They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

Penguicon 12.0

And as promised... some pictures.

So, Saturday I drove across the width of Michigan to get to Penguicon 12 for a day. Just over three hours there and just under three hours back -- I gassed in the morning at "the usual" gas station, BP in Portland at Exit 77 on I-96. For some reason, i.e. I don't know Detroit as well as I'd like, I keep thinking Southfield should be on the south side, by Dearborn or Detroit Metro Airport. Instead, it's an easy drive, I-96 to I-696 to M-10 to 10 Mile Road. The last time I was on the M-10, it was all bombed out. Now it's beautiful, new concrete. Smooth and 70 mph. That's a relief since they're usuing M-10 as a detour around a major section of I-96 they're ripping apart and rebuilding this summer.

Off the highway, cross over, make a funky pair of RIGHT turns around a triangular intersection to make a LEFT turn, and we're there.

The Westin Southfield was the con hotel. I could see it nestled between some tall buildings. The handicapped spots directly by the main entrance were full, but from the Google satellite view, I knew there were more a little further on. No problem -- except there wasn't a great ramp to get the walker up the curb.

How did I know I was at the right hotel? Easy, there's a familiar stainless steel silhouette parked out front...

Ernie Cline's Ghostbusters Back to the Future Delorean. I think there's some Buckaroo Bonzai thrown in there, too. Ernie is the author of Ready Player One. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I eventually sent Mrs. Dr. Phil an email, as I sat down to lunch. So I decided to include a picture. It's easy to snap yourself with the Kindle Fire HD and upload to Gmail. Just as I was about to snap the picture, there was a flash of light purple behind me. The restaurant's hostess had fuzzy antennae -- I called her back and she happily joined my picture.

I am always amused that the screen can flash bright white for a flash in dim lighting. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And the lighting WAS dim. The Westin Southfield was the darkest, most unevenly lit con hotel I've ever been in. I normally shoot the Nikon D1H with the 24-120mm f3.5-5.6G VR AF-NIKKOR at ISO 1600 in B&W mode at cons. The results are grainy, but in a way that looks like the old 35mm 1600 ASA Kodak 2475 High Speed Recording Film. But that wasn't enough. I had to boost two more stops to the HI-2 custom setting -- reminds me of the UO Unsafe Optimization setting on the FTN FORTRAN compiler for the CDC-6600 back at Northwestern -- which makes horrible color photos. Thankfully, I'm shooting black & white, and so ISO 6400 can be made to work.

Cory Doctorow waiting for his computer to boot before his noon reading. Shot wide open at 120mm f5.6 (180mm FX equivalent) and STILL I could only get 1/25th of a second shutter speed. Thankfully the D1H is stable and heavy, and the Nikon VR Vibration Reduction is pretty amazing. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And then it was time to go home.

Backed down to ISO 200. Cline drives his Delorean all over -- note the Texas plates. I asked him if it was an original or one of the "new" ones built from leftover parts. It's an original. How does it drive? Surprisingly well. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

On the way in, the rains were pretty much gone -- 2 or 3 times I had to put the delay wipers on the lowest setting, and I had to use the washer a couple of times since the rain wasn't heavy enough to wash off the dust from newly plowed fields.

Westbound it was windy and in the 50s, but the big puffy clouds blocked the bright sun most of the time. Clear roads, little traffic.

This is about twenty minutes into the drive, so it's probably I-96 not I-696. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I had no troubles driving and it felt good. Heck, I didn't even put on the radio all day. I am so glad I made it to Penguicon this year, even if it wasn't even for a whole day.

More anon...

Dr. Phil
Tags: cons, nikon, penguicon, photos

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