Mission Trip Haiti: Business as Usual, Almost — Part 2

Everyone was shocked; I hadn’t even once considered that the epicenter could be Port-au-Prince.

My first reaction was untempered, “Let’s go! People need our help!” However, Bruce kindly and patiently explained our position: a group of white people, with no experience in disaster recovery, who can’t speak French or Creole, and don’t have place to stay, food to eat, or water to drink. Of course, Bruce was right; we would have been more of burden than anything. I guess that’s the kind of insight one gets after working in Haiti for twenty-five years.

Life continued, more or less, as normal. Bruce was working overtime trying to coordinate relief efforts with his organization, CrossWorld, and we did what we could for the people of Port-au-Prince from where we were by praying. The only real impact to us was that our days were a bit shorter since Bruce had so much going on.

18.0 mm || 1/250 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

70.0 mm || 1/320 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

38.0 mm || 1/400 || f/4.2 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

Read More »Mission Trip Haiti: Business as Usual, Almost — Part 2


On a Mission For God in Haiti

I will be sending out letters later this week, but I wanted to provide an update on my plans now!


Dear Friends,

It is with great excitement that I write to you about this next step in life. As you know, I graduated this past May from the Colorado School of Mines with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering. After traveling in Europe for nine weeks, I started my job at Boeing as an entry level Design and Analysis Engineer for Integrated Defense Systems. For a while, I have known that God has blessed me with special talents, especially those involving technology; and over the last several years, I have felt called to use my talents for His glory.

Last spring, I was looking for a summer mission trip that would be able to use to my skills as an engineer. Although I pursued several different avenues, I didn’t find anything that struck a chord with me. Excuses will always be prevalent, especially in today’s society.

This fall, I’ve been attending Convergence, the young adult ministry at UPC. Through an interesting set of short conversations with a variety of people over the last few month, I’ve decided that it’s high time I let my “religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” (G. K. Chesterton)

I have been given the opportunity to spend ten days serving the Lord in Haiti. I will travel with 11 others as we come along side UPC ministry partners Bruce and Deb Robinson. We will be engaged in a variety of work ranging from irrigation projects to rebuilding structures damaged during hurricane season, and more. I have no doubt that God will be able to use me and my skills for His work.

I am writing to ask if you would be my partner in this service through prayer and/or financial support. I am looking for a group of people to commit to praying for me and my team during this winter’s experience. As for finances, we are asked to raise $1500.

I know that in this economy that is a lot to ask, so any contribution you could make to this trip would be greatly appreciated; and I promise none of it will go to pay off my school loans. Your gift will be fully tax deductible (your cancelled check serves as a receipt), and any contributions I receive above my individual cost will be applied to team expenses as a whole. Please make any checks payable to UPC and send the enclosed response card with your donation by December 31 if possible.

This is a pretty exciting trip and I’m looking forward to seeing what God is up to. If you would like to stay appraised of my goings-on, I will be writing about my process and trip to Haiti on my web site, which you can visit at http://AndrewFerguson.net

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV))

Your Brother in Christ,


Download a copy of this letter and fundraising response form: Haiti Letter (PDF: 595KB)


Dateline: Istanbul, Day 4 – Wrapping Up

Istanbul, Turkey
25 June 2009

For our last day in Istanbul, Charlie and I split up.

While walking down to the pier the other day, I saw a sign for the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam. Knowing that much of our current math has its roots in Arabic (our numbering system is, after all, Arabic), I was rather curious to check this museum out.

The museum was relatively new and not quite completed yet; which was unfortunate, because several of the models were kinetic, but not plugged in.

18.0 mm || 1/5 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

31.0 mm || 1/100 || f/4.0 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

25.0 mm || 1/80 || f/3.8 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

29.0 mm || 1/20 || f/4.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

I think I was most impressed by the astroglobes, which were used to predict star locations, and water pumps, which I was interested in for their sheer ingenuity and for a project I’m working on that I’ll discus at a later date.

18.0 mm || 1/15 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

I met back up with Charlie at the hostel for one last trip to the Grand Bizaar to get some more Turkish Delight and hopefully a carpet for me.

18.0 mm || 1/640 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

18.0 mm || 1/320 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

44.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

With remarkable efficient, we entered the Bazaar, completed our missions, and were back at the hostel.

One snag Charlie ran in to was withdrawing money from the ATM. The aforementioned trip was expensive, 390YTL1 …which actually isn’t all that bad considereing what we were doing and the ground we were covering, and we still had to pay Ali. However, Charlie couldn’t get either of his ATM cards to work! Crap! After calling his bank and some bank and forth to the ATM, we eventually figured out that he has a maximum withdraw limit and was attempting to take out barely more than the limit.

Charlie rushed back, just in time to pay Ali and catch the bus.

60.0 mm || 1/20 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

And just like that, we were on to Cappadocia.

18.0 mm || 1/400 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey

  1. $250 USD 

My Life as a Beach Ball

Sometimes, I feel as though my life is like a beach ball. I’m walking along the beach, between the crashing waves and the rocks, carrying my beach ball. Most of the time, I hold on the beach ball because I’m afraid of loosing it in the water.

Every once in a while, though, I’ll toss up my beach ball. The reasons vary. Sometimes out of frustration, sometimes to see what happens, sometimes because I want to. Whatever the reason, I really think I need to let go of my beach ball more often and trust that God (the prevailing Wind) keeps it out of the water. For the times that I do trust God, I’m usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

And for the times I’m not, fail with grace.


And All I Ask is a Tall Ship and a Star to Steer Her By

Sea Fever
By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again
to the lonely sea and sky
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song
and the white sail’s shaking
And a gray mist on the sea’s face,
and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
That may not be denied
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying
And the flung spray and the blown spume
and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again
to the vagrant gypsy life
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way
where the wind’s like a whetted knife
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick’s over.

One of my favorite things about being back in Seattle are the opportunities to get out on the water. While we do have a speedboat of our own, I don’t think it get’s much better then sailing. At some point in time, I’d really enjoying sailing around the world – or at least part of the world. Although such an adventure will have to wait until I can get a boat of my own and a crew.

In the meantime, I’m fortunate to have a friend, Peter, who has a sailboat. And thus we went sailing on Monday and again on Tuesday (for the bonus round):

Remember all those pictures of your parents that you look at? This picture reminds me of one of those. In fact, I’d call this picture of Staples iconic.

All Images: Copyright 2008 Andrey Marchuk


Operation of Hydroelectric Facilities and the Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric Generating Plant

  • Mines

A while back I posted some picture on Flickr of the Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric Generating Plant. At one point, I was going to write up a little post here explaining what they were and why I had picture of such a cool (albeit old) facility.

Instead, I decided to write the paper for my class and post that in lieu of writing an actual post.
The downside, though, is that posting my paper creates about five pages of technoblable that most readers will turn away from in utter disgust. However, posting my paper does have the effect of pushing forward my “long standing desire post my school work online” and I think the latter serves the purposes of this blog better then trying to remedy the former.

I generally detest posting things on here in the PDF format, however the IEEE format for publication is rather odd and doesn’t it lend itself to online publication very easily. However, I will include the abstract and index terms for the benefit of those who are at least a little curious but do not necessarily want to read the entire paper:

Operation of Hydroelectric Facilities and the Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric Generating Plant (April 2008) [PDF]
Andrew J. Ferguson, Member, IEEE

Abstract – Boulder Canyon Hydroelectric Generating Plant has been in continuous operation since 1910. While the technology behind the operation has seen some upgrades, the infrastructure is mostly the same as it was almost a century ago.

Index Terms – Breaker, Hydroelectric generators, Synchronization, Transformer, Water.

Update: Received 95/100 on this paper.


Shooting Water Droplets

I was reading an article over at digital-photography-school.com on shooting water droplets and decided to give it a try.

Out of about 90 shots or so (including lighting tests), I ended up with 6. Here are two of my favorites:
DSC_1590 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1619 (by Mr Ferguson)

Here’s the lovely lighting setup I had:
IMG_0192 (by Mr Ferguson)

Two upside-down bowls in the sink on top of each other. I filled the the top white one with water to the top. Nikon D70 with 18-70mm on a tripod. SB600 Speedlight about 15cm camera left and triggered via Commander (i.e remote trigger). Water dripped down through a latex glove that I poked a hole in and suspended from the kitchen cabinet using Dunstan’s cat leash.

On a somewhat related note, I may have some exciting news tomorrow. Be sure to check back for that!