Tag Archives: michigan

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig!

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! I.

a little over a year ago i thought about getting into kite aerial photography with odin and almost exactly a year ago we beta tested the rig and took frida goes for her first ride in the galaxie 500 in search of the wind. and then we waited. and waited. and waited for a non-stormy windy day when we had the time to fly a kite. turns out that combination of conditions is a rarity! and i started to believe that waiting for the wind was the wrong strategy and we needed to start thinking about heading to windy places.

so we planned ahead and brought the gear on vacation in the upper peninsula of michigan where odds are good we’d find a good breeze coming off lake michigan.

sure enough, just a few hundred feet from where odin and his cousin flew kites for the very first time almost exactly 8 years to the day, we launched the rig into the air.

but first, we tested without the camera attached to see if the breeze seemed strong enough. sure seemed so!

the kite was up for about 10 minutes and took 40 shots and i we got 1 that was perfectly aligned when shooting every 15 seconds. i’m sure there’s probably some sort of optimum to be found between decreasing the time between shots ( and reducing the battery life ) and just leaving the kite up longer.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! II.

we mounted the canon sd450 running the canon hack development kit onto the kit and using the super simple intervalometer that comes with the stock kit set the camera to take a picture every 15 seconds. i was hoping we’d get into the frame on take off. odin’s feet did :-)

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! III.

the results turned out awesome! it doesn’t have any fancy stabilization sytem and it was really windy so odds are low that at any given moment the camera is going to be perfectly aligned with the horizon. i think in the future i’ll set the time between shots to a shorter duration to increase the chances if getting aligned with the horizon.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! IV.

at this point the kite was maybe a 150 feet up with the camera swaying around around 20 feet below. odin and i started thinking how cool it would be to get a much longer line and a reel to make it easier to get the kite higher up and down faster ( yes, that’s foreshadowing ).

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! V.

the kite was up for about 10 minutes and took 40 shots and i we got 1 that was perfectly aligned when shooting every 15 seconds. i’m sure there’s probably some sort of optimum to be found between decreasing the time between shots ( and reducing the battery life ) and just leaving the kite up longer.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! VI.

it took a lot of effort in the stiff breeze to bring the kite down with the awkward “reel” that came with the kite. we though surely grandpa must have a old fishing reel! we raced back to the house and of course he did. so we hooked up the kite to the fishing line and went back to the beach.

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! VII.

we tried to let the kite out slowly with the reel but the winds were soooooo strong it just went zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz all out at once – the entire 300 feet or so of line. i thought the reel was going to catch on fire!

day 3649: finally flying the kite aerial photography rig! VIII.

and much to our surprise we couldn’t reel it back in as there was too much drag on the line.

what to do?! i thought i could run the line under a picnic table and keep walking backwards until i pulled the kite down. i got about 10 feet before the line snapped and the kite went sailing away out of sight. at that point we were both very happy we decided to test it without the camera attached.

it took about 30 minutes of wandering through people’s back yards before we found the kite. it had floated about 4 blocks away and thankfully landed in in some trees without the fishing line getting tangled in powerlines.

a very nice lady helped us get it out of the tree by giving us a length of gutter that was just long enough to knock it down. i think she really enjoyed hearing about our adventure as we pulled down the kite and yanked the hundreds of feet of line that draped over her house and across the street into the next block.

odin commented that the kite aerial photography rig was a 110% success but maybe we needed to do a little more work on building a better reel. i couldn’t agree more! i thinnk there might be a outdoor kite line reel winder with lock in our future, but what to do until then? surely we must be able to build something from stuff lying around.

takin’ a hole of the present day.

takin' a hole of the present day.

post 10 mile run endocannabinoids pulsing through my veins with the lyrics of the last song of the run running through my head while i take a sauna with odin at his grandparents home in the upper peninsula

Taking control of the elements,
Making them mine, making them mine.

Touching up all of the elements,
Takin’ my time, takin’ my time.

Takin’ a hole of the present day,
Pushin’ it all, pushin’ it all, pushing it.

Takin’ control of my destiny,
Makin’ it fine, makin’ it fine, makin’ it.

harder. better. faster. stronger.

harder. better. faster. stronger.

today i ran 10 miles faster than i ever have before. i averaged 8.5 minute miles and on the last 5 i was running 8 minute mile pace. i could have easily run the entire 10 miles at a 8 minute mile pace. this means i shaved 10 minutes off my 10 mile run time compared to 1 year ago and about 20 minutes off my time from 2 years ago.

originally i was going to only run 8 miles but it felt so good i tacked on 2 miles. maybe there’s something to being trolled by an ice cream truck :-)

it seems reasonable to project out the performance and gains and predict that i’ll hit 7 minute pace sometime over the next year for half marathon and under distances.

two years ago i honestly thought that was impossible goal for my 6’4″ former clydesdale frame and now it’s almost a reality.

big question is what’s the upper limit? could i hit 6 minute miles. seems impossible now…

current status:

day 3465: odin carves his initials in the table before eating one of america’s best burgers at stella’s lounge.

day 3465: odin carves his initials in the table before eating one of america's best burgers at stella's lounge.

if you’re at stella’s lounge in grand rapids, michigan see if you can find odin’s initials on one of the tables. GQ magazine rated their fare as “Best Burger in America”.

i had the “mr fables” with green olives, blue cheese & swiss cheese, and while it was very, very, good ( and i recommend you go have one if you have the chance ) i have to admit the burger i had at the burger joint in new york city ( thanks to a hot tip from jason kottke ) might have been a better burger.

maybe i need to do arrange side-by-side comparison.

at the dogpatch, oggling a menu and pondering fair use.

at the dogpatch, oggling a menu and pondering fair use.

after a long day of seeing lots of sights around the upper peninsula of michigan we found ourselves at the dogpatch restaurant in munising with very 4 hungry kids and 3 adults. nobody could figure out why it had a cartoon theme or why all the cartoons on the walls and the menu was filled with mock-southern language that was difficult to decipher. all the adults and kids were confused.

eventually, i dug deep in my memory and remembered the dogpatch was the setting for li’l abner which ran from 1934 until 1977 which gave some important context. but who under the age of 40 even knows or identifies with li’l abner? why is there a li’l abner themed restaurant in munising? was al capp a fan of the area? are the owners relatives? do they have rights to use the images for commercial gain. there’s an interesting history to the franchise ownership and rights li’l Abner and wikipedia claims fair use when using excerpts which leads me to believe it’s not in the public domain.

and, what is up with the menu? PRINCESS MINIHAHASKIRT?

the food was adequate, but the service was horrible which seems to be the consensus on the foursquare tips.

even in july lake superior is cold enough to take your breath away!

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standing where the au train river empties into the lake superior at the au train scenic overlook and it is coooooold!

we’ve been here a few times over the years. i recalled shooting “lake superior in thirds here five years ago!

the ninth annual divot open!

the ninth annual divot open. I.

before odin was born on the fourth of july kris’ family would get together for the 4th weekend in the upper peninsula of michigan with activities centered around odin’s grandparent’s house in gladstone. the year he was born a few members of kris’ family played a round of golf at the gladstone gold and country club that turned into an annual event and after a few years a “divot award” was created to go to the player that best exemplifies its spirit of, uh, unusual excellence.

kris and i have played almost every year and i have no idea how i don’t have more photos from past years online. i’m guessing they are sitting on disk somewhere. it’s a great time and over nine years participation has expanded beyond family – this year we had 25 golfers! to keep the game from taking all day with the growing number of players we had move to scramble format many years ago. many of the holes have contests like “longest drive” and “closest to the pin”. winners of the contests receive a prize of immense value from the local thrift store.

i’m not a very good golfer and don’t take the game seriously which is part of the reason why i have so much fun tooling around with 25 other folks in golf carts on a beautiful day on a beautiful course.

oh, and there are adult beverages involved.

the ninth annual divot open. II.

there’s plenty of wildlife on the course. and not just the adults! ( rimshot ) in addition of seeing a few deer every year, we happened upon a friendly fox who seemed like he might be willing to eat out of my hand if i had any snacks.

the ninth annual divot open. III.

a few years ago, one of odin’s teenage cousins started a tradition of getting an outfit for the divot open at a local thrift store. not everyone has embraced the tradition, but some of us believe it’s all part of the fun. i think in a few years everyone will be rocking a thrifty ensemble.

there wasn’t much available in the men’s department, so i decided to go with size 6 capris, a sleeveless woman’s top and a terry cloth fedora. the sleeveless shirt really helped me even out my farmer’s tan.

when i walked into clubhouse, there were about a hundred people eating for some sort of function ( and had no idea we were starting the divot open ) and almost all of them stopped to look up. a guy at nearby table caught my eye and laughed, “i would so totally do that.”

without skipping a beat, i reached for his kids half eaten chicken finger and asked, “you going to finish that?” the wide eyed kid slowly nodded yes.

i heard “ha! i would so totally do that too!” as i walked out the door.

the ninth annual divot open. IV.

i think some are a little jealous I can fit in size 6 woman capris.

the ninth annual divot open. V.

after the game there’s pizza and beer while handing out of awards. it’s been a few years since the divot award came home. i think kris might have won it 2010. maybe next year!

i did get a beer cozie for “most spirit” award for my outfit which was a nice consolation prize :-)

next year is going to be bigger and better since it’s be the 10th annual divot open and we might even let odin play for the first time on his 10th birthday.

awesome thrift store outfit for our annual family golf outing

awesome thrift store outfit for our annual family golf outing

i went to the local st vincent de paul thrift store to look for an appropriate outfit for our annual family golf outing. on the right, size 6 woman’s capri pants. on the left a sleeveless shirt woman’s shirt. both are snug enough to give a 70s glam rock vibe which i’m sure will work well on the gladstone golf club.

I only wish I could have found some wristbands.

focuses.

focuses.

i was next door to the the just burgers & more in escanaba, michigan and wondered about their name. i can understand that maybe over time being “just burgers” wasn’t enough and they needed to provide more variety and wanted to change their name, but doesn’t “more than just burgers” make more sense?

in the many, many times i’ve been to esky, i’ve never eaten there so i comment on their food. maybe next time.

record flooding in west michigan

as a former grand rapidian who still has friends and family in the area and visits regularly, i’m not sure how i missed that there was record flooding along the grand river ( and presumably elsewhere ). it looks pretty serious but i assume we’re not talking 1904 flood serious. any reports from the streets?

update: someone sent me a link to a crazy picture taken at the riverfront plaza. wow!