Last week I had an opportunity to play with an infrared camera. Ayse, who works at FLIR Systems, was kind enough to bring one of the testing units from her office to Klättercentret, where we did some bouldering and took photos of one another.

The camera we used was a P640. This camera’s lenses are not made of normal silicate glass; they’re made of an oxide of the element Germanium. They are silver in appearance and are opaque to visible light. The camera is sensitive in the long-wavelength (8–15 µm) infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Warm objects emit IR radiation in this range, with a wavelength inversely proportional to their temperature. What you see is a picture of the heat being emitted from the body. For this reason, photography in this range of the EM spectrum is often referred to as thermography

In the photo composite above, you can see Paula’s profile in both visible and long-wavelength infrared light. The visible light photograph was taken with my D300. I’ve posted many more thermographs from the evening to a new Infrared photo set. All of the photos from that evening, including visible light photos, can be viewed here.


Drinks with friends at Monk’s Café

_MAL6418.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

If you like beer, there are just a few places in Stockholm that I'd recommend. Monk’s Café on Wallingatan just north of Norra Bantorget is one of them. Last night I joined Kathrin, Jonas & Malin for drinks there. I had three different beers from Bavaria. I was particularly fond of the last one, a dark lager sold under Monk’s own name, but brewed by Riegele in Bavaria.


Sunday afternoon at Karbin

_MAL6338.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

This morning I joined Pete and Per for brunch at Frapino on Långholmsgatan just North of Hornstull on Södermalm. The food and the conversation were varied and satisfying. Afterward, I joined Pete at Karbin, the excellent climbing gym in the Southern part of the city of which he is part-owner. I climbed a few hours with Elin and Malin, and then bouldered for a while. While bouldering, I met a friendly chap named Pelle. Eventually, Ewa showed up and I took a bunch of photos of her as she traversed across the wall. She's an excellent climbing model: she has strength, skill, looks, and attitude!

Here are all of the photos from Sunday afternoon at Karbin.


Partial lunar eclipse in Stockholm

_MAL6247.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Tonight on the way home from dancing, I thought the moon looked a bit funny. Then I remembered that there was to be a lunar eclipse tonight! As soon as I stepped in the door of my apartment, I grabbed my telephoto lens and tripod, and walked right back outside again. I snapped a bunch of photos of the eclipse, including several sets of bracketed exposures with ±1, 2, 3, and 4 EV (9 exposures per set). I’m still trying to figure out how best to combine them. Any tips?


An afternoon update from Stockholm

This morning I went to the ICA to buy milk for my coffee. While I was there, I bought a bag of lovely potatoes and a package of Nürnburger bratwurst. I saw two older women discussing the merits of two totally forgettable varieties of Swedish “sausage.” I felt compelled to interject and extoll the merits of the real thing. One of them added a pack of brats to her shopping basket. After today, she’ll be ruined for the Swedish stuff. My work here is done.

I am now enjoying a late lunch of bratwurst, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut. Yum! I trust I can obtain these things in Zürich too. ;)

Speaking of my soon-to-be home, I saw this morning that IBM and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have embarked upon an ambitious nanotechnology partnership. As a part of the project, IBM will construct a new laboratory building at the ZRL campus; when it is built, it will be the largest building on the site. Groundbreaking is anticipated in March 2009. I have no doubt that I will have more to write about this in the future.

This evening, I’m going to join Linda, Lina and some other folks for an evening of film, food, and frolicking in the park. Yes, it’s time for the Stockholm Film Festival. During the festival, a different film is shown each night on a big outdoor screen set up in Tantolunden park on Södermalm. The film tonight is Marie Antoinette. I had originally planned to go to La Isla for salsa dancing; but after six days of physical activity, I opted instead for a bit of relaxation. I’ll pack a picnic dinner, a few drinks, and maybe a surprise for my friends (desert?).

The weather’s been unpredictable lately, with rain showers and brief thunderstorms interspersed with periods of bright sunshine. I hope we’ll have clear weather; otherwise, the ground’s gonna be wet, and so will we. I’ll bring a tarp or blanket to sit upon.

Fun climbing at KC

_MAL5597.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Last night I completed a fun 7a+ on the tall wall at Klättercentret—the first 7-graded route I’ve done on that wall! The photo here is of another 7 that I’m working on. I took a wrong turn on this attempt though, and ended up having to lean on the rope a bit later in the route. Next time, I'll do the whole thing in one go. Thanks to Ayse for taking the photo!


Crescent City Stories

One of my favorite weekly podcasts is Le Show, a satirical creation of the versatile Harry Shearer that might best be described as variety program, but that has to be experienced to be understood.

Harry Shearer is probably best known for his roles as the voices of Montgomery Burns, Apu, Principal Skinner, and many other characters from the animated series The Simpsons. But Shearer is a modern-day renaissance man. In addition to his work with The Simpsons, he’s also a gifted musician, a talented comedian in his own right, and has a long memory that comes in handy when he points out with dry wit the hypocrisy and incompetence of public officials.

Recently I stumbled across a new project he’s been working on, devoted to telling the story of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Here we see a gentler, more human side of Shearer, as he interviews his friends in the city to learn how their lives have been affected since the storm.

Watch Crescent City Stories on MyDamnChannel.com.


Sailsalsa 2008

_MAL3057.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Sailsalsa 2008 was a great success. We were treated to five days of warm, clear weather in the Stockholm archipelago. A group of about 25 salsa dancers and outdoor enthusiasts met last Sunday afternoon on the dock in Stavsnäs, where we boarded a ferry to Vindalsö. We stayed at a scout camp there for the next week. We spent our days sailing, swimming, and making new friends; and we danced each night until almost dawn. It was an idyllic week, and a perfect memory of Stockholm to take with me when I move.

I’m moving to Zürich

A while ago I took a trip to Zürich for a job interview. Well, ZRL offered me a job, and I’ve made up my mind: I’m moving there in a couple of months. It was not an easy decision to make, but I think I made the right decision. I will start work on 1 October, so I’ll probably move a few days before that date. More to come!

Colbert’s still got it

This episode of The Colbert Report is one of the most entertaining I’ve seen in a long time. Crosby, Stills & Nash are bit past their prime, but you gotta applaud out of respect if not pity. Take a look!