This Is the Laser

The laboratories of physical scientists across the planet have pulsed laser systems like this one, and many look quite similar: a collection of squat boxes covering optics, electronics, and beampaths. Above or below the surface of the table are additional boxes of electronics driving the lasers and detectors. This particular system is special to me for two reasons: (1) most modern laser tables don’t have rad wood grain paneling, and (2) this was the instrument I used during my sabbatical at Berkeley Lab last spring. Lots of good data emerged from its photomultiplier tube.

This Is the Laser

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Spectroscopy Lab

After spending my entire adult life as a laboratory scientist, the web of gas lines and vacuum pumps and electrical cable seems normal. I do understand, rationally, that all of this looks overwhelming. There’s so much purpose and productivity behind the network, however, that it’s worth the sophistication.

Spectroscopy Lab

Uprooted

In the woods of Hermon, New York, Uprooted played a show to celebrate the release of their new CD. The band’s name stems from its origins: all of its members are transplants to the North Country from across the US. Fitting, then, that the show took place in a home with many handcrafted wood details and structures. The audience stretched far back under the balcony where I hid to take this shot.

Uprooted

Shipping Container House

Photographing landscapes and structures (and being the son of civil engineers), I’ve become a bit of an architecture fanboy. The trend towards building with shipping containers, whether a do-it-yourself effort or a pre-fab corporate approach, seems particularly exciting. This weekend, I encountered this in-construction house built from three forty-foot intermodal containers. The owners added sloped roof, a permanent foundation, and windows and doors outside, but they liked the shipping container aesthetic and plan to keep all of the original paint and labeling outside. I find that look charmingly authentic.

Shipping Container House I

Inside, however, there’s little hint of the structure’s more exotic origins. Though, like the exterior, the interior is still under construction, there’s a straightforward home inside the three long shipping containers worth of space.

Shipping Container House II

Mohonk: Ready for the Show

Mohonk Mountain House’s parlor is far grander than the name might imply. After dinner, it’s the site of live entertainment. That could be a comedian, or a string quartet, or a band, or an animal trainer. The consistent variety could almost be called old-fashioned—matching the tone of the room.

Mohonk: Ready for the Show