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Back in 2009 I shot the picture above from a plane flight on approach to SFO. On Flickr (at that link) the photo has had 16,524 views and has been faved 420 times as of now. Here’s the caption:

These are salt evaporation ponds on the shores of San Francisco Bay, filled with slowly evaporating salt water impounded within levees in former tidelands. There are many of these ponds surrounding the South Bay.

A series microscopic life forms of different kinds and colors predominate to in series as the water evaporates. First comes green algae. Next brine shrimp predominate, turning the pond orange. Next, dunaliella salina, a micro-algae containing high amounts of beta-carotene (itself with high commercial value), predominates, turning the water red. Other organisms can also change the hue of each pond. The full range of colors include red, green, orange and yellow, brown and blue. Finally, when the water is evaporated, the white of salt alone remains. This is harvested with machines, and the process repeats.

Given the popularity of that photo and others I’ve shot like it (see here and here), I’ve wanted to make a large print of it to mount and hang somewhere. But there’s a problem: the photo was shot with a 2005-vintage Canon 30D, an 8.2 megapixel SLR with an APS-C (less than full frame) sensor, and an aftermarket zoom lens. It’s also a JPEG shot, which means it shows compression artifacts when you look closely or enlarge it a lot. To illustrate the problem, here’s a close-up of one section of the photo:

See how grainy and full of artifacts that is? Also not especially sharp. So that was an enlargement deal breaker.

Until today, that is, when my friend Marian Crostic, a fine art photographer who often prints large pieces, told me about Topaz LabsGigapixel AI. I’ve tried image enhancing software before with mixed results, but on Marian’s word and an $80 price, I decided to give this one a whack. Here’s the result:

Color me impressed enough to think it’s worth sharing.



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Hey, this is cool: CoolLAj Magazine includes this shot in La La Land at It’s Best: Photos of LA:

It was near the end of a series of flights from Copenhagen to Santa Barbara, and easily the best of the bunch.

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I want to fly in one of these — an Airbus 380. From the looks of the interior shots here, it’s an upscale airport lounge that flies. But that’s not what interests me. What I like are the positions of the lower deck windows, which line up below the equator of the fuselage. For passengers like me, who like to look at the ground below, that provides a better angle.

Many of the shots here and here were made out the windows on either side of the rear galleys of a United B777, next to the space where people wait to use the toilets. These windows are lower than the ones by seats, and taller. That makes them ideal for shooting pictures. They are also why I would rather have a seat in the back of coach than in the “premium” coach seating on that plane, all of which is over the wings. Or even in business or first class. Flying for me is about flying. That requires a view. Not nice food and television at altitude.

On the A380, as on all jumbo jets, the wings are huge. Also, the whole top deck (the plane has two floors) has windows that angle skyward. So the percentage of windows that look down is not large. But I’d love to try it out.

Right now only Emirates is flying the A380 as a commercial plane. (<strike>There are cargo versions already in service.</strike>) So I’ll need to find an excuse to fly to one of that airline’s destinations. On the right plane. Might not be easy. (See comments for corrections.)

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Flying from Boston to Minneapolis by way of Chicago today. The second leg is through the middle of this:

Shouldn’t be much to see out the window.

But I’m looking forward to talking tomorrow morning at MinneWebCon. The title is The Intention Economy: What Happens When Customers Get Real Power. I gave a shorter talk by the same title to a small group at the Berkman Center a couple weeks back. The video and audio are here. This one will be for Web development folks rather than the somewhat academic folks that come to Berkman lunches. Should be fun.

I also expect to be hanging Monday night with other folks interested in seeing Carolina beat Michigan State in the NCAA championship game. 🙂

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So I shot a bunch of pictures of Niagara Falls from 35,000 above, on a trip last week from San Francisco to Boston. Click on the pic for the whole set.

Interesting to think that the falls are only about ten thousand years old. A blink in geologic time.

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Sitting by Gate 88 at SFO, waiting to board United’s next Boston flight. I just took my chances and ordered a short dry decaf cappuccino. I figured I had a good chance of getting what I wanted because the coffee shop at the gate is Peets, of which I am quite fond because more often than not they make them right.

Not this time. Even with careful instruction (“just some foam and a tiny bit of milk on the espresso”), I got what remains the default for coffee shops everywhere, and which I’ve complained about before.

It’s cool. I just met Tony Mamone, founder of Zimbio, who introduced himself after he heard my name called for an upgrade. Fun coincidence.

So now I’m sitting in seat 1a: a biz class window on the shady side of the plane with no obstructions. The window could be cleaner, but it’s not too bad. The shooting should be good.

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I may be wrong, but I’ll betting that Esther Dyson is already the most frequent flyer on Earth.

Now she’s looking to fly at higher altitudes.

Here’s the latest on her Edventure site:

UPDATE: I’m currently living in Star City outside Moscow, training to be a cosmonaut as backup to Charles Simonyi. His flight launches March 25. For details of my EDventures, see the LINKS for Hpost and FS blog. (I’m cross-posting.)

And here is her latest at the Flight School blog. Plus an earlier post about committed to blogging as well. Among other things. Read around. Many links to follow.

Hat tip to Chris Locke.

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The more I fly, the more useful, or at least interesting, the NOAA‘s service becomes. At any given moment it has dozens of different reports on weather at altitude, across North America. The one above is among the many that show potential or reported turbulence.

I also just discovered, with the TurbulenceForecast Blog. There’s a lot of overlap with, since it uses a lot of maps and data from there.

Here’s the FAA’s page on flight delays. Plus FlightAware, the best of a bad bunch — too much flash and other stuff that doesn’t work on too many browsers, especially ones in handhelds. Speaking of which, I’ve lately been appreciating FlightTrack. The list could go on, but I need to move on. See ya in Boston. (At IAD now. The last two paragraphs were written at SFO, where connectivity was minimal.)

Oh, click on the map above and check out the current maximum turbulence potential between here (Washington) and Boston. So far there’s just one pilot report, of moderate turbulence, over Connecticut.

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So I’m here in the Bolt Bus from Boston to New York. There’s wi-fi on board, and power outlets in the backs of most seats. But the wi-fi is slow, so I’m on a Sprint EvDO card. Getting about 1Mb down and .6Mb up. Not bad.

Anyway, I’ve recently uploaded a pile of photo sets to Flickr, where my inventory of photos is now approaching 26,000. Here is a list of just a few sets, mostly shot from airplanes and other moving vehicles:

Wow. It’s snowing now. Hard. We’re still in Connecticut, approaching the Westchester border. The map is quite colorful:

Hm. Not taking. Guess I need a separate post for it.

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