Sunday, 26 April 2009

Lost and found

Well, it finally happened, my old PC died on Saturday morning. No matter that it had the processing power of a couple of ostriches and the memory equivalent to an alcoholic the morning after a binge, I had grown quite attached to it. It lasted seven years without any major problems which is pretty remarkable in this climate.

So, long before planned, I bought a new PC yesterday and have been busy since then trying to recover what I can from the old PC. Luckily my photos were all backed up on CDs but it's a long and slow process getting them onto the new computer and still being on a dialup means that things I can't recover take an awful long time to download. Then there's updating the new antivirus software and these stupid windows updates. Worst of all, I'm now dealing with Microsoft's Vista operating system. Jeeze, what a piece of crap. I was hoping to delay things long enough to "enjoy" their next operating system.

Maybe I should buy a Mac next time.

The good news, however, is that the DVD/CD drive on this new machine was actually able to read files off a damaged CD. It contained hundreds of photos from last December which I thought I had lost, but I've managed to recover something like 80 to 90% of them. No other drive I tried could do this, so at least on this score I'm a happy camper!

The image above is one I thought I had lost. It's in fact three photos combined into one using Photomatix. Although at the time I took the shots I had little idea what I was doing, the scene looked so wonderful I just had to capture it. Now with my photo editing software running on a new machine and I don't have to wait hours to see the processed result I think I might just enjoy the experience of a new PC. That's if Vista doesn't crash. It's done so twice already in 24-hours. I can't remember the last time the operating system on my old PC crashed.

Anyway, the picture above is of Mauna Kea's shadow at sunset before the really bad weather hit this winter (in fact it snowed soon after this shot - photos to come later). Taken from roughly the same place soon after the shadow, the picture below is of the UKIRT . It seems one or two people had the same idea as me and were trying to get that sunset shot!

PS. Apologies for not replying to comments recently, but the PC was getting rather sick last week so hope you don't mind!


Zuzana said...

I also posted a computer related post today.;)
Yes, Vista is crap, get Mac next time!;) In my lab about 50% have switched to Mac in the last couple of years and they tell me they are not going back to PCs.;)
I have always had an Apple as long as I have had computers.
The top picture is stunning! It has a spiritual, well almost religious feel to it.;)
Glad you have been able to recover those photographs.;)

Anonymous said...

Awesome top image Tom! There's a reason for those rays which I've forgotten - do you know?

And yes - get a Mac!!

Tom said...

Ant - as we discussed today (and now you get the correct spelling!), they're anticrepuscular rays. Crepuscular rays are the ones you see close to the sun at sunset/sunrise or when you see those rays through gaps in the cloud. Anticrepuscular rays are the same rays but seen towards the antisolar point. They're parallel rays that follow great circle routes, so it's simply the perspective that makes them appear to converge.

Obviously, the rays and the shadow will appear in the same place as they'll both be at the antisolar node - at least when you're standing on the thing causing the shadow!

I'm sure you've seen the really bizarre shadows off Mauna Loa and Hualalai around dawn. I've never quite understood those even though I'm sure it's the same effect or at least related.

Protege - the top picture just stunned me when it popped out of the HDR software. There is quite a lot of noise but I think it adds to the picture in this case, it makes the cinder cones looks as though someone just stuck them on the mountain!

And yes, it'll be a Mac next time...


Keera Ann Fox said...

Fantastic photo! I'm glad you managed to rescue it! I have no idea if a Mac would have done that job, even though Macs are the only computer I've liked since 1989. :-)