Monday, October 31, 2011

Rugby distraction

I've been distracted for the last two months, partly because I was away for 5.5 weeks, and partly because the Rugby World Cup was on, and I'm a huge (All Blacks) fan.  In fact, my overseas trip was so that I could catch a bit of the rugby in New Zealand, which is like home to me.  I did mix in some geology with my travels: I was on a volcano, I visited some ancient clastics and some modern carbonates. I even did some work on my thesis and a manuscript my supervisor and I are working on. And I watched a lot of rugby, on TV, and in the stadium. I went to five games: three pool matches and two quarterfinals.

When I came back to Canada, I struggled to get over the jet lag, because the rugby was still on, and I was up until 4 or 5am watching the semifinals, and then the bronze final, and then the final. SPOILER: A week later, and I'm still pretty elated about the results.

Now that the RWC is over, I need to get my nose back to the grindstone and finish off my thesis and that manuscript. They're getting there. I'm struggling a bit though, because I'm in rugby withdrawal. So last night I went through some of my photos from Australia, and printed off a few from my outback trip, so that I could look at the really cool geology and be motivated to get some writing done. It also got me thinking about the things I saw that I want to blog about, so now I have a list, and a schedule. Hopefully it will be a nice distraction from writing and figure-making. Anne Jefferson's writing challenge couldn't have come at a better time.

In the meantime, here are a few teaser pictures from my time away (and if anyone knows how I can save them so that the colour doesn't sometimes get changed when they are being viewed, I'd be grateful):
Beside a fumarole on White Island



Valley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta
King's Canyon
Standing beside the Webb Ellis Trophy, two weeks before New Zealand won it


  1. Nice pics! They don't seem to have any colour cast on my system. Some might benefit from tweaking the contrast, but otherwise the colours don't look distorted or need adjustment.

    Welcome home--just in time for winter! ;-)


  2. Thanks Howard!

    I think the problem I'm seeing is related to colour profile compatibility. In some photo viewers (particularly "slideshow" views) everything looks grayer than it should, especially the red rocks in the outback.

  3. Ah, OK--that's what I meant about contrast. That excessive "grayness" is easy to fix if you know how. What do you use for photo editing software? Whatever it is, there should be a "levels" or "color adjustment" dialog that shows a histogram. In Photoshop (& Photoshop Elements) it's under Image/Adjustments/Levels. On the off chance that you're using Mac OSX, you can use the Preview application under Tools/Adjust Color. In any case, the histogram will be a rough "bell curve" with three sliders at the bottom: right (highlights/whites), middle (midtones), and left (shadows). In some of your photos, you will see that the bell curve is scrunched up against the left side. If you drag the right (highlight) slider toward the left, until it's even with the right "tail" of the histogram, this will bring up the highlights. Then, try dragging the middle slider to the left until the image looks good. You might also try just using the "Auto" button if there's one available.

    Hope this helps!


  4. Thanks again Howard. I think I wasn't clear about what the problem was--I've got it fixed now. I use Photoshop CS4, and the issue wasn't with getting the colours right in photoshop. I use the histogram to adjust the levels all the time. The problem was that I use a colour profile that is optimized for printing, but not all web/monitor software reads it properly.

    Fortunately, it's a simple fix: when I convert my tiff's to jpeg's for uploading I need to make sure that the colour profile gets converted to sRGB from the profile I use. When I convert photos one at a time, I usually remember to do this, but the last few times I've done a batch conversion, I've forgotten a few steps.

    At any rate, I think I've got the problem fixed, at least with these photos! Thanks again for your help and suggestions.

  5. I've also been following the rugby. Great (but very close!) final! New Zealand generally seems to play worse in the finals, for some reason...

  6. Ha ha, yes, full props to France for forcing NZ to play defensively (which they don't usually have to do). And yet I feel like the score doesn't tell the full story of the game--it never does, I suppose!

  7. Well, having a break every once in a while can really help in thesis writing. It can refresh the mind that is a help with thesis as you can really be stress about it. Anyway, did you already finish your thesi0s? I think rugby can really be fun to watch, but you should limit watching it if you’re still writing the paper.