Saturday, May 31, 2014

Really Old Pics of Yellowstone - Part 4

We continue to share some scans of photochroms in our collection. Photochrom prints are colorized images produced from black-and-white photographic negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates. The process is a photographic variant of chromolithography, a broader term that refers to color lithography in general. In our modern digital world it seems we take color photography for granted. One thing that interests us is the history ... all of the photos below we made before color film.  According to Wikipedia in 1935, American Kodak introduced the first modern "integral tripack" color film and called it Kodachrome.

Most of the photochroms in the collection here have names printed on them. Sometimes we can't read the information since, over the years (more than 100), it has blended/faded into the printing of the photo itself. For example, in the first photochrom below the name information is printed in a dark golden color not that much different than the color of the soil in the background.  If we can read the information it is usually given under the photo.

This is our 4th, and final, post on this subject for a while.  Check out our previous posts of Really Old Pics of Yellowstone:
part 1 is here.
part 2 is here.
part 3 is here.

Castle Geyser
(not sure, but we think that is Crested Pool
in the foreground)

Norris Geyser Basin
Yellowstone Park
Detroit Photographic Company

Hayden Valley
Yellowstone National Park
Detroit Photographic Company
Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park
(exact date is unclear)
Military Post and Giantess Geyser group
Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming, 1902
Detroit Publishing Company

Mammoth Paint Pots

From visiting YNP we can say that the location above is called Golden Gate. There is no name printed on the photo.  Take a look at another view of this on an old stereo view posted on the web here. 

This will complete the photochrom posts for a while. Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review - Sony RX100 Camera

John's Review of the Sony DSC RX100 pocketable digital camera ...

Sony RX100 and a quarter
We've been using this camera on John's Island since July, 2012 (with a few exceptions, like yesterday's post). (Incidentally, these 4 top pictures on this post were taken with a phone camera.)

Back is mostly display screen
 This camera does fit easily in a jacket pocket and is not heavy.
About 1 1/4 inches front to back
 This camera has endured daily use for almost 2 years with no significant problems.
About 4 inches side to side
How many times have you read camera reviews written by someone who has: 1) never owned the camera, or 2) just opened the box and hasn’t used it, or 3) used it for one week or so? Well, this isn’t one of those kind of reviews nor is it one of those tech reviews to verify all the detailed specifications.  We purchased the little (and “little” is important) RX100 in July, 2012, and have been using it, almost exclusively, for all the photos posted here on John’s Island since then. So, you have more than a few examples of what the camera can do.

Since purchasing the RX100 Sony has introduced the RX100 ii and is now preparing to release version 3: RX100 iii.  Although we’ve looked at the specs for the newer models, we’re still happy with the basic version.

Here are some examples of what the pros had to say about the camera:

Digital Photography Review (

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is an enthusiast compact camera based around a 20MP 1" CMOS sensor. It features a Zeiss-branded 28-100mm equivalent F1.8-4.9 stabilized lens featuring Zeiss T* coatings to minimize internal reflection. The rest of its specification is pretty impressive too - a 1.2 million dot 3.0" LCD (VGA resolution but using Sony's WhiteMagic technology to offer greater brightness or improved battery life), and 1080p60 video capture or 1080i with the ability to shoot a 17MP stills without interrupting movie recording. The camera can even boast a respectable 330 shots from a charge, according to CIPA tests.

Read the full Digital Photography Review here.

Engadget (

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is one of the best compact digital cameras ever made. Its large 20-megapixel sensor captures very sharp images even at high ISO settings and in low-light situations, aided by the camera's fast f/1.8 lens.

Read the full Engadget review here.

John's thoughts

The RX100 has been a trusty companion for nearly two years ... taking it everywhere and using it almost daily. It has held up well. It is not perfect, but then we can’t have it all can we? For a camera that fits easily in a jacket pocket the pictures it produces are very pleasing. Review the results by looking back at earlier posts here on John's Island.


Thank you for stopping by John's Island.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Montana Sunrise

Looking through some old photos, prior to blog start, and found this one from October 5, 2010. Location is in southwest Montana looking to the east over the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tower Crane Sunset

In our last post you had a chance to see the 815 Pine tower crane at work. In today's photo the crane is at rest as the sun sets in the northwest. If you've had a few chances to notice construction cranes you might have noticed that, when not busy at work, they actually are pretty good wind direction indicators. Apparently there is no need to lock them in place when the operator leaves. Well, why would you? So, they end up turning with the wind. The long arm of the crane points in the direction the wind is blowing. Now you know.

Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

815 Pine - Seattle Construction

Here at John's Island headquarters we are, every day, watching construction in the city.  It's all around us. Seattle, the Emerald City, is now the fastest growing city in the USA. We've done our best to get the word out that this place is cold, cloudy, and wet. Despite that, people seem to be moving here like crazy. We were looking out a couple of days ago and happened to glance over at the new 815 Pine building.  A 40 story tower, it will provide 386 new apartments near the heart of downtown. The tower crane, just one of 16 we can see, is more interesting than a TV reality show.  Construction of the concrete portion of the tower appears to be complete and, so, maybe they can start using the indoor plumbing.  Just guessing based on these photos! 

815 Pine under construction

Tower crane prepares to lower a load   : - )

Steady as she goes!

If you are curious about 815 Pine you can check out their website.

Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

14 Dahlia Garden First Look

John loves the Dahlia Garden in Volunteer Park, Seattle. Here on John's Island we've posted pictures from the garden in previous years, like this end-of-the-season view last October ...

2013 End-of-Season Dahlia Garden Post

Now, here is our first 2014 look at the garden. As you can see below, the rhododendrons behind the garden have bloomed, the dahlias are just breaking through the surface, and this year's flower ID posts are in place (May 21).

Volunteer Park Dahlia Garden
May 21, 2014

Same spot in early March, 2014

Winter covers still in place in early March

May 21, 2014, and flower ID posts are in place

Most plants are showing some green
breaking through the surface of the soil.

Side view of the garden, May 21, 2014

Alpen Matthew is one of our favorites
to keep an eye on

If this is Alpen Matthew it is just breaking through! ? !
Long way to go on this one!  :-)
Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Yellowstone Bison --- Yeah, Buffalo!

John returned to Yellowstone Park last Sunday for the first visit of 2014. This quick shot of a bison walking along the road turned out pretty well. We were not quite as close as this shot makes it appear, but close enough. No matter how many photos you've seen of buffalo, there is nothing quite like being up-close and personal (if we can say that) with one. Our visit was short as rain put a damper on things. Hope to return again later in the summer.

Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Transit Panama Canal

Map of the Journey

Starting from Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Aruba, Cartagena, Panama Canal,
San Juan del Sur, Cabo.
Los Angeles, California

Approach Panama Canal - Atlantic Side

Early morning March 8, 2014, approaching
breakwater to enter Limon Bay
from the Atlantic Ocean.
We must pass through the Bay to enter
Gatun Locks


Gatun Locks

When you read about bridges across the Panama Canal this one,
in the center of the photo, below the lock gates, is rarely
mentioned.  It swings in and out of place to allow traffic
to pass on this Atlantic side of the canal.

Island Princess is designed to fit snugly.

The ship is close enough that you could touch the
wall of the canal.

Gatun Operation Office

Note passengers waving at canal workers
Yes, Customer Service Week!
"Committed to Customer Satisfaction"
Gates closed

Note water level difference

Locomotives guide the ship

Gatun Locks Lighthouse

No, the locks are not curved.  It just looks that way in this
panorama put together from several shots as we were
headed into Gatun Lake.

Maersk Cargo Freigher going the opposite

Of course, you are aware that the canal finances itself by charging a toll.

From Wikipedia we find this info on tolls:  The most expensive regular toll for canal passage to date was charged on April 14, 2010 to the cruise ship Norwegian Pearl, which paid US$375,600. The average toll is around US$54,000. The highest fee for priority passage charged through the Transit Slot Auction System was US$220,300, paid on August 24, 2006, by the Panamax tanker Erikoussa, bypassing a 90-ship queue waiting for the end of maintenance works on the Gatun locks, thus avoiding a seven-day delay. The normal fee would have been just US$13,430. The lowest toll paid was 36 cents by American Richard Halliburton who swam the Panama Canal in 1928.

We were told that the toll for the Island Princess on this voyage was nearly US$300,000.

This Maersk probably paid a lot less!

Ship moves under its own power
but is guided by locomotives
Yet another Freighter passes us.
This was a very warm day ... temps were in the 90s (F) and, of course, the humidity was up there. We are so close to the equator that daytime high temps don't vary that much. The climate only adds to the fascination with construction of the canal.

Canal work Tug

Looking back as we leave Gatun Locks and move into
Gatun Lake

Mid-Day Celebration

During the middle of the day there is time to relax (well, from all that photography work!) and enjoy a nice lunch followed by a celebratory cake.  What are we celebrating?  Well, just getting to pass through the canal would be enough, but this happens to be the 100th year of the canal's operation ... the Centennial celebration.

The Island Princess staff was friendly and
seemed as excited about this Centennial
passage as we were.

Typical views from the cabin during passage

Typical travel through the canal looking aft.

Looking fore.

Centennial Bridge and Bridge of the Americas

Centennial Bridge ... one of the two primary bridges
over the canal and opened in 2004

More locks. 
On the Atlantic side, the Gatun locks raise the ship to the level of Gatun Lake. The lake is about 85 feet above sea level and plays an important role in the operation of the canal. Then, on the Pacific side there are two sets of locks to lower the ship back to sea level.

How would you like to be launched in that
orange rescue raft?

Freighter passengers seem as interested in us as
we are in them.

Construction to expand the canal is now underway.
Bridge of the Americas in the distance.

Our cabin is on the bridge level. In the photo above, you can see three people on the bridge. The person on the left, in white uniform, is the Captain. Looks like he is enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. To the right is a person, dark silhouette, he is Dr. Dean.  Dr. Dean is an expert on canal history and used the ship's public address to provide commentary all day during the transit. He is quite interesting and knowledgeable about the area and also provided information on the ports in this area. Then, the person on the far right, leaning against the window, I believe is the Staff Captain, second-in-command, who seemed to be operationally in charge of the passage. He was frequently on the two-way radio with canal authorities.  The bridge level, on this ship, is, for cruisers, referred to as Aloha deck.

Swing-Aside Railroad bridge links the Americas
by rail.

Bridge of Americas ahead
After passing under Bridge of Americas
the Island Princess heads into the
Pacific Ocean and the
transit is done.

Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Mostly Mt Rainier

Back to Mt. Rainier 2024 ... At the entrance gate the Ranger provided a map of the Park and a sheet of info for Spring 2024.  I was careful ...