Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wizarding propaganda

Some time ago I painted a propaganda poster for the House Elf Liberation Front (HELF). Reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, I have always thought that house elves were a demographic ripe for revolutionary thought - all they needed was a charismatic leader, and the woe onto wizarding kind!

Now I have made another propaganda poster - the time is a few years after the (successful) house elf revolution. Witches and wizards chafe under the draconian rule of the house elves, and counter-revolutionary sentiments run high. Long-held pure-blood prejudices are thrown overboard as open warfare breaks out in Diagon Alley once more...

The drawing is 4B pencil on A4 printer paper, with colours and writing added in photoshop.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Golden 10 minutes

Photographers talk about the "golden hour", the first hour after dawn, and the last hour before sunset. In this light, nearly any subject will look good - and the closer to sunrise/sunset you are, the better:

Apartment blocks in Lausanne, 10 minutes before sunset. 

I took the photo with my Nexus S, and added some vignetting with the appropriately named app "Vignette".

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Filter removal

Shortly after Christmas I fell, while heroically chasing a suspected fox through the icy steppes of Kaltenleutgeben, Austria. Even though I tried to throw myself under my DSLR, the UV-filter I had put on my EFS 18-200 mm full-range-zoom broke:

But it did its job, i.e. protecting the lens. I subsequently removed the broken glass, but was unable to unscrew the filter ring afterwards. Applying pincers deformed the ring a little bit, so I stopped, leery of damaging my lens. The ring did not stop the lens from working, after all, except that I could not affix another filter.

Filter ring with pincer marks

Last week  I finally went to the local photography store, where a very helpful girl told me that they'd only send the lens to Canon, anyway. Since I have recently purchased a circular polarizing filter, I was determined to get the ring off soon, and on my own.

I needed to apply force to the ring without deforming it, so I took it to the drill press and drilled two 2 mm holes in it. Tense moments there, as a slip could mean scratching the lens.

Holes drilled, it was a simple thing to insert a screwdriver through them, twist, and voilà:

Filter ring with screwdriver inserted through hole.

Removed filter ring!

 Now I am off to take some polarising photos ;)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Beautiful Photovoltaics

Sunset over photovoltaics, in Lausanne, pont chauderon
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Installing a new car radio

I got fed up with the very bad error-handling of the CD player in my Mitsubishi Colt, and decided to invest in a modern car radio, capable of playing music from USB sticks. I bought a Pioneer DEH-2200UB, and proceeded to install it, which I made more complicated than I had assumed it would be.

While popping of the front panel and uninstalling the old radio was not very hard

the new radio and the old radio did have two totally different connectors. Of course. I could have gotten and adapter, probably, but I wanted to try out my new radio now, dammit. So I had a look at the pin-outs of the two radios, snipped off the wires and connected them individually.

Against all common sense, I did not make any mistakes, and the radio lit up the second I turned the key. Lit up in a good , glowing-led sense, not in the bad, smoke-producing sense.

Who would have thought that automotive electronics would prove so simple?
By the way, those micro-SD stub USB key thingies (in white in the photo below) are perfect for the USB aux port of your car radio, I bought two 4 gb ones for 12 CHF each, more than enough space for music, and they are so small I won't accidentally rip them out of the radio by brushing against them.

Now I wonder how difficult it would be to install a keyless entry-thing on my own?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aborted try for the Lac de Fully

The day after our trip to Derborance the girlfriend and I got more ambitious, and decided to try for the Lac Supérieur de Fully, or even the circumnavigation of le Châtelard. But on ascending to our chosen starting point,  L'Erié, we were foiled by the very forces of nature:

Snow-drifts at 1600 metres, blocking the road. We decided to enter the ravine you see in the photo above to the right, and make for Lui d'Août, with a thought of continuing around the mountain if feasible. Here is me trying to find our way on the map

Alas, it was not. I had packed all the right equipment, of course: Small gas cooker, blanket and food, as well as the right shoes

Ahem. After traversing several, extremely cold snow-fields we arrived at the refuge at Lui d'Août,  but I had forgotten the coffee, so my girlfriend succumbed to sleep

and my energy-levels were not much better. We sipped some hot milk (condensed milk with hot water, not too bad actually), and then turned back, following another path along the mountainside to L'Erié. You can see our path to the right of the photo below:

this path is part of the way around the Châtelard, and it provides extremely nice views - we'll definitely come back in a month or so.


Lousine - Lui d'Août - L'Erié at EveryTrail