I was pretty lucky - Photoshop's Auto Levels feature was able to salvage most of the images, and it turned out that only a handful I took just before leaving were too dark to do anything with. You'll see some grainy shots, which is what happens when the camera decides to shoot at 1600 ASA. I guess they call that ISO these days, ASA is the pre-ISO acronym.
The good news is I did get some great shots of the little burrowing owls. To put them in perspective, since there's nothing to judge by in the photos, they are about the size of a squirrel. Maybe a tad smaller. I'm guessing 8 inches tall.
The buildings in the final shot are in what is now the NASA Ames Research Center, what used to be Moffet Naval Air Station. The quonset hut shape on the left is the world's largest aircraft hangar, now the world's largest super-fund site. The square building toward the right houses NASA's wind tunnel. The domes are probably radar, but I'm just guessing.
Anyhow, the photos are viewable on my web site at this link here
Preening Pelicans and an angry tern:
Yesterday I missed two calls on my cell phone because the phone didn't ring. The reason it didn't ring is there's a "feature" that when you push one of the buttons on the side of the phone, it changes the "ringer theme". It switches between ring, vibrate, ring + vibrate and silent. It is impossible not to hit this button when taking the phoe out of its holster or my pocket. So after dinner I drove out to Valley Fair mall to see what they had in the way of a cell phone with all the features I wanted, none that I didn't want, and no buttons on the outside which could not be disabled or reassigned.
Turns out there isn't one. The guy at the Cingular office did show me a couple of things which were not in the manual, like how to use the voice dial feature. I just signed this 2-year contract so going to another provider is not in the cards. Besides, I like the good signal strength I'm getting, and the plan price is reasonable. Maybe next year there will be a camera-less phone with the features I want and a more intuitive interface.
The trip wasn't a total disaster - I found a gorgeous 10" chef's knife for $115, which I had not seen for less than $130 anywhere. And Hot Topic had a couple of T-shirts which said Buy Me. One says "I've gone over to the dark side...but don't worry, I brought along a flashlight". The other needs to be seen to be understood.