On this date 54

I know, I’m cheating, and trying to shamelessly increase the photo count for the year, but we all know about me and shame by now (“we all” meaning, of course, me, because who the hell else is reading this?) But I promise, this is the last ‘On This Date’ post of the year – no sneaking in a ’54-A’ or anything like that. Other posts with photos, I make no guarantees…

And this one largely came about from a minor curiosity, because I noticed when reviewing my handy-dandy date spreadsheet (that made all of these posts possible) that we had entries in the ‘Mammals & Carnivores’ sorting category on different years, back-to-back. This category is woefully underpopulated in my stock, oddly enough, mostly because the mammals available around here are largely nocturnal, unless you count grey squirrels, and in December, that’s what I was expecting to find when I checked the photos listed. But no, I found the exact same thing for both.

up the nostril shot of a belted galloway cow at Fearrington Village, NC
I mentioned in the previous post that we would hear more about Fearrington Village, and here we are. One of the village’s claims to fame (or at least its signature aspect) is being home to a bunch of Belted Galloway cattle, sometimes know as “Oreo cows” because they’re a blatant ripoff of Hydrox. No, it appears, as I do a bare modicum of research, that it’s instead because Belted Galloways are black cows with a thick white band in the middle, something that my photo here from 2005 shows very poorly, though if you ever wanted to gaze deep within the nostrils of a curious cow, I’m your man. (I mean, I’ll provide the pics, not the nostrils.) Overcast days are actually good times to tackle animals that are black and white (preferably without including quite so much of the sky,) because the lessened contrast makes the opposing colors more visible and controlled in the images, as opposed to sunny, high-contrast days when either the black portions or the white (sometimes both) will fall outside of the range that the camera can capture. Which I demonstrated six years later in 2011, when I visited again on this date.

Belted Galloways at Fearrington Village
Not so much with this photo, I mean, because I purposefully shot these cows lying in the shade to control it, but another frame that I have from the day is in regular use with my students to show what happens when you tackle high-contrast subjects in high-contrast lighting.

[As a silly note, I cropped and sized these photos a day ahead of starting this post, and just now as I was proofing a draft, I stared at the above image and wondered how it uploaded corruptly, before remembering that I’d left a portion of the fence in the bottom of the frame – those aren’t neutral-grey and white rendering errors, but a white fence.]

Now, I have visited Fearrington Village perhaps a total of seven or eight times during my entire tenure in North Carolina (presently about 27 years,) and somehow two of those visits were on the same date. That’s crazy, right? Well, okay, it’s a trivial coincidence, falling at roughly a 2% chance, but one that serves as a partial post topic anyway. Continuing the trivia now as I’m typing about it, I’ve spent a decade more time living in NC than I have in NY, but I still kind of self-identify more as a (central, “upstate”) New Yorker than as a Carolinian – and yet, I was born in Jersey. That’s crazy.

There was an explanation for the second visit featured here though, and that was because a friend of ours (also from NY) was visiting, and she’s got this serious obsession with cows – don’t ask me, I’m not making this up. So of course we had to take her to see the Belted Galloways nearby – partially because it was her birthday, too. Still is, or at least the anniversary of such, so we’re slipping in another aspect of this post. That’s her down below (the one on the left,) so if you recognize her, wish her a happy birthday and tell her to find some new obsession that makes a little more sense. I mean, cows

Belted Galloways at Fearrington Village with overexcited tourist in background

It’s another day

Well, specifically, it’s the end of the month, and the end of the year, but really, these are just arbitrary lines drawn in the sand. Still, they’re lines I’ve chosen to recognize with things like the end of the month abstract, and here’s the dealio: when I opted to alter my schedule slightly to have two ‘On This Date’ posts for this week, I found a couple of abstract images taken on the 31st, so the pics here are doing double duty, while there is still an ‘On This Date’ post coming today. Confused? I know I am…

Anyway, this is what we have, both from this date fifteen years ago.

a profusion of unidentified red berries
I don’t actually remember it being this way, but EXIF info doesn’t lie – unless I had the camera date set wrong and corrected it between two sets of images from different days. But these two images come from two different locations that day (maybe,) and I do remember that both of these trips were taken with Jim Kramer. The one above was to a spot nearby called Fearrington Village, which we’ll hear more about later on, but it’s a picturesque housing development/farm/touristy shop place, the kind intended to be described as “quaint” though personally I’m not sure it quite personifies this. Within, however, is a park and meadow area with a pond and stream, and that’s where I found this unidentified tree completely laden with berries. I was using the Canon Pro 90 IS, which greatly limited my options and approaches, and even at the minimum aperture of f8 the depth wasn’t quite what I was aiming for, but the overall effect is still acceptable.

The other was taken some 55 kilometers away, less than two hours previous; I remember this excursion as well, to a curious island on the Haw River. Winter conditions weren’t ideal of course, but I found a little tableau that I liked in the rocks on the river itself, and did a few minor variations of it.

leaf within tiny pool in rock hollow with reflections
I liked the split between what you can see through the water and the reflection you can see in it (or technically not in it I guess, bouncing off without entering,) the leaf having escaped the trees’ grasping branches or somesuch – read into it what you will. And I’m not sure if clearer skies would have improved or reduced the effect, to be honest, though at least it would have made the colors richer.

Despite reasons to celebrate, desires to forget, welcoming the new year, flipping off the old, or anything else, don’t party too hard tonight (or try it without alcohol, at least.) If you choose this line in the sand to make changes, fine, cool, run with it, but if you’re expecting such things to happen automatically because there’s something different about tomorrow versus today, seriously, don’t make me lecture you.

Cheers!

Should’ve known better

I was trying to put together an illustrating image for an upcoming post today, first pondering what I really wanted to portray, then hoping I would get the conditions needed for the shot once I settled on the composition, but this was not to be. I would have known that, had I checked my calendar, because today is National Fail To Produce a Necessary Illustration Day, a holiday that has victimized much bigger people than I, among them Annie Leibovitz and Theodor Geisel. I could have spent the time working on a podcast or finalizing next year’s weekly topic instead, but now that time’s all wasted. So let that be a lesson to you: always check the calendar before engaging in some creative activity, because there’s only so much inspiration that you might have, and when it’s gone it’s gone. It was such a cool idea too.

On this date 53

As further evidence of my poor planning about this time a year ago, the normal weekly entry for the ‘On This Date’ posts would be tomorrow, but as I look at my spreadsheet for December 30th I find that (as far as my annotated, digital images go anyway,) I’ve shot nothing. Not a sausage. Hell of a finalĂ©, eh? Ah, well – see you next year.

Nah, I can’t let it go at that. I did have some photos for both the 29th and 31st, so we’re going to double-down here at the end of the year and have two ‘On This Date’ posts this week. Call it your christmas bonus for a productive year, or something. Call it whatever you like – who’s gonna stop you?

So, going back to 2006, we have – well, only one that I’ll post, because I shot three all told, and two of them are detail photos of the underside of barnacles. I don’t think you can handle that much excitement, so we’ll use the other.

time exposure of night sky showing Polaris
Curious to see how well digital handled long night exposures, I set up a borrowed Canon 10D in my adjoining woods and fired off a 15 minute exposure, aimed north – I knew I couldn’t locate Polaris through the trees but aimed in the general direction with a wide angle lens, and I believe I may have still snagged it anyway. The star arcs will describe a circle around Polaris (or would, if you could let the exposure go for 24 hours and, like, not have the sun come up,) so they’ll kind of indicate where it would be, and while it would be easy to believe that it’s that brightest spot buried in the tree to the left, that’s not quite in the right location. Plus that seems to be a little elongated itself from tracing its own partial circle. No, it looks like Polaris may be that very faint star directly to the right of the bright one, partially hidden within the branches (because it should be fairly bright in this exposure.) Regardless, the test told me a few things, including how digital sensors register light pollution (better than Provia film, by a wide margin,) and how distinctly they register star colors (worse than Provia.)

I recalled a post talking about doing a long exposure on the Mamiya medium format camera (thus film, and likely Provia at that,) and I do have a scan of such a photo – but then I remembered that I hadn’t even started the blog by this date, so that post and the subsequent MF exposure is referring to a different date – this one, actually. I suppose I could have posted it for the ‘On This Date’ post back in January, but no, that fell on the 29th too.

Oh, hell – it’s already scanned, so here it is. Just don’t count it as on this date, y’hear?

two-hour exposure of night sky
I’d have to go back and see if all the dust was on the slide itself (thus within the camera lens) or an artifact of scanning, which I consider more likely because this was done with a flatbed scanner with medium format capability. This is Fuji Provia F, better than the digital but still not ideal, though that may be due to the conditions and light pollution more than anything else; that orange glow on the tree is due to the neighbor’s porch light. My goals to do some of these long exposures while at the Outer Banks (the darkest spot within about 300 kilometers) still haven’t come to fruition, thought I did try.

On the negative side 10

B&W negative time exposure of train crossing at night
So for our next negative from the mists of time, we have this authentic B&W image from Florida, back when I was experimenting with random films and developing them in the bathroom. It’s grainy partially from being old film, partially from being a time exposure in the dark, and partially from developing at a less-than-ideal temperature; film does best when the chemicals are 20°C, but even the cold water came out of the tap in Florida during the summer at better than 25° – subsequent efforts involved moderating the temperature of the chemicals with an ice bath. Anyway, what we’re seeing here is a train bridge at night, a long exposure as the train passed through, thus the streaks of light atop the bridge. [As a side note, I always find it disconcerting that train bridges have no guardrails, but then they don’t really need them, and if the train starts to leave the tracks, ain’t no railing gonna do a damn thing about it. Yet I still expect to see them.] This image has an anomaly, however, and it takes a little to grasp it.

The anomaly comes from the glow in the water, seen in the lower half of the frame. The lights of the train were reflecting in the water as they passed, and this is normal and expected. What’s not normal are the dark periodic arcs in those reflections, because they don’t make immediate sense. The exposure was for an unknown time, but at least thirty seconds, possibly much longer – doesn’t matter too much, because the key bit comes from the passage of the train lights, so call it ten seconds or so. It’d be easy to consider these shadows, but the moving lights wouldn’t throw a distinct shadow in one location – instead, they’d produce tracking shadows that would pan across the frame during the exposure and thus almost eradicate themselves in the reflections thrown from the same locations when they weren’t there. Not to mention that there wasn’t anything (like guardrails) to throw shadows in the first place.

So here’s what I think is going on, and engineer Jim Kramer agreed, years back when I first showed him the photo: it’s an artifact of ripple interference. Bear with me here.

Any water source will show ripples a great percentage of the time, mostly due to wind or breezes, sometimes due to flow, and these will generally be in one direction. And then, disturbances (splashing, vibrations) may throw out another set, usually expanding in concentric circles from the source; these won’t eradicate the existing linear ripples, but intersect with them, in places causing combined-height wave peaks, in others cancelling each other out and producing very localized smoothness. So as the train passed over the bridge, it produced vibrations that carried down the bridge supports and into the water, and these ripples interacted with the existing ones to create a double, overlapping pattern. And at key points in this pattern, the water simply faced the wrong way to send reflections of the train lights back to the camera. Because one set of ripples originated from fixed points, the bridge supports, the pattern presented a more-or-less immovable interference pattern.

The part that doesn’t seem to support this hypothesis is the number of bridge supports versus the number of interference arcs, plus the fact that they don’t appear to line up. And I can’t explain why there’s only one arc on the right side but dual arcs for the rest. So without experiments or video that seems to show how these patterns work, I’m not 100% convinced that this is right. Yet I also don’t have any other explanations.

Notice how, over on the right side of the frame, the reflection from the bright light in the distance cuts right through the dark arc, but this is expected because that light was shining on the water well before and after the train had passed, so the interference pattern would not have existed at those times. I don’t recall for certain which way the train was traveling, but I was favoring right to left, and the reflections kind of support this too, in that they’re extending further out/down from the bridge on the right side, where the ripples could travel farther while still catching the train’s lights.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting artifact, and I remember noticing and pondering about it after scanning in the negative, way back when. And since there’s little to shoot and no time to shoot it anyway, this is what I got right now ;-)

Um, one “adult,” please

Today is the twelfth anniversary of my first blog post, and that means it now has to pay adult prices at the movie theaters – even when it can’t see adult movies, be tried as an adult, or any other functions claimed by that exalted/overrated classification. Kind of a rip-off, really. Just for the perspective, this is itself the 1,934th post, but only the 1,877th that contains nothing but trivial, uninteresting content.

I looked to see if I’d shot any photos on that date, but nope; the first appears in 2010, but hey, close enough – one of those will appear at the bottom.

Anyway, a brief update. It’s been, I think I’ve said, a frustrating season, or maybe period – it’s lasted much longer than a month, has overlapped the ‘season’ change from fall to winter, and so on. As you likely already know, the US Postal Service has gone totally bonzo-fogus – both The Girlfriend and I have been tracking packages that are apparently taking sightseeing tours of the entire US, and so christmas carols this year included repeated choruses of, “This isn’t everything – more will arrive eventually,” which isn’t that catchy and hopefully won’t survive to next christmas. My work schedule has been almost as unpredictable and much more annoying.

And then there’s the computer, and while I can go into gruesome detail regarding that, I’ll just say that the end may, perhaps, be in sight. Long story short: the computer/motherboard that I’m now using, while sufficient in performance and abilities for my needs, has a BIOS lacking in one particular thing, and that’s support for harddrives larger than 2 terabytes. I discovered this, naturally, when I installed a pair of 3TB drives within, because the files are growing routinely and I need the extra storage space. Numerous workarounds were attempted, none of them working, until I finally decided to install a Solid-State Drive for the operating systems – this made the BIOS happy, and once past that and into the operating systems, the larger harddrives were not an issue. But this meant installing both Linux and Windows on said SSD, and I upgraded one (Linux Mint 20) and downgraded the other (Windows 7, because Windows 10 bites ass.) This led to numerous reformatting issues, including default file locations and rebuilding stuff like the MIDI music structure (more on that someday,) and I just discovered this morning that Windows 7 is now having issues. So, it’s ongoing, but at least the prime functionality has been restored. If you’re having trouble sleeping, send me your phone number and I’ll call you with the entire list of actions and results.

With all this, I really haven’t felt like working on posts, not at all helped by there being (as seen above) nothing interesting to post about. I know these are all first-world problems and a lot of people have it worse, much worse, and I should really stop whining, but I also feel obligated to have regular content here and feel guilty when I don’t, obligated to explain it, and I can’t explain it without delving into grumbling. Ah, well. I’ve got a couple of light posts that’ll be along eventually, and I’m still considering what I’ll be doing for the year’s end, or beginning, or whatever, but there’s nothing promising on the horizon. Is this screed giving an accurate reflection of my mood and attitude lately? I’ll see what I can do about digging up some humor…

In the interim, have a set of sparkly icicles, taken on this date in 2010, aftermath of a winter storm a few days earlier. I’d had a version of this sitting in the blog folders for a long time, never having made it into any posts, then purged it along with many others when weaning that folder down – and now reinstated it (but cropped tighter and bigger now.) That’s what I consider progress.

dripping icicles in sunlight

On this date – like, right now

It’s pretty late at night/early in the morning on christmas, and I stepped out back to find something in the backyard (don’t ask.) It’s been raining like a mofo here for the past 24 hours, with some tornado warnings even, but the temperature’s been surprisingly warm – not for very long, so the meteorologists say, yet right now it’s not uncomfortable at all, if you don’t mind the dampness. And as I walked alongside the back deck with the headlamp, a trivial detail caught me by surprise, and I had to go in and bring the camera back out. I was afraid it might no longer be visible when I returned, but I got lucky.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea under water surface in planter reservoir
That’s one of our ubiquitous green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea,) under the surface of the water within a planter – in fact, the exact same planter seen here, albeit a bit more weathered now from the intervening decade.

I was a little concerned that I might have been seeing a dead frog, and was about to snake a finger in to check once I finished shooting a couple of frames, but before I had the chance, my friend here decided it didn’t like the headlamp at this time of night, turned and ducked deeper within the reservoir. Well, fine.

I keep thinking I’m going to have a little more time to work on posts, and I keep finding myself wrong, but I’m making progress on another project for the first time in weeks, so even though I’m not putting up a lot here to read or view, it’s only temporary, and I’ll be back soon.

In the meantime, enjoy the holidays, be mellow, stay safe, and stay smart. Smarter, even.

Cheers!

On this date 52

And here we are – the 52nd week of the series, and thus the last ‘On This Date’ post of the year! Except, no, we’re better than a week away from the end of the year, aren’t we? That’s what I get for starting this on the 1st. And seriously, what kind of creator makes a solar or sidereal year with such an odd number of hours in it? Sheesh

Anyway, we’ve got some seriously crappy photos this time around, but it’s mostly to illustrate a meaningless coincidence, as well as the less-than-optimal shooting conditions in NC winter, and to kinda-only-not-really make up for not posting a lot recently. Maybe it would have been better just forgetting all about this exercise…

But we’re committed now, so like a bad marriage, we forge on even though no one is happy about it! For, um, reasons…

We’ll start with 2006, when I heard noises in the woods behind my rental duplex and crept out with the Canon Pro 90 IS.

white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus virtually hidden in wooded area
What you see here – perhaps – is a small herd of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) really not far off of my driveway, and I only took the photo to demonstrate that their coloration is better camouflage than a lot of people realize. Take your time, and see how many you can find. I’ll sit here and look for a different career while you’re doing so.

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[Hmmm, “Garage Floor Stain Cleaner”… probably better than what I’m doing now…]

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[Ooo, “Social Media Expert, must be proficient in TikTok and ShitFuck”… I could probably fake it…]

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All set? Let’s see how you did.

previous image with highlights
Really, I spent way too long with these images, and it’s largely because, a few years later, I got this.

albino white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus in clearing
This was in the same area, even though I’d moved out by then (this being 2010,) but I’d seen this albino doe a total of three times, and this was the second time that I’d gotten photos – once was by the headlights of the car in the very early morning, so you know that photo was an award winner! I really should have been trying harder to stalk it, but white-tailed deer wander a bit, are largely active at night, would have been nearly always on private property, and I really didn’t have the time to do so anyway. Albinism is semi-rare among deer – most people have at least heard of examples, and in some places there are entire herds of them. The natural predators that would have spotted them more easily (than, you know, the image at top) and culled those anomalies are barely around anymore, and even some of the deer hunters let them be – while others, of course, think they’re a better trophy, because deer are so notoriously hard to find and incredibly dangerous to boot. Yes, that was sarcasm – those that it’s aimed at need the help identifying it, I’m sure.

Yet, in between those, I got some photos too, because in 2007, there was another conjunction, this one of the moon and a planet.

moon and Mars in close proximity
I was still playing around with the Pro 90, but I suspect I did some slides of this too – I know I could have scanned those in, since the topic is, ‘On This Date,’ with nothing to specify digital, but I don’t feel like it. This exposure, about 45 minutes before the closest approach, was exposed for the moon details, and thus the planet was only moderately visible. The next, around the time of the closest approach, was exposed for the planet this time.

Moon and Mars in closest proximity, 2007
The images aren’t labeled with anything more than the frame number, but that yellowish hue to the planet made me think I knew which one it was, and a check with Stellarium confirmed it: this was Mars. I’m fairly certain this was at the time of the closest pass, though the timestamp on the photo denies this, but since it was off by close to an hour, I’m pretty certain that I hadn’t changed the camera clock to reflect Daylight Saving Time (seriously, this needs to be eradicated entirely – how are we ever going to explain this to aliens? “Oh, well, we get up at different times to use the daylight better, but we change the clocks constantly to pretend we don’t.”) But back on the subject, you can see that the brightness of the moon and Mars are significantly different and thus hard to get detail of both in the same photo, not that this slows down astrophotographers anymore because pasting two or more photos together is de riguer, it seems, but I tend to keep my shameless compositing to a minimum. And at this focal length, what are we gonna see from Mars anyway? Really good detail requires a telescope, and then of course, the moon would be well out of the frame.

Finally, we have 2016.

holiday lights and reflections
I did the small aperture thing to produce the starbursts, as I was experimenting with the christmas tree that year, because what else ya gonna do? Another version appeared in a post back then, that one with a wide-open aperture to render the out-of-focus lights as round blobs (helped by the closer focus.) We didn’t bother with a tree this year, or indeed even lights, because both The Girlfriend and I are lazy shits (it’s been that kind of year,) but if you have them up yourself or can sneak into the neighbor’s house without too much trouble, go experiment and make the most out of the season.

Happy Holidays, everyone, if I don’t catch you before then! I mean, who the hell knows what I’ll be posting and when?

Gave it a try

Yes, I did indeed get out to view the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn yesterday evening – for what it was worth. I can tell you right now, there are better efforts out there, with better, more dedicated equipment (and probably no small amount of digital “enhancement,” or “compositing,” or as most people call it, “photoshopping.”) I knew how challenging a really impressive photo (or video) would be, so I wasn’t holding my breath.

But enough hemmingenhawing – let’s see what I really got.

conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on evening of December 21, 2020
This was with the Tamron 150-600 at 600mm, with a (not quite) 2x teleconverter, so effectively about 1000mm, and this is full resolution – the sharpest that I got. Got the evidence of Saturn’s rings and the faintest hint of Jupiter’s banding, but none of its moons (even though four of them were very much in evidence.) They were too faint for this exposure, which was 1/25 sec, ISO 800, and attempts at brighter/longer exposures turned up just the barest hint – and a lot of motion blur.

This was not from the rotation of the Earth, but instead from the breeze. We – meaning The Girlfriend, Buggato, and myself – had all gone down to a prime spot on Jordan Lake with a decent view to the west-southwest – and so had quite a few other people, several dozen at least. It was actually hard to tell, since there are no lights there and thus a decent count wasn’t going to happen – actually recognizing anyone else wasn’t going to happen. There was everything from people attempting to take photos with a handheld phone (snerk!) to some damn big telescopes on hand, and everything in between. I actually had two moderate telescopes along, but both of them have been in the process of getting put into spec and so neither one was going to get anything better than what I got with the camera lens, and actually much worse.

Here’s the deal: a standard telescope eyepiece is optimized for the ‘exit pupil’ which is just a little larger than your eye’s own pupil, because that’s all it needs, and this makes it several dozen times smaller than a camera sensor. Not to mention that it has its own lenses optimized for the focal length and light path. So attaching a standard SLR camera isn’t going to produce what we see when peering through the scope, because of this exit pupil thing, the lack of intervening lenses, and the size of the camera body itself (mostly the mirror box for that reflex mirror to throw the image to the camera viewfinder.) Ideally, a dedicated eyepiece camera should be used, but they’re damned expensive and I’m not into it enough to drop that kind of dough, especially when good exposures of interesting stuff will also need to have a tracking motor (which I have now, though I haven’t tried it yet) and precise alignment every time the scope is set up so the motor is actually going in the direction it should. That becomes a lot of effort for an area that possesses far too much light pollution. Plus the rig is large and cumbersome. So I should simply not have bothered with it at all last night, but briefly, I had a peek at the conjunction in the eyepiece, and it was pretty cool – moons plainly visible, and much brighter planets that the photo above. There’s still a chance that further efforts will appear here later on – just, not of such a conjunction because that’s a wee bit down the road.

While there, I re-aimed at the first-quarter moon and did a little video, which if nothing else demonstrated the effect of the breeze on the rig. I could have combated this a little by keeping the tripod down as far as possible, reducing the length of the leg and center columns that would be susceptible to the wind, and that would have worked better for the conjunction, down near the horizon as it was – not so much for the moon, way above at a 50° altitude. But anyway, here’s the clip, and note that even though the crowd is easily audible, the breeze barely makes an impression on the very wind-sensitive onboard mic – this was a breeze, and nothing more.

Now a trivial find, as I was editing. I was using the moon for sharp manual focusing, because the planets were far too small and with too little detail for precise work, and fired off a frame while the exposure was still set for the planets (and Jovian moon attempts.) Of course this overexposed the moon a hair, but it also brought out something else.

badly over-exposed moon with star about to be eclipsed
At full resolution, there’s a hint of motion blur at the terminator on the moon, and of course the exposure glare – but there’s a little boogie over on the dark side of the moon. No, it’s not a little prism (you’ll get it eventually,) but I wasn’t sure what it was, and to my eye, it was borderline of being inside the arc of the moon’s darkened edge – which would make it a satellite in front of the moon. I quickly brought up Stellarium (instead of sitting upright in my chair) and determined that it was only a star – but one that, had I kept watching for only a few minutes longer, would have disappeared behind the moon. Well, hell anyway – not that I could have done much about it, since a) it wasn’t visible even slightly to the naked eye, and so I didn’t know it was there, and b) it would not have been visible in video exposures either, so the actual disappearance could not be captured. Which is a shame, because winking out on the dark side would look cooler than disappearing against the bright side.

[A note: While the motion of the Earth’s rotation has the moon sliding left to right across the sky, at least in this hemisphere, the star disappeared against the left side, meaning the moon was moving left – which is true, since it pursues its own orbit. In essence, it moves a little bit slower across the sky than the background stars – and during a lunar eclipse, this motion also becomes apparent.]

Oh, and the reason that I said, “instead of sitting upright in my chair” above is that, despite the money I spent on this computer monitor, it still has a bit of gamma difference depending on viewing angle, and it takes a direct, or slightly high, angle to make out the full range of light. Had I been sitting up, I could have seen the very faint hint of Earthshine on the dark side of the moon, and known the star was indeed outside that arc. If you can’t make it out yourself, you may want to adjust your own monitor – it’s barely visible, but there – and if you’re doing this on a phone, I only laugh at you because you shouldn’t be playing with toys at your age.

But while we’re here, I’ll include a ‘normal’ exposure of the moon, only moments after the one above – as you can see, that rogue star isn’t visible, though it would be a few more minutes before it actually vanished behind the moon.

first-quarter moon on December 21, 2020
I’m slowly getting back into posting, though in your favor, I’ve been avoiding venting about the numerous frustrations that have been occurring, but regardless, I’ll get some more out a bit at a time. Go drink some eggnog or something in the meantime.

On this date 51

holiday lights on railing with autumn leaf
In 2005, I was living alone and thus wasn’t decorating a lot for the holidays, but I did run a single strand of lights along the railing of the balcony deck. Generally, we get one snowstorm a winter in NC, January or February, so in mid-December it’s more likely to be rain. I decided to play around with the lights and the small-aperture starburst thing, and liked what was happening, but the leaf was too shiny so I dried it on my shirt and tried again. A different crop, leveled properly, made it into the site gallery and into a public gallery as well. Later on, I played around with a self-portrait by the same lights, and The Girlfriend liked it enough to have it framed.

A year later, I was back onto a vivid colors kick.

CD refraction and LED
I actually came across this many months ago, like March, and noticed that its origin date would fall on a Wednesday this year, so I saved it for this entry. That year (which would be 2006,) I was experimenting for a mildly-competitive photo mandate from a newsgroup, and I can’t even remember the topic but I think it was either Interiors or Technology, something like that. Anyway, I tricked out a faux CD/DVD reader image using the guts from an old laser mouse for the reader and an LED flashlight swept in a curve outside the frame to produce the rainbow refraction from the surface of the CD – it took a little playing to get the right angle for the effect. I was pretty pleased with it, but wish I’d had another light shining up through the center – not to be convincing or anything, but just for added emphasis. And while we’re here, I’ll point out that you can see the tip of the alligator clamp holding the circuit board for the mouse in the upper left corner.

A big jump to 2012 now.

leaf-footed bug Acanthocephala declivis in studio shot
ladybeetle Coccinellidae on unidentified plantThe full story is here, but the gist is, this is a studio shot with another photo print of mine serving as the background – the one at right, in fact (which was not shot on this date so don’t count it,) an image that also served as an example in my video on cropping images. It was rotated 90° widdershins, but you can see just see a hint of the ladybeetle at top.

I keep meaning to shoot a handful of images just to use as macro studio backdrops, out-of-focus photos consisting mostly of one color or hue, to have a selection handy, but keep forgetting about it when I’m in good locations to do so. I’ll task the Invisible Mr Bugg with reminding me…

And finally, from 2016.

sunrise colors under clouds with faint sun pillar
I’d missed out on a few gorgeous sunrises occurring right as I was heading off to work (you know, the drudgery kind,) so I made it a point to try for one on my day off, and this was the result – not as good as some of the others might have been, but more than acceptable. This was also posted back then, so take note: even though I could be inflating the uploads numbers by using unseen photos for these posts, I’ve been reposting some of the images already on the site – I’m not greedy, or egotistical or whatever might be used to describe such an attitude. Well, not that much.

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