Average: average

Oops, I’m one behind on my ‘daily’ posts, or at least one for every day of the month; should correct that soon enough. In the meantime, various things are progressing – some usefully, some not so.

For instance, the car is back together and on the road, one of those deals where the work that needed to be done would normally be mildly involved, but due to an incredibly bad design, was a lot more complicated than it ever should be (for instance, removing the throttle body and intake manifold to change the goddamn spark plugs.) While doing this work, I broke the head from my monopod, but then not only fixed it the day after, I radically improved it.

[Okay, I know you’re wondering, even though you probably don’t even exist. One trivial repair on the car was to a failed lift support for the rear hatch, those little shock-absorber-like pistons that help support the weight. To replace this, the hatch needed to be held up firmly, not something I could spare an arm for, so the monopod served as the support structure. Except that, with the wobbling and aligning, it tumbled out of the back of the car and hit directly on the head, snapping it free from the post. However, I had an old Manfrotto short center column from one of my tripods, and with some slight modification, was able to use that to replace the rather shoddy original construction and thus improve the monopod significantly. Because I’m that good.]

Other projects and/or shooting sessions did not go as good. Tallying the successes and failures brings us to about average, right in the middle, except the car is fixed, so we’ll lean in the positive direction.

Just tonight, the thunder told me the storms were rolling closer than they have been for a while, and I went over to the neighborhood pond to take a stab at it. Some 40 minutes of shooting, 75 frames, produced very little of merit – the storm just wasn’t developing in a good way.

thin wide branches of lightning stretching across sky
I’d been framing to include the water in the shot when I watched a broad, scattered bolt cross the sky, so I re-aimed, and eventually was rewarded with a semi-decent display, cropped here with contrast increased slightly. It might have been a nice one for video because I watched it branch out and scamper across the sky, but video probably would have been grainy and ugly. Naturally, a better display than this occurred just as I closed the shutter following an empty exposure; thanks. You have to accept such things, because leaving the shutter open too long will overexpose the frame and bleach out any brief lightning that might occur anyway.

The only clear and distinct bolt of the evening (while I was out there, anyway,) did strike as my shutter was open, though:

wide shot with lightning going off edge of frame
Yeah, lovely. Like I said, it was the only clear bolt, so there was nothing to indicate the best direction to aim in, and of course, when I re-aimed after this, nothing appeared. Ho hum.

But we’ll take a closer look anyway.

inset of previous frame for detail
Could have been very nice, had the framing been better, but oh well.

Other photo opportunities have been scarce, especially if I avoided doing any more frogs, and the heat has been intense, even producing sweat from no effort at night (so you can imagine how badly I was soaked while doing the car work.) We are at least getting rain now, long overdue, so the rainbarrels are refilled and I’m not going out as often to water the plants. But while exploring one night, I got lucky with the appearance of a different subject, who held still as I adjusted the flash settings (seeing how I was configured for macro work.)

likely deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus perched on fence
This little guy suddenly appeared on the fence right as the headlamp was aimed in that direction and froze, allowing me to change the flash power and angle and the aperture to snag a single frame, though as I attempted to creep closer, it beat a quick retreat along the fence.

Now a little of the research just to insert the proper name. I had grown up with two species of mice: the all-grey ones with smaller eyes that we called the house mice, and the ones seen here, larger eyes with a brown coat and very distinct white underbelly, called field mice. Except that that particular name is also applied to house mice, and what is pictured here is more typically referred to as a deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus.) Fine, whatever – make me feel stupid. But at least I have another mammal to add to the stock, something that I’m surprisingly thin on.

And for giggles, another photo obtained during the slow hot season when I was avoiding doing even more photos of treefrogs. Nothing great, but at least it’s not a frog. No sirree bob, not a frog to be seen.

morning glory Convolvulaceae blossom that definitely does not have a juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea peeking from behind
There’s an outing planned for tomorrow, so we’ll see if that produces anything useful. You know where to look.

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