On this date 47

Just four (well, four-ish) this time – could have had a lot more, because I’ve shot plenty on this date, but some were repetitive, and some have already been featured in posts. We’ll start with 2003.

extreme closeup od dandelion blossom and ant
At this point in time, I was living in Florida but up visiting with Jim Kramer for a week, while he still lived in North Carolina. This was playing around with the macro settings on the Sony F-717 camera of his, some months before he mailed it down to me to use for a bit before it was sold off (he’d purchased the upgraded model.) I don’t think I knew the ant was actually in the photo – I was concentrating on keeping the center in focus.

The we jump eight years forward to 2011.

time exposure of starfield around Polaris
Ten years previous to this, I’d witnessed the fabulous Leonids meteor shower but captured no photos due to using the wrong film for such an endeavor, and this was the first time that I’d tried it in digital, this being with the Canon Digital Rebel, or 300D, or DReb as I called it. I remember it being a cold night and the batteries gave way after about an hour, during which I’d only tripped five frames with the digital camera, capturing nothing; I was also out there with the Mamiya 645 medium format (film) camera with Fuji Provia 100, which did a much better job that the film from a decade earlier yet revealed no meteors itself. This is a six-minute exposure (at f5.6, ISO 100) with Polaris in the frame, the focal point of the star trails since it sits directly above Earth’s north pole and so the rotation of the planet causes all of the stars to track in a circle, except for one.

[You won’t ever get a complete circle in a photo unless you’re very close to the poles themselves during local winter, when the sun never actually rises, but even then the horizon can brighten enough to ruin the 24-hour exposure needed, so…]

2015, be the year we be visitin’ now, and a bizarre composite to illustrate something.

two views of reflections in a frog's eye
I combined two nearly-consecutive images to show the different reflections visible in this green frog’s (Lithobates clamitans) eye. You see, I was testing out a new softbox option after I’d fried the old Sunpak FP38 flat panel flash doing something stupid (like hooking up a 12-volt power source to a system intended for 6.) One thing that I lacked with the old flash was portability, and I was experimenting with a folding reflector assembly on the Metz 40MZ-3i, so one of these images was with flash, one without, which should be clear enough. But both show the reflector, kinda. In the top image, you can see the round reflecting panel with a rectangular highlight, the distinct reflection of the flash head itself, but also the flash head off to the side, aimed indirectly so barely visible – and the matte black arms holding the reflector itself. All of this was acceptable, but could be improved, and mostly, I didn’t like the weight and horrible balance of the Metz. In the bottom photo, the shape of the arms and reflector are more obvious, silhouetted against the tree branches off to the side, while the camera itself sits more centered in the eye. These were taken in the backyard pond – well, the frog was in the pond; the camera and I were simply alongside it.

We’ll stay vaguely thematic as we advance a year to 2016.

four painted turtle Chrysemys picta basking on logs in November
Going through Mason Farm Biological Reserve that day, a quartet of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) were posed fetchingly on a pair of logs in good light, so of course I had to photograph them. Notably, three of these photos show that November can be quite nice, climate-wise, and the fourth shows no indication of temperature at all, though I can tell you that the tripod had frost on it when I packed up for the night (we’re talking about the starfield shot now.) Leave it to me to chase meteors on the colder nights…