This was 2014.
A three-year tradition for this four-year-old blog. (Whoops. Sorry, 2011.)
Today, I end 2014 with, oddly enough, a few words about 2013.
Only over the distance of a year can I feel that I fully understand how transformative 2013 was. I started out the year thinking I would spend my life as a photographer, covering weddings & newspaper assignments and flying a kite with a GoPro for fun. I ended the year heading into a second semester of pre-med classes and becoming ever more convinced that I would spend my life, not as a photographer, but as a doctor. There was such a hairpin turn in the middle of that year, and I could feel the turn as I drove through it, but only now can I look back and see how sharp the turn was.
I also see how much happier I am after that turn. There are many reasons for this contentment, some of which appear in great detail in my INPA post, so I won't recapitulate everything here. I'll simply say that returning full-time to my love of science has been an awe-filled, fulfilling, and oddly goal-oriented experience (what with the requirements that medical schools place before their applicants). At the same time, a part of me will always miss pizza in the newsroom and telling a good story on deadline, and that part of me will always live vicariously through my reporter friends. I'm really glad that I have friends who do journalism as their way to make the world a better place, and I'm extremely lucky to have friends like Ryan Dorgan who use great photos to tell an even greater story. I will be watching those friends from afar, appreciating their work, awed by their skill, and confident they will improve the world.
This year doesn't feel quite as transformative as did 2013. At least, any transformation that occurred was nowhere near as sudden or cataclysmic. The theme this year is progress. I finished my medical school requirements (while bumping my GPA past 3.8!), I earned a good score on the MCAT, I got a job in medicine as a scribe for ScribeAmerica, and I scheduled interviews for January with the IU School of Medicine and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. There were many other small improvements this year, as well, like taking more high school basketball assignments and finding a better way to capture stars trailing through the night sky. Each improvement, small and large, assures me that I chose wisely to make that hairpin turn. There will be hills and mountains and further sharp turns to come, but now that I've lived to tell the tale of that consequential turn, I'm more and more confident that I can make it through those, as well.
But let's leave tomorrow for next year. (ba-DUM, tish.) Today, let's look back at the year that was. Have a good night, and I hope to see you here next year.Continued...
CA-me-lo-PAR-da-lids meteor shower
The Camelopardalids meteor shower, a new shower born of a comet that will pass by Earth on the 29th, was expected to be either awesome or a bit of a dud. In my viewing it was a dud, at least as far as the meteors were concerned. I did catch more meteors with my camera than I ever had before, but given that I was taking photos of meteors for a full hour on Saturday morning, it wasn't that impressive. I'll have to do this again during the Perseids in August. Those should be grand; they always are.
Below, I have several composite shots from the shindig, in which I took 186 15-second exposures between 2:32 a.m. and 3:27 a.m. from my house on the outskirts of Indianapolis. In all the photos, you can find the Big Dipper near or in the middle of the frame, its two stars at the end of the ladle pointing toward Polaris, the North Star and the tip of the Little Dipper.
The first is a mix of three exposures showing off three (probable) meteors on one set of stars (the meteors are circled in the second photo). Then there are the three original meteor-containing photos. Two of the meteors (just below Polaris) appear as dots instead of streaks; I'm guessing that's because the streak part of it wasn't bright enough to trip any pixels, while the ending burst was bright enough. The final meteor (near the tree line) did leave a streak.
The sixth picture isn't a meteor at all; it's the body of a rocket called Cosmos 2263, launched by Russia in September 1993. I captured it in 11 exposures, and when I first saw it I thought it could have been the International Space Station, which I've captured before. Alas, if I had stayed out for ten more minutes, I would have caught it.
The seventh photo is the crown jewel of the evening. Using some Photoshop CS6 magic, I combined all 186 photos, and I got long star trails. Quite deservedly, it's my new desktop background.
One more thing: Today is Memorial Day. It's set aside to remember veterans lost both in and out of wars, but it's also a good time to remember all people we loved, but who left us too soon. In the spirit of that, I recommend to you a poignant story from the Story Collider science podcast: Sara Seager: A New Search for Life. I rediscovered it today, and it shares at least two good messages that might help you deal with grief and, just maybe, help you live a fulfilling life.Continued...
What have I been up to lately?
If you looked at this blog recently, you might think I've done nary a thing related to photos in the past month. That's not true, of course, but non-photo things (namely, pre-med classes) make the consistent updates a little more difficult. When you're thinking of elimination reactions and chirality of molecules and electromagnetism and organ systems and Le Chatelier's principle in a successful attempt (so far!) to get A's, keeping up a blog becomes a secondary priority.
But have no fear: an update is here! This update includes some spring break activities, as well as some work for The Star. Enjoy, and I hope to see you again before May 5!Continued...