Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Christmas Flag Vectorization

Mele Kalikimaka kākou! Merry Christmas everyone! By the time this goes up I should be back in California with my family for a surprise visit—thanks Dad!

In the Christmas spirit of giving, have a flag vectorization video too!

This flag is for the small kingdom of Ennarea in eastern Africa, just south-west of Ethiopia. Its formation is shrouded in mystery due to a lack of written records in the area at the time, but it was established by at least the 13th century and survived all the way into the early 18th century before falling to invading Oromo peoples. At the start of Europa Universalis IV in 1444 Ennarea is pretty small, holding only a single province, so it probably doesn't last nearly as long as its historical counterpoint.

Ennarea is just to the south-west of Ehtiopia, circled in green.
This vectorization was an interesting exercise that I've been anticipating and thinking about for a few days. Trying to find a way to represent that intricate filigree work was an exciting challenge, and you can see me trying a few different approaches before settling on something that works for me. I also like the colors in this flag, with the greens and the yellows (brown is just a very dark version of orange or yellow).

Anyway, I probably won't be posting anything for the next week or so, so Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou, Happy New Year as well! A hui hou!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Snow, in Hawaii!

This weekend we had a winter storm, with a strong, steady rain of a kind unusual in Hilo falling from about midnight Saturday till evening Sunday. It made the annual Messiah sing-a-long I attended Sunday an interesting experience in trying to sing over the rain pelting the roof, but it also left behind a nice gift: a beautiful coating of snow on Mauna Kea that I was able to see this morning.

An hour later the clouds had closed in again, so I'm glad I was able to catch this when I did. A hui hou!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kīlauea Iki Walk

It only took me two and half months, but I finally got around to sorting out my photos and videos from my Labor Day trip to Volcanoes National Park with some friends. I took my old phone along and shot some video footage with it, which I've edited down into a short video showing some of the things we saw along the way. I switched a lot between photos and videos throughout the hike, so I don't really have full coverage with either. It was kind of an experiment.

We decided to hike the Kīlauea Iki trail, which I've hiked twice before, in the opposite direction from the past times I've done it. In the past we'd gone around the rim first, then down the far end, across the crater floor, and back up the steep trail to get back to the trail head at the end. This time we did the opposite, and I enjoyed it a lot more: we went down the steepest part of the trail first, instead of up it at the end of a four-mile walk. It's interesting how much it changes the feel of the trail, and I enjoyed it a lot more (though that may also have had something to do with the weather, which was absolutely amazing).

This picture comes from the crater floor, just after reaching it from the steep trail that switchbacks down the eastern crater wall. It looks across the crater floor, showing the trail we would soon follow in order to ascend the other end of the crater.

This picture shows the main Kīlauea caldera, with the Halemaʻumaʻu crater releasing gasses in it. I should mention that I'm experimenting with a new program called Raw Therapee for processing the raw images from my DSLR, so the color balance on some of these photos may be a little off as I play around with various settings. I'm pretty sure I don't remember those gasses being quite so bright blue, for instance (though I suppose the blue must've been there for Raw Therapee to bring out). This picture was taken after climbing out of Kīlauea Iki crater, and taking a short hike off the trail we were primarily following over to the rim of the main Kīlauea caldera. (“Iki,” by the way, means “small” in Hawaiian.)

After that, we started hiking back along the rim of Kīlauea Iki crater, which has a lot of excellent points for looking out over it. This picture shows Puʻu Puaʻi (“gushing hill”), created by the lava fountains of Kīlauea Iki's 1959 eruption.

We walked up close to the base of Puʻu Puaʻi, near the center of the image, on our way across the crater floor, where I got the following image:

I made a small vertical panorama showing the view from near the base of the hill, and caught my friend Graham in the foreground for scale. It's very imposing standing in the hollow there, with the mass of the hill looming over your head, acutely aware that the lava involved in this eruption emerged from right around where you are.

As mentioned, here's a short video I put together from various bits of footage I had. I took more at the beginning, and it's not very consistent, and the first half or so is only in 420p, and I apologize for the shakiness, but I thought it had some neat moments, such as watching the shadows of clouds race across the crater floor. As I said, it's kind of an experiment. Hope you enjoy it. A hui hou!