On this date 23

time exposure of driving down city street
Back from 2005, we have an experimental image that showed proof of concept (which wasn’t really necessary – I knew the concept was solid,) but needed work on the execution. This is a mere one-second exposure while driving down a city street, intentionally streaking the various lights. One second seems to be a pretty good amount of time for this – I wouldn’t go longer than two – but from the wiggly lines it’s clear that either a smoother road (good luck with that in NC) or a stabilizing float mount is required to get a decent picture. And of course, mounting the camera with a clearer view, or at least using a more exotic car than an old Mazda pickup. I’d stood the tripod in the center of the cab within easy reach, but I recall that this is easier to imagine than it is to set up; cars aren’t typically made with lots of places for the tripod feet to go. Another way that photographers are discriminated against…

In the back of my mind, I was always going to retry this, but here it’s been fifteen years now…

Then, for reasons best left unvoiced, I went for five years without once taking a (keepable) photo on June 3rd, so we pick up again in 2010.

female wolf spider genus Lycosidae with offpsring on back
On my doorstep, a wolf spider of undetermined species, but genus Lycosidae anyway, was parading around with her voluminous offspring on her back, as they do. It might be easy to believe that this is an especially high-magnification shot, but no – wolf spiders can get pretty damn big. I know the size of the beetle she’s chowing on so she’s an estimated 25-30mm in body length. The deep shadows of this photo finally convinced me to finish a project I’d been intending to tackle, which was a dedicated macro softbox for the flash unit. It actually worked pretty well (note that the photo there was posted just a few weeks later,) but I also recognized the value of indirect, off-axis lighting and have been refining the designs ever since.

[It’s funny – while this post topic was just intended to provide regular content even if the week was slow, the posts have become a lot more about trivia, conditions, and progress, and they’re often served by showing earlier entries for comparison.]

The image above came from the Arthropods 1 folder, by the way. Our next entry from 2013 came from the Arthropods 3 folder. I’ve said before but you probably weren’t paying attention, I split the stock images up to make them easier to go through and get to about 4000 images before I jump to another folder, so I was fairly busy with the bugs those years. I’m about halfway through Arthropods 6 right now…

juvenile green lynx spider Peucetia viridans with morning dew attached
This green lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) wasn’t very big at all, but I can’t remember exactly how big, so you’ll just have to guess by the droplets of dew adhering to its body, and the translucence of the exoskeleton; I’m pretty sure it’s on budding hydrangea leaves, so I’m guessing within the 15mm range. If you look closely at the drop on the head (right behind that Lurch hairpiece that cradles the eyes,) you can tell that I used the second softbox design for this, because the highlighted reflections there are rectangular. And then, position is still a factor; notice how deep the shadows get on the left side of the photo? That tells us the flash was positioned on the right. Eventually, I found a way to move the flash rig easily from one side to the other, depending on my subject. I don’t do it as often as I should, but it’s a lot easier now than completely dismantling the flash bracket to reverse it.

And now we have 2015.

cherry tomato blossoms and emerging tomatoes
This was from the second attempt to create a garden at the new place, which we eventually gave up on because of both the soil not being optimal, and the only place that gets enough light is the front yard. But as we were learning this lesson, we have this cherry tomato plant that was transitioning between flowers and fruit, showing the various stages in one photo. In comparison, we have some (potted) tomato plants right now that are just starting to bud out, but we’re admittedly running late in planting this year. The old place was pretty ratty overall, but damn did it have good soil – stuff was effortless to grow there. Ah well.

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