Pete's Stuff

Adventures on Sand Creek

It was a busy weekend for me. On Saturday I ran the Tri-Loppet, but didn't do quite as well as I had hoped. This year they combined the solo and doubles divisions, so I had to compete against people who were paired up in 19-foot racing canoes with my 14-foot kayak. Since the paddle is about half the event, it makes a difference! Still, you can't complain too much because there's some inherent "unfairness" from the fact it's BYOB. I ended up coming in 37th in my division, but have to give some shouts out to Justin (who came in 4th), Erl (16th), and Kelly (4th in women's).

But the highlight of the weekend was our Sunday trip down Sand Creek in Jordan. This is a little-known creek rising in the farm country of southern Scott County. It flows north and west into and through the town of Jordan, and then crosses under Hwy 169 and continues to Louisville Swamp and shortly after to the Minnesota River across from Carver. But it has a reputation for good whitewater - and with the plentiful rain this summer, it delivered.

Some pretty tough strainers in this creek.


Meet Millie

This robin is about at home in an urban environment as a bird can be. A couple of weeks ago she built a nest in the crook of a drainpipe at my parents' house, and proceeded to lay her eggs.


But four days ago they hatched, and now there's three ugly floppy, voracious little babies.


A Walk in Linden Hills

Last week's visit with the Schultzes.

More photos below.


Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel. Or Something.

I was at Riverbend Nature Center today for the second MNOC event of the season. It's a great venue - it has a large, well appointed visitor center with a variety of inside displays, most oriented towards kids. Like many similar locations, there's a whole raft of bird feeders hanging just outside the window, and several chairs and set of binoculars just inside. So it wasn't hard to break out the latest camera gear, kick back with my feet up (well, that was partially to be able to steady the camera against my knee), and start taking pictures in ease and comfort.

A male cardinal.

More pictures behind the link...


Riverbend Nature Center

It's the location of our second winter meet of the year. Like our first one at Afton State Park, it was set as a 90-minute Score-O. Justin and Molly set 21 controls scattered around the nature center, in a bend of the Straight River (ha ha) on the southeast edge of Faribault.

Course description behind the jump, as usual.

February 13th, 2011 course at Riverbend Nature Center.


No Words Necessary


The Seattle Skyline

Here it is—a 180 degree view of the Seattle skyline from Gasworks Park on the north edge of Lake Union. Also available in convenient 15 Mpx, 100 Mpx, and 250 Mpx sizes.

Starting from the left edge and moving to the right, you can see part of the old gas works; Capitol Hill; downtown; the Space Needle; Queen Anne; and the Aurora bridge and Lake Union docks.

I know it looks a bit glum, but that's Seattle weather for you. I think I'll do a second version of this panorama with the contrast boosted, especially in the center where the horizon is far away and the atmosphere washes out the downtown buildings.

The Lanipō Panorama Is Here...

So, my first vacation panorama is assembled. This is a 180 degree view, NNE from the lookout at the end of the Lanipō Trail, the same place as the video in my previous post.

The link below leads to a 2.5 megapixel version, but there's also a 25 megapixel version and a 250 megapixel version. The original is even larger, about 42,000 pixels wide, but it starts to get a little fuzzier and doesn't reveal much more detail than the 250 megapixel version.

One of the original photos. A bit of a hazy day, this.

This panorama was processed pretty heavily; it was a voggy day on the islands and I had to significantly increase the contrast, especially in the distant areas in the valley and out to sea.

The promised Seattle panorama is being stitched together right at this moment, so that will be coming in the next couple of days. The Makapu‘u Point panorama, although my favorite, has proven quite a bit harder to assemble because the large amount of ocean makes it difficult to align the photos. So I need to spend another couple of nights on it, I think.

Panoramas on the Way

As a follow-up to my first effort at a high-resolution, panoramic photo, I made sure to take a couple more while on vacation. It'll take a couple days to stitch them together, but I'm looking forward to the results.

As a teaser, here's a annotated video panorama of the last one.

Behold, The Mighty Albatross!

The Laysan albatross, that is (Phoebastria immutabilis), also known as not-so-mighty "gooney bird" thanks to its short legs and consequent ungainly look on land. They are surely masters of the air, however.

A bird sweeping low over the dunes; both sexes incubate the egg, so it's not clear whether this one is male or female.

On Saturday I hiked to Ka‘ena Point, the westernmost tip on the island of O‘ahu. A few hundred acres at the very tip have been made into a fenced nature reserve that preserves a coastal dune ecosystem frequented by plover, shearwaters, green sea turtles (honu) and Hawaiian monk seals (‘ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua).

I spent a quiet hour and a half there, but only saw a couple dozen pairs of this relatively common albatross, and none of the other species (late afternoon into sunset might have been a better time.) But it was still a great opportunity.


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