My Best Washington, DC Photos

I am proud to publish a gallery of my best Washington, DC photos on www.geofflivingston.photo. You can see all 23 photos there, but I have included seven of them in this post (including the header image).

It is amazing how most of them were taken in the past 12 months. My evolution in photography became clear as I browsed old and new photos.

Other folks like Jeff Cutler have remarked on this evolution, and have asked to perhaps join in the journey or at least take their own photographic journey in parallel. In that vein, I have created new weekly challenge on Flickr called Living through the Lens.

Here is how it works: I tell you what I intend to photograph this week, and if you’d like to, you can do the same. Participants are encouraged to share one or two pictures, and of course comment or favorite others’ pics, too.

In addition, several folks have asked about purchasing prints and licensing photos over the past few months since the 365 Full Frame project ended. My portfolio site now lets you license, download or print on demand using the shopping cart icon on most photos. If there is a picture you want from my other works, just ask and I will upload it for you.

And with that, on to the DC pics…

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Check out the rest of my Washington, DC photo gallery here.

CHIL and Dream

It is refreshing to stop thinking about existing technology, and imagine what can be with new tools. Last week, I had the opportunity to do that at the SciTech tradeshow hosted by one of American Institute of Aerospace and Aeronautics (AIAA).

It was cool to see how new space exploration can occur through collaboration, and where virtual reality is making amazing progress in the development community. I like to apply ideas from other sectors to my work and writing.

For example, I saw Lockheed Martin’s virtual reality development tool, CHIL (in use since 2011). Then I learned about how plane and spacecraft panels can be made lighter and more flexible, and how easily our space infrasturcutre could be hijacked by a cyberterrorist, and how to prevent pilot accidents through a new generation of sensors.

It all seeemed very exciting. I guess someone steeped in the science and technology communities, would these technologies to be natural evolutions. But to the business layman, they were fantastic.

CHIL seems like someone developed a valuable use for Second Life, allowing engineers to render their designs in 3D, and then enter them to see errors. The tech generates significant cost and time savings by reducing multiple iterations of production models.

The fledgling scifi novelist in me was thrilled, and I latched right onto the cyberwarfare and CHIL technologies. The space cyberwar scenarios are endless. Of course, the narrative in my head went towards sabotage and crimes in 3D. It’s the stuff of cyberpunk!

You could see modern applications in today’s media and marketing worlds, too. For example, imagine building out an entire customer experience — from ad to app to customer feedback to store visit — before deploying it. Or creating virtual apps to allow people to “test-drive” your product before purchasing it. Olympus recently did that with its micro 4/3 camera.

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I was so invigorated that I decided to visit the Udvar-Hazy Center last weekend to surround myself with dreams and visions already realized. Soleil and Caitlin, too. Soleil walked out telling us that she wanted to be an astronaut (actually she wanted to fly the plane known to adults as the space shuttle, but hey, same thing, right?).

Dreams are important. They remind us that great possibility and innovation can happen. We just need to imagine it, and then take the steps necessary to fulfill the vision. Easier said than done, but dreams and hard work is how innovation happens.

Point being, applied to our world the same old work or yet another boring conversation about xxx is a limitation that we create for ourselves. Choosing to go beyond begins in the heart and the mind.

What do you think?

NASA Tweets as the Shuttle Sunsets

by David Parmet

STS-129 Atlantis Launch (200911160007HQ) (explored)
Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Image by NASA

Sometimes shorter is better. “Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed” and its follow-up “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” manage to capture the moment, both for those of us old enough to remember the first Moon landing and for those who will follow us.

Both of these tightly worded statements share in common brevity and directness that still convey the larger historical drama. They are like Tweets from the pre-Internet era.

On top of whatever else is said about Twitter – that it’s a global conversation, that it breaks news and undercuts traditional avenues of information – it forces users to be as direct and concise as they can be. There’s no room for excess verbiage in a 140-character tweet.

More than any other public institution, NASA has embraced social media, both for itself as well as to bring the larger community of space enthusiasts and armchair astronauts into the conversation about space exploration.

Most importantly, especially for those of us who follow the various NASA Twitter feeds, a sense of the wonder of work and life in space comes through so much stronger in a Tweet than in a dry press release or official document. There are also more than 150 NASA-related Twitter accounts, everything from astronauts currently serving on the International Space Station (@astro_ron, @astro_aggie), on current Shuttle missions (@astro_ferg, @astro_doug), NASA administrators (@Lori_Garver) to current and historic missions (@MESSENGER2011, @NewHorizons2015, @marsphoenix, @voyager2).

Every day, thousands of followers see Astronaut Ron Garan’s photos taken from the International Space Station. Others follow the progress of the New Horizon probe on its way to Pluto. One of the most widely re-tweeted Tweets was the Mars Phoenix’s announcement that it had discovered evidence of water on Mars. A complete list of NASA social media accounts is at http://www.nasa.gov/connect/.

NASA now holds regular tweet-ups (hashtag #NASATweetUp) at the Kennedy Space Center, at the agency headquarters in Washington and at its many research and development centers throughout the country. These tweet-ups are an important part of NASA’s outreach to the space community and the larger world.

More than 20 Tweetups have already been held since 2009. The next one is scheduled this week, July 8-9 at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch of Atlantis – the final launch of the Space Shuttle program.

The impact of a single NASATweetUp can be enormous in terms of educating the larger community on Twitter about NASA and its goals of space exploration. According to NASA – a single Tweetup event can generate 4,750+ tweets in three hours and 40 million impressions. The hundreds of participants in the tweetups that have already happened have more than 3 million combined followers. A private group on Facebook for the alumni of the various NASATweetUps has more than 400 members.

NASA is in the middle of a painful transition, with the Shuttle program ending and the future of manned spaceflight uncertain. Like many organizations in the same boat, it’s finding it more important than ever to keep its community close and informed and to use whatever means it can to tell its story. Twitter is obviously only one piece of the puzzle but it’s become the most visible one.

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David Parmet, a social media and public relations consultant, attended the NASATweetups for the final launches of the Orbiters Discovery and Endeavour but has still yet to see an actual launch. He’s holding out hopes for Atlantis in July.