No foolin’

I said I’d be back to ‘fess up, and I keep my word – eventually, anyway. I mean, there’s still time to make good on some of those things in my past…

In this case, however, we’re talking about the month-end abstract. But first, another image from the same session, to see if this helps things along any.

hairball clog from a sink in Chernobyl
Is it more evident now? I can’t know if it helps, or how much – I was there, of course, and responsible for the very abstract nature of the images. Had I taken them straight, it might have been a little more evident.

Last chance to figure out either or both, before we move down to the reveal.

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We had a lot of scrap lumber to get rid of, which would have necessitated a trip to the landfill, but we also had a fire pit, and I’m a guy, so the obvious solution was to simply burn it off. I’d spent a few hours in the afternoon continually feeding wood into the little bowl of a pit that we have, then let it die down for the night. Much later, I went out to check and see how well the remaining charcoal was burning off, knowing that it might remain hot coals completely overnight. Stirring around the ashes produced quite a bit of heat and a nice bright glow, and the appeal was obvious. I got the camera and tripod, and with a few frames determined the best length of exposure. Then I started experimenting.

The month-end shot yesterday was a 20-second exposure while slowly zooming the 18-135 lens in, thus the streaks. You’ll notice the ‘dotted’ nature of most of the streaks, which came from the lens itself; still photo lenses aren’t made like video lenses, with a buttery smooth zoom function, and so they tend to be slightly ‘sticky’ or ‘grabby’ as they’re turned, and that’s what you’re seeing: tiny little jerks and twitches as I attempted to move the zoom ring as smoothly as possible. I actually went back in and tried it with an older lens, a manual focus Vivitar 28-200 that has a push-pull zoom, but it doesn’t maintain constant focus (this close, anyway) while doing so, and the effect of getting softer as it got larger wasn’t better than what I posted yesterday.

And now the pic above. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out, given what I just said, but instead of tracking the zoom, I let it be and simply leaned over and blew heartily into the embers themselves; all those squiggles are sparks flying free. I did make it a point to blow in a couple different directions, to even things up. I also did a few frames where I stirred around the embers during a long exposure, but believe it or not, the effect was barely noticeable – the embers moved too quickly during stirring to produce much blur, the majority of the exposure coming when they were still.

But maybe it gives you some ideas for your own experiments, so have at it!

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