On this date 10

unidentified insect trapped in tree resin
On this date, fourteen years ago (that makes it 2006, just so you don’t have to do the math,) I came across a future fossil, an insect recently trapped in tree resin. Okay, probably not. Probably not a future fossil, I mean, since to make amber, the resin then has to be preserved in certain conditions, and this particular situation did not have them – what you’re seeing here is almost certainly long gone. For the shot, I was using the Canon Pro-90 IS with a reversed Olympus 50mm attached for high magnification – if this frame wasn’t tightly cropped you’d see the vignetting it caused in the corners. And you probably already got this impression from the short depth of field, but this was a tiny subject, hard to pin focus upon, but I liked this frame because it focused instead on the lensing properties of the air bubbles within the resin. From the length of the legs and the habits of the species, this is quite possibly a mosquito.

I never backed off and shot a wider, more establishing view, a bad habit that I’m prone to, but I also wasn’t blogging then and didn’t have the habit of seeing any story potential in such shots. Still, I seem to recall this was in the yard of Jim Kramer, and subsequent frames in the folder lend weight to this. And no, I don’t know what you’re seeing magnified within that bubble. Looks like a tiny terrarium.

And another, even though I featured a similar frame back at that time.

long exposure of creek ripples by moonlight
This came from 2015, a spot that I’d frequented when I lived about three kilometers away, even though I’d moved much further off the year before – the conditions made it worth the return trip. We had a wonderfully warm evening with a bright full moon, which was an invitation for long moonlight exposures, and so Buggato and I did a late-night session by the creekside. Not a lot of ripples and no rapids at all, but it was within easy reach, and I’d never heard a banjo while there.

You might have expected this to look more blue, but that’s only because our own low-light vision lacks color reception – moonlight is sunlight reflected from a neutral grey surface and is pretty much the same color as sunlight. And yet, this still looks a tad yellowish to me, so I suspected that I might have had the white balance set for something other than full sunlight (which means neutral and uncorrected.) The EXIF info wasn’t a lot of help: it said white balance was ‘Manual (1),’ which is meaningless to me – I’ve used actual manual white balance, set by a card reading, I think once in my life, so I suspect it really means Sunlight.

Okay, I had to confirm this, and checked some recent images that I know were shot in that setting; yep, ‘Manual (1)’ really means Sunlight, no compensation or automatic correction by the camera. So the light then really did have a yellow cast to it, either from humidity or stray ambient light from other sources.

And in fact, we will revisit this idea of neutrality with next week’s episode. I know you can hardly wait.

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