Golden Sea

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It may take close examination to identify the subjects in this photo. While not as dramatic as many of the landscapes I shot while in The Rockies, it is sublime and a personal favorite from my all too brief photography adventure in Colorado. It is amazing how much transpired while I was out of the office for two days and it took a very long day to catch up.

Birthday Present

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I cannot conceive of a better way to celebrate my birthday than spending it in a place of extraordinary natural beauty. The only improvement would have been to enjoy it with the entire family.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP

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Another early start to the day afforded me an opportunity to photograph the super moon moonset. Not quite as dramatic as the lunar eclipse but still a beautiful thing to watch.

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I spent the morning touring the Dallas Divide area, a section of the San Juan Mountains that are known for their fall splendor before heading to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The Black Canyon is so named due its steepness which makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate into its depths. As a result, the canyon is often shrouded in shadow, causing the rocky walls to appear black. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40 ft wide at the river. I timed my visit to the south rim to coincide with a 30 minute window during which the river was partially lit.

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Great Sand Dunes NP

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I was up early this morning and watched as the sun rose over the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The dunes are magnificent both in form and scale. I could have spent the entire day exploring the park and climbing the dunes but I had a great deal of ground to cover to stay on a very ambitious schedule.

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Lake City was my next destination where I took the famous Alpine Loop scenic byway destined for Ouray. The three hours it took to reach Lake City passed quickly even though I stopped often to photograph the insanely beautiful fall foliage.

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My traverse of the Alpine Loop took me over both Cinnamon Pass and California Pass. The “road” is for 4×4 vehicles only. My rented Toyota 4Runner was sure footed giving me great confidence as I ascended into the mountains even though many sections were very narrow with exposed drop offs (not something for the timid or those with a fear of heights, like me). The scenery and views, however, made it all worthwhile.

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The descent was an entirely different story. I made the mistake of entering the Poughkeepsie Gulch despite posted warnings stating the “road” was only for experts driving 4x4s equipped with winches and lockers. When it became clear how technically challenging the path would be, it seemed safer to continue descending rather than to climb back out. I never felt that I was in personal danger but it is nothing short of a miracle that I made it down without seriously damaging my rental or getting stranded. I had to stop twice for a half hour each time to reconstruct the road with large stones so I could pass safely. I do not exaggerate when I say I could have walked faster than I drove down this gulch. A visit to YouTube and a search for the Poughkeepsie Gulch will tell the story better than I can.

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I was tempted to spend the evening in beautiful Ouray but decided to push on to Ridgeway where I felt it would be easier to photograph the super blood moon eclipse. Had I know about this event before leaving home I would have brought a different lens. I did the best I could with the 300mm lens I had at hand.

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CC Family Weekend

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I was up with the sun to enjoy the The Garden of the Gods before meeting Nico and his roommates family for breakfast at 10am. An early start for Nico translates to middle of the day for me.

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Although Colorado College had countless on campus events organized for Family Weekend, I was more interested in spending time with Nico. We decided to drive to the top of Pike’s Peak. Nico is planning to hike it next weekend so this was a great opportunity to get a lay of the land and assess the magnitude¬†of the effort.

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On the way back to Colorado Springs we stopped at the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings for a tour of the restored site and museum before we were treated to a wonderful Vietnamese dinner by Nico’s roommate Thomas, and his family.

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Studio Work

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I am often called upon at work to photograph various items for inclusion on our website. Today’s request was for images that will find their way to our technical support pages and I decided to shoot them in the evening so that I could take advantage of my home studio lighting setup. Pictured above is a close up of the nozzles we use to print Nylon and fiber from. Below are two examples that will be used to illustrate issues with printing.

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Crisp Air

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As fall approaches and the morning air turns cool our fields are often bathed in a blanket of mist. I love this time of year and am looking forward to the autumn foliage as I remember my father who was born on this day in 1924.

iRobot Reunion

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Since leaving iRobot a lot has changed. My former boss and three of my five direct reports have left the company. Doug is moving to Ohio to head up R&D at the Transportation Research Center, an automotive test track facility. Lynne (could not join us this evening) has joined venerable Mercury Computers to lead their engineering team. Marlene now runs program management at Levant Power, an active suspension startup in Woburn. Rob and Hiten continue to excel at iRobot and have just released the company’s first self navigating Roomba, a project we all worked on for years. Our dinner reunion this evening was to wish Doug farewell and catch up on the latest happenings. It was a lot of fun and something I hope we can repeat in the future.

Tripod Printing

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Followers of this blog are well aware of my penchant for tripods. I currently own six and, hand to Bible, I use them all. To them, it will come as no surprise that my recent love affair with 3D printing has now turned to that object. I spent a good portion of the weekend designing two models, a super light weight baby (perfect for desktop macro photography) which stands a foot tall and a collapsible big brother which is twice that. When I got to work this morning, I launched a single print containing all four parts (3 legs and an apex). When it was time to head home my tripod was done. All that remained to be done was attach the legs with standard hardware and affix a suitable size ball head. Despite their diminutive appearance, the legs turned out to be incredibly strong as did the apex. The feature which establishes the leg angle is not quite as stiff as I would like so it is back to OnShape for some refinement of the CAD model. The real beauty of 3D printing is that you can rapidly iterate on a design concept as often as needed to achieve your vision.

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Tripod Printing Layout

Ride For Food

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Jeanine participated in the Three Squares Ride For Food this morning. She raised ~$3500 as she completed the 25 mile course that started and ended at the Nobles campus in Dedham. Committed to eliminating food insecurity in New England, a more worthy cause you will not find. Jeanine, never one to miss a marketing opportunity, can be seen here with her fellow riders wearing their custom food helmets.

My soccer team lost our first match in some time by a score of 1-0 to a strong Midfield team. It was a close match but the better team won. We have our work cut out for us if we hope to repeat as Division 1 champions this year. I had two shots on net. Both were on frame but neither with enough power to be a real threat.

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Filter Case

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I only use two types of filters in my photography. Circular polarizers remove reflections, glare and enhance color saturation. Neutral density filters cut down the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor allowing for long exposure times which can be used to create motion blur (I use these a lot when shooting waterfalls). Good filters are not cheap and worth protecting when carrying in the field. Many cases exist but they are generically sized and tend to be bulky. I designed and printed this filter case for the ones I like to carry with me. It is lightweight, compact and more protective than most cases I have seen.

Back in Action

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Maya returned to action on the soccer pitch this afternoon. She has been nursing a sprained ankle for the last ten days and it finally felt strong enough to test in competition. Judging from her performance. I would say she has made a full recovery. Unfortunately, her team fell to Acton Boxborough by a score of 2-0.

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Floor After

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The crew refinishing our hardwood floors completed the job today. I am often dissatisfied with the work of contractors because they rarely do it as well as I can (simply because I care and I don’t rush). This project was an exception and we are very pleased with the results. Beyond opening the windows and running the AC there is little to be done about the unpleasant smell of the drying finish, however.

Bed Repair

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While moving Maya’s bed from her room so that the floors could be refinished, I discovered that the central “beam” structure which supports the mattress had developed an enormous crack and was drooping by several inches. It should be noted that such a failure would most likely be caused by a large child jumping on the bed (ah hem, no further comment). This evening I repaired the failed structure and added a pair of sistering beams which should more than triple the strength of the existing one. Pictured here is the glue up of the final assembly.

Sassy Lassy

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Maya composed this chic outfit and did not object when I insisted on taking a photograph. Her ankle is slowly healing but in true Calabria fashion she is pushing to get back on the soccer pitch prematurely. Being elected co-captain of her team has only added to the pressure to rejoin her teammates.

Floor Before

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After 12 years of heavy use we are having the oak hardwood floors on our second floor refinished. We are getting an early start on preparing the house for sale after Maya leaves for college. At that time we are looking forward to moving into a much smaller home and reducing our carbon footprint. Still too many variables to know when and where we will move but giving ourselves a couple of years to get ready will make the transition that much easier. Pictured here is Maya’s bedroom and a close examination will reveal the tired and worn flooring.