Will Direct Sun Damage a Camera Sensor?

Disclaimer: I did this with a Sony a7iii, which is mirrorless, no direct sun to my eyes and I had the screen pointed up so I didn’t look at the sun.

I wanted to put some numbers to this question, so I put on an ND8 filter (3 stops) and shot at 70mm, F36, ISO100. I took a picture of the bright sky next to the sun without direct sun as a baseline for “the brightest thing a camera is really designed to see.” Then I spot-metered directly on the afternoon sun in the center of the photo. The auto-shutter speed increased from 1/30 to 1/8000, so ~256x increase, or 8 stops. The sun was reasonably visible in the photo, but still bright (of course everything around it is black in the photo). I would say it was somewhat close to “properly exposed,” whatever that means in this case. 256x as bright as the bright sky is BRIGHT.

Bright Sky Near the Sun:
Direct sun with shutter speed 8 stops faster, so 1/256 as much light allowed in:

Notice the sun itself is still white.

I think there is not a good answer to “will direct sun damage my sensor?” because the best solution is to NOT have direct sun in the photo. 256x as bright as the bright sky seems like enough to damage the sensor, at least a few pixels, and it just doesn’t make for a good photo anyway – except sunrise or sunset of course with the beautiful filtering of the atmosphere.

For time lapses, I am going to start using interesting shadows to show sun movement instead of trying to figure out how to include the sun itself.

I don’t think the focal length actually matters much because the focal length just makes the sun bigger, not brighter per pixel. It only takes a few burned pixels for the sensor to be ruined so even if the sun is small – as it is with a wide-angle lens – the sun could damage some pixels if the aperture is too wide and/or not enough filter.

Bottom line, I think what actually matters for damage is:

  • aperture
  • filter (sunglasses for your camera)
  • brightness of the sun (noon vs sunset)
  • time spent with sun on the sensor.

Book Club Notes – Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles

James Wesley, Rawles
  • Blogger and journalist.
  • Supports “citizen journalism,” which I would like to learn more about.
  • In his words: https://survivalblog.com/biographies/
  • Notice his list of memberships. Good list to consider.
Book Notes
  • A previous title for the novel was The Gray Nineties
  • The series has a Wikipedia article.
  • I’m not very far in to the book still.
  • So far, my initial impression is it’s better-written than Unintended Consequences. (Actually I don’t think the author would want to be compared to that book).
  • Voting people in or out isn’t just about utility, it’s about morale.
  • If I were Matt and Chase, I would have left the country and the hemisphere. I would find a way to publicize my side of the story from a distance. Public opinion matters. Why is media always excluded from the plan? You’re already famous can’t go back from that.
  • “That winter, they ate the golden retrievers” dogs and dog breeds survive based on what people need. The idea that even a wolf is free or independent of humans is only relative to our dependence on humans. Every animal on Earth now survives at the behest of humans, it just doesn’t appear so direct.
On Prepping in General
  • 99% of world’s resources are controlled by humans
  • Retiring is the closest people typically actually come to this scenario because the most difficult thing about surviving long-term IMO would be adjusting to caring about different things. Complete routine adjustment. Completely different source of self-worth.

Time v3 Reading List

Some great reading about timekeeping in the Industrial Revolution. Here are some examples:

The Clocks are Telling Lies by Scott Alan Johnston. Centers around the International Meridian Conference. Talks a lot about the distinction between scientific professionals’ and amateurs’ perception of timekeeping.

Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism by E. P. Thompson. Discusses the transition from natural time to using clocks to regulate labor.

Greenwich Time and the Longitude by Derek Howse. Recommended by Bjorn Kartomten.

Delaware Ohio Podcast Episode 1

Download the episode 1 mp3 here.

On your phone, long-click then select “download mp3 file” or “download link” to download to your phone and listen with any mp3 player including Spotify for example.

It is a simple mp3 file. Recommend using the VLC Media Player app to listen to the mp3 on your phone. With VLC media player you can “long-touch” the rewind button to rewind 20 seconds if you miss something, which I use a lot when listening to podcasts.

On computer, right-click to download.


Delaware resident and host Nathan Ruffing interviews City Councilman Drew Farrell for the very first episode. We talk Delaware City Council issues, podcasting in general, decide Drew is also a host not just a guest in the future, work out the nerves a little bit, and solicit suggestions for where the podcast should go next. One thing is certain: there should be a Delaware Ohio Podcast. The question is, “Where should the podcast go next?”

Let us know with the form on the podcast main page here:

Delaware Ohio Podcast main page, click here.

Licking County Parcel 095-111846-00.000: The Intel Plant

I saw 6.9 acres listed “near the Intel plant” for $5.5M and the listing basically said, “go ahead and bull-doze our house,” so I decided to investigate this thing.

The main Intel parcel where the initial buildings are planned / being built is Licking County 095-111846-00.000, click here for the Licking County auditor’s website information. The site is a ~500-acre parcel to the southwest of the intersection of Mink Street and Green Chapel Road. To get there by car, the nearest landmark you can easily navigate to currently is Kyber Run Golf Course. The Intel plant site is a 7.5 mile drive northeast from New Albany.

According to some articles, the City of New Albany will annex the plant, which sounds right because it seems like Les Wexner was involved in attracting Intel.

I believe these are some of the lucky folks who sold their farm to Intel. They got at least $13.4M I think, but hard to follow because multiple parcels got merged to put together 500 acres. The Heimerl’s still own ~75 acres across the street from the plant to the north and various other plots in the area.

Click here for Intel’s announcement.

There are various plots around the Intel plant owned by MBJ Holdings, LLC, which is explained in this WOSU article about the wetlands involved.

“MBJ Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of real estate developer New Albany Company, which was started by L Brands founder Les Wexner and Jack Kessler to develop New Albany. It submitted the application that was drafted by EHM&T engineers.”

Measure the Universe

All Units and Constants, Organized

I created this consolidated sheet to catch up with the Belgians. I remain impressed with the academics in Belgium even though I was only there for a couple months. Normally I try to post directly to the page for readability but this requires special formatting to make the units / superscripts / subscripts look good so I am posting in PDF:

Measure the Universe PDF

Truly, this is the best consolidated “how-to” science document I know of. In 11 pages, it covers pretty much all science. The difficulty that prevents most people from succeeding in science is units. Step 1 for any successful science student is to consistently use the same unit for each type of measurement. If you are given inches, you convert to meters. If you are given miles, you convert to meters. If you are given light-years, you convert to meters. Even kilometers, convert to meters. You get the point. The unit helps understand the concept and the concept yields the unit if you are thinking of it correctly.

Heat Capacities of the Atmosphere and the Oceans

  • Volume of the atmosphere: not really meaningful.
  • Volume of Earth’s oceans: 1.335×1018 m3
  • Mass of the atmosphere: 5.15×1018 Kg
  • Mass of the oceans: ~1.4×1021 Kg
    • Average salinity: 0.035 Kg salt per Kg water, so 3.5% by mass.
  • The oceans are 272x the mass of the atmosphere.
Specific Heat
  • Specific heat of “air” at 250K is 1005 J/KgK
  • Specific heat of ocean water is ~4000 J/KgK
Total Heat Capacity
  • Total heat capacity of the atmosphere: 5.2×1021 J/K
  • Total heat capacity of the oceans: 5.6×1024 J/K
  • The heat capacity of the oceans is ~1,077x the heat capacity of the atmosphere.

I think it’s interesting that the ocean is only 272x the mass of the atmosphere. That is knowable intuitively if you know the approximate pressure deep-sea subs deal with or know that 10m of water is equal to about 1 atmosphere of presure.

Another interesting scale to put in perspective is that the hydrosphere is about 0.023% of Earth’s total mass. So the Earth mass is about the mass of 4,300 oceans.

Curriculum for the 21st Century

Life basics

  • Money
    • personal finance: fundamental. Of course necessary.
    • Basic accounting principles. Basic accounting principles are important because it is the language used to practically communicate the exchange of money in real life. If you understand everything except the accounting principles, good. It’s better than nothing. However, accounting principles empower an individual to track many automatic transfers of money that are too tedious to track day-to-day and month-to-month without accounting tools.
  • Literacy. I believe all of the following should be included in the idea of modern-day literacy. The narrower definition of “literate” meaning “to be able to read” excludes the wider necessity of being able to successfully communicate in the real world.
    • Reading, of course. Still fundamental.
    • Writing. With electronic communication, ideas and all media can be infinitely copied. This trend of over a century has reduced the perceived value of a individual amateur content production to near zero. Being able to produce content of all kinds is valuable.
    • Typing. Typing is realistically the dominant text communication method of our time. Certainly penmanship still matters, but it has been practically replaced and it is probably more important to be able to type than write.
    • Blogging. I have written about blogging extensively. In fact, I have blogged about blogging extensively.
    • Video Editing. This seems advanced and to do it properly currently requires a paid software subscription (free video editing software stinks). Learning to video-edit is absolutely worth it to better understand the deluge of video content we are all exposed to. Participating in video editing will certainly ruin the enjoyment of some content – especially most of Netflix – but learning video editing develops an appreciation for other content and a more actively fulfilling experience.
      • ***On screens*** I am about as anti-television / smartphone / social media as a person can be. However, I am not completely anti-screen. Screens are a reality. Screens are objectively better than paper in many ways. Screens display all types of content. Television is a passive one-way conversation that conditions the viewer to not think. Screens can be – and often are – two-way and allow user production even more than paper! Screens should not be demonized for the fact that the majority of content on screens is negative. Producing content on screens can be meaningful and fulfilling. There is a lot of great content on screens and we should be learning to find and make the good content rather than avoiding content altogether by avoiding screens.

History, Math, Science

Learn context to understand why different concepts are important, what they are.
  • History Etc.
    • Geography, countries, yes, but also non-country-centric. Geographic feature-centric first.
    • Geography > political boundaries > history: geography gives context for political boundaries. Together geography and political boundaries give context for history. History gives context for many of the concepts in other subjects. Understand how humans came to learn the world.
    • Understand the calendar. Remember dates not relative periods of time. (Like Rick Reeder)
    • Family History
    • Local history
    • World history / human history
    • History of the funding of science, art, and schools. Learn the fundamental support system for the environment that enables students to learn. Learn that higher learning and the production of art is a uniquely human endeavor that is fundamentally collective.
  • Math
    • Roman numerals for basic counting.
    • Place value, zero, Arabic numerals.
    • Number systems, base 10, hexadecimal and binary for other examples etc.
    • Fractions, factoring, least common multiple
    • Algebra
    • Trigonometry is more than just triangles, it’s the building block to calculating all shapes.
    • Calculus: derivatives, integrals, position, velocity, acceleration.
    • Infinite series, frequency domain, e^(i*pi) +1 = 0. (This seems crazy but the concepts are simple if they are taught in normal life not complex math class).
  • Science, particularly physics.
    • The scientific process, reduction.
    • Energy.
    • Thermodynamics basic concepts.
    • Relativity
    • Navier-Stokes equations

All units in one place for reference, especially for understanding concepts, simplify with a unified system of units (SI system).

Religion and Philosophy

  • Bible
  • Sand Talk
  • Antifragile, tipping point, etc.

Sports and Art

  • Literature, Art, Music, Sports: learn to enjoy them the way they are. Art is inherently valuable. In a world where technology advancement obsoletes jobs and entire careers within a generation, being able to produce valuable art is something inherently outside the scope of what machines can do and replace. ***Be sure not to fall into the trap of imagining that one has to make money for art production to be valuable.*** If a person can enjoy producing his own art, he is filling a void “normally” filled by the output of entire entertainment industries. The fact that it is difficult to make money producing art is partly what makes producing art so valuable. It is also very difficult to buy truly meaningful art. Producing one’s own art is an inherently non-taxable transaction. Governments will never really promote individuals’ production of their own content. Producing art could single-handedly do more to reduce energy consumption than any fancy modern technology possibly could. Yet art does not support governments so art is never really the solution according to governments. Producing one’s own art is the most efficient expenditure of human energy. Producing art is inherently fulfilling. Art is fulfillment and independence during times of plenty.
    • Absolute pitch training. I think when you and he are screaming together, he is matching your pitch. You said this. I think you are right. I think it’s good for him.
    • Ball. Play ball.
    • Painting? I know little about painting, but when we think of art, painting is the first thing that typically comes to mind.
  • Sailing: a classic means of transportation.
  • Knots:
    • “Make a loop in the end of a rope.” Bowline
    • “Tie to that object for a heavy load.” round turn and two half hitches
    • “Tie to that object quickly for a light load.” clove hitch
    • “Tie a fat knot in that rope.” figure-8
    • “Attach these two ropes together.” Square knot / man’s knot
    • “In an emergency, attach those two ropes together.” rolling hitch / double-clove hitch
    • “Tie down that gear on that trailer.” Delaware Rental knot
    • Aaron’s “double-figure-8”

Test Taking and Chess

When I took tests in high school and college, the general format was, “Complete this test content as correctly as you can. It should take about 2 hours. You have 2.5 hours to complete it. Go.”

When I took the GMAT in 2020, there was a stark difference. The GMAT format is more like, “You will complete content as correctly as you can for 2 hours and your score is based on how well you complete the content and how difficult the content was that you completed in 2 hours.” This format is called an “adaptive test.” Computers enable adaptive testing where the difficulty of the questions is based on your performance on previous questions. Even top test-takers use all the time allotted because their content is more difficult than those who get lower scores. I go into detail on my GMAT prep post here.

Timed chess is a similar challenge where your brain has to operate correctly and efficiently.

I believe these types of mental challenges highlight mental fitness well and understanding how to get one’s brain to work well for a specific period of time is a specific life skill. If I have to complete a 2-hour task and I have 2.5 hours, I can make up for fatigue or hunger with the extra half-hour. If the goal is to output as much correct information as possible in 2 hours, I will absolutely do better on a day where I am well-rested and ate well.

Modern standardized tests are mental challenges like timed chess and I think important life skills.

Produce. Persist. Own. Succeed. Fail. Care. Do. Learn. Win.