Sunday, August 3, 2014

Whiskey Bravo Six Oscar Echo November ~ in a sea of bicycles on a gorgeous landscape

Yesterday was the annual Marin Century event sponsored by Marin Cyclists. This is the eighth year I've been involved as a volunteer on the motorcycle to ride around the course and offer support.  There are six bicycle rides offered ranging from 30 miles to 200 miles and around 3,000 bicycles are involved. The routes go through the various parts of beautiful Marin County. This year was personally notable though ~ after years of being told by others "just get your amateur radio license as you'll be able to help more", I finally did. Back in the eighties and nineties, I occasionally experienced my stepfather Ken sitting for hours in his ham radio room and talking with people on the "other side of the world", I'd hear him sign off with "WB6OEN" as his call sign and then he'd repeat it sometimes in the military or NATO phonetic alphabet "whiskey bravo six oscar echo november". I was always interested and asked many questions at the time. When I passed the exam two months ago, I immediately applied for his call sign and the FCC moved with lightening speed to transfer it to me. Having the portable ham radio on the ride yesterday made all the difference and I was able to hear who needed help in which area and what was going on. I wore an earpiece in my helmet during the whole 200 mile shift and the many volunteers with various amateur radio clubs in the Bay Area really work efficienty to "run" the operations of the ride.

Below is a video I pieced together while on the ride, camera mounted to my handlebars, and here is a link to the few photos I took.

Marin Century 2014 from Anna MacKinnon on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

time honored tradition ~ steel shoes and patient horses

For all the modern developments over the years through the centuries, it's nice to be part of something that is largely unchanged over time. The need for steel horse shoes to be shaped and applied to horses hooves about every eight weeks is something most people don't know about if they don't have horses in their lives. Here's a brief look at the process of putting 16 horse shoes on yesterday at the barn by Chris Minick of Farrier Art ~ some of the most difficult work out there and interesting to watch.

Steel shoes and patient horses ~ hard work rooted in tradition from Anna MacKinnon on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A new look at fireworks

Just when you think you've seen fireworks a million times, this unique view filmed during a Palm Beach fireworks show demonstrates what cameras and drones can do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Transcendent just to watch this ~

So many beautiful things in life to experience but Simon Christen has managed repeatedly to visually capture nature so that the beauty is distilled down to the essence and then set it to music. The effect is transcendent ~I could watch this endlessly:

A Time Lapse Collection from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

Friday, April 18, 2014

High Reach Demolition ~ hungry dinosaurs

The last few weeks have been very interesting if one happens to go by Geary and VanNess Streets in San Francisco. It's literally a jaw-dropping high-reach demolition that is quickly drawing to a close as they get ready to build a new hospital in June. I got a first hand account and tour by Bob Bailey (structural engineer on the project) on March 31. I've never been that close to such equipment and the cacophony as the hydraulic scrap cutting shears on the end of the giant robotic arm kept munching away at the thick rebar and concrete building like a hungry dinosaur. The overall sensory experience was riveting to say the least.

To read more about the plans, click here


Bob Bailey, structural engineer on the demo site

Bob Bailey's iPhone video from today as a large part of the roof came down on the last tower

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Just pull back on the throttle and eventually you're there

Yesterday arrived home after 1,600 miles round trip to Las Vegas on motorcycles to spend Christmas. The weather gods cooperated and although a few days of 41 degree riding in the morning kept it "fresh" ~ the sun was a friend for the entire nine days.

A full compilation of photos are posted here and these are the edited ones down from over 300.

Eventually I'd like to work up to the "trip of a lifetime", this guy Alex Chacon is pure inspiration with a 500 day motorcycle trip from Alaska to Argentina, his video here.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Crab instead of Turkey for Thanksgiving ~ why not?

Turkeys were spared today as some crab harvesting was in order near Potato Patch Shoal just outside of the Golden Gate.  The swells were remarkable in size and thus only one pot was retrievable. Watching the waves crash not far away on the shallow part of the shoal was a show in itself. A couple of the ten guests had to go "face down" on couches to "listen for crabs" (aka feeling queasy) but alas, eight of the crustaceans were gathered and cooked on the dock. What an exciting and novel adventure and then we found out later the Coast Guard had declared the area off limits to boats due to swell size, phew.

waves breaking nearby on the shallow part of the shoal

the bridge with shadow heading out to the fishing site

me pretty delighted with the size of these crabs

cooking the crabs on the dock

Saturday, November 9, 2013

nature going digital thanks to google

I've seen a lot of unusual things but today was another "new" one that made me smile and wonder.  Out on the weekly horse patrol with Christopher, a young lady was coming toward us in the parking lot wearing this contraption seen below. Somehow I instinctively knew it was a "google camera" and indeed it was. She explained that she works for the Parks Conservancy and clearly some of their people strap these on to go hiking and "map" the trails in the National Parks. Who knew? The future is here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sisyphean Chalk Guy in San Francisco

Andrew and I were headed out to pick up our lunch on Kearny St. an hour ago when we both looked down at a mysterious 2 foot swath of continuous white stuff on the sidewalk. We knew it wasn't paint but it certainly was drawing our attention. On the way back to the office, we were curious and excited to look off toward Sacramento St. and see the person with the giant white "cube" on the corner. We went up to investigate and ask questions. A myriad of bystanders were observing and remarking as well. Turns out the man is named Nathaniel Price, an artist doing a series called Drawn by pulling a 160 pound chunk of white chalk on a rope through the streets of San Francisco, trying to end up at the Golden Gate Bridge. It's not the first time he's done this, as seen on his website. The project elicits quite a few responses and it's part of the plan and what started out in my mind as resistance "who the heck left this crap on Kearny St?" ended up as delight. One lady in Chinatown yellowed out to Nathaniel "you need a car" and all I could think of was how it appeared to by a Sisyphean task.

Nathaniel doesn't pose for photos but he'll answer questions

Nathaniel explaining his project

Andrew took a photo of the chalk

Andrew and I were honored to be trusted as "chalk tenders" while Nathaniel grabbed his lunch nearby

crossing Sacramento at Kearny, the chalk mark