November 21, 2011

More Fun with PhotoShop

So anyway, I came across this beautiful photograph of the galaxy named NGC 3041. Or, as I like to call it, Snookums. It looked so much like a painting that I decided to put my PhotoShop semi-skills to good uselessness. And since my version is over ten years old, this may be as good as my PhotoShop Fu gets.


I grew up wondering why I couldn't see the bright center of our galaxy, even on a moonless night. Now, of course, I know that it's because of interstellar dust and the lights of the cities. Needless to say, living within 50 miles of Times Square isn't the most condusive environment for stargazing.

But I found a photo of the Milky Way above a tree-line, and decided to PhotoShop it with a Manhattan skyline. The blueness of the sky contrasts (read: clashes) with a colorful cityscape.


I like the boldness of the contrast between the "macro-natural" galactic center and the man-made beauty below, but not the lack of realism. The two elements don't appear to be occupying the same universe.

So then I found a clearer picture of the Milky Way and put it together with a different New York skyline photo, and threw in the moon for good measure.


I like the mix of that one much more, but I regret having the Milky Way perfectly horizontal. So I tilted the same photo and added yet another skyline shot.


Aah, now we're talkin' 'bout a penthouse view.

But, based on the Earth-bound photos, I seem to have placed the Milky Way too far off in the distance.

The center of the galaxy is very far away, but it is frickin' huge.

Anywho, I then grabbed a more real-color photo of the Milky Way above a treeline, and added something beautiful that is both natural and man-made.


Love the J-Lo dress.

And finally, for now, the previous background with the pyramids that were built along the Nile, which was thought to represent the Milky Way.



A timelapse recording of the galactic center passing over a popular stargazing spot in Texas at about 5,000 ft elev. with clear dark skies.

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 14, 2011

Freestyle 10


I really gotta start coming up with titles for these themeless puzzles.


I had eight different southeast corners for this one. The cleanest ones were the dullest, of course, so I went with one of the dirtier ones. I opted for this one in particular once I found a clue for 55-Down that was more "user-friendly" than what I thought I'd have to use. (Something to do with politics in the Great White North.)

Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

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November 05, 2011

The Grid With Something Extra


Here's my first attempt at a "meta puzzle".

Seeing as it's my first idea that's come to fruition, it wouldn't surprise me one bit to learn that Matt Gaffney hasn't already done it as part of his weekly crossword contest. But I'll just assume not and press on.

This isn't a contest, though, so no prizes will be awarded. It's just for fun.

The challenge is simple. Fill the grid as usual. Then, to complete the puzzle, answer these two questions:
1. What three-word phrase does the puzzle suggest?
2. Where in the grid is that phrase located?

I, of course, have no idea if solving it is a piece of cake, a fun workout, or a soul-killing exercise in Everest-climbing-like futility. But I expect that it's pretty solvable if you trust your instincts (read: nagging feelings).

The photo above, by the way, has nothing to do with the final answer.


Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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