Younger Me was better

Seriously, I have no motivation to go out and chase photos, partially because there’s little to shoot and the weather hasn’t been that cooperative – while it hasn’t been terribly cold out there, I’m noticing it more this year for some reason (probably that “old” thing,) and so haven’t felt like trying to find subjects. There remains the butterfly house, so that may come up some sunny day – since it’s largely a greenhouse, the photo ops are hugely better when it’s clear, and that doesn’t describe today.

Plus there are still projects; the polyurethane (that resides in the unheated garage) is warming up to useful temperature on my desk right now in preparation for its use on a mirror frame, and I started last night on rewriting the ‘Latest Images’ page, since I noticed that the slideshow script no longer seems to be working on two of the three browsers that I tested it on. What that’s about, I don’t know, but I figure I’ll just swap it out for something simpler that does the same thing. Formatting it will take a little while though, so I imagine that it’ll be a couple of days at least before it’s back up and running.

So for now, to keep the posts and a little bit of color coming, I present some archive images. This is, in part, an ‘On This Date’ post, since the first two images were shot eight years ago today.

holiday lights defocused into circles of confusion or bokeh
This is a simple effect that anyone can do, because it’s only the holiday lights on the front bushes, well out of focus with a wide-open aperture; should you use anything smaller, the nice circles will instead be hexagons or octagons or whatever, defined by how many aperture blades the lens has. Which reminds me that I should do some experiments. The term for the rendering of defocused elements, especially the highlights, is ‘bokeh,’ and different lenses produce it differently; I have an old Vivitar M42-mount 135mm f2.8, obtained for use with the macro bellows, that has a stunning 15 aperture blades, so an almost-round opening no matter what the aperture is set for, and I need to see what that produces in certain circumstances.

Meanwhile, let’s see what this same scene looks like when it’s properly focused:

same scene as previous, but focused properly
It’s virtually necessary to use a tripod for this, by the way, because you’re almost certainly going to go for longer exposures, especially if the lights are blinking, and you can experiment with ambient light at dusk, or adding some additional light through a strobe unit or even handheld flashlight, to illuminate the surroundings as desired.

I have to mention, too, that I was doing the same thing 364 days earlier – the year before, but December 9th instead of 8th. These were better, though – I improved my technique. Still, both of those years were improvements over this one, since not only am I not shooting anything, we don’t even have any lights up yet. Maybe I need to drag my ass out there instead of posting…

But for now, another, nowhere near this date – I just came across it again and felt like featuring it.

thunderheads at sunrise off Jekyll Island, Georgia
This was from a trip to Jekyll Island, Georgia in September 2018, pretty productive image-wise, with enough clouds to make the sunrise dynamic while still not being stormy or anything. Not where I was, anyway, but those are thunderheads producing rain, many kilometers off. I did not have/use a weather or lightning tracker at the time, so I have no good idea how far away the clouds are, and even estimating it with science would be tricky. I could figure the angular height of the clouds based on the timestamp of the photo and the position (more or less) of the sun, but cumulonimbus clouds can vary a lot, both in overall height and the ‘ceiling,’ the bottom clearance, so pure math isn’t going to cut it here. I’ll semi-confidently say, based on averages, that the taller cloud is at least 6 kilometers in height, so at least half of the length of the very island I was taking this from. That would put it a long ways off, anyway.

Those two dark shapes on the horizon, by the way, are not boats but buoys, likely channel markers for the inlet on the north end of the island where I shot this from. I could probably determine their distance with the help of boating charts, but I’m not going to.