Phoenix Microburst 1

Photographs Of A Microburst Pouring Down On Pheonix

Phoenix Microburst 1

Phoenix Microburst 2

Helicopter Reporter Jerry Ferguson (with help from Pilot Andrew Park took these unbelievable photos earlier this week while filming the weather for a local television station. No, it is not an A-bomb detonated over Phoenix. The photo depicts a dangerous weather phenomenon known as a microburst.

Microbursts are small but powerful rushes of rain-cooled air that collapse toward the ground from a parent thunderstorm. They are basically like a tornado in reverse – while a tornado funnels wind in and up, a microburst’s wind is funneled down and out. Microbursts are created by the downdrafts found in strong thunderstorms and are triggered by two main physical processes — the drag that’s created by falling rain and hail, and evaporation. Once the downdraft hits the ground, the wind — with gusts up to 150 mph — spread out over the land in all directions.

Microburst Crosssection

Below is a timelapse video of the same storm shot by Bryan Snider from the vantage point of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The rainshafts in this footage make it look like Mother Nature turned on a faucet.



Via Colossal

Focal Length

The Camera Really Can Add Ten Pounds

Focal Length

It is commonly thought that the cameras can make you look heavier than you actually are. Dan Vojtech posted this gif on his blog that effectively shows how drastically the focal length of a lens can affect a subject’s shape, and thus its perceived weight.

To frame the face the same in each shot, the camera is close with the wide angle lens and farther away with the telephoto lens, so the GIF above shows what’s known as the “Hitchcock zoom” (or dolly zoom).

Aerial Lightning 2

Dramatic Aerial Thunderstorm Photos

Aerial Lightning 2

Aerial Lightning 1

As an official member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, photos like these make me swoon. These shots are from Ecuador Airlines pilot Santiago Borja. The first was captured through a Boeing 767-300 cockpit window at 37,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The second was taken last October along the coast of Venezuela.

In the Washington Post, Borja explained the obstacles he met when taking these types of photos. “Storms are tricky because the lightning is so fast, there is no tripod and there is a lot of reflection from inside lights,” he said. Turbulence and near darkness also added complications to the shot.

View more of Borja’s travel and storm photos on Instagram.
via Colossal

Fish In A Jellyfish

Fish Trapped Inside A Jellyfish

Fish In A Jellyfish

Australian Ocean photographer, Tim Samuel, captured these astonishing photos of a fish swallowed whole by a jellyfish near Byron Bay, New South Wales. The fish is possibly a juvenile trevally, which are known to use jellyfish stingers as protection. On his Instagram account Tim says, “He was trapped in there but controlled where the Jellyfish was moving.” The photographer had initially considered trying to set the fish free, but ultimately determined “to let nature take its course.”

Fish In A Jellyfish

Best Selfies

Does A Deep Neural Network Like Your #Selfie?

Best Selfies
Andrej Karpathy trained a Convolutional Neural Network with a dataset of 2 million photographs to determine what makes the perfect selfie. The image above contains the top 100 best selfies (here are the 1,000 best selfies) Andrej concludes that the best selfies have these qualities:

  1. Be female. Women are consistently ranked higher than men. In particular, notice that there is not a single guy in the top 100.
  2. Face should occupy about 1/3 of the image. Notice that the position and pose of the face is quite consistent among the top images. The face always occupies about 1/3 of the image, is slightly tilted, and is positioned in the center and at the top. Which also brings me to:
  3. Cut off your forehead. What’s up with that? It looks like a popular strategy, at least for women.
  4. Show your long hair. Notice the frequent prominence of long strands of hair running down the shoulders.
  5. Oversaturate the face. Notice the frequent occurrence of over-saturated lighting, which often makes the face look much more uniform and faded out. Related to that,
  6. Put a filter on it. Black and White photos seem to do quite well, and most of the top images seem to contain some kind of a filter that fades out the image and decreases the contrast.
  7. Add a border. You will notice a frequent appearance of horizontal/vertical white borders.

Andrej also created a TwitterBot that will judge your selfie. Simply attach your selfie (or a include a link) to a tweet that mentions @deepselfie anywhere in it. The bot will analyze your selfie and give you its opinion (e.g. score 90% means that the Selfie Bot is 90% sure yours would be in top half of selfies. Selfie Bot was not impressed with my selfie.


More here.

Hail Cocktail !

Hail Stone Cocktails (Cockthails? Hailtails?)

On Saturday evening several parts of the Denver metro area experienced a quick but rather violent hail storm. So I decided to make the best of it and make some Hail Stone Cocktails. I simply mixed lemonade, lemon pellegrino, gin, muddled mint, and hail. Garnish with a sprig of basil and enjoy.

Hail Cocktail !

There has been some debate on reddit as to how safe drinking this cocktail is. I can only tell you that it didn’t make me sick and it tasted great. I’m venturing to guess that the most dangerous ingredient was the gin, not the hail. But that is coming from a guy who has eaten watermelon snow on several occasions.
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