Monday, May 03, 2010

Move LA, part 1

This is a web version of my presentation at Move LA's Transportation Conversation II, an environmental perspective on Los Angeles transportation.

The starting point always is our awful traffic.

Second are the impacts of our oil dependence. The U.S. imports 2/3 of what we use. U.S. production peaked in 1970 - despite all the new production in Alaska - and world production's high point was 2005 (US EIA data).

If one imagined what a divine message might be on the eve of Senate debate about national energy policy, it's hard to imagine a bigger one than the gulf oil catastrophe right now (US Coast Guard photo).

Third is Global Warming, documented here by continuing rise in world temperatures (NASA chart).

(Click any image to enlarge)

Transportation and electricity generation are over half the total greenhouse gas emissions (CARB AB 32 Scoping Plan data).

California's AB 32 goal is to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (more on AB 32 Scoping Plan).

The first solution is simple efficiency: if every car got the mileage of today's Prius, the U.S. would use half as much gasoline, one fourth less oil, as vividly illustrated in this cartoon by Steve Nease (used with permission).

The most cost-effective and scalable sources of renewable energy are wind ...

... and solar.

So sustainable transportation must transition to electricity. Measure R funding includes extending the electric Wilshire subway ...

(continue to part 2)

Move LA, part 2

(continued from part 1)

... and expanding L.A.'s light rail network.

We seek cities' use of local return funds for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, as the City of Los Angeles just approved 10% for.

This map from The Transit Coalition suggests a number of rail corridors beyond the Measure R map. I'd highlight (1) extending the Crenshaw line from the Expo line up to Hollywood and (2) north south corridors from Westwood to LAX along Lincoln and/or the 405.

California High Speed Rail is important to Los Angeles, that will replace many intra-state plane flights and long car drives with electric trains (earlier post on Prop. 1A; California High Speed Rail Blog).

A few cities like San Francisco still have electric trolley buses.

The new company Proterra will be testing battery-electric buses that fast-charge at the end of their routes on Foothill Transit this year.

Plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles are very important for all the trips that do not fit biking, walking, or transit. The first two major auto company models are the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, due late this year (EVs and Energy Blog; Plug In America).

Finally, a major benefit of rail transit is enabling effective Transit Oriented Development within walking distance of stations, like here at Del Mar in Pasadena on the Gold Line. But will it live up to Smart Growth or just be auto-oriented "dumb density"?

Livable streets that encourage walking to neighborhood shops are very important. These two examples from Portland's Pearl District show the kind of amenities that make you feel at home.

Parks and open space for kids and older people are very important to balance increased density.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Canon EF-S 15-85 lens sample photos

Following my Canon EF 70-300 lens sample photos, here are similar ones highlighting the usefulness and quality of my regular zoom lens Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS USM. Left is a photo of the male leaders of the 3/21/10 Los Angeles Marathon on San Vicente Blvd. approaching 14th St. in Santa Monica.

Here is a 100% crop of this 85mm (136mm in 35mm equivalent) zoom shot (F/8, 1/320 second, ISO-200). Winner Wesley Korir is in orange.

(Click all photos for full 800 px wide or all big photos.)

A quick turn to the left, pulled all the way back to 15mm (24mm in 35mm equivalent) looked like this, showing runners and the camera truck you don't see on TV.

It looks like my center spot focus locked on the truck (F/8, 1/800 second, ISO-200). Again, these are all original camera JPGs with no sharpening or other adjustments.

Here's another zoom, of a Pasadena Gold Line train crossing Mission St. in South Pasadena on 3/26/10. First is zoomed in on the approaching train at 85mm (136mm).

It looks like the auto focus locked on the pole on the right, in front of the train; the yellow sign is also within the depth of field (F/11, 1/320 second, ISO-200).

I've widened to 31mm (50mm 35mm equivalent) to include the historic buildings on the left and right.

The brick wall on the far left is nice and sharp at 100% (F/11, 1/400 second, ISO-200).

I find the zoom range useful, image quality on my 18 MP Canon Rebel T2i very good, and I just like the feel in hand of this camera and lens.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Canon EF 70-300 lens sample photos

I've intended this blog to be more about images of Los Angeles; why not start with the results of shopping for a new DSLR and telephoto zoom lens? After reading many reviews I bought a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens yesterday for my new Rebel T2i (also with EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM regular zoom).

Above is the Westwood Village Theater tower from a block away at 300mm, full-frame 18 MP (5184 x 3456 pixels) reduced to 800 px wide. Left is a 100% crop (click all photos for full 800 px wide or all big photos). AF locked quickly on the seagull (1/1000 second, F/8, ISO-200).

Here's the Santa Monica Pier from 3/4 mile north on Palisades Park at 300mm, and a 100% crop of the ferris wheel. Behind the wheel is the Manhattan Beach Pier and Redondo Beach, around six miles away, which explains the fuzziness (1/800 second, F/8, ISO-200).
I found sample images most useful to me, so I'd like to share some of mine so far. These are all original camera JPGs with no sharpening or other adjustments. Also, I used only the center spot for focusing in all cases.

Here's a group of plants at 300mm from about a hundred feet away, and a 100% crop of the succulent at lower-left (1/200 second, F/8, ISO-200).

My biggest question was whether this lens would be sharp enough - and others' concerns about non-ring USM and the extending, rotating lens barrel - compared with the more expensive, larger, but shorter-reach EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM. My answer is yes.

And this is a sample shot of the far side of the camera store at 300mm, with a 100% crop from below center showing readible text (1/25 second, F/8, ISO-1600). Image Stabilization worked well for this hand-held shot.

I think the biggest variable in the sharpness of my test photos is what part of the scene I lock focus on (as in the landscapes with a lot of depth). I'm still learning the camera and lens, but having a lot of fun with what 300mm can do.