Posts Categorized: photos + text from the road

The Setting New Moon and Mt. Tom

The Setting New Moon and Mt. Tom

Tues. 02.28.17 – Last evening I went out to my photography corner of Brockman Lane and Dixon Lane*, so that I could take photos of the New Moon as it set behind Mt. Tom to the west. I used the US Navy Observatory Moon rise and set calculator to figure out when it would set and when civil twilight would be so I could take the above new moon photo and attempt to take a photo of the Mars & Uranus conjunction.

When I drove out at 6:30pm, it was approximately 42F / 5.5C and there were frogs singing their little hearts out. Odd but true. Frogs trying to get laid in February when it is still dipping below 32F / 0C at night. By the time I finished nearly 40 minutes later, it was at least 5 degrees colder, a wind had picked up, and the frogs had wisely retreated. My gloves** were not equal to the task at hand and my fingers were sending mayday alerts.

The good news is that I was able to take a series of photos of the Moon and Venus (Instagram), the Moon setting behind Mt. Tom (Flickr), three photos of Mars & Uranus.

Why no posted photos of Mars & Uranus with the used Nikon 70-200mm f4 lens taken with my Nikon D800? Post-processing is my achilles heel. I love to shoot, but I hate post-processing. Working in Lightroom and Photoshop bring out the worst of my personality and work habits. I am normally a patient person who can spend hours crafting a thing, but not in photo post-processing.

Last night, the Flickr version of the Moon Setting on Mt. Tom was my favorite of the three photos I took within a minute and then processed the RAW files to jpg. This morning, the photo I posted above is my favorite. But the truth of the matter is that only the Instagram photo that I took with my camera phone captured the color of the late dusk sky correctly.

No matter how I fiddled in Lightroom last night, I could not get the RAW files to have the right two tones of the late dusk sky. I had to resort to using split tone highlights and shadows – this feels like it is too much processing. But that is the point of shooting RAW, I get to do my own processing and not let the camera generate the jpg.

Anywhoo, forgive my grousing. If you have a clear horizon, do go look at the new moon as it sets tonight. Astro Bob has a nice blog post on the new moon for the 27th & 28th of February, as well as how to find Mars & Uranus with binoculars.

*Do you all sense a theme here? Local high point with low sagebrsuh so the view of the Eastern Sierra, the White Mtns., and the Owens Valley is good.

** I wonder how my Finnish photo friends shoot at night and dawn in winter with a tripod? I must inquire what gloves they use that allow for dexterity & flexibility but keep one’s hands warm.

Sunday Tidbits with a Photo of Melting Snow in the Sagebrush

Snow melt in the sagebrush

Sun. 01.29.17 – Today is the last Sunday of January and life is interesting. Here are some links for your reading pleasure:

Terri Windling’s link/quote round up with beautiful illustrations on Fairy tales and fantasy, when the need is greatest

Cipher War: After a century of failing to crack an ancient script, linguists turn to machines

A lovely story of a found photo album from the mid-20th century leads to Love and Black Lives, in Pictures Found on a Brooklyn Street

A quote from an NYT Opinion column from yesterday, One Country, Two Tribes:

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, calls it the clash between globalists and nationalists. The globalists, who tend to be urban and college educated, want a world like the one described in John Lennon’s song “Imagine” — no religion, walls or borders dividing people. The nationalists see that as a vision of hell. They want to defend their culture and emphasize the bonds of nationhood — flag, Constitution, patriotism. They also want to limit immigration, an instinct that globalists are often quick to condemn as racist.

It is one of the most profound fissures of the modern political era and has upended politics in Europe, too.

“Global elites feel they have more in common with their friends in Paris or New York than with their own countrymen,” said Lars Tragardh, a historian at Ersta Skondal University College in Stockholm. “In their view of the world, the centrality of citizenship gets lost, and that is very threatening to the nationalists.”

And last but not least,
This Granular Life: Is atomic theory the most important idea in human history?

Photo of the snow melting in the sagebrush above the Meadow Creek meadow overlooking the Owens Valley taken by Ms. Jen this afternoon while walking Canela with her Lumia 950.

Film & Digital: Palos Verdes as Seen from Huntington Cliffs

Film - Fuji Velvia 50 - Palos Verdes as seen from Huntington Cliffs Digital : Nokia 808 PureView : Palos Verdes as seen from Huntington Cliffs

Sun. 12.11.16 – At Roland’s request, I am going to start posting my photos from my film project of 2015 and 2016. I will post both the scanned film photo unretouched and the digital – usually camera phone – photo I took as a reference photo.

These two photos were taken on April 17, 2016 at dusk from Huntington Cliffs / Dog Beach looking across Long Beach bay to Palos Verdes. The photo on the Left is the Fujifilm Velvia 50 color slide film taken with my Nikon FM3a camera and a 50mm f/1.8 lens. The photo on the Right is taken with my Nokia 808 PureView camera phone. Both are not processed other than adding keywords and metadata.

Per the usual, double click on the thumbnails for the lightbox gallery and larger versions of the photos.

So, I fell down on the NaBloPoMo job… and thinking of endings.

Wed. 11.30.16 – 2016 seems to be the year of endings. After the US Elections, I saw several folks on Twitter calling 2016 ‘anno horribilis’. I am not quite ready to call it a horrible year, as we still have another month to the year for a major tsunami, nuclear war, asteroid strike, a plague that kills billions, gamma ray from an exploding star, etc.

But 2016 is/was definitely the year of endings. My Grandpa Jim died. Scruffy died. My brother’s friend Art died of cancer. The American Republic may be going into hospice care come January. And Nicole Hunter Mostafa, one of the few personal bloggers who was still personally blogging for the love and joy of it passed away. Damn cancer.

I feel even more than ever that it is time for me to take back up with my own version of personal mixed with life mixed with professional mixed with tech mixed with humor blogging, as I truly believe that making and creating in the face of adversity is how we best express our humanity. Although I may suck at blogging on a regular schedule, I will do my best to blog here a few times a week and on some weeks more.

Dear 2016, please calm down for the next 31 1/2 days.

A Declining Scruffy Hanging Out with Lukas and Erika

A Declining Scruffy Hanging Out with Lukas and Erika

Thurs. 11.10.16 – This is a very rocky week. Starting the day of the election, Scruffy’s back end and legs stopped working for him and by yesterday morning he was unable to walk or even raise up and stabilize his legs.

We had already planned to visit Erika and Lukas today so that Lukas could play with Belle. Erika let Lukas know that Scruffy was at the end of his life and that Lukas would most likely not see him again. Near the end of the visit, Lukas wanted to sit on the couch with an ailing Scruffy in his lap. It was very sweet.

In this photo, Erika was telling Lukas the story of the first time that Lukas met Scruffy.

Embrace the Blur : A One Day Drive to Arizona and Back Again

To Arizona: Palo Verde Tree with a bit of Inadvertent Tiltshift Back to California: Taurus and a Truck from the Car Window

Sun. 11.06.16 – Today including a whirlwind, blur of a drive out to Arizona and back home to Huntington Beach in one day! The madness was more than just an opportunity to spend $36 on gas; I was on a mission to pick up my friend Belle le Cane. I will be dogsitting Belle* for much of the month, so expect more photos.

Per usual, double click on the photo thumbnails for the larger versions and lightbox gallery.

*And Belle will be sitting on Scruffy…

The Con That Wasn’t

Sat. 11.05.16 – I am eating dinner after a day of a crushing migraine that dashed my weekend plans and would not go away, even the face of Imitrex and a diet coke. Finally, eight and a half hours after taking the Imitrex and three-quarters of the way through the second diet coke, life became mildly bearable again.

Twenty or so minutes into the bearable life, there is a knock at the door. I get up from my dinner and ask, “Who is there?”

Scruffy rouses himself out of old dog slumber on the warm kitchen floor to bark loudly. I cannot hear the reply of the man on the other side of the door.

Through the front door, I shout a bit, “Sorry, my dog is barking. I can’t hear you.” What I don’t say is that too many years of live music shows, even with 34 db earplugs in, my hearing is not what it used to be at the hertz range of human speech.

Scruffy uses this opportunity to bark louder and longer, as the man replies a second time. Against my usual practice and better judgement, I open the door to a mid-to-late twenty-something man dressed as if he were a boxer from New York in 1983 with a faded hawaiian shirt over his see through 80s tank top. He is wearing a rather ugly, prominent oddly shaped black ring on his left middle finger. He did not smell bad, but he does not look clean nor good.

As I am assessing him with the door opened only a few inches, he quickly says, “I am a new neighbor introducing myself.”

“Ah.” I say. No one in this complex ever introduces themselves. They will say hi if you pass them in the hallways or near the dumpster or in the carport, but no introductions. We are in walking distance of the beach. Everyone here in these twelve building, three-story, late 1960s open plan California beach apartment complex is a surfer, a student, a medical professional, a downscaled former homeowner of a certain age, or a recent immigrants. I have not seen this fellow in our building or coming and going from the parking lot.

“I am a student,” he says. “I am learning public speaking and I am here to practice.” His words are tripping over each other in the rapidity of his delivery. “I am nervous.” He smiles trying to elicit sympathy. My dinner is cooling, I smell a sales pitch or a con. I am having none of it.

More words, of which I don’t remember enough to even paraphrase. Finally, he says – seeing that he is loosing me to a door inching closed. “Have you ever done any public speaking?”

“Yes, quite a bit.”

“Then you know how hard it is.” He looks at me with hope as he pulls out a laminated four by six card.

“Actually, I am very good at it.” This is not a brag. I like verbally conveying information in an interesting fashion in hopes of sparking a curiosity to learn more in the listener.

“Oh.” This man sparks no curiosity in me. Deflated, he then puts the card in front of him as he gather the courage to start his pitch. The card has a half-tone American flag with an eagle on it in the background and the foreground is unreadable type with several signatures.

“No, thank you.” I firmly say. Do not use the American flag and an eagle to manipulate me. No, not this week. Certainly not this week.

As he protests and starts to get angry, I start to close the door. He protests, “I have been doing this since 7am.”

“Sorry to hear that, but this isn’t about public speaking practice and I am going back to my dinner.” I latch the door. I hear him swear. Scruffy looks at me from the kitchen floor, where his old dog self has attempted to stand but has failed. Scruffy looks more than a bit like a white furry seal who is stuck in one position. I hear the guy knock to no avail on the neighbor’s door.

I sit back down to my dinner. I hear the man knock on many doors in this building and the next across the courtyard with the same patter to open and closed doors. Muffled voices of men tell him to go away. Two women open their doors. The first women stops his speech before I did and shuts her door. He swears. More knocking. Another woman on a floor above opens her door and half way through she yells at him about solicitors aren’t allowed, she slams her door shut. I hear more muffled knocks but no one else opens their doors within my hearing.

I am not sure what this man was selling or what his game / hustle /con was. I didn’t want to know, as it was the in-person version of email spam. If I won’t open a spam email, then why did I open the door?