergen and I can see home (on the other side of the bridge, Askøybroen, - very visible on many of my photos). Again we see the North Sea in the distance. Next stop to the west is Shetland in the UK.

That just leaves walking down - by another route.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No clouds in the Sky (Watch)...

...only a lilac.

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

From The Bergen International Wood Festival

Some of you have wondered where I got the the material for a couple of posts (1, 2) I have made lately. They were from an exhibition/competition called Bergen International Wood Festival held in Bergen at the end of May this year. Unfortunately it was June before I got there, but the structures were still standing. This is only a small part of it. I ought to have used all the 4 GB of my CF-card there...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

U is for Ulriken in ABC Wednesday

Ulriken I can hear you say? What is that?
Ulriken is the highest of the mountains surrounding the central part of Bergen. According to the official maps it is 643 meters above the sea level, although you may see different figures elsewhere.

The name comes from the old Norse name Aalreken (meaning "The towering one" - Den ruvende). At the foot of the mountain there was in the Viking and Middle ages an estate belonging to the king, called Alrekstadir or later Aalrekstad. These names are preserved in present local names such as Aarstad, Arstadvollen and Alrek.

The mountain may look fairly steep, but it is not especially difficult to climb. Even I have done that - several times! There are several signposted tracks, some more taxing than the others. If you want a longer hike, you can continue further on where there is a plateau called "Vidden".

Nearly at the highest point there is a a large TV tower and a small cafe. You can see some of the view down below. A local newspaper has erected a web-camera here, so that you can have a look at it yourself (the view today probably won't match "mine" since the rain returned yesterday after an absence of more than a month).

There is usually also an easier way to get up to the top. There is a Cable Car (or aerial tramway) called Ulriksbanen that bring you up in a matter of minutes. At the moment it is closed due to several reasons, but will open again next year. If you care to know how such a trip is (or was in 1996), watch the video below. It is a digitalized version of a video taken from the bottom to the top. In my humble opinion well worth both watching and hearing...

PS For more about ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place. It is well worth the effort.