Aug 12

Posters and Prints Ready

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Posters and Prints Ready

We finally have the prints and posters ready to share digitally. Because we only had 1920 x 1080 pixels to work with on our prints, we had to take a collage approach for the 20″ x 30″ and 24″ x 36″ sizes. To tie it all together, we used the new NASA Blue Marble shot as the background for the posters and included prints from our mission on top. We think they came out really great!

Depending on the poster size and style there are between 8 and 12 shots from the mission on the posters. All posters and prints are autographed. We are giving you links to 3 different kinds of posters and 3 sizes of prints (2 different pictures). The team selected the poster with the film strips as our favorite. We ordered samples of all print sizes this week and they should be in this coming week or the following at the latest.

Below is the team’s favorite poster.

There is also this version.

And this version

Here is the 5″ x 7″ Version A

And 5″ x 7″ version B

Below is a link to all sizes and versions of the prints and posters. You can download them from this photo set by clicking on the image you like and then “Actions” directly above the picture on the top left, then drop down to “View All Sizes” – pick “original” size to download the highest resolution.

We really hope you like these.

Aug 05

Results & Time Lapse of Launch

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Life, Photography Comments Off on Results & Time Lapse of Launch

The time lapse below covers the launch of the Terra Incognita weather balloon compressing a 2 hour and 15 minute time frame to just over 3 minutes. We added some footage from 120,000 feet (just seconds before the balloon burst) to the front of the time lapse just so you can see what it looked like. We will be making another video over the course of the next few weeks covering the entire project that will have more aerial footage.

We are very pleased to share the results of our first mission to the stratosphere with these amazing pictures captured on our journey to the edge of space and back. The images below start with the release of the balloon all the way to landing in the trees. Our flight began just outside Bowling Green, Kentucky (11:45 A.M.) and touched down in the woods behind Amazing Grace Community Church in Lafayette, Tennessee (2:02 P.M.) over an hour away. The flight lasted about 2:17 minutes – about 1:17 up and 1:00 down. We arrived on site around 2:50 P.M. and had the payload in our possession by 3:50 PM. Click on the thumbnail images below to load each image individually.

To download the entire set as one zip file please click here.

The zip file is 34 MB so it might take a few minutes to download depending on the speed of your internet connection. The pictures print out very nicely at 8 1/2″ x 11″ or smaller. I recommend printing them to fit the page and then trimming off the white margins on the top and bottom. I also recommend using glossy photo paper for the best results.

To see a slide show of the best in flight pictures go here:

If you want to see a photo set of all the pictures from the entire project go here:

Jul 29

WE DID IT!! Pictures from the edge of space.

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography Comments Off on WE DID IT!! Pictures from the edge of space.

Well, we took a risk and launched today even though the weather pattern was pushing us further south and east than we wanted. The risk was that it would end up in a forested area in a tree . . . . and it did. But somehow we found it, without cell signal to power our GPS even. What an AMAZING journey and we owe a special thanks to all our backers at for helping make this dream come true – words can’t express how we all feel right now.

The curvature of the earth in the shot below is exaggerated somewhat due to the wide angle of the lens. We will try and fix that (but not all of it) after we research how to correct lens distortion in Photoshop.

Below is the predicted flight path. We got started 2 hours late due to the lengthy fill time of the balloon and the winds were much stronger because of the delay pushing us off the original prediction. You should plan 2 hours to fill it if you ever try and do this yourself. We used for the model. Click the image below to enlarge it and then click the back arrow to come back to this page.

Here is a shot of us filling the balloon. It reached 118,000 feet before bursting and falling back to earth. Had a lot of help from the parents of Anna’s friends. Mini’s dad help me a bunch with the balloon and spent the day with us on the chase. Lexi’s grand father helped us get the remaining helium we needed without which we could not have launched.

We launched at 11:45 Central time. The balloon was moving too fast for the SPOT meter to get a lock to send a GPS location the entire flight. I hadn’t counted on that. It was a very helpless feeling but we remained confident and were rewarded with a location at 2:02 P.M. within 13 minutes of our total flight time of 2:30. The bad news was, as we learned it was farther away and in the woods. We headed out and got to the location at about 2:50 P.M.

The bad news was that from about 30 minutes from the landing site, we had no cell coverage. So all we had was a rough area to work from behind a church in the woods. We went about 100 yards into the woods and started searching and Mini spotted the parachute about 100 yards from that location. What luck (for the location) and keen eyesight.

It appeared to be about 20-30 feet in the air from where we stood. But after three of us hacked our way further though the woods, it turned out to be on a ridge opposite our ridge and within hand reach. We were able to simply grab it and pull it down enough to cut it loose from the parachute making lots of young ladies and their families very happy. We had some amazing luck help us along today.

The team was holding the payload by 3:50 this afternoon. Upon inspecting the payload everything appeared to be just fine and we headed home.

Everything went perfect with this flight except one thing, the high res digital camera didn’t take pictures. It sounded like it was taking pictures and you can even hear it in the video every 5.5 seconds. But, it had no SD card in it. So the pictures we have are still shots pulled from the HD footage. These are fine for 8×10 photos and even up to 16×20 but might not reproduce well above that. I take full credit for the mistake, in my prep I cleaned the SD cards of all the cameras and forgot to put the last one back in. I check the camera and it fired just fine when the shutter was pressed . . . . no indication of the lack of SD card.

Here are a couple more shots from about 118,000 feet. I’ve pulled almost 100 shots tonight but have only had time to color correct a few. Click the image below to enlarge it and then click the back arrow to come back to this page.

I’ll be producing a video of the entire project. I’ll post here once it is complete.


May 12

Anna and Friends Launch KickStarter Project

By David Scifres Family, Life, Video Comments Off on Anna and Friends Launch KickStarter Project

Project Terra Incognita – High resolution video and photography from near orbit. This is a both a science and photography project being conducted by a group of six 6th grade girls in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They are requesting donations for a seemingly impossible but absolutely achievable project. Their goal is to send a payload into near-space, take measurements as well as high resolution pictures and video and re-acquire the payload after coming back to earth. The team humbly submits our project for your consideration knowing the only way we can accomplish our goal is with your help!

Go here:

The objective of the project is to:

  • Place an object into the stratosphere (around 20 miles above the earth’s surface) via a weather balloon and return it safely back to earth without damaging any of the equipment from the fall or extreme temperatures and wind speed.
  • Take both HD video and high resolution still photographs of the curvature of the earth and black of space from near orbit.
  • Collect data measurements about the speed of ascent/descent and air temperature of near orbit.
  • Exhibit the final photographic and video imagery of the teams work.
  • Inspire others to challenge the idea that some things are impossible.

The project will take place over the summer months of 2012, and we expect to be able to fulfill rewards of donation contributions in August. The team believes they will need roughly $3,600 to purchase necessary equipment and supplies to accomplish this project, fulfill the rewards for donations and produce exhibit materials.

To follow their progress go to the project website at:

Apr 14

Spring Break 2012 – Navarre Beach Florida

By David Scifres Family, Video Comments Off on Spring Break 2012 – Navarre Beach Florida

Anna, Sarah and Leah thoroughly enjoyed Navarre Beach Florida this spring. The weather was amazing, with hardly a cloud to be found in the sky the entire week. I don’t think we have ever had that many green flags in one week.

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Feb 20

2011 Adventure Book

By David Scifres Books, Family, Fun, Life, Photography Comments Off on 2011 Adventure Book

The 2011 Adventure Book is complete and ordered. It wasn’t done until April last year so much more timely this year. This year’s version is slightly smaller than last year at 320 pages and 619 photos. Now, on to taxes, ugh.

Jan 21

Day 21 – Dragons, Monsters and Beasts, Oh My!

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography Comments Off on Day 21 – Dragons, Monsters and Beasts, Oh My!

Leah and her friend Sailor enjoy a pop-up book together during a sleepover tonight. The book is Dragons & Mosters by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.

Jan 18

Day 17 – Bury Me Beneath The Weeping Willow Tree

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography Comments Off on Day 17 – Bury Me Beneath The Weeping Willow Tree

It doesn’t get much better than this down home song on my Victrola. In case you have never heard this song, here is a very nice version by Allison Krauss and Lyle Lovett:

Jan 01

Day 1 – Happy New Year!

By David Scifres Family, Life, Photos Comments Off on Day 1 – Happy New Year!

I welcomed in 2012 with the usual eats. Black eyed peas? Check! Cabbage? Check. Collards? YUCK, thank goodness for the peach juice. Check! And last but not least, the pork product of your choice. Check! Ummmm good and here’s to the new year.

Dec 25

Thanksgiving with the Johnson Family

By David Scifres Family, Photography, Video Comments Off on Thanksgiving with the Johnson Family

Nov 27

Corduroy the Class Bear

By David Scifres Family, Life, Video Comments Off on Corduroy the Class Bear

Leah had the pleasure of entertaining Corduroy the class bear for the weekend. Every year Mrs. McCrary’s kindergarten class at Cumberland Trace Elementary school is graced with a class bear. The students take turns hosting the class bear for the weekend. Sarah had Buddy the Bear and this year Leah has Corduroy.

Jul 26

Chicago 2011

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography, Photos, Travel Comments Off on Chicago 2011
Ferris wheel on Navy PierIMG_9544   Chicago from the Field Museum
IMG_9589IMG_9611American Girl Tea Time IMG_0649IMG_0650
Anna and Lanier at American Girl TeaIMG_0667Chicago - American Girl Doll IMG_0662Sarah and Lilly
Mmmmmm.....Chicago - Anna and Sarah on Water Taxi IMG_9615Anna and Sarah at Navy PierIMG_0673

Chicago 2011, a set on Flickr.

As promised I took Anna and Sarah to Chicago for the weekend. We had a blast. We purchased a CityPass which got us in the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Art Institute, the SkyWalk at the top of Sears tower and the Science and Technology building (which we didn’t make it to). The hit of the trip as it turns out was Navy Pier as well as tea at the American Girl Doll store.

Jun 14

One of Leah’s First Dives

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Video Comments Off on One of Leah’s First Dives

_IMG_0014, originally uploaded by mdscifres.

Leah dove off the board for the first time the day before this video was shot. I used the 8mm app to give it the old school look.

Apr 28

Spring Break 2011

By David Scifres Family, Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Spring Break 2011

Spring Break 2011, a set on Flickr.

Testing out the share link from FLickr

Apr 23

2010 Adventure Book

By David Scifres Family, Life, Photography Comments Off on 2010 Adventure Book

Finally, I finished the 356 pages (and 756 pictures) of 2011 Adventure Book. Boy am I glad that is over! I pledge to do that progressively this year. Of course, I say that and I am practically in May already and I haven’t even uploaded pictures from 2011 to Flickr yet, let alone worked on the Blurb Booksmart book for 2011.

Nov 14

Quick and Easy Bread Pudding

By David Scifres Family, Recipes Comments Off on Quick and Easy Bread Pudding

Well I made a couple things that were totally yummy this weekend. First there was biscuits and chocolate gravy followed up by bread pudding. I forgot to take a picture of the former but I remembered on the latter. Without further delay I present: Bread Pudding.

  • 10 slices white bread, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups hot milk (160 degrees F/71 degrees C)
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter one 2 quart baking dish.
  2. Combine bread cubes, butter, cinnamon and raisins; mix well and place in baking dish.
  3. Beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add milk, mix well and pour over bread cubes.
  4. Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake for 25 minutes.

Sep 18

iPhone Picture of Jupiter

By David Scifres Family, Life, Photography, Photos Comments Off on iPhone Picture of Jupiter

Jupiter will swing to within a mere 368 million miles of Earth on Monday night, making its closest pass in 47 years. The planet nears the Earth roughly every 12 years. This will be the closest the planet has come to Earth since 1963. It won’t be this close again until 2022. It can easily be seen with the naked eye at sunset in the east near the horizon, but a telescope affords an even better view. I managed to get this shot using my telescope and my iPhone.

You can clearly see the 4 Galilean moons in this shot. They are the largest of the many moons of Jupiter and derive their names from the lovers of Zeus: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. They were discovered sometime between 1609 and 1610 when Galileo made improvements to his telescope, which enabled him to observe celestial bodies more distinctly than had ever been possible before.

Jun 29

Deep Creek Adventure

By David Scifres Family, Photography, Photos Comments Off on Deep Creek Adventure

Pictures from our summer trip to tube at Deep Creek North Carolina (Bryson City). We also mined rubies at the Sheffield Mine.

Click here —> Full Screen Slideshow of Deep Creek Adventure

Feb 09

2009 Adventure Book

By David Scifres Books, Family, Fun, Photography, Photos Comments Off on 2009 Adventure Book

Finally finished the 2009 Adventure book – (Preview Book). 470 Photos in 240 pages using BookSmart by This is the third year I have used to produce our custom print on demand annual. A new feature of the application I really enjoyed this year is that you can now edit the fixed layouts and create your own new custom layouts. I didn’t use that feature as much as I would like to have done on this years book mainly because of the rush to get it out. I intended to do more customization going forward. If I can just discipline myself to build this thing each month vs. the entire thing at the end of the year.

Below are links to the 2008 and 2007 books.

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Jan 22

Standing Stone State Park, TN

By David Scifres Family, Photography Comments Off on Standing Stone State Park, TN


I highly recommend camping at Standing Stone State Park. I  went with “The Cousins”  and Anna and Sarah two summers ago. This park was amazing and it was very close to  Burgess Falls and you could easily take a day trip there as well. Since this trip, I have foolishly sold my Lexus, purchased a truck and pop-up so we can camp more frequently.

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