Visiting the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

While I was in Santa Fe in July, I took the opportunity on my way back to Albuquerque to catch my flight to stop by the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History again. This was my second visit – having initially made a quick visit to the museum in July 2018.

Roughly speaking, the museum is divided into three sections – two indoor (nuclear weapons and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy) and the aircraft and missile display area outside. The weapons section is the first part you walk through at the beginning of touring the museum. It describes the history of the development of nuclear weapons – including the race America was against countries like Germany and Japan to develop this technology. It also includes discussion of the famous letter from Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt that led to the creation of the US national effort that became the Manhattan Project.

There’s an interesting exhibit that creatively recreates the scene at the Los Alamos Laboratory as this work was underway. I was particularly struck by the several old mechanical desktop calculators in the display – as the math involved in designing these weapons wasn’t perfected using computers but, rather, slide rules and these old calculators.

The rest of the weapons section includes examples a many nuclear weapons – including facsimiles of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan that led to the end of World War II with that country. As you walk through this display of weapons, it’s striking how they start out being relatively large but then shrink down in size to much smaller dimensions.

Outdoors in the aircraft and missile display area are examples of the Boeing B-29 used over Japan along with a beautifully preserved Boeing B-52 and also a Boeing B-47. There are a number of smaller aircraft as well – along with a replica to the tower used at the Trinity test site in New Mexico where the first test of an atomic weapon was conducted.

I’ve visited this museum twice and learned new things each time. On my recent visit, they were showing a film about the B-52 bomber which was quite interesting. I didn’t know that back in the 1950’s General Curtis LeMay (heading up the Strategic Air Command) had B-52’s in the air constantly that were armed with nuclear weapons and flew toward the Soviet Union only to then turn back and return. Only after a couple of nasty accidents involving aircraft crashes with nuclear weapons on-board did this practice moderate.

The other thing I learned about Albuquerque is what a nuclear city it is. Just a few miles from the museum site is one of the largest storage sites for nuclear weapons in the world – something called the Kirtland Underground Munitions Maintenance and Storage Complex (KUMMSC) where the US stores nuclear weapons – most waiting to be removed from service and disassembled.

Reading Om

From Om Malik:

…my blog is about technology, a little about life, some photography, some analysis, and some personal interests, which range from fashion to baseball to travel and food.

His recent post about the camera business was particularly interesting. It’s an industry undergoing fundamental shifts – as cameras have become universal, in each of our pockets included with our cell phones.

He quoted Scott McNealy:

A long time ago, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy quipped, “Technology has the shelf life of a banana. By the time you buy it, implement it and train people on it, it’s obsolete.” He was talking about servers, but I can’t help but think that his words are just as true for cameras.

Om recently shared some beautiful photos of Catalina Island made with his iPhone 11 Pro. Like me, he’s enjoying the camera system in this latest iPhone Pro!

Local Treasures: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (San Mateo County)

When I’m looking for an hour of peace and quiet one of my favorite places to visit is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve along the shoreline of the Paciifc Ocean north of Half Moon Bay.

This morning I took a walk through my favorite part of the Reserve – a grove of old trees along a pathway that leads from Moss Beach to the ocean. I took a few photos along the way with my iPhone 11 Pro Max. I’m loving the three lens/camera system in this new phone!

Walking Loop at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

The entrance to a section of the California Coastal Trail is off Cypress Avenue. Just a short walk leads to this:

A few steps to the left through the tree line leads to this view:

Walking up the trail it’s worth taking a look back at that same fallen tree!

Here’s another from further along on the path:

I then headed over to the coastline trail where the ocean was alive with the waves from the storm.

And my final view before heading back up Cypress Street to my car:

A lovely hour or so away from it all! I encountered one other human along the trail. Otherwise it was a delightful morning stroll in one of my favorite spots along the Pacific coastline!

Scott's Kitchen is Back!

For many years I kept a personal web site at ScottsKitchen.com for various recipes I made – and other cooking related stuff. Over the last several years it has fallen into disrepair as I neglected it in favor of other things in my life.

During the last few days I’ve breathed new life back into it – moving it to a new home on WordPress, selecting a new theme design to make it look better, and updating many of the original recipes with various tweaks. I also created a new “SK” favicon for the site that will show up to identify the site in browser tabs.

I’m looking forward to getting back into sharing more of my learnings about all things cooking related on Scott’sKitchen.com – and I welcome new ideas about how to make it better!

Be sure to checkout the all-time most viewed recipe from Scott’s Kitchen (it’s from 2005!): Scott’s ‘Lazy-S’ Easy Oven-Roasted Tri-Tips

Nighttime Photography with the iPhone 11 Pro Max

A few months back I upgraded to the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max primarily for its new camera system. The new system includes three separate cameras and lenses which provide three different focal lengths. Apple calls them wide, ultra wide and telephoto.

Note: It’s ironic with today’s technology that this small handheld device includes three whole cameras and lenses unlike a more traditional camera where a camera body can accommodate different lenses. With the iPhone you get three whole cameras with their lenses.

Last night we attended a holiday event at Filoli in Woodside which began at 4 PM and continued into the evening. Filoli is all decked out in holiday lights and trimming this time of year and, for us, this was the first time we’ve seen it in all its splendor in the evening.

After darkness fell, I had the opportunity to try out night mode on the iPhone 11 Pro with excellent results. When the camera needs to use night mode it switches automatically into that mode and displays a small counter on the screen which tells how long you should try to hold the camera steady which it takes and combines multiple shots behind the scenes into the final image. It’s pretty amazing how well it works and, in typical Apple fashion, how easy it is to make great nighttime images.

Here’s an example taken of the main house at Filoli:

Main House at Filoli – Woodside, California

Here are a couple of other examples straight out of the camera that were taken earlier in the evening before the camera needed to switch into night mode/

Lawn and Swimming Pool – Filoli – Woodside, California
Main House – Filoli – Woodside, California
Gardens – Filoli – Woodside, California

Exploring the SFO Museum

Passenger at BART Station at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

I recently took a couple of hours to explore the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport. SFO is unique in having such a great team at the museum who curates a number of great exhibitions on a rotating basis throughout the airport terminals.

I took the “easy way” to the airport – taking advantage of free BART parking at the Millbrae station on weekends and hopping a quick train just one stop north at SFO. The BART terminal at SFO opens into the departure lobby of the International terminal – it’s just steps away of the United check-in areas. The SFO Museum is down at the other end of the International terminal – making for a nice leisurely walk to get to the museum itself. But along the way there were exhibits to explore – which included the beautiful Zuber French wallpaper exhibits.

El Dorado

Also along the way is this wall of tiles in a lounge area on the east side of the terminal:

Hindustan

And just outside the Museum entrance is this classic Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial engine – just like the one that powered Charles Lindberg on his record setting flight across the Atlantic in 1927.

This was a delightful way to spend a couple of hours – without being hassled about trying to catch a flight!

How to make Snapshots that sell!

How to Make Snapshots That Sell

Today Doug Kaye and I walked to SFMOMA and took in the exhibition Don’t! Photography and the Art of Mistakes.

Near the start of the exhibition are several books displayed in plastic cases on the wall – including this one. The books all harken back to earlier days in photography when writing about mostly bad but also some good photography techniques were explained. The title of this one caught my eye – a very “click bait” title indeed!

The exhibition is fun to see. It’s organized into sections “by mistake” so that all examples of, for example, out of focus images are in one section. All of the images are interesting but it’s especially fun to see examples from many “famous” photographers including Ansel Adams, Man Ray, Cartier-Breslin, etc.

Along the way are quotes including this lament by Edward Steichen:

And words of wisdom from Alfred Stieglitz – Twelve Random Don’ts – I especially like “the world in its entirety is not a camera club.”

Ansel Adams and Edward Weston at the Cantor

Weston by Ansel Adams -— Adams by Edward Weston

Currently there’s an exhibition of over thirty prints by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford. Yesterday I stopped in for a docent tour of the show and enjoyed seeing their prints with Carol’s accompanying commentary.

She started with the two images above. On the left is Edward Weston taken by Ansel Adams. On the right is Ansel Adams taken by Edward Weston. In the exhibition the Weston prints are smaller – 8×10 contact prints in white frames and unsigned on the front while the Adams prints are signed and framed in black. A nice contrast.

The current exhibition draws from the Capital Group Foundation’s gift of 1,000 photographs to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University that includes works by American photographic masters Ansel Adams, Edward Curtis, John Gutmann, Helen Levitt, Wright Morris, Gordon Parks, and Edward Weston.

Better than French Fries!

During a recent visit to Normandy, we had lunch in the fishing village of Port-en-Bessin-Huppain at Le 47ème Brasserie. I should have ordered some seafood – the fresh fish market in town is right across the street – but, instead felt like a burger. When it arrived, I was surprised – no bun but, instead, top and bottom layers of hash brown-like potatoes. Not something you could pickup and eat like a normal burger – but it was very delicious nonetheless!

Nearby, just across the bridge, is a beach of sea shells unlike any I’ve ever seen (see below). After lunch, I walked about and did some exploring there.

Paris Streets

During a brief layover in Paris recently I hit the streets with my iPhone and a Sony RX100M6 to see what I might see. Here are a few from a couple of hours on the street.

Capturing the Pantheon
Glance
I See
Two Pairs
The Couple
Intense Conversation
Rider
Making a Selfie